Another week, another butt-load of ’80s tunes.  Here’s more from the letter T as we continue through the halls of rock ‘n’ roll.

38 Special
Wild-Eyed Southern Boys“ 1981, #35 (download)
”Chain Lightning” 1982, #9 (download)
”Back on the Track” 1982, #56 (download)
”One Time For Old Times” 1984, #17 (download)
”Heart’s On Fire” 1986, #30 (download)
”Little Sheba” 1988, #15 (download)

.38 Special was one of my favorite bands of the decade. Their brand of poppy Southern rock was great all the way through the decade even in the tail end when they turned everything into pop songs.

The surprising tune here of course is ”Wild-Eyed Southern Boys,” the title track to their 4th album and one of the two here that still gets recurring airplay. The other one is ”Heart’s On Fire” from Strength in Numbers, an underrated album that was the last one until 1997 to really rock. There’s very few tracks from .38 Special that I don’t care for but ”Little Sheba” is one of them as it always sounded very dated to me.

Mickey Thomas
”Stand in the Fire” 1986, #35 (download)

”Stand in the Fire” is one of those songs that I’m a little embarrassed to say I really like. It’s a little more rockin’ than what Starship was doing at this point and really, I’ve always enjoyed the over-the-top, cheesy soundtrack tunes. This one comes from Youngblood, staring Rob Lowe as a pretty boy Canadian junior hockey league player.

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Michael Thompson Band
”Can’t Miss” 1989, #33 (download)

Despite the name this did miss the Hot 100, I would think due at least partially to the fact that it sounds a little bit out of touch with the sound of 1989. Had this been released in ’86 or so, I think it could have had potential as just like the Mickey Thomas tune, it seems made to be the theme song of a cheesy movie (I’m thinking Weekend at Bernie’s type flick for this track).

That’s not Michael singing on this song either, it’s Moon Calhoun. Michael Thompson was the guitarist and has since gone on to session work with people like Michael Buble, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion and of course the credit of his career — The Simpsons Sing the Blues.

Richard Thompson
”Turning of the Tide” 1988, Modern Rock #30 (download)

This was Thompson’s only hit of the decade, from his 1988 album Amnesia. It was his first album for Capitol records who gave him more promotion than he got from Polydor for his previous works, hence the push to radio for at least this one song.

George Thorogood and the Destroyers
”Nobody But Me” 1982, #32 (download)
Bad to the Bone“ 1982, #27 (download)
”Gear Jammer” 1985, #26 (download)
”I Drink Alone” 1985, #13 (download)
”Reelin’ & Rockin’” 1986, #11 (download)
”You Talk Too Much” 1988, #4 (download)
”Born To Be Bad” 1988, #3 (download)
”Treat Her Right” 1988, #39 (download)

There were 15 million albums sold over the career of George Thorogood and the Destroyers but if you just listened to radio you’d think ”Bad to the Bone” was the only thing he ever released. It is of course what George is known for which isn’t really a bad thing since the song is the pinnacle of badass. For me, his cover tunes were better than his originals but the songs pushed to radio were mainly those he wrote himself. Bad to the Bone, Maverick and Born to Be Bad were mainly filled with covers with a handful of originals worked in.

Maverick featured the originals ”Gear Jammer” and ”I Drink Alone” but it was his cover of ”Willie and the Hand Jive” that gave him his only cross over hit (yeah, amazing that ”Bad to the Bone” never charted in the Hot 100) but it was his cover of John Lee Hooker’s ”Crawlin’ King Snake” that’s worth hearing on that disc.

For Born to be Bad in ’88, I would have rather heard the cover of Elmore James’s ”Shake Your Moneymaker” before ”Born To Be Bad” but that was clearly a marketing move to recreate the success of ”Bad to the Bone.”

”Reelin’ & Rockin’” was a Chuck Berry cover from his ’86 live album creatively titled, Live.

Thrashing Doves
”Angel Visit” 1989, Modern Rock #14 (download)

Thrashing Doves were a cool band for a few minutes in the late 80s. Their 1987 debut (Bedrock Vice) is a fantastic hooked filled rock album but ”Angel Visit” came from their second album — Trouble in the Home — in which they already seemed to run out of steam.

”Talkin’ Bout” 1988, #9 (download)

3 aka Emerson, Berry & Palmer, put out just one disc — To the Power of Three— back in 1988 which had elements of the ELP sound but was a watered down AOR mess. ”Talkin’ Bout” really isn’t that great of a song but it’s sadly probably the best on the album.

Throwing Muses
”Dizzy” 1989, Modern Rock #8 (download)

Funny story about ”Dizzy” and these ladies. Back in my college years, I started out hating the band. My college radio station days were peppered with the indie rock goddesses Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly and the label that I hated more than anything, 4AD. However, between Throwing Muses, solo records, Belly and the Breeders being shoved down my throat constantly; I quickly learned to embrace the music they released as that seemed to be the way to get the indie girls back to my dorm room. Many a time did ”Dizzy” play in the background with my hand under a bra. So, Throwing Muses helped get me laid. If that isn’t reason enough to like a group I’d otherwise hate, I don’t know what is.

Tanita Tikaram
”Twist In My Sobriety” 1989, #47 Modern Rock #25 (download)

This has never really been what I listen to but it’s a pretty cool song none the less. And that of course is based on the fact that later in 1989, Liza Minnelli covered it.

Quick Hits
Best Song: George Thorogood and the Destroyers, “Bad to the Bone”
Worst Song: .38 Special, “Little Sheba”

Appeared in the rock chart and Hot 100:
38 Special (13): ”Hold On Loosely” ”Fantasy Girl” ”Caught Up In You” ”You Keep Runnin’ Away” ”If I’d Been the One” ”Back Where You Belong” ”Teacher Teacher” ”Like No Other Night” ”Somebody Like You” ”Back To Paradise” ”Rock & Roll Strategy” ”Second Chance” ”Comin’ Down Tonight”
Thompson Twins (6): ”Love On Your Side” ”Hold Me Now” ”Doctor! Doctor!” ”You Take Me Up” ”Lay Your Hands on Me” ”King for a Day”
George Thorogood (1): ”Willie and the Hand Jive”

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About the Author

Dave Steed

Dave Steed is all about music; 80's and metal to be exact. His iPod will shuffle from Culture Club to Slayer and he won't blink an eye. He's never heard Astral Weeks but thinks "Dazzey Duks" by Duice is the bomb. It's an odd little corner of the world he lives in.

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