Six letters left. Six weeks left as we continue to wind down the Bottom Feeders series looking at more rock songs that hit the Rock charts but only the ones that failed to cross over into the Hot 100. We start and finish with the letter U this week.
UB40 and Chrissie Hynde
”Breakfast in Bed” 1988, Modern Rock #4 (download)
Although I’ve never been a big fan of Reggae, UB40 was one of the few artists outside of members of the Marley family that really brought it to the mainstream in the decade and made it accessible for the masses. ”Breakfast in Bed” was another tune featuring Chrissie Hynde from their 1988 self-titled album.
As much as UFO rocked at one point and time, I’m not sure there’s even one disc out of their six in the 80s that’s worth listening to from start to finish. Michael Schenker was gone in 1980, Pete Way was gone in 1983 and everything kind of went astray during that period anyway. Most of the UFO music released in the 80s sounded very uninspired. However, you do have two of the better tracks here — ”The Writer” from Mechanix and ”This Time” from Misdemeanor which is scattered but is the only one of the 80s records I go back to now and again.
”One Small Day” 1984, #55 (download)
”One Small Day” was covered by John Hughes back in the day. So listen to the song here and read his take on it.
”Mainstreet U.S.A.” 1981, #38 (download)
I’ve never heard the lone full Union LP (On Strike) to see if it’s any good but this horrendous abomination of a single surely only got airplay because this was Randy Bachman and Fred Turner — of course of BTO.
”Agent Double O Soul” 1989, Modern Rock #28 (download)
The UT’s were a mod-revival group from California that’s gone through many lineup changes over the years both during their four album run from 1985-1991 and since then, touring and releasing an album in 2000. This is just a song that I have to crank as loud as I can any time it comes on. Incredibly catchy and fun.
”Answers To Nothing” 1989, Modern Rock #26 (download)
”Answers To Nothing” was the title and lead track from Jim Ure’s 1989 solo record, his first after Ultravox had officially disbanded.
(Note: Mp3 has been fixed – DS).
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”That’s the Way That It Is” 1982, #25 (download)
Unlike UFO, when the 80s rolled around, Uriah Heep still had a final burst of energy in them. Despite the terrible album cover, I think it’s a no-brainer than 1982’s Abominog was the best in the decade for the group. ”That’s the Way That It Is” was written by Paul Bliss from the Bliss Band and originally recorded in 1979 by them. The album also featured a cover of Bottom Feeders favorite, ”On the Rebound” by Russ Ballard and ”Hot Night in a Cold Town” originally done by John Mellencamp.
I’m going to cop out for a second time here this week and direct you to the Popdose Guide to Utopia for more words on the group than I could ever lay to computer screen.
”I Will Follow” 1981, #20 (download)
”Sunday Bloody Sunday” 1983, #7 (download)
”Two Hearts Beat As One” 1983, #12 (download)
”Surrender” 1983, #27 (download)
”11 O’Clock Tick Tock” 1983, #30 (download)
”Wire” 1984, #31 (download)
”A Sort of Homecoming” 1985, #45 (download)
”The Three Sunrises” 1985, #16 (download)
”Bad” 1985, #19 (download)
”Bullet the Blue Sky” 1987, #14 (download)
”Spanish Eyes” 1987, #11 (download)
”Jesus Christ” 1988, #38 Modern Rock #9 (download)
”God Part II” 1988, #8 Modern Rock #28(download)
”Dancing Barefoot” 1989, #14 (download)
”Everlasting Love” 1989, #46 Modern Rock #11 (download)
I think I’m a little shocked to see this many U2 songs but I guess the reality is that while they always had a following, they really didn’t cross over to the Hot 100 consistently until The Joshua Tree and then with almost every song until after Achtung Baby.
While I don’t think I was ever at the point where I just simply loved everything they did, I was a fan of the group from the beginning and as such it seems I can sing the majority of these, which is more than I can say for the massive lists from Springsteen, Rush, Petty etc… It doesn’t hurt that of course ”Sunday Bloody Sunday” is one of their most played songs from the early days or that ”I Will Follow” and at least ”Bullet the Blue Sky” get recurring airplay.
”I Will Follow” comes from Boy, the only charting song from that disc. ”Sunday,” ”Two Hearts Beat As One” and ”Surrender” all come from War, with the middle tune bubbling under at #101.
”11 O’Clock Tick Tock” is the live version of the 1979 one-off single located on Under a Blood Red Sky.
Although I’m not necessarily sure I like The Unforgettable Fire as much as most people, ”Wire” was one of my favorite songs on the record. ”A Sort of Homecoming” has never really struck me the right way, I think simply because it was a boring start to the album.
The four track EP, Wide Awake In America was next featuring two B-sides from The Unforgettable Fire (one of them being ”The Three Sunrises”) and two live tracks (one of them being ”Bad”). This version of ”Bad” helped make the song a staple in their live set. It’s way more dynamic than the studio version and the real reason to own this EP.
The Joshua Tree yielded the #1 rock hits ”With Or Without You” and ”I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and although ”Bullet the Blue Sky” only hit #14, it was and still is a pretty badass song. ”Spanish Eyes” is the B-side to ”I Still Haven’t…” and wasn’t included on the Joshua Tree because the initial recording was lost and the group didn’t have time to completely record it again to make the album.
At this point, ”Jesus Christ” is a pretty well known track from U2 — a Woody Guthrie cover from the Folkways tribute. It’s probably the best song here and maybe one of the best songs of the series.
”God Part II” is the only track from Rattle and Hum that charted but didn’t cross over and my least favorite tune of the group here.
Then finally there are two B-sides, the cover of Patti Smith’s ”Dancing Barefoot” which was the flipside to ”When Loves Comes To Town” and ”Everlasting Love” – one of two cover songs accompanying ”All I Want Is You” (”Unchained Melody”) is the other one.
Best Song: U2, ”Jesus Christ”
Worst Song: Union, ”Mainstreet U.S.A.”
Appeared in the rock chart and Hot 100:
UB40 (2): ”Red Red Wine” ”I Got You Babe”
Ultravox (1): ”Reap the Wild Wind”
Underworld (1): ”Stand Up”
Midge Ure (1): ”Dear God”
USA For Africa (1): ”We Are the World”
U2 (10): ”New Year’s Day” ”Pride” ”With Or Without You” ”I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” ”Where the Streets Have No Name” ”In God’s Country” ”Desire” ”Angel of Harlem” ”When Love Comes To Town” ”All I Want Is You”