Welcome back to another awesome week here at CHART ATTACK! Last week, we covered the wondrous Top 10 in 1987. Let’s backtrack just one year prior, shall we, and see how the charts looked on November 29, 1986!
(By the way, 1986 is the favorite music year of Brian Ibbott of Coverville, my favorite podcast, and you can listen to "Coverville Idol" – their competition podcast featuring the songs of 1986 – right here.)
10. Walk Like An Egyptian – Bangles Amazon iTunes
9. Love Will Conquer All – Lionel Richie Amazon iTunes
8. The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby And The Range Amazon iTunes
7. Amanda – Boston Amazon iTunes
6. Word Up! – Cameo Amazon iTunes
5. Hip To Be Square – Huey Lewis Amazon iTunes
4. The Next Time I Fall – Peter Cetera w/Amy Grant Amazon iTunes
3. True Blue – Madonna Amazon iTunes
2. Human – Human League Amazon iTunes
1. You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi Amazon iTunes
10. Walk Like An Egyptian – Bangles Please note, everybody, the Egyptians would like you to know that they do not actually walk like this. The dance itself has its origins in a comedy routine known as The Egyptian Sand Dance, performed by 1930s music trio Wilson, Keppel and Betty; however, it’s not known if this influenced songwriter Liam Sternberg in any way, although it may have inspired the opening line about the "sand dance." Sternberg wrote the song three years earlier after watching some tourists attempt to keep their balance while on a boat, and offered it to Toni Basil, who at the time had hit #1 with "Mickey." Basil rejected the song, however, and it eventually wound up in the hands of Bangles producer David Kahne. Basil’s loss was their gain, as the song hit #1 three weeks later and became the first song by an all-female group, playing all their own instruments, to hit #1 – no doubt aided by the video, which featured everyday people doing the "sand dance" all over the country. Personally, my favorite part of the video is when Suzanna Hoffs is singing. That’s my favorite part of any Bangles video. Yum. Originally, the lead vocal on this song was to be sung by drummer Debbi Peterson, but Kahne requested that all the girls audition for the lead vocal spot. In the end, the vocal was split between the girls…all of them, that is, except for Peterson.
9. Love Will Conquer All – Lionel Richie Lionel performed this one in concert when I saw him earlier this month. That’s what I meant when I said "he did ALL the hits." I mean, the guy’s had 13 Top 10 hits, and I’m not even sure I would have remembered this one as being a "hit." It’s not a terribly memorable song, and for that reason, it only peaked at #9. Only. Of course, like many other Richie singles, it did hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts.
8. The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby And The Range Bruce Hornsby, the Billboard charts were never meant for an artist with your talent and ambition. Still, the success of "The Way It Is" was gratifying for Hornsby, who had relentlessly recorded demo tapes for seven years, submitting them to over 70 record companies. Prior to his debut album’s success, Hornsby had been writing pop songs for 20th Century Fox Publishing – a spot he received after he was featured in an artist showcase set up by none other than our hero at jasonhare.com, Michael McDonald.
"The Way It Is," in my opinion, is one of those rare successful songs about social change that seems to drive its point across without getting preachy. Radio loved the song (his first single, "Every Little Kiss," was a flop), and the track eventually hit #1 for a week in December. I’m guessing that Hornsby’s piano solo was improvised, but damn if it isn’t a melodic masterpiece to my ears. Hornsby had a few hits after this one, but then fell from Billboard’s grace – and, as Jefito says, that’s where his career got interesting.
7. Amanda – Boston The words "long-awaited" have never been more of an understatement than with Boston. Fans (and CBS Records) thought that two years was a long time to wait between Boston and Don’t Look Back, but the 8 years between Don’t Look Back and Third Stage blew it right out of the water. Many thought the wait was purely due to guitarist/svengali Tom Scholz’s perfectionism – and that definitely was a factor – but it was just one out of many, including technological issues with his home studio, nature issues (every time it rained, his basement studio would flood), and tremendous litigation between CBS and the band.
History has shown that when most groups wait a bit too long to record an album, they tend to fall somewhat from the public’s graces (think of Hall & Oates, who were gone 4 years, and Lionel Richie, gone 6 years). When Boston returned, it was like they never left. The proof was in "Amanda," which was born in 1981, and had been widely bootleged in 1984. The single went all the way to #1 – the band’s first chart-topper – and the album did the same after only three weeks of release. And although I bristle at lyrics like "I’m gonna say it like a man, and make you understand, Amanda," it must have resonated with the public; I did a search for this song on the Internet and found at least 10 girls who said they were named Amanda specifically because of this tune.
6. Word Up! – Cameo (download) So let me get this straight: it’s Cameo’s fault that white boys like me started using (and sadly, in my case, are still using) this phrase? "Word Up!" was Cameo’s biggest hit, and to many, will be the only thing for which the band is known. But Cameo, the NY version of P-Funk, had made a strong impact on the charts – first in the funk and soul genres, and later in the R&B, dance and pop genres. A number of their albums had reached certified Gold status, and believe it or not, Word Up! was Cameo’s twelfth record. Frontman Larry Blackmon sang the song in his trademark funky style, and built the song around the point of view of a character named "Vicious." Vicious used the song to express his frustration with rappers who used their music to delve into "psychological romance" when they should just be attempting to get people up on the dancefloor. "Word Up!" peaked here at #6 but gave the band their biggest-selling single and album. They’d never have a hit like this again, but for a band who had been together for 9 years and 11 albums prior, they took it all in stride and still continue to tour regularly.
You have to wonder if any of the success of the song had to do with Blackmon’s red codpiece:[youtube]u_7Kp_TapA4[/youtube]
5. Hip To Be Square – Huey Lewis (download) The third of five Top 10 singles from Fore!, "Hip To Be Square" was the most energetic and upbeat of the bunch – and is ridiculously, ridiculously catchy. How a group with mugs like these became an MTV staple, I’ll never know, but I guess it had to do with the fact that they made enjoyable videos. After filming two videos on the beach, this video was just of the band, who were filmed with a surgical camera to give the shot a surreal perspective. The song eventually reached #3, and although the song was an awesome part of the movie American Psycho, Lewis requested it be withdrawn from the soundtrack due to the violent nature of the film. (You can see the clip in question here.)
4. The Next Time I Fall – Peter Cetera w/Amy Grant I’ll be honest, I should probably hate this song more than I do. I remember, as I’m sure you do as well, that it was overplayed on the radio at the time. But nowadays, I don’t mind it as much. Co-written by Bobby Caldwell, who had a hit of his own in 1978 with "What You Won’t Do For Love," this song was the second #1 hit off of Cetera’s Solitude/Solitaire release, and became Amy Grant’s first #1 song. (Her second #1 was 1991’s stab-me-in-the-ears "Baby Baby.")
3. True Blue – Madonna Written for her then-husband (and co-actor in – shudder – Shanghai Surprise) Sean Penn, "True Blue" was one of Madonna’s first co-production credits and peaked here at #3. Both the song and the video have a sweet, 1950s bubblegum pop feel. I think Madonna’s white-hair phase was freaky, but that’s just me. The video was directed by James Foley, who had directed Penn in At Close Range and Madonna in Who’s That Girl. I won’t hold either of those against him, though, as he did go on to direct Glengarry Glen Ross – probably my favorite movie ever.
2. Human – Human League Reaching #1 the week prior, "Human" must have been somewhat of a surprise for Human League. Although they had experienced moderate chart success in England, the band hadn’t made much of an impact in the US since 1981’s "Don’t You Want Me." In 1986, their record label, Virgin, wisely paired the group up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who had just witnessed their work on Janet Jackson’s Control reach the top of the charts. "Human," which deals with a couple’s reunion and admission that they both slept around, was also written by the producers, and it remains dubious whether the members of Human League actually played on the single. Session players and singers were recruited by Jam and Lewis during the album’s production.
1. You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi This song is about somebody who literally gets shot in the heart, and then blames somebody for it, saying that they give love a bad name.
(I really should end it there.)
Off of the powerhouse Slippery When Wet, this single was the album’s first and marked the first collaboration between Sambora, Bon Jovi and Desmond Child. Child has written a million songs in general, but is also responsible for "Livin’ On A Prayer," "Bad Medicine," "Keep The Faith" and a zillion other songs by Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Cher, Kiss, Ricky Martin, etc. It’s rumored that the trio were originally going to give this song to Loverboy, but decided to keep it for themselves.
You may remember from last week’s Chart Attack! that Bon Jovi and co. sued Belinda Carlisle for allegedly stealing the chorus of "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" from this song. The reason this is amusing is because Child totally lifted the chorus of "You Give Love A Bad Name" from a song he had previously written for Bonnie Tyler, "If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man)." Check it out:[audio:http://www.wwmmd.net/tunes/inline/bonnietyler.mp3]
"Chains of love got a hold on me/when passion’s a prison, you can’t break free." Oy. Mike and I performed a medley of Bon Jovi songs at our last ’80s gig, and opened with this one. But truth be told, if I had to play any Bon Jovi song to completion, it would be this one. I’m not sure what that’s saying.
And here we are, at the end of another CHART ATTACK! Thanks so much for reading – we’ll be back next week with a chart from the early ’80s!