Welcome back, friends, to another edition of CHART ATTACK! Well, maybe I shouldn’t say "friends." I don’t think you’ll like me very much after you review this week in music. I have affection for lots of early ’90s music, and I’ve defended it in previous posts, but there’s really not much to defend here. But they can’t all be winners, can they? So suck it up and let’s review the charts of January 27, 1990!
10. Another Day In Paradise – Phil Collins Amazon iTunes
9. I Remember You – Skid Row Amazon iTunes
8. Opposites Attract – Paula Abdul with The Wild Pair Amazon iTunes
7. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty Amazon iTunes
6. Just Between You And Me – Lou Gramm Amazon iTunes
5. Two To Make It Right- Seduction Amazon iTunes
4. Everything – Jody Watley Amazon iTunes
3. Downtown Train – Rod Stewart Amazon iTunes
2. Pump Up The Jam – Technotronic Featuring Felly Amazon iTunes
1. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You – Michael Bolton Amazon iTunes
10. Another Day In Paradise – Phil Collins Well, no better way to start of Chart Attack! with a downer, huh? I guess you can’t expect much more from a man who titled his album …But Seriously, and was serious about it. The song, which vividly depicts the life of the homeless, definitely sends a good, strong message, but part of me can’t help but wonder a) if we needed to be beaten over the head with the point, and b) if we did, did this song change anything? Other than putting some bucks in David Crosby’s pocket? (No, you assholes, Crosby was a backing vocalist. He just looked homeless.)
"Another Day In Paradise" left the Top 10 after this week, but it has the honor of being both the last #1 of the ’80s and the first #1 of the ’90s.
9. I Remember You – Skid Row (download) I saw Skid Row live once. It’s true: the same wuss who saw The Weepies and Indigo Girls rocked out to Skid Row. They opened, along with Sam Kinison, for Bon Jovi at Giants Stadium in the summer of 1989. Ace Frehley came out and duetted on "Cold Gin" with Sebastian Bach.
Say what you want about Bach (no, seriously, say what you want, I’m hoping it’s snarky), but the man has a set of pipes on him. I remember being in a summer camp band and them wanting someone to sing "I Remember You." We gave it to a girl.
Completely random note, but Bach tried out for Velvet Revolver, apparently, and was turned down because with him in the lead spot, the band pretty much sounded just like Skid Row.
8. Opposites Attract – Paula Abdul with The Wild Pair How did we not predict "The Crazy Years," people? It’s Paula Abdul duetting with a fuckin’ cartoon! I mean, it’s true that the country was still all nuts over that rascal Roger Rabbit, but…wait a minute – that’s not even true! Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released two years prior – so what was Abdul thinking?
But then again, let’s give her some credit, as she’s not really duetting with a cartoon…yet all you think of when you hear "Opposites Attract" is her video boogie with MC Skat Kat. In reality, her duet was with The Wild Pair. The video added, er, Mr. Kat, the creation of animator Michael Patterson (who also did the animation for "Take On Me"). The video for "Opposites Attract" won the Grammy for Video Of The Year, and was directed by none other than David Fincher. (Fincher directed tons of music videos in the late ’80s/early ’90s, including a cover of Tom Waits’ "Downtown Train" by Patty Smyth.) And to be honest, the video’s not really that bad. Say what you want about freaky Paula, but she was quite a dancer, and pulled off her half-animated duet.
But forget all that – the most important thing about "Opposites Attract" is that it paved the way for MC Skat Kat’s career as a solo, er, kat. The Adventures Of… by MC Skat Kat & The Stray Mob was released in 1991, and the first single, "Skat Strut" was boosted by a popular video on MTV. Abdul appeared in the video, but didn’t sing, which at the time caused people to whine, "Bummer!" Now we know better. The Adventures Of… didn’t sell, and that was the end of that, er, Kat.
7. Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty Can I be honest with you for a sec? I like "Free Fallin’." I like "Free Fallin’" a bunch. Yet I don’t know what it is – whenever it comes on the radio, I switch the station. Why? Is it because it’s only three chords over and over again? Or is it because it must be the most overplayed Tom Petty song in Tom Petty history? I don’t think I really have anything against the song, or Tom Petty – it’s just that I think the song was made out to be much greater than it actually was.
I was telling Mike how I really didn’t know what to say about "Free Fallin’" (although I encourage you to check out the Wiki, which has a few interesting facts) and he encouraged me to watch the video (which I haven’t seen since around this time, I imagine). It’s true, I did enjoy the slap fight between the two opposing gangs as they were in separate cars (and I think this would have been a very funny recurring gag), and the spandex worn by both male and female skateboarders was quaint. But I felt the same way about the video that I did about the song – I just kind of wanted to turn it off.
6. Just Between You And Me – Lou Gramm (download) Earworm Alert! Earworm Alert! "Just Between You And Me" was another hit co-written by Holly Knight. And I don’t know what more to say about this song, except that I kind of like it. I don’t want to like it, but I do. I giggle at the way he says the phrase "…and then we’ll have nowhere to (shrieky girl voice) go!" every time. I was hoping to share some more information about the song with you, and even went to Lou Gramm’s official website (really, there’s no need for a link), but considering they list the song in the discography as "Just Between Me And You," I’m guessing tidbits will be hard to find. The Foreigner Files website wasn’t much help either – the 2004 press kit lists "Just Between You And Me" as "a Top 5 hit," then goes on to explain that it peaked here at #6. And if you’re at that link, seeing the old picture of Gramm and thinking, "man, he’s really rockin’ out," then definitely don’t look at this picture. Or this one. This is apparently the official site of the Lou Gramm Band, and this is the best they can do? Chunky!
Ooh! Here’s something I didn’t mention about Jessica in my mushy post yesterday: she loves the soundtrack to The Lost Boys – and that includes the theme song by Lou Gramm, "Lost In The Shadows!"
I’m going to get in trouble for making this public, I know it.
5. Two To Make It Right – Seduction The brainchild (and hoo boy, do I use that term loosely) of Clivilles and Cole of C+C Music Factory, Seduction consisted of three women: Idalis DeLeon, who became an MTV VJ I’ve never heard of, Michelle Visage, who became an NYC radio DJ I’ve never heard of, and April Harris, who owns the rights to the name and releases music I’ve never heard of. Additionally, they apparently had four Top 20 hits, and I barely remember this one, their biggest hit. So you can see why I can barely muster up the energy to find anything interesting to say about them.
4. Everything – Jody Watley I don’t get it. Jody Watley is apparently still making albums (and having hits on the Dance charts), but I haven’t heard a word about her since, well, "Everything." Watley had a number of huge hits, and for a while, she really was – wait for it – Larger Than Life. (Huh? Huh? You like that one? No? Okay.) "Everything" was Watley’s sixth Top 10 and her first ballad release. I’ve loved Watley’s voice since Shalamar (on a side note, I refuse to say the word "Shalamar" out loud, ever) and always thought this song was quite pretty.
3. Downtown Train – Rod Stewart You see how the Chart Attack circle is complete? That’s pretty much the only reason I mentioned Fincher’s directorial bit above. Anyway, as Rod Stewart songs go, this one isn’t awful. Unfortunately, it’s really a Tom Waits song, which – I will admit – I didn’t know until maybe a year ago. (Don’t blame me, blame the radio.) So if you’re going to go by those standards, Stewart’s cover is pretty bad. It’s hard to improve upon Waits’ original (unless you don’t like Cookie Monster), but if you’re looking for another version, check out Smyth’s version, or Mary Chapin Carpenter’s version. Only Stewart’s version (with a guitar solo by buddy Jeff Beck) charted, and peaked this week at #3.
2. Pump Up The Jam – Technotronic Featuring Felly Just like C+C Music Factory (another Chart Attack circle, complete), Technotronic experienced a bit of controversy when it was revealed that the lead singer in their video was not actually the real vocalist behind the song. Why Technotronic chose Felly over real singer Ya Kid K, the world may never know…hmm…
Anyway, "Pump Up The Jam" was an unexpected hit, so the group rushed to put out Pump Up The Jam – The Album. That album title? That’s money talking. No need for a high-concept title, just tell the people what they need to hear to fork down their $16.
1. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You – Michael Bolton I’m sorry, everybody. It wasn’t until I really started writing the bulk of this week’s Chart Attack! that I realized: this is a cruel, shitty way to end your workweek. I don’t expect you to forgive me, so instead, I’ll tell you the thing I remember most about "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You."
I went to sleepaway camp for five or six summers in my childhood. One of the kids in the bunk next door (who, incidentally, was instrumental in jh.com commenter JT and I becoming sleepaway camp sweethearts – ah, 12 year-old love!) got dumped and was heartbroken. So what did he do? Late at night, he crossed from the boys’ campus to the girls’ campus (a BIG no-no), stood outside her bunk window, and serenaded her. With "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You." The kid couldn’t sing, either, and I’m almost positive he was going throug puberty at the time. Needless to say, not only did he get totally busted for being on the girls campus (after curfew, no less), she didn’t take him back. I remember hearing the story and – even back then, when Michael Bolton was popular and I was young – I thought, "wow, that’s really pathetic."
I really don’t want to spend too much time on this song (I’ve already said too much), but I’ll tell you that you almost first heard the golden voice of Russell Hitchcock on this tune. Bolton wrote it in the early ’80s, and it was offered to Air Supply; however, they wanted some changes in the chorus, and Bolton wasn’t having it. Instead, the song went to Laura Branigan, who took it to #12 (#1 AC) in 1983. Incidentally, Bolton also wrote "I Found Someone" for Branigan, which Cher ruined many years later.
What a shitty way to end the week, huh? Sorry, folks, they can’t all be winners. Let’s cross our fingers and hope for better luck next Friday on CHART ATTACK!