Hello again and welcome back to yet another Friday edition of CHART ATTACK! Today we’re going to take a look back at a pretty good week – not amazing, but not as bad as some of our weeks in the early ’90s – February 2, 1985!
10. Neutron Dance – The Pointer Sisters Amazon iTunes
9. Method Of Modern Love – Daryl Hall & John Oates Amazon iTunes
8. I Would Die 4 U – Prince Amazon iTunes
7. Like A Virgin – Madonna Amazon iTunes
6. The Boys Of Summer – Don Henley Amazon iTunes
5. Loverboy – Billy Ocean Amazon iTunes
4. You’re The Inspiration – Chicago Amazon iTunes
3. Careless Whisper – Wham! Featuring George Michael Amazon iTunes
2. Easy Lover – Philip Bailey (with Phil Collins) Amazon iTunes
1. I Want To Know What Love Is – Foreigner Amazon iTunes
10. Neutron Dance – The Pointer Sisters Could someone please fill me in on what a "neutron dance" is, exactly? I looked it up and everything. I analyzed the lyrics. I know that the Pointer Sisters are, collectively I would assume, "just burning doin’ the neutron dance," which leads me to plead, "then for the love of Anita, stop doin’ it! No dance is worth burning for!" Yet in the next chorus, they do admit that they’re "so happy doin’ the neutron dance." So you know what, Sisters? You’re on your own. Do your neutron dance. I’m not going to be held responsible.
I don’t know if I’ve made it clear that I really have nothing of value to say about "Neutron Dance."
The song itself – one of the last big hits for the Pointer Sisters – was from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. I dig this song – good beat, fun synthesizers, and your typical ’80s soundtrack music video, featuring the group interspersed with scenes directly from the movie.
9. Method Of Modern Love – Daryl Hall & John Oates As Hall & Oates songs go, this one is pretty stupid. The chorus is pretty much just spelling, and yet, in order to fit the meter, they get rid of the word "modern" altogether. I expect better from you, Oates. And not to start repeating myself here, but after you’re done educating me on the neutron dance, could you tell me what the Method of Modern Love actually is? Thanks.
Through all of this, including an idiotic video involving the band playing on a roof, Hall falling off and somehow dancing in a cloud, the song managed to reach #5 during H&O: The Untouchable Years. I’ll give them this: the song is definitely different from not only their output but the other stuff on the charts at the time. You’ll never mistake that horn riff for any other song.
8. I Would Die 4 U – Prince This single, the fourth from Purple Rain, was the first of his to use the incredibly annoying numbers-and-letters-in-place-of-real-words approach. It didn’t fare as well as the previous singles from the album – "When Doves Cry," "Let’s Go Crazy" and "Purple Rain," perhaps because it just doesn’t lend itself to singing along like the others. Supposedly fans think this song is sung from the point of view of Jesus, which is interesting because I don’t think I’ve ever made any attempt to listen to any of the lyrics
7. Like A Virgin – Madonna This is really where it all began for Madonna. I’m not discounting her success with the Madonna debut album, but this was the first song that set Madonna apart from the rest. The song was the creation of songwriting duo Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, who have written tons of songs you know – "True Colors," "So Emotional," "Eternal Flame," and "Alone" by Heart (which was originally released by Kelly and Steinberg under the band name i-Ten, but that’s a story for another Chart Attack!). Steinberg wrote the lyric – and this makes me a little uncomfortable – while driving his pickup truck on his father’s farm. (The nights get real lonely, I guess.) Steinberg took it to Kelly – primarily a rock singer and writer – and, through much trial and error, wound up with a demo that impressed A&R head Mo Ostin at Warner Brothers. Produced by Nile Rodgers, "Like A Virgin" entered the Top 100 at #48 (aided by her iconic performance at the VMAs), and reached the Top 10 within a month, briefly grazing #3 and becoming the final #1 of 1984 and the first #1 of 1985. This was its first week falling from the top spot.
6. The Boys Of Summer – Don Henley (download) Just think, everybody: Tom Petty could have recorded this one. Heartbreakers guitarist/producer Mike Campbell wrote the music and offered it to Petty, who wasn’t interested as it didn’t fit the mood of his upcoming album, Southern Accents. However, Jimmy Iovine, who was producing the record along with Petty and the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, thought it might be a fit for Henley. After hearing the music, Henley immediately wrote lyrics and called Campbell in to produce the record.
"The Boys Of Summer" is a great pop song, both musically and lyrically, and it seems to be one of those songs locked in time. Like many, I equate it with summer (is part of the guitar solo supposed to sound like seagulls?) – amusing because it was released in December – and honestly, I’m not even sure the memory I have associated with the song ever happened. I’ll leave it at that. "The Boys Of Summer" picked up four VMAs, and Henley won a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male.
(Whew, I made it through this one without mentioning the Deadhead line.)
5. Loverboy – Billy Ocean (download) Where have you gone, Billy Ocean? Are you hanging somewhere with Jody Watley? It seems like you’ve fallen completely off the face of the earth. Well, while we’re anxiously awaiting for you to make your well-deserved comeback (Billy Ocean/The Police "Caribbean Queen Of Pain Tour 2007," anyone?), let’s talk about "Loverboy." The second of four hits from Suddenly, "Loverboy" peaked at #2 in late February. With Mutt Lange behind the controls (apparently on a break from AC/DC and, uh, Loverboy), Ocean could do no wrong for a while. Still, how "Loverboy" (which I actually like quite a bit, for reasons I’m not prepared to defend) stalled at #2 and "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" made it all the way to #1 is beyond me. Actually, I had forgotten about "Get Outta…" until this very minute. Nevermind, Billy Ocean. You stay where you are. Sting, let’s talk about hooking you up with Terence Trent D’Arby, kay?
4. You’re The Inspiration – Chicago You’ve danced at a wedding or some kind of social event to this song, and if you say you haven’t, you’re a liar. Because even if you hated the song, chances are someone you (formerly) respected liked it – maybe even your mom – and you had no choice. I really don’t care for this song, and yet I know every single word. With David Foster at the wheel, Chicago had never been more successful or more shameless; the proof is in the video.[youtube]hS1YTCEk_sI[/youtube]
Forget, for a second, the inane plot that, for I guess reasons that only made sense in 1984, features a Billy Idol and Madonna lookalike (not the same person, although that would have fucking rocked). Take a look at the band shots (there’s a good one at about :52): you’ve got a poor saxophone player (I’m sure Jefito will tell us who it is) sitting on a loveseat, grinning like a d-bag, a drummer (I’m sure Jefito will tell us who it is) who’s seemingly playing a bass drum, a snare, and a whole host of electric drum pads, and – this must be a record for a band that used to actually play real music – not one, not two, but THREE synthesizers AND a piano player. That’s potentially 352 keys of suck right there.
Does anybody know how Peter Cetera kept a semi-respectable face on when he whined, "and I want you here with meeeeee" in the first verse? I mean, to say the word, I feel like you have to jut your neck out real far and make an awkward smile. (You just did it, didn’t you? Unattractive, right? That’s why they paid Cetera the big bucks.)
3. Careless Whisper – Wham! Featuring George Michael As the story goes, George Michael was just a fat, ugly teenager on a bus when sweet saxophone inspiration hit him. Michael held on to the song for a few years until Wham! found some success, and in 1983, flew down to Florida to record the song with legendary producer Jerry Wexler. Shortly after the session, the video was filmed in Miami. Michael not only decided against the Wexler recording of the song, but also the video – he hated the ‘fro that the Florida humidity gave him. How someone would decide that Jerry Wexler’s production wasn’t good enough, I have no clue, but Michael re-recorded both the song and the video (with a new hairdo), although a handful of shots from the Miami session were included in the final product. Here’s the original Wexler mix, complete with video.
"Careless Whisper" was released on Wham!’s Make It Big album, and while it was released in the U.S. as "Wham! Featuring George Michael," it was released as a group effort everywhere else in the world. The irony of this song "featuring George Michael" is that it’s one of the few Wham! songs in which Andrew Ridgeley receives a co-writing credit. The song became the #1 song of the year for 1985, and has remained a favorite, although Michael admits that he feels absolutely no personal connection to the song and much prefers to sing his followup solo effort, "A Different Corner" in concert. Too bad, buddy. You’re stuck with this one.
You guys wanna know sad? I just told you all these facts by memory.
2. Easy Lover – Philip Bailey (with Phil Collins) This song is really hard to sing. I’m not just talking about Bailey’s part, either. Warren and I attempted to perform it with Mike at the ’80s gig back in November, and wound up cutting it at the last minute. I actually think Collins’ part is the harder one, anyway, as he’s belting while Bailey is singing purely in his falsetto. Anyhoo, this song came about while Collins was producing Bailey’s album Chinese Wall. Co-written by Collins, Bailey and bassist extraordinaire (even if it’s mainly in smooth jazz these days) Nathan East, the song was an afterthought to an album that was nearing completion, but lacked a strong single. "Easy Lover" was Bailey’s biggest solo hit, peaking here at #2.
1. I Want To Know What Love Is – Foreigner Two Lou Gramm songs in two weeks on Chart Attack!, but he was much thinner when this one was released. Actually, this one was written by guitarist Mick Jones, and kind of confirmed that Foreigner was becoming better known for its Adult Contemporary ballads than the fist-pumping, arena rock tunes that made them famous and popular in the first place. Still, it must have been hard to turn down the money from songs like this one and "Waiting For A Girl Like You." This song featured a motley crew in the background: Jennifer Holiday (from Dreamgirls), Tom Bailey from the Thompson Twins, and the New Jersey Mass Choir. (Mick, you should have known you were going down the wrong road when you invited a choir from New Jersey to join you on a record.) "I Want To Know What Love Is" hit #1 for 2 weeks before it was uprooted by "Careless Whisper." The band never reached the top of the charts again, but I know I’m not the only one who’s quietly hoping for a Foreigner/New Jersey Mass Choir reunion, right?
That’s the end of another week of Top 10 hits! Catch you back here next Friday for another edition of CHART ATTACK!