Hey hey, it’s Friday, and that means it’s time for yet another edition of CHART ATTACK! This week, let’s go back and check out the charts from February 11, 1989!
10. Walking Away – Information Society Amazon iTunes
9. She Wants To Dance With Me – Rick Astley Amazon iTunes
8. I Wanna Have Some Fun – Samantha Fox Amazon
7. The Lover In Me – Sheena Easton Amazon
6. All This Time – Tiffany Amazon
5. When The Children Cry – White Lion Amazon iTunes
4. Born To Be My Baby – Bon Jovi Amazon iTunes
3. Wild Thing – Tone-Loc Amazon iTunes
2. When I’m With You – Sheriff Amazon
1. Straight Up – Paula Abdul Amazon iTunes
10. Walking Away – Information Society "Walking Away" was Information Society’s only other imprint on the pop Top 20; the other hit, of course, was "What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)." Both songs are pretty much the same, which probably explains why the pop charts didn’t really care much for allowing them to get away with a third sound-a-like.
If you weren’t with us back in October, check out Chart Attack! #4, where we take a look at "What’s On Your Mind," and the soap opera between the band, their founding member, and VH-1.
9. She Wants To Dance With Me – Rick Astley A product of the British powerhouse producing/songwriting team Stock, Aitken & Waterman, Rick Astley was ridiculously successful in the late ’80s (as if you didn’t know this already). "She Wants To Dance With Me" was his fourth Top 10, climbing up to #6 – but I doubt you’ll hear it on the radio with any frequency. Same with "It Would Take A Strong, Strong Man," or Astley’s final Top 10 in ’91, "Cry For Help." No, it seems we’re doomed to hear the same two Rick Astley songs on Lite-FM stations every single day of our lives….which sound pretty much the same, anyway. "She Wants To Dance With Me" – Astley’s first self-penned hit, – sounds, I don’t know, a little different, but wisely doesn’t stray from the S/A/W sound. I’m still unconvinced this is a white guy.
8. I Wanna Have Some Fun – Samantha Fox Wow! Remember back when Samantha Fox was pretty much the only "Skanky And Proud Of It" artist on the charts? I remember being all sorts of impressed that somebody who had so famously (and frequently) put her tits out for all to see could make a real dent on the charts. Her third single, "I Wanna Have Some Fun" has a video that just SCREAMS 1989 to me.[youtube]wFSu5rHAOx4[/youtube]
When I was looking for Samantha Fox clips, however, I came across this one, which is way more entertaining: Fox performing "Touch Me" for a crowd in Istanbul about a year ago. She can’t sing that well, and the crowd is completely uninterested in her, but hey, she still has some looks and moves in her, no?
7. The Lover In Me – Sheena Easton Considering she’s had a solid presence on the Top 10 ("Telefone," "Strut," "We’ve Got Tonight"), it’s interesting to note that "The Lover In Me" was Easton’s highest-charting hit since 1980’s "Morning Train." Now that’s a comeback. The song’s musical base was pretty typical of most of the dance tracks from the late ’80s, but the drum machine intro was remarkably similar to "Strut." With "The Lover In Me," produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface, Easton went for a much sexier look and sound. For proof, check out the difference:
"The Lover In Me," 1988:[youtube]YbFWHTZllbo[/youtube]
"Morning Train (9 To 5)," 1980:[youtube]Cg2IA2UYQCA[/youtube]
6. All This Time – Tiffany If you ever read Chart Attack! and find yourself thinking "wow, it’s kind of sad that Jason knows some of this extraneous information without needing to look it up," here’s the one that will take the cake: "All This Time" was the first single off of Tiffany’s highly anticipated (by me, I guess) follow-up album, Hold An Old Friend’s Hand, and had its premiere on an episode of "Growing Pains," specifically their season premiere, in which young Ben Seaver has his first date at the Halloween dance. Why? WHY do I remember this shit? Between this and Taylor Dayne lyrics, I’m seriously ready to throw myself off a bridge.
5. When The Children Cry – White Lion YES! Let’s hear it for the monster ballad that once again rears its ugly head! The gentle, acoustic fade-in, the cracking vocal (he’s crying himself, people, get it?), and, of course, the lame, laaaaaaame, laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame lyrics. ("No more presidents/and all the wars will end/one united world under God/rocking in leather pants.")
Clearly, White Lion must have known that they were not long for chart success. As a result, the video for "When The Children Cry" attempts to kill two birds with one stone, and inexplicably combines dramatic black and white shots of children playing, and….slow motion live clips of the band in concert. (To be fair, it does seem like they’re playing the same song in some of the shots.) The drama is unintentionally hysterical.[youtube]G93yMQkPF6E[/youtube]
These guys were on Atlantic. Ahmet, please tell me this wasn’t your decision. Please tell me you punted this one to someone lower, and then fired them. Please tell me you made their children cry.
4. Born To Be My Baby – Bon Jovi You gotta hand it to Bon Jovi: they know what sells. After a hit with the working-class anthem "Livin’ On A Prayer," Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora once again collaborated with Desmond Child to write a song with pretty much the exact same message. They didn’t go as far as to name-check Tommy and Gina again (that sort of desperation would have to wait until 2000’s "It’s My Life"), but with lines like "two kids hitchin’ down the road of life," let’s just say none of us were fooled.
"Born To Be My Baby" was the second single released off of the powerhouse New Jersey, and went as high as #3. Originally, the song was recorded in the acoustic duo format, but producer Bruce Fairbairn convinced Bon Jovi to re-record and release the song as a full-out rocker. Jon Bon Jovi accused Fairbairn of trying to replicate "Livin’ On A Prayer," to which Fairbairn most likely responded, "have you READ your lyrics, you douchebag?"
3. Wild Thing – Tone-Loc (download) Am I the only one completely shocked that Tone-Loc has never appeared on either "Celebrity Fit Club," "The Surreal Life," or any of the other reality shows that routinely feature ’80s celebrities? Granted, he did appear as a guest panelist on "Superstar USA" (which I’ve never heard of), and made a cameo as himself in the VH-1 movie Totally Awesome – but in my opinion, that doesn’t count. It seems to me like Tone-Loc has never sold himself down the river in exchange for a few bucks and a bit of retro notoriety. Consider me impressed.
Oh right, we’re supposed to talk about "Wild Thing." Peaking at #2 the week following this one, "Wild Thing" was one of the first few mainstream rap songs to hit the Top 10. I suppose we owe Loc a debt of gratitude for doing his part to make rap safe for the white people. While we’re at it, let’s give a thanks to Young MC as well; not only did his "Bust A Move" do something similar, but he also co-wrote and co-produced "Wild Thing."
Speaking of white people, there’s a line in the song: "She said ‘Hey you two, I was once like you and I liked to do the wild thing’" I was always convinced that he was singing "Hey, Jew, I was once like you and I liked to do the wild thing." Which was confusing because Jews, in fact, do not like to do the wild thing. This became even more confusing when I saw people like my parents dancing to the song at Bar Mitzvahs.
Like Information Society, both of Loc’s big hits (this and "Funky Cold Medina") sounded remarkably similar, but they did have their differences: "Wild Thing" sampled Van Halen’s "Jamie’s Cryin," and "Funky Cold Medina" name-checked Spuds MacKenzie. "Wild Thing" is an awesome song, but I think the point has to go to the one that gives the props to Spuds.
2. When I’m With You – Sheriff (download) In my mind, "When I’m With You" is forever tied with Alias’ hit "More Than Words Can Say," but I always thought it was just because they were both power ballads, and I owned them both on cassingle. Turns out, they really are tied together, and can I tell you how cool I felt when I figured this out?
When Sheriff, a rock group hailing from Canada, released "When I’m With You," they were pretty confident they had a hit on their hands. They were wrong, seeing as it was 1983 when the song was recorded and released. I’m not sure why the song wasn’t a hit; Freddie Mercury was in the band, for chrissakes! Look at the dude on the left:
every one of these pictures has the bottom half digitized, for some reason.
This means only one person on the Internet is admitting they have a copy.
Disappointed that their attempt at wuss rock couldn’t get them any higher than #61, Sheriff disbanded.
Six years later, a DJ in Las Vegas began playing the tune, and other stations followed suit. (Funny, I would have guessed Arizona, seeing as how that state was responsible for the resurrection of UB40’s "Red Red Wine" and Benny Mardones’ "Into The Night," but I digress.) Capitol Records re-released the single, and it reached #1. That’s pure radio magic. (Deep sighs all around.)
The logical next step, of course, was to reunite Sheriff and get them to capitalize on the success, but a few of the band members refused. I’m not sure why they didn’t just reform under the Sheriff moniker anyway – it’s not like anybody would have known the difference – but instead, vocalist Freddy Curci and guitarist Steve DeMarchi teamed up with a few ex-Heart members and formed Alias. In 1990, they released "More Than Words Can Say," which peaked at #2.
I can’t verify this – I only remember hearing it on one of the Top 40 radio countdowns back in ’89 – but the DJ claimed that "When I’m With You" had, at the time, the longest-held note in pop music, beating a record by Russell Hitchcock of Air Supply. Again, no way to tell if this is correct (especially since I don’t remember the DJ even mentioning that the tune was originally from 1983 – does anybody know if that was supposed to be downplayed?), or if the record has since been beaten, but it’s what I heard. (For the record, the note held at the end of "When I’m With You" is over 25 seconds long.)
1. Straight Up – Paula Abdul I confess. I like this song. Mike and I learned this one for our ’80s gig, and we were a bit worried it would bomb. (Okay, he was worried it would bomb.) However, the fact that we had the majority of the room chanting "oh-oh-oh" convinced us otherwise. But back to Paula: Virgin had been focusing their efforts on penetrating the R&B charts with "Knocked Out" and "(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me," but DJs in Atlanta and San Francisco began spinning "Straight Up" instead. Although it took a good five months to get there, it was her first #1, and paved the way for her three other #1s from Forever Your Girl (and a #3 as well). "Straight Up" was Abdul’s finest pop moment (sorry, MC Skat Kat fans), aided by an iconic David Fincher-directed video featuring her terrific choreography, a cameo from Arsenio (remember when the most controversial thing about Abdul was whether the two were romantically linked?) and a few shots of Djimon Hounsou, back when he was just a model and not an Oscar-nominated actor.
And that brings us to the end of another CHART ATTACK! Hope you enjoyed – have a great weekend!