Welcome to Lost in the â€˜80s. Hereâ€™s where youâ€™ll find the other side of all the big hits you rememberâ€¦the failed follow-ups to the one-hit wonders, the album tracks that got significant airplay in some parts of the country/world but ignored in others, and the songs MTV may have played to death but never translated into sales or chart actionâ€¦songs that didnâ€™t deserve to be forgottenâ€¦songs that got Lost in the â€˜80s.
With the blogâ€™s mission statement out of the way, I must admit a fair amount of hand-wringing went into picking what song with which to debut the new blog. The song had to represent all aspects of the mission statement in a big way. After stewing it over, I narrowed it down to two songs â€“ two songs that represented completely different musical eras that belonged to the â€˜80s, New Wave and Hi-NRG, two songs that were failed follow-ups to a major hit, yet didnâ€™t deserve to be Lost in the â€˜80s.
It was by chance that both songs happened to be by the same artist â€“ Kim Wilde.
Long before Joseph Simpson creeped everyone out by pimping out his daughters Jessica and Ashlee, father Marty and brother Ricki brought Kim Wilde into the pop world, writing and masterminding her material, while Mom Wilde played manager. They hit paydirt right out of the gate, unleashing the imminently catchy â€œKids in America,â€ which climbed the charts worldwide. â€œKids in Americaâ€ remains a classic pop song, one of my top ten picks for single of the â€˜80s, still vital and energizing to todayâ€™s ears. Donâ€™t believe me? Put it on in a clubâ€¦any clubâ€¦and watch the crowd react.
When it came time for a follow-up, the Wildes had plenty of hummable tunes to choose from, since Kimâ€™s debut disc was packed with them. â€œChequered Loveâ€ was the pick, a hyperkinetic, very much of its time new wave stomper, perfect for the 1982 airwaves. â€œChequered Loveâ€ was a hit everywhere â€œKids in Americaâ€ hit, peaking in the mid-teens and top tens of pop charts worldwideâ€¦
â€¦except for the kids in America.
In the U.S. â€œChequered Loveâ€ stalled immediately upon release. A third attempt at a U.S. single, â€œWater on Glassâ€ fared a little better, scraping the bottom of Billboardâ€™s Mainstream Rock chart. But save for a campy, fun-to-look-at video which MTV played a few times, the hooked-filled â€œChequered Loveâ€ got Lost in the â€˜80s, and Kim Wilde became a one-hit wonder.
Two years later, after a few more worldwide hit singles, the Wildes and MCA, Kimâ€™s new American label, tried to break the U.S. again, this time jettisoning Kimâ€™s appealing new wave sound and image and replacing it with a sound that positively dripped with every sad excess that permeated Top 40 radio in 1984. â€œThe Second Timeâ€ (renamed â€œGo For Itâ€ for its U.S. release, for reasons that are self-evident at first listen) was Big â€˜80s all the way, from its Trevor Horn/Frankie Goes to Hollywood deep bass-popping sound, to the blasting synth horns, booming drums and bombastic background singers screaming along the chorus with Kim. And good golly, just exactly what did Kim want her man to do for a second timeâ€¦? Letâ€™s check the lyrics:
Iâ€™m never letting go – baby donâ€™t expect me to
How can you stop when my whole worldâ€™s exploding
Look in the mirrors – and see the heat of something new
Why donâ€™t we do it – just do it once again
Thereâ€™s such an urgency in everything I need from you
Stop giving up – you know you canâ€™t refuse me
Iâ€™ve every reason to believe thereâ€™s still a man in you
You done it once so come on go again
Just go for it
Just go for the second time
Oh, that. Thatâ€™s all well and good, I suppose. Women need more time, foreplay, and WAITAMINUTE! Wasnâ€™t this song written for her by her FATHER AND BROTHER?!?
Itâ€™s all so ridiculously over the top that you canâ€™t help but smile and nod along while you turn it down before anyone else catches you listening to it. â€œThe Second Timeâ€ peaked at number 29 on the U.K. charts.
Except for some club play, again, America ignored it.
Did these songs deserve to be Lost in the â€˜80s? Both sound dated by todayâ€™s standards, but curiously enough, the new wave sound that MCA thought was dated by 1984, sounds more vital in 2005 than the â€œsound of todayâ€ that the label forced upon Kim with â€œThe Second Timeâ€. Both songs are well-crafted slices of pop, with strong, well-structured melodies and choruses, and they both follow my rules for a classic pop song â€“ verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus and no longer than four minutes.
Oh, and donâ€™t feel bad for Kimâ€™s American chart career. In 1987, the Wildes jumped yet another pop train and hijacked the Stock/Aiken/Waterman sound to produce a remake of â€œYou Keep Me Hanginâ€™ Onâ€. Of course, it was shlockey and familiar enough to U.S. ears to hit number one.
Download â€œChequered Loveâ€ by Kim Wilde
Download â€œThe Second Timeâ€ by Kim Wilde
â€Kids in Americaâ€ peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
â€œChequered Loveâ€ did not chart.
â€œWater on Glassâ€ peaked at #53 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.
â€œThe Second Timeâ€ did not chart.
â€œYou Keep Me Hanginâ€™ Onâ€ peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
For more about Kim Wilde, visit KimWilde.com.