Category Archives: Music

Going Solo – #4

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

4. Lionel Richie – The Commodores

The Commodores had some huge hits in the 70’s. But they were also very successful in the early 80’s with hits such as “Oh No” and “Lady (You Bring Me Up)“.

In 1981, Lionel Richie sang “Endless Love” as a duet with Diana Ross. The result was a #1 hit. This encouraged Richie to go out on his own as a solo artist. His first album was self-titled, and featured three hits – “Truly“, “You Are” and “My Love“. The album hit #3 on the music charts and sold over 4 million copies. Then Richie’s follow-up, Can’t Slow Down was even more successful as it sold twice as many copies as his debut, and won 2 Grammys, including Album of the Year. There were five hit songs on the album – “All Night Long“, “Running With the Night“, “Hello“, “Penny Lover“, and “Stuck On You“. Richie’s next album, Dancing on the Ceiling, was also a success. The hit singles from that album were “Say You, Say Me“, “Dancing on the Ceiling“, and “Ballerina Girl“.

Then Richie became exhausted, and took a break for a long time. He has a more relaxed schedule now, and releases a new album every few years.

Going Solo – #5

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

5. Belinda Carlisle – The Go-Go’s

The Go-Go’s had a great start with Beauty and the Beat as their debut album in 1981. It had the smash hits “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat“. In 1982, the Go-Go’s were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. The next album, Vacation, was not as big a hit, but the title track was a top-ten hit. In 1984, the album Talk Show was released, and had the hits “Head over Heels” and “Turn to You“. However, were personality conflicts in the band, and there were drug addiction problems with some members. So, towards the end of 1984, guitarist Jane Wiedlin announced that she was leaving the group. In 1985, the rest of the members decided to disband.

Lead singer, Belinda Carlisle decided to start a solo career. Her first solo album, Belinda, was very successful, and she had a hit with “Mad About You” from that album. Her follow-up album Heaven on Earth was a huge success. The first release, “Heaven is a Place On Earth” topped the singles charts in several countries. The second single from the album was “I Get Weak“, and it went to #2 in the U.S. The following single, “Circle In the Sand” was another top-ten hit. The next album was Runaway Horses, and it produced the hit “Leave a Light On“.

In 2001, The Go-Go’s reunited to release a new album, God Bless the Go-Go’s, with all new material. And they have recently announced that they are going to have a farewell tour.

Going Solo – #6

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

6. David Lee Roth – Van Halen
We are on a roll with 70’s groups with continuing success in the 80’s.
Women and Children First was released in 1980, and had the hits “And the Cradle Will Rock…” and “Everybody Wants Some!!“. The latter song was also featured in the movie Better Off Dead. Fair Warning was released in 1981. At that time, tensions were beginning to rise between Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth. Eddie wanted to produce more serious and complex songs, and David had more of a poppy fun style. The only song of note from that album was “Unchained“. The following year, Diver Down was released and performed better. There were a couple of pop remakes that were on the album that contributed to the success – “(Oh) Pretty Woman” and “Dancing in the Street“. “Where Have All the Good Times Gone!” also went to #17 on the mainstream rock charts. Then the band peaked in 1984 with their mega-successful album 1984. “Jump” was the bands first and only #1 pop hit. You couldn’t watch MTV for more than a half hour without seeing it. The first song on the album was a short keyboard instrumental called “1984“, and it led into “Jump”. We referred to “1984” as the song to get you psyched for “Jump”. “I’ll Wait” reached #7 on the mainstream rock charts. “Panama” was another huge success, and another song that got a lot of airplay on MTV. This was followed by the hit “Hot For Teacher” (“Sit down, Waldo”!).

On April 1, 1985, Van Halen and David Lee Roth had a bitter break-up.
Just before the break-up, Roth released 2 big hit singles – “California Girls” and “Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody“. In 1986, Roth released his first full solo album Eat ‘Em and Smile. The first single from that album was his most popular – “Yankee Rose“, which featured great guitar work by Steve Vai. “Goin’ Crazy” also had some success.
Then in 1988, Roth released the album Skyscraper which featured the hit “Just Like Paradise” which reached to #6. “Stand Up” was also a moderate hit.

[Note: I chose David Lee Roth over Sammy Hagar because Hagar was already a successful solo artist before he joined Van Halen (or as some people call it – Van Hagar). Sammy definitely had a more successful solo career than David]

Going Solo – #7

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

7. Lou Gramm – Foreigner
Foreigner is yet another band that was formed in the 70’s that also had success in the 80’s. Their first hit album of the 80’s was 4. It produced the hits “Urgent“, “Waiting for a Girl Like You“, “Juke Box Hero” and “Break it Up“. The next album was Agent Provocateur, which gave them their first and only #1 hit in 1985, “I Want to Know What Love Is“. It also had the hit “That Was Yesterday“. In late 1987 Foreigner released Inside Information, producing hits such as “Say You Will” and “I Don’t Want to Live Without You“.

Also in 1987, Lou Gramm released his first solo album as he and Mick Jones were developing creative differences. The album Ready or Not was successful, and produced the hits “Midnight Blue” and the title track “Ready or Not“. “Heartache” and “Time” are also very good songs from that album. Then in 1989, Gramm released his second solo album Long Hard Look. The hit singles from that album were “Just Between You And Me” and “True Blue Love“.

Going Solo – #8

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

8. Stevie Nicks – Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac is mostly known for their huge 1977 album Rumours. But they did have some success in the early 80’s with their 1982 album Mirage. The hits from that album included “Hold Me“, “Love in Store“, and “Gypsy“.
After that album, the band went on hiatus for a little while. So some members pursued solo albums.

The most successful was Stevie Nicks.

Before Mirage was released, Nicks released the album Bella Donna, which produced the hits “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (#3), which was a duet with Tom Petty, “Leather and Lace” (#26), which was another duet with Don Henley, and “Edge of Seventeen” (#11).
After Mirage, Stevie continued her success with “Stand Back” (#5), which was followed by her next hit “If Anyone Falls” (#14), which came off the album The Wild Heart. Stevie’s next album, Rock a Little, was also a hit. It had the songs “Talk to Me” (#16), and “I Can’t Wait” (#4).

Going Solo – #9

The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:

9. Dennis DeYoung – Styx
Styx started releasing albums in the 70’s, and achieved moderate success. When guitarist Tommy Shaw joined the band in 1976, Styx became more well known. But, with the release of Paradise Theater in 1981, Styx shot to super stardom. It went to number one on the Billboard pop albums chart and contained five hit singles, including “The Best of Times” (#3) and “Too Much Time on My Hands“(#9). This was followed by the album Kilroy Was Here , which contained the hits “Mr. Roboto” (#3) and power ballad “Don’t Let It End” (#6).

Even though Kilroy Was Here was successful, it caused creative tension in the group. Tommy Shaw went on to a solo career, and the band went on hiatus until 1990. In the meantime, Dennis DeYoung also started a solo career.

Dennis DeYoung had a huge hit with the album and single Desert Moon. It reached to #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and was on heavy rotation on MTV. He then followed that with the song “Don’t Wait for Heroes“, which did not get much radio play, but was played heavily on MTV. DeYoung also released the single “This Is the Time” for The Karate Kid, Part II soundtrack.

Styx started back up without Tommy Shaw with the album Edge of the Century. This album produced the hits “Show Me the Way“, “Love at First Sight“, and “Love is the Ritual“.

In 1995, Tommy Shaw rejoined the group. But the tensions rose again, and this time Dennis DeYoung was left behind by the group, and went solo again.

Going Solo

Artistic differences. Wear and tear from touring. Party lifestyle getting to be too much. Egos. Yoko Ono.

Those are some of the reason bands go their separate ways – sometimes permanently, sometimes temporarily (or until they need more money). Sometimes members move on to a solo career with great success. I have compiled a list of successful 80’s solo artists that came from a band that had success in the 80’s.
I have compiled a top 10 list. I have ranked these in order of how successful the artist and the band were, in my humble opinion. The qualifications are that they have had to have had a hit album or song that was released in the 80’s. Although The Jacksons had the Album Victory with the hit “State of Shock”, I left Michael Jackson off the list because his solo career had already started in the 80’s before the brothers got back together. Besides Michael is in a category all by himself.

We will begin with:

10. Bobby Brown – New Edition
New Edition released their first album, Candy Girl, in 1983, and had a hit with the title track. The band’s self-titled second album was also a big hit, which had the top-5 hit song “Cool It Now“. New Edition’s third album, All For Love, was released in 1985. It was not as big as the previous albums, but it did contain the hit “Count Me Out“.
Then in December 1985, as shocking as it may sound, the group was forced to vote Bobby Brown out of the band, due to behavioral problems.

In 1986, Bobby Brown released his first solo album, King of Stage. He had a small hit with the song “Girlfriend”. Then Brown skyrocketed to super stardom in 1988 with his album Don’t Be Cruel. The album sold 8 million copies, and produced 5 top ten hits: “Don’t Be Cruel” (#8), “Every Little Step” (#3), “Rock Wit’ Cha” (#7), “My Prerogative” (#1), and “Roni” (#3).

He has had his problems, but in the late 80’s Bobby Brown was on top of the world.

To be continued…

MTV Drops ‘Music Television’ From Its Logo


MTV redesigned its logo by removing “Music Television”.

The new look was revealed on-air yesterday. It features the original 3-D large “M” with the small, graffiti-style “tv” on the right side. But the new design is expanded, so that photos of MTV “talent”, including the cast of “Jersey Shore,” “The Buried Life” and “My Life as Liz,” can be seen through it.

This has probably been a long time coming since I can’t remember the last time I actually saw a music video on that channel.

New MTV logo

“Celebration” hits #1 this week in 1981

Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” hit #1 this week in 1981.
The song came from the album Celebrate!, which was released in 1980. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 7, 1981, and stayed there until February 20, 1981.
Even today, “Celebration” is played at most wedding receptions. My father-in-law says that the wedding is not official until that song is played.

Kool and the Gang formed in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1964. They started as a jazz band, then moved on to R&B and funk.
In 1979, James “J.T.” Taylor joined the band as the new lead singer, and the group’s popularity skyrocketed. They started with “Ladies Night“, then hit big with “Celebration”.
They also had big hits in the ’80s with “Get Down On It” and “Joanna“.
Then Kool & the Gang released their album Emergency, which contained four top-20 pop hits – the title track “Emergency“, “Misled“, “Fresh“, and “Cherish“.
In 1986, Kool & the Gang released their last significant album Forever. This album had 2 hits – “Victory” and “Stone Love“.

Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’ copies a childrens’ song

A judge has ruled that the flute riff in Men at Work’s Australian anthem “Down Under” plagiarized a popular nursery rhyme, called “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree”, which was written in 1932. It was written by Australian teacher Marion Sinclair for a Girl Guides competition.

Sinclair died in 1988. In 1990, an Australian publishing group called Larrikin Publishing bought the copyright to the song. “Down Under” was composed and performed by Men at Work founding member Colin Hay in 1978. Greg Ham added the flute riff after he joined the band in mid-1979.

According to court documents, Ham added the riff to the song to inject some “Australian flavor.” He admitted he had heard the song while growing up in the country in the late 1950s and was “pretty sure” that Kookaburra was in his school’s song book.

Judge Jacobsen found that Ham deliberately included the bars from Kookaburra into the flute line, but accepted that Colin Hay didn’t realize it was from the nursery rhyme until early in the last decade.

The judge ordered both sides to enter mediation on royalty payments and reappear in court on February 25 to discuss whether Larrikin should receive compensation from Hay and Strykert.