Welcome back everybody! If you missed the previous songs, you can check out songs 40-31 and 30-21. I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the countdown this week! And as usual, if you want to watch/listen to the YouTube video, you can click on the song title. If you’d like to listen to/purchase this song from Amazon, you can click onthe album cover. Now let’s Return to the week ending August 8, 1987, and continue the countdown!
I love all of Fleetwood Mac’s stuff, no matter who’s singing. But, Stevie Nicks is definitely my favorite. She takes the lead on this awesome song from Mac’s final studio album with the classic lineup, Tango in the Night.
This is my favorite Starship song. And just as Fleetwood Mac had come out with their final album with the classic lineup, No Protection was Starship’s final album with Grace Slick. So, I guess it was over for her.
I had never heard this version of the song in my life, and I never heard of this group. But, I’m loving this! This a cappella group covers the classic Steam song, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” here. And I think they do a helluva job!
Even though Steve Winwood had been around for a while, this was the first time I was aware of him. Even though I was more into hard rock in these days, I did like all of Winwood’s music. He also gets a little help from James Taylor on backing vocals in this song.
In the previous song, while I was crushing on Debbie, I forgot to mention that “Only in My Dreams” was her debut single. And now we have another debut single. Richard Marx was already a great songwriter. But, he went on a great run, in the late ’80s, as a performer.
Today, Robert wraps up his series on great songs that feature a saxophone. What are some of your favorites? Please leave a comment below. To kick off the conclusion of this week’s series, here is the legendary, late Clarence “Big Man” Clemons:
Now, take it away, Robert!
“Only the Lonely” by The Motels
As much as I love ‘80s music there were a few bands that barely registered in my collection. The Motels are one of this bands; I did have copies on a mixtape of this song, but I have never purchased an entire album by them. This song come from their most successful album, 1982’s All Four One, and reached #9 on the AT 40. The vocalist, Martha Davis, is well known to ‘80s fans, but the rest of the band toiled in relative obscurity as far as name recognition goes. The subdued sound that this band creates in this song is memorizing with the sax being played by Marty Jourard who is also the band’s keyboardist. Once again, here is a song that has great phrasing. The verses follow a simple pattern – the first two lines of each verse has a pause after two words and then continues. The third line is a longer one that has no pause. They are, in essence creating a music with words. It goes like this, “We walk (pause) the loneliest mile / We smile (pause) without any style / We kiss all together wrong no intention.” Here we have another song about the end of a relationship, this time though, I think the music first perfectly.
“Who Can it be Now?” by Men at Work
Here we have the first hit single from the Australian band that took the American music charts by storm in the early ‘80s and, honestly, sort of just faded away. This song comes from their first album Business as Usual and it hit #1 on the AT 40 in October of 1982. Men at Work feature the quirky vocals of Colin Hay who is clearly an icon of early ‘80s music as well as being in constant rotation on MTV. The saxophone is being played by Greg Ham who also doubles as the keyboard player. The sax is not limited to just a solo here, though. It establishes the song’s theme and has the sound that makes the song instantly recognizable. The song captures something we have all felt, thought, or said out loud at one time or another: “Just leave me alone!” After several pleas for solitude, Hay reveals a possible reason that he is being bothered, “Is that the man come to take me away? / Why do they follow me? / It’s not the future that I can see / It’s just my fantasy.” Is there a good reason for him to be taken away? I’m not sure, but I am sure that the success Men at Work had with their first two albums is well deserved. Their unique, fun style is something that we are missing today. I wish all of them were still around and making this intriguing music like this.
“Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx
Many ‘80s pundits consider 1987 as the end of the true sound of ‘80s music. Maybe. I tend to extend my definition of ‘80s through 1987 with a few good tunes from 1988 when the changes in musical styles are very apparent and the ‘80s’ sound seems to get lost. One major reason I consider 1987 as a vital part of ‘80s lore is that I graduated high school in 1987 and the rise of Richard Marx. Richard Marx’s debut album was released in the Spring of 1987 about the time I graduated; it was the first album I bought after starting college. This song, the third single released from Richard Marx, was on the charts in early 1988 and reached #2. The sax is played by David Boruff and is full of the emotional sadness that the lyrics capture. This sad, sultry ballad is about an intense summer love that is no more. The speaker is lamenting what has been lost, “Summer came and left without a warning / All at once I looked and you were gone / And now you’re looking back at me / Searching for a way that we can be like we were before.” He is just not the same without her and improving the situation does not look like a possibility. He is stuck in the memories of that summer and cannot find a way to break free of them. The chorus captures this perfectly, “I remember how you loved me / Time was all we had until the day we said goodbye / I remember every moment of the endless summer nights.” We tend to take the time we have with others for granted and when the time is over we realize that we cannot get it back – it is gone forever.
“Do You Believe in Love” by Huey Lewis and the News
I saw Huey Lewis and the News in concert in Frankfurt, Germany in November 1986. The tour was in support of their Fore! album, which I liked, but the most memorable songs were “The Heart of Rock & Rolll”, “Walking on a Thin Line”, and this early hit. This song was released in 1982 and reached #7 on the charts. The first time I heard this song I was immediately drawn in by the harmonious background vocals- I thought (and still do) they sounded so cool. The band’s saxophonist is Johnny Colla, although they typically include an entire horn sections on tour in the ‘80s called The Tower of Power horns. The song is not complex – just a lonely man looking for a woman, “I was walking down a one way street / Just a looking for someone to meet / One woman who was looking for a man.” No hidden meanings here, just a plain old love story.
“You Belong to the City” by Glenn Frey
It seems fitting to end this list with another song from the artist who inspired it. This 1985 release was written specifically for the television show Miami Vice. It helped the soundtrack album reach #1, but the song itself climbed to #2, being kept out of the top spot by Starship’s “We Built this City.” The video itself is clearly influenced by the television show; it features Frey walking through a city at night wearing a Sonny Crockett type suit. The unforgettable sax that begins the song is being played by Bill Bergman. Lyrically the song is about someone who seems to be running away from something and has come to “the city” to escape the past, “You were on the run trying to get away from the things you’ve done.” Unfortunately a sense of boredom has set in, “The moon comes up and the music calls / You’re getting tired of staring at the same four walls.” Clearly a change was desired, but in a sense of frustration, “So much has happened, but nothing has changed.” This is one of Frey’s most successful and well known solo hits a perfect way to close my favorite ‘80s hits that feature a prevalent sax sound.
I am well aware that I have most likely left some great sax work in some big songs. It is difficult to include all of them, for instance “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money. It made the first draft of my list, but ultimately, I thought these others were stronger so I left it off. Please do not be offended if I left off your favorite. There were many more sax songs in the ‘80s than I remembered at first. As I kept digging, I found more and more.
The inspiration for this list, Glenn Frey, is such an enormous musical talent that it would be useless to rehash what he has done – you already know about that. As the years continue to roll by, we will be forced to say goodbye to a lot of our favorite artist from the glorious ‘80s. There is no way to avoid it, so let us, instead, celebrate them by remembering and cherishing what they created.
Hi Everybody! Welcome back to this week’s countdown! If you missed the previous posts, you can check out songs 40-31 and 30-21. Once again, we have a crazy diverse day. We have hair bands, R&B, and pop. And, we also have a Long Distance Dedication! So, let’s Return to the week ending March 25, 1989, and continue the countdown.
We begin today with Poison’s cover of the Loggins and Messina hit, “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. The Loggins and Messina version reached all the way up to #4 in 1972. While Poison didn’t go as high with the song, they did manage to reach #10. This song was kind of a let down for me. But, next year, Poison would release what I feel was their best album – Flesh and Blood.
This is one of those songs that I didn’t recognize by the title, but remembered it when I heard it. This has that classic late-80s New Wavey synthpop sound. This song was a worldwide hit for the Canadian synthpop band.
Oh Good Lord!!! I forgot that we are now in a point in time where the New Kids were white hot. Well, I was never a part of their target audience, so this is not my thing. They are local to me, so I am happy for their success. Donnie is awesome in Blue Bloods, and I actually do enjoy the A&E show, Wahlburgers. I still haven’t been to one of those restaurants yet. By the way, who would have thought that 26 years after this song, New Kids On the Block would still be touring?!?
“Superwoman” is the second single from R&B singer Karyn White’s self-titled debut album, Karyn White (1988). It became her second U.S. top ten hit and second U.S. R&B number-one hit.
Here is a nice R&B song by Karyn White. She had a nice string of hits in the late ’80s through early ’90s. She then left the music business to start a family. In 2012, she released her first studio album in 17 years – Carpe Diem.
Here is the second song, of this list, titled “You Got It” (minus “The Right Stuff”). I remember this song very well, but thought this was an older song from the ’60s. This song reached #9, and was Orbison’s first Top 10 hit in 25 years. Unfortunately, Orbison never saw this return to the charts, as he died of a heart attack the previous December at the age of 52. A couple of his Traveling Wilburys played on this song – Jeff Lynne on backing vocals and electric guitar, and Tom Petty on backing vocals and acoustic guitar.
Ugh, I can’t “Stand” this song! I don’t know what it is about R.E.M., but they just irritate me. This song just sounds like an annoying children’s song. I will give them credit for having a unique sound.
Now we’re up to our Long Distance Dedication. This is the feature that reminds us what popular music is all about…songs helping us to express important feelings. Here is a letter from Robert from Nebraska:
This dedication is for the most important person in my life. I had the great experience of growing up in Frankfurt, Germany. I was part of military family and we moved quite a few times. I was a quiet, shy boy and I had a few good friends, but always had difficulty being comfortable in groups, especially if girls were present. I never really dated much – until the beginning of my senior year when I met Diana. I had signed up for the bus to take us to an away football game. The buses were crowded and I was forced to sit next to one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. Naturally, I was nervous and had trouble even looking as her- not to mention talking to her. During the football game we gave each other side glances and on the trip home we again sat together- not because we had to this time. When we got back to the school, I somehow summoned enough courage to ask for her phone number. The rest, as they say, is history. We became inseparable and did everything together. Eventually, the time came to return to the U.S. for college. We decided to go to school in Nebraska – I just could not imagine being without her. I was leaving the first week of July and she would leave at the end of August. We spent every day until that week in June. These were the best days I had ever had. I was worried that things would not work out while we were apart and these could be the last days I would ever see her. Casey, would you please play “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx. This song reminds me of the great times I spent with Diana and how much she meant to me. Thank you.
P.S. Casey, everything did work out. This summer we will celebrate our 25th anniversary with our four wonderful children. Even today this song reminds me of her and that summer after our senior year.
Robert. Here is your long distance dedication
From 1987, that was “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx, a long distance dedication from Robert in Nebraska, to his wife Diana.
This is, by far, my favorite Guns N’ Roses tune! It is such a perfect rock song. From Steven Adler’s awesome drumming to Slash’s classic guitar sound, to Axl’s voice, which is perfect for this song. They are just firing on all cylinders at this point. I think that if they all got along, kept their s*!t together, they would have survived through the grunge era. Everybody has been waiting for the original lineup to get back together for years. And after Eddie Trunk’s recent interview with Steven Adler, there is a buzz about this happening. I’m not holding my breathe though.