Erotica by Madonna

I can hear you now:  “Really?  A Madonna song?  How can anything by Madonna be forgotten?”  (This may not in reality be what you are saying, but as this is my blog I get to assume that you are in fact saying these things just after reading the title to this entry, and so we’ll proceed from that assumption.)

Well, if I were to consider Madonna’s career in pop music, I would say that the Erotica album/era is in fact the most forgotten portion.

(Erotica peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and spawned four Top 40 hits.  And I don’t think any of them get airplay. Album ℗1992 Sire Records.  Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)

And why is this?  Perhaps it is because Madonna was at that time infamous for making a coffee table book in which she was wearing very little, if any, clothing.  (Now she’s just infamous for continuing to dress as if she were still that age.)  Or it may have been because the songs from this album were not as successful as singles from other albums of hers.  Wikipedia reports that no song from the album Erotica charted any higher than number three.  Or maybe the pop-music populace didn’t care as much for the songs of that era in which, as Idolator.com says (in a list of the 10 most forgotten Madonna songs–in which “Erotica” does not appear), Madonna “gabbed through tracks rather than singing on them.”

In any case, regardless of the reason, I personally do not believe that I have heard the title track on any radio station since its original run on the Hot 100 in late 1992/early 1993.  And this I find rather strange, since it had such a strong debut; it debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 at number thirteen for the week ending October 17, 1992 (chart | magazine) and reached its peak position of number three the next week (chart | magazine), lasting 18 weeks on the Hot 100.  It also reached number two on Billboard’s airplay chart (debuting and peaking at that position on October 17*), which makes it doubly strange to me that it now receives, as far as I can tell, absolutely no airplay now.

According to commenter “BLT” at SongMeanings.net, Madonna intended this song to serve as a fantasy of “crazy and nasty things that go through [one’s] mind,” but are never acted on.

The video, which may presently be found on YouTube, was banned by MTV for content reasons, which, given the high standards of MTV, should tell you a lot.  This video will not be presented here, sorry.

* By this time, American Top 40 was using Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay chart instead of the Hot 100 to determine its charts.

Girls With Guns by Tommy Shaw

I’m not gonna lie:  what made me think of this was a comment by a politician who stated, “I’m all in favor of girls with guns who know their purpose.”

How could this child of the 80s not think of Tommy Shaw?

Tommy Shaw, as most students of pop music history probably know, was the lead guitarist for Styx through the late 70s and early 80s but left the group due to dissatisfaction with the direction in which other members wanted to take the band.  (Meh, go look it up on Wikipedia.)

Mr. Shaw’s first solo album, which came to mind after I heard the statement above, was called “Girls With Guns”, and its title
track was Mr. Shaw’s only Top 40 solo appearance, spending a grand total of three weeks on the Top 40 charts and peaking at #33 on November 17, 1984 (chart | magazine), before falling completely out of the Top 40 the following week.  All in all, it spent 12 weeks in the Hot 100.

(Tommy Shaw’s debut solo album, Girls With Guns, peaked at #50 on the Billboard 200. Album ℗1984 A&M Records. Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)

 

It should be noted that, as I and others (such as “cassiemay10” over at SongMeanings.net) understand it, Mr. Shaw was writing not necessarily about girls carrying actual guns, but about strong, independent women. (It should be noted that in a comment on the original version of this post, Cassie May commented: “I agree; this is an unfairly forgotten song. ‘Girls With Guns’ is a great song, and an overall pretty good album.”)

An interesting trait about the video for this track is that it is all one take; there are no cuts, which is quite different from the frenetic editing seen in most videos that I’ve ever watched.  Last I checked, it was pretty easy to find on YouTube.

And, as usual, I have never heard this song on the radio in the past 20 years apart from “Crap From the Past”.

 

Whirly Girl by OXO

Hands up:  who remembers OXO?  Hardly anyone reading this blog, that’s who.

OXO was the creation of a guy named Ish Ledesma, whose earlier band, Foxy, is probably better known.  (Foxy, as is probably known by those like myself who enjoy the disco music of the late 70s/early 80s, had a big hit with a song called “Get Off” and a lesser hit with the follow up, “Hot Number”.)  Anyway, after Foxy, Mr. Ledesma formed OXO, which could definitely be called a one-hit wonder.  The one song, “Whirly Girl”, was a song about Mr. Ledesma’s wife.  According to Wikipedia, the song’s lack of success led to the quick downfall of OXO.

(OXO’s self-titled album did not, to be the best of my knowledge, hit the charts. Album ℗1983 Geffen Records. Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)

Mr. Ledesma went on after that to form a girl group called Company B, for whom he produced their biggest hit, “Fascinated”.  (You don’t really hear that one on the radio much anymore, either.)

“Whirly Girl” made it to #28 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking the week of April 23, 1983 (chart) and spending a total of 14 weeks on the chart.  Since then, the only place I have ever heard it on the radio is on the cult classic (and oft-mentioned, at least on this blog) radio show “Crap From the Past“.  As usual, you’ll never hear this song on, for example, Austin’s local we-play-anything station, Bob FM, which rather takes away from their reputation, if you ask me, and you didn’t.

 

Shakedown by Bob Seger

You wouldn’t think a popular song from the soundtrack of a movie such
as Beverly Hills Cop II would be listed as a “forgotten song”. You wouldn’t think that a song that hit number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 would be listed as such.  You certainly wouldn’t think that a song that won an Oscar as Best Song would be forgotten.  (Or, at least, I wouldn’t think so.)  And yet, when the word “shakedown” hit the public discourse a couple of years ago as the result of a sitting congressman using it to discuss the government’s treatment of BP after the Gulf oil spill*, at least one person (that I knew of) was not familiar at all with this song, so I figured it deserved to be dug out.

(The soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop II spent 26 weeks on the Billboard 200, peaking at #8 and spawning several Top 40 hits.  Album ℗1987 MCA Special Products.  Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)

 

“Shakedown” was actually written for Glenn Frey, but Bob Seger stepped in when Mr. Frey lost his voice just before the recording session.  This was Mr. Seger’s only number one single (it spent 18 weeks on the Hot 100, and, per the song’s Wikipedia entry, it also hit number one on the Album Rock Tracks chart) and his next-to-last top 40 hit overall.  And, as is usual for songs I list as “forgotten songs”, I don’t think I have ever heard a station where I have lived play this song in many years.  Actually, for that matter, I think I might have heard this song once on the radio since it hit the charts back in 1987.  I’m pretty sure that one time was a 1987 flashback feature, played the week that “Shakedown” hit number one (that being the week of August 1, 1987 (chart)).

 

*As I have stated before, I am only interested in discussing music here.  Political statements, especially those of a couple of years ago, are not a topic of discussion in this post…it only inspired the choice of this song.

Piece of My Heart by Tara Kemp

A few months before my last forgotten song honoree hit the charts, a California girl named Tara Kemp hit the top ten with two songs from her eponymous and only album.  The first, “Hold You Tight”, went gold and is, to my knowledge, still somewhat familiar to people.  For years, this song was the only Tara Kemp offering available for request at, for example, Austin’s Bob FM.  (Since then, they now show all tracks from her album as being available.  Yeah, right.  I’ve never even heard them play “Hold You Tight” in eight years of operation.)  Continue reading “Piece of My Heart by Tara Kemp”