Room to Move by Animotion

I’ll readily admit that some of what inspires me to call out specific songs is the appearance of the artist (or a member of the group) in the news.  Once already this year, unfortunately, I have done so because of the news of a divorce after a long marriage.  Sadly, this is the case a second time, this time the dissolution of the 25-year marriage of Richard Marx (who has been mentioned on this blog before for reasons not related to his own hit music) and actress/singer Cynthia Rhodes.

In 1988 or so, Cynthia Rhodes joined the established group Animotion (best known for 1984’s “Obsession”, which hit #6 and is still heard on radio today) during the recording of the group’s third album.  Ms. Rhodes replaced Astrid Plane, whose voice was heard on “Obsession”; Ms. Plane and two others departed the group in about the same timeframe, in effect making Animotion almost a totally different group from the one that had formed in 1983.

Perhaps because the group was so different when this third album was released in 1989, the album was self-titled, just as Animotion’s first album had been.  To help distinguish the two eponymous albums, the 1989 album was informally known by the title of its first single (but only informally; the title of the single does not appear on the album cover, as seen below).

(Animotion (1989) peaked at #110 on Billboard’s Top Pop Albums Chart. Album ℗1989 Polydor Records. Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)

The first single, “Room to Move” (a remake of a song recorded a year earlier by another 80s group, Climie Fisher), received plenty of airplay in early 1989 and spent a healthy 18 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100.  (Per the always-reliable Wikipedia, the song was helped by an appearance on the soundtrack for the movie My Stepmother Is an Alien.)  The single peaked at #9 the week ending May 6, 1989 (chart).  Surprisingly (at least to me), its success in early 1989 was not enough for the song to make the year-end chart.

After “Room to Move”, one further single, “Calling It Love”, was released from Animotion; it only made it to #53.  The group broke up soon afterward.

As I said earlier, the only song from Animotion that seems to get any airplay whatsoever now is “Obsession”.  The last time I recall hearing “Room to Move” on the radio was, in fact, during its original chart run.  In my opinion, it’s worth giving this song a few more spins.

 

 

How Much Love by Leo Sayer

When asked about Leo Sayer, I would guess that most people would either respond with “Who?” or possibly remember one or two songs of his…or the fact that he once appeared on the Muppet Show.  I personally remember him for three songs.  Two of them, “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You”, were mainstays on middle-of-the-road radio in my hometown for years.  The third, Mr. Sayer’s 1980 remake of “More Than I Can Say”, was popular after I was old enough to pay attention to what songs were popular at the time.

But I never remember hearing “How Much Love” even once.  It’s quite possible that I heard it when it made its appearance on the charts, but I was too young to notice, and for some reason, it never survived as a recurrent the way other songs from Mr. Sayer did.

“How Much Love” was the third single from Mr. Sayer’s 1976 album Endless Flight.  The first two singles were the two mainstays I remembered from my youth; both songs hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

(This picture deserves a better caption than I can come up with at this hour.  Submissions are welcome.)

(Endless Flight peaked at #10 on Billboard’s Top LPs and Tape Chart. Album ℗1976 Warner Bros. Records. Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)

“How Much Love” debuted on Billboard’s Hot 100 at #77 for the week ending July 9, 1977 (chart).  It peaked at #17 the week ending August 27 (chart) and stayed there for two weeks before rather quickly descending the charts, appearing at #70 during its 15th and final week on the charts, the week ending October 15 (chart | magazine).  Billboard ranked it the #98 song for the year 1977.

Following “How Much Love”, which turned out to be the final single from Endless Flight, Mr. Sayer hit the bottom of the top 40 twice before hitting #2 with “More Than I Can Say” three years later.  His songs continued to chart in the U.K. into the 1980s, but after 1981, he never again appeared on the Hot 100.

As for “How Much Love” itself, I heard this song for the first time during a local radio station’s daily nine-songs-from-one-year feature (mentioned on this blog before…here, for example), when they happened to be featuring 1977.  I heard it a second time…another time that same station used 1977 for that same feature.  And I’ve heard it on the radio no other time before or since.