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 toBeverly 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.
There were a couple of years when the tide of pop music turned so completely that a lot of songs, and even a lot of artists, were eventually forgotten by both American radio and a good portion of the listening public. A lot of talented artists, with a fair number of big hits, were swept away by the tides of history. 1979 was one year, when the anti-disco backlash finally boiled over, and a lot of the big artists of the day disappeared quickly. The other year I can think of in which such a dramatic change came was 1991, and one of the artists left behind in that transition was Stacy Earl.
Minnie Riperton is pretty much universally known for her #1 hit “Lovin’ You”, but quite honestly, I prefer some of her other, lesser-known songs. Sadly, Ms. Riperton died, way too soon, in 1979. A final album, Love Lives Forever, came out in 1980, featuring some tracks Ms. Riperton had recorded in a 1978 session, combined with vocals contributed by several other artists as a tribute to her.
“Here We Go” was the first single released from Love Lives Forever, and it apparently hit #14 of what was then called the Hot Soul Singles chart. In this song, you can hear that Ms. Riperton is able to enunciate “here we go” quite clearly in the “whistle register”.
And as usual in this feature, no station in town has ever played this as long as I’ve been here, to the best of my knowledge.
I still don’t understand why some one-hit wonders get continual airplay
(“Tainted Love”, anyone?), while others are never heard again. Former Go-Go Jane Wiedlin falls into the latter category with her summer 1988 hit, “Rush Hour”. “Rush Hour” debuted on the top 40 at #33 in the countdown of June 11, 1988, and peaked at #9 seven weeks later. Three weeks after that, it had already fallen out of the top 40, though some top 40 stations were still playing it at least into September (as evidenced by the September 1988 aircheck I have from “KJ-103″ in Oklahoma City). All in all,”Rush Hour” spent 19 weeks on the Hot 100, and, as far as I know, it hasn’t been heard since.
(Fur, Jane Wiedlin’s second solo album, spent 20 weeks on Billboard 200, peaking at #105. It was her last album to chart.)
I wonder if the song’s lack of staying power had anything to do with its strange dolphin-heavy video. In any case, I’ve certainly never heard the song on any mainstream station since then.
In 1988, Deniece Williams, who had had a pretty good run of success on the pop charts with hits such as “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late”, “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle”, and the love-it-or-hate-it “Let’s Hear It For the Boy”, made a final trip to the Hot 100, where it spent eight weeks and peaked at #66, and the R&B top 10 (#8) with “I Can’t Wait”.
(As Good As It Gets was the last charting album for Deniece Williams for 19 years. It hit #48 on the Top R&B Albums chart.)
I truly don’t know why this song wasn’t a bigger hit. I know there were stations playing this at the time because I have a vintage November 1988 aircheck of Power 106 in LA playing it. Of course, you’d never, ever hear this on your current variety hits station (my local station’s slogan: “we play anything”). I suppose a classic R&B station (my local one is named “Jammin”) might be the likeliest candidate to play it, but since most of these stations have a very tight playlist, I guess that ship’s sailed as well.
Top 40 music in 1979 is probably remembered most for the beginning of the end of the disco era. The end of the year saw a big shift in the direction of pop music, exemplified best by The Knack’s “My Sharona”. However, to think of 1979 that way is way too simplistic. That year was also full of sugary ballads, the perennial hard rock, and, of course, yacht rock. This year featured the one and only chart appearance for one yacht rock artist, Roger Voudouris.
It’s not uncommon for a band member to leave a successful group and form his (or her) own group. Sometimes those later groups are successful themselves, and sometimes they aren’t. In the group of those bands which were somewhat successful, but forgotten, is the group Ironhorse.
Hi. I have set this blog aside to spotlight songs that were once popular, but now, at least in my opinion, they are not getting the attention that they deserve. This blog is intended to present an alternative to the same 100 songs that every mainstream classic hits radio station seems to love. Seriously, what classic hits station (or adult contemporary station, for that matter) doesn’t have “Take On Me” or “Come On Eileen” in its library? And are those songs any more worthy of being remembered than other songs? Not to me, they aren’t.