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?
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.
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.
“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.
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”
By 1991, contemporary hit radio (top 40) was splintering. There were still top 40 stations playing the full spectrum of songs that were actually on the top 40, but some stations were trending toward more of a hip-hop sound. At the same time, some stations (notably in my part of the country, 97.1 the Eagle (KEGL) in Dallas/Ft. Worth) trended toward rock, while still other formerly great stations (such as, off the top of my head, KAY-107 (KAYI) in Tulsa) turned to a format called “adult top 40”, which they advertised as having “no hard rock and no rap”. Basically, adult top 40 was watered-down radio.
Anyway, some of these adult top 40 stations, such as, for example, KAY-107, didn’t even play some of the best dance tracks from the period, such as this one from Stacy Earl, who recorded one album and then disappeared for some reason. “Love Me All Up” was Ms. Earl’s first hit and made it to the top 20 of Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay list (which “American Top 40” was using by then), peaking at #18 and spending a total of 17 weeks on the list (as well as 18 weeks on the Hot 100, where it peaked at #26) before inexplicably being dropped from the playlist of pretty much every station everywhere (though it still occasionally pops up on Ron “Boogiemonster” Gerber’s “Crap From the Past”).
And how forgotten is “Love Me All Up”? Amazon doesn’t even offer it as an MP3 download, but you can still buy the single and the album through the links in this post.
Incidentally, “Love Me All Up” was co-written by Richard Rudolph, who was the husband of Minnie Riperton.
As promised, you can use these links to purchase Stacy Earl’s first single and self-titled album:
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.
(Love Lives Forever hit #35 on the Billboard 200 in 1980.)
“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.
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”.
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.
From most reports, Roger Voudouris grew up surrounded by music. Born John Roger Voudouris in Sacramento in 1954, he received his love of music from both parents and, according to his brother, began playing guitar at the age of 7. He formed a band in high school and went on from there to form a duo with David Kahne, who eventually went on to become a fairly well-known music producer after their duo dissolved.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Randy Bachman was in one successful band after another (though with varying degrees of success). He co-founded the group that eventually came to be called The Guess Who, which hit #1 with “American Woman” before Bachman left the group in 1970. His next group was originally called Brave Belt, though most people know it better by its later name, Bachman-Turner Overdrive. After some disagreements within the band, Randy Bachman left that band in 1977.
After Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and one solo album, Randy Bachman’s next band was called Ironhorse. Ironhorse released an eponymous album in early 1979; it was moderately successful in a year when musical tastes were rapidly evolving, and it had one charting single, “Sweet Lui-Louise”, a song that I, at least, find rather catchy, possibly due to its use of similar vocal stylings to those used in BTO’s Bachman-penned hit “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”.
(Ironhorse peaked at #153 on Billboard’s Hot LPs and Tape chart. Album ℗1979 Scotti Bros. Records. Photo courtesy Amazon.com.)
“Sweet Lui-Louise” entered Billboard’s Hot 100 at #87 for the week ending March 17, 1979 (chart). It managed to enter the top 40, just barely, at #39 for the week ending April 21 (chart) and peaked two weeks later (chart) at #36 before falling out of the top 40 the very next week. In total it spent ten weeks on the Hot 100.
Afterward, Ironhorse released a follow-up album, Everything is Grey, which also featured one charting hit, “What’s Your Hurry Darlin'”, although that song only made it to #89. After that, the band evolved into a group called Union and released one more album; it didn’t chart.
I have only ever heard “Sweet Lui-Louise” on the radio during an episode of “American Top 40: The 70s”, but perhaps there might be good news on that front: Randy Bachman has acquired the rights to both Ironhorse albums (source) and hopes to reissue them in the future.