In addition to massive success on the pop charts in the late 70s/early 80s, Olivia Newton-John had some amount of success in acting as well. Some of her greatest hits, of course, came from soundtracks. (Grease, anyone?) It was from her last big-budget movie that some of Ms. Newton-John’s final charting hits came, including her 1984 hit “Livin’ in Desperate Times.”
We have seen a lot of artists who, though very famous, have had songs become forgotten. Many have been covered on this page before (and a few probably will appear again). To add to this list, I give you one Whitney Elizabeth Houston. For at least the last half of the 80s, it seemed as if she were everywhere. But with as many hits as she had, some were bound to disappear. Such was the case for her 1988 hit, “Love Will Save The Day”.
From what I have seen, sometimes a song becomes forgotten because of multiple reasons. Take, for example, an artist whose career has stretched six decades and counting, and add in the fact that the song in question was part of a short-lived foray into the world of disco, and you have the perfect recipe for a song that American radio leaves behind. Such is the case for a 1979 smash by Barbra Streisand. You may have heard of her before, but do you have any memory of “The Main Event/Fight”?
When arguably most people (and definitely most radio programmers) think of classic bands that break up and then get back together much later, they never seem to think of the music those bands made during the reunion phase. An obvious example – and perfect for this blog – would be the Eagles. After what is known to have been a very acrimonious breakup in 1980, they reformed over a decade later and released at least two songs that got a lot of airplay. But when was the last time you heard either of those songs, I ask you? Do you even remember the names of those two songs?
Today’s post will highlight the song that officially became the group’s final top 40 hit, “Get Over It”.
If Madonna was the pop charts’ “It girl” of the mid-80s, then Olivia Newton-John had to have had that role in the late 70s and early 80s.* With the release of Grease, Olivia Newton-John’s fame vaulted into the stratosphere. During that period, her music was found on pretty much every top 40 station and almost every adult contemporary station as well. Some of those hits still get some airplay (particularly the songs from Grease), but others are long forgotten. For example, Ms. Newton-John’s top 20 hit “Deeper Than the Night” hasn’t been heard in terrestrial radio in some time.
It’s not unheard of for a song to chart for multiple artists at the same time. It happened quite a bit in the early days of rock and roll. By the mid-70s, though, it was not nearly as common. There was one song, though, that charted for two different acts at the same time in 1976. Neither version gets much airplay now, of course, or this song wouldn’t be on this page, but I would imagine many people still remember Diana Ross’s version. But who remembers the 5th Dimension’s version of “Love Hangover”?
When you think of an artist like Natalie Cole, you might think of all sorts of things. You might think of her very famous father or her famous duet with him. Or, perhaps, some of her big hits from the 1970s (“This Will Be” or “I’ve Got Love On My Mind”, for starters) come to mind. Sandwiched between the 70s hits and her duet with her father, though, Natalie Cole had some lean years, but she also had one huge comeback album, which featured one of her biggest hits ever. Remember “Pink Cadillac”?
When one thinks of Herb Alpert, it’s easy to think about his long recording career. There were lots of hits, including a number one vocal hit and a number one instrumental hit. Most people, I would imagine, think mostly of the 1960s and 70s when thinking about all his hits. Fewer people, however, would think of a late 80s top ten hit that featured Janet Jackson.
It’s certainly not uncommon to hear of a popular recording artist switching labels. In some cases, the jilted label waits a while, then releases a greatest hits collection from that artist containing only those hits (and almost-hits) which that artist recorded while under contract to that particular label. And that’s all well and good. Less common, though, is for a label to continue to release singles by a long-gone artist. That, however, is exactly what happened with Donna Summer and her single “Walk Away”.
Once again, lovers of music from decades past have been saddened to hear of the passing of Aretha Franklin from cancer. To say that Ms. Franklin had a long and successful recording career, quite honestly, doesn’t do justice to the influence she had on many, many others.