Saturday, October 29, 1983

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hit #1 with “Islands in the Stream”

First posted 3/21/2020.

Islands in the Stream

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

Writer(s): Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb/Maurice Gibb (see lyrics here)


First Charted: August 27, 1983


Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 2 RR, 14 AC, 12 CW, 7 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.6 UK, 4.7 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 90.82 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

The Bee Gees were one of the most successful acts of the 1970s, but by 1983 they were a relic of the then-passe disco era. Had anyone bet the trio would ever again top the U.S. pop charts – much less the country charts – any sensible person would have taken that bet. Those people would have lost – kind of.

Even at their peak, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb wrote for others, including #1 songs for Yvonne Elliman, Samantha Sang, Frankie Valli, and their brother Andy. In the 1980s, they wrote Barbra Streisand’s #1 pop hit “Woman in Love” (1980) and the #1 adult contemporary hit “Heartbreaker” for Dionnne Warwick (1982). Their most successful non-Bee Gees song, however, was “Islands in the Stream,” a #1 pop, country, and adult contemporary hit for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. The tune, whose title came from a 1970 Ernest Hemingway story, would be the last country song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 17 years, when Lonestar hit #1 with “Amazed.” SF

Rogers had been interested in working with Barry Gibb a couple of years earlier. He envisioned recording a duets album singing with Gibb, Parton, Willie Nelson, and others. While that project didn’t work out, Rogers still kept Gibb in mind and when he was looking for a new collaborator, he tapped him as the producer for his first album on the RCA label. BR1

The resulting Eyes That See in the Dark album was introduced with the single “Islands in the Stream,” a song originally written in an R&B style for Marvin Gaye. WK It was the first time Rogers and Parton worked together, but both had plenty of success on their own. Both artists had topped the country charts multiple times and each had hit #1 on the pop charts in 1980 – Rogers with “Lady” and Parton with “9 to 5.” It ended up the only song in 1983 to be certified platinum. BR1 It also won the American Music Award for Best Country Single and the Academy of Country Music’s Single of the Year and Vocal Duet of the Year. In 2005, it topped CMT’s poll of the best country duets of all time. WK


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Sunday, October 23, 1983

John Cougar Mellencamp Uh-Huh

First posted 6/22/2010; updated 9/20/2020.

Uh-Huh

John Cougar Mellencamp


Released: October 23, 1983


Peak: 9 US, 92 UK, 9 CN, 57 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.3 US, -- UK, 3.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic heartland rock


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Crumblin’ Down (10/15/83, 9 US, 2 AR, 9 CN, 42 AU)
  2. Pink Houses (10/29/83, 8 US, 3 AR, 15 CN, 69 AU)
  3. Authority Song (2/18/84, 15 US, 15 AR, 41 CN, 93 AU)
  4. Warmer Place to Sleep
  5. Jackie O
  6. Play Guitar (2/4/84, 28 AR)
  7. Serious Business (1/28/84, 34 AR)
  8. Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya
  9. Golden Gates


Total Running Time: 32:59

Rating:

4.148 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Quotable: “His first terrific album.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

“Since American Fool illustrated that John Cougar was becoming an actual songwriter, it’s only proper that he reclaimed his actual last name, Mellencamp, for the follow-up, Uh-Huh. After all, now that he had success, he wanted to be taken seriously, and Uh-Huh reflects that in its portraits of brokenhearted life in the Midwest and its rumbling undercurrent of despair. Although his lyrics still have the tendency to be a little too vague, they are more effective here than ever before, as is his music; he might not have changed his style at all – it’s still a fusion of the Stones and Springsteen – except that he now knows how to make it his own.” STE

Uh-Huh runs out of steam toward the end, but the first half…makes the record his first terrific album.” STE “His best protest song, “Pink Houses”, STE “is the state-of-our-union anthem that John Mellencamp likes to boast about, but the real class-awareness beef of 1983’s Uh-HuhRW is “the punky Authority Song”: STE “‘Call up my preacher... / He said, ‘You don’t need no strength, you need to grow up, son’”).” RW

There’s also the “kidding cynicism” RW of “the dynamic rocker Crumblin’ Down,” STE “the Mellencamp-John Prine collaboration Jackie O,” RW and “the melancholy Warmer Place to Sleep.” STE

“With his Stonesy band crackling behind him, the newly minted superstar also shows that he gets the joke of his ‘serious business’” RW on “the garage rocker Play Guitar,” STE “which might have been the album’s fourth hit single if not for its admonition to ‘forget all about that macho shit.’” RW

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