Saturday, May 29, 1982

Squeeze charted with Sweets from a Stranger

Sweets from a Stranger

Squeeze


Charted: May 29, 1982


Peak: 32 US, 37 UK, 26 CN


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.1 UK


Genre: new wave


Tracks:

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

  1. Out of Touch (3:50]
  2. I Can’t Hold On (3:34]
  3. Points of View (4:12]
  4. Stranger Than the Stranger on the Shore (3:19]
  5. Onto the Dance Floor (3:37]
  6. When the Hangover Strikes (4:29] (7/82, --)
  7. Black Coffee in Bed (6:12] (4/9/82, 26 AR, 6 CL, 51 UK)
  8. I've Returned (2:34]
  9. Tongue Like a Knife (4:10]
  10. His House, Her Home (3:23]
  11. The Very First Dance (3:17]
  12. The Elephant Ride (3:22]

Songs written by Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.


Total Running Time: 46:25


The Players:

  • Chris Difford (vocals, rhythm guitar)
  • Glenn Tilbrook (vocals, lead guitar)
  • John Bentley (bass)
  • Don Snow (keyboards)
  • Gilson Lavis (drums)

Rating:

3.322 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)


Quotable: ”The album is certainly flawed, [but even] an average Squeeze album is still pretty good” – Chris Woodstra, All Music Guide

About the Album:

”Perhaps the accolades from East Side Story and the constant Lennon/McCartney comparisons went to their head, or maybe the strain of constant touring sapped…their energy and better judgment…Sweets from a Stranger suffers from self-conscious sophistication, overambition, and general lack of direction. With previous albums, Difford and Tilbrook were able to make incisive observations on British life; the same holds true here, but the alcohol-soaked imagery and chaos between the lines of songs also reveals much about the internal problems of the band.” AMG

”With Carrack replaced by the faceless Don Snow, it hints at problems to come.” JA Not surprisingly following the “release of this album and an accompanying tour, the group disbanded, with Difford and Tilbrook recording a duo album before reconvening Squeeze in 1985.” HE

Having said that, ”this is another tastefully produced pop album in the style of the last two.” JA Since their weak debut, the band have “slowly moved from…high-octane new wave pop…to blue-eyed soul.” HE Still present are “Chris Difford's vision and a sense of poetics perfectly matched with Glenn Tilbrook's Beatles/Tin Pan Alley sense of melody and chord changes.” HE “Again, the songwriting plumbs the familiar themes of loss and love.” HE

”The single Black Coffee in Bed didn't even crack the British Top 40, even though it's quite memorable, with the same crafty doo wop vocals and snappy pop production that made ‘Tempted’ such a success.” JA

Also worthy of note are “the complexly orchestrated Tongue Like a Knife…with a clever snippet of ‘My Favorite Things’ on the fade – it's much like later efforts by XTC…Points of View and His House Her Home both sound like Costello's up-tempo, Beatles-inspired ballads…I Can’t Hold On and I’ve Returned effectively steal Costello's over-driven rock formula, with lively bass lines and complex song structures.” JA

Squeeze still put out a better record than most bands could ever hope to achieve, proving that even though ” the album is certainly flawed, an average Squeeze album is still pretty good…when it hits…it really hits.” AMG


Notes: The 1997 UK re-release added bonus tracks “I Can’t Get Up Anymore” and “Love Goes to Sleep.”

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/16/2006; last updated 2/7/2022.

Saturday, May 15, 1982

Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder hit #1 with “Ebony and Ivory”

First posted 11/8/2020.

Ebony and Ivory

Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder

Writer(s): Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)


Released: March 29, 1982


Peak: 17 US, 16 CB, 40 HR, 14 RR, 15 AC, 8 RB, 34 AR, 13 UK, 15 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 14.48 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

Paul McCartney explained that he got the idea for “Ebony and Ivory” from English comedian Spike Milligan. He saw him on a TV show playing a piano where the keys were segregated, demonstrating how one couldn’t work without the other. SF Paul wrote the song after a fight with his wife Linda, saying, “Why can’t we get it together – our piano can.” SF It took on the greater message of racial harmony with Paul’s acknowledgment that “you can play using just the black notes, or you can play using just the white notes, but combining them gives you great notes. That, I suppose, is a great analogy.” BR1

While recording the song, Paul thought it would be a good idea to record it as a duet with Stevie Wonder. When Stevie heard the song, he said “I liked it very much…I liked what it was talking about…I felt like it was positive for everyone.” BR1 They got together on the island of Montserrat in the West Indies to record the song together, but were not together to film the video. Through the magic of editing, however, they appeared to be performing side by side on the keys of a giant piano. BR1

“Ebony and Ivory” marked the first time McCartney had released a duet with another major artist. WK It proved to be a good move. The song debuted at an impressive #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top five weeks later. The song wasn’t just the biggest chart-topper of McCartney’s solo career, but for any of the ex-Beatles. It was also the biggest #1 for Stevie Wonder.

While the song proved to be a hit of the moment, it didn’t hold up for fans in the long run. It “was often mocked as superficial and maudlin.” SF Critics considered “its message as overly simplistic and sentimental.” WK Blender magazine ranked it as the 10th worst song of all time in 2004. SF In 2007, BBC 6 Music listeners named it the worst duet ever. SF


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Paul McCartney
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Stevie Wonder
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 555.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

Duran Duran charted with “Hungry Like the Wolf”

Hungry Like the Wolf

Duran Duran

Writer(s): Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon, John Taylor, Roger Taylor, Andy Taylor (see lyrics here)


Released: May 4, 1982


First Charted: May 15, 1982


Peak: 3 US, 4 CB, 5 RR, 13 AR, 5 UK, 11 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.2 UK, 1.2 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 17.5 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In their native UK, Duran Duran first hit with their 1981 self-titled album, sending four songs to the UK singles chart, including the #5 “Girls on Film.” Their second album was introduced with the first single “Hungry Like the Wolf.” It marked the double D’s first trip to the U.S. singles chart. The song was praised by Pitchfork Media’s Rob Mitchum, who said “singles don’t come much stronger than ‘Hungry Like the Wolf.’” WK The New York Times’ Jon Pareles said the group “kept the choruses clear and catchy, never disguising their pop intentions” but that it was “no less enjoyable for that.” WK

The song owed much of its success to the fledging MTV music video television network. The group’s ready-for-teen-mag looks made them hits with adolescent girls while the video for “Wolf” had the DD crew romping through Sri Lanka with exotic women a la Raiders of the Lost Ark. The video was “more filmic and action-packed than much of the competing material of the time.” TB As lead singer Simon LeBon said, “Video made it possible to create a cult of personality across the globe.” SF “Wolf” earned the group the distinction of taking home the first Grammy for Best Short Form Video.

The song helped establish the band at the forefront of the Second British Invasion. The first, in the 1960s, was driven by rock’s early superstars like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. This time, however, synthesizer-oriented New Wave groups led the pack with a “unique combination of tough rock-guitar licks and frenetic beats, worthy of post-disco dancefloors.” TB

Amusingly, the song was “reportedly inspired by the innocent childhood fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood.” TB There was, however, nothing innocent about the moaning at the end of the song. That, and the laugh that kicks off the song, were provided by keyboardist Nick Rhodes’ girlfriend. The group’s girlfriends also contributed the makeup which helped shape the group’s look. SF


Resources:

  • SF Songfacts
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA.
  • WK Wikipedia


Related Links:


First posted 5/15/2012; last updated 11/29/2021.

Saturday, May 8, 1982

Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” topped country chart

Always on My Mind

Willie Nelson

Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, Mark James (see lyrics here)


First Charted: March 6, 1982


Peak: 5 US, 4 CB, 53 HR, 8 RR, 2 AC, 12 CW, 49 UK, 10 CN, 39 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 5.0 radio, 47.3 video, 64.25 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This song “is virtually the definition of a modern pop standard.” AMG B.B. King told Esquire magazine in the January 2006 issue that this was his favorite song. SF While the ballad format of the song may be conventional, its theme of a love affair’s end instead of its beginning is a break from the more traditional love song that becomes a pop standard. AMG The narrator confesses guilt and regret AMG over not always doing what he should have to show appreciation for the object of his affection. SF

With its “expressive melody and dramatic lyrics” AMG the song was “a natural for vocalists.” AMG Brenda Lee had a minor country hit with it in 1972. That same year, Elvis Presley had a gold single with his version that went top 20 on the U.S. pop charts and top 10 in the U.K.

In 1982, Willie Nelson gave the song its greatest success yet, taking it to the top of the U.S. country charts and into the top 5 on both the pop and adult contemporary charts. His version was also a platinum seller and multiple award winner. While other versions risked sounding “melodramatic or corny,” AMG Willie’s take on the song “emphasized the pain and sorrow of the lyrics.” AMG

Before the close of the ‘80s, the song became a hit again, but this time it was recast as a dance song. The Pet Shop Boys performed it for an Elvis tribute show on the BBC SF and then released a single of the song. Their version actually outdid Nelson’s in terms of chart performance – it went a notch higher on the U.S. pop charts (#4) and went to the top of the U.K. charts. Nonetheless, the best version will always belong to Willie Nelson.


Resources:


Related Links:


Last updated 11/1/2021.