Saturday, August 29, 1987

Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” hit #1 in UK

Never Gonna Give You Up

Rick Astley

Writer(s): Matt Stock, Mike Aitken, Peter Waterman (see lyrics here)


Released: July 27, 1987


First Charted: August 8, 1987


Peak: 12 US, 2 GR, 11 RR, 13 AC, 15 UK, 13, 17 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 1.12 UK, 7.09 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 1301.85 video, 606.03 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Some songs are hits of the moment, to be quickly forgotten in passing years. Others – for sometimes bizarre reasons – enter the public consciousness and never go away. In 2007, an Internet phenomenon known as rick-rolling emerged. People received links and opened them, but instead of getting what they expected they were subjected to a video clip of Rick Astley singing his 20-year-old hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Stereogum’s Tom Breihan said, they “could’ve presumably used any song in the vast history of recorded music, but they went with ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’…[because it] is a bad song, and it’s a catchy bad song. It could get stuck in someone’s head, and it could ruin that person’s day.” SG Ruin a person’s day? Lighten up.

Astley himself had a much better sense of humor and perspective about it. He said, “I think it’s just one of those odd things where something gets picked up and people run with it. But that’s what brilliant about the internet…If this had happened around some kind of rock song, with a lyric that really meant something – a Bruce Springsteen, “God Bless America,” or an anti-something kind of song, I could kind of understand that. But for something as – and I don’t mean to belittle it, because I still think it’s a great pop song – but it’s a pop song. Do you know what I mean? It doesn’t have any kind of weight behind it, as such. But maybe that’s the irony of it.” SG

“The pasty and deep-voiced young man…came from a rural English village called Newton-Le-Willows.” SG He started as a drummer with bands like Give Way and FBI, but “pulled a Phil Collins and became the singer” SG because, as he said, he was writing most of the songs. FB He got his big break when producer Peter Waterman heard him sing. The famed Stock-Aitken-Waterman team “basically colonized the UK charts” SG in the late ‘80s with hits from Kylie Minogue, Bananarama, and Dead or Alive. All told, they had more than a hundred top 40 UK hits. LW

The ”shy vocalist with the boy-next-door looks” FB started working at Waterman’s PWL studio – making tea while also learning the technical aspects of recording and making demos. FB When they released Astley’s first single in the summer of 1987, it “practically made Astley an overnight star.” SG “The blippy bassline and handclap-driven drum track” SG is “pretty much swiped wholesale” SG from “Trapped,” a 1985 house single by Colonel Abrams which hit #3 in the UK. However, “Give You Up” “has none of the gospel-descended euphoric desperation that drives so much house” SG being marked instead by “the chintziest, shallowest Motown pastiche you’re ever going to hear. The strings are transparently fake. The horn stabs might be even faker. Over that beat, Rick Astley bellows thoroughly generic love-song lyrics from straight off of the Stock-Aitken-Waterman assembly line.” SG “Astley’s voice has all the chesty showiness of his British white-soul ancestor Tom Jones, but he has absolutely none of Jones’ swagger.” SG

The song became the biggest hit of 1987 in the UK and went on to top the charts in America in 1988.


Resources:


First posted 10/18/2022; last updated 11/24/2022.

Monday, August 24, 1987

R.E.M. “The One I Love” released

The One I Love

R.E.M.

Writer(s): Bill Berry, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe (see lyrics here)


Released: August 24, 1987


First Charted: September 5, 1987


Peak: 9 US, 10 CB, 13 RR, 2 AR, 1 CO, 16 UK, 11 CN, 84 AU, 3 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): --


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 28.0 video, 59.85 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

R.E.M. formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980 and immediately established themselves as one of the foundational bands for college rock radio. They were widely acclaimed through four albums which all found their way into the top 40 on the Billboard album chart in the U.S. Their big leap into the mainstream came in 1987 with their fifth album, Document. The top-10 album was their first platinum seller, thanks to the success of top-10 hit “The One I Love.”

Prior to “The One I Love,” R.E.M. had only charted on the Billboard Hot 100 with three minor hits. They developed a very “identifiable, special sound” PW with “Byrds-type guitars and rhythm section” PW with those earlier songs, but “The One I Love” is more of a tribute to Neil Young with its “guitar-sound-combined-with-this-drum-sound.” PW

Because of its refrain, “This one goes out to the one I love,” this song has become popular for loved ones to dedicate to each other on the radio. WK However, this is a misinterpretation of the song which contains lyrics which contradict the idea of love and “suggest a darker, more manipulative theme” WK as demonstrated with lyrics such as “a simple prop to occupy my time.” Lead singer Michael Stipe said, “It’s very clear that it’s about using people over and over again.” WK He initially thought the song was too brutal to record. SF

Critic Paul Williams says the song is “absolutely drenched in…the sounds and colors and textures of dissatisfied longing.” PW He says the lyrics reveal “the songer or persona’s discomfort with himself” PW as he rages “regarding his own inability to love; on some further level he is also expressing and despairing at his inability to really rage.” PW It “feels and sounds like a love song even as the content of words and vocal try to make clear that it isn’t.” PW


Resources:

  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia
  • PW Paul Williams (1993). Rock and Roll: The Best 100 Singles. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. Pages 227-9.


Related Links:


First posted 10/2/2022.

John Cougar Mellencamp released The Lonesome Jubilee

The Lonesome Jubilee

John Cougar Mellencamp


Released: August 24, 1987


Peak: 6 US, 31 UK, 18 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.5 US, -- UK, 3.5 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. Paper in Fire [3:53] (8/15/87, 9 US, 1 AR, 86 UK, 3 CN, 13 AU)
  2. Down and Out in Paradise [3:39]
  3. Check It Out [4:20] (2/6/88, 14 US, 3 AR, 96 UK, 10 CN, 22 AU)
  4. The Real Life [3:56] (9/12/87, 3 AR)
  5. Cherry Bomb [4:49] (9/5/87, 8 US, 1 AR, 12 AC, 5 CN, 20 AU)
  6. We Are the People [4:16]
  7. Empty Hands (Green/ Mellencamp) [3:44]
  8. Hard Times for an Honest Man [3:28] (9/5/87, 10 AR)
  9. Hotdogs and Hamburgers [4:04]
  10. Rooty Toot Toot [3:29] (5/7/88, 61 US, 7 AR, 19 CN, 54 AU)


Total Running Time: 39:38

Rating:

4.486 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Quotable: “Song for song, The Lonesome Jubilee is Mellencamp's strongest album.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“John Mellencamp's fascination with the American heartland came into full flower on Scarecrow, but with its follow-up, The Lonesome Jubilee, he began exploring American folk musics, adding fiddle, accordions, and acoustic guitars to his band, which allowed him to explore folk and country.” STE

“The expansion of his band coincided with his continuing growth as a songwriter. Song for song, The Lonesome Jubilee is Mellencamp’s strongest album, the record where he captured his romantic, if decidedly melancholy, vision of working-class America.” STE “The lyrics are a mix of social comment and reflection, and nostalgic descriptions of younger life and the process of maturing.” WK This is ground he has tread before, but on Jubilee he does it “better than ever, and his music is richer, which gives the album resonance.” STE

Paper in Fire is a cautionary tale concerned with the cost of chasing our dreams. Down and Out in Paradise chronicles a series of stories of economic and social hardship as if told to the President, who at the time was Ronald Reagan. Check It Out is a commentary on day to day existence that fosters the hope that future generations will understand better how to live. The Real Life continues the these of concern about the way lives are lived, and includes two vignettes of the lives of ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Jackson Jackson.’” WK

Cherry Bomb is a nostalgic but fundamentally happy review of the narrators life – ‘we were young and we were improving.’ We Are the People lists categories of people – the homeless, the oppressed, people in pain – against the refrain ‘May my thoughts be with you.’” WK

“Unemployment and its effect on the narrator and his wife Maryanne, is the subject of Empty Hands. Hard Times for an Honest Man continues the existential theme, noting, against a backdrop of two more cautionary tales, that ‘the rent we pay to stay here gets high.’ Hotdogs and Hamburgers addresses the question of right and wrong, and the need for personal choice, within a narrative describing the a lift given to an Indian girl on Route 66.” WK

Rooty Toot Toot, like ‘Cherry Bomb,’ is a happy nostalgic tale of the narrator’s youth. Mellencamp originally wrote the song as a nursery rhyme for his daughter, Teddi Jo, who had asked her father to use her name in one of his songs. After it was written, Mellencamp and his band turned ‘Rooty Toot Toot’ into a rock song.” WK


Notes: “Blues from the Front Porch” was added to a 2005 reissue as a bonus track.

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 8/20/2021.

Tuesday, August 18, 1987

Aerosmith roars back with Permanent Vacation

First posted 4/1/2008; updated 9/8/2020.

Permanent Vacation

Aerosmith


Buy Here:


Released: August 18, 1987


Peak: 11 US, 37 UK, 7 CN, 42 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, -- UK, 9.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Heart’s Done Time (Joe Perry, Desmond Child) [4:42]
  2. Magic Touch (Steven, Tyler, Perry, Jim Vallance) [4:37] (5/21/88, 42 AR)
  3. Rag Doll (Tyler, Perry, Vallance, Holly Knight) [4:25] (9/12/87, 17 US, 12 AR, 42 UK, 23 CN)
  4. Simoriah (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [4:25]
  5. Dude Looks Like a Lady (Tyler, Perry, Child) [4:25] (8/29/87, 14 US, 4 AR, 20 UK, 22 CN, 95 AU)
  6. St. John (Tyler) [4:10]
  7. Hangman Jury (Tyler, Perry, Vallance) [5:33] (11/14/87, 14 AR)
  8. Girl Keeps Coming Apart (Tyler, Perry) [4:13]
  9. Angel (Tyler, Child) [5:08] (1/30/88, 3 US, 2 AR, 69 UK, 14 CN)
  10. Permanent Vacation (Tyler, Brad Whitford) [4:49]
  11. I’m Down (John Lennon, Paul, McCartney) [2:20]
  12. The Movie (instrumental) (Tyler, Perry, Whitford, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer) [4:00]


Total Running Time: 51:38


The Players:

  • Steven Tyler (vocals, keyboards, harmonica, percussion)
  • Joe Perry (guitar)
  • Brad Whitford (rhythm guitar)
  • Tom Hamilton (bass)
  • Joey Kramer (drums, percussion)

Rating:

3.792 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

Aerosmith looked like they might be finished as a band after 1979’s Night in the Ruts. Guitarist Joe Perry left the band during the making of the album, the band members were fighting, and substance abuse was taking its toll. Three years later, the band released Rock in a Hard Place but without Perry and Brad Whitford, who left during recording, the band wasn’t the same.

The original lineup returned for 1985’s Done with Mirrors, but the album was met with a tepid reception. Then rap group Run-D.M.C. came to the rescue. Their #4 remake of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” featured Tyler and Perry and brought the band back into the limelight. Suddenly, during the height of ‘80s hair bands, Permanent Vacation proved “the crucial catalyst in reintroducing Aerosmith to the masses.” AMG It was the group’s most successful album in a decade and found themselves at the top of the heap, reinvented “as ‘80s and ‘90s superstars.” AMG

Credit goes to John Kalodner, the A&R executive who pushed the band to work with “knob-twiddler extraordinaire Bruce Fairbairn and career-revitalizing song doctors Desmond Child and Jim Vallance.” AMG Fairbairn had previously produced three Loverboy albums and, most notably, Bon Jovi’ monstrous 1986 smash, Slippery When Wet. After Permanent Vacation, he also produced Aerosmith’s next two albums – which were even bigger successes.

Desmond Child had also worked on Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet, co-writing the #1 hits “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer.” While “Child’s pedantic writing often compromises the timeliness of even the best material,” AMG Dude Looks Like a Lady, co-written with Tyler and Perry, proved a perfect song for the ‘80s. It offered a tongue-in-cheek nod to the contradictory nature of hair bands (a movement which Aerosmith was now part of) looking affeminate while promoting themselves as hyper-masculine. The band also managed to give the song enough pop sensibility to make it a hit without abandoning their rock cred.

Jim Vallance co-wrote all the songs on Bryan Adams’ 1984 smash album Reckless, which included the #1 “Heaven” and top-five hit “Summer of ’69.” He co-wrote Rag Doll with Holly Knight as well as Tyler and Perry. The song gave Aerosmith its second top-20 hit from the Permanent Vacation album.

After those two straightforward rock songs, the album’s third single “showcases the band at the peak of its power ballad cheese.” AMG “The crowd-pleasing schmaltz of AngelAMG ended up the band’s biggest hit to date, soaring all the way to #3 on the pop charts.

The album’s “pre-fab radio gems…remain largely unassailable from a ‘delivering the goods’ perspective” AMG and “the mostly stellar songwriting…makes it a strong effort overall.” AMG There are also “a guaranteed number of incredible tracks for any time and place. These include the earthy voodoo blues of St. John and the excellent hobo-harmonica fable of Hangman Jury.” AMG

Still, “some of the album’s nooks and crannies haven’t aged all that well because of Fairbairn's overwrought production, featuring an exaggerated sleekness typical of most mid-‘80s pop-metal albums.” AMG There are cuts that “lean to the filler side,” AMG but “the awkwardly Caribbean title track and the cover of the Beatles’ I’m Down are well executed.” AMG

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, August 8, 1987

Hooters One Way Home charted

One Way Home

Hooters


Charted: August 8, 1987


Peak: 27 US, -- UK, -- CN, 81 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US


Genre: mainstream rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Satellite (8/22/87, 61 US, 13 AR, 26 CO, 22 UK)
  2. Karla with a K (12/26/87, 47 AR, 33 CO, 81 UK)
  3. Johnny B (7/11/87, 61 US, 3 AR, 24 CO, 74 AU)
  4. Graveyard Waltz
  5. Fightin’ on the Same Side
  6. One Way Home
  7. Washington’s Day
  8. Hard Rockin’ Summer
  9. Engine 999


Total Running Time: 42:45


The Players:

  • Eric Bazilian (vocals, guitar, bass, mandolin, saxophone)
  • Rob Hyman (vocals, keyboards, melodica)
  • Andy King (bass, vocals)
  • John Lilley (guitar)
  • David Uosikkinen (drums)

Rating:

3.769 out of 5.00 (average of 13 ratings)

About the Album:

“Most of 80s pop fans remember Hooters only through… [1985’s] Nervous Night…that produced two top-20 hits ‘And We Danced’ and ‘Day by Day.’” S5 While that album “is an outstanding classic, if you really want to know Hooters, the second purchase might be this one.” S5

“The Hooters took a huge risk when it came time for their second album. One Way Home took a major stylistic leap away from the edgy new wave hybrids on their multi-platinum Nervous Night, forsaking what gave them MTV hits for a more rootsy sound. Mandolins and accordions added a tenor to the songs more on line with John Mellemcamp or Don Henley than the almost punky feeling of the debut.” TB

“Eric Brazillan and Rob Hyman were stretching themselves as songwriters, even if the commercial rewards weren’t as immediate.” TBOne Way Home is a striking album because of that.” TB

Satellite, was a semi-political rant about televangelists” TB whose sound “well represents the album tinged with good-ol' American traditional music.” S5

Karla with a K had Celtic undertones that made it a real standout.” TB The song came about from jamming on the road in Louisiana. It was inspired by an Irish street singer who the band met while in New Orleans. WK

Graveyard Waltz is written in 6/8 time.” TB The latter is a “well-structured, dynamic and melancholic masterpiece track which requires repeated listens.” S5

Fightin’ on the Same Side, which was first featured on 1983’s Amore, “in contrast, is upbeat one though themed with Civil War era America.” S5

“Should you be looking for songs more reflective of that initial fizzy pop explosion of the debut will find it on Hard Rocking Summer and Engine 999.” TB The former “is somewhat similar in style to John Cafferty, hard-crunching rock song” S5 while the latter is a “pure pop song extension of their debut album.” S5

“What they did, though, was add some grit to the slickness, and The Hooters were ahead of the curve on One Way Home.” TB

Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 2/15/2008; last updated 8/19/2021.