Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for April 13, 2012

[April 1986 Week 2] -- Here we are in the second week of my birth month. If you visited the Flashback last week, you know that we are reviewing tunes from April 1986, the month and year in which I turned 18. This week we'll spotlight a few hits from the week of April 12, 1986. Can you remember what was in heavy radio rotation 26 years ago this week? Read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1"zhum zhum zinna-ninny, zhum zhum zinna-ninny, zhum zhum zinna-ninny ..."

For the week of April 12, 1986, the #7 song on the Billboard Hot 100 a dance-pop ditty by debut artist Sly Fox. Sly Fox was a short-lived American duo intended to be clean-cut and wholesome role models (or, at least, poster-children for diversity). How ironic that their debut single generated a lot of buzz among parents who were concerned over the song title's seemingly overt sexual connotation. Those parents worried needlessly, however, as the song's lyrics simply complained of disillusionment with modern society while wanting to make things better ("We need heaven on earth today | We can make a better way"). Even though the song reached the top 10, and the music video was in heavy rotation, Sly Fox ended up just another synth-driven, one-hit wonder. Another irony for would-be teen idols singing "Let's Go All They Way." 

Flashback #2"Don't you see there is a rhythm | I'll take you where you really need to be."

Another band topping the charts during the second week of April 1986 was no stranger to US playlists. Australian rockers INXS had previously charted four singles in the US, all from Shabooh, Shoobah (1982) and The Swing (1984), their third and fourth LPs respectively. Of those four singles, only one had achieved a top 10 position: "The One Thing" which reached #2 on U.S. Billboard Top Tracks. But that changed with the second single released off their fifth studio album, Listen Like Thieves (1985). Listen helped INXS really break into the American market and it yielded their first top 5 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. But it almost didn't happen. The band had completed Listen Like Thieves and delivered it, but record execs were concerned the album didn't have a sure hit. The band went back into the studio and delivered "What You Need" in less than a day. Talk about performance under pressure!

Flashback #3"Six o'clock already I was just in the middle of a dream."

26 years ago this week, Falco was still ruling the charts with his number one hit, "Rock Me Amadeus" (see last week's flashback for details). So this flashback will peak with the #3 single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 that week. That single was released by the all-female pop band called The Bangles on their second studio album, Different Light (1986). Originally written by Prince (under a pseudonym) for the band Apollonia 6 back in 1984, this song was offered to The Bangles and it became their first big hit. Due to our society's consistent penchant to bemoan the Monday to Friday grind, this tune is still part of our collective memory even if it doesn't get as much airplay nearly three decades later. So, for our final flashback on this Friday the 13th, I give you this reminder that another "Manic Monday" is only a few days away. 

Even when celebrating my own birth month, the rule of three applies for Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

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