Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for April 27, 2012

[April 1968 Week 4] -- All this month, the Flashback has focused on reviewing tunes from April 1986, the month and year in which I turned 18. Also this month, I have been asking folks to help me celebrate my birthday by supporting one or more of my favorite charities (details are in the post titled Forty-Four). It is hard to believe we have already covered Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3. April has positively flown by. But now we have arrived at the final Friday of the month, so it is time to savor a few of the songs that charted during the week of April 26, 1986 -- 26 years ago this week! After finally achieving the top spot in the Hot 100 on April 19, 1986, Prince held on for another week. But there were a few changes in the top 10. Do you recall any of the artists who jumped a few spots that week?

We'll look at three of them after the break.

Flashback #1"I just want to use your love tonight."

The week of April 26, 1986, was when our first flashback of the day squeaked into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. As the second single off The Outfield's debut album, Play Deep (1985), this tune spent 22 weeks on the charts, and would eventually peak at #6 (as well as #7 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart). Not bad considering their previous single hadn't even cracked the U.S. Hot 100. Even more impressive considering they never really achieved a complimentary level of success or popularity in their home country, the UK. (Usually it's the other way around for bands outside the US, with high-charting success at home and a few near or complete misses in the States). Play Deep went triple platinum, and spawned four hit singles. To date, The Outfield remains one of my favorite power (pop) trios, due in part to catchy tunes like "Your Love." 

Flashback #2"I tell myself, | "Hey, only fools rush in."

After a hugely successful tour in support of their 1984 release, Van Halen as a band succumbed to rising tensions (both artistic and otherwise). In the wake of that tour, frontman David Lee Roth parted ways with the band and the Van Halen brothers found themselves without a lead singer for the first time since 1974. But, just as a Formula 1 racer pops into the pit to replace a tire, Van Halen brought Sammy Hagar on board and roared back into the race for hits. The car analogy is appropriate because guitarist Eddie Van Halen is said to have met Hagar through a mutually-known Lamborghini mechanic. At first, Sammy Hagar, the former lead singer of 70s rockers Montrose, must have seemed like an odd replacement for Roth. Not that the music stylings were so disparate, but Hagar was coming off one of his most successful years as a solo performer ("I Can't Drive 55" peaked at #9 on Mainstream Rock and #26 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1984), so he really had no impetus to join an established band. But the foursome gelled, gathered together in Eddie Van Halen's personal recording studio (dubbed 5150), and cranked out an album titled 5150 (released in March 1986). It was Van Halen's seventh studio album, so the band already had a defined reputation, and that meant many folks did not initially know what to make of the new direction of "Van Hagar." With Hagar on vocals as well as rhythm guitar, Eddie was able to further delve into layering Van Halen's sound with keyboards and synthesizers. And, because Hagar's vocals were a bit more ballad-friendly than Roth's, Van Halen could dabble a bit more in love songs. Still, 5150 was enormously successful in sales, becoming the band's first to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, even while reviews were mixed. And Van Halen fans are still divided on that album's first single which is our second flashback of the day, "Why Can't This Be Love." 26 years ago this week, it jumped four spots to take the #5 position on the US Billboard Hot 100. It spent a total of 16 weeks on the chart and peaked at #3. 

Flashback #3"Your lights are on, but you're not home |  Your mind is not your own."

It spent a total of 22 weeks on the charts, but it was this week in April 1986 that our final flashback of the day finally achieved the #2 spot behind Prince. It would reach its peak position of #1 the following week (May 3, 1986). The second single off Robert Palmer's eighth studio album, Riptide (1985), it was intended to be a duet with Chaka Khan, but details could not be worked out with her record company (according to Wikipedia). Can you imagine how different the music video for "Addicted to Love" would have been with Palmer and Khan trading lines? I don't think the director could have gone for the robotic, high-fashion model "band" backing up that duet, do you? And without that video by British photographer Terence Donovan, I don't think "Addicted to Love" would have become Palmer's signature song. We lost Robert Palmer to a heart attack on September 26, 2003. But thanks to a career that spanned over two decades (and included hits like this one), his memory lives on.

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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