This weekend’s 80s rebroadcast comes from the heart of the summer between my high school and college years. Plenty of mighty good tunes were boxed out of the Top 40 then; here are four of them.
#90: April Wine, “Enough Is Enough”
I was a big fan of “Just Between You and Me,” their #21 hit from spring 81, and I enjoyed this one quite a bit as well. It didn’t break through to the pop stations in Cincinnati or Lexington, but WEBN played it regularly that summer. It’s also the last song on side 1 of the Canadian version of Hit Explosion, a K-Tel album I picked up from a cutout bin sometime while I was in college. Don’t think I’d ever seen a video for it until this week. Reached #50.
#62: Bow Wow Wow, “I Want Candy”
Short version: Former manager of the Sex Pistols cleaves the first incarnation of the Ants away from Adam and installs a 13-year-old as their vocalist. Annabella Lwin is 15 by the time this remake of a #11 hit from 65 reaches our shores. The Strangeloves, the band who originally scored with “I Want Candy,” deserve more space than I’m going to give them today, but I will mention that one of their members, Richard Gottehrer, became a boss producer (among others, he gave us Beauty and the Beat and Marshall Crenshaw’s debut disk). The cover, which has insinuated itself into our culture pretty well, is at its peak position.
#59: Monroes, “What Do All the People Know”
I don’t think I heard this until I bought Volume 3 of Living in Oblivion, a series of 80s new-wavey compilations, in 94. It’s absolutely dynamite, the song you should listen to today if you don’t already know it. Whatever momentum the Monroes had stalled completely out when their record company, an American subsidiary of Alfa Records, ceased operations right at this point in time. “What Do All the People Know” climbed no higher. Here’s the Merv Griffin fix you didn’t know you needed.
#53: Cheap Trick, “If You Want My Love”
I completely missed at the time how Beatles-influenced this song is, from the “whoo” at the end of the chorus, through Zander’s Lennon-esque crooning of “Yes, I thought you were a mystery girl,” to the chord progressions straight out of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Should have done much, much better. Nothing beats “Dream Police” or “Surrender,” but this is in the battle with “Tonight It’s You” for third place. It reached #45.
On Monday we’ll hear one that did get played on that 7/3/82 show, though chances are good it won’t rock as hard as any of these.