Ahh, yes… 2016. A new year. I thought it might do well to begin the year on an “up” note… so this installment is specializing in songs with an “up”side. And, because I have that tendency to revisit my youth and choose songs from the 60’s, I decided to advance the clock by several decades and limit my selections to songs from the 80’s. An improvement? I don’t know… but here we go…
Coming Up Paul McCartney
Kinda cheating, eh! Well, Sir Paul has continued to have hits beyond his Beatles days. And this one landed on our laps in the spring of 1980. It comes from his second solo album, McCartney II and achieved a very respectable #1 in North America and #2 in Britain.
Start Me Up The Rolling Stones
The perpetual rivalry continues. In 1981 it was The Stones turn to roll into the Top Ten with this one (#2 in the U.S. and #7 in the U.K.). It would later be used in Microsoft‘s promotion of Windows 95.
Hands Up Ottawan
Unlike most of our “up” artists in this post, French pop duo Ottawan didn’t have a string of major international hits. But, for one glorious moment in 1981, they sat atop most of the European charts with Hands Up. The song achieved something of a second life as the unofficial(?) anthem for Club Med.
Up Where We Belong Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
(and a chance to sing along in Spanish)… It’s now 1982 and, with the release of An Officer and a Gentleman came the duet sung by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. In the tradition of (Somewhere) Over the Rainbow, the movie’s producer (Don Simpson) wanted the song cut from Officer. Fortunately he was overruled and the song not only achieved #1 status in North America but garnered an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy in 1983!
Uptown Girl Billy Joel
Who cares if it’s a compound word… it’s still a good song. And a big hit for Billy Joel in 1983…#4 in Canada, #3 in the U.S. and #1 in the U.K. Not a big surprise to hear that Joel took his inspiration for the song from the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
Never Gonna Give You Up Rick Astley
So 80’s. A guilty pleasure? I’m not sure how you feel ol’ Rick but he deserves mention because his “up” contribution was an international #1 hit in 1987 (yes…in Canada, in the U.S. and the U.K. among others). The song won Best British Single at the 1988 Brit Awards. On the other hand, it was voted #28 in 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs… Ever by VH1. Listen to it again and choose your camp…
Cheating a bit here… by looking back on the Christmas season… although, for those of Orthodox faith, I believe Christmas is yet to come (January 7). Regardless, a good song is a good song…and we have frequently had the good fortune of having our eldest son send along a seasonal selection…sometimes of his own creation and sometimes his arrangement of a known song. In this case we revisit The Chieftains The Bells of Dublin, a 1991 Christmas album which featured (amongst others) a song by Jackson Browne titled The Rebel Jesus.
…and Back some more!
Now I know I promised (sortof) that I would eschew the sixties for once… BUT here I must make an exception. When The Association began work on their 1967 album, Insight Out, they joined with Bones Howe, a rising star in the production of pop albums at the time. Their collaboration resulted in two of the band’s most famous singles, Windy and Never My Love. I was looking over my vinyl version (I actually have two copies) and realized that I hadn’t purchased a CD version (as yet). So I did a search and discovered that a newer release of this album (ie. with bonus tracks) contains a song which I’d never heard before. Although not part of the original album, Autumn Afternoon was a “Christmas treat” for me as it marked the first collaboration between Howe and the band. And, incidentally, the song was written by Don and Dick Addrisi, the brothers who also co-wrote Never My Love (I just can’t give up) for the band. That’s my way of saying that it merits mention here…