Minor Details

Here we are again with the final installment of the one-hit wonders from the Billboard Hot 100 to peak at Number 92 with their lone hit. Lots of 80s music here for those who dig it. But first, a couple from 1979:

“You and Me”/Liner (3/24/79, two weeks). If Liner isn’t the least-imaginative band name of the 70s, it’s in the semifinals. The group was an English trio made up of twin brothers Tom and Dave Farmer and Eddie Colga. They had recorded as Blackfoot Sue in the early 1970s, scoring a single UK hit, “Standing in the Road.” In the 80s, they recorded as Outside Edge. And in between, they were Liner. YouTube DJ Music Mike has more.

“What’s a Matter Baby”/Ellen Foley (11/17/79, four weeks). She was Meat Loaf’s female duet partner on “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and “You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth,” and went on to play assistant DA Billie Young on the TV show Night Court. In between, she dated Mick Jones of the Clash (who, it is claimed by Wikipedia, wrote “Should I Stay or Should I Go” about their relationship), and he produced her second album. “What’s a Matter Baby,” from her first album, was a hit for Timi Yuro in 1962. Foley’s version has a retro feel a lot like J.D. Souther’s “You’re Only Lonely,” which ran the charts at about the same time.

“Takin’ It Back”/Breathless (1/19/80, four weeks). Breathless was fronted by Jonah Koslen, who’d been a member of the Michael Stanley Band from its formation through 1977, and featured keyboard player Mark Avsec, who had been in Wild Cherry. They were hot in Cleveland during the early 80s, and hot enough to open for KISS on a few dates, but not hot enough to last beyond 1981. “Takin’ It Back” is radio-friendly, but nothing to get excited about.

“Mirage”/Eric Troyer (7/26/80, two weeks). “Mirage” was apparently the lead single from an album that was never released, although I can locate precious little information about it, or anything else of Troyer’s. (He has a website, but it does more to obscure the nature of his work than it does to illuminate it.) He apparently did a lot of session work, and he was a member of Bev Bevan’s Electric Light Orchestra Part II and a successor project called the Orchestra, but that’s not exactly a recommendation for further research.

After the jump: a soap star, an Irish pop duo, an mp3, and more.

“One Life to Live”/Wayne Massey (10/18/80, two weeks). Massey joined the cast of the daytime soap One Life to Live in 1980 playing a singer, and in a convenient bit of promotional synergy, promptly charted “One Life to Live.” He would remain on the show for four years. After that, he would become a country star for real in duets with Charly McClain, his wife at the time. Their biggest was “With Just One Look in Your Eyes,” from 1985.

“Ready for Love”/Silverado (7/11/81, three weeks). Silverado, as best I can tell, was from Connecticut, and released three albums in the late 70s and early 80s; “Ready for Love” was on the last one. They opened for the likes of Pure Prairie League, Dave Mason, and even Steppenwolf during that period, and they reformed in 2008.

“Night Pulse”/Double Image (7/9/83, three weeks). Dave Steed of Popdose listened to this so we don’t have to: “sounds like it was made to be the theme song to some bad movie starring Lorenzo Lamas.”

“Canvas of Life”/Minor Detail (10/1/83, two weeks). Irish musicians John and Willie Hughes had been playing professionally in various configurations since the mid 1960s. By the 80s, they were into the synth-heavy dance-pop sound of the period, and “Canvas of Life” sounds like a thousand other records that made it on the radio (and MTV) at the same time. Which wasn’t going to help it rise above Number 92.

“Heartline”/Robin George (4/20/85, two weeks). In the 80s, George played guitar in the band of former Uriah Heep vocalist David Byron, did session work with Robert Plant and the Climax Blues Band, and played with members of Asia with an eye to joining the group, although he never did so officially. George’s album Dangerous Music was the biggest of his career, although it didn’t chart. If you remember the whole mid-80s pop-metal thing, Aldo Nova and Ratt and the like, you may remember “Heartline.” If not, you will remember something that sounds just like it.

The Canadian group One to One scored a Number-92 hit in 1986 with “Angel in My Pocket.” Up to that point, it was their only Hot 100 hit. But thanks to Wikipedia, I learned that they squeaked into the Hot 100 in 1992,  beyond the scope of this series (1955-1986), so I’m not including them here. Thus endeth Number 92.

“Heartline”/Robin George (Dangerous Music is being re-released in October; order it here)

6 thoughts on “Minor Details

  1. Just wanted to note, what with all the Clash references in that overview, that Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson played on and produced both that Foley single and the album from whence it came, Nightout

  2. I was a huge Hunter/Ronson fan back in the day and Ellen Foley was a big part of their orbit for a few years. Hunter and Ronson recruited a bunch of their buddies to play on Nightout, which was pretty great from start to finish. Her next record was basically a Clash album with her singing lead (which no one really liked) and then the coulda/shouda been a star vibe was gone…

  3. Dave

    Was listening to an old aircheck of UK pirate Radio Caroline from around 1980 the other day. The jock played a Blondie track, and said ‘Debbie Harry’s old hat – all the trendies are lusting after Ellen Foley now’. That was the first time I’d ever heard of her – this is the second!

  4. The missus and I have been watching season 2 of Night Court recently and it’s made me want to investigate Ms. Foley’s recording career beyond her backup stints for Meat Loaf (I bought Dead Ringer over the weekend). No offense to Markie Post, but I wish Billie had stuck around in Judge Stone’s court a little longer. Le sigh.

    And as a sworn defender of early-80s synth-pop, I love “Canvas of Life”, though I admit it’s the best thing on the album by far. Has anyone ever seen/heard an extended mix?

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