song of the day – “Take Me With U” | PRINCE & THE REVOLUTION featuring APOLLONIA | 1985.

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On June 15, 2014, Casey Kasem, host of the longtime countdown program, AMERICAN TOP 40, passed away at the age of 82.  From my first blog post (and prolly some more inbetween then and now), I explained how, in 1979, I was a geeky, lanky and somewhat lost 12-year-old living in Central Maine, had a few friends and not a lot of interest in much of anything, but at some point early that year, I discovered AMERICAN TOP 40, and was glued 2 it every weekend.  Not only could I hear the 40 biggest songs in the country every week, but also Casey’s cool trivia and facts about the songs and the artists, a trait I treasure 2 this day.  4 me, the show was No. 1 with a bullet.  And still is (thanks 2 the re-airing of broadcasts of AT40 on iHeart Radio).american-top-40-casey-kasem

In honor of my radio hero, Casey Kasem, 4 the entire month of June, I will B highlighting a song each day (some days will have two songs!) that peaked in the Top 40 of the BILLBOARD Hot 100 (including five (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s), and with every blog post, just like on AMERICAN TOP 40, the hits will get bigger with each post.  On June 1, 2017, I featured a song that peaked at No. 40.  On June 30, I’ll feature a “song of the day” that went all the way 2 No. 1. 

As Casey used 2 say on AT40, “And on we go!”

When my radio show, STUCK IN THE 80s, had its final show on my 50th birthday – and during the Maine Blizzard Of 2017 (Hope, Shawn and I had 2 literally shut WMPG-FM down afterwards; Shawn: “We’re rockin’ so hard, the station cannot handle it anymore!”; Hope: “No one can follow U Ron!”). 

shawn, hope + me

With the 2017 Maine blizzard in the window behind us, from L to R that’s Shawn, Hope and yours truly all sporting STUCK IN THE 80s T-shirts on the final STUCK broadcast on WMPG-FM, 2.12.17.

One of the songs I chose 4 the last show was “Take Me With U” by Prince & The Revolution featuring Apollonia.  As I mentioned on the last show, and will re-mention here (if I haven’t already on the bloggy thing), it’s one of my all-time favorite Prince songs that DOESN’T get nearly enough love as it should.

purple rain

Released as the last of five singles from 1984’s PURPLE RAIN and written by Prince (of course), “Take Me With U” was a duet between Prince and Apollonia Kotero, who played Prince’s girlfriend in PURPLE RAIN.  “Take Me With U” was initially 2 have appeared on the APOLLONIA 6 album (released on October 1, 1984, and featured one song from PURPLE RAIN – “Sex Shooter,” which Apollonia 6 played in the film). 

But, with Prince being rightfully particular about his songs (4 example, all of his videos that went back up after he died have all pretty much been removed from YouTube), he pulled the song off of the APOLLONIA 6 album, and included it on PURPLE RAIN. 

prince + the revolution

All of the singles from (and of course, the entire album) PURPLE RAIN were sensational, but unlike the other singles released from the soundtrack, “Take Me With U” had this really cool vibe 2 it, featuring a drum solo and finger cymbals at the beginning and the end of the song.  This Psychedelic-y style might have actually been the precursor 2 his next album, AROUND THE WORLD IN A DAY, especially on the singles “Raspberry Beret” and “Pop Life.”

“Take Me With U” was released on January 25, 1985, exactly seven months after the release of the soundtrack 2 PURPLE RAIN, and almost exactly six months after the release of the film, and it only took a couple of weeks 4 the single 2 debut on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 (at No. 61).

take me with u

Reaching the Top 40 of the Hot 100 in just its fourth chart week, “Take Me With U” became the fifth Top 40 single from PURPLE RAIN, and, at that point, Prince became just the seventh recording artist in history (if my math is correct) 2 have five or more Top 40 hits released from one album on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, following Michael Jackson’s THRILLER, Lionel Richie’s CAN’T SLOW DOWN, Billy Joel’s AN INNOCENT MAN, SPORTS by Huey Lewis & The News, Tina Turner’s PRIVATE DANCER, and the incomparable Cyndi Lauper, and her wonderful SHE’S SO UNUSUAL.  (The Cars would join that group a week later with “Why Can’t I Have You,” the excellent and highly-underrated fifth single from their fantastic 1984 album, HEARTBEAT CITY.)

“Take Me With U” spent a couple of weeks at No. 25 in late March 1985, and without much fanfare, faded out of the Hot 100 after 12 short weeks.  Over in the U.K., it was a double A-sided single with “Let’s Go Crazy,” and it reached No. 7.  I would like 2 think the folks in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland didn’t just listen 2 “Let’s Go Crazy” (as awesome as that song is), and flipped the record over and really enjoyed “Take Me With U” too.

let's go crazy take me with u

Everyone in The Revolution was involved with this gem, and the unity involved with this song is amazing.  And, 4 those who didn’t already own PURPLE RAIN by the end of January 1985, when “Take Me With U” was released, and were kind enough 2 buy the single anyway, and 2 those radio stations who were kind enough 2 play it, I thank U.  “Take Me With U” is that sorta-forgotten gem (though not by me) that, when U listen 2 it 4 the first time in awhile, U will remember why U loved it all those years ago, and, like me, U will love it 4evah…

“I don’t care where we go / I don’t care what we do / I don’t care pretty baby / Just take me with u…”

prince + apollonia

(real) one-hit wonder of the week – “Waterfall” | WENDY & LISA | 1987.

Between late 1979 and the end of 1989, there were nearly 500 (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s that reached the BILLBOARD Hot 100 just one time, a list that includes Soft Cell, Gary Numan, Timbuk 3, The Church, Bronski Beat, Nik Kershaw, The Buggles, The Waitresses, Ultravox and two different bands named The Silencers.  Once a week, I’ll highlight a (real) one-hit wonder for you.

In remembering Prince on the first anniversary of his passing (on April 21), it got me thinking about Wendy & Lisa, his bandmates in The Revolution.  During the interviews for the 1986 album, PARADE, and film, UNDER THE CHERRY MOON, Wendy & Lisa felt like they weren’t getting as much of the credit for their work as they deserved.  Prince was ultimately unhappy about their feelings, and he convinced Wendy & Lisa to stay until the end of that tour.  (Why was it again that I never ventured down to Boston in the 80s to see Prince?  Sure beats the hell out of me.)

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Happier times… Wendy Melvoin, Prince and Lisa Coleman.

After the PARADE tour was finished, by October 1986, Prince dissolved The Revolution.  Prince went straight to work on his 1987 masterpiece, SIGN “O” THE TIMES, with guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Wendy Melvoin and keyboardist Lisa Coleman venturing out on their own. 

In late August 1987, Wendy and Lisa released their self-titled debut album.  Wendy and Lisa both shared lead and background vocals, with Wendy on guitar, bass, drums, percussion and organ, and Lisa on keyboards, piano and synthesizer.

wendy+lisa LP

It was also quite the family affair.  Two members of Lisa’s family helped out on the album, as did two members of Wendy’s family, including her twin sister Susannah and her brother, the late Jonathan Melvoin.  Jazz great Tom Scott also provided his saxophone talents, and fellow Revolution member, Bobby Z., co-wrote five of the 11 songs on the album.

The first single released from the album, “Waterfall,” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in mid-September 1987 at No. 80.  By early November 1987, “Waterfall” had climbed to a respectable No. 56, where it peaked.  It remained on the Hot 100 for 10 weeks, and Wendy & Lisa would not return.  It did manage to have some success in parts of Europe, however.  In Belgium, it reached No. 15, No. 17 in Holland, and in the U.K., it stopped at No. 66.

waterfall

For some reason, Wendy & Lisa did not fare well with their solo career over here in the U.S., but over in the U.K., they had much better success.  Their first three albums charted there, and they reached the U.K. singles chart nine times between 1987 and 1991, reaching the Top 40 once, with 1989’s “Satisfaction” (an original composition, co-written with Jesse Johnson of The Time).

Between 1987 and 2011, Wendy & Lisa released five full-length albums and one EP, and over the years, they have done session work and / or songwriting for folks like Seal, k.d. lang, Terence Trent D’Arby, Grace Jones, The Three O’Clock, Michael Penn, Eric Clapton, Scritti Politti and many more. 

Prolly the biggest post-Prince success Wendy & Lisa have had is for their work scoring films and TV shows.  They contributed to the 1992 Robin Williams film, TOYS, and scored the 1995 film, DANGEROUS MINDS, starring Michelle Pfeiffer.  One of the songs from their 1987 debut album, “The Life,” was re-recorded and got a new life on that soundtrack as “This Is The Life.”

After DANGEROUS MINDS, Wendy & Lisa scored for TV shows like CROSSING JORDAN, HEROES, MERCY, and NURSE JACKIE, for which they received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.  They were nominated for another Emmy Award in 2012 for the TV show, TOUCH.

revolution

In honor of Prince, The Revolution has gotten back together and have started a 24-date tour, which started Friday, April 21 (the one-year anniversary of Prince’s passing) in Minneapolis (Celebration 2017 at Paisley Park).  Tonight (4.23.2017), The Revolution – Wendy, Lisa, bassist Mark Brown, drummer Bobby Z, and keyboardist Matt Fink – start a two-night stop in Chicago.  I’d, of course, love to see them perform, but the closest they are coming to Maine is NYC.  It’s alright – just knowing they are performing together again is good enough for me.

the-revolution

The Revolution, reformed for 2017…

You know, I’ve always loved the song “Waterfall.”  Still kinda surprises me that it wasn’t a big hit, but at the very least, I’m glad Wendy & Lisa did find success, and on their own terms.

“People may come, people may go / Just as long as the water’s slow / But watch out when you’re headed for / The waterfall…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdfAhCG3oDo

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