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 – “Do It Again (Medley With Billie Jean)” | CLUB HOUSE | 1983.

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.

On Sunday, 1.29.2017, my awesome and talented WMPG radio neighbor, DJ SHAXX, and I will be teaming up for a second installment in celebrating the 12-inch single, extended remixes and even mash-ups on a show that we are calling 12inchTHROWDOWN Redux!

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With outlets like You Tube, mash-ups are becoming more commonplace than ever before.  Mash-up covers are a bit more rare but they do exist.  It’s been done on the TV show GLEE many times (their Season 3 mash-up cover of Adele’s “Rumour Has It” and “Someone Like You” has sold almost 500,000 digital copies and charted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 higher than Adele’s original version of “Rumour Has It”).

glee-rumour

For their 2011 album, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, the kick-ass Experimental Music band out of Columbus, Ohio, The Evolution Control Committee, completely reworked Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” by brilliantly constructing it solely using Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” and called the mash-up cover “Fockit. 

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In 2003, British musician and producer Richard X teamed up with the English / Irish Pop band, Liberty X, on a genius cover of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s 1983 gem, “Ain’t Nobody,” backed with the instrumental music of Human League’s 1978 / 1982 Synthpop classic, “Being Boiled.”  The mash-up cover “Being Nobody” actually ended up “being” a Top 10 hit in both the U.K. and Ireland. 

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Rewinding back to 1983, the year of Michael Jackson, mash-up covers were almost unheard of (not counting 1981’s “Medley” by Stars On 45 or 1982’s “Hooked On Classics” by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra).  But, the Italian Dance group Club House pulled it off, reworking the beat of Michael Jackson’s huge No. 1 hit, “Billie Jean” (from earlier that year), into the lyrics of Steely Dan’s Top 10 hit from 1972, “Do It Again.” 

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The only picture I could find of Club House.

 

The imaginative “Do It Again (Medley With Billie Jean)” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 at No. 89 in late August 1983, while Michael Jackson himself was climbing up the chart with THRILLER’s fifth single, “Human Nature,” and moving down the Hot 100 with THRILLER’s fourth single, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

A few weeks later, “Do It Again / Billie Jean” spent a week at its peak position of No. 75, and was gone from the Hot 100 after just five weeks.  Though Club House would continue to release singles through 1997 (their 1990 hit, “Deep In My Heart,” spent a week at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart), the band would never grace the Hot 100 again.

“Do It Again / Billie Jean” was, however, a popular hit in Europe, reaching the Top 10 in Belgium, Holland and Ireland, and it peaked at a respectable No. 11 on the U.K. singles chart.  It was also a Top 40 hit in Poland and New Zealand.

slingshotSometime after Club House’s mash-up cover was released, the short-lived Detroit Dance band, Slingshot, took Club House’s medley (matching it beat-for-beat), and the exact same week in August 1983 in which Club House debuted on the Hot 100 with their “Do It Again (Medley With Billie Jean),” Slingshot reached No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart with their version.  All these years later, I can’t tell the two versions apart. 

But, it was Club House’s version of “Do It Again (Medley With Billie Jean)” that was released first, and that’s the version which has stuck with me all these years, and it’s the version I plan on playing during the 12inchTHROWDOWN Redux.  Plus, it’s one of the (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s, so, consider that a bonus for this chart nerd…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHCpSXv71ho

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