They Will Get By: Five Questionable '80s Comebacks from '60s Artists

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Eddie Money and Ronnie Spector
Rock and roll is a tough and fickle business. One minute you're on top of the world and the next you're on top of a float, blowing kisses to strangers in Branson, Missouri. In between, anything goes. Tonight, Eddie Money, a singer no stranger to the ups and downs of the music business, presents a holiday show at the Grove of Anaheim alongside Lou Gramm of Foreigner and Mickey Thomas of Starship. In honor of their persistence in traveling a bumpy road we present a list of five artists who proved in the '80s that it is never too late for a second act.



John Fogerty 
"Centerfield" (1985) 
With a bandana-ed Springsteen reaping in balefuls of cash singing to the people and a lack of demand for good songs about swamps, John Fogerty had hit a quiet patch. For his first solo album with Warner Bros., he offered up his own homage to baseball glories with "Centerfield." Thirteen years after Creedence Clearwater Revival had disbanded, Fogerty found himself back on the charts. With its twangy "La Bamba"-like intro and lyrics that reference Chuck Berry, "Centerfield" was knee deep in nostalgia. Luckily for him, that translated to the biggest record sales of his career.

 


Roy Orbison

"You Got It" (1989)

Twenty-four years after his last charting solo appearance, Roy Orbison hit it big with "You Got It." Unfortunately he had died the month before. The song was written by fellow Wilbury's Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne but one might argue that the formula had been written decades before. With its thundering timpanis and fluttering strings, "You Got It" was a classic Orbison tune that could have fit on any setlist of his career -- except he didn't get any of the songwriting royalties for it.

 


Grateful Dead 

"Touch of Grey" (1987) 

Curiously, "Touch of Grey" is the Grateful Dead's only real radio hit. It was also their first attempt at a music video. It would appear that the best way for the Dead to "get by" was for them to become the Dire Straits. With plucky '80s synths and a bare minimum of guitar noodling, this was the Dead at their commercial peak and creative low.

 


Eddie Money and Ronnie Spector

"Take Me Home Tonight" (1986) 

By 1986 Eddie Money was looking for a comeback of his own. After striking it big with his debut a decade earlier, the boy from Levittown was having little luck on the charts. "Take Me Home Tonight," which pairs Money with Phil Spector's muse Ronnie Spector, was just the ticket. The song features Spector singing the chorus to the Ronnette's 1963 hit "Be My Baby" as the chorus to "Take Me Home Tonight." It proved to be Money's biggest hit, charting almost as well as the original, and relaunched both of singers' careers for the rest of the '80s.



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6 comments
My Medical Records
My Medical Records

I'm keen on These types of... very well, besides "Kokomo. inch You will discover restricts of course.

Tbplayer
Tbplayer

The only Beach Boys #1 not written by Brian Wilson?  Correct me if I'm wrong (and I could probably look this up), wasn't Good Vibrations the Boys' only other #1 single?

Mark Flowers
Mark Flowers

"Kokomo" is a truly atrocious record.  "Take me home" is somehow worse when Ronnie Spector is singing."You got it" was better when Bonnie Raitt covered it.

But "Centerfield" and "Touch of Grey" aren't too bad.  I think the problem is more that they didn't lead to anything new.  It was like Fogerty and Garcia were teasing us: we *could* write new good songs, but we're too busy cashing your checks.

Tom
Tom

I like ALL of these...well, except "Kokomo." There are limits after all.

Cultofsoc
Cultofsoc

"I Get Around" and "Help Me Rhonda."

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