In this continuing series, the Analog Kid blog takes a look at songs that should have (in my humble opinion) been much bigger on the charts than they actually were. Maybe they were released as singles and never quite caught on, or perhaps they were buried on side four of a double album and left to obscurity. Maybe the bands’ record labels were run by cocaine-fueled monkeys. Whatever the reasons, it’s time to give these great tunes their just due. One thing’s for sure: they were all hits in my house…
I still can’t figure out why ‘Til Tuesday didn’t make it big. They had a great ’80s look, MTV loved them, and they backed up that support with a killer collection of pop songs. Things started out great for the band with the Top 10 single “Voices Carry” in 1985, but after that the public seemed to lose interest. ‘Til Tuesday’s last two albums were two of the best records of the ’80s, but nobody bought them and the band split up.
Of course, singer/songwriter Aimee Mann continued on to a superbly eclectic solo career after ‘Til Tuesday called it quits. Still, she must often wonder why a song as amazing as “Coming Up Close” barely scraped the Top 60. I know I sure do…
‘Til Tuesday: “Coming Up Close” (Mann)
From the album Welcome Home
Epic Records, 1986
“What About Love” was the first single from Welcome Home, and it was a decent-sized hit (it peaked at #26 on the Billboard Hot 100). “What About Love” was a great choice for a first single, and it should have set the stage perfectly for its follow-up: the majestic “Coming Up Close.”
The Analog Kid isn’t going to bullshit you: “Coming Up Close” is a perfect song. I am still blown away every single time I hear it. Mann’s songwriting took a giant leap forward between ‘Til Tuesday’s first and second records, and this song is the proof. The lyrics. The chorus. The production. As I said: perfection.
Why, then, did this pop masterpiece not even make the Top 40? You could argue that “Coming Up Close” was simply too sophisticated for a radio audience that was really into Starship and Bon Jovi at the time, but both “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “(I Just) Died in Your Arms” took similar approaches into the Top 10 that spring. I just can’t explain it.
‘Til Tuesday: “(Believed You Were) Lucky” (Mann/Shear)
From the album Everything’s Different Now
Epic Records, 1988
“Coming Up Close” was a smash hit compared to “(Believed You Were) Lucky,” the first single from 1988’s Everything’s Different Now. Aimee wrote another stellar pop song (co-authored by Jules Shear, her ex-boyfriend), and again nobody seemed to pay attention. “(Believed You Were) Lucky” did receive some airplay on alternative radio, but it stalled at #96 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Sometimes I am ashamed to be a fan of pop music. Hell, “(Believed You Were) Lucky” should have gone Top 10 based on the strength of Mann’s brilliant use of the word “acquiesce” alone. But again, the single floundered and the band broke up shortly afterwards.
Eventually, the music world did finally catch on to Mann’s fantastic songwriting via her solo career. I suppose this does makes me feel a bit better about ‘Til Tuesday’s lack of success, but I still will never understand a world where Samantha Fox can go Top 5 and Aimee Mann can’t…
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
‘Til Tuesday: “Voice Carry” (‘Til Tuesday)
From the album Voices Carry
Epic Records, 1985
‘Til Tuesday: “What About Love” [Long Version] (Mann)
from the 12″ single What About Love
Epic Records, 1986
Vinyl rip courtesy of DjPaulT and his amazing site: http://burningtheground.net/
Crowded House: “Don’t Dream It’s Over” (Finn)
From the album Crowded House
Capitol Records, 1986
Cutting Crew: “(I Just) Died In Your Arms” (Van Eede)
From the album Broadcast
Virgin Records, 1986
Samantha Fox: “Touch Me (I Want Your Body)” (Astrop/Shreeve/Harris)
From the album Touch Me
Jive Records, 1986
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to the collaboration between Mann and my man-crush, Ted Leo. Alas, the sound quality isn’t wonderful, but they really do work well together:
And if you’re not a Ted Leo fan, let me correct that (and maybe I’ll link the embed code properly this time):
Sorry to spam this thread, but on RS today, the new Aimee Mann/Ted Leo song inspired by the bronze statue of the Fonz:
Love Aimee Mann and agree with you completely. Where was the love? In the ’90s I went to a small outdoor show where she was the warm up for the Kinks. At which point I promptly died and went to Heaven, but I came back to see if she’d sing backup on “Waterloo Sunset”; which would be Nirvana.
I couldn’t agree with you more. Til Tuesday was incredible and I’ve spent many years wondering why they didn’t get the air time. Coming up Close was, as you said, a perfect song. Thanks for the article.