I couldn't begin to tell you why, but while I enjoyed H&O singles on the radio and bought some 45s, I never purchased one of their albums in the '80s. My mistake, because I woulda been all over this perfectly crafted pop music as a teenager. The duo is often described as "blue eyed soul" but there's more new wave-ish pop tunes than soulful crooning on this album. The group's first self-produced album, it marked a change in their sound and created momentum to greater chart success that soon followed. Four of the album's eleven tracks reached the top 40 and the album stayed on the Billboard Top 200 chart for 100 weeks. The liner notes on my 2004 re-release are good and very thorough.
Congratulations to the duo on their recent addition to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, artfully inducted by none other than Questlove.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #17
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #24
Tracks: My favorite tracks are Kiss On My List (with its near-perfect guitar solo that chooses melody over technique) and the cover of You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. Also good is the lead track, How Does It Feel To Be Back and Big Kids. While there's obvious filler (e.g., Hard To Be In Love With You, Africa), it's harmless enough that you don't have to skip it. And while this original version of Everytime You Go Away [sic] is ten times better than Paul Young's cover, Young has ruined the song for me, so I have to skip it. Sorry, Daryl - it's not you, it's Paul.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This disc is a relatively recent purchase out of a local store's clearance bin. I had the 45 for You Make My Dreams b/w Gotta Lotta Nerve (Perfect Perfect). When the b-side played on this CD (track 6) for the first listen, I was able to sing right along even though I hadn't heard that song in over 30 years. I must have listened to that 45 more than I remember.
When You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling was receiving regular radio play, I was a scrawny high school freshman, but that didn't stop me from singing the song to women as I tried to get them to notice. It didn't help that my cracking voice was changing at that time. Top Gun's Maverick may have been more successful with his bar version, but I thought of the idea 6 years before he hit the screens.
Previously revisited for the blog:
Big Bam Boom (1984)