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.
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.
“You Got It” (1989)
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.
“Touch of Grey” (1987)
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
Eddie Money and Ronnie Spector
“Take Me Home Tonight” (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.
The Beach Boys
Al Jardine is wearing a Beach Boys hat. Mike Love is wearing a saxophone. And John
fucking Stamos is playing the steel drum. It is important to know that when
this song was written, there was no such place as Kokomo. The success of the
song led to Sandals naming one of their resorts after it. In a national moment
of weakness, the song, an innocuous return to the old surfing days, was
embraced, making it the only Beach Boys #1 not written by Brian Wilson. Eighteen
years later Mike Love tried to catch another Hawaiian shirt in a bottle by
recording "Santa's Goin' to Kokomo.” We'll spare you the link.