By Courtney Harrell
By Kyra Scrimgeour
By Jena Ardell
By Mary Willson
By Bree Davies
By Tom Murphy
By Tom Murphy
By A.H. Goldstein
The people have spoken.
At the conclusion of our recent list of pop history's most overplayed classic-rock songs ("Stairway to Hell," December 7), we invited you, our readers, to point out any tunes we might have overlooked. The response was voluminous. Either we struck a chord, or we did such a poor job that you felt someone had to fill in the gaps.
Hence, here's your roster of the ten overplayed acts we didn't mention last time around, as well as the top ten numbers by performers whose other work gets aired less frequently (see sidebar, page 64). And for those correspondents who suggested that overplayed rock oldies, classic new-wave hits and cuts that fall into several other musical classifications also deserve to be noted, here's an admission: You're right. Don't be surprised if they make an appearance in these pages sometime in the future.
10. ASIA. Oh, my God! It's perhaps the most mediocre supergroup of all time! This collective of veteran art-rockers--Yes's Steve Howe and Geoff Downes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Carl Palmer, and John Wetton, formerly of King Crimson and (yikes!) Uriah Heep--made music that was about as artful as a Jim Varney film. Worse, they're still getting airplay.
Runners-up. 3. "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" (1983): The listeners have left the room. 2. "Only Time Will Tell" (1982): Time's up. 1. "Don't Cry" (1983): All right, but only if you stop spinning this song.
The Winner. "Heat of the Moment" (1982): Untruth in advertising: It's not hot, and it lasts a lot longer than a moment.
9. TOTO. A group of L.A. session men with absolutely nothing to say get together, and millions of masochists make them stars. Little-known fact: Toto keyboardist David Paich won an Emmy for co-writing the theme to the Raymond Burr series Ironside. Which kicked the asses of the rest of these disgusting ditties.
Runners-up. 3. "I Won't Hold You Back" (1983): You already have. 2. "Africa" (1982): Single-handedly pushed back the cause of improved relations with nations on the African continent by about a thousand years. 1. "Rosanna" (1982): Single-handedly pushed back the career of Rosanna Arquette (the composition's inspiration) by about a thousand years.
The Winner. "Hold the Line" (1978): The first, and worst, Toto hit. It's way over the line.
8. JEFFERSON AIRPLANE/STARSHIP. This San Francisco outfit was one of the brightest new entries during the original Summer of Love. With each passing day (and each successive name change), however, it became less interesting. In another decade or so, it may finally disappear.
Runners-up. 3. "Somebody to Love" (1967): Judging by the miles on Grace Slick today, she found plenty of somebodies to love. 2. "Miracles" (1975): After this song, we stopped believing in them. 1. "Jane" (1979): She's feelin' no pain--but listeners are.
The Winner. "We Built This City" (1985): Easily the band's worst hit.
7. FOREIGNER. These guys may not have much of a career right now, but they've left eons worth of fake rock and genuine treacle in their wake.
Runners-up. 3. "I Want to Know What Love Is" (1984): Love is never having to be subjected to this again. 2. "Hot Blooded" (1978): You can never find a leech when you need one. 1. "Cold as Ice" (1977): Hot-blooded or cold as ice? Make up your minds.
The Winner. "Feels Like the First Time" (1977): If this song really was anything like "the first time," most of us would still be keeping a vow of celibacy.
6. DAVID BOWIE. The Thin White Duke is a crossover hero; he gets overplayed on modern-rock radio, too. Fortunately, he has enough personalities to go around.
Runners-up. 3. "Young Americans" (1975): Among the hipper tracks here. As such, it's a surprise it gets aired at all. 2. "Golden Years" (1976): This is as funky as classic rock gets--meaning that James Brown has nothing to worry about. 1. "Fame" (1975): Yeah, being rich and famous is rough. Those of us who are unknown and impoverished definitely sympathize.
The Winner. "Space Oddity" (1973): The story of Major Tom lost in space. Too bad he didn't take this creaky epic with him.
5. ELTON JOHN. Laugh if you'd like, but Elton was one of the more tolerable idols who emerged during the Seventies. Of course, that doesn't make The Lion King sound any better.
Runners-up. 3. "Rocket Man" (1972): Bowie's inspiration for "Space Oddity"? Only his hairdresser knows for sure. 2. "Crocodile Rock" (1972): Our readers think this has a lot in common with its namesake--it bites. 1. "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (1973): Billy Joel likes this John song more than any other. Figures.
The Winner. "Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)" (1973): It's endless. It's pretentious. It's got several "movements." At times it sounds like Rick Wakeman. Friends, that is classic rock.
4. JOURNEY. Beavis and Butt-head's most hated group. For cartoon morons, they're pretty damn insightful.
Runners-up. 3. "Who's Crying Now" (1981): Anyone who ever heard this frigging thing. 2. "Any Way You Want It" (1980): We want it spindled, mutilated and destroyed. 1. "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981): Okay--but can we stop listening?
The Winner. "Open Arms" (1982): If you doubt that lead singer Steve Perry is the spawn of the devil, check this one out.