It has often been said that this rock legend does everything in his power to bring back the pop music of his youth. The kind of music which is so spare and simple that the songwriting needs to be strong. You can’t hide a lame song with slick production. And it takes a second to realize that with this song, you are actually hearing a doo-wop song in 1983!
Today’s singer had experimented with cynical new wave on earlier albums. He even scored his first-ever #1 with his snarky take on the current music of the day with “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me.” But from there, he went through a rough patch by anyone’s standards: He got into a bad motorcycle accident and divorced his first wife.
But by the time THIS song came out a few years later, things had definitely turned around for him: he was rich, famous, and single for the first time ever. He was dating supermodels like future second wife Christie Brinkley, who he felt was the only person he could really talk to, as his true soul mate, a feeling which was to be the inspiration for today’s song.
He’d been asked to write a song for Easy Money, a Rodney Dangerfield movie, and he used this song, with its peppy, early-’60s soul sound.
A sound he was SO into, he just went ahead and made a whole album like that. With that album’s first single, which is today’s song, he made it to #1 for the second time.
This became part of a mini cultural nostalgia-wave. Earlier in 1983, Phil Collins had scored his first-ever American top 10 hit with his cover of the Supremes’ 1966 #1 hit “You Can’t Hurry Love.” (CLIP)
FUN FACT: Collins’ cover peaked at #10 and Collins would soon appear in this top ten chart column so many times that people ended up calling him “Phil Columns”.
The week that today’s song hit #1, the Stray Cats’ “(She’s) Sexy & 17,” broke into the top 10, later peaking at #5. (CLIP)
A few weeks after today’s doo wop throwback song hit #1, The Big Chill hit theaters and connected big time with middle aging boomers. That film’s nothing-but-oldies soundtrack album sold six million copies in the US.
So it was a good time for the sound of Billy Joel’s “Tell her About It” on IKTS!