March is going to come in like an earworm this year if The Nest can help it. It’s Muzak Monday, and that means it’s time to unveil the next gust of wind that I’ve ranked way up high in my Top 30 Songs We Just Feel Like Playing countdown! I promised you a cheesy slice of 80’s pop, and we’re going to deliver that with a bit of a country twang. It’s time to ante up song #9…
#9. “Queen of Hearts” – Juice Newton
Rock and roll has long been the dominant genre of music in the US, and the clear ruler of our pop charts. Long playing second fiddle has been country music, or country and western as it was long called (Like Nashville is actually in the West). Both genres have their own set of fans, their own record charts, their own awards shows…. really, their own personality that rarely meshes with each other.
But there have been artists who have been able to bridge the gap between country and rock, and who found a wider audience of fans than Merle Haggard or Loretta Lynn ever did. Many of these acts were prevalent in the 70’s and early 80’s… and one of the more successful was a country darling by the name of Juice Newton. We featured her before here on the Dusty Vinyl Archive, and now it’s time to honor the song that everyone knows her for. Come on, admit it… you can’t possibly dislike this schmaltzy little guilty pleasure!
This video is just as corny and hammed up as her video for “Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me” that I linked to above, but that’s a part of its charm. I’ll always associate this song with the roller skating parties my grade school had each month at the local rink in the mid 80’s. Along with “Break My Stride” and “The Curly Shuffle,” it was one of those records you knew they were going to throw on at some point in the night…
Juice’s “Queen of Hearts” was a #2 hit in the US and also charted rather well in a number of other free world nations when it was released in 1981. But it didn’t chart at all in the British Isles. And maybe that was because they had their own hit version of the song two years earlier, recorded by none other than Dave Edmunds of “I Hear You Knockin'” fame, that only charted in the UK and Ireland. Listening to this version after hearing Juice Newton sing it for so many years is a bit….. surreal.
We’ll transition from the Queen to the King next Monday…..