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POP EYE

Top Stars Fading On Charts

October 25, 1987|PAUL GREIN

Saturday is Halloween, when millions of kids will go door-to-door trick-or-treating.

The music industry has its own version of trick-or-treat, but it's played out every week on the pop charts. And in recent weeks, several top stars have come home with rotten eggs.

The reasons for the poor chart showings vary. In some cases, the artists turned in good records but found themselves battling negative career momentum. Other artists simply delivered lackluster works. The end result is the same: a spooky Halloween.

Among this season's "tricked" artists:

Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stone's second solo album, "Primitive Cool," drops to No. 47 in next week's issue of Billboard magazine, after peaking last week at No. 41. That leaves the LP way below the No. 13 peak of Jagger's 1985 solo debut, "She's the Boss." And that was a poorer showing than any Rolling Stones studio album ever released. One problem: "Let's Work"--the first single from the new album--has failed to catch fire. After 23 years, it looks like Jagger is finally gathering moss. Wanna bet that the reunion tour isn't far away?

Donna Summer. The writing was on the wall when Summer's witty, whimsical "Dinner With Gershwin" single topped out at No. 48. Next week, her "All Systems Go" album moves up just eight notches to No. 122. Unless it jumps 82 notches in a hurry, it will break her string of 13 consecutive Top 40 albums.

The Bee Gees. "You Win Again," the initial single from the Brothers Gibb's first album in six years, never even got out of the starting gate. It peaked at a dismal No. 75--a poor showing indeed for an act that had six consecutive No. 1 hits in the '70s. The trio's album, "ESP," moves up to No. 100 in its third chart week, but without a hit single, it's likely to become their lowest-charting album since 1974.

Kenny Rogers. The country crooner's "I Prefer the Moonlight" entered the album chart last month at No. 163. That's also where it peaked . Just four weeks later, it's already off the chart--an abysmal showing for an artist with 20 gold or platinum albums to his credit.

The Cars. These Boston rockers broke a string of six consecutive Top 20 platinum albums when this release stopped at No. 26 in September. It's especially surprising because the album yielded a Top 20 hit ("You Are the Girl") and because the group's last studio album, 1984's "Heartbeat City," was such a smash.

Loverboy. These Canadian hitmakers broke a string of four straight Top 20 platinum albums when "Wildside" peaked at No. 42 earlier this month. The first single, "Notorious," was also a disappointment, reaching only No. 38.

Mr. Mister. Few expected "Go On . . ." to match the success of Mr. Mister's previous album, "Welcome to the Real World." After all, that 1985 release shot to No. 1 and yielded back-to-back No. 1 singles. But you would certainly have expected it to do better than it did. The album entered the chart at No. 62 and peaked the next week at No. 55.

Starship. This veteran group landed its third No. 1 hit in less than 18 months with "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now," the theme from the teen movie "Mannequin." All this singles success seems to have alienated the group's older, core album-buying audience. Starship's latest album, "No Protection," logged seven weeks in the Top 20, compared to 23 weeks for its previous release, "Knee Deep in the Hoopla."

"Moonlighting" sound track. The "Miami Vice" sound track was the smash hit of the Christmas, 1985 record-buying season, selling more than 4 million copies. You'd think the sound track to this hot show would do equally well, but it didn't even come close. It stopped at No. 50 last month, and next week tumbles to No. 142. The problem: timing. The sound track would probably have done a lot better if it had been released last spring when Bruce Willis had a Top 5 hit and the season-ending episodes featuring Mark Harmon were aired.

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