Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Little River Band - "The Other Guy"

The Other Guy - Little River Band: Greatest Hits

(Debuted November 20, 1982, Peaked #11, 18 Weeks on the Chart)

Divorce seemed to be a touchy subject in the 1980s, as it was becoming more obvious that the rate was rising. As a kid, I remember hearing the results of studies that showed that divorce led to bad things in the future for the affected children, and then heard all of that amplified in 1986 when my own parents decided to call it a marriage. We lived in a small town...which meant that people talked behind our backs, and well-meaning people said things that were probably inappropriate.

Fortunately, I didn't end up in reform school (or worse) as a result of not having Dad around. But heck, the guy was in the Navy and seemed to be gone all the time anyway. The divorce just made the arrangement more permanent. In my case, my wife and I both came from divorced parents and don't want to subject our child to what we went through. So much for the "studies" 30 years ago that said we were more likely to split up because that's what we would think as "normal."

"The Other Guy" isn't about divorce per se, but that is where the couple in the song's lyrics are heading. The lady is looking elsewhere, and the man is pleading to work things out. It doesn't mention that they're actually married, but the word "kids" in the chorus leads the listener (in 1982-'83, at least) to assume that they are.

The song was recorded as an extra track for the band's Greatest Hits LP. It just missed the pop Top 10 and was The Little River Band's final appearance in the Top 20. Given the adult subject matter, it was also a Top 10 song on the Adult Contemporary chart. The revolving door of members that had been going on for the group finally claimed singer Glen Shorrock in 1983 and the hits tailed off soon afterward.

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