With all the talk about segregation on the airwaves, it's ironic that 1985's biggest breakthrough black artist is . . . comedian Eddie Murphy. His single, the thoroughly innocuous "Party All the Time," is currently No. 2 on the singles charts and its video version has gotten lots of exposure on MTV. If it weren't for "White Nights" and its two hit singles (by Lionel Richie and Phil Collins), Murphy might very well have the No. 1 single in the country, which must be galling to many veteran black artists who have not been able to penetrate the pop charts.
The irony comes from the conjunction of Murphy's extremely limited vocal range and abilities, and the historic outspokenness of the song's producer, funkateer Rick James, who was one of the first to publicly decry MTV's shunning of black artists. James seemed to have been relegated to VH-1, the soporific adult version of MTV, but now he's made it onto the real thing: in Murphy's video.
While "Party All the Time" has been a big hit on the pop charts, it has fared less well on the black charts, where it's currently No. 32. Meanwhile, James Brown's "Living in America" has given the Godfather of Soul his first Hot 100 hit since 1977's "Bodyheat." Despite that drought, it is Brown's 98th charted hit, a total topped only by Elvis Presley's 149. Band-Aid's Sticky Issue
What's in a name? Well, if the name is Band-Aid, and Johnson & Johnson owns it as a registered trademark, apparently something. Last year, the company gave Bob Geldof temporary rights to the name for six months for "Do They Know It's Christmas," the song that kicked off the rock-against-famine movement. But when CBS scheduled a rerelease of the song this Christmas, it found it would need to use another name for the all-star group of Britons who recorded it. CBS decided on Live Aid, but plans to release the song under that name were canceled when new artwork and a new flip side came in too late to reach the holiday market.
"It was a worthy cause and we did grant limited permission to use the name last December," said Robert Andrews, of Johnson & Johnson's public relations department, adding that Geldof had originally said he'd be finished with it by June. "To our knowledge no one has ever asked for an extension or renewal."
In England, the song has been rereleased under the names of composers Geldof and Midge Ure, with the flip side, "One Year On," updating the famine situation and reporting on relief efforts by the Band Aid Trust. The original version sold about 6 million copies worldwide.
No word on what the trust will do about the names of its two cargo ships, Band Aid Express and MV Band Aid Carrier, which recently delivered 100 tons of equipment and 400 tons of food to Africa.
The most popular Christmas singles in 1985, according to Billboard, are Elmo and Patsy's "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," followed by Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas," Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock," John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song," Bryan Adams' new "Christmas Time," Alabama's "Christmas in Dixie," the Temptations' "Silent Night" and Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." This is the third year in a row that "Grandma" has copped top honors, while the Crosby cut has been a favorite since 1942.
The top seasonal albums were by Alabama, Mannheim Steamroller, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Cole, Presley, George Winston, the Carpenters, New Edition and Amy Grant. Go-Go's Slow Dance
GO-GO: "Good to Go," the Island Alive film about Washington's vibrant funk scene, has now been rescheduled for a late March opening (originally slated for August, it had already been bumped to December). Local record buyers might want to know that Island's new "Saturday Night Live" album by Trouble Funk is just a reissue of the live sides from TEDD Records' double LP, "In Troubled Times," released two years ago. Trouble Funk, meanwhile, headlines an invitation-only New Year's Eve benefit concert at the Departmental Auditorium; funds will go to the Young Friends of the Red Cross for hurricane and earthquake victim relief.
Grace Jones' new hit, "Slave to the Rhythm," features a number of percussionists from Washington's top go-go bands, including Little Beats (of Redds and the Boys) and Shorty Tim and Juju (from EU). Nose Dives and Quick Hits
Liverpool's Beatles Museum is following in the footsteps of its inspiration and moving to London after two years of low public interest and high expenses. The display of instruments and memorabilia was set up to entice tourists to come to Liverpool; they didn't . . . The Clash is back down to founders Joe Strummer and Joe Simenon, following the departure of the three newest band members on the heels of a new album . . . Despite limited air play and no hot single, Barbra Streisand's "Broadway Album" continues its surge to the top of the charts, hitting No. 4, with a bullet, this week. It will get a boost on Jan. 11 when HBO presents William Friedkin's hour-long special on its making, Streisand's first television special in more than a decade . . . Lionel Richie's "Say You, Say Me" is his eighth self-penned No. 1 hit. The only writer to have more: Irving Berlin, with nine. Next in line with seven: Cole Porter and Stevie Wonder. Richie also joins Paul McCartney as the only writer to have No. 1 hits in eight consecutive years.