Rewinding the Charts: In 1986, Eddie Money & Ronnie Spector Staged a Comeback With 'Take Me Home Tonight'
The Mainstream Rock Songs No. 1 revived both stars' careers.
In 1986, Eddie Money was badly in need of a hit.
The artist born Edward Mahoney in Brooklyn had abandoned a career in law enforcement — his father and brother worked for the New York Police Department — to sing rock'n'roll, and the gamble had paid off.
Between 1978 and 1982, Money landed four consecutive albums in the top 40 of the Billboard 200, along with such notable Billboard Hot 100 singles as "Baby Hold On." But his hot streak ended in 1983 when his album Where's the Party? failed to produce a top 40 Hot 100 hit; meanwhile, drug addiction further derailed his career.
Redemption arrived three years later in the form of "Take Me Home Tonight," a muscular slice of pop-rock interpolating The Ronettes' 1963 No. 2 Hot 100 hit "Be My Baby."
In a 2015 interview, Money recalled that when he contacted Ronettes frontwoman Ronnie Spector to suggest that she reprise the line "Be my little baby" and her signature "oh-oh-oh-oh" from the original, "I could hear clinking and clanking in the background." Spector explained she was doing the dishes, then told him, "I'm not really in the business anymore, Eddie."
Money, who was 37 at the time, eventually coaxed Spector, then 43, into the studio, and "Take Me Home Tonight" revived both of their careers, topping the Sept. 20, 1986, Mainstream Rock Songs chart and peaking at No. 4 on the Hot 100 that November.
It marked a career high for Money, who went on to notch six additional top 40 Hot 100 hits through 1992 (besting his count of four prior to "Take Me Home Tonight"). He kicked drugs and alcohol for good in the early 2000s and continues to tour. In February, the singer starred in the Rochester, N.Y., premiere of Two Tickets to Paradise: The Musical, an autobiographical theatrical production he created that is scored with his signature hits.