Find Me The Place For Us

Here we are. We’ve reached chart week twenty-eight during our review of Bubbling Under the Hot 100 singles from the 80s. There’s a lit bit of country, soundtrack tunes, and as always, soul. Let’s lift these castoffs up and give them a new life.

Barbara Mandrell – Crackers (debuted 7/12/1980, peaked at #105)

Is this song about the eldest Mandrell sister going crazy? No, the title refers to the food she won’t mind her lover eating in bed with her. My joke meter just sounded off multiple alarms, but I’ll keep it clean. Considering Babs doesn’t mind sleeping in a double bed rather than a Queen or King or could care less about being wrong about love, her low self-esteem of sleeping in a pile of Ritz crumbs matches perfectly. From her first 80s LP, Love Is Fair, this single will climb to #3 on the Country charts.

Cheeks – Boney Moronie (debuted 7/12/1980, peaked at #110)

Here’s a pub rock band that released a few singles between 1979 and 1981. This one ended up on the soundtrack to the Animal House-ripoff, Up The Academy starring a young Ralph Macchio. The film is an absolute debacle, and even Mad Magazine, which “presented” it, immediately distanced itself from it after its release.  This amateur cover of this 1957 Larry Williams classic fits the movie to a T. As it plays, you can imagine horny teens crazily running around, gratuitous nudity, and senseless destruction.

Savoy Brown – Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone (debuted 7/18/1981, peaked at #107)

UK blues-rock outfit Savoy Brown had some minor success in the States during the late 60s and early 70s but fell out of favor by the time of their 1976 release Skin N Bone, which failed to chart. Their last attempt at crossing over to the US Top 40 was filled with Smokie covers, first this single, initially a #12 UK hit for Chris Norman and his gang (a Bubbler for Savoy B.), then Run To Me released later in 1981. It was featured on Smokie’s 1980 Greatest Hits Volume 2 collection, but Savoy Brown’s version was their best US showing, reaching #68.

Charlie Daniels Band – Sweet Home Alabama (debuted 7/18/1981, peaked at #110)

From Volunteer Jam VII (which I assumed no one was paid for) comes the inevitable Skynyrd cover from Charlie D. I’m not sure if this was done as a tribute to the fallen members, pandering to the Nashville crowd, or a veiled political statement. I only say that as after the line Birmingham, they love the governor, and he leaves out the Boo, boo, boo part. They peaked at #94 on the County charts.

Zapp – Dance Floor (Part I) (debuted 7/17/1982, peaked at #101)

Roger Troutman was the most successful musically in advancing the funk genre into the 80s with funky synth grooves that were so tight, you’d think they’d snap in half. Maybe his talkbox was the glue that held them together. These jams were too good for Top 40 the first time around, but the hip-hop community sampled them so much, you heard them in dozens of rap songs, especially West Coast, in the 80s and beyond. Everything came full circle when Roger performed the talkbox on Dr. Dre & 2Pac’s #1 smash, California Love. This single will be Zapp’s only R&B #1 hit.

John Williams – Theme From E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) (debuted 7/17/1982, peaked at #103)

John Williams is one of the best-known film composers of all time and has garnered a few Top 40 hits with his themes to Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Jaws. The blockbuster film E.T. quickly became the highest-grossing film for over a decade. The single didn’t get any traction on radio, though, and was relegated to Bubbler status. As soon as you hear John’s theme, you immediately think of Elliott riding his bicycle, flying in the sky with E.T. in his basket. Or it makes you hide in your closet crying into a bag of Reese’s Pieces. Take your pick.

Charlie Daniels Band – Ragin’ Cajun (debuted 7/17/1982, peaked at #109)

Charlie’s back with the second single from his twelfth studio album, Windows, and the follow-up to his #22 hit, Still in Saigon. Someone from Louisiana will have to confirm if this funky fiddle hoedown gets played at U of L games or maybe during your roller coaster ride at Six Flags America in Maryland.

Dionne Warwick – All The Love In The World (debuted 7/16/1983, peaked at #101)

The third single from the Bee Gees-produced Heartbreaker album has a similar shuffly feel to Eyes That See In The Dark, a tune the trio would write for Kenny Rogers. This single didn’t chart on the Hot 100 or the R&B charts, but it would reach #16 on the AC charts and #10 in the UK.

Yello – I Love You (debuted 7/16/1983, peaked at #103)

Here’s the Swiss electronic duo with the lead single from their third album, You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess,  a New Wave-vibed dance track that will reach #16 on the Dance Club charts. In the US, they are most known for their tune, Oh Yeah, featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which only reached #51. Or, as Mac calls it, Day Bow Bow.

Juluka – Scatterlings Of Africa (debuted 7/16/1983, peaked at #106)

Here’s the Johannesburg, South Africa band led by Johny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu with a single from their fourth album, Scatterlings, which helped get their interpretation of  Zulu music heard outside of their native country. Only three years later, we’d be listening and overpraising Paul Simon’s Graceland. Johnny would re-record this track with his new band Savuka in 1987, and it would land on the Rain Man soundtrack.

Shor Patrol – Loverboy (debuted 7/16/1983, peaked at #108)

The pride of Baltimore (or at least, Ocean City) in the 80s was this hard-working rock band led by vocalist Alana Shor. This quintet, which rose from the ashes of the group Paper Cup,  released a four-song EP on Arista Records in 1983, and this single almost broke them into the big time. Instead, its lack of success drove the five members to split up.

Karla Bonoff – Somebody’s Eyes (debuted 7/14/1984, peaked at #109)

The Footloose soundtrack had already generated six Top 40 hits in 1984. But I think Columbia Records got a little greedy releasing a seventh single. Not that the tune isn’t good. It was just overkill. Though it did manage to climb the AC charts landing at #16.

Russ Ballard – The Fire Still Burns (debuted 7/13/1985, peaked at #105)

We wrap up chart week twenty-eight with the title track from this British singer/songwriter/guitarist’s seventh album and last, for eight years. It will fail to make an impact on Pop radio but will receive a decent amount of airplay on Mainstream Rock stations.

Back On The Beat

We’re feeling the heat of Summer as we reach chart week twenty-seven in our review of 80s singles Bubbling Under the Hot 100. We have an excellent group of New Wave tunes and, as always, some forgotten R&B.

Al Jarreau – Never Givin’ Up (debuted 7/5/1980, peaked at #102)

Al was four albums deep when he finally crossed over to the R&B charts with this single from the Jay Graydon-produced This Time, a #1 Jazz album. It will also garner him a Best Male R&B Vocal Grammy nomination and will set up his Pop breakthrough with Breakin’ Away.

J.C. Cunningham – The Pyramid Song (debuted 7/5/1980, peaked at #104)

Here’s a country novelty record sung in the style of Jim Stafford or early Charlie Daniels. But it didn’t have near the success of either of those two artists. In fact, outside of Bernie Madoff, I don’t know who else even bought this 45. JC would write a few Country hits, namely David Allan Coe’s Mona List Lost Her Smile.

Def Leppard – Rock Brigade (debuted 7/5/1980, peaked at #106)

Time for the Sheffield, England quintet who constantly tried to go through the metal door even though they were better characterized as hard rock. From their debut, On Through The Night, this single was their first attempt at the US  market. It wouldn’t be until three years later that producer Mutt Lange would inject a little pop into their sound, resulting in their first hit, Photograph.

Ian Hunter – We Gotta’ Get Out Of Here (debuted 7/5/1980, peaked at #108)

The former frontman of Mott The Hoople continued to climb onto the charts as a solo act and finally managed a #68 peak with Just Another Night from 1979’s You’re Never Alone With a Schizophrenic. And in the 70s, with a bit of success comes either a greatest hits compilation or a double live LP. Ian opted for the latter and kept side four open for some new studio recordings, of which this rocker is one.

Congrats to the class of 1981, chart week 27, especially the song Tempted by Squeeze, which debuts as a Bubbler and will scuttle onto charts cheating its way up to #49. It remains the band’s signature song even though it has two other Top 40 hits.

Squeeze – Black Coffee In Bed (debuted 7/10/1982, peaked at #103)

Keeping the R&B vibe of the former tune but moving on from the Paul Carrack vocals, here’s the first single from the UK quintet’s fifth album, Sweets From A Stranger. This New Wave classic featured backing vocals from Paul Young and Elvis Costello, neither of whom had a Top 40 hit under their belt at the time. One of my favorite songs from one of my favorite bands.

Roxy Music – Take A Chance With Me (debuted 7/10/1982, peaked at #104)

Roxy’s eighth and final album, Avalon, was their third UK #1. This was the third single released from it which reached #26 over in England. It wasn’t as catchy as More Than This but still worthy of a better showing than as a 1982 Bubbler. But this was never going to best anything from the Air Supply department as far as Pop radio was concerned.

Heaven 17 – We Live So Fast (debuted 7/9/1983, peaked at #102)

Ian Craig Marsh & Martyn Ware were founding members of the Human League. But by 1980, they couldn’t take being boiled any longer and split to form their own synth-pop band, Heaven 17. Officially a trio with lead singer Glenn Gregory, they racked up seven Top 40hits in the UK but only one chart hit in the US [Let Me Go, #74]. This speedy dance single, also from the album, The Luxury Gap,  got close to the Hot 100, but it died as it lived.

Ultravox – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (debuted 7/7/1984, peaked at #108)

Midge Ure became famous for co-founding Band Aid and then, Live Aid in the mid-80s. But he was also the lead singer of a pretty good New Wave outfit that netted seventeen Top40 singles in the UK. The closest they ever got in the States was Reap The Wild Wind in 1982. This 45 was even better than that and barely even bubbled. It reached #3 in England and the Top 10 in Belgium, Germany, Ireland, and New Zealand.

Kid Creole & The Coconuts – My Male Curiosity (debuted 7/7/1984, peaked at #110)

What an odd choice to have August Darnell and his 40s-style trio of coconut ladies perform in the Jeff Bridges film, Against All Odds. I’m cool with it. Any chance to see them perform. Unfortunately, their placement in the movie and the soundtrack did not help elevate their status. Their only chart single will be as guests of Barry Manilow on the #90 peak of Hey Mambo in 1988. If you want to know what they’re all about, pick up a copy of their 1982 LP, Wise Guy, which has three of their best songs: Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy, I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby and Stool Pigeon.

Gwen Guthrie – Padlock (debuted 7/6/1985, peaked at #102)

The first lady of the Paradise Garage is back with another post-disco Bubbler. It’s a great upbeat dance song that could have easily fit in on Pop radio during the Summer of 1985. Initially recorded for Gwen’s 1983 album, Portrait, and produced by Sly & Robbie, it received a special remix by DJ Larry Levan. It will climb to #25 on the R&B charts.

Keep The Feeling Of The Spirit

Let’s continue our review of the 80s Bubbling Under tracks from chart week twenty-six with a slew of R&B that was kept off the Pop charts.

Starpoint – Don’t Be So Serious (debuted 7/2/1983, peaked at #107)

Here’s a synth-funk quintet from Maryland led by four Phillips brothers. They released their fifth album, It’s So Delicious, in 1983. This was the lead single which became their biggest R&B hit to date, reaching #14. The band would only reach the Pop Top 40 once in 1985 with Object of My Desire.

Kool & The Gang – Straight Ahead (debuted 6/30/1984, peaked at #103)

After adding permanent lead singer J.T. Taylor and bring in Deodato to produce, this Jersey City funk outfit went on a Top 40 tear throughout the 80s. This was one of the few misses from an album [In the Heart] that already spawned Tonight [#13] and the #2 smash, Joanna. Not sure why this didn’t get picked up on Pop and R&B playlists [It peaked at #49 Soul], but it climbed to #15 in the UK.

Glassmoon – Cold Kid (debuted 6/30/1984, peaked at #103)

Here’s a Pop-rock quartet from Raleigh, NC, called initially Glass Moon, who had two albums under their belt and one charting record, a cover of the Hollies’ On A Carousel which reached #50 in 1982. Then the band split, but lead singer Dave Adams recruited new members, removed the spaced between glass and moon, and recorded one more album, Sympathetic Vibration, which spawned the New Wave-y tune. Their next recorded album has shelved, and the band was no more.

Fun fact: Bobby Patterson, who played bass on the 1984 album, went on to form Dag, a superb retro-funk band who put out a stellar album in 1994 called Righteous.

Luther Vandross – It’s Over Now (debuted 6/29/1985, peaked at #101)

It took Luther an entire decade to become Luther, although the R&B audience took to him almost immediately. Eddie Murphy was already spoofing him on 1983’s Delirious. Vandross got his second Top 40 hit in 1985, Til My Baby Comes Home, from his sixth album, The Night I Fell In Love, but it only climbed as high as #29. This was the second single from the album, and even though this boogie jam hit #4 on the R&B charts, it ends up here as a Bubbler.

René & Angela – Save Your Love (For #1) (debuted 6/29/1985, peaked at #101)

And yet another Soul act that couldn’t cross over. This was the duo’s first R&B #1 and seventh Top 40 on that chart. But the lead single from their fourth and final album, Street Called Desire, bottoms out here. It will have a #3 zenith on the Dance Club charts.

Melba Moore – When You Love Me Like This (debuted 6/29/1985, peaked at #106)

Then there’s the Pop radio shunning of New York City-born Melba Moore. Since this stage singer started recording in the late 60s, the closest she came to a Pop hit was her #47 cover of the Bee Gees’ You Stepped Into My Life in 1978. And that was attributed more to Gibb fever. This Quiet Storm midtempo ballad from her fourteenth album, Read My Lips, will be her thirteenth R&B Top 40.

The Textones – Midnight Mission (debuted 6/29/1985, peaked at #109)

We finish with a great single that has a little ahead of its time for acceptance. Led by singer/ songwriter Carla Olson, The Textones were formed in the L.A. punk scene of the late 70s and early 80s. By their debut in 1984, they added a little folk and country into the mix, which aligned them more to the cowpunk scene that featured bands like Lone Justice. A song about the forgotten poor at the height of 80s jingoism was always going to be a tough sell. But it’s not late to give this a spin because the message is, unfortunately, still timely.

Fun fact: Guitarist Kathy Valentine was an early band member but left to join the Go-Gos just before their debut album.

Fun fact 2: The Textones drummer on their debut was Dwight Twilley’s cohort, Phil Seymour.

To Say What’s Got To Be Said

It’s easy in hindsight to shake your head and wonder why some of these songs weren’t bigger hits or at least chart on the Hot 100. That’s my immediate thought as I look at this list of 80’s Bubbling Under songs from that week twenty-six. It’s easy to forget that some songs take time to grow into classics. Sometimes record companies just bungle the promotion. Some program directors who had particular tastes or were towing corporate lines created pop radio playlists as formulas for marketing executives rather than listeners. Eventually, we, the fans, get to choose, generation by generation, what we enjoy, so long as we can find it and have the ability to listen to it.

Gary Numan & Tubeway Army – Are ‘Friends’ Electric? (debuted 6/28/1980, peaked at #105)

Gary blew up the Pop charts in the late Spring of 1980 with the Synthpop classic, Cars, an absolute game-changer, robotic and lush. When it peaked at #10 in early June, it was surrounded by Linda Rondstadt on one side and Elton John on the other. A new day had come. But rather than release another track from The Pleasure Principle, such as Observer or Complex, ATCO re-released this 1979 UK #1 smash recorded with his former band, Tubeway Army. The single was more aligned with Joy Division than with Funkytown, and thus Gary remains a US one-hit-wonder.

Odyssey – Don’t Tell Me, Tell Her (debuted 6/28/1980, peaked at #105)

This New York City trio had a U.S. Top 40 in early 1978 with Native New Yorker. But they just could not get any more songs of theirs to click on the Pop chart for some reason. This was the lead single from their third album, Hang Together, and with the proper promotion and maybe better timing, this easily could have been a hit. Its gentle calypso vibe helped it do well on the Dance Club charts, where it reached #6.

Cameo – Freaky Dancin’ (debuted 7/4/1981, peaked at #102)

New York funk band Cameo whittled their group down from 14 to 10 members by their seventh album, Knights of The Sound Table. They are also of the few funk outfits to move through the pre-Disco, Disco, and post-Disco periods without losing their stroke. This will be their eleventh R&B Top 40 hit and fifth Top 10 when it peaks at #3. They will rack up 19 Soul hits before their first Pop Top 40 smash, Word Up!.

Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train (debuted 7/4/1981, peaked at #106)

People forget that when Ozzy was kicked out of Black Sabbath in 1979, many thought his career was over. But this where the legend of Oz begins. His agent, Don Arden, got him signed to Jet Records and made his daughter Sharon look after him and get him on the right track. [Ozzy was currently married to his first wife, Thelma, at the time.] He recruited members of various rock bands, including Quiet Riot’s Randy Rhoads, to play with him and record his debut, Blizzard Of Ozz, released in the UK in the Fall of 1980. This was the first solo single he ever released, and although it never reached the Hot 100, it was certified four times platinum in 2020.

Imagination – Just An Illusion (debuted 7/3/1982, peaked at #102)

Here’s a British trio that dabbled in some post-disco synth-funk that netted them lots of hits in their native country. This single, released from the second album, In the Heat of the Night, reached the Top 10 in almost every European country during the Spring of 1982. By the time this midtempo track reached the US shores, it had managed some Dance club spins and a #27 post on the R&B charts, but not much else. Producers Steve jolly & Tony Swain helmed one more album for the group before turning their attention to creating hits for Spandau Ballet and Bananarama.

Gino Soccio – It’s Alright (debuted 7/3/1982, peaked at #108)

If you listened to dance music after 1979 or danced in the clubs, you know that Disco never died. It just became less mainstream and less commercialized. You’re also probably one of the few who would know who Canadian producer Gino Soccio is. He had a slew of smashes on the Disco charts in the early 80s, including this one which peaked at #2. It will also chart on the R&B Hot 100, reaching #60.

U2 – Two Hearts Beat As One (debuted 7/2/1983, peaked at #101)

Until The Joshua Tree, the quintessential U2 album was War. If you were a fan, you knew every song on this album and truly believed Bono and the boys could change the world. It became their first #1 album in the UK and spent years on the US album charts. This single, easily my favorite from the LP,  was the follow-up to their first chart single, New Year’s Day, which hit #53.

Jennifer Warnes – Nights Are Forever (debuted 7/2/1983, peaked at #105)

Nobody thinks of Jennifer Warnes as the Queen of 80s soundtracks. But if you needed a woman to sing your film’s theme song, you called her. Her voice was at once familiar and new, comforting yet disquieting. What a perfect choice for Twilight Zone – The Movie, a production with its own complicated history. This track probably got buried because of the film’s bad press, but its Yachty-vibe is ripe for rediscovery. It will reach the Top 10 on the AC charts.

I’ll get to the rest in the next post…

Time To Work It Out

We’ve made it to chart week twenty-five in our review of the singles Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s. It’s a light week, so congrats to those who go out. Let’s see who didn’t make it.

Brick – All The Way (debuted 6/21/1980, peaked at #106)

The Atlanta funk quintet that gave us Dazz and Dusic hit a wall at the turn of the decade. This mid-tempo groover owes a bit of debt to those late 70s Raydio hits, albeit with grittier lead vocals. The lead track from their fourth album, Waiting On You, will reach #38 on the Soul charts. Push Push, the funkier follow-up, will do a little better.

Split Enz – One Step Ahead (debuted 6/27/1981, peaked at #104)

This New Zealand quintet’s sixth release, Waiata, Maori for singing, spawned the band’s second Top 10 hit in Australia. It’s one of my favorite songs of theirs and writer Neil Finn’s. But a track this downtempo wasn’t going to break through the Bette Davis Eyes wall that Pop radio was erecting.

Also, if it seemed weird to you that Neil Finn and Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers filled in for Lindsey Buckingham’s spot in Fleetwood Mac recently, consider that Split Enz opened for Tom Petty in 1981.

Bram Tchaikovsky – Shall We Dance? (debuted 6/27/1981, peaked at #109)

The former guitarist of the UK New Wave quartet The Motors had a surprise Top 40 in 1979 called Girl of My Dreams with a band that was also his stage name, kinda like Alice Cooper or Sade. But as the charts quickly softened in the early 80s, it was hard to get another song to break through the Pop cheese. This Power pop track from his third album, Funland, was his last stand before quitting the music industry.

Rich Little – President’s Rap (debuted 6/26/1982, peaked at #105)

Rich Little, the man of a thousand voices, is here to destroy America’s last musical art form. If you don’t know who Little is, consider yourself lucky. When it comes to roasts, he was to Dean Martin’s as Jeffrey Ross is to Comedy Central’s. Someone had the great idea in 1981 to do another installment of Vaughn Meader’s The First Family, but have Rich do the Ronnie Reagan part. Wait, it gets worse. Then Boardwalk Records decided to take a bunch of the “comedy bits” and insert them over the band War performing Tom Tom Club’s Genius of Love. And they didn’t even bother to credit the songwriters. It’s a cringe-worthy mess.

Fun fact: Michael Richards plays Ron Jr. on the cover, but the voice of a psychiatrist on the album.

Bill LaBounty – Never Gonna Look Back (debuted 6/26/1982, peaked at #110)

Bill LaBounty is a WestCoast legend. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always pay the bills. Thankfully Michael Johnson covered his 1978 #65 hit This Night Won’t Last Forever and took it into the Top 20 in 1979. This single was the last time Bill would get close to the Hot 100 again. And it’s from an album, his fourth, which in my opinion is his absolute best. Recorded with the best L.A. studio musicians of the day, this ballad will be his highest-charting single on the AC charts, peaking at #22. Warner Bros./Curb Records screwed up when they couldn’t get this or one of the three best tracks on LP on the radio: Dream On, Livin’ It Up, or Look Who’s Lonely Now.

After this release, Bill moved over to Nashville and wrote some big hits for Steve Wariner, such as the #1s, Lynda, and I Got Dreams.

Deniece Williams – Do What You Feel (debuted 6/25/1983, peaked at #102)

Niecy’s seventh album, I’m So Proud, was named after the 1964 Curtis Mayfield-penned hit by the Impressions, which she covers on the LP. This single was the lead 45, written by Willaims and produced by George Duke. The track, which will reach #9 on the R&B charts, has a familiar sound to it, mainly because the intro sounds like this hit, and the chorus sounds like this one. Of course, the chorus also reminds me of this Ashford & Simpson tune recorded five years previous.

Roger Glover – The Mask (debuted 6/23/1984, peaked at #102)

I think it’s obvious that Roger had a wild dream or a bad trip and thought it was a good idea to turn it into a misguided NEw Wave attempt. But the Deep Purple bassist might have been wiser to write it down and share it with a shrink instead. Instead, we get a very 80s production and an offensive video – a NatGeo clip gone awry.

Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere (debuted 6/22/1985, peaked at #105)

Let’s end on a high note from a band who knew how to make interesting videos. This was the lead single from the quartet’s 1985 LP, Little Creatures, their sixth, featuring a cover designed by Howard Finster. And like Once In a Lifetime before it, this classic too will languish under the charts. This will be a hit in many other countries, including the Top 10 in Germany, New Zealand, and the UK. David Byrne finished his American Utopia performance with this track, and for the Spike Lee film, he takes his band through the audience while they performed it.

Playing Around With Words

It’s Bubbling Under in the 80s time again. Let’s review the other half of the tracks that didn’t make it onto the Hot 100 during chart week twenty-four.

Joe Cocker – Threw It Away (debuted 6/18/1983, peaked at #104)This dude had such an up and down career when it came to Pop radio, a few highs followed by long lulls. He’s in the midst of one in 1983 after topping the charts in 1982 with Up Where We Belong. It will be another seven years before he hits the Top 40 one more time in late 1989 with When The Night Comes. That probably had more to do with the fact that it was written by Bryan Adams and Diane  Warren. Folks passed on this melancholy single that has a bit of Yachtiness to it. It was his last single for Island Records, so it never made it onto an album and is very hard to find.

Robert Hazard – Change Reaction (debuted 6/18/1983, peaked at #106)

The man from Philly who wrote Girls Just Want To Have Fun (a future hit for Cyndi Lauper) and who charted earlier in the year with Escalator Of Life [#58] is back with a bouncy rocker. It’s bound to make you push up your jacket sleeves and shake your head.

Pamala Stanley – Coming Out Of Hiding (debuted 6/16/1984, peaked at #106)

Here’s another Philly singer who bubbled under back in 1979 with This Is Hot is back with her second Bubbler. Co-written with her brother James, this synth-disco tune reached #4 on the Billboard Dance charts. I remember seeing the video a lot on public access video shows and thought it was a much bigger hit than it ended up to be.

George Clinton – Double Oh-Oh (debuted 6/15/1985, peaked at #101)

Not one of George’s solo singles ever charted on the Hot 100.  But boy, oh boy, have they been sampled. This one got as close as Atomic Dog did two years earlier, but it’s not as catchy. It’s from his third album, Some of My Best Friends Are Jokes.

Maze featuring Frankie Beverly – Too Many Games (debuted 6/15/1985, peaked at #103)

Here’s another artist that couldn’t cross over to the Pop market even though they place four songs on the Hot 100. But this Philly (again) band wasn’t making music for the Top 40. All of those tasty grooves were for their R&B audience, who still appreciate them today. If you’ve never heard their music, the album, Can’t Stop the Love is an excellent place to start.

Force M.D.’s – Itchin’ For A Scratch (debuted 6/15/1985, peaked at #105)

A year before they hit the Top 10 with Tender Love, this Staten Island sextet was making the transition from hip-hop to doo-wop. Thus you have some smooth harmonies over jacked-up drum beats, some vinyl scratching with a bit of rapping mixed in for good measure. The single was released from the soundtrack to the movie Rappin’, the unofficial sequel to Breakin’ 2.

Nolan Thomas – One Bad Apple (debuted 6/15/1985, peaked at #105)

Nolan was a teen singer from New Jersey who had a club with Yo’ Little Brother, which climbed to #57. Some record company nitwit thought it was a good idea to have him record a Freestyle cover of the Osmonds 1971 smash. Let’s just say the whole barrel became rotten. Career juiced. Next.

Cheyne – Call Me Mr. ‘Telephone’ (Answering Service) (debuted 6/15/1985, peaked at #106)

Anything that sounded remotely like Madonna, who was super huge at the time, was pushed out there to grab some of Madge’s money. This odd slice of Italo-Disco, which also features a mini-rap, is actually a cover as it was initially recorded by a band named Answering Service. This reached #1 on the Dance Club charts and #62 on the R&B charts. A better quality recording might have garnered the track more attention.

Bryan Ferry – Slave To Love (debuted 6/15/1985, peaked at #109)

Another artist who wasn’t motivated to make the Top 40 even though he made many great Pop singles. This makes a one-week stop as a Bubbler at #109 but reached the UK Top 10. It lives on as a New Wave classic as the background music to any erotic film scene.


Forget What I’ve Tried To Be

It’s another full dance card for chart week twenty-four regarding those Bubbling Under singles from the 80s. First, let’s review a handful from 1980 through 1983.

GQ – Sitting In The Park (debuted 6/14/1980, peaked at #101)

After scoring a #20 hit in 1979 with the Billy Stewart tune, I Do Love You, this Bronx quartet goes back to the well with another of his songs, which initially reached #24 in 1965. This one finds a bench, feeds the pigeons, and ends up a Bubbler. It will reach the R&B Top 10.

Gene Chandler – Does She Have A Friend? (debuted 6/14/1980, peaked at #101)

The Duke Of Earl tries to elongate his late 70s mini-comeback with this funky mid-tempo track from his eleventh album, ’80. It was a nice change of pace after his last two disco singles and should have received more love. It will only reach #28 on the Soul charts but will match that peak in the UK.

Survivor – Rebel Girl (debuted 6/14/1980, peaked at #103)

Oh, Survivor. We meet again. The band that placed ten singles in The Other Sixty group is back with their second and final Bubbler. It’s the follow-up to their first chart hit, Somewhere in America, but was not included on their 1980 debut for some reason.

Fun Fact: Lead singer Dave Bickler was also the band’s keyboard player in the beginning. Keyboardist Jim Peterik played rhythm guitar for the first two albums before switching.

Angel City – Marseilles (debuted 6/14/1980, peaked at #109)

Wanna know what AC/DC would sound like with a mellower lead vocalist? Well, look no further. The Angels were an Australian quintet eager to break into the US market at the turn of the decade. Their 1980 album Face to Face was a compilation from their last two late 70s Down Under releases, Face To Face and No Exit. They changed their name to Angel City, and this was all they had to show for it. The group would keep that double name charade up for five years. During that time, the US band Angel split up, and no one ever mistook these guys as the ones who sang My Boyfriend’s Back.

Heart – Bebe Le Strange (debuted 6/14/1980, peaked at #109)

The first five years of Heart’s career were filled with false starts and lawsuits. But even with their janky momentum, they still racked up seven Top 40 hits to this point. The title track to their fifth album was the follow-up to the #33 climber, Even It Up. No one got their Zeppelin better on better than the Wilson sisters.

Billy Ocean – Night (Feel Like Getting Down) (debuted 6/20/1981, peaked at #103)

Leslie Charles had an eight-year Top 40 gap between 1976’s Love Really Hurts Without You and Caribbean Queen. But he wasn’t on hiatus or asleep. Pop programmers were. The title track to his third album is a smooth jam that should have been pumping from car speakers that Summer. The cool cars in my neighborhood did, and it reached #7 on the R&B charts.

Also, Billy’s presence here is my cue to link this pre-Ted Lasso favorite.

The Pinups – Song On The Radio (debuted 6/19/1982, peaked at #110)

What a horribly misogynistic and exploitative concept as a band. But this is a damn fine pop song, which goes to prove that T&A doesn’t automatically sell music [see The Pussycat Dolls]. The song was written by Tony “A Fine Fine Day” Carey and released in the Netherlands in 1981 before getting a proper release here in the States. Pop radio missed the boat on this one.

The Isley Brothers – Between The Sheets (debuted 6/18/1983, peaked at #101)

We’re gonna finish with two classics in their respective genre. First up, the smooth grooves of the Isley Brothers, who released the title track to their twenty-second LP and last with the classic six-person lineup. Pop radio has absolutely no excuses for ignoring this Quiet Storm masterpiece. It will reach #3 on the Soul charts but will be sampled repeatedly by Jay-Z, Aaliyah, Whitney Houston, and, most importantly, Biggie. It’s hard to play this song and not think of throwing your hands in the ay-ya like a true playa. But we all know the true big poppa was Ronald Isley.

Marshall Crenshaw – Whenever You’re On My Mind (debuted 6/18/1983, peaked at #103)

Now on to a New Wave classic. What was the reason to keep the lead single off of Marshall’s second album, Field Day, off Pop radio? It’s easily the best thing he ever wrote and performed, and considering he already had a Top 40 presence the year before with Someday, Someway, this should have been a non-brainer for programmers. I also dig this version by Marti Jones, another artist Pop radio ignored.

That’s nine. We’ll finish up the chart week with the back nine in the next post.


Simple But No So Clear

Let’s continue our review of those snakebit tunes Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s. Here’s the group that showed up on chart week twenty-three from 1983 to 1985.

Carlos Santana – Watch Your Step (debuted 6/11/83, peaked at #107)

Devadip brings a little Muscle Shoals to San Francisco on his fifth solo album, Havana Moon, produced by Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett. This fun, upbeat rocker also features the Tower Of Power horns. Carlos has only charted once on the Hot 100 outside of his band for all of his output. That was his live version of Evil Ways with Buddy Miles that reached #84 in 1972.

O’Bryan – Lovelite (debuted 6/9/84, peaked at #101)

O’Bryan Burnette is an R&B singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist who racked up seven Top 40 hits on the Soul charts. This synth-funk jam from his third album, Be My Lover, was his biggest going all the way to #1. It was co-written as all the album tracks were by Don Cornelius. And that’s one way to get yourself on Soul Train. Also, does he know a limo driver is waiting for him at LaGuardia?

Greg Kihn Band – Reunited (debuted 6/9/84, peaked at #101)

And it feels so good. But this isn’t a Peaches & Herb remake. It’s the first single from Kihntagious, the sixth official release from the Greg Kihn Band.  Kihn this power popper make the Hot 100? No, it kihnt, as it kihn only climb as high as #101. Kihn you believe that? What an absolute kihn. Too bad they weren’t Kihnadian. They could’ve gotten some kihnkihn airplay.

John Lennon – Borrowed Time (debuted 6/9/84, peaked at #108)

Almost four years after John & Yoko’s Double Fantasy, Ono tried to finish the album that she & he were working on when he was murdered in December 1980. She called it Milk And Honey. Nobody Told Me ended up reaching #5, and after I’m Stepping Out only climbed as high as #55, this was released as the third single. Inspired by Bunny Wailer and a harrowing sailing trip, John wrote and recorded the first version of the song in Bermuda, which heavily influenced the reggae vibes, before going into the studio in New York during August 1980 band sessions.

The Deele – Material Thangz (debuted 6/8/85, peaked at #101)

This Cincinnati quintet kept delivering the synth-funk jams, which got them R&B airplay (#14 Soul) but never helped them crossover to Pop radio. They didn’t realize they had a smooth ballad songwriter in their lineup called Babyface. When they did, he co-wrote and co-sang Two Occasions, their only Top 40 hit. And then he split.

Van Zant – You’ve Got To Believe In Love (debuted 6/8/85, peaked at #102)

The Johnny Van Zant Band released three early 80s albums with not much to show for it. Even though Southern Rock was falling out of fashion, Johnny was undeterred and knew what to do. He changed the name of the band to Van Zant and released a fourth album under that moniker. And, voila, he was rewarded with a Bubbler. This track was co-written by Bill “This Night Won’t Last Forever” LaBounty. Johnny will later team up with Donnie as a tribute to Ronnie.

Ashford & Simpson – Babies (debuted 6/8/85, peaked at #102)

This married duo, which had their biggest Pop hit with Solid when it reached #12 in early 1985, is now on single #3 from that 1984 release. And still no love. This moody synth-soul tune will reach #29 on the R&B charts and features a muted trumpet solo by Joe Mosello, who played with Maynard Ferguson in the late 70s.

Run-D.M.C. – You Talk Too Much (debuted 6/8/85, peaked at #107)

Homeboy, you never SHUT UP! Another great track from the Hollis, Queens trio’s second album, King of Rock, which was blasting out of boomboxes all Summer in 1985. It will also make the R&B Top 20.

Greg Kihn – Boys Won’t (Leave The Girls Alone) (debuted 6/8/85, peaked at #110)

Kihn you believe this? Two Greg Kihn songs in one post. This one was from Citizen Kihn, Greg’s first solo album since 1978’s Next Of Kihn and was written with his long-time bass player, Steve Wright. It’s the catchy follow-up to his last Top 40 hit, Lucky but kihn barely get itself into the Bubbler club. It features Pete Escovedo on percussion. Also, rosebud.


Mysteries Of Time Unravelled

It looks like there were many debuts from chart week twenty-three that did not make it onto the Hot 100. So we had to break this list up in two. First, let’s check out those 80s Bubblers from 1980 to 1982.

Red Rider – Don’t Fight It (debuted 6/7/80, peaked at #103)

Here’s the second single from the Toronto, Canada quintet’s debut, released in 1979. Their first 45, White Hot, reached #48 earlier in the year, while this genial pop-rocker received barely any notice south of their border. They may be best known for their 1981 track, Lunatic Fringe, which got a lot of Rock radio airplay but did not chart in the US. Nevertheless, VH-1 still named it one of the greatest one-hit-wonders of the 80s.  But then again, they also have songs like Black Velvet listed, which hit #1 in March 1990.

Felix Cavaliere – Good To Have Love Back (debuted 6/7/80, peaked at #105)

Along with Tommy James, another voice from the 60s ended their Top 40 absence in 1980. The former lead singer of the Rascals had recorded three solo albums and one under the moniker Treasure in the 70s. This was the second single from 1979’s Castles In The Air, which sounds ripe for a Yacht Rock renaissance. But how can I be sure, in a world where the format keeps changing?

Willie Nile – It’s All Over (debuted 6/7/80, peaked at #106)

Somewhere between Tom Petty and Steve Forbert lies Willie Nile. This singer-songwriter is an artist whose name should be far more recognizable than it is. His debut was a critic’s darling back in 1980, but record company woes derailed his career for nearly a decade. Willie’s latest, New York At Night, was released in 2020 and continues to add to his legacy.

Rachel Sweet – Spellbound (debuted 6/7/80, peaked at #107)

What goes for Willie also applies to Rachel. At least she had a minor hit with her Rex Smith-duet cover of Everlasting Love. But, my Lord, she had a boatload of other tunes that were way more interesting, such as this New Wave pop release from her second LP, Protect the Innocent. Sweet moved into TV production in the late 90s on shows such as Sports Night, Dharma & Greg, and more recently, Hot In Cleveland and The Goldbergs. The 80s circle has now been closed.

Joe Chemay Band – Love Is A Crazy Feeling (debuted 6/13/81, peaked at #105)

Joe Chemay is a session bass player who not only played on Pink Floyd’s The Wall, he toured with them as a backup singer. He came off of that tour and released an album under The Joe Chemay Band called The  Riper The Finer, a nice slice of West Coast AOR. [The album was eventually released on CD in Japan in 2002 but is now out of print.]The single, Proud, reached #68 and this Toto-vibed track was the follow-up. Joe has played on most of Kenny Rogers’ album starting in the 80s and moved to Nashville, playing on classics by Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks.

Emmylou Harris – I Don’t Have To Crawl (debuted 6/13/81, peaked at #106)

Emmylou got her start as a Fallen Angel singing with Gram Parsons just before he died in 1973. Once you hear her voice, you know why. She has been consistently nominated for Country Grammys since the mid-70s. No one ever mentions her in RNRHOF discussions, but they sure as shit should, as her music has influenced generations of singers and songwriters in various genres. Her eighth album, Evangeline, provided Harris with her only Top 40 hit, a #37 cover of Mister Sandman. This beautiful ballad gets stuck down here, and it’s her only single to make the Country Top 40 between 1975 and 1985. I never appreciated those Trio albums she did with Dolly and Linda when they came out. But I sure do now.

Roberta Flack – You Stopped Loving Me (debuted 6/13/81, peaked at #108)

Lost between her unfinished duets album with Donny Hathaway and her 1982 LP, I’m the One, was the soundtrack to the Richard Pryor film Bustin’ Loose, which Roberta recorded. This upbeat track was written by Luther Vandross and will sneak into the R&B Top 40 at #32.

Meco – Big Band Medley (debuted 6/12/82, peaked at #101)

Did Meco inspire the medley craze of the early 80s, or was he just riding the wave? This gave something for your grandparents to dance to, but they weren’t buying 45s anymore. This debuts a week after Larry Elgart’s Hooked On Swing, and although it will climb to #32, I can’t tell which is worse.

Junior – Too Late (debuted 6/12/82, peaked at #102)

British soul singer Junior Giscombe reached the Top 40 with that sweet ass jam Mama Used To Say in early 1982. It only reached #30, so it was probably too much to ask this one which is just as great, to do much better than a #102 showing. It will reach #8 on the Soul charts and #20 in the UK.

Fun Fact: Junior was a member of the Red Wedge, a group of British artists such as Paul Weller and Billy Bragg who formed in 1985 to help enthuse young voters to become engaged with the Labour Party campaign.

Jethro Tull – Fallen On Hard Times (debuted 6/12/82, peaked at #108)

Named after the seed drill inventor, this prog band led by flutist Ian Anderson fell on hard times in the 80s, with an ever-shuffling lineup per album release. Their last chart hit was in 1977, with the #59 peak of The Whistler. This Bubbler from The Broadsword and The Beast was the closest they would ever come to the Hot 100 again. However, the decade wasn’t all bad for the Tull because they’ll win the first Best Hard Rock/Metal Performace Grammy in seven years from now.




A Democracy of Sorts

Let’s continue our review of those unlucky tracks held down by Pop radio programmers as they Bubbled Under the Hot 100 during chart week twenty-two from 1983 to 1985.

Mary Jane Girls – Candy Man (debuted on 6/4/1983, peaked at #101)

What started out as an attempt to get Motown to sign singer Jojo McDuffie turned into a contract for a four-woman group of singers who called themselves the Mary Jane Girls. Named after Rick James’ song, Mary Jane, these ladies had been mining backup for the superfreak on tour for a few years. But when Prince created Vanity 6, Rick kicked into gear to show he could do the same but better. Well, Rick was right. Their debut was a funky delight and spawned three R&B Top 40 hits as well as endless grooves to sample.

Roxy Music – More Than This (debuted on 6/4/1983, peaked at #102)

How does an established band that heavily influenced many 80s New Wave bands create a critically revered album at the height of New Wave and fail to have any of their songs played on Pop radio? This classic was a smash worldwide, including reaching #6 in the UK a year previous. Bryan Ferry would split the group up and Avalon remains their last studio album. Fourteen years later, a Merchant-less 10000 Maniacs would grab their only Top 40 hit with a cover of this song. But that pales in comparison to tastemaker Bob Harris.

Spandau Ballet – Lifeline (debuted on 6/4/1983, peaked at #108)

Here’s a band who enjoyed the second British Invasion. Their third album, True gave us the title track and the #29 single, Gold. This was the first single released from the album in the Uk and peaked at #7. In the US, it was the third and it stalled in the Bubbler zone.

Amy Holland – Anytime You Want Me (debuted on 6/4/1983, peaked at #110)

This synthy pop-rock track, written by Paul Bliss, was the first single from the Michael McDonald-produced sophomore effort from Amy called On Your Every Word. It did not plan any Hot 100 entries after Amy’s debut gave us How Do I Survive and garnered her a nomination for Best New Artist. It is still a smooth recording with my favorite track, Rollin’ By, featuring a tasty guitar solo by Steve Lukather. Amy & Michael got married in 1983 and are still together.

Herbie Hancock – Mega-Mix (debuted on 6/2/1984, peaked at #105)

Herbie had his biggest R&B hit with Rockit in 1983 reaching #6. It also hit #1 on the Dance charts. So the thinking was, why not take all of the tracks on Future Shock, throw in 1974’s Chameleon and mash it all together? Well, mash it what it sounded like, and it may have killed the momentum of Hancock’s future electro-funk experiments.

Roger Waters – 5:01 A.M. (The Pros And Cons Of Hitch Hiking) (debuted on 6/2/1984, peaked at #110)

After years of leading Pink Floyd, Roger finally left the quartet and released his first (non-soundtrack) solo album, The Pros and Cons Of Hitch Hiking. He started working on this idea at the same as The Wall, revolving around a man having a midlife crisis in real-time from 4:30AM to 5:11 AM, hence the title, the tenth cut on the LP. It’s bizarre as shit but somehow makes sense if you enter Roger’s world. Clapton’s guitar meanders throughout.

Jesse Johnson’s Revue – Can You Help Me (debuted on 6/1/1985, peaked at #110)

The guitarist for The Time released his first of three solo 80s albums, Jesse Johnson’s Revue, in 1985. This was the second single released after Be Your Man reached #61 on the Hot 100. I have to believe that had Jesse put this out on any other label than square-ass A&M, which was in the midst of screwing up Janet Jackson’s career,  this might have heard by more folks. As it stood, it will be his second straight R&B Top 10, peaking at #3.