Pull Out Your Party Piece

fixx

No one hit wonders. No two hit wonders. It’s an almost perfect collection of iconic 80s artists and songs during the week of September 10th, 1983 in this first twenty with a few exceptions. [We’ve covered a few songs in this Top 40 a few months back right here.]

40. Paul Anka – Hold Me Til The Morning Comes

OK, exception #1. You might be wondering, like most people what Paul Anka is doing here. But within the Yacht Rock vibe of the early 80s, all you needed to do was chill with David Foster, which Paul did, to write this ballad. Then you get his buddy Peter Cetera to come in and sing the chorus [Every time it starts, I feel like Peter wants to sing Hard To Say I’m Sorry instead] and voila – you get Paul’s fourth straight decade with a Top 40 hit. It would be his last as well.

Fun fact: He was also colloborating with Michael jackson at this time but the fruit of that labor would not be released until the This Is It documentary.

39. Journey – After The Fall

Here’s the third single from the album Frontiers cascading from its peak of #23. It was also featured in the Tom Cruise movie Risky Business which was in theaters at the time.

38. The Fixx – One Thing Leads To Another

The second single from the LP Reach The Beach will be the Fixx’s most successful US track, eventually reaching #4. The video also uses a set that I believe was recycled from a Six Million Dollar Man episode. I remember seeing it on a Universal Studios tour.

ML – I always heard the line communicate, pull out your party piece as communicate or let your body be.

37. Sheena Easton – Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair) 

Sheena dials up another hit entering the Top 40 this week on her way up to #9. It will be her fourth Top 10 single to date.

36. Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack – Tonight, I Celebrate My Love

Peabo was kicking round the R&B charts for years without any crossover success. So for his ninth LP, he decided to do a studio duets album with Roberta Flack. They recorded this Michael Masser/Gerry Goffin tune and will take it up to #16. Was there a wedding in the 80s that did not play this song?

Fun fact: Peabo & Roberta grew up only 60 miles from each other in Greenville, SC  and Asheville, NC respectively.

35. Little River Band – You’re Driving Me Out Of My Mind

Original lead singer, Glenn Shorrock left the band in 1981 and was replaced by John Farnham. Immediately LRB had their first hit with their new frontman, The Other Guy released from their 1982 greatest hits collection. They also racked up two more from their 1983 album, The Net and then their US run was over. This funky pop track is at its peak this week.

34. Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands In The Stream

PFK – The Bee Gees became persona non grata in the 80s, but in name only. Their music still lived on and thrived through the voice of others such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick and Kenny Rogers, who enters the Top 40 on a path to #1. It will be his & Dolly’s second.

Also, I have a question about what the hell this song means. Beause there is someone in between you if you’re an island in a stream. It’s called water. And water just messes shit up. So is it a love song or song about two lovers who can’t seem to get together?

33. Talking Heads –  Burning Down The House

The Heads decided to mix some funk into their new wave stew and came up with the biggest single of their career. This track will heat up the charts all the way to #9. On the recording the keyboards are played by Wally Badarou but the band decided to up the funk factor and invited Parliament’s Bernie Worrell to play with them on the Stop Making Sense tour.

32. Robert Plant – Big Log

I used to find songs like this boring as hell as a kid. I have rightly come to appreciate them, even find them oddly comforting – the airy guitar strums and Plant’s mellow crooning of taillights dissolving into the night. Although I have no idea why it’s called Big Log, my theory is that it refers to the weight on Robert after John Bonham died and Led Zeppelin broke up.

This would be Robert’s only US Top 20 as a solo artist.

Fun fact: Phil Collins not only plays drums on this song, he played drums on Robert’s 1983 Principle of Moments US tour. And now you know why Phil sat in with them at Live Aid.

31. Juice Newton – Tell Her No

This sounds like the record company told Juice, “We need more hits. And fast. Just do a 60s cover. Now!” This is ill-advised Zombies remake features an obnoixous synth riff and Juice’s singing through clenched teeth vocals, yet it will still move four more notches up to #27. Although it was her last Top 40 hit, Juice still racked up a few more #1s on the Country chart.

30. George Benson – Lady Love Me (One More Time)

Now here’s a jam that’s unfortunately not gonna sail any higher than where it is this week. And it will be George’s last Top 40 hit. What the hell folks.? This thing cooks. It was co-written by Toto’s David Paich who also plays keyboards along with Jeff Poracro on drums and Nathan East on bass. That’s soild West Coast soul.

29. Loverboy – Hot Girls In Love

I have to hand it to Loverboy. These guys have continued playing together ever since they formed in 1979. To this day you can hear the original lineup live, minus bassist Scott Smith who passed away in 2000. Hopefully they’ve acquired some serious 401k portfolios or they spend their mornings sneaking into Days Inn breakfast bars to fill up ice cube bags for their daily meals. Either way, songs like this former #11 rocker should have at least got them some comped bearclaws in Vancouver.

28. Elton John – Kiss The Bride

You wanna kiss the bride? Really? Just be lucky you’re still standing. How about we put the eight ball down and just walk away? You can take the extra time on your hands and write about sad songs or something.

27. Jeffrey Osborne – Don’t You Get So Mad

Jeff, this is a smooth groove my friend. This is the kind of early 80s soul I really dig. But also, this song is why Aimee Mann had to write Voices Carry.

26. Quarterflash – Take Me To Heart

The Pride of Portland’s third Top 20 is falling from its peak of #14, tumbling onto the rocky shores of Oregon and landing the band back into the smoky hippie bars from whence they started.

25. Shalamar – Dead Giveaway

The Look was the sixth Shalamar album produced by Leon Sylvers III and the last to feature Howard Hewitt and Jody Watley, who would both move on to successful solo careers. It will only creep up to #22 but will be their fourth UK Top 10.

24. Stevie Nicks – Stand Back

My daughter likes to play with shawls and scarves. I like to play Stevie Nicks in the house. You see where this is going, don’t you?

23. David Bowie – China Girl

Only David Bowie can sing the word swastikas in a pop song and no one bats an eye.

22. Spandau Ballet – True

PFK – By the time of their third album, Spandau Ballet took out their seaside arms and perfected the first New Wave ballad, True, as an almost-tribute to Marvin Gaye. It will crack the Top 10 in the Fall and hit #4. Then in 1991, it will be awesomely sampled by PM Dawn on their song Set Adrift On Memory’s Bliss, which will reach #1.

21. The Police – King Of Pain

How can a band follow up a mammoth hit about a psycho stalker which was misunderstood as a wedding love song? With a song featuring dead salmon, shredded foxes and a paralyzed seagull. The Police rule!

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • SXMFU – A Sirius XM mistake
  • STA – Second Time Around

 

 

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Elegance in Eloquence

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Nothing can trigger cellular memory like a song. As I listen to the Top 20 from the week of September 5th, 1987, the physical sensations I felt then caught between freedom and school’s return ripple back as these songs play clustered in context. The sun’s afternoon shadows faling on the dark green of the trees are the same as they were 32 years ago, as is the feeling of the late Summer heat with faints hints of coolness in the breezes.And yet my emotional indifference to most of this music is second only to my amazement of my body’s  reaction to it.

20. Jellybean featuring Elisa Fiorillo – Who Found Who

You may think this dance tune is about sour grapes between John “Jellybean” Benetez and his former girlfriend, Madonna. But this song is actually written by Paul Gurvitz, who was in the Baker Gurvitz Army with his brother Adrian. It’s on it way up to #16.

19. George Michael – I Want Your Sex

Has anyone ever asked someone for their sex, unless they’re filling out an applciation to join the military? It sounds like something someone would ask if they barely spoke or understood English. Read the title in your best Borat accent and tell me if you don’t agree.

18. LL Cool J – I Need Love

Even though LL gets credit for the first rap ballad, I ain’t buying it. Can you really take a guy seriously who writes songs like I’m That Type Of Guy and Big Ole Butt?

17. Bananarama – I Heard A Rumour

This is the third and final Top 40 hit for the female UK trio whispering its way up to #4. The Stock Aiken Waterman machine was still cranking out the hits, but inspiration must have been pretty low if they felt the need to rip off this obscure Italian dance song for this track.

16. Fat Boys & Beach Boys – Wipe Out

The Fat Boys decided to use some Baby Boomer sauce to crossover to the pop charts. For their first Top 40 hit, they stopped focusing on the fat jokes and pumped out this crazy wack cover of Wipeout with some half-assed version of the Beach Boys. It will climb another 4 notches to #12. The trio was in the midst of starring in their first movie, the horrible unfunny Disordelies, which contained this song and #17.

15. Grateful Dead – Touch Of Grey

OHW – I was sheltered from the cult of Deadheads until the Summer of 1987 when my college age bosses at the beach concession stand would lock themselves in their office, smoke weed and listen to In the Dark over and over. I feel as if this band’s legacy has been unfairly dictated by its fans, all the while overshadowing their influence as psychedelic rock pioneers. For all of the jam bands created in their wake and the fan base who listen to them and only them multiple times, I am very suspect of their musical taste.

Supposedly this song had been played live for years before it was recorded and it ended up being their only Top 40 hit.

SXMFU – On the Big 80s Countdown, Nina Blackwood back annouces this song and then mentions the U2 song at #25 that fell eleven places. Does anyone review the copy or the recording over at SXM?

14. Starship – It’s Not Over (Til It’s Over)

Here’s a fellow Frisco band who took a very different path to success, fully embracing the corporate band model including a catchier brand name as well as tired musical formulas. This one is a Robbie Nevil co-write perfect suited for a Nike commercial.

13. Suzanne Vega – Luka

Suzanne Vega scored a fluke Top 40 hit in 1987 from her second LP, Solitude Standing which helped to kickstart a new female singer-songwriter revoution culminating in the late 90s with the Lilith Fair. With backing vocals from Shawn Colvin who’d have her own big hit in 1997 called Sunny Came Home, this song about child abuse plaintively sung from the kid’s point of view somehow cut through all of the Yamaha DX7 ballads and formalaic dance pop on the radio to reach #3.

12. Dionne Warwick and Jeffrey Osborne – Love Power

Wow, this is about as Soft rock as it gets. A Bacharach/Sager tune with David Foster on keyboards and Kenny G blowing the sax solo. I do like the jazzy airy feeling on the song, how the vocals just breeze in and out with no real structure or strict chord change. It is sitting at its peak and would be the last Top 40 hit for both artists.

11. ABC – When Smokey Sings

Back at #24, we heard the Miracle man, Smokey Robinson. Up at #11 here are fanboys ABC with thier paean to the smooth and debonair singer and how his voice makes them forget everything including the girl who just walked out on them. This will be their most successful US single when it reaches #5 and their last.

10. Huey Lewis & The News – Doing It All For My Baby

Huey & the fellas rack up their fifth Top 10 hit from the album Fore! They are in the middle of a seven straight Top 10s from 1985’s The Power Of Love to 1988’s Perfect World. And hey guys I know this is a ballad but loosen up a bit on those drums a bit. I wanna dance with my wife without looking like Frankenstein.

9. The Whispers – Rock Steady

It took eighteen albums for the Whispers to finally crossover to the Pop Top 10 with this early Babyface/ LA Reid dance track. This week it falls from its high of #7. And remember when I talked about the SAW machine lazily building their empire at #17? Check out this Kylie Minogue track from her 1988 debut which rips off this song and Madonna’s Into the Groove.

8. Whitesnake – Here I Go Again

PFK – Whitesnake finally had some true success slipping in through the glam metal door. But really they were just hard rockers with teased hair and leather pants. This is on a path to #1, aided no doubt by the video in which actress Tawny Kitaen does the splits on a Jaguar.

7. Dan Hill with Vonda Shepard – Can’t We Try

THW, OHW – Nine years after Dan’s Sometimes When We Touch single hit #3, he came back with an accomplice and made it back into the Top 10. This week he’s one spot away from its zenith. Hearing this duet again reminds of just how painful it is. It’s supposed to be a conversational duet which is hard to pull off but made much worse with lines like Vonda singing Are you listening? to which tone deaf Dan replies Please listen to me girl. I’m not sure why Vonda’s expending any energy on this especially when they can’t even spell her name right.

6. Richard Marx – Don’t Mean Nothing

Even though Richard Marx’s debut is falling from #3, fear not as he’s embarking on a string of seven consecutive Top 5 singles. Richard has been quoted before saying that this song was good enough to be on the Eagles’ The Long Run album. Thu,s he hired Randy Meisner and Timothy B Schmit to sing back up and Joe Walsh to play slide guitar on the track. [Spoiler alert: only two of those Eagles were on The Long Run.]

5. Whitney Houston – Didn’t We Almost Have It All

It’s as if Barry Manilow handed his career over to Whitney. Clive Davis, thoughts?

4. Debbie Gibson – Only In My Dreams

It would have been fine, not great, if this was all we ever had to hear from Miss Gibson. Unfortantely this was the begiinning of a string of hit singles which made everyone question if we were all living in hell on earth. But, you may say, she was only fourteen when she wrote this. Really? No shit. It sounds like something my babysitter would have spit out after getting cranked up on pop rocks and Mountain Dew.

3. Madonna – Who’s That Girl

This was Madonna’s sixth #1 while she was in the midst of a string of 17 Top 10 singles in a row. The song is fine but not her best and feels like a placeholder in her musical highlight reel while she works on a film career. It’s often forgotten by casual Madonna fans most likely due to the fact it was left off her Immaculate Collection greatest hits compilation three years later.

2. Michael Jackson with Siedah Garrett – I Just Can’t Stop Loving You

Michael’s first new music since Thriller was a highly anticipated affair and he started everyone off with a ballad. I was definitely underwhelmed at the time, but I’ve come to really like this MJ tune, even though it’s mostly lost in his canon and Siedah’s vocals are indistinguishable from MJ’s. Obviously my expectations were too high.

Give the single another listen but whatever you do don’t play the album version unless you want to hear Michael creepily whisper “I just want to lay next to you for a while. You look so beautiful tonight. A lot of people misunderstand me. That’s because they don’t know me at all. I just want to touch you and hold you.” Ladies, if a guy says this to you while you’re lying in bed with him, run as fast as you can. He’s gonna eat you while you sleep with a plate of fava beans.

Fun fact: Siedah co-wrote Man In the Mirror and mucho bucks from it over the years.

Another fun fact: Back up singer Sheryl Crow would sing this duet with him live on his Bad tour.

1. Los Lobos – La Bamba (2 wks at #1)

The success of the biopic La Bamba did two great things. For one, it showed Hispanic music’s rightful legacy as an early influence on rock & roll. And second, it gave the L.A. band, Los Lobos, a big commerical boost to their career. They have been around since the early 70s and still play and record today with 3 of their 5 original members. Conrad Lozano joined in 1974 and Steve Berlin joined in 1984. Steve, Conrad and those 3 originals, David Hidalgo, Luois Perez, Conrad Lozano and Cesar Rosas have been playing music together for the last 4 decades. Go see them live when you can!

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • SXMFU – A Sirius XM mistake
  • STA – Second Time Around

 

Give The Tree A Shake

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In late 1984, Ted Turner decided to launch an all music video channel to challenge MTV because he’s a megalomaniac. The plan didn’t work and the channel lost tons of money eventually selling its assets to Warner Entertainment, MTV’s parent company. They used that empty cable space to launch a companion video channel called Video Hits One or VH-1 in early 1985, which played more R&B, jazz and adult contemporary artists. And just like it took almost two years for MTV’s influence to be felt on the charts, so too with VH-1. Thus we have a very VH-1 influenced countdown from September 5th, 1987. The higher up we go, the lighter the air is.

40. Alexander O’Neal – Fake

Alexander O’Neal could been known as the lead singer of The Time had he not pissed off Prince. Instead he’s known as the guy who sings songs with Cherelle. This track was his only Top 40 hit without her. It’s got a nasty Jam/Lewis groove, but it loses lots of points for being part of that “women are money grabbin, back stabbin’ liars” trend that grew in popularity in the late 80s.  JK – it was just a new way to keep women down.

SXMFU –  On the Big 40 Countdown show Nina Blackwood intros this song by saying the artist racked up 14 Top 40s in the 80s & 90s. Nope. Way off. He had 3 Top 40 hits on the Pop charts, and 11 on the Soul charts. Where did you get that info?

39. David Bowie – Never Let Me Down

This is one of my favorite Bowie songs, which brings me lots of flack from his devotees. David’s vocals felt intimate and genuine, as if all of the stage personas just faded away and he finally shared something real with us. I also dig the guitar hits during the chorus which seem to be a call back to Let’s Dance. Many years later, I read that he wrote this song about his relationship with his longtime assistant Coco Schwab.

It will only make it up to #26 and will be the last Top 40 hit until the song Lazarus hit #40 the week he passed away in 2016.

38. The Jets – Cross My Broken Heart

The Jets were in between albums but stayed hot on the charts thanks to this Beverly Hills Cop 2 soundtrack release which is now sliding down from its high of #7. They will also get the opportunity to sing the national anthem at a Twins game during Game 7 of the World Series in October.

SXMFU – At the beginning of the Big 40 Countdown show Nina Blackwood mentions that the Twins won the Series, four games to two, but again, there was a Game 7, so….no.

37. Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life Again

Steve’s fourth Top 40 hit is the title track to his 1986 album which made it up to #13 a few weeks ago. It also features some nice mandolin work from Steve and ‘can’t miss it if you tried’ background vocals from James Taylor. Also I heard it’s great music to own a yacht to.

36. Expose – Let Me Be The One

Expose mixes it up a bit with a mid-tempo ballad which will be their third straight Top 10 hit. The lead vocals were by Gioia Bruno who would go on to have several solo hits on the US Club/ Dance charts in the 2000s.

35. Herb Alpert – Making Love In The Rain

The second single from Keep Your Eye On Me, produced by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis is at its peak this week, but it would make the R&B Top 10 as well as the AC charts. Featuring lead vocals by Lisa Keith it would be the last Top 40 hit for Herb Alpert whose charting streak stretched back to 1962’s The Lonely Bull.

34. Levert – Casanova

OHW, PFK – From the progeny of the O’Jays Eddie Levert comes a new generation of R&B legends. With lead vocals from Gerald Levert and a proto-New Jack beat, this future Top 10 tells the story of a guy who’s not really a Casanova, but still needs his advice to win the heart of a woman whom he swears he won’t be a casanova with. Make sense?

33. Sammy Hagar – Give To Live

Even though Sammy was the new lead singer of Van Halen, he still wanted the freedom to rock out on his own when inspiration struck. Listening to this #23 song, all that took was some Cabo Wabo shots and free studio time.

32. John Cougar Mellencamp – Paper In Fire

Ever watch a cigarette burn in an ashtray? Ever think someone should write a song about it? Well here it is anyway.

31. Heart – Who Will You Run To?

Here’s another future Top 10 hit from Heart’s multi-platinum LP, Bad Animals, their sixth in two years, although this does not get the classic airplay it deserves. I’d rather hear this than Never for the millionth time.

30. Natalie Cole – Jump Start

Natalie is back in the Top 40 for her first time since 1980 and it would begin a mini-comeback for her in the late 80s and early 90s. This will reach #13 and is the second single written by Midnight Star’s Reggie Calloway in this week’s 40. [#34 was the first.]

29. Prince – U Got The Look

PFK – Prince’s fascination with Sheena Easton continues as she duets (uncredited) on the second Top 10 hit from Sign O’ The Times and third Top 40 hit for Prince with “U” in the title. This song peaked at #2 during the week that Prince’s hometown baseball team, the Minnesota Twins, played in their first World Series. Game 7, which they would win, should have started out with this song’s intro blasting over the speakers with Prince whispering ‘here we are folks. the dream we all dream of, boy versus girl in the World Series of love.’

28. T’Pau – Heart & Soul

OHW – Wow, this song is still hanging around? It hit #4 last month after entering the Top 40 in early June. Funny that its US success prompted the single to be re-released in the UK where it initially did not live long and prosper. It would hit #4 over there on its second go round.

27. Jonathan Butler – Lies

OHW – JB had been singing and recording in his native South Africa since the mid-70s. Cut to a decade later and he’s enjoying a Top 40 single in the US. He’s the first South African artist in the Top 40 since Hugh Masekela with Grazing In The Grass in 1968. Lies is lying at its peak this week.

26. Living In A Box – Living In A Box

OHW – From the album Living In A Box, it’s Living In A Box with Living In A Box. It’s like a crate of Wiley E. Coyote’s Acme dynamite came to life to taunt the homeless to a disco beat. In four years it will be Crystal Waters’ turn.

25. U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

U2’s second #1 from The Joshua Tree is searching for the exit from the charts as it continues to rattle and hum down while Bono hugs random strangers on the streets of Vegas.

24. Smokey Robinson – One Heartbeat

1987 was a great year for Smokey. He was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. He had two Top 10 hits, with this track being his second. And a New Wave band from England paid tribute to him in a song we’ll hear about further up the charts.

23. Danny Wilson – Mary’s Wilson

OHW – This is one of the best songs of the year, IMO but it’s at its zenith this week, never to climb any higher. This Scottish band’s leader Gary Clark would go on to write songs for many artists such as Demi Lovato and Liz Phair. I highly recommend the 2016 movie Sing Street, on which he co-wrote and performed the music.

22. Europe – Carrie

The power ballad, as done by pseudo-metal Swedes, Europe. It will be their biggest US hit eventually hitting #3 but not the song they’ll forever be remembered by.

21. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Lost In Emotion

This will be Lisa Double’s second #1 from Spanish Fly and it will also hit the top on the R&B charts. Even though they cut Full Force loose from their name, that entity not only wrote but produced this Mary Wells-inspired track. A little Motown for the boomers was enough to turn them on and have two generations dig this song at the same time.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • SXMFU – A Sirius XM mistake
  • STA – Second Time Around

 

Everybody Needs A Thrill

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There are no one-hit wonders in this Top 20, so you are gonna get a lot of iconic 80s artists here during the week of August 31st, 1985. [Some of these songs were previously discussed here and here.]

20. Howard Jones – Life In One Day

I mentioned Godley & Creme gaining notoriety for their video production when Cry came up in the first 20. They also created videos for two other songs in this week’s Top 20 and here’s one of them.

19. Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away

Paul, this is no so such word as everytime. It doesn’t mean anything. It sounds like it does, but it doesn’t There’s everywhere, everyone, but no everytime. Oh, hold on, sorry about that. Daryl, there is no such word….

18. Sting – If You Love Somebody Set Them Free

Godley & Creme – part 2. [There’s also a Godley & Creme parody(?) in the video for #11]

17. Mötley Crüe – Smokin’ In The Boys Room

The Crue’s first Top 40 hit is a cover of Brownsville Station’s 1973 #3 smash, who were, according to them, smoking in a boy’s room. Should have stayed in school gentlemen. Also, it’s nice to know that all proceeds of Motley’s song went towards keeping Vince Neil out of jail.

16. Pointer Sisters – Dare Me

Here’s a #1 Dance track co-written by Dave Innis, a founding member of the Country band, Restless Heart. It will courageously make it up to #11 but will be the Pointer Sisters last Top 20 hit.

15. Heart – What About Love

Falling down from #10, it’s Heart’s first Top 10 in over four years. To this point, they only had three Top 10s. They would triple that number in the next five years.

14. Wham! – Freedom

When George Michael died on Christmas 2016, I remember reading an article that focused on the sadness behind their sunshiny pop songs. Now everytime, I mean every time (just checking to see if you’re paying attention) I listen to one of their songs I can hear it so clearly. Freedom is a great example of an upbeat Motown-y pop song just marinating in pain, resonating with each chorus that George pleads I don’t want your free-dom.

This will be the fourth Top 10 from Make It Big.

13. Prince & The Revolution – Pop Life

This is my jam. And no video needed to sell one of my favorite Prince songs, on its way up to #7. Recorded during the Purple Rain sessions, it was held back because Prince had already decided to move into a new musical direction and he wanted this song to be a part of it. And the boxing bell and crowd noise at the end? I remember being told it was Prince and his band being booed as the opening act on a 1981 Rolling Stones tour. Not true. It’s just stock sound effects audio. But man, imagine seeing Prince & the Stones in 81?

12. Pat Benatar – Invincible (Theme From The Legend Of Billie Jean)

This future Top 10 is the theme to a Helen Slater-led flick called The Legend Of Billie Jean, not the bartender turned Philadelphia Eagles player movie. Alas, no one in the film finds if the kid was or wasn’t Michael Jackson’s son.

11. Phil Collins – Don’t Lose My Number

Another future Top 5 for Phil the Shill, writing another song that he lyrically improvised with no meaning whatsoever. All that means is that he was churning them out so fast he didn’t even have time figure out what they meant.

Also – Great. Great sandwich!

10. Dire Straits – Money For Nothing

Dire Straits are in the Top 10 for the second time, the first in six years. Not sure if this song hits #1 for three weeks without that classic video or not. Also, I have yet to any reasonable excuse or defense for the use of the word faggot in this song. Know why? There isn’t one.

9. Billy Joel – You’re Only Human (Second Wind)

Billy Joel used up every last idea he had on An Innocent Man and started to peruse suicide prevention booklets for inspiration, racking up another Top 10 in the process. Shame, cause I loved listening to the Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2, the compilation that this single was recorded for, but I always bristled at this song. Plus my mom was always turning it up whenever it came on.  If I wasn’t thinking about killing myself then, I was by the end of the song.

8. Kool & The Gang – Cherish

Although the band had done ballads before, none were as geared towards the wedding floor as this one. After you were done with your celebration, it was time to cherish the love you had. Snooze. Just gimme the funk.

7. Corey Hart – Never Surrender

More Canadian melodrama from Corey Hart, who just peaked at #3 last week. It would be his most successful US hit.

6. Tears For Fears – Shout

Another big hit on its way down, this one from the top of the mountain. It was up there for three weeks. I wonder if the duo realized that they were writing a quintessential 80s hit when they composed this little song about political protesting.

5. Bryan Adams – Summer Of ‘69

It’s not about the year. Yeah, I know. Let’s move on.

4. Tina Turner – We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)

Tina built upon her 1984 comeback with a starring role as Aunty Entity in the sequel to The Road Warrior. Naturally, she sang the film’s theme which will make it up to #2. She will also win a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

3. Aretha Franklin – Freeway Of Love

Aretha was back and turning on a new generation to her soulful awesomeness and this song was a great vehicle for her voice. What better way to pay homage to her and the auto industry than with a groove copped from 2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI.

2. John Parr – St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)

THW – John Parr was asked to write a song about a film full of self-absorbed yuppies. Instead, he wrote one about a paraplegic wheeling his way across Canada. It will be #1 next week, knocking off…

1. Huey Lewis & The News – The Power Of Love

Back to the Future ruled that Summer. So naturally, a song for the film would hit #1 as well. This holds the rare feat of being a hit on the Pop, Rock, AC & Dance charts.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • SXMFU – A Sirius XM mistake
  • STA – Second Time Around

How To Play The Game

gnc

In between my time in Summer camp at USDAN and my retreat back to school, there were a few weeks where I could sit and watch MTV all day long or at least until the Mets were on. Here’s the first half of the Top 40 from the week of Aug 31, 1985

40. Michael McDonald – No Looking Back

Michael should have had a longer career at Top 40 radio. But a three-year gap between his first two albums greatly slowed down his momentum. This track enters the Top 40 and will only climb up six more spots, although it features contributions from David Pack and Jeff Porcaro.

39. John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band – C-I-T-Y

The second single from this Rhode Island bar band will eventually reach the Top 20. I have no idea why.

38. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force – I Wonder If I Take You Home

If you lived in NY during the mid-80s then you heard this song approximately two jillion times a day. Even if you didn’t listen to the radio, it was always playing somewhere – from a car, boombox, bodega, you name it. So the fact that this is sliding down from a high of #34 baffles me. It was also certified Gold.

37. John Waite – Every Step Of The Way

John Waite has hit the Top 40 three different ways – as a solo artist and with the bands, the Babys and Bad English. He’s had at least three hits with each entity, which means that if John is on your record odds are you’re gonna have a hit.

36. REO Speedwagon – Live Every Moment

This is what I call a momentum hit, meaning that the only way this made the Top 40 was it was riding the success wave of previous big songs from REO’s album and radio stations just love to glom onto more of the same artist. Unfortunately, this song is blander than Kevin Cronin’s perm solution. Does anyone who goes to see them live care if they play this or not? Nobody bought this single. And what’s worse it kept a better song out of the Top 40, such as Hanging On A String by Loose Ends, which only made it to #43.

35. Cock Robin – When Your Heart Is Weak

OHW – I’m not a prude nor am I a twelve-year-old boy. But seriously, why would a band specifically put the word ‘cock’ in their name? Do you think it was easy for the Brothers Johnson? Dick Hyman? Those were their real names. Also, this was an American band, not British like I assumed, so there are no excuses.

Does anyone remember this song? How did it get in the Top 40? I don’t remember the video or any radio stations playing it. Even at the time in 1985, I looked at the charts and wondered who the hell is Cock Robin. Then I giggled.

34. Rick Springfield – State Of The Heart

Rick had 16 Top 40 hits in the 1980s, but how many do you really know? Jessie’s Girl? Don’t Talk to Strangers? Maybe Love Somebody? Most of his hits that made the Top 40 are largely forgotten. Doesn’t mean they are not good. Just means that Rick racked up the stats but not the legend status. He’s like the Rafael Palmeiro of rock.

33. Freddie Jackson – Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)

Freddie Jackson seemed to come out of nowhere in 1985 and absolutely crush it on the R&B charts, racking up eight #1s on the Soul chart before the decade ended. Although his debut single peaked on the pop charts at #18, it would stay up at the top of the Soul charts for six weeks becoming the #1 Soul song of 1985.

Also, Freddie sang lead vocals with the band, Mystic Merlin on their third album, Full Moon in 1982.

32. Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days

Yeah, yeah, they’ll pass you by. Next.

31. Whitney Houston – Saving All My Love For You

Whitney was not yet Whitney when the second solo single from her debut was heading up the charts. But this will be the first of seven #1s in a row for her. Also, this was originally recorded by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr. in 1978.

30. John Cougar Mellencamp – Lonely Ol’ Night

I know there are lots of JCM fans out there. I’m just not one of them. I would think a song about two people living on those in betweens sharing a night full of loneliness would inspire some sort of emotion in me. But it doesn’t make me feel anything and that’s OK. It obviously touched enough people to make it another JCM Top 10 hit.

29. Godley & Creme – Cry

OHW – This is what I would choose to play on a lonely old night. What a bizarro hit in 1985 and it’s from an album that’s part remix, part compilation, and part new material. I get the feeling the G&C recorded new material just to try out some video ideas as the duo were becoming more known for their music video production that their musical output by the mid-80s. Their stark black and video for the song is a just a bunch of people, including Godley, Creme, and producer Trevor Horn lip-syncing to this song, but the face morphing technique was considered revolutionary at the time. The video for King Crimson’s 1982 song Heartbeat showcases an early version of this.

28. A-Ha – Take On Me

THW- A-ha’s first recording of this song reach the Top 5 in Norway in 1984. But when it failed to chart anywhere else, Warner Bros teamed them up with Cliff Richard’s producer, Alan Tarney and re-recorded the song, the version we all know and love. Paired up with a new video which eventually took MTV by storm, this trio ended up having an international smash and an enduring 80s classic. It will hit #1 in the US in the late Fall 1985.

27. Eurythmics – There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)

The second single from Be Yourself Tonight pulls back on the harder rock edge a bit with a little more synth and a lot more soul including a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder. It will peak at #22 and will be their only UK #1 hit to date.

26. Ready For The Sheila – Oh Sheila

As much as this sounds like a Prince clone, this band was not from Minneapolis, but from Flint, Michigan. And the Sheila they were referring to was not Sheila E. It was all just a coincidence but one that got them on the radio and an eventual #1 hit. I’m confused by the British accent though unless they were covering their bases hoping that New Wave stations would play them too.

25. The Motels – Shame

This is the fourth and final Top 40 hit for the LA band led by Martha Davis. It will move four more steps in embarrassment to its #21 high. Whenever I hear this song I think of Jimmy Iovine in the Tom Petty documentary questioning the band’s work ethic saying something like ‘Do you want to be the Motels? Fine by me.” and I understand what he means.

24. Billy Ocean – Mystery Lady

Billy’s fourth single from Suddenly is at its peak this week providing some gentle soul-funk, which is what he put out for years before focusing more on ballads.

23. Madonna – Dress You Up

Madonnamania was in full swing in 1985, so album filler like this was getting released and rocketing up the charts on its way to the Top 5. At least we get to hear a rare guitar solo by Nile Rodgers. Also, this was considered a filthy song by the PMRC, a group of bored prudish white Washington housewives. PMRC, next time stand up for a cause that actually means something, like climate change.

22. Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)

THW – Just to show you that record companies have no idea what a hit is or will be, Dead or Alive’s label, Epic Records hated this song to the point that the band had to fund their recording of it. When that was completed Epic still didn’t like it, so the band funded the video production as well. It has now peaked at #11, has become a Top 10 dance track and a #1 UK smash, where it was certified Gold. Also, the band had to sue Epic in order to get their royalties.

21. DeBarge – Who’s Holding Donna Now

PFK – This has been a fairly Caucasian Top 40 thus far. Only four of these songs were R&B hits and three of those were ballads, including this former Top 10 Pop, Soul & AC track. That’s how it was in 1985, a year in which Sting, Wham! and Sheena Easton all had Top 20 hits on the Soul charts.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • SXMFU – A Sirius XM mistake
  • STA – Second Time Around

 

 

Find Out Just How Good It Is

pc

If you were a baseball loving kid like me in the Summer of 1981, you may have been excited that the strike was over and that games began again, only to realize that the whole season was completely destroyed by the MLB’s stupid playoff rules. The Dodgers tanked in the second half and still went on the win the World Series with strong teams like the Cardinals & Reds not even eligible for the playoffs. It was also the only season when the Montreal Expos made the postseason and they needed a strike and some poorly thought out decisons by the MLB to make that happen. If you were one of the few that attended games that Summer, you may have been treated to some of these Top 20 songs from August 22, 1981 in between innings.

20. Greg Kihn Band – The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)

SXMFU – I do not understand why SXM constantly plays the wrong version of a song on the countdown. You can go on Amazon and buy the original single version released in 1981 that Greg and the band is selling for $.99, digitally remastered.  I don’t want to hear a crappy re-recorded version where Greg can barely hit the notes. Get your shit together Sirius.

Also this was a hit before Jeopardy, not after as they mention on the Big 80s countdown.

19. Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight

I love that an urban legend sprang up around this song about how Phil the Shill saw a guy drowning in a lake and the person close to him refused to help him. And then Phil saw him at a concert and pointed him out to the audience. The first time I heard that story was from a friend of mine in the 8th grade. Don’t know where he heard it, but it sounded legit to me. And I think we can all agree that as much as the drum fill is iconic, it’s also pretty lame.

18. Pablo Cruise – Cool Love

The good ship Pablo is pulling in to the Top 20 dock on its way to a #13 mooring. It would be the last Top 40 hit for them. Founder Cory Lerios would go on to a second career in TV scoring, including writing the theme to Baywatch. Ka-ching!

17. Billy Squier – The Stroke

This is Billy’s first Top 40 hit resting at its peak this week. It was also a Top 10 in Australia, so in exchange the Aussies sent us Men At Work. We made out on that deal.

16. Carpenters – Touch Me When We’re Dancing

The Carpenters career came unnailed towards the end of the 70s as the album they were recording for a 1978 release took an additional three years. While Richard was battling a pill addiction, Karen was battling anorexia. Unfortunaltely we know how that ended two years after this, their last hit.

Fun fact: This was originally recorded and released by a band called Bama in 1979. Then the band Alabama recorded it in 1986. To this date, no one named Ala has a version out there.

15. Foreigner – Urgent

Foreigner 4′s popularity started off with this single, Urgent on its way up into the Top 10, Musically the song is fine, a tight little rocker with synth touches by Thomas Dolby and a sax solo by Jr. Walker. Lyrically, Foreigner sticks to what they know best, writing about fast, shallow love with crazy girls that have insane desires who love to get around.

14. John Schneider – It’s Now Or Never

OHW – How about never, Bo Duke? Just put the guitar down and slide back over the General Lee into your seat while Roscoe calls you a dipstick.

13. Oak Ridge Boys – Elvira

THW, PFK – Man this song hung around for a long time. It’s finally falling out of the Top 10. It will always remind me of a dude name Jojo who got up to sing this at a karaoke bar and sang my heart’s on fi-ra for El-vira. He also passed out drunk on stage before he finished the song.

12. Marty Balin – Hearts

THW – I hate the irony of a singer having a hit with a song whose chorus goes hearts can be that way who ends up having open heart surgery. And when he complained of chest pains, what’s the first thing that you suppose someone asked him?

11. Journey – Who’s Crying Now

Journey quickly knocked out their LP, Escape and ended up having their first major success as a band. This track is heading up to #4 as the first of three straight Top 10s while Atari was prepping the legendary video game for the 2600 called Journey Escape. It included this awesome premise which I will share with you:

You’re on the road with Journey, one of the world’s hottest rock groups. A spectacular performance has just ended. Now it’s up to you to guide each Journey Band Member past hordes of Love-Crazed Groupies, Sneaky Photographers, and Shifty-Eyed Promoters to the safety of the Journey Escape Vehicle in time to make the next concert. Your mighty manager and loyal roadies are there to help, but the escape is up to you!

10. Commodores – Lady (You Bring Me Up)

In late August 1981, it was Lionel Richie’s world and we were all living in it. The man was responsible for three different songs in this week’s Top 10. How do you like your Lionel? If you like him funky, you will dig this one, the second song he wrote called Lady to make the Top 10.

9. Ronnie Milsap – (There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me

The Top 10 is one-third Country this week. Here’s a guy that’s been charting since the mid 60s getting his first Top 10 Pop hit at the same time it becomes his 18th Country #1. Of course anything mellow with a smooth sax solo was going to be a hit in 1981.

8. Juice Newton – Queen Of Hearts

Even though Juice was considered a Country artist, most of her songs did better on the Pop chart. This one is on an interesting ride. It’s been stuck at #9 for the past three weeks. Maybe it likes the Beatles’ White album. It will eventually deal itself up to #2.

7. Manhattan Transfer – Boy From New York City

There have been vocal jazz groups in the rock era before the Manhattan Transfer as well as after, no doubt influenced by them. But none were as successful as they were and I believe it was all about timing. They snuck this one in before MTV’s influence told hold of radio playlists. This Jay Graydon-produced ditty is at its zenith.

6. Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around

This 45 takes a fifteen notch leap into the Top 10 poised to become the first #1 for each artist. Alas it would only move three more spots up to #3 before it fell back down the charts. Neither Hall of Fame artist would record a #1 pop record. [although Stevie wrote and sang one for Fleetwood Mac.]

Fun fact: As the Heartbreakers were in between bass players, Donald “Duck” Dunn is filling out the bottom here.

5. Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl

This is just about the best thing Rick ever did, so it’s nice that it aligned with the record reaching #1. Guess we all thought the same.

4. Pointer Sisters – Slow Hand

The Pointer Sisters made this song sound sexy. Conway Twitty make it sound so damn sleezy, he should have been arrested. Maybe he was.

3. Kenny Rogers – I Don’t Need You

If you like your Lionel countrified, look no further than Kenny’s denial fest produced by Lionel, which is peaking at #3. I hope he fired people from his Roasters franchises by coming into the restaurant to sing this to them. That would be the best exit interview ever.

2. Joey Scarbury – The Theme From “The Greatest American Hero”

OHW – Three artists in this Top 10 also had hits on the Hot 100 ten years previous. I’m sure you’d guess Diana Ross, who had four. And maybe you’d guess Kenny Rogers with the First Edition who had one. But would you guess that Joey Scarbury was the third? He had a single chart called Mixed Up Guy which reached #73 in 1971. Then ten years later his second charted hit was a monster and should have been #1, except for…

1. Diana Ross & Lionel Richie – Endless Love (2 wks at #1)

And here are two Motown artists having the biggest hit of their lives, in the middle of a nine week run at the top. Lionel would use all of this to springboard into his solo career and Diana would be back in the Top 10 in just a few months on the RCA label, leaving Motown behind after 20 plus years.

Also this song sucks. To call this song sappy is an insult to maple trees. It’s like one big suck-your-cheeks-in deep breath in and one long obnoxious deep breath out. And when it’s over you forgot it was even there. The movie it’s from blows too.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • SXMFU – A Sirius XM mistake
  • STA – Second Time Around

The Debris & The Dust of Memories

lulu2

There’s a scene in an early Seinfeld episode where Kramer, Jerry and Newman are on a stakeout. Kramer thinks it feels like a Tuesday, to which Newman replies, “Tuesday has no feel.” That’s how I think of 1981. It has no feel to me. It started and twelve months later, it ended. The Top 40 was all over the place, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some great or at least entertaining tunes during the week of August 22nd, 1981.

[I’ve covered some of these songs once before June 20th, 1981 here, here and here.]

40. Jim Steinman – Rock ‘N Roll Dreams Come Through

OHW – When Meat Loaf was recording his follow-up to Bat Out Of Hell in the late 70s, his  voice gave out, he couldn’t sing and he went on the DL. [Just kidding, there’s no DL in the music business.] So rather than wait for Meat to rest his voice, writer Jim Steinman decided to record an sing the songs himself, which is why we have this travesty – all of the bombast, none of the fun.

The song is friggin’ painful, and it has so many fake endings, you just want to reach into  the speakers and strangle him.

39. Frankie Smith – Double Dutch Bus

OHW – The fizun has returned with this monster R&B track (#1 for 4 weeks) which has already peaked at #30 but has been certified Gold for the 7 & 12″ singles. More than that, it became a very influential song in hip=hop. Snoop built his whole career on the “iz” slang that’s featured here, a kind of urban pig latin if you will.

Frankie passed away earlier this year and although his resume said he wrote songs for the Spinners & the O’Jays, I can’t find any recorded examples. He did write for Philadelphia International Records with songs recorded by Archie Bell, The Futures and Billy Paul.

38. Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes

How does a song like this stay at #1 for seven weeks? Not much competition. Spoiler alert: another example is at #1 this week.

37. Alan Parsons Project – Time

This was the first of four straight APP Top 10 hits on the Adult Contemporary chart, which in turn influenced Alan to continue to soften the edges as well as provide the soundtrack to your next cavity filling.

36. Balance – Breaking Away

OHW – Peppy Castro, formerly of Blues Magoos and Barnaby Bye teamed up with Kiss sidemen, Bruce Kulick & Doug Katsaros to form Balance. From their debut, this track will eventually bounce up to #22.

This what I call aggressive pop with a sugary compression filter, and when the two combine, it settles nicely into a radio friendly track that might also make it on an aerobics compilation.

35. Sheena Easton – For Your Eyes Only

PFK, RFW – The Big 80s countdown gets lazy with this song and intros this song with text from Wikipedia [SXM, did you check to make sure it was correct?]. This is on its way up into the Top 5, co-written by Bill Conti rather than usual Bond composer John Barry.

34. Lulu – I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)

STA – Lulu is back into the Top 40 for the first time in eleven years with a song that was originally released almost two and half years previous from her 1979 Rocket Records LP, Don’t Take Love For Granted. The song was then recorded by Melba Moore and Bobbi Walker, both in 1980. But when Japanese label, Alfa, bought her Rocket catalogue, they re-released this and suprisingly had a US hit with it. It’s going to zoom up to #18 and be one of those Top 20 hits that has been lost to radio ever since.

The Music of My Life blog talked about the Rhino compilation series, Radio Daze back in May and if they ever released a Volume 6 and could secure the rights, this would surely be on it, along with #36, #32, #27, #26 and #21.

33. Air Supply – The One That You Love

I’ve talked before about how my brother and I would beat each other up to the Dimensions comp by K-tel. Here’s the short story on why we had that 8-track in the first place.

My mom was obsessed with this song, latching on to it when her sister passed away earlier in the year. As we were leaving the Sunrise Mall, my mom handed me some money and asked me to run into Sam Goody’s to get the album by Air Supply on 8-track so she could play it in the car. I went back in the store but was distracted by the K-Tel section. I found the comp Dimensions and not only did it have this song but it also had Stars On 45, which my mom loved as well. More bang for the buck, I said.

When I came out to the parking lot and explained to her the genius of my purchase, she got pissed off that I didn’t do what she said. She played it once in the car and threw it on the floor. My brother and I took and kept it down in the basement for years. And yes I still have it.

32. Rex Smith/Rachel Sweet – Everlasting Love

THW/OHW – Rex had a Top 10 hit in 1979 called You Take My Breath Away. Rachel only ended up with this one, although she was definitely the better talent with a great array of retro pop singles. Rex oversings the hell out of it like it’s Les Miserables and Rachel does her best to reel him back in and remind him it’s a duet.

This was the third time that this song hit the Top 40, which included versions by Robert Knight in 1967 and Carl Carlton in 1974. U2 recorded and released a version in 1989 as the B-side to All I Want Is You.

31. The Moody Blues – The Voice

As a kid, this one spoke to me through the radio. I had no idea back then who this was or that the title was The Voice, since they bury it in the verses, so when I found out it was the Moody Blues I was pretty surprised. Also, this song isn’t shit without Patrick Moraz’s synth wizardry and the fact that the band has erased his tenure with the band pisses me off.

30. The Beach Boys – The Beach Boys Medley

Capitol Records was always looking for new ways to make money off the Beach Boys catalog. After Stars on 45, they used that as an excuse to create this medley of Beach Boys 60s hits, which will give current Top 40 stations a reason to play oldies. Tied together with tambourines and hand claps rather than a lame disco beat, this medley will reach #12 and will do nothing but help Brian pay off Dr. Landy’s bills and reduce the band’s image to its surfer themed hits.

29. Stacy Lattisaw – Love On A Two Way Street

Stacy was only 15 when she released her third album, With You, which featured her cover of the Moments’ 1970 hit. It is her second Top 40 and will creep up a few more spots to #26.

Also, is love on a two way street a good thing? Doesn’t that mean the love is going is two totally different directions?

28. Electric Light Orchestra – Hold On Tight

ML – I always thought Jeff Lynne was saying hold on tight to your drink, not dream. That seemed to make more sense to me. I don’t want to lose my drink. Drinks become more important than dreams as you get older.

27. Franke & The Knockouts – You’re My Girl

Franke & the Knockouts are the kinda band that could only have existed and had hits in 1981, just before MTV or any trendy genre took hold. When both of those eventually happened, these guys were sent packing but not before they collected three Top 40 hits. IMO this one is the best out of the pack.

26. Robbie Patton – Don’t Give It Up

OHW – This song will not go any further than #26, but it had plenty of support from the Fleetwood Mac camp. It was produced by Christine McVie and Ken Caillat and it features three different eras of F. Mac guitarists: Lindsey Buckingham, Bob Weston & Bob Welch.

25. Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio – That Old Song

The follow-up to A Woman Needs Love is going to stall at #21. Bu that’s cool with Ray, who was in the midst of packing up his things and heading out the door for a solo career.

Also, in the immortal words of Ray: A good song and a love affair go hand in hand together. Jeez, he just can’t help himself, can he? Ladies, I urge you to please stay away.

24. Alabama – Feels So Right

Alabama was in the middle of their early 80s Pop crossover with this, their first Top 20. This is kind of a lame-o Country ballad that I never remembered hearing on Pop radio. What impresses me more is the fact that the band was in the middle of a streak of twenty-one consecutive Country #1s.

23. Eddie Rabbitt – Step By Step

This was the kind of Country music I heard more of in New York. Maybe it’s because Eddie was from New Jersey. Or maybe because it didn’t pander as much as Country artists are wont to do. It’s Eddie fifth Top 40 and will be his third straight Top 5.

22. Pat Benatar – Fire And Ice

The rock Queen of Long Island had her only #1 album with her third release, Precious Time. While I dig the title track, this single is still one of her best and earned her a Grammy for Best Rock Female. Who exactly was even her competition back then? And why the hell is she not in Cleveland?

21. Gary Wright – Really Wanna Know You

The dream weaver returns to the Top 40 after a five-year absence with a track he co-wrote with Ali “Take a Little Rhythm” Thomson. It’s on its way up to #16. They also included it on the K-Tel Dimensions comp. My brother and I would goof on it, but we always let it play through.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
  • STA – Second Time Around