Tired Of Being In The Shade

Who’s that looking through the window into the warm halls of the Hot 100? It’s those Bubbling Under songs trying to keep warm while they chill in the hundreds. Let’s review chart week three from 1980 to 1985.

Jimmy Messina – Do You Want To Dance (debuted 1/19/80, peaked at #110)

It’s a mystery why this former Buffalo Springfield & Poco member and Kenny Loggins cohort never mustered a solo hit or at least a Hot 100 entry. He barely even gets a tally here placing this song at #110. It’s quite a pleasant mix of Westcoast pop with some yachty disco vibes from his 1979 album, Oasis.

Patrice Rushen – Look Up (debuted 1/24/81, peaked at #102)

Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Patrice Rushen was one of the best of her ear to effortlessly blend jazz, soul, and disco. This single from her sixth album, Posh, is one of many great examples and while it makes the R&B Top 15 and #2 on the Dance charts, it misses the mark here. She’ll become a one-hit-wonder next year when Forget Me Nots reaches #23.

Jackson Browne – Hold On, Hold Out (debuted 1/24/81, peaked at #103)

This was Jackson’s third single from his sole #1 album, Hold Out, with the first two, Boulevard & That Girl Could Sing, reaching the Top 40. Because he chose to not edit the eight-minute song down, it was released as a special 12″ record. It’s a product of a decade-long love affair with long overly-dramatic rock songs that ends up sounding like an overblown mess.  Two thumbs up!

XTC – Generals And Majors  (debuted 1/24/81, peaked at #104) (RSO/Virgin 300)

XTC is one of my all-time favorite bands. This Swindon, England quartet possessed two great songwriters: guitarist Andy Partridge, who was Lennon & McCartney rolled into one and wrote the bulk of their songs, and bassist Colin Moulding, who was more like Harrison. Early on in the band’s history, it was Colin’s songs that were successful. In the UK, Life Begins At The Hop hit #54, and Making Plans For Nigel reached #17. The first release from their fourth album, Black Sea, will top out at #32. Andy will eventually write their biggest British hit, Senses Working Overtime, in 1982.

XTC remained a cult band in the US, partly because they stopped touring in 1982, partly because they were severely mismanaged, and partly because their singles were being released on different labels in the States. This one is on RSO, and it’s strange to think they were US labelmates with the Bee Gees and Andy Gibb. What were those company barbecues like?

Roger Daltrey – Waiting For A Friend (debuted 1/24/81, peaked at #104)

Daltrey is back with another song from the McVicar soundtrack, this one working as the follow-up to his lone Top 40 hit, Without Your Love, which peaked at #20 in the Fall of 1980. This rocker gets caught in the Bubblin’ jail for two weeks before being released for bad behavior.

There were no songs during chart week three in 1982 that stayed peaked below #100.

KISS – I Love It Loud (debuted 1/22/83, peaked at #102)

This N.Y. quartet is still wearing their make-up, trying to avenge their disco sins but to no avail. It will stomp around underneath the Hot 100 for two months, and it’s from their tenth album, Creatures of the Night, which is notable as the last Ace Frehley album, even though he didn’t play on it.

New Edition – Popcorn Love / Jealous Girl (debuted 1/21/84, peaked at #101)

Here’s the teenage quintet from Boston who made their debut in 1983 with Candy Girl, an updated version of the Jackson 5’s ABC. This was their third single release, a two-sided 45 with the sprightly Popcorn Love on the A-side and the doo-wop ballad Jealous Girl on the flip. It will reach #25 on the R&B charts.

Debbie Harry – Rush, Rush (debuted 1/21/84, peaked at #105)

Now that Blondie had officially split, Debbie tries her hand at another solo hit, this one from the soundtrack of the Al Pacino movie, Scaface. It reunites her with producer Giorgio Moroder, and it garnered some club play and a minor hit down under. But after one week, it says goodbye to the bad guy after a #105 debut.

Was (Not Was) – Knocked Down, Made Small (Treated Like A Rubber Ball) (debuted 1/21/84, peaked at #109)

Before they went dinosaur walking and love house spying, this Detroit act led by un-brothers Don & David Was mixed a variety of styles such as New Wave, lounge rock, and soul into their own musical stew. With lead vocals by Sweet Pea Atkinson, this track was from their critically acclaimed second album, Born to Laugh At Tornadoes.

Rock Master Scott and the Dynamic Three – Request Line (debuted 1/19/85, peaked at #103)

Break out your worn piece of cardboard for this early hip-hop track. Rockmaster Scott was the DJ and MBG, Slick Rick (not the well-known one), and KingCharlie Prince handled the mic. This track will reach #21 on the R&B charts, but it’s the B-side, The Roof Is On Fire, that they are well-known for. Notoriously, their tour rider included no need for water.

Missy E. sampled the beginning of this track for her 2002 hit, Work It.

You Know He Leads You On

I enjoy recapping the Billboard Top 40 charts from the 80s, so I thought I’d give another one a go since I listened to this on Sirius XM over the weekend. As I heard each song, I could picture just about every video, scene by scene. The images are now permanently linked in my head from Boy George on trial to Tom Petty pushing over an Astro Invader console. Let’s review the first twenty Top 4O hits, Casey-style, during the week of January 15, 1983.

40. Ray Parker Jr. – Bad Boy

Ol’ Ray’s been kicked out of the house for going back for a little more with the other woman. But now he wants back in. He says, “I’ll do the dishes.” She says, “I have a dishwasher.” Well, “I’ll take out the trash.” “Uh, That’s what I just did” Burn, Ray. Who you gonna call now?

39. Barry Manilow – Memory

PFK – Here’s a man who never shied away from a key change or two at the end of a song. Maybe he should have. This Cats track from Barry’s twelfth album, Here Comes The Night, is at its peak this week. If you really want drama, listen to Jennifer Hudson’s version in the 2019 film. It sounds like she’s about pound all the Jellicos into kitty litter. If you do like this song, though, search for the original Broadway version with Betty Buckley.

38. Air Supply – Two Less Lonely People In The World

RAR – This sounds like the Australian duo is just ripping themselves off by this point, which is why they’re at their peak with this track. I bet if you asked AI to write an Air Supply song, it would be than this.

37. A Flock Of Seagulls – Space Age Love Song

This New Wave quartet followed up their immensely successful Top 10 smash, I Ran with a similarly sounding song that wasn’t as catchy, hence its #30 peak. Why didn’t they just write a track called I Raq?

36. Kim Carnes – Does It Make You Remember

Remember what? (face slapped) This ballad will be the second Top 40 from Kim’s Voyeur LP, and it’s at its peak.

35. Culture Club – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

PD – Unfortunately, George will do all the damage to himself that his body can take without dying. This is the first of three songs in this group of twenty with some reggae vibes.

34. Moving Pictures – What About Me?

OHW – On SXM’s Big 40 Countdown, Nina will talk about the Australian Pop invasion of the 80s and mention many groups from down under, even the Hoodoo Gurus. But they never mention this band from Sydney currently in the Top 40. This song has been chillin’ at #34 for the past three weeks but will eventually get up to #29. This 45 will get re-released in 1989 and become a member of The Other Sixty as well.

33. Tavares – A Penny For Your Thoughts

RAR – The five-man group of brothers from New Bedford, Massachusettes nab one more Top 40 hit, their only one during the 80s. Written by Kenny Nolan, this track will not travel any higher than it is today. It will hit the R&B Top 20. Also, adjusting for inflation, your thoughts would now cost $0.

32. Peter Gabriel – Shock The Monkey

It was only a matter of time that Top 40 would catch up to Peter’s vision, freaky videos aside. Meanwhile, Phil the Shill is further up the chart doing Motown covers. This will be Gabriel’s first solo Top 40 and it’s on its way up to #29. It will also chart on the R&B Hot 100 reaching #64.

31. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie

OHW – This Mighty Diamonds cover of Pass The Kouchie is reggae-pop entering through the New Wave door. It might not make sense on paper, but that was the unpredictable nature of Top 40 that has since been homogenized. [Don’t get me wrong. It was happening plenty in 1983. It’s just been a slow, steady process.] This 45 makes a giant leap into the Top 40 up from #52 towards its destination of #10. It will hit #1 in twelve countries.

Fun Fact: Kouchie is slang for cannabis pipe. But we couldn’t have kids sing about that. So they changed it to Dutchie, a different type of pot, one you cook with. Next time you go into a La Creuset outlet, have some fun with the clerks.

It was also sampled in this early 90s hip hop song, but I think they misheard the lyrics.

30. Kool & the Gang – Let’s Go Dancin’ (Ooh La, La, La)

Back to back reggae on the Top 40? Well, it’s a tad lite. It’s not like it’s Tosh & Marley. In fact, it’s some kids from England and a funk group from NJ. Still whatever it takes to spread the Jah love. The second Top 40 hit from As One is at its peak. It will hit the R&B & UK Top 10.

29. Juice Newton – Heart of the Night

The Juice is losing steam on the Pop charts as her Top 10 days are over. Hell, her Top 20 time has come to a close, too, as Pop radio closes the door on most Country or Country-ish artists. At least there are the AC charts where this will hit #4, while it peaks only four more spots higher in the Top 40

28. Lionel Richie – Truly

The song that spawned a million wedding first dances was the first true solo release from the former Commodores member, and it went straight to #1. His first thirteen singles will hit the Top 10, and he will not miss until his 1987 duet will Alabama.

27. Sammy Hagar – Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy

Here’s the first Top 40 single from the Red rocker. It will also be his best showing when it peaks at #13. Just for reference, at this point, the highest-charting Van Halen was a Roy Orbison cover, (Oh) Pretty Woman, which hit #12.

26. Stray Cats – Rock This Town

What the hell is rockabilly doing here, right? This Long Island trio broke through in the States after taking their act to the UK in 1980 and having a Top 10 hit called Runaway Boys. This Dave Edmunds-produced track was recorded for their debut and re-released on the 1982’s Built For Speed. It’s climbing down from its high of #9.

25. Stray Cats – Stray Cat Strut

PD – Back to back felines. The follow-up to Rock This Town was also on the band’s 1980 debut and will be the threesome’s biggest hit in the US, reaching #3.

24. J. Geils Band – I Do

These guys are still riding that Centerfold momentum. How else to make sense of their appearance in the Top 40 with a live cover of an obscure Marvelows hit from 1965. Actually, I like it more than most of the Freeze Frame album. It’s at its peak this week. Lead singer Peter Wolf will leave the band after the Showtime LP and never look back.

23. Billy Joel – Allentown

PD – You just know Billy wanted to call this song Levittown but didn’t have the guts to do it. Plus, I’ve been there. There’s nothing that interesting in that town. What would you be waiting for? A black and white at Dortoni’s? Also, Levittown doesn’t have the same ring as that Eastern Pennsylvania town. Did you know that there are at least seven Allentowns in the US? Did you know there was one on the other side of PA, as a suburb of Pittsburgh? So which one is it?

FYI – I once ordered a tuna Shorti at a Wawa in Allentown. Don’t think I didn’t hum this as I waited.

22. Fleetwood Mac – Love In Store

This was the third Top 40 hit from the quintet’s 1982 album, Mirage. Written by Christine McVie, it won’t go any further than where it is now. Still, I think it’s good enough for its own TikTok video. In fact, if Ocean Spray brought back its Mauna Loa drink, I’d do one.

FYI – This is the seventh song in the countdown so far, which has reached its peak.

21. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – You Got Lucky

This is the best song in the first twenty, and it’s not even the best song in the Petty catalog. I loved it back then as I love it now, how Tom growls, telling off a lover who thinks about leaving while the song is underpinned by a lingering sadness showcased through Mike Campbell’s Morricone lone-gunslinger guitar solo and Benmont Tench’s eerie Roland Juno-60 keyboard lick. It’s one notch away from its zenith.


  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around





For Everybody Who Can Understand

We’re going to review the second half of the first two chart weeks of songs Bubbling Under during the 80s. Reminder – Billboard killed this feature in August 1985, so we can only review 1983 up to that year. Pity those songs that lost the bragging rights to a #109 hit.

Mickey Gilley – Talk To Me (debuted on 1/8/1983, peaked at #106)

Mickey was still trying to ride the bull for more than eight seconds of fame throughout the early 80s. But this #1 Country ballad will be the last time he’ll sniff the Pop charts.

Fun fact: Mickey’s cousins include Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.

Yarbrough & Peoples – Heartbeats (debuted on 1/15/1983, peaked at #101)

Cavin & Alisa, an unofficial offshoot of The Gap Band, hit the Pop Top 20 with Don’t Stop The Music in 1981. This was the lead single off their follow-up album, which was also the title track. It will reach the R&B Top 10, but Soul music was beginning to have a more challenging time crossing over. In fact, Pop songs were starting to cross over to the R&B charts. God knows why R&B stations had Sting & Wham! forced upon them. BTW – this duo got married in 1987, and as of 2020, is still keeping the music going.

Devo – That’s Good (debuted on 1/15/1983, peaked at #104)

This innovative synth-rock quintet, which featured two sets of brothers, is inexplicably a one-hit-wonder with Whip It. They have a handful of singles that are as good or better than that one, but most of them didn’t even chart. [Currently, they have five Bubblers.] This single was the second Bubbler from their fifth album, Oh No, It’s Devo, but has since become a New Wave classic.

Rush – Subdivisions (debuted on 1/15/1983, peaked at #105)

It took nine albums, but by the release of 1982’s Signals, this Canadian prog-trio had a Top 40 hit, with New World Man. They started to understand who was buying their records, so a song about teenage isolation and social hierarchy was right in their fan’s wheelhouse.

Cynthia Manley – Back In My Arms Again (debuted on 1/15/1983, peaked at #109)

One of the adverse side effects of nostalgia are people’s attempts to cash in and milk the memories. In the 80s, Motown was pilfered from so much, it can be hard to listen to the originals and remember why they were so great in the first place. San Francisco-based cabaret singer Manley had sung lead for The Boystown Gang, a DJ-led group releasing warmed-over disco versions of Diana Ross And Stevie Wonder smashes. So her move to a New Wave rock cover of this 1965 Supremes #1 was opportunistic at best, career diluting at least.

Ronnie Milsap – Show Her (debuted on 1/7/1984, peaked at #103)

Ronnie’s trying to get one more Pop hit before the door closes on Nashville for a while. It didn’t work, but the ballad from his album, Keyed Up, will be his twenty-fifth Country #1.

Luther Vandross – I’ll Let You Slide (debuted on 1/14/1984, peaked at #102)

Luther had his second crossover Top 40 hit in 1983, a duet with Dionne Warwick called How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye. That momentum should have carried this boogie follow-up from his third album, Busy Body, into Caseyland as well. But as you see, it did not. FYI – it took twelve Hot 100 chart entries before LV had a Top 20 hit and sixteen before his first Top 10.

Twisted Sister – The Price (debuted on 1/5/1985, peaked at #107)

Stay Hungry was this Long Island, NY’s third album and their most successful to date, featuring their only Top 40 hit, We’re Not Gonna Take It. This was their third single, and lead singer Dee Snyder had already become more well-known than the band. He will be the host of Headbanger’s Ball, which will debut on MTV in a few months, and publically spar with Tipper Gore during the PMRC Senate hearings that Summer.

The Gap Band – Beep A Freak (debuted on 1/12/1985, peaked at #103)

Tulsa, Oklahoma funk trio, The Gap Band are the owners of five Bubblers, with this single being the last one to chart there. It will hit #2 on the R&B charts and will go on to have eleven more Top 40 entries on that chart.

Vanity – Mechanical Emotion (debuted on 1/12/1985, peaked at #107)

Vanity dropped out of Purple Rain for this? Now that she was banished from the Prince empire, she would be busy filming The Last Dragon for Motown Productions while juggling her film and music career. Hey, she was in Highlander II, so back off. Her second single release from 1984’s Pretty Mess isn’t bad and featured Morris Day on backing vocals. But its peak at #107 isn’t all that surprising either. Strangely, she would pass away two months before Prince did.

To Be What I Was Meant To Be

Here at Music In the Key of E, we talked about 80s Top 40 hits and The Other Sixty, so it makes sense to keep digging down and discuss those songs that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100. This was a feature in Billboard that began in June 1959 to predict which new records will become chart climbers, as they put it. They started off with a list of 15 songs per week but expanded it during the 1960s up to 35 (and on a few occasions, 36) depending on the volume of releases. Boy, that must have been some ego boost to tell everyone that you had a single reach #135. I’m looking at you, P.J. Proby.

By 1974, the magazine settled on ten spots, numbered #110 to #120, and ran the chart until August 1985. They picked it up again in 1992, and it still exists today. I have frequently mined these lower ten for The UnCola as many exciting singles peaked there. So we’re going to review them all – January 1980 to August 1985 – starting with the first two weeks of the chart year.

Here are the Bubbles that never Popped.

January 1980 – 1982 (chart weeks 1 & 2)

Oak – Draw The Line (debuted on 1/5/1980, peaked at #108)

If you’re buying a record based on a name, then surely you think you’re gonna hear some good ol’ Country rock, right? Nope, you’re gonna get some warmed-over soft rock by a bunch of wannabe Eagles, who look like they’ll do your taxes for you in exchange for an eight ball. This quintet from Maine was led by Rick Pinette, who eventually joined the Jim Bakker Morningside Band in the 2000s. Let’s move on.

Chic – My Feet Keep Dancing (debuted on 1/12/1980, peaked at #101)

Disco did not die in 1979 after the record demolition at Comiskey Park. Disco never died. The blood-sucking ad executives and coked-out record company exploiters just moved on. Unfortunately, they took many good bands down with them, and Chic, which was peaking in ’79, felt it immediately. This was the third single from their third album, Risque, which yielded the classic #1, Good Times. The follow-up, My Forbidden Lover, only reached #43. This one didn’t even chart on the Hot 100, missing by a notch. It will only reach #42 on the R&B charts but will get loads of Disco play.

April Wine – Say Hello (debuted on 1/12/1980, peaked at #104)

Alright, the pride of Nova Scotia is getting a little funky. This Canadian rock quintet released this as the first single from their eighth album, Harder…Faster. Their US fans took a pass on it, which is why it’s down here. They preferred the follow-up, I Love To Rock, although not that much as it only hit #86.

Hansie – Automobile (debuted on 1/12/1980, peaked at #109)

Artist Hansie or Hansje, if you’re enjoying a spacebar, was a singer from the Netherlands, who released a silly pop single in 1978 called Silex Pistols Piew Piew. She had a modicum of notoriety in the States when this 45 reached #109 in early 1980. It’s a car crash full of New Wave synths and sub-Moroder bass patches that could have found a home on the Bachelor Party soundtrack….and I can’t look away.

Tommy Dee – Here Is My Love (debuted on 1/10/1981, peaked at #107)

Who’s Tommy Dee? Never heard of him? Then you must have missed seeing The Idolmaker in the theatres, a Taylor Hackford-directed bomb starring Ray Sharkey as an overzealous manager trying to find the next big star. Even though this single release from the film is credited to “Dee,” it’s actually Jesse Frederick’s voice. He didn’t get rich on this, but eventually, he started lining his pockets with residuals from writing the TV show themes, Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, and Full House a handful of years later.

Jon Anderson – Some Are Born (debuted on 1/17/1981, peaked at #109)

Jon Anderson released his second solo album, Song Of Seven, in 1980 after the recording sessions for Yes’ Drama album went awry, and he and Rick Wakeman left the band. He would have varying degrees of success with his Vangelis collaborations, but not as much with his solo releases. This #109 single will be his best solo Pop showing. Some are born to work as a group.

The Spinners – Love Connection (Raise The Window Down) (debuted on 1/9/1982, peaked at #107)

The Spinners’ run of top-notch output from 1972 to 1976 was rarely matched by any R&B act during the 70s. When singer Phillipe Wynne left in 1977, the wheels just fell off. The magic was gone, and the group spent decades trying to restore it. A single like this has the group sounding like a band trying to sound like them, meaning you have no idea it’s the Spinners unless you look at the label. It will not get any higher than #68 on the R&B Hot 100.

Slave – Wait For Me (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #103)

Some groups were just too funky (aka “black”) to be on Pop radio and needed a ton of 45 sales even to have a chance. This was the Dayton, OH’s band’s third single to linger as a Bubbler [after 1978’s The Party Song and 1979’s Just Freak]. They just kept hitting the Pop roadblocks. No wonder Steve Arrington tried to branch out on his own. [We’ll hear from him in April.] It will still reach the R&B Top 20.

The Manhattan Transfer – Spies In The Night (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #103)

This New York vocal quartet was always riding the line between classy and cheesy. Sampling the James Bond theme (without any songwriting credit) pushes the band into the latter. Co-written by David Foster and producer Jay Graydon, it was the third single released from Mecca For Moderns and second follow-up to the Top 10 hit, Boy From New York City. Their second release, Smile Again, only showed up on the AC charts.

Diesel – Goin’ Back To China (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #105)

Dutch quartet Diesel had a surprise Top 30 hit in late 1981 with Sausalito Summernight.  After visiting California, these dudes take a trip to Asia with this slower-paced follow-up. This had been a  1979 Top 40 hit in the Netherlands for the group, but no such luck over here.

Luther Vandross – Don’t You Know That? (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #107)

Even though he became a star in his relatively short time on Earth, it took a lot of perseverance for him to finally breakthrough. There was a lot of backing vocal sessions on hit songs (Bowie, Chic), failed bands (Luther), uncredited lead vocals (Change), and commercial work (Kodak, KFC). But it wasn’t until 1981’s Never Too Much that Pop audiences first heard of him. This funky Quiet Storm jam was the follow-up to his first Top 40 single. It will become his second Top 10 Soul hit.

Diana Ross –  My Old Piano (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #109)

What is this doing here almost two years after the release of 1980’s Diana? I’m guessing it’s due to Diana’s compilation, All The Great Hits, that Motown released after Diana signed with RCA Records.  In the UK, this single reached #5 in the Fall of 1980. It should have been released in the US back in early 1981 as the third single, and it might have had a better shot at success. It will not show up on any other Billboard chart.


Random Things You Can’t Prevent

Friends, we’ve come to the end of the 1980s as we enter chart week fifty-two. Only two calendar years had fifty-two editions of the Billboard Hot 100 – 1980 and 1985, which had to do with having an extra Saturday in those years. So why did the others only have fifty-one? I’m going to tell you, but please sit down first. Their employer gave them the week between Christmas and New Years Day off. What? JK.

They were busy creating their end of year charts, which took them a full month to work on and were released on the last week of the year.  In doing so, the Hot 100 charts were left unattended, so Billboard created a “frozen” week for week #52. All of those singles got an extra week at their current spot. What a great way to add another week of domination to your #1 record. [Ed note – if someone from the industry wants to give a more precise explanation of the frozen week, please be my guest.]

Without further adieu, here is our final review of The Other Sixty from the years 1980 and 1985.

December 27th, 1980

81. Aretha Franklin – United Together

The Queen’s last three albums of the 70s yielded one Hot 100 entry, Break It To Me Gently, in 1977, which peaked at #85. She needed a change, and, leaving Atlantic Records, she moved over to Arista Records in 1980. This was the first single from her album, Aretha, and the ballad, produced by Chuck Jackson will reach #3 on the Soul charts. It will only reach #56 Pop. She stuck it out with Arista, and two albums later was back in the Top 40. By 1985, she was back in the Top 10. In 1987, she was at #1 with I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), twenty years after Respect hit the top. I bet a former “nineteen”-year-old bought that single.

82. Willis “The Guard” and Vigorish – Merry Christmas In The NFL

Forget Wham-ageddon. Forget Mariah-poclypse. You need to avoid this one at all costs, every year. I think it was the single which precipitated the “anyone using the NFL without consent will be executed” announcement before every televised game. This was created by Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia, who would annoy the shit out of us two years with Pac-Man Fever. Thankfully this holiday single will debut at its peak. Also, I learned that vigorish is the bookie’s cut when a bet is placed with them or what’s also known as “the juice.”

88. J.D. Drews – Don’t Want No-Body

I love obscure singles and artists, especially a random one like this. Jurgen Drews was a German Schlager singer who had been performing in groups since the late 60s. In 1974 he released his first solo album, Zeit Fur Meine Songs. Two years later, he nabbed a German #1 song with Ein Bett Im Kornfeld (which translates to A Bed In a Cornfield), a cover of the Bellamy Brothers’ Let Your Love Flow. [This is the point where I tell you that Germans have horrible taste in entertainment. I have experienced this many times first hand. The bar is so low; you have to dig it out.]

Now, someone must have put a bug in Jurgen’s ohr, and told him he was good enough for the American market. He then recorded an album as J.D. Drews and marketed it as he was a lost Ramone. This LP and single sound like a spoof on the burgeoning New Wave power pop genre, minus any humor or self-awareness. It’s absolutely fascinating. Fittingly, it was released on Unicorn Records. His only Hot 100 entry will get to seven-ty nine.

90. Kansas – Got To Rock On

Kansas’ seventh album, Audio-Visions, garnered the group their fifth Top 40 single, Hold On. This was their ho-hum follow-up. It’s not that the song is terrible, but with a title like that, you’d expect more muscle or at least more passion. I think the group was having a hard time with mustering up either by 1980. This 45 will rock on to #75 before disappearing.

December 28th, 1985

88. Joni Mitchell – Good Friends

It’s ridiculous how much lambasting Joni has received throughout her career for her musical choices. God forbid that she did anything different from sitting on a stool with her acoustic guitar,  long hair flowing over her shoulders, and singing folk songs. You may not like her move towards a modern synthetic sound in the mid-80s, but it was a lot more tasteful than her contemporaries. And anyway, she doesn’t give a shit what you think.

For me, I love this song. It sounds exactly like being in Lower Manhattan during sunset, looking towards the Hudson, crazy people watching and getting ready for a night of fun with a bestie. And when that dude is Michael McDonald, damn, what else do you want? The synths and programming were done by Thomas Dolby, and it’s also the first album that Joni eschews her guitar.  The friendship will last until #85.

89. Roger Daltrey – Let Me Down Easy

If it sounds like you’re listening to Somebody by Bryan Adams, it’s because he and his partner Jim Vallance ripped themselves off and sold it as a new song to the lead singer of The Who. How did Roger miss this? He should have just covered Somebody, but I guess that would have been a waste of time too. At least, we get to hear what a Bryan Adams rock song sounds like with stronger vocals. The McVicar will be let down at #86.

91. The Alarm – Strength

Passion was one thing this band didn’t lack. Lead singer Mike Peters gives his all again with another single that failed to break them out of the U2’s little brother mold. It’s their first Hot 100 entry, the title track from their second album, but it will weaken at #61.

And there you have it. We’ve reviewed all of the singles that charted on the Hot 100 in the 1980s but did not reach the Top 40. We call them The Other Sixty. You can review all of them here, if you like.

Thank you all for reading and commenting. Special thanks to victorvector, who found the tunes that fell through the cracks.

Now what?

Realize The Man Who Says Anything

Hre’s is the second part of chart week fifty-one for all The Other Sixty members. We’re finishing the week with a review of 1984 through 1989.

December 22nd, 1984

83. Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton – The Greatest Gift Of All

We start off with a Christmas song that sounds like one of those 80s Chicago ballads. Aha, it’s produced by David Foster. [Was that a collective groan?] There was also a TV special that aired on CBS with this release, which has been lost to time. Unfortunately, this single only hopped two islands and fell into the stream at #81.

86. Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy

This New Wave classic comes from this UK trio’s debut, The Age Of Consent. Lead singer Jimmy Somerville and his falsetto soar throughout this sad synth-pop tale of a lonely boy leaving home, and it became a popular anthem in the Gay community. It was a smash throughout Europe and a #1 on the Dance Club Play charts in the States. But only managed a #48 zenith on the Hot 100.

87. The Kinks – Do It Again

Here is the lead single from the Kink’s twenty-first album, Word of Mouth, a return to a harder sound than State Of Confusion.  I remember this getting a lot of airplay back then and was surprised that it missed the Top 40. It barely did at #41, getting leapfrogged by Survivor. It will reach the Mainstream Rock Top 5.

90. Lorenzo Lamas – Fools Like Me

You may remember him as the jock who tried to get ONJ’s attention in Grease before Travolta gave him a bruisin’. In the 80s, he landed a role on the nighttime soap Falcon Crest as the hilariously named Lance Cumson. So, of course, why not parlay that into a singing career? Oops, I forgot. You need to know how to sing. Zo-Lam will top out at #85 will this one.

December 21st, 1985

88. Fortune – Stacy

Here’s a quintet who released an album in 1978 and then worked hard for seven years for an opportunity at a follow-up. In between those releases, they changed their sound to get some of that Journey/ Foreigner money. This ballad will get them charted, but it does not favor the bold and will move up only eight more notches.

90. Alisha – Baby Talk

Brooklyn singer Alisha released her debut in 1985 and ended up with three Top 5 Dance hits. They all got lots of airplay in New York, especially this single. I feel like I heard it a million times over that Christmas break. It’s a catchy 80s dance track aiming for that Madonna market and will go to #1 on the Dance Club charts. On the Pop charts, it will bounce up to #68.

93. Chaka Khan – Own The Night

Outside of a few Jan Hammer instrumentals, everything else on the Miami Vice soundtrack was released as a single or had already been a hit. This upbeat, funky aerobics number was the last one as a 45, and it charts on the Hot 100 the week the album slips to #2 after a seven-week run at the top. It will return for another four while this song gets owned at #57.

December 27th, 1986

90. El DeBarge – Someone

El releases his third single from his debut album, El Debarge. It’s a smooth midtempo track written by Jay Graydon and Robbie Nevil, whose own hit, C’est La Vie, was currently at #6. It will scrape into the R&B Top 40 at #32 but only climb to #70 pop. That’s life.

92. Uptown – (I Know) I’m Losing You

Have you ever wondered what a Motown classic would sound like if you sucked the soul out of it? Well, this New York trio has your answer on this proto-freestyle remake of the Temptations 1967 Top 10 smash. This one will get lost at #80.

93. Bananarama – Trick Of The Night

This was the third and last charting single from the UK trio’s third LP, True Confessions. It’s a moody downtempo pop song that is infinitely more interesting than anything that the soulless SAW machine did with this group. Produced by Tony Sawin and Steve Jolley, who helmed the boards for Spandau Ballet’s True, it will do a disappearing act after hitting #76.

96. Five Star – If I Say Yes

This was the fourth and final Hot 100 entry by this UK family quintet. Imagine The Jets without the playfulness and charm, and you get this. If I told you I made this with a group of jacked-up chipmunks, you wouldn’t argue with me. Mostly because you wouldn’t care. In fact, any argument we had about it would be better time spent than listening to this. The answer will be no at #67.

December 26th, 1987

96. Depeche Mode – Never Let Me Down Again

Here’s the second single from this RNRHOF quartet’s Music For The Masses album, and it’s one of my favorite tracks of theirs. I purchased the 45 back then even though I owned the CD because the B-side was another great track, Pleasure, Little Treasure. Was this stuff just too good for Pop stations, or did they just need time to catch up? This ode to the euphoria of drugs (pick one) will peak at #63.

December 24th, 1988

98. Camouflage – The Great Commandment

Exactly one year later, the German version of Depeche Mode enters the Hot 100 with a track from their debut, Voices And Images. This synth-pop single will hit #1 on the Dance Club charts and a #3 Modern Rock hit. On the Hot 100, it will reach a respectable #59. If you listened to WDRE in New York back in the 80s, you’d remember it as a Shriek of the Week in late November 1987.

December 23th, 1989

90. Loverboy – Too Hot

Loverboy’s last Hot 100 entry is not a cover of the Kool & The Gang Top 10 hit from 1980. I wish. It’s a newly recorded single for their great hits compilation, Big Ones. Sadly this does not fall into that category and will cool down at #84.

93. Abstrac’ – Right And Hype

Here is the only Hot 100 entry for this New Jack trio from the Bronx. It would only move up four more spots, but it will make the R&B Top 30. The group will shrink to a duo and release an album as M&M in 1992.

To Roll Down The Long Decline

We’re getting closer and closer to the end of the 80s. Chart week fifty-one will be the last week of charting for most years. We’ll discuss why next week. Now let’s review 1980 up through 1983.

December 20th, 1980

89. Shalamar – Full Of Fire

Here’s the lead single from this L.A. trio’s fourth album, Three For Love. It’s sung by Howard Hewitt as well as Jody Watley, who co-wrote it with fellow labelmate Richard Randolph,  a member of the funk band, Dynasty. This dance track will burn its way up to #58 and make the R&B Top 30.

90. Dire Straits – Skateaway

Dire Straits shrunk down to a trio on their album, Making Movies, but they brought in E. Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan for the Jimmy Iovine-produced sessions. It’s my favorite album of theirs and has a smooth Westcoast flavor throughout. This single’s groove makes me think it was inspired by Knopfler sitting on a park bench in Venice, CA, watching the roller-skating women. It should have definitely reached a higher height than #55.

97. Jackie English – Once A Night

Now, this is a deeply forgotten 45. It was recorded for the Walter Matthau film, Hopscotch, written by her and singer Beverly Bremers, who had a Top 20 hit in 1972 called Don’t Say You Don’t Remember. Those two ladies were part of a studio disco act two years previous called Siren, who recorded this in 1978. They also won the Gold Prize at the Seoul International Song Festival in 1980. Alas, this song will only move up three more notches before disappearing.

December 26th, 1981

80. Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Southern Pacific

Prolific is an understatement when talking about Neil’s recording career. Except for a short period in the late 90s, he has been putting out albums over the last decades. In 1981, he released Re-Ac-Tor, his fourth album with Crazy Horse. It was a strange mix of blues-rock and punk. The chugging single was the most accessible thing on it, which is why it became a 45. It deals with an aging train conductor’s story as an allegory of the loss of American jobs and the failing economy. Its final station was #70.

Fun fact: Neil has indulged a lifelong obsession with toy trains, to the point that he became an owner of Lionel Trains in the 1990s.

83. John Hall Band – Crazy (Keep On Falling)

When John Hall left Orleans in 1977, he took his songwriter partner, ex-wife Johanna Hall along with him. They wrote this pop-rock single with bandmates Eric Parker and Bob Leinbach, featured on his fourth album, All Of The Above, which became his first Hot 100 entry. It just missed the Casey call at #42.

85. Bill Champlin – Tonight Tonight

Bill Champlin had been recording for two decades and had yet to sniff the Top 40. It took his stint as a co-lead singer in Chicago to bring him some financial success. I’m sure part of the audition included band members listening to his Westcoast classic album, Runaway, produced by David Foster. This smooth ballad sailed up to #55.

91. Kano – Can’t Hold Back (Your Lovin’)

This Italian trio released their debut album in 1980, which spawned two huge Disco smashes: It’s A War and I’m Ready. Their second album, New York Cake,  pulled back on the disco a bit and added more funk a la Change, their fellow dance countrymen. It will result in their only US chart entry on the Hot 100 and will only slide up two spots from its debut.

December 25th, 1982

80. The Who – Eminence Front

This track from It’s Hard is the funkiest thing these guys ever recorded. So much so, that it was sampled nine years on 3rd Bass’ onlyTop 40 hit, Pop Goes The Weasel. It received loads of Rock airplay, hitting #5 on the Mainstream Rock chart, but for some reason couldn’t get past #68 on the Hot 100. What a put on.

81. Little Steven and the Disciples Of Soul – Forever

Miami Steve has been a part of the E. Street Band since the mid-70s, but you need to take a break and express yourself differently every once in a while. Before his eight-year ride as Silvio on the Sopranos, he formed this band while Bruce worked on the Nebraska album. Their first album, Men Without Women, garnered them their only chart hit when this soul-rock track reached #63.

Fun fact: Did you know that in 1982, Little Steven was married by Little Richard?

88. Tyrone Davis – Are You Serious

Soul music ruled the Pop charts in the 70s, especially during the early years. But as the 80s were ushered in, most of those successful R&B artists had a difficult time crossing over, never mind finding record labels to sign them. I’m sure Mr. Davis would love to have turned back time in 1982 all the way back to 1970, so this smooth jam could have found a place on more Pop playlists. Tyrone did his job with the performance, but it was released on a small independent label that didn’t have the promotion muscle. Even with minimal A&R, it will still reach #3 on the Soul charts, but only #57 on the Hot 100.

89. Michael Stanley Band – Take The Time

Michael channels his inner-Bob Seger on this midtempo rocker from these Midwest heroes. I’m surprised this wasn’t supported more by Pop programmers. I figured they’d eat stuff like this up. But instead, it will have a #81 zenith.

90. Unipop – What If (I Said I Love You)

File this one under husband and wife pop duos. Although not as successful as the Captain and Tennille, Manny & Phyllis Loiacono took their one shot at fame and released the album, Unilove which featured this single, their only chart hit. It’s a modern take on a 50’s style pop tune, kind of like Toby Beau’s My Angel Baby, but leaning heavily into the Grease soundtrack territory. Definitely not a thing folks were doing much of in the New Wave era. Still, it will peak at #71.

Fun fact: Manny & Phyllis supposedly sang backing vocals on Bertie Higgins’ Key Largo recorded in 1981.

December 23rd, 1983

74. Peabo Bryson / Roberta Flack – You’re Looking Like Love To Me

It took nearly a decade of recording, but in 1983 Peabo finally nabbed a Top 40 hit, albeit as a duet with Roberta Flack. Their follow-up to Tonight, I Celebrate My Love will only hit #58 Pop and #41 R&B but will rise to #5 on the AC charts. So if you’re looking like you might have a cavity, you might catch this one coming from the round ceiling speakers.

81. Michael Stanley Band – Someone Like You

Here’s another decent track from MSB and their 1983 LP, You Can’t Fight Fashion. It’s the follow-up to their #39 hit, My Town. This upbeat rocker sung by keyboardist Kevin Raleigh will stall out at #75.

89. Headpins – Just One More Time

We’re gonna finish out this set with some Canadian rock. The Headpins were a side project formed by two-thirds of the band, Chilliwack. By the time of their second album, Line Of Fire, the twosome of Ab Bryant & Brian McLeod left the latter band for good and focused on their new venture. It got them a sole US chart entry, which topped out at #70.



The Closer That We Get, The Crazier That I Feel

Join me as we wrap up chart week of our review of The Other Sixty. We’re going to take a look at 1987, 1988, and 1989.

December 19th, 1987

82. PowerSource featuring Sharon Batts – Dear Mr. Jesus

Oh, man. I gotta start out with this? A six-year-old singing about seeing a little girl beaten black and blue. Jesus. I know these folks had the right intentions, but imagine if Suzanne Vega tackled Luka with no artistic vision whatsoever, and you’ll get an idea of what this track sounds like. [FYI – Scott Shannon was behind this one in NY.] This 45 will rise up to #61.

87. Eurythmics – I Need A Man

Here’s the lead-off single from Eurythmics’ seventh album, Savage, which did not do well in the States. Personally, it’s my favorite of theirs. Dave Stewart recorded most of the album with a Synclavier and his guitar, and the band filmed a video for each song, directed by Sophie Muller. This aggressive pop-rock number will reach a #46 high.

94. Glenn Medeiros – Lonely Won’t Leave Me Alone

Glenn continues his efforts to have another Top 40 hit by releasing ye another ballad. This one was co-written by David Foster and Jermaine Jackson, initially recorded by him for his Precious Moments LP. Loneliness will move in like Balki on Larry at #67.

96. The Alarm – Rain In The Summertime

I loved this song back then and played it on a loop that Summer. I can’t believe it took this long to chart on the Hot 100. This UK quartet has already hit the UK Top 20 by the time of this debut. And now it’s winter, and the rain is cold. No one wants to think about getting wet when it’s 20 degrees outside and dark. Probably the reason why it drowned at #71.

98. Dokken – Burning Like A Flame

Don Dokken and pals are Back For The Attack or so saith their fourth album. This heavy metal quartet has yet to cash in on the glam metal fad that was happening, and their lead single would be no exception. It will blow out at #72, and the band would break up for five years.

Funny aside: The teen quintet, The Party, made up of Mickey Mouse Club cast members, would hit #34 in early 1992 with a cover of Dokken’s In My Dreams.

December 17th, 1988

91. Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers – If We Never Meet Again

This Philly quintet’s second release from their second album, Rumble, did much better than their first. It will climb up the way up to #48 and reach the Top 10 on the Mainstream Rock charts. It will also be their last Hot 100 entry.

94. The Timelords – Doctorin’ The Tardis

This may be the nerdiest dance track of the 80s. Timelords are the alien race that Dr. Who has descended from, which is why the chorus of this track is just the words Doctor and Who sung to the tune of Gary Glitter’s Rock And Roll, Part 2 over the Doctor Who theme. The tardis is the phone booth that he time travels in. (yes, just like Bill & Ted.) It will go to #1 in the UK and #66 in the States. This duo will change its name to The KLF and have a few hits in the early 90s.

95. Fairground Attraction – Perfect

Here’s a Scottish folk quartet led by singer Eddi Reader who channel their inner Patsy Cline for this single from their debut, The First Of A Million Kisses. It will be a #1 smash for them in England. In the States, it had this interesting chart data line: #80 Pop, #1 Modern Rock, and #85 Country.

97. Sir Mix-A-Lot – Posse On Broadway

Back before the self-proclaimed J.R. Ewing of Seattle noticed the backside, he was looking out the front window namechecking streets that he and his crew would roll down through Capitol Hill. It took most of the 80s for Sir to work up his cred. But rather than wait for a record deal, he helped to start up his own label, Nastymix, and released his debut, Swass, in 1988. This was the most well-known song from the album, reaching #44 R&B and #70 Pop, and features a sample of Iggy Pop’s Nightclubbing.

98. Starship – Wild Again

Wouldn’t that assume Starship was wild once before? Here’s another track from the Cocktail soundtrack, a huge 80s album that no one listens to anymore. Like a pina colada, it was meant to be enjoyed for a moment then forgotten. It will also be included on the band’s Love Among The Cannibals album, released in 1989. This starship was meant to fly at #73.

December 16th, 1989

80. Safire – I Will Survive

Sa-Fire removed the dash from her name and got down to brass tacks with a New Jack cover of the 1979 Gloria Gaynor #1 smash. It was featured in the disastrous film, She-Devil, which paired Meryl Streep and Rosanne Barr. It will reach #53 before it changes that stupid lock.

90. Sharon Bryant – Foolish Bryant

The former Atlantic Starr lead singer follows up her only Top 40 single, Let Go, with a cover of Steve Perry’s 1985 Top 20 hit. It will become her second Top 10 R&B hit, ut it debuts at its peak on the Hot 100.

[Thanks victorvector for catching the omission.]

96. Dino – Never 2 Much Of U

Dino squeezed every last bit of his 24/7 album until we could take no more. He managed two Top 40 hits already, and the fifth charting single angled to be number three. Unfortunately, the quiet storm didn’t last that long, and it will peak at #61. But you never if you hear it again as you wait in line at a Rite-Aid.


Blinded By The Double Standard

Let’s move into the middle of the decade to see which songs end up as The Other Sixty during chart week fifty. Here’s 1983 up through 1986.

December 17th, 1983

85. Diana Ross – Let’s Go Up

Diana got herself a catamaran to cruise through the bay with her fourteenth album, Ross. She covers songs by Michael McDonald, Donald Fagan, and Marc Jordan while Steely Dan producer Gary Katz takes the wheel for most of the album. He produced The Boss’ follow-up to Pieces Of Ice, which features Jeff Porcaro doing a modified version of his famous shuffle. This is one of the best singles she released in the 80s, but it may have been a year too late. It will get docked at the pier at #77.

90. Bob Dylan – Sweetheart Like You

By the time of his twenty-second album, Infidels, co-produced with Mark Knopfler, Dylan was starting to seem like a parody of himself. He also hadn’t had a charting single in four years. This release, which features Mick Taylor on guitar, Allan Clarke on keys, and the rhythm section of Sly & Robbie, helped changed some of that perception. It will get him on the radio again, although this ballad will only climb to #55.

91. Prince – Let’s Pretend We’re Married/ Irresistible Bitch

This was the fourth single released from Prince’s fifth album, 1999, his mainstream breakthrough. The A-side of the 45 censors out all the filthy stuff from the album but leaves the nasty synth-funk alone. The B-side got enough airplay for this single to get both sides listed cuz it’s fonky as hell. It will still only top out at #52, four months before he debuted with When Doves Cry. Rapper Candyman sampled this B-side and the J. Geils Band B-side to Freeze-Frame for this 1990 hip-hop track.

95. Twilight 22 – Electric Kingdom

Break out your piece of worn-out cardboard. It’s time to pop and lock to this slice of electro hip-hop. Led by keyboardist Gordon Bahary, this single incorporates some Middle Eastern riffs with synths and 808s and a rap about making a better life for yourself on top. It will reach the R&B Top 10 but spin out at #79 Pop.

December 15th, 1984

63. Barbra Streisand & Kim Carnes – Make No Mistake, He’s Mine

Here is the second single from Babs’ Emotion LP, a duet written by and sung with Kim Carnes. It’s an unofficial answer song to MJ & Macca’s The Girl Is Mine and will hit #8 on the AC charts to satisfy your teeth drilling needs. But on the Hot 100, it will stall out at #51. Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap will record their version in 1987, which will reach #1 Country.

77. Rick Dees – Eat My Shorts

Before Bart Simpson or John Bender in The Breakfast Club, Rick Dees entered this phrase into the pop culture vernacular via this ridiculously stupid ballad. If you imagine Rick singing to himself in the mirror, then it actually works. This is Rick’s first chart single since 1977’s Dis-Gorilla and thankfully his last as it only moves up two more spots.

85. George Benson – 20/20

Bad Benson’s twenty-second studio album will be the last one to spawn a Hot 100 entry. The funky yet smooth title track will be released as the first single. It will reach #15 on the SOul charts and reach the UK Top 30. But the 45 will go blind at #48 Pop. Also, if any number will look better in the rearview mirror, it will be this one.

88 . Rod Stewart – All Right Now

Rod tries his hand at a synth-rock cover of Free’s 1970 smash. It’s not bad, but really, the original is all you need. I’m sure songwriter Andy Fraser doesn’t mind the royalties, though. The third single from Camouflage will not have all the luck as it flames out at #72.

89. Tommy Shaw – Lonely School

T-Shaw’s follow-up to his #33 hit, Girls With Guns, is a rock ballad that I’m not sure would have made side 2 of a Styx album. Or a Damn Yankees CD, for that matter. The school of loneliness will shut down at #60.

90. The Temptations -Treat Her Like A Lady

This is the best thing that the Temps recorded in the 80s by a mile. That’s how bad they were mismanaged. If you reflect on the 60s music revival that happened during the 1980s, they were the most significant artist that was still recording records, not to have a comeback. The best they did was a five-second backing vocals spot on Rick James’ Superfreak and this boogie track, co-produced by Al McKay and Ralph Johnson of Earth, Wind & Fire. It will peak at #48.

December 14th, 1985

86. Barbra Streisand – Somewhere

Babs is back with a long play full of show tunes called The Broadway Album, which became her first #1 album in five years when it hit the zenith in late January 1986. The first single released was a song from West Side Story, produced by David Foster. She made her version one of the definitive, but at the time, its biggest success was on the AC charts, where it made the Top 5. It will just miss the Casey call when it peaks at #43 on the Hot 100.

Fun Fact: The Broadway Album knocked the Miami Vice soundtrack out of the top albums spot. In 1988 Babs returned to the Top 40 after a five-year absence with a duet featuring Don Johnson. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

91. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Secret

I was as shocked as most OMD fans to see them make the Top 40 in 1985 with So In Love. But then again, they spent many years perfecting their synth-pop sound and started to write more tunes geared for an American audience. They’ll end up with three more Top 20 hits in the 80s, with one of them reaching the Top 5. Until then, the second single from Crush will blab its mouth up to #63.

December 20th, 1986

76. Bobby Brown – Girlfriend

Bobby B left (or was kicked out of) New Edition in early 1986 and quickly started his solo career with his debut album King Of Stage. This was his first single, which didn’t do much for establishing a new sound for him. The ballad did go to #1 on the Soul charts and #57 Pop. Two years, he released Don’t Be Cruel, which spawned five Top 10 hits, including the #1 smash, My Prerogative. For more info on BB, I refer you to the unintentionally sad Being Bobby Brown show.

95. Ric Ocasek – True To You

Ric wasn’t that interested in being a Pop star. He just wrote catchy tunes to get the record company of his back. That he could seemingly write them at will was a testament to his talents. This was the follow-up to his only Top 40 hit, Emotion In Motion, and would sound fine on any Cars album. It will crash at #75 and become his last solo chart entry.


Another Spoke In A Great Big Wheel

We’re getting closer and closer to the end of the chart year as we enter chart week fifty with many veteran artists making one more play for the year. Alas, they end up in The Other Sixty instead. Let’s review 1980, 1981, and 1982.

December 13th, 1980

81. Rita Coolidge – Fool That I Am

For the Robert Blake/ Dyan Cannon film Coast To Coast, the music supervisor pulled this ballad from Rita’s 1979 album, Satisfied, her eleventh, to use as its main theme. The film was an absolute bomb, but this track made it all the way up to #46 and the AC Top #15.

82. Supertramp – Breakfast In America (live)

Supertramp was at the height of its powers in 1980, which usually means one thing in the music industry – time for a live double album. Paris was taken from a November 29th, 1979 show in the French capital and had already spawned a Top 20 hit, the live version of their 1974 Crime Of The Century cut, Dreamer. Their second single from the album was the title track to their 1979 #1 long play, and it will play its jokes upon you at #61. FYI – the studio version of this song will reach #9 in the UK.

85. Oak – Set The Night On Fire

This one’s for all you Oak fans out there. You know who you are. This New Hampshire quintet hit the Top 40 earlier in the year with a track from their 1979 debut, called King Of the Hill, credited to Rick Pinette and Oak. Their second and final chart entry was the title track to their second album. Credited to just Oak [Who was doing the branding for these guys?], this mellow pop-rock number will burn out at #71.

91. The Star Wars Intergalactic Droid Choir and Chorale – What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)?

Before the Star Wars enterprise understood its brand, they threatened to undermine its own franchise with this ill-advised holiday album, Christmas In The Stars, produced by Meco. This LP barely went brass, and that was in the wake of The Empire Strikes Back, which was huge that Summer. This is so God-damned awful that people would rather hear The Chipmunks or Mariah Carey each Christmas than this. I can’t believe it got as high as #69. Also, the answer to the title’s questions is two hot pokers to jam into his ears, so he never has to hear this.

96. Four Seasons – Spend The Night In Love

The Jersey Boys mounted an impressive comeback in the mid to late 70s. In the music industry, that only means one thing – time for a live double album. The group nabs their only Hot 100 appearance of the 80s with this studio cut from Reunited, one of two new tracks recorded. The title was a bit misleading because the only reunited members were the new ones from the Who Loves You & Helicon albums. Was the world missing Valli and Gerry Polci kickin’ it together? Bob Gaudio was back but mostly in the producer’s chair, and his wife, Judy Parker, co-wrote this single, which sounds like something off of the Bee gees scrap pile. That will most likely explain its #91 zenith.

December 19th, 1981

79. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band – Feel Like A Number

The Seeg came a long way since his Live Bullet days as he just garnered his first #1 album in 1980, Against The Wind. In the music industry, that only means one thing – time for a live double album. Bob released his cover of an obscure Otis Clay song, Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You, which reached #5. This was his second single, originally a cut from his 1978 album, Stranger In Town, which will reach #48.

82. The Carpenters – Those Good Old Dreams

Karen & Richard recycle their Top Of The World groove for some lude-induced pop, which will nod off at #63. It was the third single released from their second-to-last studio album, Made In America, which spawned the Top 20 hit, Touch Me When We’re Dancing.

96. Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin – It’s My Party

English singer Barbara Gaskin was the lead singer of the early 70s folk group Spirogyra (not the jazz band). Keyboardist Dave Stewart (not of the Eurythmics) had been in prog bands such as Egg, Natural Health, and played for years with Bill Bruford. In 1981, these two artists teamed up for a slow-cooked synth cover of the Lesley Gore classic. It was a smash throughout Europe, reaching #1 in the UK and Ireland. Here in the States, it decided to cry at #72.

December 18th, 1982

79. Janet Jackson – Young Love

Miss Jackson [I’m nasty.] charts on the Hot 100 for the first time with a single from her debut album written by Rene & Angela. It’s actually an excellent uptempo boogie track, but it doesn’t even hint at the talent this lady had. But everyone has to start somewhere. She was not yet in control. This Top 10 R&B song will top out at #64 Pop.

81. Rough Trade – All Touch

This Canadian outfit has existed in one form or another since the late 60s and as Rough Trade since 1974. By the early 80s, they adopted a New Wave sound and spawned their only Hot 100 entry from their third album, For Those Who Think Young. This catchy yet sparsely arranged synth-pop track feels its way up to #58.

85. Hot Chocolate – AreYou Getting Enough Happiness

Hot Chocolate? Now you’ve got somethin’. This UK soul quintet places one more single on the Hot 100 before going on vacation with their Swiss miss. It’s a re-recording of a track from their sixth LP, Class, originally titled Are You Getting Enough of What Makes You Happy? The newly concisely-titled single will peak at #65.

89. Poco – Shoot For The Moon

These country-rock veterans moved to a new label, Atlantic Records, for their fifteenth studio album, Ghost Town. But they continue to squander any of their momentum from their ’79 successes. This will be the only release out of three from the LP mentioned above to chart. The moon will wax new at #50.

90. Hughes/Thrall – Beg, Borrow Or Steal

Bass player and singer Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze) teamed up with guitarist Pat Thrall (Automatic Man, Pat Travers Band) for a really well-done 80s rock album., co-produced with Andy Johns. This was the lead-off single from the album, sporting a driving drum beat and a catchy synth riff, lifted from Foreigner’s Urgent. That said, it should have definitely been more successful than its #79 peak. Its spirit lives on in contemporary tracks from The Sutcliffe Brothers, such as this one.