Living In A World Of Make Believe

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Let’s round up our review of The Other Sixty from the twenty-first chart week with the Hot 100 debuts from 1986 through 1989.

May 31st, 1986

94. B.E. Taylor Group – Karen

I am going to assume the woman B.E Taylor is talking is named Karen rather than is a Karen. Then again, there’s nothing in the lyrics that tell you otherwise. And B.E might have just realized how into entitled housewives he really is and he’s sorry he let her go. This was their last chart hit from their final album, and it debuts at its peak. Hopefully, Karen didn’t sue Billboard because of it.

96. Del Fuegos – I Still Want You

Here’s a garage band from Boston led by the Dan & Warren Zanes, in the same tradition as the Kinks or Oasis. Their one and only chart hit from their 1986 LP, Boston, Mass crawled up to #87. The band broke up just before the 90s.

Fun fact: Dan Zanes is the current Vice President of Education at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I guess that’s one way to get in.

May 30th, 1987

83. Prince – If I Was Your Girlfriend

Damn, this is such a ridiculously awesome song. My teenage self was so confused by it and didn’t fully appreciate it as I do now. Prince was never going to give you what you wanted. He was going to give you what you needed, even if you didn’t know what that was, and it came in the form of such a beautiful, sensitive, thought-provoking funked-up ballad. The part where his vocals distort reminds me of Riot-era Sly Stone, but supposedly it was a recording error. The B-side of this 45 was Shockedelica. Hot damn! Both of these songs were written for his shelved Camille project, where he would take on a female alter-ego. I’m glad the saw the light of day back then, and I think a high of #67 for something this deep is a success.

89. Dan Fogelberg – She Don’t Look Back

Dan tried rocking out with this track to get some of his fans back but to no avail. Everyone knew that he was softer than a shopping cart pretzel during an august downpour, and a turned-up amp wasn’t changing anyone’s mind. His last Hot 100 entry will only move up five spots before looking back.

May 28th, 1988

85. Henry Lee Summer – Darlin’ Danielle Don’t

The follow-up to Henry’s first big smash, the Top 20 song, I Wish I Had A Girl, was this bluesy shuffled from the Indiana native self-titled album, his third. It stopped at #57 but received lots of airplay on rock radio. HLS will be back next year with an even bigger hit.

92. Wet Wet Wet – Wishing I Was Lucky

Named after a line in the Scritti Politti song, here’s a Scottish blue-eyed soul quartet with their first chart hit. It has already been a hit in the Spring of 1987 over in England, where it reached #6. Once it was released stateside a year later, I picked up the 45 after one listen, probably on Future Hits. I thought for sure it would be a big hit, but its luck ran out at #58. W3 just missed the Top 40 in 1994 when their cover of The Troggs’ Love Is All Around reached #41 while it spent 15 weeks at #1 in the UK.

95. Eurythmics – You’ve Placed A Chill In My Heart

All of a sudden, Pop radio turned their back on this creative duo. Nothing from their Savage LP, which heavily used the NED Synclavier would reach the Top 40, and it was packed with deserving singles. The fact that Pop radio was letting Taylor Dayne & Debbie Gibson run amok on the airwaves while this died on the vine at #67 is intensely criminal.

96. Michael Bolton – Wait On Love

Here’s some bland inoffensive pop-rock set to a mild shuffle beat, something you’d expect from Journey but without Steve Perry’s deep well of vocal drama. It was co-written by Jonathan Cain, who was in between paychecks and looking to record more corporate rock with the supergroup Bad English.

98. Tony! Toni! Tone! – Little Walter

From Oaktown, here’s a trio that was formed by D’Wayne Wiggins, his brother Charles (Who’d change his name to Raphael Saadiq), and their cousin Timothy Riley. No tonys amongst the three. They were one of the few Soul artists to bridge the gap between old school R&B and new jack swing. Produced By Foster & McElroy, coming off their big hits with Club Nouveau, their debut album, Who? spawned their first chart single, which just missed out on the Casey call taking at #44.

May 27th, 1989

84. The Cult – Fire Woman

I used to really dig this band. Love Removal Machine was one of my favorite songs of theirs, and I would crank that up anytime I could get the car for a spin. By their fourth album, Sonic Temple, I realized that there wasn’t much else from this band that would excite me again. Sure it made them a lot of cash, and this single burned it was up to #46, but for me, the kool-aid* wore off.

90. Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock – Joy And Pain

This rap duo recorded the classic It Takes Two, which should get any party moving to the next level [and if not, put some Meatloaf and tell everyone to get out.] Their second chart hit, interpolated with the Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly track of the same name, should get the good vibes flowing. It also samples this rare Olympic Runners song as well, smiling and wincing all the way to #58.

93. Wang Chung – Praying To A New God

Not knowing how to follow-up their successful LP, Mosaic, the Chungs decided to turn up the guitars and drum reverb. Everyone else was listening to see if they’d mention their name again. When they didn’t, folks were disinterested, and this song knelt down at #63. Their 2019 album, Orchesography, had the reformed duo playing their hits rearranged with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

*This refers to the Jonestown cult members, who on November 18th, 1978, were forced to commit suicide by drinking Flavor-Aid laced, unbeknowst to them, with cyanide. The phrase drink the Kool-Aid or believes what everyone else thinks comes from this event. But no one in Guyana drank Kool-Aid; it was Flavor-Aid. Shouldn’t we change that saying? Am I too in the weeds with this one?

To The Strength I See That’s Surrounding Me

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Here’s where one-hit-wonders’ careers are cemented, legends try to find their first hit, overnight successes watch the sun set on their dreams, and cult artists rear their head for a minute. It’s The Other Sixty from chart week 21 during 1983, 1984, and 1985.

May 28th, 1983

77. Lee Greenwood – I.O.U.

This former Vegas blackjack dealer got his Country career started in the early 80s, and since the beginning has mixed his politics in with his music, performing for each Republican president since Reagan was elected. His first chart hit was this wedding-first-dance ballad that made the Country & AC top 10 while peaking at #53. Lee would get his only Top 40 after 9/11 when everyone and their brother played God Bless The U.S.A. Some think that was letting the terrorists win.

88. Berlin – The Metro

This California New Wave sextet follows up their first chart hit another one from their second album, Pleasure Victim. It’s a more accessible synth-pop track that received plenty of MTV airtime, but will still make its last stop at #58.

90. Dexys Midnight Runners – The Celtic Soul Brothers

Kevin Rowland and his band of overalls-with-no-shirt-wearing comrades follow-up their surprise #1 hit, Come On Eileen with a track that really leans into the Celtic and the soul, hence the title. It was actually the first single release from 1982’s Too-Rye-Ay, and it makes sense since it’s a great introduction to the new direction that KR was taken his group. While this sound might have seemed weird or out-of-place musically back then, it is omnipresent now, especially with the buskers in my hometown. The brothers split up at #86. BTW – the entire album is a hidden gem, especially their cover of Van Morrison’s Jackie Wilson Said.

91. After The Fire – Dancing In The Shadows

Here’s another band that was struggling for a hit in the States since the late 70s. They finally found it with their English cover of Falco’s Der Kommissar, but unfortunately could not replicate its success. This was their last chart hit, an original whose legs would give out at #85.

95.Joan Armatrading – Drop The Pilot

British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading has a long, prolific career since her first album back in 1972 and is definitely deserving of more recognition or a musical resurgence. Her first twenty years were spent on the A&M Record label, and it took until her tenth album, The Key to finally chart on the Hot 100. This single was also her biggest hit in the UK thus far flying to #11. In the States, her only appearance crash-landed at #78.

May 26th, 1984

88. Bar-Kays – Freakshow On The Dancefloor

This is a funk band that can’t be stopped, musical trend changes and plane crashes be damned. Here they are adapting to electro-funk with a single from the Breakin’ soundtrack. This #2 Soul smash would only cross over to a #73 pop high. Grab your piece of cardboard, turn up your boombox, and start poppin’.

90. Bon Jovi – She Don’t Know Me

..but if she did, she would buy you a Grammarly subscription, because it’s doesn’t, not don’t. Actually, I should take aim at the Wild Cherry himself, Marc Avsec, who originally wrote this song for the Canadian disco band, La Flavour. Because they shared labels with the Jovis, someone had the group record a version as well. [The Grass Roots would as well.] It will climb up to the Top 50 but stop at #48. Bon Jovi will never release a single that wasn’t written by the band ever again.

May 25th, 1985

69. The Commodores – Animal Instinct

The funk dudes from Tuskegee proved they could have a hit without Lionel in the group when Nightshift went into the Top 3 earlier in the year. This follow-up, a Martin Page dance track sung by Walter Orange, almost made the Top 40 but was caged up at #43.

74. Men At Work – Everything I Need

It was otherworldly how huge Men At Work were in the early 80s. Their debut album spent four months at #1, spawning two #1 singles. By the time of their third and final album, the band was worn out and on the verge of splitting up. Their lead single only got as high as #47, and everyone seemingly packed it in.

83. Jack Wagner – The Lady of My Heart

Wack Jagner, as we used to call him, lays out his latest selection of cheese. This David Foster ballad is perfect for a scene change during a General Hospital episode, but programmers quarantined themselves from this. Thus after seven spots upward, the heart will die on the operating table.

90. Atlantic Starr – Freak-A-Ristic

This Westchester, NY quintet was still trying to cross over to Pop radio through the funk door, but it still wasn’t working as this one debuts at its peak. But once they ballads were successful, they never stopped coming.

You Could Always Speak Your Mind

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Here we are in the twenty-first chart week taking a look at The Other Sixty and see who missed out on fortune and fame. There’s a lot of good ones here from 1980 up to 1982, so let’s review.

May 24th, 1980

84. Van Halen – And The Cradle Will Rock…

Here’s the California quartet in the middle of their spectacle period with David’s martial arts campiness, Eddie’s guitar wizard, and Michael guzzling a bottle of fake Jack Daniel’s on stage. This was the first single from their album, Women And Children First, a collection that doesn’t have as many classics as the first two but is still regarded as one of their best. It will gently sway itself up to #55.

86. Ozark Mountain Daredevils – Take You Tonight

OMD fully embraced the mellow pop sound of Jackie Blue after its success in 1975, but could never find another song that would click with the public again. The fact that country-rock was on the wane as the 80s began made it even harder. Their self-titled 1980 album, produced by John Boylan, was their last attempt before multiple line-up shifts and reunions. The single lies somewhere between Marshall Tucker and Firefall and will be their final chart hit when it reaches #67.

88. Cheap Trick – Everything Works If You Let It

Cheap trick finally burst through to radio the Frampton way via a live album. They continued that success with the Dream Police LP, and then it took until the end of the decade to rise again. In between, they released a boatload of snappy pop singles that should have kept here momentum churning. This heavy rocker from the film soundtrack to Roadie and produced by Sir George Martin should have easily been another big hit but stalled at #44.

90. Allan Clarke – Slipstream

Allan was a singer and songwriter for the Hollies when he first embarked on a solo career in the early 70s. Since then, he spent time recording with the band as well as his own projects. This 45 was from his sixth solo album, The Only One, and was his second and final Hot 100 entry as it cruised up to #70.

May 30th, 1981

86. Aretha Franklin – Come To Me

Maybe this is why she don’t remember the Queen of Soul. She had slipped into onto a sloop in Santa Monica and sailed off in the West Coast waters. Nothing wrong with giving it a try, but it still feels like a waste with that angelic voice to be co-opted by David Foster. Leave her alone and go find a horn band to ruin. This will barely make the Soul Top 40 and only move up two spots on the Hot 100.

87. April Wine – Sign Of The Gypsy Queen

Do you think that vain guys fly their lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see a total eclipse or these guys in concert? I guess if you were into The Nature of The Beast, you might want to check out Miles Goodwyn and co. doing a cover of Lorence Hud’s 1972 track. AW hit the Canadian Top 40 with their version and #57 South of the border.

90. Spider – It Didn’t Take Long

Here’s the lead single from the band’s second album, Behind The Lines, which featured singer-songwriter Holly Knight on keys and future Late Night drummer Anton Fig on drums. It will be their last chart hit and just missed the Casey call, topping out at #43.

91. Michael Damian – She Did It

Not sure that we needed a cover of Eric Carmen’s minor 1977 hit. If we did, we didn’t need one from this wannabe Springfield soap star. Even during a soft programming year, this didn’t do it past #69.

May 29th, 1982

80. The Monroes – What Do All The People Know

From the shores of San Diego comes Ron Burgundy’s favorite New Wave band. The peppy slice of power pop comes the group’s only recording – a 5-song EP called The Monroes. (Full disclaimer: no one in the band has a first or last name of Monroes.) This single would climb as high as #59, but all future recordings were put on hold as their record label, Alfa, fell apart.

82. Quarterflash – Right Kind Of Love

Rindy & Marv Ross decided to push their luck and released a third single from their debut, Quarterflash. After the first two hit the Top 20, this seafood ran out of steam, mama, and hit the rocks at #56.

83. Rick James – Dance With’ Me (Pt. 1)

I’m not sure Rick’s music didn’t cross over more after Super Freak, but I do know that cocaine is a helluva drug. And I also know that he wanted to be accepted the way he was rather than conform to any “pop” standard. If they didn’t like what he delivered, they could kiss his ass. Their loss, as they missed out on another sext funk jam and a sweet vibes solo by Roy Ayers as this #3 Soul smash gets thrown off the white couch at #64.

84. Change – The Very Best In You

Here’s another disco group that was heavily inspired by Chic, but because of the disco backlash had their music rejected by radio. They were still heavily played in the clubs, and personally, I love their soulful melancholy disco vibes. This Top 20 Soul hit will be their third straight chart hit not to escape the 80s on the Hot 100 when their best was a #84 zenith.

85. Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy

Bow Wow Wow was formed in 1980 by impresario Malcolm McClaren. Lead singer Annabella Lwin was only 15 in 1982 when she recorded this cover of the 1965 Strangeloves classic. It became the band’s most well-known song, an MTV staple, and a New Wave standard. This Top 10 UK smash will go into insulin shock in the States at #62.

86. Manhattan Transfer – Route 66

Seven years before Depeche Mode’s electronic take on the Bobby Troup standard, a more traditional cover was recorded and charted by this New York vocal quartet. It was originally released as a single from the soundtrack to the Burt Reynolds film, Sharkey’s Machine, and wasn’t released on a Transfer LP until 1984’s Bop Doo Wopp. 66 will only hit 78 but will win a jazz Grammy in 82.

87. Le Roux – Last Safe Place On Earth

The pride of Baton Rouge is back with a follow-up to their only Top 40 hit, Nobody Said It Was Easy. This one rocks a little harder than the previous mellow single, but will only find solace in a #77 peak.

88. One Way – Cutie Pie

Al Hudson’s outfit was on band name #4 – Al Hudson & the Soul Partners, Al Husdon & the Partners, One Way Featuring Al Hudson, and finally, One Way. This moniker stuck and yielded the most success on the Soul charts and eventually the Hot 100. This midtempo phat trak is a classic of the era, and its Top 5 Soul showing is fully justified. Their #61 high on the Pop charts is a mistake that radio should atone for.

Half The Truth Is Of No Use

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Let’s wrap up our review of The Other Sixty from the twentieth chart week with a look at 1986 up to 1989.

May 24th, 1986

83. Neil Diamond – Headed For The Future

Just like Babs, Neil has a devoted legion of fans who will still buy his albums and go to his concerts. That’s why his songs still chart in the Adult Contemporary market. Pop radio had mostly left Neil behind by 1986, and this will be his last Hot 100 entry during his amazing career. Musically the future Neil is heading for sounds like one envisioned by an EPCOT Imagineer. Yet it will still reach #53.

90. Mai Tai – Female Intuition

Ready for some Dutch funk? That’s a gouda, cause here it is. The Netherlands’ answer to the Supremes (or maybe, Bananarama) had a few chark hits in their native country, before scoring a Top 10 in the UK called History in 1985. I found that one on a NOW That’s What I Call Music! UK collection (#5, I believe) back then and got into it. These ladies turned their sights on conquering the States, but this dance single and its #71 zenith were all they captured.

93. Kim Carnes – Divided Hearts

I’m still baffled at how Bette Davis Eyes stayed at #1 for nine weeks. It’s a good song, but the best, for two months? I also think its success killed Kim’s career on Pop radio. It’s not like she stopped writing and recording good songs. But was everyone always expecting them to be BDE good? It’s a challenging and unfair deal to have to live up to. I’m thinking Kim was already making peace with it by her 1986 release Light House. This single actually has a co-write with her oldest son, Collin, and will beat up to #79. It will be her last Hot 100 entry to date.

Fun fact: Kim’s grew up in Los Angeles, living next door to future Jackson Browne guitarist, David Lindley.

May 23rd, 1987

80. Nona Hendryx – Why Should I Cry?

One year after LaBelle hit #1 with Lady Marmalade, the trio split up. Each lady pursued solo careers, and although it took many years, Patti emerged with the most successful one. Nona took the most experimental path of three, collaborating with the Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, and singing lead vocals on Material’s club hit, Busting Out. Her fifth album, Female Trouble, became her most successful with songs written by Prince and Dan Hartman. This sparse funk single was written by Nona and the Time’s Jellybean Johnson and featured almost the entire band on the performance. That probably helped propel it into the R&B Top 3 and a #58 Pop showing.

83. Carly Simon – Give Me All Night

Carly switched labels and a return to form on her 1987 album, Coming Around Again. The title track was a Top 20 hit, her first in nearly six years. This was the follow-up, and although it stalled at #61, it became a Top 5 AC smash. If you had a wisdom tooth pulled in 1988, it was probably to this.

84. Mondo Rock – Primitive Love Rites

I can’t believe how many Australian bands were doing their thing in the 80s and how few them made it in the States. I thought Men at Work blasted through the door, but I guess they just held it open for INXS. This sextet released their first album in 1979 after forming in the mid-70s from a gaggle of different Aussie groups. in 1986 they released Boom Baby Boom, their fifth LP, and tried their hand at some US success with this single heavy dance-rock track. I heard this one on Joel Denver’s Future Hits and picked up the 45. It will top out at #71, and the band will release its last album in 1990.

92. Peter Wolf – Can’t Get Started

After racking up another Top 20 hit with the title track to his newest album, Come As You Are, the Wolfman follows it up with this soulful rocker, the best track on his album. Of course, radio was so used to fake, highly processed material, they didn’t know what to do with something real. So it stayed unstarted at #75.

May 21st, 1988

94. Julio Iglesias & Stevie Wonder – My Love

This was the second Stevie Wonder duet this year that didn’t make it out of the 80s. What gives? Maybe it was too mellow and earnest for radio? Could that be, only three years after We Are The World? It was a Top 5 in the UK. Are they more sentimental than us?

99. “Weird” Al Yankovic – Fat

Al made bank with his MJ parody Eat It, so why not go to the well again? This spoof of Bad did not go over well on radio, although the video was played a ton on MTV. Whether or not it was intentional, it came off too mean-spirited, and unless you were a little kid who didn’t know any better, you were not gonna play or sing this one in public. It sits at its peak.

100. The Smithereens – Only A Memory

Here’s the first 80s member of The Other Sixty to debut all the way at the bottom, which means it had the longest to travel. It’s the first chart single from this New Jersey power-pop quartet from their second album, Green Thoughts. Man, I loved this song back then (still do) and was super bummed when it couldn’t move past #92. The 45 has a cover of The Who’s The Seeker on the B-side.

May 20th, 1989

85. Kevin Raleigh – Moonlight On Water

When the Michael Stanley band split in 1986, their lead singer and keyboardist Kevin Raleigh was left without a band. So the Cleveland native embarked a solo career, which only lasted one album – Delusions of Grandeur, released in 1989. The first and only charting single from that LP was written by Steve Kipner & Andy Goldmark, who between them wrote smashes for Olivia Newton-John, Jeffrey Osborne, and Jermaine Jackson, among others. This 45 drowned at #60. Laura Branigan recorded a version in 1990, which place only one spot higher.

87. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes

If hearing this song doesn’t conjure up the image for you of John Cusack holding up a boombox, consider yourself lucky. Its inclusion in a memorable scene in the film Say Anything is exactly how this former Top 40 hit from So re-entered the charts in 1989. It just missed doing the twist again but stopped at #41.

Fun fact: Michael Been of The Call and Jim Kerr of Simple Minds both sing backing vocals.

91. Pajama Party – Yo No Se

This Latin freestyle trio did not scale the same heights as Expose or Sweet Sensation, not even Company B. The first chart single did nada on the charts peaking at #75, most likely because it sounded like all of the others on the radio. I could be wrong. I don’t know.

The Bomb Inside My Head Is Love

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There are a lot more cherries than pits in this group of The Other Sixty from chart week #20. Let’s see what 1983 up to 1985 produced.

May 21st, 1983

77. Devo – Theme From Doctor Detroit

There is only one band who could have written the theme to a movie where a nerd professor of literature named Clifford Skridlow leads a double life as a pimp, and evens get down with James Brown at a player’s ball. It would be Devo’s last chart hit when it peaked at #59. It was also a Screamer of the Week at 92.7 WLIR during the first week of June 1983.

90. Gladys Knight & The Pips – Save The Overtime (For Me)

60s & 70s R&B veterans were having a tough time on Pop radio in the early 80s. Eventually, most of them will have a comeback. This two-steppin’ boogie track should have easily done it for them, but it stalled at #66, even while becoming another #1 Soul smash.

Fun fact: I’ve met Gladys Knight twice by luck, and she’s every bit as warm and friendly as you’d imagine. Funny thing is, we’ve lived in the same small town for more than a decade, and I’ve never seen her once.

93. B.J. Thomas – Whatever Happened To Old Fashioned Love

After BJ bottomed out in the mid-70s from years of drug and alcohol abuse, he did what most folks did back then. He became a born-again Christian. Turning his music career to gospel, he started churning out the Word year after year. By keeping his toe in the Country world, he was able to make some secular music as well. He ended up with two Country #1s from his album, New Looks. This one crossed over to the Pop charts, but it’s debuting at its peak. It would be his last Hot 100 entry.

95. High Inergy – He’s A Pretender

This was the lead single from the trio’s eighth album in six years and their first entry on the Hot 100 since 1977. This is the kind of 80s song that had no chance back then but gets discovered by every current DJ trying to capture a vibe looking for forgotten synth tracks. The 45 finds some brass in pocket and goes to look for some attention after reaching #82.

Also, can you tell me what’s going on in this picture? Is Barbara Mitchell (on the right) trying to tell us how one makes it in the music business?

May 19th, 1984

84. Dwight Twilley – Little Bit Of Love

An unheralded purveyor of power pop, Oklahoman DT was able to breakthrough in 1975 on the first wave with the Raspberries and Badfinger with the Top 20 hit, I’m On Fire. Once New Wave took hold in the early 80s, his style fit in nicely, and he was able to have another big hit with Girls. In between those two, he had bad luck and ongoing record label issues, which kept the public from hearing his rock confections. Twilley Don’t Mind is a great place to start if you’re looking. This #77 single was his last chart hit, and his last album, Always, was released in 2014.

85. Kim Carnes – I Pretend

Martin Page & Brian Fairweather, the duo who wrote Kim’s last Top 40 at that time, Invisible Hands, wrote her third single as well. This mid-tempo pop song easily could have been a hit, but was Pop radio only looking for another Bette Davis Eyes from Kim? It will reach the Top 10 on the AC charts while posting a #74 showing.

Fun fact: Songwriter Martin Page will have a solo hit of his won in 1994 with In The House Of Stone And Light.

87. Paul Young – Love Of The Common People

Former Q-Tips lead singer Paul Young nabbed his first Top 40 hit with a song written but the former Nerves’ guitarist, Jack Lee called Come Back And Stay. Paul decided to re-release this single, and it became a #2 in the UK while just missing over in the States peaking at #45.

90. Alabama – When We Make Love

This was the thirteenth #1 Country hit in a row and their last Hot 100 entry for fourteen years, until 1998’s How Do You Fall In Love. By that time, they had amassed 32 Country #1s.

Fun fact: Did you know there was a Canadian Country band named Alabama in the 70s before this Alabama?  And that this Alabama only changed their name once the Canadian band broke up?

95. Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve – Whiter Shade Of Pale

Do you find yourself bleeding from the ears, due to the tequila-soaked egos from parts of Journey, Santana and, maybe Cabo Wabo? Then you need to call the law firm of Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, and Shrieve. They won’t do much, maybe laugh loudly, and your ears won’t stop bleeding. But their on-hold song is a loop of their destruction of a Procol Harum classic, which fizzled at #94.

96. Bananarama – Robert DeNiro’s Waiting

I’m not sure if this band was formed on a lark or if it was three bored ladies trying to have some fun. They ended up being the most charted female group in Britain. The first few albums tend to lean towards the we’re-just-having-a-laugh image that they often presented. Their second album produced their first hit, Cruel Summer, and this was the follow-up, a song about having bad sex while The Godfather II was on TV. It will move up one spot before wondering if anyone was talking to it.

May 18th, 1985

87. Kim Mitchell – Go For Soda

Kim was the lead singer for Max Webster, a superb Canadian prog-rock band that had no success outside of their country. Seriously check them out.They were also favorites of Rush’s Geddy Lee. When they split up in the early 80s, Kim’s solo career took off, and his second album, Akimbo Alogo, spawned his only chart hit South of the border. It will only reach #86, but it received lots of Rock radio airplay. Check out Patio Lanterns as well from his next album, Shakin’ Like A Human Being.

89. The Hooters – All You Zombies

This single was originally recorded and released on the band’s 1983, Amore. This version ran at almost six minutes, which is a lot of a single that’s not about cakes melting in the dark. It will only reach #58, but their next three single will hit the Top 40. Also, was this ever used in promos for The Walking Dead?

95. Paul Hyde & The Payolas – You’re The Only Love

More unjustly dissed Canadians, this time in the form of Paul Hyde, Bob Rock, and the Payolas (without the dollar sign S) Maybe radio programmers had an issue playing songs by a band named after the illegal activity they love to do most. They missed out on great singles such as Eyes Of A Stranger and this David Foster-produced 45, their only chart entry at #84.

Know Your Will To Be Free

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We’re reviewing the twentieth chart week of The Other Sixty. Enjoy this mish-mash from 1980 through 1982. It’s quite tasty.

May 17th, 1980

76. Roberta Flack with Donny Hathaway – Back Together Again

Roberta’s second intended duets album with Donny only yielded two songs, which both charted. After You Are My Heaven hit #47 earlier in the year, this was the second, written by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas, who had also written The Closer I Get To You. This slice of disco soul will split apart at #56 but will hit the R&B Top 10. It was also a big smash in the UK reaching #3.

79. Invisible Man’s Band – All Night Thing

The Chicago family band, the Five Stairsteps, had a big hit in 1970 called Ooh Child but spent many years trying to replicate that success before splitting up in 1977. Member Keni Burke started his solo career and also co-produced Bill Withers’ Menagerie LP, which featured Lovely Day. Keni’s brother Clarence asked him and two more siblings, Dennis and James, to form a new band called the Invisible Man’s Band (or the Four Stairsteps). Their debut in 1980 featured this funky dance floor filler, which went Top 10 Soul and peaked at #45.

Fun fact: The Five Stairsteps had 11 chart singles on the Hot 100 before 1970’s Ooh Child, their only Top 40 hit. They’d chart two more, so in baseball terms, they went 1 for 14 for .071 average.

83. Mary MacGregor – Dancin’ Like Lovers

Mary does her best Karen Carpenter impersonation with her last chart hit from her third album released on the RSO label, who apparently had money to burn. Recorded with West Coast players such as Steve Lukather, Neil Steubenhaus, and Michael Landau as well as Bread’s Mike Botts on drums, this ballad faded into the night at #72.

84. Pat Travers Band – Is This Love

It took seven albums before Canadian guitarist Pat Travers finally charted below the border. And he did it with a bluesy cover of a Bob Marley and the Wailers 1978 classic. It will share the shelter of a #50 high.

87. The Tourists – I Only Want To Be With You

This will be the lowest charting single from all of this week’s debuts, but it’s probably the most fun. Also, it’s lack of success with directly inspire the forming of a new band by mates Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox called the Eurythmics. Their second album, Reality Effect, spawned this rocking cover of the 1964 Dusty Springfield classic, which will become their first of two UK Top 10s while only moving up another four notches in the States.

88. Glen Campbell and Rita Coolidge – Something Bout You Baby I Like

Here’s the highest-charting single of the 1980 Other Sixty crew. I’m sure the names attached got it significant airplay but no enough to get into the Top 40 where it should have been. On this duet, Nashville meets L.A. for some smooth Southern style and a #42 showing.

89. The Motors – Love And Loneliness

This New Wave band has had an interesting history. They were formed in the mid-70s from the ashes of the Pub rock band Ducks Deluxe. They had a Top 10 hit in the UK in 1978 called Airport. When guitarist Bram Tchaikovsky left to have a solo career including a 1979 Top 40 hit, Girl of My Dreams, the band split up. The lead singer Nick Garvey decided to give it another go by decade’s end and recorded another album, Tenement Steps with studio musicians including Terry Williams who would go on the play with Dire Straits. With Jimmy Iovine producing, they aimed their record at the US market and were rewarded with this single peaking at #78.

Fun fact: Cheap Trick recorded a cover of the Motors song, Dancing the Night Away for their 1983 album, Next Position Please.

May 23rd, 1981

83. Barbra Streisand – Promises

I guess we were all guilty-ied out by Memorial Day 1981. That’s my only reasoning for why this single didn’t make the Top 40. After three big hits, radio was done with Babs & Barry I suppose, and the promises are broken at #48.

87. Robbie Dupree – Brooklyn Girls

In soft squishy easy chair that was 1981 pop radio playlists, how die Robbie get turned away? His second album, Street Corner Heroes, was even better than his first, including singles such as Saturday Night and this, which will only climb to #54 before putting on a cool looking scarf while it’s 82 degrees out. (I’m assuming she’s from Williamsburg.)

89. Gap Band – Yearning For Your Love

Another classic Summer afternoon party/ picnic in the park jam that gets marginalized by a programmer who’d rather play Air Supply, lest their advertising sponsors think they’re too ‘urban’. Stupid me. I thought the idea was to play the best music that’s out there. And if this doesn’t move you, son, you dead. Charlie Wilson’s voice sounds so damn good, he inspired a whole new wave of R&B singers in the late 80s and 90s, including Aaron Hall of Guy, who covered this on their second album, The Future. The original will only manage a #60 showing.

90. Helen Reddy – I Can’t Say Goodbye To You

I just read on Wikipedia (add guffaw here) that Helen Reddy is referred to as the Queen of 70s Pop. Personally, I’ve never heard or read anyone making that statement. Shoot, she’s not even the Australian Queen of 70s Pop, which of course, would be ONJ. Helen’s last Top 40 hit was in 1977, so considering that her first one was in 1971, that’s only a six-year chart span. And for all of the smashes she had in the Me Decade with three of them hitting #1, most of them have disappeared from oldies stations. That is all to say that this cover of a 1979 Country charting single by Becky Hobbs will only inch up two spots before saying adios.

May 22nd, 1982

81. Jon and Vangelis – I’ll Find My Way Home

Before the Greek keyboardist VanGelis made everyone run in slow motion, he was considered as Rick Wakeman’s replacement in Yes. From there lead singer Jon Anderson decided that they should collaborate and released their first of four albums together starting in 1980. The follow-up, The Friends of Mr. Cairo, featured their only US charting single which reached #64 while becoming a UK Top Ten hit.

86. Greg Kihn Band – Happy Man

After finally nabbing a Top 40 hit with The Breakup Song from Rockihnroll, the band’s next release, Kihntinued, garnered them their second chart hit. But this rocker, which deserves another look, only made it to #62. To be kihntinued….

 

 

Gotta Find Me A Future

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During the nineteenth chart week, there are more entries for The Other Sixty on the back end of the decade for a change than during the freewheeling early 80s. So let’s review what we may have missed out on from 1986 through 1989.

May 17th, 1986

80. Stevie Nicks – Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You

Here’s a shockingly tender ballad by West Coast witchy woman. It was written about Joe Walsh’s daughter, Emma, who had passed away in 1974 at age three due to injuries sustained in a car accident. Joe had a memorial plaque placed in a park in Boulder, CO, where she used to play. Years later, after taking Stevie there and telling her the story, she turned it into this #60 song.

82. S.O.S. Band – The Finest

Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis team up again with the Atlanta octet for a two-stepper suitable for any backyard barbecue. Cherelle & Alexander O’Neal are here to help lend a vocal hand. All of this amounts to a #2 Soul hit while just missing out on the Casey call at #44.

87. Animotion – I Want You

It’s hard sometimes to follow up a hit debut. It’s even harder when the songs aren’t as good. The second single from Strange Behavior will only inch up three more spots before falling away and blowing up the band. Disappointment, that’s an emotion.

88. Art Of Noise Featuring Duane Eddy – Peter Gunn

The ever creative UK trio collaborated with the rebel rouser himself on a cover of the TV theme that Duane made a hit back in 1960. Mixing his guitar twang with a Fairlight synth, they will have a big Top 10 hit in the clubs and in the UK. In the States, it will get gum on its shoes at #50.

89. Wild Blue – Fire With Fire

Here’s a quintet from Chicago with their only Hot 100 entry, the title track to a stinker teen melodrama flick. This mid-tempo pop-rocker will strut and pout, but eventually, bow out after hitting #71.

92. ABC – Vanity Kills

The third single from this suave New Wave outfit is a sleek uptempo number that played well in the dance clubs. But for some reason, it didn’t get any traction on either side of the pond. It will only move one more tick before it pays no more bills.

May 16th, 1987

94. Robert Cray Band – Right Next Door (Because Of Me)

Yeah, now we’re talking. This is a smooth groove that Robert lays down from his fifth album, Strong Persuader. I know this got a lot of VH1 airtime, so why didn’t Pop radio pick this one up? It’ll pick up the blues at #80 and unfortunately slink away.  I hope you hear this one soon as you’re waiting in line at your local Walgreen’s.

95. Tesla – Little Suzi

Decades before Elon Musk created fantasy cars and smoke weed, this five-piece band from California was showing their love for the Serbian inventor through their hard rock jams. The debut album, Mechanical Resonance, yielded their first chart hit, which only moved up another four places before little Suzi was on the way down.

May 14th, 1988

93. John Cougar Mellencamp – Rooty Toot Toot

JCM delivers a song that’s a tribute to a special breakfast item on the IHOP menus in Miami – pancakes, fruit, and cocaine. Or maybe it was just the fourth single from The Lonesome Jubilee. Either way, it blows its way up to a high of #61.

97. Keith Sweat – Something Just Ain’t Right

The former Nw York stock exchange assistant follows up his hit, I Want Her, with some more Teddy Riley-produced new jack swing. It will be the second of four Top 10 Soul hits from his debut. On the Pop chart, it will have a #59 zenith.

May 13th, 1989

77. The Cure – Fascination Street

It had been ten years since The Cure released their debut when they released their eighth album, Disintegration. That album contained their biggest US hit, Lovesong, which will climb to #2 later in the year. This was the first US released single and will complete a #46 showing.

Fun fact: This single was the first #1 on Billboard’s new Modern Rock charts and will stay there for seven weeks.

84. Chicago – We Can Last Forever

It took nineteen albums, but the band had finally destroyed their reputation as horn rock pioneers turning them into soft rock punchlines padding their 401ks all the while. This album generated four Top 10s, with each one unlistenable and embarrassingly below their talents, especially Bill Champlin. Here’s another Yamaha DX7 mushfest sung by Jason Scheff that would make even Peter Cetera cringe. Forever ended at #55.

92. Queen – I Want It All

I’m glad we’ve all had a mea culpa regarding Queen, but these songs deserved to be appreciated while Freddie was alive. Instead, we were giving more credence to what Bret Michaels or Jon Bon Jovi had to say. FM, on his worst day, blows those two out of the water before he sings a note. It was an international smash, but in the States, all was lost at #50.

93. Julian Lennon – Now You’re In Heaven

After a three year hiatus, Jules finally released his third album, Mr. Jordan. With backing vocals by the Tubes, Fee Waybill, the opening single was a big hit on Rock radio, but it peaks at its debut. Was this a veiled tribute to his dad? Maybe. And what was with the Bowie vocals? Sounds kinda creepy now that David has passed.

Fun fact: Producer Patrick Leonard invited Julian to sing on his one-off project with Kevin Gilbert called Toy Matinee. It’s a superior album of progressive pop and highly recommended.

96. Cutting Crew – (Between A) Rock And a Hard Place

Would it be too obvious to say that the opening single from the group’s second album, The Scattering, died in the arms of chart number #77? Oh, too late.