The Fears Of Youth

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So much was changing around me. Even when I thought I was settling in, I didn’t realize I was actually floating aimlessly through the days. The Top 20 songs from the July 5th, 1980 countdown were the only anchor I had and knowing I could return to these songs time and again quelled the fears in me before they arose.

20. In America – Charlie Daniels Band

There are five Country songs on the countdown but only four of them charted in the Country Top 40. This one is the highest at #20 and it will still move up another nine places. A song from a time when uniting the country still seemed like a reality, and it’s us vs. them meant the people vs the government.

19. Should’ve Never Let You Go – Neil Sedaka & Dara Sedaka

No No No No! Neil, what are you doing? That’s your daughter. You’re singing a love song to your daughter. When you sing Why did I have to write this song? we say we have no idea and frankly don’t want to know.

The song was originally written and recorded as Should’ve Never Let Her Go on Neil’s 1978 LP All You Need Is The Music. He should have left it there, but Neil wanted to help his daughter out with her singing career and thus, you get this. The vocals sound like they were taught by a junior high chorus teacher.

This ended up being Neil’s final Top 40 hit and it didn’t help out Dara either. When she recorded and released her David Foster-produced debut album I’m Your Girlfriend in 1982,  it didn’t even get a US release. And that’s a shame because there’s some great WestCoast pop on there performed by some heavy studio hitters, such as Steve Porcaro, Richard Page & Steve Lukather.

And again…

18. I’m Alive – Electric Light Orchestra

The soundtrack to Xanadu gave Urban Cowboy some competition that Summer and here’s the first of two songs from that film. This was on the E.L.O. side and if we’re comparing the two films based on music alone I’m gonna favor this as an ELO & ONJ (and Tubes) fan.

17. Cars – Gary Numan

OHW – Gary was at the forefront of the New Wave synth movement. To record a track like this in 1979 meant that you had to know your way around temperamental analog keyboards and also have the knack for a catchy pop hook. It was very weird to hear this on the countdown in 1980, but looking back on it, it’s weirder that it took so long for everyone else to catch up.

16. One Fine Day – Carole King

This was Carole’s first Top 40 hit since 1977’s Hard Rock Cafe and the only one in the 80s. It was written with her then-husband Gerry Goffin and the Chiffons had the first hit recording of it reaching #5 in 1963. Carole’s version would hit #12.

Fun fact: Neil Sedaka and Carole dated in high school. He should’ve never let…..

15. Tired Of Toein’ The Line – Rocky Burnette

OHW – It’s the son of rock & Roll, or sayeth Rocky, as he is the progeny of Johnny Burnette. This is a prime example of a forgotten 45 in which this rockabilly meets new wave stomper would eventually reach #8 but has disappeared not only from 80s classic stations but 80s reissue compilations as well.

14. Magic – Olivia Newton-John

The first single from the Xanadu soundtrack is still climbing the charts on its eventual path to the top where it will stay there for a full month. It also received high praise from John Lennon.

I remember being left alone for hours at a multiplex in the mall by myself. And I was waiting for whatever movie my mom bought for me, I snuck into the theatre to see parts of Xanadu. I saw a good chunk of that movie and missed most of the other one. This was a piece of what I saw. After I got past the why is Andy Gibb in this film? thought, I saw Olivia roller skating to this song and just melted into my seat.

13. She’s Out Of My Life – Michael Jackson

The was the first true ballad Michael had released since 1972’s Ben but he was eight years older and his maturity was evident in his singing. Listen to how perfect he sings the phrasing of the lyrics and at the same time evokes deep emotion from his voice. The fourth single from Off The Wall is falling from its high of #10 last week.

And..Tito, get me some tissue.

12. Shining Star – Manhattans

SXMFU – Big 80s on 8 starts to talk about the history of the Manhattans and mentions that their last hit was in 1975, Kiss & Say Goodbye. Ooops. That song was a #1 hit in the Summer of 1976. It will hit #4 later in the Summer and won an R&B Grammy for the group. No song brings back memories of that time more than this one.

Just take three minutes and forty seconds and bask in this sweet glory.

11. Let Me Love You Tonight – Pure Prarie League

PPL was toast by 1977 with members leaving, retiring, or just getting the hell away from the band. The bass player Michael Reilley decided to find new members and start over. His best replacement was their new lead singer and banjo player named Vince Gill. With Vince’s smooth vocal twang and a sax solo by David Sanborn, they took this soft rock track up to #10 on the pop charts and #1 on the AC charts.

10. Let’s Get Serious – Jermaine Jackson

Produced and written by Stevie Wonder, this was Jermaine Jackson’s biggest single as a solo artist. It was a Top 10 hit here in the States and in the UK. It spent six weeks at the top of the R&B charts making it the number one Soul song of 1980, better than his brother’s Rock With You.

9. Biggest Part Of Me – Ambrosia

The story goes that David Pack was sitting in the car waiting for his family to get their stuff together so that they could enjoy a pleasant 4th of July vacation. Being impatient he went into his studio, started playing the piano and the song just began to pour out of him. He finished it when he got back and exactly one year later, he & his band Ambrosia have another Top 10 hit. It would also become their hugest smash peaking at #3 and the biggest part of their setlist.

8. Cupid/I’ve Loved You For A Long Time – Spinners

If a medley worked the first time, why not try again? This time the Spinners mash-up Sam Cooke’s Cupid with a Michael Zager-penned I’ve Loved You For A Long Time. It was an across the board smash reaching #4 on the Pop charts. This was their last Top 40 hit.

7. Steal Away – Robbie Dupree

THW, SXMFU – Mark Goodman tries to be funny and sing What A Fool Believes during the outro alluding to its similarity, then messes up and says that the Doobie Brothers song he just sang would be released two years after Steal Away. Good job.

Note To Sirius XM, if you need a part-time copy editor please send me an email. I’m sure I can proof the written and recorded copy quickly and efficiently but mostly, correctly.

6. Against The Wind – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Back in the day when Bob Seger released a new single, I figured it was just his thing to always write songs about his youth. Now I realize it was more than that. He was really trying to capture a feeling he had in the past and figured that if he kept writing the same song over and over attacking it from different angles, polishing it and reforming it that one day he would perfect it. I feel like he finally did it with Like A Rock, but he comes very close here.

5. Little Jeannie – Elton John

There was a family who moved into the house across the street from us in the late 70s. They had two daughters, the oldest a few years younger than me and her sister, a toddler. Sometimes we would go into their backyard when they had a babysitter and sit on their swing set talking and playing games.

One night the mom came running over to our house screaming with her two kids, her face puffy and bloodied. Between her choked tears she swore she’s was never going back home. I had never witnessed anything like that and my logical brain could not comprehend what I was seeing or hearing.

Her name was Jeannie and I think of her just about every time I hear this song and wonder if she made it out alive.

4. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me – Billy Joel

The Top four are in the same position as last week with Billy poised to rocket to the top and get his first number one.

Now I love some Billy Joel. But I cannot defend his defensiveness and I’m not sure which side he stands on. He tries to say that music’s all the same and that nothing is new, even as he classifies it differently. He chides those who want to learn or just spend money on better stereo equipment. Basically what the ignorant call today “elitists”. If there was a simpler less threatening intention there, it’s lost in the delivery.

I thought white males were afraid of disco. What they were really afraid of was newer versions of themselves.

3. The Rose – Bette Midler

The Rose was written by a cabaret singer and actress named Amanda McBroom. I looked her up to see what else she wrote and there’s not much else. It looks like for the bulk of the hundreds of composition credits she accrued are from different versions of this song. I wonder how much money she makes annually for writing it.

Although not well known, Amanda had an interesting career. Not only did she act on an episode of Taxi, M*A*S*H and Magnum P.I., to name a few, but she was also a musical guest on the Tonight Show in 1983.

2. Funkytown – Lipps Inc.

OHW – I remember being driven to soccer practice by a friend’s mom and this song came on the radio. She cranked it up and started singing as loud as she could Won’t you take me to…..funky… towwwwwn? We thought it was hilarious. Not because of her singing but that an adult knew the song existed. I was so insular in my thinking that it never occurred to me that a grown-up would like anything that was popular.

1. Coming Up – Paul McCartney and Wings (2 wks at #1)

Paul McCartney has had #1 hits with the Beatles, Wings, as Paul McCartney & Wings, Paul & Linda McCartney, Paul & Stevie Wonder, and Paul & Michael Jackson. Paul has never had a US number one hit credited to himself alone. Even when he tried to, as he did with this single, radio flipped it and preferred Paul with the band.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for karaoke

RAR – Rite-Aid Rock

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake

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Find The Joy Of Innocence Again

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The Summer of 1980 still lingers in my mind with two big memories – long days visiting my mom in the hospital and late nights watching the Cosmos in Giants Stadium. I filled those days escaping the only way I knew how as a kid – into a radio. Those nights were filled with driving through Manhattan close to midnight with the whole world lit up, a city that truly never went to sleep. These songs from the July 5th, 1980 countdown were my soundtrack.

{Some of these songs have been mentioned on an early countdown here & here, though I try to add something new to them.]

40. Clones – Alice Cooper

Remember that time that you saw Alice Cooper on a golf course and you were like, Alice Cooper plays golf? Wow, that’s so weird. C’mon, he’s just a regular guy who had some early 70s success “shocking” people with his stage antics during the glam rock era. From that point on he chased every musical trend out there trying to stay relevant. Thus you have this song, which sounds like a guy who plays golf trying to create a new wave record.

39. Atomic – Blondie

And now a band that only not only represented early New Wave but transcended the genre. It seems odd to me that Blondie either had a #1 record or barely made the Top 40. This one is at its peak and is the second Top 40 hit from Eat To The Beat. [They had a monster in between the two that you’ll hear about later.]

38. Walks Like A Lady – Journey

Journey was three albums deep with their new lead singer Steve Perry and started to accrue some minor Top 40 hits, like this one which will peak at #32. They hadn’t broken out yet and that might be because they still hadn’t fully gelled or completely agreed on a musical direction. This track has more of a jazzy laid back feel with a walking bass line under some soulful organ licks rather than powerhouse straight ahead rock. Escape was still one year away, when the doors would blow open and radio stations played just about everything Journey gave them.

37. Ashes By Now – Rodney Crowell

OHW – For an artist so associated with Country music, it’s amazing that he crossed over to the Top 40 Pop charts before he even had a Country Top 40 hit. In fact, it wouldn’t be until 1988 when he had five Country #1s in a row that he finally firmly established himself as a Nashville superstar. His wife at the time Rosanne Cash would have a bigger pop hit in 1981, Seven Year Ache which hit #22, while Rodney’s crossover wouldn’t get past its stay at #37.

36. Theme From New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

There’s a lot to unpack with this song but I’ll just hit the highlights and save the dissertation for another time.

  • The song was first recorded by Liza Minnelli for the 1977 Martin Scorsese film, New York, New York. Her version bubbled under the Hot 100 at #104.
  • Ol’ Blue Eyes recorded his version for his 3 LP set called Trilogy: Past Present Future. It was featured on the Present record and you should really listen to the Future set. Frank is totally out there.
  • It was his first Top 40 hit since 1969’s My Way, which hit #27, proving that chart positions rarely determine a song’s status as a classic.
  • It was Frank’s last Top 40 hit reaching #32 during the same year that he released his last film, The First Deadly Sin.
  • He’s the only artist to have a Top 40 hit in the 1930s and the 1980s.
  • This song is played after many NY sporting events. But the most amazing stat is that it will start getting played after Yankees games in July 1980 while the song is still on the Hot 100 and that tradition continues to this day.
  • This song was also recorded [but never released] by Queen for the movie Highlander.

35. Let My Love Open The Door – Pete Townshend

THW – From Pete’s third solo album comes his first Top 40 hit, coincidentally the same year Roger Daltrey had his first and only. It jumps fifteen places into the Top 40 this week and will eventually hit #9.

Fun fact: The Who have had as many US Top 10 singles as Pete did as a solo act.

34. Sailing – Christopher Cross

RAR – Chris was riding high on the momentum of his first single Ride Like The Wind when he breezed in with this WestCoast classic and future #1. It would also win Grammys for Record & Song of The Year and made me want a pet pink flamingo.

33. Emotional Rescue – Rolling Stones

Entering the Hot 100 at #33, we have this hot mess of a song by the Stones which would eventually hit #3. It was fine when they added a smidge of disco and came up with Miss You, but Mick when extracted all the forgettable and formulaic parts of that genre and exaggerated them to the point of parody, you ended up with this helium induced vocal spaz fest with unironically spoken lines like I am your knight in shining armor.

They righted the ship next year with Tattoo You but for a while, it looked like they were quickly sinking.

32. Stand By Me – Mickey Gilley

OHW – The double LP soundtrack to Urban Cowboy was a tremendous success, with three singles from it in this week’s Top 40 and three more to come. This was Country singer Mickey Gilley’s only crossover hit, a cover of the Lieber & Stoller classic which was last heard in the Top 40 in 1975 by John Lennon. The film takes place at Gilley’s, which was a honky-tonk that Mickey opened in 1971 in Pasadena, Texas, years before his first Country Top 40. I wanna ride that bull.

31. Misunderstanding – Genesis

Phil Collins’ divorce from his first wife was a devastating event in his life, so much so it inspired lots of personal songwriting. But you see, when life gave Phil lemons, he squeezed them into his tea and wrote hits like this one, Genesis’ first Top 20 smash on its way up to #14.

Whenever I hear this song I like to sing the chorus of Hot Fun In The Summertime over the verses as my own personal mash-up. It actually hit #1 in Canada – big Sly Stone fans up North.

30. Two Places At The Same Time – Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio

This was the first time that the lead single from a Raydio album wasn’t a Top 10 pop hit, as this is chilling at its apex this week. Maybe it was the band name change. Or maybe it was the fact that this song was creepy as hell.

I wanna be two places at the same time,
Inside you and inside your mind.

What the hell does that even mean? That sounds like the leader of some perverted cult. Ladies, you should probably stay away from Ray.

29. Empire Strikes Back – Meco

In 1977 the battle on the Pop charts between John Williams’ movie scores and Meco’s disco interpretations waged its final battle in 1980 as Meco crushed John into submission with this Top 20 version of the Empire Strikes Back theme. Although not as iconic as the Star Wars theme, it still holds a place in the heart of Yoda lovers everywhere.

28. Stomp! – The Brothers Johnson

Louis & George Johnson and for that matter, Quincy Jones did not give a shit that morons from the Chicago area got excited about blowing up disco records the year previous. That just made Thunder Thumbs and Lightning Licks double down and lay the funk on thicker. From its high of #7, this is sliding down the charts slowly like ketchup from a new bottle.

27. Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer – Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes

PFK – Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes are two of three artists with double entries in the Top 40. This former Top 5 Pop & Country hit is the perfect duet for you and a true karaoke professional (or someone who’s four bourbons deep).

Caution – unless you’re Bonnie Tyler, please don’t try to sing like Kim does.

26. Call Me – Blondie

This single from American Gigolo spent the bulk of April and most of May at the top of the charts. It was also a #1 hit in the UK and the #1 song of 1980 here in the States.

25. All Night Long – Joe Walsh

Here’s another hit from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack. It’s Joe Walsh taking a break from the Eagles to do his Joe Walsh thing. Not a true Country song but rednecky enough for someone who works at an oil refinery and lives in a trailer with Debra Winger. It’ll make the Top 20 in a few weeks and will be included on the Eagles Live album at the end of the year.

24. Love The World Away – Kenny Rogers

Kenny was money in 1980, a virtual cash printing machine. And he hadn’t even peaked yet. That would come soon enough when he hooked up with Lionel Richie & the Bee Gees. [sounds weird, I know] This one is on its way up to #14. Grab your honey and slowly sway with them on the straw-covered dance floor.

23. Take Your Time (Do It Right) – S.O.S. Band

OHW – The only, and I mean only, good thing about the Disco Demolition night, was that it scared enough of the disco posers, charlatans and bandwagon record execs away and let the professionals do their work and rescue the genre. Here’s a great example. I mean, this is a jam- #1 Soul, #1 Disco and it will rise to #3 on the Pop charts. The S.O.S. Band should have had more crossover hits. If they were worth it for Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to stick out their necks and risk Prince firing them from the Time, they had to be good.

Note: Prince did fire them in 1983, but then we were treated to this.

22. Gimme Some Lovin’ – Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers was an odd SNL sketch. I was never sure whether to laugh at the schtick or appreciate them as performers. Their 1979 album Briefcase Full Of Blues went #1, which meant there was real money to be made. And then thankfully came the movie, which is a hilarious comedy classic. Just the car chase scene alone where they tear up the Dixie Square Mall is enough to make me roll around and slap the couch cushions. This track, a Spencer Davis Group cover which had nothing to do with Chicago blues, is on the soundtrack and will make it up to #18.

21. More Love – Kim Carnes

For her 1980 album Romance Dance, Kim embraced a more modern synth sound. That would suit her well in 1981, but for now, we have her version of a Smokey Robinson & the Miracles hit. While Smokey & the gang only took theirs up to #23, Kim will best them with a #10 showing.

There’s also a charmingly clunky video for the song as well.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for karaoke

RAR – Rite-Aid Rock

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

Wouldn’t Change A Stroke

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We were still a week away from Back To The Future appearing theatres, so we kept the radio on and preferred these songs as the Top 12 from June 29th, 1985.

12. ‘Til Tuesday – Voices Carry

THW – I talked a little about this song in my 9/28/18 post. One thing that I did not mention was that it was originally written from the perspective of a woman to her girlfriend But because this was 1985, the height of the AIDS hysteria, the record company pressured Mann into changing the song into a man/woman dynamic, which was reinforced with the abusive video. Listen to the song without the visual reference, flip the pronouns and think about how the song changes.

I was definitely not the only one enchanted by this haunting pop song as it would crawl into the U.S. Top 10 peaking at #8.

11. Katrina & The Waves – Walking On Sunshine

Katrina is falling from her #9 apex of last week. It was also a Top 10 UK single and charted on the AC, Rock and Dance charts as well. We just couldn’t get enough.

And then Dolly kicked it up a notch.

10. Mary Jane Girls – In My House

OHW – Rick James was an asshole. A talented one, for sure. But an asshole, nonetheless. While his behavior was played for comic effect on Chappelles Show, it also reinforced the fact that he was a narcissistic ego-driven disrespectful drug-adled nutjob. That’s what I think about when I hear this song by the Mary Jane Girls. The stories of how he treated the foursome, how we harassed them, stiffed them of any real money and dropped them on the curb when they began to speak up and asked for their money.

Still it’s a funky dance song that fills the floors and the Big 80s Countdown plays the longer album version.

9. Howard Jones – Thing Can Only Get Better

ML – HoJo had his biggest smash to date when it hit #5 a few weeks back. From his solid Dream Into Action album, of which I ran the cassette tape transparent.

I had a completely different take on the second verse and even though I have read what the correct lyrics are, I still can’t change them in my head when I listen to it. Take a listen yourself and tell me what he’s saying.

8. Eurythmics – Would I Lie To You?

1985 is when Dave & Annie both stepped out of their musical comfort zones, with Dave expanding his production horizons and Annie fully embracing her soul inspirations. The change in sound from synth to throwback rock & soul kicked everyone in the ass and let them know they needed to be on their game while the Eurythmics were around. The Heartbreakers’ Benmont Tench plays organ on this soon to be #5 hit.

7. Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World

I got my first portable radio in 1985 as a gift, a single cassette model from Sears. I just couldn’t get into how small it was and how little power it had so I traded it in to The Wiz for a sleek black Magnavox dual cassette model with red trim. That’s what I think of when I hear this former #1 Tears For Fears track because that anthemic shuffle sounded so good coming out of those speakers

6. Survivor – The Search Is Over

PFK – The late Jimi Jameson replaced Dave “Eye of the Tiger” Bickler as lead singer in 1984 and the first album he recorded and released with the band was Vital Signs. It was a big success spawning three Top 20 singles. This was the third and most successful hit, eventually topping out at #4 as well as #1 on the AC charts.

It’s about some dumbass who can’t figure out that his dream girl is actually his best friend. Heard that one before? It’s approx 40% of all rom-com storylines…and Friends.

5. Madonna – Angel

The Chic-Madonna-Duran Duran triangle is leaning to the left on two sides with Nile Rodgers producing another track from the Like A Virgin LP with Chic keyboardist Rob Sabino on synths and synth bass. I get the feeling that this was an album filler track with no intention of ever releasing it as a single. They never even bothered to make a video for it. But as Madonna’s success exponentially grew in 1985 they figured what the hell, let’s see if the song could ride that momentum. And it did, into the Top 5.

4. Prince & The Revolution – Raspberry Beret

Prince was a superstar by the beginning of 1985. Everyone was ready to see what he would do next and almost exactly a year after he released When Doves Cry, Prince dropped this track. A seemingingly simple and straight forward pop rock track, it is bursting at the seems with details – classical string arrangements, exotic instrumentation and a pop hook for the ages making this three and a half minute multi-layrered ode to losing one’s virginity the best single he’s ever done, IMO. The B-side, She’s Always In My Hair rocks too and more than worth the price of the 45. I’m still astounded that this only hit #2. When Prince passed away in 2016, this single was played and streamed so much, it re-entered the Top 40, peaking at #33.

3. Duran Duran – A View To Kill

The Chic-Madonna-Duran Duran triangle pops up again with Bernard Edwards of Chic producing DD’s only 1985 single, the title track to the James Bond film, A View To A Kill. It remains the most successful Bond theme to this day. It would also be the last recording with the five orignal members until they got back together in the early 2000s. It will hit #1 in two weeks.

2. Phil Collins – Sussudio

And this will hit #1 next week. Even though this track gives the impression of a full band recording, the song is just David Frank [of The System] playing the synths and that funky MiniMoog bass, some rhythm guitar, the Earth Wind & Fire horn section and a drum machine. Phil doesn’t even play drums on this. Weirdly, it will also hit the Top 10 Soul charts. Parick Bateman’s favorite Phil Collins song.

I liked this song the first time I heard it when it was this.

1. Bryan Adams – Heaven

What began as an album track on a failed 1983 film becomes Bryan Adams’ first number one hit two years later. Supposedly it was inspired by Journey’s Faithfully and coincentally Journey’s drummer played on this track because the originally scheduled skinslapper had to bolt. But more improtantly the keyboards were played by Rob Sabino, which gives him two songs in the Top 5 this week. Way to go, Rob!

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

ML – Misheard Lyrics

PFK – Perfect for Karaoke

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

STA – Second Time Around

The Ultimate Enticement

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Amidst the search for Classic Coke at our local King Kullen, here are more songs from June 29th, 1985 that may or may not have been playing from the supermarket speakers.

26. The Beach Boys – Getcha Back

Mark on the Big 80s countdown mentions that this wasn’t one of their best tunes. No duh. It didn’t have to be. It was just nice to hear them on the radio and see Brian back with the guys looking semi-healthy and having a little success again. Little did we know the hell Brian was in the middle of or the kokomo that lurked around the corner.

25. Kool & The Gang – Fresh

Kool & the Gang has given us a lot of classic funky stuff- Jungle Boogie, Hollywood Swinging, and of course Funky Stuff – but this has to got to be the lamest bass line I’ve ever heard. It sounds like they hired Van Halen’s Michael Anthony, handed him a bottle of Jack and told him to go for it.

And what the hell is going on with the line “I wanna take her by the hand and pray she’ll understand.” Sounds like JT Taylor’s getting fresh.

24. Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F

OHW – Harold has already peaked in the Top 5 with this track which would help him win a 1986 Grammy for Best Motion Picture score from the movie Beverly Hills Cop. He has recorded with and produced many artists over the last few decades with the Pet Shop Boys album Behavior as one of my favorites, and of course the ultra-hummable theme music to Fletch.

23. John Cafferty & Beaver Brown Band – Tough All Over

The pride of Rhode Island almost never leftt the Worcester bars.  They received a big break when they were hired as the band behind the 1983 movie Eddie & the Cruisers, but initially bombed when it was released and left theatres in three weeks. Maybe because the film which had flashback scenes to 1963 had a group that sounded like Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Bruce wasn’t even Bruce in 63.

One year later the movie found an audience on cable and home video, and the soundtrack was re-released with JC picking up a few hits in the process, enough to get a follow-up album from which this single comes from. It’s not a surprise that JC & the BBB had all of their hits during Bruce’s most successful on the Pop charts. When that slowed down for the Boss, it also dried up for the brown beaver.

22. Kim Carnes – Crazy In The Night (Barking At Airplanes)

This was Kim’s first Top 20 solo hit since Bette Davis Eyes but her last Top 40 hit overall. I also imagine that her name is what people in Boston say when they see this.

Also please explain the barking at airplanes bit.

21. Wham! – Everything She Wants

“My God! I don’t even think that I love you.” – the words every woman yearns to hear when they tell their partner that they’re pregnant.

Also, quick math lesson – your best needs to be good enough for three, not two. You’re having a baby! Congrats, George!

20. Night Ranger – Sentimental Street

Night Ranger’s heading back up into the Top 10 with another power ballad, one that will peak at #8, a story of love lost and one that yearns to be found again in the avenues.

19. Sting – If You Love Somebody Set Them Free

ML – Sting’s first solo single showcased a funky jazzier side from the former Police frontman and did for the tambourine what Blue Oyster Cult did for the cowbell. I hear this and I’m right back in that Summer, holding a frozen can of Hawaiian Punch, watching the video produced by Godley & Creme and trying to figure out which Shakespeare character Sting is dressed as. And yes there’s Branford Marsalis in the back playing sax rather than fake laughing at Leno’s Michael Jackson jokes.

Also, I thought he was singing just remember you aren’t after the first chorus rather than if it’s a mirror you want. Either one works.

18. Billy Ocean – Suddenly

There are more boring songs than this to dance to at a wedding or a prom, but not many. The world can’t hold the four oceans we have, let alone William J. Ocean.

Suddenly, Florida is under the sea.

17. Bruce Springsteen – Glory Days

Hey look it’s the Boss singing a tale about a lonely alcoholic who uses the excuse of bumping into old classmates as a reason to keep swigging down a bunch of drinks. This was the apex of misunderstood Bruce songs. People mistake this for some blue-collar pride of America bullshit, so much so that they love to play this at baseball games. Folks, these are three miserable people who hate their life. And the irony here is that even though their lives suck now they weren’t much better back then. And that’s what they consider their glory days which makes them even more depressed and hate their life in the present. And on and on and on. Time to take a trip down to the well.

16. Glenn Frey – Smuggler’s Blues

Somehow during 1984-1985 Glenn morphed into a character in a Miami Vice episode and he never recovered. And this was before the show even debuted. Smuggler’s Blues was written and released on the album The Allnighter in the Summer of 1984. Then the show debuted and while it was an overnight success, Glenn filmed a video for this single in early 1985 most likely inspired by the show. [Love that crummy house Glenn pulls up to in a Porsche.] When the song became a hit, it inspired an episode of Miami Vice which Glenn would star in.

Ouroboros.

15. Cyndi Lauper – The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough

Another diss by Mark Goodman. This time he mentions that he’s sure Cyndi would like to take this song back. I doubt it. Let’s not mistake her for someone she’s not. She was into creating upbeat fun pop music with a thrift store style. She wasn’t looking to create The Hissing of Summer Lawns. Besides this Top 10 theme to The Goonies will constantly reintroduce her to new generations that watch the movie. That’s good enough for her.

14. Paul Young – Everytime You Go Away

Hall & Oates were on such a streak that even their deep cuts were going to #1, this one from the 1980 Voices album. Paul turns the original, which was a sad denial of a possible relationship set against a stark gospel organ that percolates until release, into a dreamy swooning pledge of forever love. And I love that 70s throwback sitar lick. It reminds me of those beautiful Thom Bell productions of the Stylistics.

13. Whitney Houston – You Give Good Love

If Whitney made more music like this, I would have been a bigger fan of hers. Unfortunately, this was as vocally subtle as she would ever get. This single would reach the Top 3 and be the only one from her debut album, Whitney Houston not to reach #1 on the Pop charts.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

ML – Misheard Lyrics

PFK – Perfect for Karaoke

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

STA – Second Time Around

The Summer’s Left A Spell On Us

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The Summer of 1985 is my jam. It’s not that I think the best songs of the 80s were released then. It’s not necessarily the best Summer I ever had. But for me, my life and the music around me clicked in a profound way that is hard to describe. It’s just one those magical qualities that has music possesses  The songs on this June 29th, 1985 countdown are forever linked to my memory of that time in my life.

[I started off this blog by writing a little about the Summer of 85. You can read some of that here.]

40. Graham Parker & The Shot – Wake Up (Next To You)

OHW – After Graham left the Rumour to pursue solo ventures, he formed The Shot with his former Rumour guitarist Brinsley Schwartz and recorded the LP Steady Nerves. It’s a great slice of soulful rock, but criminally, this track has already peaked at #39. I don’t know what’s more amazing  – the fact that Graham Parker only had one Top 40 hit or the fact that he had any at all. Local Girls from Squeezing Out Sparks should have easily been a hit, but that would have meant displacing songs from Blackfoot or Jimmy Buffett and we can’t have that.

Graham is incredibly prolific and continues to record and tour. If you ever get a chance to see him live, you absolutely should. He’s a great showman.

39. Heart – What About Love?

New record label, new approach. This is the Heart era of teased hair, corsets and leg kicks. Capitol Records may have wanted it the glitz and galmour, but they didn’t need it because these songs would have been hits without that. The Wilson sisters and company effortlessly eased into to owning the power ballad market, especially with Ann’s powerhouse vocals in front.

This will become their first Top 10 hit since 1981’s Tell It Like It Is. It also features backing vocals from Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship who were also in the process of building a city.

38. Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Around (Like A Record)

This Big 80s countdown is a rerun from this time last year in 2018. I’m guessing it’s because the DJs are on vacation. Someone should have reviewed this broadcast for mistakes and re-recorded those segments, such as the one where Alan Hunter says this song will peak at #16. It won’t. It will make it to #11.

By the time Pete Burns came around we were already used to Boy George, so we glady accepted his look even when Pete added an eye patch to stand out more. But the real star is this song, a superb dance track that owes a big debt to late 70s disco as well as a future glimpse of late 80s pop music. This was one of the first successful productions from the law firm production team of Stock Aiken & Waterman.

37. Robert Plant – Little By Little

The former Led Zeppelin vocalist is inching up the charts, climbing the ladder rung by rung, bit by bit, piece by piece up to its eventual peak of #36, from his EP Shaken N Stirred. The title is also the name of Rich’s Little’s autobiographical one-man Vegas act.

36. Limahl – Never Ending Story

OHW – A one hit wonder with Kajagoogoo, Limahl left the band and became a one hit wonder as a solo artist as well with the Giorgio Moroder title track to The Neverending Story, a disturbing German children’s film (Is there any other kind?) that was released in the Summer of 1984. I don’t remember hearing it very much especially for a track that would peak in the Top 20.

Also where did that horse go?

35. Tears For Fears – Shout

The first of two TFF #1 songs in the 40, one former and one future. The future first. This will hit the top for the charts for three weeks at the beginning of August and it’s one of the songs that defined my Summer. It was so abundant and powerful it even hit #56 on the R&B charts.

34. Corey Hart – Never Surrender

This makes a nice counterpoint to Shout – a power ballad to chill you out after you’re done yelling and protesting. If you’re feeling frustrated by the lack of social progress, Corey urges you to keep going and do some more shouting. This multi-Juno winner would have his biggest US hit with this track where it would peak at #3 later in the Summer.

33. Debarge – Who’s Holding Donna Now

PFK – Debarge would finally breakthrough on the pop charts with a couple of Top 10 singles, just in time for El to go solo and the family to fall apart. This was the second single released from Rhythm of The Night, produced and co-written by WestCoast legend Jay Graydon. It’s on its way to a #6 peak on the pop charts, #2 on the Soul charts and #1 on the AC charts. It also features backing vocals from Richard Page & Steve George who were mere months away from their first #1 with Mr. Mister.

32. Depeche Mode – People Are People

ML – It was definitely bizarre to have this band in the Top 40 in 1985 but also incredibly justified. Their edgy style of synth pop was one that mainstream listeners had to catch up with but true New Wavers already knew them as one of the best electronic bands around. The song was released one year previous in the UK and had been a Top 5 hit. In the US, this song about the lament of ongoing racism would hit #13.

Until I read the lyrics to this song, I thought each line was something completely different from what they were saying.

31. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Possession Obsession

The fourth Top 40 single from Hall & Oates’ Big Bam Boom features a rare lead vocal by John Oates and a commentary on materialism run rampant in the 80s. The doo-wop throwback is only one notch away from its peak of #30.

30. The Power Station – Get It On (Bang A Gong)

In 1985 we were treated repeatedly to the Madonna-Duran Duran-Chic musical triangle. Here’s two sides of that presented as the supergroup, The Power Station featuring Andy & John Taylor from D2 with drums from Tony Thompson and production from Bernard Edwards. This would be their second Top 10 single, which was a cover of T. Rex’s 1972 Top 10 hit. The Power Station would also launch lead singer Robert Palmer into the most successful stint of his career.

29. Supertramp – Cannonball

Supertramp survived the departure of one of its founding members Roger Hodgson who took the hella long way home and wrapped up their ten-year Top 40 career with one more Top 30 hit and a rare Top 10 dance hit. Even though Supertramp, led by Rick Davies periodically play gigs to this day, the two original keyboardists Davies & Hodgson have never performed in public together since their Famous Last Words tour in 1983.

28. Air Supply – Just As I Am

I give Air Supply a lot of slack but by 1985 they were just phoning it in with this sub-Manilow dreck. If you were at a wedding or were forced to listen to this during lovemaking, I truly feel for you. This would thankfully be the final Top 40 hit for the Australian duo before they went on to do Time Life Soft Rock collection infomercials.

27. Paul Hardcastle – 19

OHW – British synth jazz wizard scored an oddball electro-funk smash in 1985 with the dance track 19, the average age of US soldiers in the Vietnam War. It featured narration by Peter Thomas sampled from an ABC News report on Vietnam veterans who suffered from PTSD. Depending on your point of view, this is most insensitive thing you’ve ever heard regarding Nam Vets and their plight or you regard it as a miracle considering that this info reached a new generation of ears, a generation who would come to respect and empathize with those soldiers rather than spit on them.

The stutter effect of n-n-n-nineteen was created by Paul via an E-Mu Emulator. Reflecting on me and my friends’ insensitivity, if anyone asked us a question which required a numerical answer chances are we would stutter the response.

It would peak at #15, but guess what number it would stumble to the week of August 3rd?

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

ML – Misheard Lyrics

PFK – Perfect for Karaoke

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

STA – Second Time Around

The Point Is Probably Moot

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Here we are ready to finish up the biggest hits in the Top 40 on June 20, 1981. Since there was no way you were watching baseball, you were probably spending your time listening to these songs.

12. Climax Blues Band – I Love You

THW – CBB’s 2nd and last Top 40 hit is at its peak this week. Though we’d skip this one on the Dimensions 8-Track, I’ve enjoyed this more as an adult. Now even Yacht Rock lovers can enjoy this tale of a momma’s boy alcoholic looking for someone to save him. Dude, please tell me what you are adding to this relationship?

11. Gary “US” Bonds – This Little Girl

After a 19 year absence, Gary “US” Bonds hit the Top 40 again with a song written by Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen. Gary had a handful of big hits in the early 60s, including the #1 smash Quarter To Three. His career began completely by accident as he just happened to be near a recording studio when the lead singer on a session was kicked out and the producer needed someone immediately to fill his shoes. He grabbed Gary, gave him a cheesy but memorable name and he had his first hit, New Orleans, in 1960 reaching #6.

10. Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl

In this last batch of songs, five them were featured on the Dimensions collection, which I’ve mentioned previously. My brother & I would listen on an 8-track so we could skip over songs and play the same 3 or 4 over and over. This was one of them. Somehow Rick found his way up to #1 sandwiched between two monster 1981 hits, Bette Davis Eyes & Endless Love and had a whole new career.

9. Hall & Oates – You Make My Dreams

The wedding song that gets all the younger white folks out on the floor. Another Dimensions tune that we would never skip but would instead crank up and throw each other against the basement’s paneled walls.

8. Neil Diamond – America

Neil Diamond started off the 80s with a starring role in an updated version of The Jazz Singer. While the movie is hilariously awful, the soundtrack gave Neil three Top 10 hits, something he never duplicated before or after. Here’s the exciting climax from the movie featuring this song. Shout out to perfectly placed whistle after the first far. [You can hear it better on the recording.]

7. Air Supply – The One That You Love

Air Supply did not give a fuck. They churned out one power ballad after another each one as soft as a bag of melted marshmallows on a goose down pillow, determined to have some #1s. And somehow this patiently waited and squeezed in at the top of Everest, then tumbled the hell back down. We were a traumatized country. Imagine being conceived to this.

It was on Dimensions too. It was always skipped by us unless my mom was playing it in the car.

6. Smokey Robinson – Being With You

Smokey was on a roll in the early 80s with another Top 10 hit. Not as solid as Crusin’ but awfully close. Smokey recorded with Motown from the very beginning in 1960 all the way until 1990, when the company was sold to MCA and Smokey was released as Motown’s vice-president. One of the smoothest soul voices of all time.

5. George Harrison – All Those Years Go

Six months prior to this countdown, John Lennon was murdered on a New York City sidewalk. It was a difficult event to make any sense out of and many tributes began poured out and have been shared since. But the quiet Beatle gave possibly the first musical and best overall homage with this sweet and tender eulogy to his lost friend whom he loved and respected.

The song was originally written for and recorded with Ringo Starr but was scrapped. After John’s death, George rewrote the lyrics and invited Paul & Linda to sing on it as well as Wings’ guitarist Denny Laine, so that the three remaining Beatles could pay John their respects together in song.

4. Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio – A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)

Ray Parker Jr. started to slow process of breaking into a solo career the year before by renaming the band Raydio to Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio. Unfortunately, he had to wait for two albums until he had a big enough hit to go out on and here it is. The gist here is if you screw around so will she, which is such a male point of view. Women are way better than that. They may cut off your Johnson once and a while, but they generally will take a higher road than us idiots. And I can’t give this much weight when I know that within a year, Ray’s gonna write another cheating song about how it feels better when he sneaks.

3. A Taste of Honey – Sukiyaki

THW – Boogie Oogie Oogie sent A Taste Of Honey into the stratosphere, garnering them a 1978 Grammy for Best New Artist. They had trouble following it up but two albums later came up with an American cover version of Kyu Sakamoto’s 1963 hit Sukiyaki. Believe it or not, it was also a hit on the Soul charts back then, so maybe that’s where Hazel Payne and Janice–Marie Johnson heard it previously. They did not directly translate the lyrics into English, so instead of a depressed protester feeling sad that he could not change the world, you had a simple tale of lost love, set to the same melody with a tacked on “Sukiyaki” whispered at the end.

Because of ATOH’s hit, Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick then used a portion of the verse four years later in their rap classic La Di Da Di the song that launched a million samples.

2. Kim Carnes – Bette Davis Eyes

Kim and her raspy voice politely take a step back from her reign at #1 to allow a Dutch studio group to have a chance. It had been #1 for five weeks and would spend another four there for an astounding total of nine weeks.

How did no one find this 1974 song before Kim? Well, this Jackie DeShannon song had a completely different arrangement before Kim and her crew modernized it, giving it a hint of New Wave spice.

1. Medley: Intro “Venus/Sugar, Sugar/No Reply/I’ll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want to Know a Secret/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/Nowhere Man/You’re Going to Lose That Girl/ Stars on 45 – Stars On 45

THW – I have so many questions. The oddball did the unthinkable and interrupted Kim’s 9-week #1 run with a quick ascent to the top this week. I’m thinking that that radio and then us music buyers were still in shock that Lennon was dead and maybe this was our way to console ourselves? The 45 edit starts off with Shocking Blue’s Venus, the Archies Sugar Sugar then a mix of earlier Beatles songs. Was the idea to do a mix of songs and then they just gave up?

The 8-minute album version starts off with Beatles songs, includes a George Harrison section with My Sweet Lord then moves into a mishmash that features Venus, Sugar Sugar, Funkytown, Jimmy Mack – it’s all over the place. I have no idea what the hell they are doing. That this was a big hit between disco’s heyday but before danceable New Wave took over was quite strange. Because this was played so many times at my house I have a hard time hearing songs like Drive My Car without my mind automatically going into Do You Want To Know A Secret? I could easily sing you the cues from memory and that’s why I haven’t stopped drinking.

Because of licensing this song hasn’t appeared on many, if any, 80s compilations, so its presence is becoming lost to history, which is probably fine. Except for the fact that it most likely inspired the Hooked On craze. This was produced by Jaap Eggermont, former drummer of Golden Earring. He’s Dutch. I’m not sure what my point is. I think its place it the world makes me shake my head until I get dizzy and fall down laughing.

Another Dimensions track which had a good beat to wrestle to. And yes there’s a video for it.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for Karaoke

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

STA – Second Time Around

Trying To Find An Easy Way Inside

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Here’s the next batch of songs in the June 20th, 1981 Top 40 bouillabaisse.

26. Moody Blues – Gemini Dream

The Moody Blues took a break in 1974 with different members recording various solo projects. When they reconvened for the album Octave in 1978, keyboardist Mike Pinder left after its release and they brought in Patrick Moraz for a tour. Since Octave wasn’t the return to favor they had hoped for,  they decided to create a more modern, less symphonic sound for their follow up with Moraz in charge of the synths. [Pinder had thought he could come back as the keyboardist but the band deemed him too moody, which gave him the blues.]

Their new album, Long Distance Voyager hit #1 and spawned two Top 20 hits, this being the first one, which sounds like an ELO outtake. No one in the band is a Gemini, though their original bass player, Clint Warwick has the same birthday as Patrick Moraz.

25. Sheena Easton – Modern Girl

Sheena wakes up, stops waiting for her partner at the train station and starts living her own life with no one telling her what to do. Or does she? The guy in the beginning of the song wraps up his one night stand with quickly leaving to go to work with Sheena clearly not digging that. Meanwhile she’s faking smiles, burying her dreams down inside while she’s on the morning train and watches TV by herself at night. Doesn’t really feel like she’s happy with being a “modern girl”, does it?. It wasn’t until 1984 and Strut that she seemingly finally took control, but here, in this eventual #18 is where the emotions started to bubble.

24. Santana – Winning

At #26 we had the Moody Blues sounding like ELO. Now at #24 we have Santana sounding like Journey. Written and first recorded by Russ Ballard in 1976, Winning will become Santana’s first Top 20 hit in ten years, since 1971’s Everything Everything.

23. Oak Ridge Boys – Elvira

THW – Dallas Frazier wrote and recorded the song Elvira back in 1966 and had a minor hit with it reaching #72. The Oak Ridge Boys have been around longer than that as the roots of the group stretch back to the 1940s. The quartet that sang on this 45 had been singing gospel music in the late 60s/ early 70s before making the switch to the devils music of Country. While recording songs for their new album, Fancy Free, they decided to record a version of Elvira after hearing Rodney Crowell’s (Nashvile’s tight y’all.) recording, which is pretty damn good. What probably made ORB’s corpone classic a hit were those papa-oom-papa-mow-mows between each chrous provided by Richard Sturban. And the unneccessary key changes one after another towards the end of the song just prolong the agony.

This was on Dimensions as well and provided lots of laughs between my brother and I.

FYI – I’m changing the code of Not a One Hit Wonder to Two Hit Wonder (THW) which is primarily the point I was making anyway.

22. Kenny Rogers – I Don’t Need You

There are six Country songs on the charts this week. Not sure if that was a high for this time period, but I do know that Country’s pop crossover river would dry up within the next couple of years and it wouldn’t start running again until the mid 90s.

After the success of Lady, Kenny decided to have Lionel Richie produced an entire album for him. The intro to this song is very similar to a Commodores ballad. It’s quickly moving up the charts and will hit #3 ina few weeks.

21. Elton John – Nobody Wins

A forgotten song from a lost album in a legend’s catalog. This is actually a French song called J’Veux de la Tendresse written by Jean-Paul Dreau. New lyrics collaborator Gary Osborne wrote the English lyrics and retitled the song, Nobody Wins. It is also powered by synths and drum machines which was very different for Elton at the time. Nevertheless, because we all love to hear Elton sing, we still helped make this a hit at #21.

20. Joey Scarbury – Theme From The Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not)

OHW – Mike Post is the man when it comes to TV themes. For the last forty years his scoring on television from The Rockford Files to Law & Order has been more memorable and enduring than the shows themselves. He’s also written the most Top 40 TV Theme hits, including this one sung by Joey Scarbury. It’s one of his most recognizable and most successful hitting #2. [Damn you, Endless Love]

Believe it or not, there’s a video to this song. But what’s up with the hookers? Also I’m obliged to include this.

Fun Fact #1: Joey had a #71 hit as a sixteen-year old with the song Mixed Up Guy in 1971.

Fun Fact #2: Mike Post produced albums by The First Edition, Dolly Parton & Van Halen.

19. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – The Waiting

There’s only one question you need to ask yourself. Is this the best Tom Petty song ever written or are they all tied for #1?

And now this….

18. Marty Balin – Hearts

THW – For those Jeferson Starship fans who became distraught over their harder rock direction in 1979 with new lead singer Mickey Thomas, fear not because Marty Balin is here. He picks up where 1978’s Earth left off with another soft midtempo ballad from his debut album, Balin which is on the way to a #8 peak. Many decades later he would perform the song live with Jefferson Starship [or a version of which contained Paul Kantner.]

17. Lee Ritenour – Is It You?

OHW – This is the highest charting song from a Jazz artist this week which would make this the fourth in the 40. That was probably a record in the 80s for sure. Is It You? keeps inching its way up to its peak of #15. Jazz guitar virtuoso Lee Ritenour’s album Rit features vocals by Eric Tagg who has become a WestCoast legend himself with his catalog of Smooth albums from the 70s & 80s. After the success of this single Eric released a solo album, Dream Walkin’ produced by Lee but to this day, it has yet to be released in the U.S. though it has great tracks such as No One There, Marzipan and A Bigger Love.

Eric also sings lead on another Rit track called Mr. Briefcase, whose video was aired on MTV’s first day.

16. Franke & the Knockouts – Sweetheart

Here’s the first of three, yes three, Top 40 hits from this pop rock band hailing from New Jersey. Sweetheart was at its peak of #10 last week, a Top 10 song most have forgotten. If you don’t remember it, you may have heard of the song Franke wrote and eventualy won an Academy Award Oscar for Best Song 1987.

15. Dottie West – What Are We Doin’ In Love

OHW – Here’s the highest charting Country song in the Top 40 this week by a lady who by this time was a Country music veteran. This duet with Kenny Rogers was one of many she had recorded with him but the first to be successful on the Pop charts. If you’ve never heard of Dottie West, you can watch the TV movie on Dottie’s life starring Michelle Lee as Dottie right here.

Fun Fact: Dottie and her daughter Shelley each recorded a #1 duet on the Country charts in 1981.

14. REO Speedwagon – Take It On The Run

The second single from Hi Infidelity and the followup to Keep On Lovin’ You is falling down after hitting #5. It would also be one of the first videos played on MTV in August. Pitbull sampled it on his minor hit Messin’ Around in 2008.

13. Gino Vannelli – Living Inside Myself

How do you contain the sheer power of Gino V.? Only brothers, Joe and Ross know how  as they wrap this dramatic belter’s voice in warm synths and tasteful production. This was Gino’s second Top 10 hit and inexplicably his last Top 40 hit.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for Karaoke

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

STA – Second Time Around