Is This Message Understood?

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The numbers trickle down and your taxes go higher. Let’s continue reviewing the Top 40 from March 10, 1984:

29. Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Runner

This is a cover of an Ian Thomas song from an album that also had the original version of Hold On, a hit by Santana. It should have been peaking on the charts during July & August while the Summer Olympics were in full swing in Los Angeles minus the Russians. So I’m calling it (gunshot) – False Start!

28. .38 Special – Back Where You Belong

It’s NRA’s favorite band. But seriously, .38 Special did fill a niche in the 80s as there was almost no Southern rock on the charts anymore. A straight-up pop-rocker with barely any roots showing it was their 3rd Top 20 hit.

27. Culture Club – Miss Me Blind

The first of two CC hits on the countdown. I think this was a band that MTV hurt rather than helped. Boy George’s image was so strong and recognizable, it overshadowed the fact that they were a talented pop group with a knack for catchy songs with George’s smooth soulful vocals like sweet icing on the cake.

26. Re-Flex- The Politics Of Dancing

The politicians are now DJs.” Thankfully, no. Would anyone want to hear the Mondale & Ferraro morning zoo each weekday at 7 AM? Most people would never get out of bed. I digress, a great new wave dance song.

25. Sheena Easton – Almost Over You

At the beginning of 1984, Sheena was still pining away for a lost love. By the end of the year, she reinvented herself and was strutting around, calling the shots, and stomping all over the dude with her high heels.

24. Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now

By their 3rd album, Into the Gap, the Thompson Twins found the perfect balance of humanity and warmth within synthesized music, resulting in their biggest hit. And it’s got some killer xylophone.

23. Kenny Rogers – This Woman

There was a major backlash against the name Bee Gees in the 80s, but not so for the music. Because the Gibbs continued turning out great tunes with their signature sound for other artists and still had hits, such as this one, the follow-up to Islands In The Stream, which is sitting at its peak of #23.

22. Genesis – That’s All

Phil got his first Top 10 in early 1983 with You Can’t Hurry Love which probably helped Genesis get their first one a year later. Philgenecollinsis is spreading!

21. James Ingram (with Michael McDonald) – Yah Mo B There

I don’t care for exclusivity in the term “yacht rock” [it’s actually called Westcoast music all around the world], but if I had to pick a song to explain YR to someone, this would be it. This Grammy-winning track produced by Quincy Jones and co-written by Q & Rod Temperton is at once funky and smooth, where Ingram’s wolf-like howl pairs beautifully with McDonald’s gruff tenor. A gem off of Ingram’s excellent It’s Your Night LP

20. KC – Give It Up

Let’s not mince words – disco music died off in the US in the early 80s because of two factors – homophobia/racism or the fact that some of the artists partied too hard and burned themselves out. KC & the Sunshine Band, as well as 99% of the other disco artists, fell victim to the former. Even though KC saw the writing on the wall and recorded two ballads – Please Don’t Go & Yes, I’m Ready with Teri Desario – which hit #1 & #2, respectively as the 80s decade dawned, the mere name of his band closed the doors to any further radio airplay, even as the band continued to make good but not outstanding albums. Also, KC was in a bad car accident in 1981 and had to rehab for 6 months learning how to walk and play keyboards again.

KC’s third album of the 1980s, All In A Night’s Work dropped in 1982 and featured Give It Up which became a #1 hit in the UK in the Summer of 1983. When Epic Records refused to release it stateside, KC left the label, released it himself and it became a Top 20 hit.

Does the rest of the countdown prep up for more Olympic jams? Or will it revel in its own jingoism? Check back later this week to find out.

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