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.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
STA – Second Time Around