As the record industry was still trying to climb out of their recession, they pushed just about every genre of music onto the radio to see what would create the next big trend. If someone asked you which music was popular in the Spring of 1982, this group of songs would contradict your every answer. Unless your answer was everything. But wow, this countdown is a jumbled mess.
On this chart, we have pop, forgotten pop hits from popular artists, forgotten pop hits from forgotten artists. We have soul, soul ballads, funk and disco past its peak date. We have country, country rock, Southern rock. We have soft rock, WestCoast, new wave. We have songs by bands that broke up in 1970. We have 80s classics and huge songs by popular artists that don’t get played in oldies rotations. We have classical, power pop and a song that failed twice in the 1970s before reaching the Top 3 this week. It’s May 29, 1982.
[Also today Cal Ripken missed the second game of a doubleheader. Tomorrow he will play again as well as the next 2,632 games in a row.]
40. Dionne Warwick & Johnny Mathis – Friends In Love
Here’s a duet from the Johnny Mathis album, Friends In Love. Wait I mean the Dionne Warwick album, Friends In Love. Oh, they both released an album this month with that title? Well, no one bought either album and this song is about to peak at #38, so….
39. The Motels – Only The Lonely
This is not a Roy Orbison cover, but an original and the first Top 40 hit for the L.A. band, The Motels. They check-in with the second debut of the week from the band’s third LP, All Four One.
38. Atlantic Starr – Circles
When this band had 9 members with lead singer, Sharon Bryant, they were turning out funky R&B like this track which is sitting at its peak. When they came around again with a new lead singer Barbara Weathers, it was on a smoother tip, first for the cheaters [Secret Lovers] then for the happily married [Always].
37. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock ‘N Roll
This former #1 with a seven-week run at the top is in its sixteenth week in the Top 40. Weird Al would peak at #106 next July with his parody, I Love Rocky Road (do they even make that anymore?).
36. Eddie Rabbitt – I Don’t Know Where To Start
Eddie really benefitted from the sudden pop crossover wave of Country music in the late 70s and early 80s. Here’s a forgotten hit Top 40 from him which topped out at #35 written by Thom Schuyler who will also co-write Love Will Turn You Around, a Top 15 hit for Kenny Rogers.
35. Kansas – Play The Game Tonight
For a band so rooted and defined by the 70s, it was amazing that they could continue to have Top 40 hits in the 80s all the way up to 1987. Maybe the ever-changing lineup gave the band new momentum because when Steve Walsh left in late 1981, Kansas’ next LP, Vinyl Confessions yielded their first big hit in years, reaching #17.
34. Ronnie Milsap – Any Day Now
How about a county song written by Burt Bacharach? This Chuck Jackson cover was one of North Carolina native Ronnie Milsap’s crossover hits in the early 80s on the way up to #14. He’d have a few more years of pop success before he went back to amassing #1s in Country, which as of today totals 35.
33. Soft Cell – Tainted Love
OHW – But oh what a hit it was. Spending an incredible 43 weeks on the Hot 100, this New Wave classic from the duo of David Ball and Mark Almond peaked at #8, the same week as Human League was synthing around at #1.
Written by the bass singer of the Four Preps, Ed Cobb, this song was first recorded by R&B singer Gloria Jones in 1964 and released as a B-side in 1965. When the Northern Soul movement took hold in England during the early 70s, this track was resurrected and played in clubs such as Wigan Casino. Gloria even re-recorded it as a disco remake in 1976. But Soft Cell’s take, originally released in July of 1981, became the definitive version. And props to SXM for playing the mash-up with Where Did Our Love Go?
32. Sheena Easton – When He Shines
As my daughter listened to this song she asked, “How come so many lovey-dovey ladies sing lovey-dovey songs?” Then she asked Alexa to play I Like It by Cardi B.
31. 38 Special – Caught Up In You
The pride of Jacksonville, FL finally broke through the pop charts and into the Top 10 with this track from their fifth LP, Special Forces. It was co-written by Survivor’s Jim Peterik who wrote many of his own band’s hits but could never come up with something this effortless and breezy with a catchy hook and a cowbell-worthy rockin’ bridge for himself.
30. Loverboy – When It’s Over
From their second album, Get Lucky comes Loverboy’s highest charting single to this point. Their third Top 40 hit reached #26.
And now for the sleazy part. Here’s the album cover. So the model wearing the red leather pants was a 13-year old girl and that is a man’s arm and hand making a “hope I get lucky” sign with his fingers. Awesome, huh? Gives new meaning to Turn Me Loose.
29. John Cougar – Hurts So Good
I’m thinking that JC doesn’t have much of a handle on relationships yet. What to make of a song like this when his big proposal is that he just wants to walk around all day long. Where does the hurts so good part come in? Does John get bunions on his feet easily?
28. Franke & The Knockouts – Without You (Not Another Lonely Night)
I love how during the Big 40 Countdown, Nina Blackwood lists all of the awesome musicians from New Jersey – Sinatra, Springsteen, Whitney, Bon Jovi – and then says add Franke & the Knockouts to that list. Are you kidding? Who writes her copy? This is one of three Top 40 hits that no one remembers from this group.
27. Simon & Garfunkel – Wake Up Little Susie
Simon & Garfunkel broke up in 1970 but periodically they would get together much to the adulation of Baby Boomers everywhere. This track is a cover of the Everly Brothers classic from their free benefit concert at Central Park in the Fall of 1981, in which almost half a million people attended. This needless and halfhearted cover netted them their last Top 40 hit together.
26. Juice Newton – Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me
This may sound like Country but Juice crossed over to the pop side so hard, she would be nominated for a Best Female Pop Vocal for this song. Another Juicy Top 10.
25. Donnie Iris- My Girl
The man that wrote the song, The Rapper for The Jaggerz [featuring no rap whatsoever] in 1970 is climbing up the charts with his third and final Top 40 hit. My Girl [I assume her name is Leah?] will peak this week.
If you wondered what Donnie & the Cruisers were doing in the late 80s, check out this song from a side project that Donnie and partner Marc Avsec created called Cellarful of Noise.
24. Dazz Band – Let It Whip
OHW – The Dazz Band played neither disco nor jazz. Discuss. But this slice of funk was an across the board smash on the pop [#5], Soul [#1] and dance charts [#2].
23. Aldo Nova – Fantasy
OHW – Aldo Nova came out of nowhere and had a Top 10 debut album along with this track, which is sitting at it’s highest charting position. This hard-rockin’ Canadian plays almost everything on this LP and would go on to produce some 90s album tracks for Celine Dion.
22. The Charlie Daniels Band – Still In Saigon
It’s amazing that nine years after Uneasy Rider, Charlie was still racking up Top 40 hits. The man knew his audience and continues to stick to his guns. This track about Vietnam vets experiencing PTSD, formally acknowledged as shell shock, was his sixth and final Top 40.
21. Queen – Body Language
Here’s a deleted scene from the Queen bio-pic Bohemian Rhapsody –
Freddie: “Hey guys that disco track from The Game that Deacy wrote was a big hit.”
Rest of the Band: “But Freddie, disco’s dead.”
Paul: “Freddie, the world wants you to be a disco legend.”
Freddie: “We’re all disco legends. It’s time to go all-in.” Band sighs, and starts playing Body Language.
And if you decide to sing at this at a karaoke bar, you’re awesome. Send me a video, please.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder
PFK – Perfect for karaoke
RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
ML – Misheard Lyrics