The schizo countdown from May 29th, 1982 continues as we are bookended with McCartneys.
20. The Beatles – The Beatles Movie Medley
Capitol Records was releasing yet another compilation of Beatles songs, this one focusing on their films, called Reel Music. So they created and released this needless medley to radio of Beatles songs from films, probably cause they were jealous of Stars On 45. But including Get Back in this medley is a bit of a stretch. Of course, it’s The Beatles so it would reach #12.
19. Roberta Flack – Making Love
Roberta hadn’t been in the Top 40 since 1978’s If Ever I See You Again. She returned with another song from a movie that no one remembers. In fact for a song that would peak at #13, I would think that there would be something about it that would seem familiar to me, but it does not. The melody is barely there and although Roberta sings it beautifully, it disappears seconds after you hear it. It was written by Carole Bayer Sager & Burt Bacharach (that’s two for him in the countdown), but it has never been included in any of his compilations.
18. Dan Fogelberg – Run For The Roses
The Kentucky Derby classic, perfect to play while sipping on a mint julep as you’re wearing a stupid hat about to watch tiny people whip beautiful thoroughbreds for your entertainment.
17. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – Crimson And Clover
Joan Jett is here to keep rockin’ you, this time with a harder update on a Tommy James & the Shondells hippie fever dream. Too bad the royalties went back to the mob.
16. Toto – Rosanna
It’s not about Rosanna Arquette, ok? Jesus, stop asking. Even though she was dating keyboardist Steve Porcaro at the time, it’s purely a coincidence. The reason why this song was so popular at the time, missing the top by just inches for 5 continuous weeks and continues to endure today, is because it boils Toto down to the essence of what made them a great band – tight percussive grooves, creative multilayered synth work, powerful vocals, and tasteful guitar solos.
15. Deniece Williams – It’s Gonna Take A Miracle
One of the classiest producers of Soul music, Thom Bell, works his magic on Niecy with a song first recorded by The Royalettes in 1965. Although it’s been recorded dozen of times, this is the only one to be successful on the pop charts giving DW a Top 10 hit. Not for nothing, Laura Nyro & Labelle’s version is my favorite.
14. Little River Band – Man On Your Mind
Raise your hand if you can name a Little River Band hit from the 80s. Congratulations you’re the new fan club president. Or you’re Glenn Shorrock, who wrote this song then split from the group. They would have 6 Top 40 hits and although they were good, they’re not as fondly remembered as Reminiscing or Happy Anniversary. They did get to work with George Martin, so they had that going for them.
13. Elton John – Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)
Elton’s tribute to John Lennon is another 80s ballad that has been lost in the shuffle of his myriad of hits. It would eventually hit #12 but rarely be performed live, although it’s been performed more often in the ten years or so. It took on an even eerier tone when 12-year old paperboy Johnny Gosch disappeared 4 months later in Iowa.
One of a shitton of pop songs with drums by Jeff Porcaro.
12. Vangelis – Chariots Of Fire
OHW – I’ve talked about this song before and its best movie use which was in National Lampoon’s Vacation but I love how this song and Heat of The Moment are back to back this week. Actually, those guys could swap song titles and it would still work.
11. Asia – Heat Of The Moment
The first time I heard the term supergroup was with this band, but aren’t they just a bunch of out of musicians who decided to get together and form a band. That they had success with it, was the icing on the cake and gave prog rock a presence on MTV along with a few framed album posters.
The Traveling Wilburys were a supergroup.
10. Kool & The Gang – Get Down On It
Deodato was still having some post-disco success was the boys from Jersey City and this one is at its peak this week. Another Top 10 and, while not the funkiest Kool track, it was funky for 82. The LP Something Special also had Steppin’ Out which IMO was the better track and lots more fun. [The video was not quite 70s/ not quite 80s and was most definitely not played on MTV.]
9. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Did It In A Minute
Here’s another favorite of mine – a hit by a major artist that gets lost among the catalog even though it reaches #9, featuring some of Daryl’s best Dylan meets Duran Duran lyrics.
8. Willie Nelson – Always On My Mind
Eight of the Top Ten songs are in the same place they were last week, except for #7 and Sweet Willie who smokes his way into the Pop Top 10 for the very first time ever. Not bad for a 49-year old.
7. The Human League – Don’t You Want Me
From Country to synthpop, it’s the Human League on its way to an unlikely #1 hit. Between this and Soft Cell, you can see and hear the beginnings of the second British Invasion combined with the rise of MTV. This was the fourth single released from the 1981 LP, Dare and the Human League’s first album since the departure of Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh who’d go on to form Heaven 17.
6. Paul Davis – ‘65 Love Affair
Paul started going after some Hall & Oates money with a couple of pop songs from his Cool Night LP, first the title track and then this one. Another one from Summer Fun, Vol. 2 that my friends & I loved to make fun of. It was so damn goofy.
By the way, I understand why Paul realizes he screwed up this relationship since I’m sure there weren’t many cheerleaders into be-bop. I can’t imagine any football cheers involving Charlie Parker.
5. Ray Parker Jr. – The Other Woman
Lenny Kravitz stole his entire vocal style from Raydio-free Ray and this song.
4. Tommy Tutone – 867-5309 / Jenny
The most famous phone number in rock history which still tortures people to this day.
3. Charlene – I’ve Never Been To Me
OHW, PFK – The trainwreck that people were forced to see, I mean, hear. This died a natural death upon its release in 1977 and should have been left alone. It ended up being records by others such as Mary MacGregor and the Temptations because I guess everyone was coked out of their minds and had no judgment or reason as their disposal. Five years later it would be rebirthed from the snowblower state of America – Florida – which would have a radio station in Tampa and a DJ named Scott Shannon who was obviously high as hell and tortured his faithful listeners until they decided that if they should suffer we all should suffer.
As all of the DJs around the Country made a pact with the devil – make this a hit and give us a bag of eight-balls – we twitched and cringed until our ears bled like Harvey Korman in High Anxiety. This was released by Motown, y’all. How did it make it past those Monday meetings?
Hands down, this is one of the stupidest songs in Top 40 history, which is why it’s Perfect for Karaoke. Written by two guys that know zero about women (or men), read the lyrics and see if you can through them without laughing.
2. Rick Springfield – Don’t Talk To Strangers
Rick almost had a second number #1 until he ran into the buzzsaw known as Paul & Stevie. Let’s hear Slick Rick explain the origin of this song.
“It was to my girlfriend, who is my wife now, ’cuz I was being a bad boy on the road and I was nervous that she was doing the same thing. I never had marriage on the radar until I met Barbara. She’s the reason I’m still alive. Back then, I was scared that she was fucking around because I was doing the same thing. Strangely enough, I had originally titled ‘Jessie’s Girl’ ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’ and then I came up with a better title.”*
1. Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony & Ivory
Two legends finally team up to offer a plea of peace and all we’ve done is make fun of them. This song was #1 for 7 weeks, but ask yourself when was the last time you heard it on an 80s station. It’s a simple premise: if the black & white keys on a piano can live side by side, why can’t black and white people live in peace. Their sincerity and lack of irony are easy to mock, but seriously why do we make life so hard on each other and ourselves?
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