Summer, it turns me upside down. Summer, summer, summer, like a merry-go-round. So sang Ric Ocasek on this week’s Top 40 countdown from July 28th, 1984. 35 years ago, as I write this, I was visiting relatives in a small town in West Germany, an hour south of Frankfurt. There was an American army base stationed there and during that week they held a Midsummer carnival that anyone could attend. It was an interesting mix of American & German cultures. I went there each night, staying for long periods of time as it was light out almost until 10 PM. As I played the carnival games and spun around on the tilt-a-whirl, these were some of the tunes I heard playing from carny stereos and tinny transistors.
40. Robin Gibb – Boys Do Fall In Love
THW – Robin took a hiatus from the Bee Gees and concentrated on his solo career. The first single from his second of three mid-80s released albums, Secret Agent yielded him his second Top 40 single, which peaked at #37 last week. His first Top 40 was a cover of The Beatles’ Oh Darling in late 1978 from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band soundtrack.
39. Cyndi Lauper- She Bop
Cyndi replaces herself in the Top 40. As Time After Time drops out, her third single She Bop screams in. And somewhere down in Tennessee, a woman is getting hot and bothered as her husband stares out the window and frets about acid rain.
38. 10-9-8 – Face To Face
OHW – Here’s the Boston quintet, Face To Face with their only Top 40 hit at its peak, a slice of dramatic and moody New Wave pop that their fellow Mass mates, Til Tuesday would do better with the following year. The band would also act as Ellen Aim and The Attackers in the film Streets of Fire with singer Laurie Sargent providing Diane Lane’s vocals.
37. Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth – The Warrior
OHW – Here’s an 80s band that had a handful of radio hits but only one official Top 40. Written by Holly Knight and Nick “Hot In the City” Gilder, it will eventually reach #7 later in the Summer. When Scandal broke up, Patty embarked on a solo career in which she became a two-hit-wonder in 1992 with Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough & No Mistakes.
36. Sheila E. – The Glamourous Life
I’d like to use this space to remind you that Sheila E. was an influence on Prince. That he had the fortunate opportunity to write and record a hit for her as well as have her play drums on the Sign O The Times tour must have been an absolute thrill for him.
The track is sashaying up to a high of #7, but her live version of TGL on the American Music Awards in 1985 really shows what a badass Sheila is. You can hear the Prince demo of this song which was released in 2019.
Also, without love, it ain’t much.
35. Huey Lewis & the News – If This Is It
Another future Top 10 hit from the juggernaut known as Sports. The Big 80’s Countdown intros this song by recanting a tale in which the band’s record label gave them an ultimatum to have a big hit or else and that everything up unto that point had been only minor successes. That seems like a made-up story to me, especially given the fact that their second album, Picture This hit the Top 20 and yielded the Top 10, Do You Believe In Love just the year before, but I guess it makes for good (if untrue) copy.
If you’d like to enjoy the video that was played over and over on MTV even though it contained brief nudity, enjoy.
34. Peter Wolf – Lights Out
Peter Wolf left the J. Geils Band and rode some of the Centerfold momentum snaring a few Top 40 hits on his own. This was his first, and although it would hit the Top 20, it has unfairly disappeared from classic playlists, even as Peter continues to play live and record. It’s an underrated pop song that should be heard more often, IMO.
Between this and She Bop we really into partying with ourselves in private in 1984. [Dancing In the Dark is later on in the countdown.] Guess that’s what happens when the conservatives take over.
33. The Go-Gos – Turn To You
This was the fifth and final Top 40 hit for all-female quintet, one spot away from its #32 peak. It was also one of many songs included the jukebox musical Head Over Heels which appeared on Broadway in late 2018.
32. Billy Squier – Rock Me Tonight
Billy can blame MTV or this video’s director about how it killed his career until he’s blue in the face and his pink Flashdance-style shirt falls off his shoulders. Or, maybe people got tired of listening to his formulaic corporate rock songs.
31. Sergio Mendes – Alibis
RAR – This is definitive Rite-Aid rock, the kinda tune I heard in line at drug stores for years but could never quite figure out what it was. There is absolutely nothing here to give you a clue that it’s Sergio Mendes. And though singer Joe Pizzulo (that’s two uncredited Top 40 hits for him.) screams out your alibis are watertight, I had it in my mind that this song was called Slippin’ Away until Joel Whitburn cured me of that.
On the flip side, spice up your Yacht Rock playlist with one less Air Supply spin and add this.
30. Glenn Frey – Sexy Girl
The first single from The Allnighter was another piece of evidence that Glenn had not yet matured from his Eagles party days. This future Top 20 was Glenn’s creepy fantasy about his new next-door neighbor doing him a “favor” by screwing him, y’know, cause she’s sexy and sexy girls do that. Then he follows it up by saying any one of us guys would do the same. I think you’re misunderstanding the term “welcome wagon”.
29. John Waite – Missing You
Every Time I Think Of You was a 1979 Top 20 hit for The Babys, of which John was the lead singer. It’s also the first line of this song which will head all the way up to #1.
28. Jefferson Starship – No Way Out
I always thought it would have sounded better for the band to be called Jeffstar or Sonship rather than plain ol’ Starship. People would have had lower expectations of the band and shrugged when minor hits like this one top out at #23 rather than decide to heap decades of scorn on them for We Built This City like they completely let them down. Jeffstar wouldn’t dare to build anything except a cult fanbase.
27. Huey Lewis & the News – The Heart of Rock N Roll
Do you enjoy your irony with callouts to your favorite American cities? Then enjoy this former Top 10 from Huey & the guys as they use a drum fill instead of saying the word “ass” while they talk about a music genre named after a euphemism for sex.
26. Eddy Grant – Romancing The Stone
THW – This was recorded and released as if the producers of the movie would use this as the title song for the film, Romancing The Stone. Instead, they cut it out of the movie and off the soundtrack. Eddy pulled a toke and let it go. He would still have a hit with it and this week it’s at its zenith.
Hits that the Robert Zemeckis-directed film’s soundtrack yielded – nada.
25. Journey – She’s Mine
I’m not much of a Journey fan but when I hear songs like this future #21 off of Steve Perry’s solo album, Street Talk, I realize how much the band took a cue from its success when recording their followup Raised On Radio. I guess the tension between everyone made it fall apart after that.
It does feature a clean but tasty guitar solo by studio musician Michael Landau. Rather than play Oh Sherrie, 80s stations need to dig this one back up.
24. Wang Chung – Dance Hall Days
This #1 Dance smash is cooling on craze and slowly falling from #16. Quick poll: If you took your baby by the heel, what would be the next thing that you feet like doing?
23. Ratt – Round And Round
THW – Here’s some early L.A. glam metal from the band that got some help from Uncle Miltie. It will nibble its way up to #12. Fun fact if you play this song backward, they still sing round and round.
22. Kenny Loggins – I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)
Movie Kenny! Ken-Lo double dips on the Footloose soundtrack and comes up with the second of his two Top 40 hits, although this one won’t climb any higher.
21. Duran Duran – The Reflex
The former #1 with a Nile Rodgers remix got kicked off the mountian by Prince and has been tumbling down since, question marks and all. They will call on Nile again to produce their one-off single, The Wild Boys later in the year.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
ML – Misheard Lyrics
PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
STA – Second Time Around