We talk a lot about our musical heroes passing away, what it means to us and how it takes a part of us with them. We’ve been hit hard in the last few years but as much as we lament, most of them were taken way after their prime years. Imagine then it’s September 27th, 1980 and as you listen to this Top 20, we had just lost John Bonham, which was th end of Led Zeppelin. In the next few months we’ll lose John Lennon, which is the official end of the Beatles and we’ll lose Steve McQueen, which is the end of cool.
20. Stephanie Mills – Never Knew Love Like This Before
The woman who played Dorothy in the orginal run of The Wiz on Broadway has clicked her heels to find herself in the Top 20. It will eventually rise all the way up to #6. She’ll have one more Top 40 in 1981 a #40 duet with Teddy Pendergrass called Two Hearts before she gets kicked out of Oz for good. Nasty wizard.
19. Billy Joel – Don’t Ask Me Why
Billy is peaking with his third Glass Houses single, but lets his Long Island out when he tells you not to acts him why.
18. Pointer Sisters – He’s So Shy
Whenever I hear this song, I think of the Pointer Sisters appearance on an episode of The Love Boat. Issac the bartender wants to be a big star and is going to impress a record executive on the ship using June, Anita & Ruth as his background singers. But when it comes time for him to sing, he gets a case of stage fright. The Pointers take over and Isaac stands there frozen on stage, cause he’s…well, you know.
17. Robbie Dupree – Hot Rod Hearts
THW – Robbie is having his second big hit of the year cruising up to its future high of #15. His take on high school sweathearts pressing their respective sweatshirt & sweater tagainst each other gets a little confusing during the chorus. The couple is driving down the boulevard, but who or what are the hungry sharks up from the bottom for another bite? Did they crash their car into Sea World?
16. Doobie Brothers – Real Love
How the hell do you follow up a monster like What A Fool Believes and the Minute By Minute LP? If you’re the Doobies you get out of Michael McDonald’s way and let him do his thing. And his thing is to soulfully ramble about sad love affairs over an easy yet slightly funky groove. It’s moving itself slowly up to #5.
15. Electric Light Orchestra – All Over The World
John Lennon was quoted as saying that this was one his current favorite songs in 1980 and it’s easy to see why. It’s direct catchy pop with layered harmonies and lots of orchestral synth flourishes. Another Xanadu smash. At least the soundtrack was crushing it.
14. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – You’ll Accomp’ny Me
YOU’LL xCCOMP’xY ME
“Chuck, I’d like to buy an A.” “There’s one A.” “What?!? Why?” [ugly buzzer sound] “Sorry, you already guessed Y, buddy. Sarah, would you like to solve the puzzle?”
13. Ambrosia – You’re The Only Woman
Peaking at #13, here is Ambrosia’s second Top 40 from the album One Eighty. It would be the last Top 40 for the band. Bassist Joe Puerta would join Bruce Hornsby’s Range in 1985 with great success.
Also here is a really awful cover of this song which will hit the Top 40 in 1990.
12. Barbra Streisand – Woman In Love
Popular record artists turning into producers was nothing new in 1980. But the disco backlash almost made it a neccasity. The Bee Gees were on top of the world in 1979, but were getting burned by the limelight heat so they moved into heavy songwriting and production mode. After years of working with brother Andy, they tackled other singers such as Babs who will have the biggest album of her career with Guilty. This song will be a #1 very soon, making it her 4th year in a row with a charttopper.
11. Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra – Xanadu
A place where nobody dared to go. That’s called the movie theatre wherever this was playing. Ba-dum-bum. Thankfully the music was entertatning as ELO & Liv pair up for another Top 10 hit,
10. Kenny Loggins – I’m Alright
This is the point in time when Kenny Loggins becomes Movie Kenny with this Caddyshack song on its way up to #7. I would love to see someone do a mash-up of this with Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk.
Fun fact: Eddie Money sings a line in this song. That’s him at :50.
9. Larry Graham – One In A Million You
OHW – The man who likes to add some bottom created a first-dance wedding song in 1980, originally written by soul singer Sam Dees. It would not hit one [#9] but would sell a million copies.
8. Irene Cara – Fame
Coco is trying to live forever with her sixth straight week in the Top 10 after peaking at #4 last week. But for God’s sake leave your shirt on, Coco. You don’t need to do that. Leave it on!
7. Eddie Rabbitt – Drivin’ My Life Away
If it’s 1980, then there must be some Country crossing over. Eddie’s LP Horizon yielded this, his first Top 10 hit steering its way up to #5, but there was another cut that would soon provide his biggest smash.
6. Paul Simon – Late In The Evening
Late In The Evening is at its zenith this week, featuring some awesome double drumstick drumming from Steve Gadd, who is also on song #12 and who played that famous opening lick on 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Coming from the One Trick Pony soundtrack, it’s one of the liveliest songs Paul had ever recorded to date. How does such joyous music come from such a sad sack like Simon?
5. Johnny Lee – Lookin’ For Love
OHW – Out of the six Top 40 singles from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack this one will be the biggest, reaching its peak this week. That said, this will forever be Wookin’ Po Nub because once Buckwheat sings a song, it’s eternally his.
4. George Benson – Give Me The Night
This song takes me back to those late nights of driving with my parents through Manhattan at midnight after NY Cosmos games. It was late. I was tired. But the city was still lit up and had a palpable energy that left me enthralled
3. Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
We had a pool table in our house and a neighborhood kid who was older than me would watch my brother and I occasionally. Halwaysys wanted to play pool, but he wasn’t very good. I remember him making a bet that if he missed a shot, he would bite the dust. He missed badly, and then we watched him eat dirt from one of our plants. I bet he’s a cop now.
2. Air Supply – All Out Of Love
Graham Russel Hitchcock is running out of breath unable to take over the #1 position. For as many hits as they will come to have in the US, this will be their only one in England.
1. Diana Ross – Upside Down (4 wks at #1)
Nile and ‘Nard were approached by Diana Ross to produce what would be her last album for Motown. [not sure anyone knew that yet.] Since their pop career with Chic was about to crash [not sure anyone knew that yet.] they approached this project with the seriousness and sensitivity of seasoned pros. Diana ended up dissing the final mix, so she had someone else mix it, bringing up her vocals to the front and turning down the funk. [this song was funkier?] It would be the biggest hit of her career – #1 Pop, Soul & Disco. You can watch Nile talk more about it here.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- PD – Previously Discussed
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
- STA – Second Time Around