And now the top half of the Top 40 from the week of December 13th, 1980.
20. Blondie – The Tide Is High
19. The Korgis – Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime
OHW – Sometimes, a song is so simple yet captures a certain feeling that makes it worth repeated listening. The Korgis were a quartet from London featuring two formers members of Stackridge. They had this leftfield Top 20 hit in late 1980, which is one spot form its high. The original single is nearly impossible to find because the band re-recorded the track when they released Dumb Waiters on CD, which is now out of print.
Fun fact: The Korgis recorded All I Want For Christmas Is You about ten years ago, so if you’re tired of Mariah’s version, here you go.
18. Diana Ross – It’s My Turn
Diana had been cultivating a disco following in the last few years but decided to throw a bone to her MOR fans with the title track to this 1980 film starring Jill Clayburgh & Michael Douglas. It’s on the way to the Top 5 and seemingly killed all the momentum for releasing any more singles from Diana.
17. Devo – Whip It
OHW – The men from Akron spent three weeks at #14 before spending another two at #17, which is where they are this week. I forget that this song was originally a hit in late 1980, which means its success was strictly from sales and airplay and hardly any video exposure. But once MTV came around in mid-81, they played this one like crazy. Speaking of which, this video is a giant WTF with ridiculous misogyny that just doesn’t fly or come off as funny as the band intended. And lady, why are you blaming the drummer Alan? It was Mark who was whipping that woman.
Fun fact: The whipping sound in the song was made on a Minimoog.
16. The Police – De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
If I’m feeling out of sorts, all it takes is some Police to get me back together. Sting’s simple song about the fact that word matter will make it to #10, back to back Top 10s for the group.
15. Christopher Cross – Never Be The Same
RAR – The third single from CC’s multi-Grammy-winning debut is stalling out at #15, though it would be his first #1 AC hit. Dig that horse gallop woodblock thing he’s rocking throughout.
14. Diana Ross – I’m Coming Out
No one plays guitar with more joy, soul, and warmth and can still be funky as hell than Nile Rodgers. Bernard Edwards is one of the melodic bass players ever, and Tony Thompson is a monster drummer. Put a diva like Diana Ross out front who possesses one of the purest and most effortless voices in music, and you can guarantee you’ll have a hit every time. It’s too bad this relationship between Chic and Diana soured for a while because I would love to have heard further collaborations between the two.
P. Diddy used the break in the song for his monster production of Biggie’s 1997 #1 Mo Money, Mo Problems.
13. Heart – Tell It Like It Is
Heart is about to rack up their first Top 10 in the 80s with a cover of Aaron Neville’s 1967 hit. It’s gonna get up to #8 in early 1981 and was tacked on to their Greatest Hits/ Live LP.
12. Daryl Hall & John Oates – You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling
This was the first cover that Hall & Oates recorded that made the Top 40, and it was their biggest hit since Rich Girl in early 1977. But there was much more to come this decade, and these brothers were about to get righteous.
11. Air Supply – Every Woman In The World
You’re every woman in the world to me? Every woman? What the hell does that mean? The best woman in the world, I get. Are you saying she’s just like everyone else, or are you saying she’s every single female in the world wrapped into one? That sounds a bit greedy if you ask me.
10. Pat Benatar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot
PFK – Pat puts her first Top 10 notch in her lipstick case with this pop-rocker, written by Eddie Schwartz. It will end up being one of her defining classics from her catalog.
9. Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb – Guilty
RAR – The second single from Guilty is one of two duets on the album and the only track written by all three Bee Gees. It will unashamedly climb to #3 and will be Barry’s first solo (kind of) entry into the Top 40. It will also win a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal – Duo or Group in 1981. The album was such a massive hit for Babs that it spawned a sequel in 2005 called Guilty Pleasures. Barry made the demo available to the public in 2006.
8. Barbra Streisand – Woman In Love
PD – One year into the 80s, and the Gibbs have yet to slow down. Even though they didn’t release an album this year, Barry and his brothers were responsible for five Top 40 hits, including this monster #1, which spent three weeks at the top and went to #1 in the UK. Don’t sleep on Babs. As long as she’s still with us, you never know what other great things she has yet to deliver.
7. Bruce Springsteen – Hungry Heart
Seven years after his debut, the next big thing in rock hits the Top 10. Harnessing all of the power of the E. Street Band into a pop song was difficult, but it paid off on his LP, The River, and one of his most triumphant records to date. It’s gonna eat up two more notches before settling in at #5.
6. Neil Diamond – Love On The Rocks
PFK – Originally titled Scotch On the Rocks, here’s the first single from The Jazz Singer soundtrack. The movie bombed out, but the album proved to be Neil’s biggest. This track is gonna roll it itself up to #2, kept off the mountain by John Lennon, the way it should be. This was also Neil’s biggest hit in South Africa going to #1 there, yet another reason to fight Apartheid.
5. Stevie Wonder – Master Blaster (Jammin’)
Stevie’s first album of the 80s, Hotter Than July, gave us this #5 track, a tribute to Bob Marley, which feels forgotten within his catalog. But damn, he’s had a lot of hits, so that’s gonna happen. Rather than do everything himself, he plays here with a full band, which allows for its live airy vibe.
4. John Lennon – (Just Like) Starting Over
I can’t tell how many times this song was played in our house that Christmas. It was to the point that I’d hear those three triangle hits, and I’d run and hide. This song was recorded only four months before he was shot, which would have been last week with respect to this chart, placing it at #6. We waited five years for new music from John, and when we finally did, it was over. It was already a big hit for him, but after his death, it will rocket up to #1 and stay there in tribute to him for five weeks.
3. Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
PD – Here’s the second #1 from Queen’s The Game, which owes as much to the songwriting prowess of bassist John Deacon as it does to the power of Bernard Edwards’ melodic bass lines. It also will hit #2 on the Soul charts as well as the Disco charts. Yes, had it not been for Stevie Wonder, Queen would have had a #1 R&B song.
2. Leo Sayer – More Than I Can Say
RAR – And had it not been for Kenny Rogers & John Lennon, Leo would have had his third #1 hit. Instead, this cover, originally written by Sonny Curtis & Jerry Allison of The Crickets, will spend a total of five weeks as a bridesmaid.
Fun fact: This song was played in early setlists by The Beatles.
1. Kenny Rogers – Lady (5 wks at #1)
RAR – Congratulations, Kenny. And congratulations, Lionel. This is the biggest for both of them to date. Even though Kenny would have more hits in the 80s, including another #1, it was songwriter Lionel Richie would have a lot bigger hits. He was still a Commodore at this point, but just barely. He had one more Lady song left to give them.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- PD – Previously Discussed
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- STA – Second Time Around