It’s the late 80s, tighter charts, inflexible playlists, fewer chances to succeed. So these artists should be happy they even got an invite. Here’s the fourth chart week of The Other Sixty during 1987, 1988, and 1989.
January 31st, 1987
Springsteen originally wrote this song in 1977 for Elvis. Man, that would have been something to hear, had he not croaked on the pot. Instead, we got to hear Anita, Ruth & June Pointer deliver a slinky sensuous version, which they took into the Top 10 in early 1979. Although the Boss hadn’t recorded a studio take of this track, it had been in his band’s set list for many years. This live cut taken from his 1975/1985 Live box set was recorded at the Winterland in San Francisco on December 16th, 1978. (The Pointers had just entered the Top 40 with their cover.) Somehow this single flamed out at #46, breaking a streak of ten straight Top 40 hits, nine of which went Top 10.
Here’s a synth-rock quintet from Ottawa, Canada, who acquired some notoriety from one of their early singles Where’s Bula on MTV’s Basement video shows. Their debut EP got the attention of producer Rupert Hine, fresh off of some Howard Jones success. He used some of that HoJo mojo for their debut long play, Almacantar, and the record company plucked this moody midtempo track out for their first single. I think that with better promotion, this could have been a bigger hit, but the end result was a #72 zenith. I used to see this CD in the cutout bins, so I bought a copy and was very surprised at how good it sounds.
January 30th, 1988
As we progressed through the 80s, we pretended as if disco did not exist. Thankfully there were artists, mostly abroad, that began to remind us as the decade closed. Singer Jimmy Somerville and his new band, the Communards, had already remade Don’t Leave Me This Way, which was a minor Top 40 hit in 1987. He ups the house beats ante with this Jackson 5 remake but uses Gloria Gaynor’s version as the blueprint. I was happy to see this musical revival, and this would be a much bigger hit, but hit waved bye-bye after it reached #51.
Fun fact: The song was written by actor Clifton Davis, who at the time of this release was starring on the NBC sitcom, Amen. When Gloria’s version was in the Top 40, he was starring on That’s My Mama. Didn’t have much going on between those two shows though.
I think of R.E.M. as an 80s band, mostly because that’s when I was really into them. They would only have two Top 40 hits during that decade, and somehow, this wasn’t one them. But it’s gained so much traction over the decades, it’s probably more well known than Stand or The One I Love. [Add your own apocalyptic joke here.] It will peak at yin yang number of 69, but it will be a UK Top 40. They know what’s up.
Are you looking for some light synth-pop with a tinge of funk from Australia? From the guys that did this? No? Well, you’re in the majority as this single is debuting this week at its peak.
January 28th, 1989
The follow-up to Waiting For A Star To Fall sounds more sonically interesting, but it definitely less catchy. And what is with all of these dramatic faux blues guitar intros that seemed to pop up a lot in the last 80s, especially in movies? This will almost make the show but instead will top out at #49. In case you’re wondering, this husband and wife duo divorced, but it still currently working together.
Who else was putting out quality pop disco records in the late 80s? This may be one of the best things they’ve done, at the least, it’s one of my favorites of theirs. I prefer the 7+ minute version on their EP, Introspection, but this single edit keeps most of the best ingredients that make this record awesome. It will only peak at #84, but that’s more a testament of how pop radio was still averse to anything that had a disco sound. These guys are still doing and had a Top 10 Dance record as recently as last Fall.
This song sounds like a follow-up, a little slower and less immediate than their hit single Another Lover. It’s still a good pop song, even if its a bit overproduced and is so sweet it would give a diabetic the shakes. #58 was the highest that this record would reach as their last Hot 100 entry.