Learn To Ignore What the Photographer Saw

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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

80. Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band – Fire

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.

91. Eight Seconds – Kiss You (When It’s Dangerous)

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

68. The Communards – Never Can Say Goodbye

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.

83. R.E.M. – It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

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.

86. Wa Wa Nee – Stimulation

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

82. Boy Meets Girl – Bring Down The Moon

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.

92. Pet Shop Boys – Left To My Own Devices

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.

96. Giant Steps – Into You

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.

 

Yesterday’s Faded. Nothing Can Change It.

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As we move into the middle of the 80s, here is The Other Sixty from 1984 to 1986.

January 28th, 1984

87. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

What is this doing here, you might ask? Well, this is indeed a New Wave classic. You may venture to say this is an 80s classic. But after its debut this week and multiple airings on MTV, the song, which was named after a whiskey, will only scream its way up to #46.

88. Stray Cats – Look At That Cadillac

After four surprise rockabilly-inspired Top 40 hits in 1982 and 1983, this Long Island Rock and Roll Hall of Fame trio was sent to animal control, and their fifth charting single will only reach #58. Leader Brian Setzer would squeeze the fruit even harder in the 90s with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. His version of Jump Jive n Wail would hit #23 in Hot 100 Airplay and win a Grammy for Best Pop Performance in 1999.

89. B.E. Taylor Group – Vitamin L

In 1981, the West Virginia quintet split up. Three-fifths of the band moved to Pittsburgh, joining forces with songwriter Bill Taylor to form the B.E. Taylor Group. This was the first of two Hot 100 charting singles, reaching #66. Also, it’s a different song than the Vitamin L that Loretta Haggers performed on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

93. Jenny Burton – Remember What You Like

Jenny got her start singing lead on the post-disco dance track, One More Shot for a studio group led by John Robie called C-bank. She parlayed that into a solo career and this single was the first release from her Atlantic Records debut. The slice of electro-synthfunk will only reach #81, but will crack the Soul Top 30 and become a Top 10 dance hit.

94. John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band – Tender Years

This song has had a long journey, but it’s not over yet. In 1980, the Rhode Island band, known at the time as Beaver Brown, recorded a 45 called Wild Summer Nights. The original version of Tender Years was the B-side. When producer Kenny Vance approached the group to be the musical version of the fictional outfit, Eddie & the Cruisers, they brought this song out again and recorded a new version for the soundtrack. This is its first time on the Hot 100 and, during its initial go-round, will only hit #78. In early 1985, it will survive a better fate.

January 26th, 1985

74. Scandal Featuring Patty Smyth – Beat of A Heart

Poor little Scandal. They should have racked up three or at least two Top 40 hits from their Warrior LP. Alas, this will hit the Top 40 ceiling at #41, but not break through. Songs like this one will hold them down.

81. LRB – Playing To Win

When a winning formula works, some groups don’t want to mess with it, ridding it out for as long as they can. But sometimes when it stops working, bands panic and do dumb shit, for example, change their name. That’s your brand, guys. No one knows who LRB is. They only remember the Little River Band, the Australian guys that wrote and performed way better songs than this one. The game will be over by #60. It won’t be a hit down under either.

86. Kenny Rogers – Crazy

By the mid-80s, Country was shut out of the Pop world. Even a massive star like Kenny couldn’t buy a hit, even this treacly ballad which he co-wrote with Richard Marx. Must be why he decided to start slinging chicken and setting up phone sex hotlines.

88. John Waite – Restless Heart

Here’s the third charted single from John’s second solo LP, No Brakes. He wrote this one all by himself, so the royalty check would only be made out to one person. However, that $2.59 total would be due to its #59 top out.

February 1st, 1986

94. Sam Harris – I’d Do It All Again

If you remember Star Search, then you’ll remember this guy, the first overall champion who sang Over the Rainbow. Naturally, he was signed to a recording contract with Motown and had one minor Top 40 hit, Sugar Don’t Bite. The second time around will not be as successful as this peaks at #52. Sam will spend most of the 90s under the footlights performing musicals.

97. Peter Frampton – Lying

Premonition was Peter’s first album on Atlantic Records after spending his solo & Humble Pie career on A&M. Lying was his first chart record since 1979’s I Can’t Stand It No More. When it plateaus at #74, it will also be his last. Peter plays guitar and bass on this track, as well as a Yamaha CS-80.

98. Talk Talk – Life’s What You Make It

The fact that Mark Hollis and Talk Talk had only US Top 40 is totally on us. Even if their lack of continuous success spurred them on their new post-rock path with critically acclaimed albums such as Spirit Of Eden and Laughing Stock, this song still deserved a better fate than a #90 high. Start living your life without regret and make this song your mantra.

 

An Artist, A Pioneer

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Not everyone gets to hear Casey call their name on American Top 40. Those songs make up The Other Sixty. Let’s review the debuts that didn’t make it from the fourth chart week of January 1980 to 1983.

January 26th, 1980

86. Patrice Rushen – Haven’t You Heard?

Babyfingers crosses over to the Pop charts with her first entry, a jazzy disco number from her fifth album, Pizazz. It will reach the Top 10 on the Soul charts, but barely miss the Top 40 stopping at #42 while dreck like Wayne Newton’s Years got in. It will show up again as a sample in Zhane’s Top 20 hit from 1994, Groove Thang.

Fun fact: Patrice was the musical director of the Grammy Awards from 2004 to 2006.

88. Turley Richards – You Might Need Somebody 

Turley was celebrating his fourth decade of recording when he released this single, a career that was started singing rockabilly and had now moved into the WestCoast pop arena. He had lots of help from Fleetwood Mac members on his album Therfu, including drums by Mick Fleetwood and bass from Bob Welch. This will be his final Hot 100 entry when this #54 peaker slips off the charts. The song written by Tom Snow and Nan O’Byrne would have success a few times on the UK charts, first by Randy Crawford in 1981 [#11] and then, Shola Ama in 1997 [#4]

January 31st, 1981

83. The Association – Dreamer

This LA sextet famous for CherishWindy, and Along Comes Mary got a jump on 80s nostalgia by reforming with five of the original six members and recording a new single. This sleepy ballad didn’t have the same magic as those previous 60s smashes and will fall asleep at #66 while becoming a Top 20 AC hit.

85. Lakeside – Fantastic Voyage

Amazingly, a song this well-known did not make the Top 40 back in the day. Coming out of the Ohio funk scene of the 70s, they broke through with their fourth album and this monster jam, which went straight to the top of the Soul charts. It will be their only Hot 100 entry, and even though the single went Gold, the rise will stop at #55. Coolio will sample it record a hip hop remake of it in 1994 and take it to #3 Pop, #10 Soul.

92. Touch – Don’t You Know What Love Is?

In the 70s, there was a rock quartet from NY called American Tears. They released three albums on the Columbia label to very little fanfare. When they contract dissolved, three of them formed a new band called Touch. They had a tiny bit more luck as this single charted on the Hot 100 and made it up to #69. They were invited to play the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donnigan. Unfortunately, their second album went unreleased until 1998.

Fun fact: Singer Mark Mangold hooked up with an unknown songwriter named Michael Bolotin. Together they would write a song called I Found Someone, which Cher had a hit with it in 1988.

January 30th, 1982

83. Sammy Hagar – I’ll Fall In Love Again

Sammy had released six albums since leaving Montrose in the mid-70s. He had yet to grab a Top 40 hit, but he was getting closer. This one from Standing Hampton will get up to #43. It’s about as exciting as you would expect Mr. Cabo Wabo to be.

85. Conductor – Voice On The Radio

Here’s a band that was going after some of that Quaterflash cash. From a five-song EP comes this single written by Franne Golde & Peter McIan, a pretty good slice of forgotten pop. This DJ homage will hit static at #63.

88. Anne Murray – Another Sleepless Night

Anne was still having hits on the Country charts during the 80s, while pop radio decided not to return her calls. Thus this tender ballad will hit #4 down Nashville way but top out at #44 Pop.

94. The Time – Cool

Imagine being so gifted that you can write and record a career-defining double album like 1999 and still have an album full of funk jams to give away to some friends. Then, my friends, you would be Prince. But we know you’re not, cause there was no like him. Prince’s childhood friend, Morris Day and his band, The Time [amazing musicians themselves] crossed over to the Hot 100 with this white-hot 45, edited down from ten minutes to three. It only reached #90 while making the Soul Top 10, but damn, this stuff was too good for pop radio.

96. T.G. Sheppard – Only One You

After bragging about loving ’em all in 1981, TG decided to take it back and only love one woman. Bragging about being a lothario and then promising monogamy, these fake ass Country singers are perfect for an industry that marginalizes women. We all told TG to fuck off, to the tune of a #68 peak. Of course, it was his ninth Country #1.

January 29th, 1983

81. Chicago – What You’re Missing

With David Foster on board, he transformed the former horn rock powerhouse into a soft rock pop machine. When he tried to get them to rock out, it was with fairly comical results such as on this track from 16. Guess we thought so too, as this single would not climb any higher than its debut.

84. Neil Young – Little Thing Called Love

God bless Neil Young. He keeps on making music for himself and lets the people come to him. His experimentation with electronic sounds on Trans pissed off some of his hippie legions but screw them. Neil’s not here to make you happy. He’s not here to make himself happy. Somehow this track reached #71, and it became his last Hot 100 entry.

86. Donald Fagen – New Frontier

The man. This song holds a special place in my heart for many reasons. One, I watched this video tons of times, the pink and blue hues filling me with an undeserved nostalgia. It ended up becoming my back door entry into the world of Steely Dan. I was lucky enough to see them perform this live in 2013 to a confused crowd, though I was overjoyed. Second, I used this song to rock my daughter to sleep when she was one. I would sit her up on my knee and rest her body against mine, play this song, and tp my leg to the beat. She’d be out before the Rhodes and cowbell breakdown. This will be leapfrogged by Journey & Styx and never make it past #70.

89. Crosby, Stills & Nash – Too Much Love To Hide

Neil is up at #84, while the other three are here at #89. From the Daylight Again LP, here’s one of the few tracks to actually feature David Crosby. [No, he’s not singing on Southern Cross or Wasted On The Way.] Unlike the first two singles, this will not make the Top 40 stalling out at Bill & Ted’s favorite number.

 

 

Turning The Tide Around

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As we get to the late 80s, more often than not, my favorites are sitting in the middle and at the bottom rather than the top. So let’s review The Other Sixty from the third chart week in January from 1987 through 1989.

January 24th, 1987

82. A-Ha – Cry Wolf

A-ha’s debut follow-up, Scoundrel Days, was a big step in the band’s maturation process as far as production and songwriting. But it didn’t translate to much in terms of sales. This will be the only single from the album that will chart on the Hot 100 and will only peak at #50. They would never chart in the US again, but the band continues to this day. I played this album over and over during that Winter and I thought for sure that this would be a big hit after I’ve Been Losing You failed to make an impact. Then again, I surrounded myself with New Wave friends and endless hours of WLIR 92.7.

90. Howard Jones – All I Want

Speaking of which, this song became a Screamer of the Week, which were the best new songs that listeners voted for every week. On October 1st, 1986, it tied with She Brakes for Rainbows by the B-52s. [I would have voted for either or both.] It’s one of HoJo’s best ballads but somehow it didn’t connect with pop radio and fizzled out at #76.

91. Peter Cetera – Big Mistake

Is this Pete singing about his regret about leaving Chicago? Just kidding. Since he left those horny musicians, he’s never looked back, including skipping out on a RARHOF appearance during the band’s induction. The only thing he has done in the last 30+ years that remotely hints he was even in the group was to appear in the documentary, The Terry Kath Experience. If you haven’t seen it, do so now. [Ok yeah, there was this in 1997.]

The single will peak at #61.

92. Daryl Hall – Someone Like You

Here’s the third single from Daryl’s second solo album, Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine. A soulful (is there any other kind from Daryl) ballad which will peak at #57 next month. It will be the first charted single from Daryl or Hall & Oates to miss the Top 40 since 1978’s I Don’t Wanna Lose You.

93. David & David – Ain’t So Easy

I’m amazed that the Davids has any pop success. This is stuff is way too good to shove in between Bob Jovi and Glass Tiger. Their first single, Welcome To the Boomtown charted up at #37 while this one this hit #51. That feels like success to me, maybe not to them. They will both collaborate on Sheryl Crow’s 1994 debut Tuesday Night Music Club, both as songwriters on hits such as Strong Enough and All I Wanna Do.

95. Ron & The D.C. Crew – Ronnie’s Rapp

Even though Run DMC had cracked the Top 10 in 1986, the music industry still considered rap to be a fad. That’s why you get crap parodies like this one, which imagines Reagan as a fresh MC. This makes Disco Duck sound like Beethoven by comparison. Thankfully most of agreed, and it will thud at #93, just like most of Reagan’s policies.

January 23rd, 1988

78. Elisa Fiorillo – How Can I Forget You?

After winning Star Search in 1985 and guesting on Jellybean’s Top 20 single, Who Found Who? in 1987, Elisa released her debut album. This is the first single, a dance-pop number that will climb to #60.

80. The Cars – Coming Up You

The Cars couldn’t match the success of 1984’s Heartbeat City with their release Door To Door. But they still recorded some great tracks, such as this ballad sung by bassist Benjamin Orr. Unfortunately, it will stall and crash out at #74, just a Pinto. It will be their last charted hit on the Hot 100.

81. Great White – Save Your Love

Here’s the second single from Great White’s third LP, Once Bitten…, co-written by Jerry Lynn Williams, the man who wrote Delbert McClinton’s only Top 40 smash, Givin’ It Up For Your Love. This one has way less personality, and none of the likeability of the former track, but will somehow still swim up to #57

84. The California Raisins – I Heard It Through The Grapevine

What started out as an offhand remark by an ad executive to help promote raisins became a full-blown pop culture assault, including four albums and a few primetime TV specials and tons of merch. The first ad has four claymation raisins singing I Heard It Through The Grapevine. It was mildly amusing if you were five and a little racist. The lead vocals were provided by Buddy Miles, who does a good enough job, but the musical arrangements sound like leftovers from Chipmunk Rock. My cat could’ve programmed something more enjoyable on a Casio. Its debut is also its peak.

Fun fact: The raisin industry, for which the ads were created to help, ended up in much worse financial shape due to the cost of these productions. Also, millennials don’t eat raisins. Actually, no one older than nine eats raisins unless they’re forced to.

85. Carly Simon – All I Want Is You

Carly could have sat on her ass and been a debutante her whole life. Instead, she built a long career full of Top 40 success consisting of 13 Top 40 smashes. Sadly this is not one of them, peaking only at #54, although it was a Top 10 AC hit.

January 21st, 1989

66. Huey Lewis & The News – Give Me The Keys (And I’ll Drive You Crazy)

The ride came to a halt for Huey and the boys as this was their first charted single to miss the Top 40 since 1982’s Workin’ For A Livin’. That stretch lasted through thirteen Top 40 singles, eleven of them hitting the Top 10. I guess folks just Huey-lash, and that’s a shame because this is one of their better-sounding singles from the late 80s. They will get parked at #47 before driving back off the charts.

89. Marc Almond – Tears Run Rings

Within two years of Soft Cell’s massive worldwide smash, they broke up and left singer Mark Alomd pondering a solo career. Through the first three albums, he continued to have mild success in the UK. Then with his fourth, The Stars We Are, he crossed back over the pond and hit the Hot 100 once again with this 45, a track that owed more to house and disco than New Wave.  He will run those rings up to #67 before he spins back down.

94. Survivor – Across The Miles

These guys are still at it, but this limp ballad sounds like they have the eye of the panda. Even though this will make the Top 20 on the AC charts, it will only top out of #74 as their last Hot 100 entry. The band would rightly split up afterward.

98. Til Tuesday – (Believed You Were) Lucky

Aimee and company have their last Hot 100 entry before she embarks on a long, musically satisfying career which continues to this day. Co-written with Jules Shear, this single will inch three spots to its zenith before its luck runs out.

Dreaming Again Of Life Underground

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Let’s move to the middle of the decade to review The Other Sixty from the third week of January from 1984, 1985 & 1986.

January 21, 1984

84. Kim Carnes – You Make My Heart Beat Faster (And That’s All That Matters)

Kim really had trouble consistently getting back into the Top 40 after Bette Davis Eyes. [Betcha she wishes she wrote that one.] The first single from Cafe Racers peaked at #40, while the second one, an uptempo synth popper, will only get to #54. If you’re a Deadwood fan, check out who’s in the video.

88. The Deele – Body Talk

Born out of the Cincinnati ashes of the 70s group, Pure Essence, comes the Deele. With new singer Kenneth Edmonds in the fold, they released their debut album, Street Beat. This would be the third single released, and it would rise to #3 on the R&B charts crossing over to the Hot 100, where it posted a #77 finish. The band would eventually get a #10 hit in 1988 called Two Occasions. Oh yeah, and Kenny aka Babyface with the drummer L.A. Reid pretty much wrote every popular soul hit in the late 80s throughout the 90s

90. Toni Basil – Over My Head

Because of the success of Mickey, Toni got a chance to follow it up with another album. Unfortunately, she could not, but this proto-New Wave track is still worth a listen even if it only peaked #81. It will be her last Hot 100 entry.

Fun Fact: Toni was the choreographer for Tarantino’s latest film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Also, she continues to have a fantastic career, so look her up for more fun facts.

January 19th, 1985

75. Chaka Khan – This Is My Night

Chaka is coming off a big smash with her cover of Prince’s I Feel For You. The Arif Mardin-produced album of the same name had lots of potential hits on it, such as this one, written by Mic Murphy & David Frank of the System. But alas, it will only move up fifteen more spots before dying off.

82. Kim Wilde – Go For It

Kim broke through in the US charts in 1982 with Kids In America but found it tough to follow it up. This was her just second single to chart on the Hot 100, even though she had already posted six Top 40 hits in the UK. Released in England as The Second One, the U.S. 45 title was changed to Go For It, a more appropriate choice for us throat-stomping, ladder-climbers Capitalists. Either way, no one cared, and it stalled at #65.

85. Kim Carnes – Invitation To Dance

Here’s Kim again coming up short, this time with the title theme to the MGM Hollywood compilation film, That’s Dancing! which was a look back at the history of dance through motion pictures. So of course what better artist to do the theme? The song’s not bad, but couldn’t they found a more exciting dance-worthy number than this one which fizzled out at #68. Or did we really need to wait another thirty years to get this?

January 25th, 1986

83. Dan Seals – Bop

England Dan Seals told John Ford Coley to fuck off in 1980, so he could become a Country singer. Six years later, Dan had his first solo #1, which was in a string of nine straight on the Country charts. The song was written by Paul Davis, who by now had told his pop career to take a hike, so he could write hits in Nashville and become a pool player. It will barely miss the Top 40, peaking at #42.

Also, the song was co-written by a woman named Jennifer Kimball. It just so happens that is the same name as Jonatha Brooke’s partner in the Story, but contrary to the Interwebs, it’s not the same person.

89. Divinyls – Pleasure And Pain

I guess it would have been asking a lot of radio to play a song called Pleasure And Pain, so bravo to the ones that did. In five years, they’ll get the option to play their song I Touch Myself, which will be their only American Top 40. This 45, written by Mike Chapman And Holly Knight, from the second album, What A Life!, will only reach #76.

90. Oingo Boingo – Just Another Day

Here’s more progressive New Wave that got stick at the bottom of the charts from a band that started off as a street theatre troupe called the Mystics Knights of the Oingo Boingo in the early 70s. They even appeared on an episode of The Gong Show. When leader Danny Elfman refocused their efforts on music in 1979, they created a vast and eclectic catalog of experimental rock, which was a mix of punk, ska, soul, synthpop, and anything else they could throw in there. This will be their second and last Hot 100 hit topping out at #85.

Since the mid-80s, Danny has become one of the most prodigious and well-known film composers in Hollywood.

94. Meli’sa Morgan – Do Me Baby

Meli’sa got her start singing on disco singles in the late 70s. She was featured on High Fashion’s 1982 Top 40 Soul hit, Feeling Lucky Lately. Taking that as a cue, she pulled an S out of her name, put it on her chest, and started her solo career with this #1 Soul smash, a Prince cover initially released on his Controversy LP. It nabbed her a crossover to the Hot 100, but the single climaxed at #46.

96. David Pack – Prove Me Wrong

Ambrosia started off as a progressive pop band in the vein of Alan Parsons Project and became West Coast heroes with lead singer David Pack singing some of the smoothest tracks of the late 70s and early 80s. David’s solo career didn’t have any of those highs, but this track was pulled off of his first solo album, Anywhere You Go and placed on the White Nights soundtrack, eventually garnering a single release. It will only move one spot before Billboard tells David, “I told you so” and kicks him off the charts.

The Truth Behind The Lies

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I thought I was done with these 80s Top 40 countdowns. But we’re never done, are we? More than that, sitting on the couch hearing these songs in context brought me back to a particular place I tucked deep down somewhere somehow. I don’t know how, especially with my disdain for late 80s Pop radio, and I’m not a good enough writer to put it in words. But it hits enough of a sweet spot that I’m compelled to try.

So here’s the bottom of the Top 40 from January 14th, 1989. [Aside: This was the last week that Casey was in between shows as his Casey’s Top 40 would start next week. So Shadoe “Uff da” Stevens does the original honors here.]

40. Duran Duran – I Don’t Want Your Love

The further the band got away from Duranamania, the more I became a fan. By their 1988 album Big Thing, I was driven to see them live based on the album and this single, which has already peaked at #4. They were whittled down to just Simon, Nick, and John, and by 1990 and their next release Liberty, they wouldn’t hit the Top 40 at all. It’s one of my favorite albums of theirs.

39. Cheap Trick – Ghost Town

RAR – Finally, Cheap Trick had radio’s attention in the late 80s, and they had 4 Top hits between 1988 and 1990. This Diane Warren-penned ballad was the lowest placing of the four, spooking its way down from a #33 high.

38. Robbie Nevil – Back On Holiday

After a successful 1986/87 debut, Robbie’s back with the first single from his new LP, A Place Like This. I thought it was a better album, but the public did not agree with this 45 being the only hit, topping out at #34. Lenny Pickett plays the sax riff. Robbie had one more Top 40 hit in 1991 before going on Top 40 sabbatical.

37. New Kids On The Block – You Got It (The Right Stuff)

PD – This song is here to remind you that nothing’s perfect. In fact, it will always be rigged against you to suck.

36. When In Rome – The Promise

OHW – I caught you a delicious bass. Now let’s play some tetherball.

35. The Boys – Dial My Heart

THW – The Boys were four brothers who never scaled the heights of the Jackson 5, barely even the Sylvers. The first of their two Top 40 hits will hit #1 Soul and was written by Babyface, LA Reid, and Daryl Simmons, who also have songs by Sheena Easton & Karyn White on the charts. Their call will be answered at #13 before getting hung up on.

34. Breathe – How Can I Fall

RAR – Ladies, if you pour your heart out to a guy and you get “how can I fall when you just don’t give me reasons at all?” in response, kick him in the nuts.

33. U2 – Angel Of Harlem

And now for something completely different…here’s U2 in full R&B mode with the Memphis Horns and the Edge playing entire chords. With its references to Lady Day, Miles Davis & John Coltrane, and radio station WBLS, Bono pays homage to the jazz and R&B that he heard when he first visited the US. It is also not lost on me that the band member on their Harlem music tribute’s 45 sleeve is Adam Clayton.

32. Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians – What I Am

OHW – When this future Top 10 came out in late 1988, it sounded so good on the radio. Edie’s sweet voice cut through all the processed bullshit that was being churned out at that time. Sure it gets mocked for sounding like Popeye’s credo come to life, but it pre-dated all of the hippie-inspired 90s rock that has not held up as well as this does.

31. The Art Of Noise featuring Tom Jones – Kiss

THW – Tom Jones was still doing his Vegas in the 80s when the Art of Noise caught him one night and saw him do a version of Prince’s Kiss. Inspired by the thought of pairing with him, they recorded this cover for their upcoming Best Of collection, whose breakdown includes snippets of some of their 80s singles. I also dig that Steely Dan sample of Do It Again for the last verse. I wonder what Fagen and Becker thought when they heard that. It’s resting at its zenith this week.

30. Rick Astley – She Wants To Dance With Me

This will be Rick’s Fourth Top 10 single in a row. Will somebody stop this him? Maybe this guy can.

29. Will To Power – Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley

THW – I hate to use the word wreck when describing anything related to Skynyrd, but Jesus, this is a disaster. And it went to #1. The female vocals are an exercise on how white sing without soul and the male vocals are done by this guy. It’s as if the packed all of the remaining members of Skynyrd into a Convair C-240 and forced them to relive the night of October 20, 1977. Yeah, it’s that bad.

28. Information Society – Walking Away

We start our four-song alliteration set with the second big hit from Information Society’s debut featuring more Star Trek samples from Scotty and Captain Kirk. It will hit #9, and the band will only beam up one more Top 40 hit in 1992. The band missed out on a good collaboration package called the Wrath Of Chaka Khan – an album of Rufus covers.

27. Eddie Money – Walk On Water

After an almost stretch of trying to have consistent success, Eddie starting cranking out hit after hit. Nothing that bad, but nothing spectacular. they just existed, making Money money, with a life doomed to casino elevator speakers.

26. Maxi Priest – Wild World

RAR – After the surprise rise to UB40’s 1983 single Red Red Wine to #1, radio programmers were looking for another token reggae hit, something that sounds like the islands but glossy like candy. This is why we have Maxi Priest covering a Cat Stevens hit, a nice inoffensive dentist office jam, sitting at #26 after peaking last week one spot higher. Jah love!

25. Guns N Roses – Welcome To The Jungle

This is just a hunch, but I don’t think Axl Rose would make a good nurse.

24. Sheena Easton – The Lover In Me

PD – Sheena’s on the upswing with the second-biggest American hit of her career, a future #2, and the biggest during her Prince-corrupted-me period.

23. Samantha Fox – I Want To Have Some Fun

PFK – The song starts off “Don’t you know it’s hard to keep a good woman down?
But then again, maybe that could be fun.” Hooray for woman’s lib. Sam parlayed a topless model career as a sixteen-year-old (yes, you read that correctly) into three US Top 10 hits in the late 80s. Produced by Full Force, whose credits somehow only list busty female singers, it will top out at #8.

22. Tone Loc – Wild Thing

THW, PD – This will be the most successful single record by a hip-hop artist when Tone hits #2 next month. Biggest doesn’t always mean best.

21. Paula Abdul -Straight Up

PD – Paula is dancing up the charts with her first Top 40 hit and the beginning of three #1s in a row. That’ll make Aresnio smile.

20. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – Little Liar

Here’s a forgotten Top 20 gem from Joan Jett that she co-wrote with Desmond Child. I don’t remember radio playing it a lot back then, but I really dig it, and I’ll take this 100 times over the song the NFL ruined. It will be her eighth Top 40 hit (counting the Barbusters), moving up only one more notch.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around
  • SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake

 

 

 

Yesterday Seems Like So Long Ago

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We’re now into the third chart week of the year as we review The Other Sixty from 1980 to 1983.

January 19th, 1980

83. George Burns – I Wish I Was Eighteen Again

Since his appearance in 1975’s The Sunshine Boys and 1977’s Oh God, George Burns was hot again as he entered his eighties. He decided to tackle Country music next and released his first album, I Wish I Was Eighteen Again. The title track became a Top 20 Country hit and almost hit the Top 40, peaking at #49, all this, at age 84. The dude was alive before cars existed. If he got his musical wish, it would have been 1914, before TV, penicillin, and frozen food.

85. Sister Sledge – Got To Love Somebody

The Rodgers/Edwards production was fruitful on the Sledge’s We Are Family LP, capturing two big Top 10s in 1979. So they all decided to do it one more time with the Love Somebody Today album. However, in the wave of the Disco Sucks movement, they didn’t wasn’t much success on the Pop charts with these singles. This one will reach the Top 10 soul, but only #64 Pop. This is a top-notch long-play with the Chic machine running on all funky cylinders, one which I highly recommend if just for the tracks Reach Your Peak and Pretty Baby.

93. Dana Valery – I Don’t Want To Be Lonely

Dana had been releasing albums since 1962, but only singles since her last LP in 1975. This bland ballad will only get as high as #87, but the B-side was a version of Rainbow Connection, for whatever that’s worth.

January 24th, 1981

87. Glen Campbell – I Don’t Want To Know Your Name

Glen is dissing some lady hard here and radio didn’t take too kindly to that. This wouldn’t reach the Pop, Country or AC top 40, and it’s one of Glen’s last Hot 100 entries.

88. Doobie Brothers – Wynken, Bynken, And Nod

Here’s a single released from the Sesame Street record, In Harmony, a Grammy-winning children’s album produced by Lucy Simon & David Levine. They put out the Doobie’s contribution first as they were still red hot, but the 45 only made it to #76. Maybe they should have recorded this instead.

89. Charles Fox – Seasons

Film & TV composer Charles Fox had Top 40 success as a songwriter for such memorable themes from Laverne & ShirleyHappy Days and Angie. He also co-wrote Killing Him Softly With His Song, a #1 hit for Roberta Flack, and later a massive smash for The Fugees. So this snooze-inducing instrumental isn’t a great representation of what the man can do, but it is his only Hot 100 solo entry topping out at #75.

90. Suzi Quatro – Lipstick

Suzi is a one-hit-wonder in the US, which is ridiculous. In fact many only know her as Leather Tuscadero. It’s for a lack of Suzi trying. She’s recorded a ton of great singles including this rocker about discovering a cheating lover which will only rise to #51. This ChinniChap entry will be her last Hot 100 entry. Her latest album, No Control, released in 2019, is another winner in her catalog

January 23rd, 1982

78. Earth, Wind, and Fire – Wanna Be With You

I do not understand EWF’s lack of 80s hits. Were they unfairly lumped in under the Disco Suck banner? That wouldn’t explain the success of Let’s Groove, would it? And you could still hear those horns playing with Phil Collins, so it wasn’t the sound. The follow-up is a no-brainer smash that wasn’t reaching #51 Pop, but it will win a Best R&B Vocal Grammy.

81. Player – If Looks Could Kill

Player had three Top 40 hits in the late 70s and almost added a few more in the 80s when WestCoast music was peaking. This single from their fourth album, Spies Of Life, will climb to a #48 position. It will be their last Hot 100 entry.

84. Gidea Park – Seasons Of Gold

Another style of music that was (regrettably) popular in the early 80s was the disco medley. This was an eleven song Four Seasons medley sung by Adrian Baker, who had just finished a two-year tenure singing with the Beach Boys. It will only move two places higher before melting down, but it will be a Top 30 UK hit.

Here are the songs that comprise a season of gold: Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man, I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Working My Way Back To You, Dawn, Rag Doll, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?, Save It For Me, Let’s Hang On, and Who Loves You.

Fun fact: Adrian became a member of the Four Seasons for a full year in 1994.

85. Steve Miller Band – Circle Of Love

After his explosion of hits in the mid to late 70s, Steve captured them all on a Greatest Hits collection then took three more years before a new studio album. Circle Of Love had five songs and Heart Like A Wheel became a Top 40 hit in late 1981. It also features Macho City, which is a deep-cut that was spun in dance clubs. The second release was the title track, which will revolve around #55 before spinning back down the charts.

90. Irene Cara – Anyone Can See

Nothing really matters. Nothing really matters….to meeeeee. Is that where you were going with this? Eh, maybe not. This was the first single from Irene’s solo studio debut LP, produced by Ron Dante. No matter how much sugar he added, it will only skim the Top 40 with a zenith of #42.

January 22nd, 1983

73. Randy Newman w/ Paul Simon – The Blues

Taken from out of Randy’s best albums, Trouble In Paradise, the one with I Love L.A., here we have a duet of sorts with Paul Simon. Even in a world that’s not good enough for him to succeed, Randy was still able to take this up to #51. Someone should have played this for whoever was about to sign Jonny Lang to a recording contract.

86. John Hall Band – Love Me Again

More Westcoast rock, this time from a former member of Orleans and a future New York Congressional representative. From the LP, Searchparty, it will be his last Hot 100 entry after its fall from #64

88. The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men

One of the more well-known members of The Other Sixty, this post-disco track written by Paul Shaffer, will only reach #46. It will win an R&B Grammy in 1983 and be played in infamy at gay discos and bachelorette parties for years to come. Singer Martha Wash will sing lead vocals on many early 90s dance tracks such as Gonna Make You Sweat by C&C Music Factory only to be visually replaced by rail-thin models.

Fun Fact: The Weather Girls performed backing vocals for Sylvester on his Step II LP. They were known as Two Tons o’ Fun before changing their name in 1982.

90. Survivor – The Only One That Matters

Survivor was riding high on their newfound success due to the Eye of The Tiger. This was the last single released from that album and the last Hot 100 entry to feature lead singer Dave Bickler on vocals. That’s the most interesting thing I can say about this #74 dud.

 

 

The Lives of The Lonely

jb

Some legends are about to be born. Some are about to die hard. So let’s visit The Other Sixty from the second chart week of January from 1984 to 1989.

January 14th, 1984

84. Musical Youth – She’s Trouble

The band of kids that passed the cooking pot to the left has their second and last Hot 100 hit. They’ve also abandoned their pop-reggae sound for a more aggressive synth-pop beat. In the US, they were nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy, but that accolade did not help this single’s chart position. It will only rise to #65 and fare even worse in the UK, where it reached #87.

86. Donna Summer – Love Has a Mind Of Its Own

Donna’s thrid single from her She works Hard For The Money LP was this soulful ballad which featured vocals by Matthew Ward of the Christian trio, 2nd Chapter of Acts. It will testify its way up to #70, until someone smote its chart run with vengeance and furious anger.

89. Jackson Browne – For A Rocker

Since already did one for a dancer, it was time for JB to do one for a rocker. This is definitely is one of the most upbeat songs he ever wrote and recorded. Supposedly it was written in tribute to James Honeyman-Scott, who passed away in 1982. It will rock its way up to a near-miss of the Top 40, parking at #45.

90. U2 – I Will Follow (live)

The studio track from the band’s debut album, Boy, was released as a single in 1981 but failed to chart. After the release of U2’s live album, Under a Blood Red Sky, a live version was released as a single in late 1983. This will only reach #81 on the Hot 100 but remains a true classic by the Irish quartet.

January 12th, 1985

90. Eugene Wilde – Gotta Get You Home Tonight

It’s a quiet storm with Eugene Wilde, who’s looking to get some with this smooth ballad. This groove only got Eugene as far as #83 on the Pop charts, but it was a stone-cold killer on the Soul charts when it went to #1. Gregory Abbott borrowed the groove for his hit Shake You Down two years later when it rode up to #1.

95. Paul Hardcastle –  Rain Forest 

Jazzmaster Paul Hardcastle gets hit first Hot 100 entry with this b-boy classic. This melancholy instrumental will be playing out of a bunch of sensitive breakdancer’s boombox as they spin on a large piece of corregated cardboard. It will only rise to #57 but become a #2 Dance hit and Top 5 Soul smash.

Amazingly all ten Hot 100 debuts from the week of January 18th, 1986 reached the Top 40. Five of them went Top 10, one went to #1.

January 17th, 1987

84. Lionel Richie – Deep River Woman

For those who were shocked that Lionel was going Country with this collaboration with Alabama, you were not paying attention. Even after writing and producing big hits for Kenny Rogers, Lionel crossed over in 1984 with Stuck On You, a track that reached #24 on the Country charts. This one would do better, reaching the Top 10, even though it will drown at #71 Pop.

86. Sweet Sensation – Hooked On You

The Latin freestyle movement was about to explode in 1987. We’re only a few months away from Expose’s debut after two years of hearing them at the clubs. This Bronx trio got their start in 1985 singing for The Boogie Boys, and one of their members, Romeo JD, took them under his wing. He wrote their first single, which debuts this week. Even though it will only reach #64, it garnered them a contract with ATCO with much bigger success to come.

91. Nocera – Summertime, Summertime

This is not a cover of The Jamies 1958 hit, rather its more freestyle that will be played incessantly on New York pop radio without reaching a broader national audience.  Thus it will only move up another seven spots to #84 before fading into autumn.

All six songs that debuted on the Hot 100 during the week of January 16th, 1988, made the Top 40. All six made the Top 20, five of them went Top 10, two of them went to #1.

January 14th, 1989

97. Kiss – Let’s Put The X In Sex

Even for a band like Kiss, this is cringeworthy. I bet the guys who wrote this thought they came up with the cleverest track in the world, or that’s what the coke dealer told them. It debuts at its peak and only gets worse from here.

 

So Hard To Stay Together

rdew

Last week Rush drummer Neil Peart passed away from his years-long battle with brain cancer, effectively ending the group as we know it. Many tributes have been written about Neil’s drum prowess, his lyrical imagery, and the effect that he and the band’s catalog had on their youth of the 70s & 80s. This will not be one of them, and I mean that in no disrespect to Neil, Geddy or Alex, nor their family and friends. Not only will others do it better, I realized that his passing did not have the same impact on me as other musicians who have recently died because of one reason: Rush fans.

For my entire life, my experience with Rush was dealing with their obsessive intolerable fans. They kept me outside the party, unable to pass by the garden gate unless I admitted to them this simple statement – Rush is the best band, ever! Any of the (mostly) boys at my school (Who am I kidding? It was all boys.) who were disciples of this Canadian trio would endlessly ramble on about the guitar whiz Alex Lifeson or Geddy Lee, the guy who could play bass and synths at the same time while singing as if it were gospel. And of course, there was only one drummer – no argument, don’t question it – in the entire world living or dead forever and ever amen – Neil Peart.

These dudes were insufferable. There was no room for debate. They held up this credo for life –  It’s Rush. Everything else sucks. Disco sucks. Punk sucks. Rap sucks. New Wave sucks. They put up this barrier like they were in charge of guarding their legacy. And for you to join them, you had to disregard all other music. Because, in their eyes, if you were a true fan, no other music existed. That was my experience with Rish fans through school, but didn’t change much in adulthood.

And that’s not how I enjoy music. My favorites change from day to day. So I grew up with an unfair dislike for a group that probably was as nice and congenial as any Canadian you’d ever meet, exactly the opposite of every Rush fanatic I came across. They had a great sense of humor as well, as evidenced by Alex’s RARHOF acceptance speech in 2013. And I got older I gave albums such as Hemispheres and Subdivisions fair listens. But I just could not escape that Rush fan stigma, and it taints my enjoyment of their music. But although that was my experience, it’s my own problem to get over.

I’ve watched live Rush concerts and have witnessed Neil’s drumming with astonishment, how he could sit in the pocket, then quickly change time hitting everything in his kit during one measure, all with a beauty that sounds natural, perfectly in synch with his band. Although his influences on rock and current prog are immeasurable, I doubt we’ll ever see someone do it like Neil did.

As I digress, there was one song during their tenure that always stood out to me. It received considerable MTV airplay as well as on rock radio but did not make the Top 40, even as it possessed a catchy chrous and Neil’s story of a nuclear meltdown during a time of heightened political paranoia (Chernobyl was less than two years away.) Consider this the time I peaked into the party through a side window before I was chased away.

 

Leave Me In My Introspection

mpw

Let’s check out The Other 60 from the second week of January in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983.

January 12, 1980

81. Journey – Too Late 

Journey finally broke through to the pop charts in 1979 with a Top 20 hit, Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’ from their multi-platinum album Evolution. Now that they had unleashed Steve Perry on the world, the band tried to capitalize on it with another single from said album. Unfortunately, it lived up to its title and only moved forward another eleven notches. It would take three more albums before they reached the next level.

84. Aerosmith – Remember (Walking In the Sand)

These guys were an absolute mess by 1980, truly living each day like a night in the ruts. Steven Tyler was a crackhead. Guitarist Joe Perry left the band before their 1979 LP was finished and released. The group owed Columbia Records a lot of money. They released as the first single, a cover of a Shangri-Las hit, that was just as much of a disaster as the band was. It will somehow reach #67 and, in a lovely tribute, features Mary Weiss, the original lead singer of the Shangri=Las on backing vocals.

93. Cindy Bullens – Trust Me

Cidny Bullens had a long career singing back-up for other singers such as Rod Stewart (Atlantic Crossing) and Gene Clark (No Other). Bullens also sings as a sex-o-lette on Disco Tex’s Get Dancin’. But if you were like me you remember Cidny’s name from the Grease soundtrack, on which he sang three songs: Freddy My LoveMooning and It’s Raining On Prom Night. [Hope those royalty checks are still coming in.]

Cidny also released two excellent solo albums at the end of the 70s. The second one, Steal The Night, yielded this moody rocker which would only hit #90, but also feature the track Survivor, a 1980 nominee for Best Female Rock Performance.

96. Breathless – Takin’ It Back

Now here’s some great midwestern rock formed by the founder of the Michael Stanley Band, Jonah Koslen. He left that band in 1977 and put together this outfit, which featured former Wild Cherry keyboardist Mark Avsec. This one should have been a way bigger hit, but as it was, it topped out at #92. Give me this 100 times over something like Blackfoot’s Train, Train, which was currently in the Top 40 when this debuted.

January 10, 1981

86. Sky – Toccata

It’s not often that a songwriter that has been dead two years can write a Hot 100 hit. This was the case with the group Sky, who performed prog-rock style versions of classical compositions and turned JS Bach’s Toccata and Fugue In D Minor into a Top 5 hit in the UK. Over here, it would only hit #83, but that’s still impressive for a classical prog instrumental.

88. Peter Allen – Fly Away

Awww yeah. Here’s something smooth from the boy from Oz, who was now wading in the Westcoast waters. Produced by David Foster, this would be his only Hot 100 entry touching down at #55 before sailing off again. Peter would have better luck writing hits for Pablo Cruise and Melissa Manchester.

He also got a co-wrote credit on Christopher Cross’ Arthur’s Theme, as he came up with the line ‘when you get caught between the moon and New York City‘ while his plane was landing at JFK for the end of its fly away.

January 16, 1982

79. Placido Domingo and John Denver – Perhaps Love

Johnny D couldn’t buy himself a hit in the 80s even when he hooked up with opera star Placido Domingo for this #59 sap-fest. If anything, it probably raised Placido’s profile more than Johnny’s.

81. AC/DC – Let’s Get It Up

It’s amazing to me that this band has only had three Top 40 hits over their entire career, with two of them coming from 1980’s Back In Black. I’m also surprised by the fact that some of the more well-known tracks never charted on the Hot 100, but lesser ones like this single did. This just missed the Top 40 peaking at #44 while songs like Working For the Weekend by Loverboy stuck their tongues out at them from #29.

January 15, 1983

83. Don Henley – I Can’t Stand Still

Now we have the title track to Don’s solo debut as the third single released from it. He wanted so badly to beat Glenn Frey that he heavily focused on his vocals and songwriting, leaving the drum parts to session musicians for most of the album. It meandered its way up to #48 and is largely forgotten by many except the diehard Henley-ites.

83. Missing Persons – Windows

This is the third single released from Spring Session M, and just like the other two, it will miss the Top 40, peaking at #63. They would still gain a New Wave cult following and inspire current artists such as Lady Gaga.

Fun story: Missing Persons’ debut EP was produced by Ken Scott, who had come to LA. in the mid-70s, moving into a house across from Frank Zappa. Eventually, Frank or his wife Gail passed a demo to Ken from one of Frank’s former bandmates, Terry Bozzio and Warren Cuccurullo. He helped get the band a record deal and also became their manager. Location, location, location.

90. Betcha She Don’t Love You – Evelyn King

The follow-up to Love Come Down from the LP, Get Loose is charting low this week but will rise to #49. Another great midtempo Soul jam, written by Kashif, it will reach #2 on the R&B charts.

 

 

 

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