Let’s move into the middle of the decade and check out which songs pushed through the Christmas hangover to debut on the Hot 100 during the first chart week of 1984, 1985 & 1986 only to become The Other Sixty.
January 7th, 1984
Con Funk Shun was a two-hit-wonder, first with Ffun in 1977 and then, Too Tight in 1981. This funk ballad with by another Top 5 R&B hit, but will only rise to #76 on the Pop charts. Songwriter & vocalist Felton Pilate will leave the band after the next album and make crazy bank collaborating with MC Hammer in the early 90s.
Here’s another laidback jam courtesy of electro funkateer, James D-Train Williams, who never had a Top 40 hit but had lots of R&B and dance hits. This would be his most popular Soul smash going up to #5 while it was his only Hot 100 entry, which will come to a #79 stop. I’m partial to his earlier dance floor classics such as Keep On and You’re The One For Me.
After Labelle split up in late 1976, Patti embarked on a solo career, which went through many record labels, including a three-album tour at Philadelphia International. The second LP, I’m In Love Again, spawned this Soul classic, which shot to #1. It was also her first Hot 100 entry, which peaked at #46.
You may be noticing a trend wherein Soul acts had a harder time breaking through to the Pop charts in the mid-80s. These were the days of reverse crossover wherein Sting, Wham!, and Paul Young could make it on the R&B charts. Evelyn was an established star during the disco era, which may be the stigma that kept her off of Pop radio in 1984. She put the champagne away and still reached #75 while this became a #13 Soul hit.
January 5th, 1985
I remember it being a big deal that Deep Purple got back together in 1984 with what was called the Mark II lineup. The album, Perfect Strangers went platinum. They had one of the most successful tours this year. But outside of rock radio, many folks did not hear this single which got up to #61.
If you think the lip-sync saga of Milli Vanilli was an isolated incident, think again. Here’s a one-hit-wonder in name only as Nolan did not record the vocals on this freestyle dance track. Elan Lanier recorded them. No one cared as this only topped out #57. Also you may need special glasses to watch the video. And no, that’s not Ben Stiller.
This hip hop classic from old school rappers, Whodini was their only Hot 100 entry, so you only knew this if you were already into rap or hang out on basketball courts where the giant boom boxes were or had a break-dancing crew. The LP, Escape, is def top to bottom. Amazingly this single cracked the Top 5 on the Soul charts. This would climb as high as #87 on the Hot 100.
January 11th, 1986
Yeah, Evelyn brings the champagne back but unfortunately, her Pop career was on ice by 86, which is also the highest number she’d get to on the Hot 100. That’s a shame because this mid-tempo track was better than a lot of the other dance-pop that was on the radio at the time. And I can’t tell you how many newer current artists have tried to recreate this sound.
92. Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew – The Superbowl Shuffle
In 1986, no one (white people) took rap seriously, so we ended up having lots of rap parodies and crap like this. This was also the last time anyone took the Chicago Bears seriously. Jim McMahon sounds like a coked-out bro, but Willie Gault has a smooth flow. This just missed being a Top 40 hit, peaking at #41.
Fun fact: The Bears were not the first football team to record a single as the Frisco 49ers recorded We Are The 49ers in 1984. The song did not chart, but the team won the Super Bowl.