As we move into the middle of the 80s, here is The Other Sixty from 1984 to 1986.
January 28th, 1984
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.