Are You Surprised At What You Find?

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The fifth chart week of the year during the 80s was crammed full of great singles that didn’t get the Casey Kasem vote of approval. Let’s review The Other Sixty from 1982 up to 1984.

February 6th, 1982

81. Doobie Brothers – Here To Love You

Warner Brothers was bogarting that Doobie, trying to get every last strain they could pull out of it. That is why they released the Best of the Doobies Vol. 2 in late 1981 and why they released yet another single from 1978’s Minute By Minute, which everyone already had as a single to promote it.

82. The Commodores – Why You Wanna Try Me?

Motown was squeezing the hell of the Commodores fruit, knowing full well that this enterprise wouldn’t be the same without Lionel. Though he would be building a new money printing machine for Hitsville USA in only seven short months. And still, after all of their crossover success, this funk jam should have placed higher than #66 on the Hot 100.

88. All Sports Band – Opposites Do Attract

I would love to know the rational thought process behind the concept of this band – five musicians dressed up as various athletes, such as a baseball player, boxer, football player, race car driver, and kung fu expert. This sounds like a Disney attraction gone terribly wrong. The music isn’t as bad as the idea, but this single will only reach #78.

89. Madleen Kane – You Can

The model turned singer trope has always been a well-worn idea for success. But it seemed especially fitting during the disco era. Madleen was a Swedish model who pursued a singing career in France and had several Disco hits during the late 70s and early 80s. She only crossed over once to the Pop charts with this #1 dance hit, which hit its climax at #77.

90. Petula Clark – Natural Love

And now we have a woman who turned her 40s & 50s acting career towards a calling in the music industry having several big hits during the British Invasion of the 60s. After not charting since the early 70s, she tried to get back in the game, recording some Countrified pop at the beginning of the 80s. This 45 garnered her one more Hot 100 entry but stalled out at #66.

95. Grover Washington, Jr. (with Grady Tate) – Be Mine (Tonight)

After the crossover triumph of Winelight, Grover quickly got to work on a follow-up, Come Morning. It featured two songs with lead vocals by jazz legend Grady Tate, whose voice you might recognize on this. It did not scale the same heights as Just The Two Of Us and only moved up three more notches before the night was over.

98. Molly Hatchet – Power Play

From their third LP, Take No Prisoners, here’s another single from the Southern rock of Jacksonville, FL, that will add to their legacy but not secure them a hit. Far from a real play of power, this will limp out after a #96 showing.

99. McGuffey Lane – Start It All Over

Here’s some country rock from Athens, Ohio, which was rapidly becoming unfashionable. The first single from their second LP, Aqua Blue, will inch up two notches and disappear.

February 5th, 1983

69. Melissa Manchester – Nice Girls 

M2 had the biggest hit of her career in 1982 with You Should Hear How She Talks About You. Arista thought it was a good time for a Greatest Hits collection, so they had her record a new single for compilation to promote it. It stalled at #42.

84. Rachel Sweet – Voo Doo

What Ohio lacks in professional sports championships, they more than make for in talented musicians. Here’s another one, who recorded her debut in 1978, a throwback to early 60s girl group music, when she was 16. Unfortunately, the pop world completely fell asleep on her career, only briefly waking up for a Rex Smith duet on a cover of Everlasting Love. This was the song that should have been a big hit for her, a moody midtempo New wave popper that only climbed to #72. Somehow the pin fell out of the doll.

But cry not for Rachel. She produced hit TV shows such as Dharma & Greg and the cult classic Sports Night as well as current shows such as Hot In Cleveland and The Goldbergs.

88. Billy Squier – She’s A Runner

This single answeres the age-old question: If an artist records a song that no one hears, does it even exist? At one point on the chart, this was preferred over 25 other songs, including Beat It, Rock The Casbah and You Got Lucky. That’s hard to believe.

89. Janet Jackson – Come Give Your Love To Me

Miss Jackson has her second Hot 100 entry from her debut which will have a zenith of #58. It’s also one of the very few times that she & Michael had singles on the chart at the same time. I’m sure everyone thought it was cute for lil Penny to sing a few songs. Anyone who thought that would get their ass kicked in three years. And almost to prove a point, Janet put this as the B-side to When I Think Of You.

February 4th, 1984

78. Big Country – Fields Of Fire

New Wave bands were starting to fill up the charts, thanks to constant MYV airings and the fact that they had lots of great songs. This one should have kept Big Country from one-hit-wonder status but would flame out #52. Maybe it sounded too close to this.

83. Rolling Stones – She Was Hot

The Undercover album pushed the band to the brink, and they needed several years apart before they could work together again. Only one single from the LP, Undercover of the Night, was a Top 40 hit. This would be the second release retaining more of the classic Stones sound but would cool at #44.

90. Mötley Crüe – Looks That Kill

Legends need to start somewhere, and so here is the Crüe’s first chart single, which will peak at #54. Enjoy the video filled with pentagrams, flaming torches, smoke, and women in cages, who looked like they walked off Scandal’s Warrior shoot.

92. Adam Ant – Strip

Another artist who had lots of excellent singles and plenty of MTV airtime, but couldn’t convert that to radio airplay. And only Adam could rock the puffy shirt and make it look good. This track will get naked at #42 before running away to put its clothes back on.

Fun fact: This single, as well as Puss N Boots, were produced by Phil Collins, who also played drums on each track. Frida from ABBA sings backing vocals.

93. American Comedy Network – Breaking Up Is Hard On You (a/k/a Don’t Take Ma Bell Away from Me)

The 80s were not known for as many bizarre singles as in previous decades, but here is one of the few. The American Comedy Network was a group of radio DJs that came together to create comedy material for radio syndication. If you are familiar with Bob River and any of his “twisted” crap, get ready to get your cringe on. This was the first song the network created, a timely piece about the deregulation of Bell Telephone set to the tune of Neil Sedaka’s Breaking Up Is Hard To Do. It’s probably the best thing that they did, and they were around for another twenty years.

95. ABC – That Was Then But This Is Now

ABC’s second album, Beauty Stab, was another collection of solid, sophisticated pop songs, but this time around, it did not connect with US audiences. It’s definitely worth a revisit though. This was the first single released and as simple as do-re-mi, it will peak at #89 and fall off the charts.

 

2 Replies to “Are You Surprised At What You Find?”

  1. One does wonder why Sweet never made much of a dent on the charts.

    Think I got the Crüe 45 as a gag gift for my 20th birthday. I did see the video back in the day–we laughed hard at it, but I guess the last laugh was on us.

    Like

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