Nothing I Wouldn’t Do, Including Doing Nothing

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Moving through the 80s during the fifth chart week of the year, here’s another mixed bag of The Other Sixty from 1985 through 1987.

February 2nd, 1985

82. Jermaine Stewart – The Word Is Out

One of Jermaine’s big breaks was as a touring dancer for the band Shalamar. While he was over in London, he met Culture Club drummer, Mikey Craig, who invited him to the Miss Me Blind recording sessions. Jermaine sang back-up on that track, which led o a debut album on Arista in 1984. This single, co-written with Craig will be Jermaine’s first Hot 100 entry, missing the Top 40 by a notch as it got stuck at #41.

87. Manhattan Transfer – Baby Come Back To Me (The Morse Code Of Love)

From the Transfer’s new album, Bop Doo Wopp, which was a mix of live and studio tracks, comes their last Hot 100 entry. It was a cover of a newly formed Capris single, recorded, and released in 1982. This will dit dit dot dot up four more notches before it goes silent.

95. Jermaine Jackson & Pia Zadora – When The Rain Begins To Fall

What’s the difference between Michale & Jermaine Jackson? Micheal recorded duets with Paul McCartney. Jermaine chose Pia Zadora. Nuff said.

February 8th, 1986

This crew of ’86 releases is a rather bland bunch, with a few good ones tossed in to keep it interesting. There’s a reason why they are The Other Sixty.

84. Phyllis Nelson – I Like You

Damn, this song was played a lot in New York over Christmas 1985. This #1 80s dance classic finally debuts nationally, but will only climb to #61.

Fun fact: Her son, Marc, was an original member of Boyz II Men.

88. Jennifer Holliday – No Frills Love

Here’s another #1 dance track that didn’t do much at pop radio. Personally, I find it a shame that no one could find good enough material to match her voice, and she was left coming off sounding like a Weather Girl alternate.

91. Jennifer Rush – The Power Of Love

Jennifer was an American singer who was getting nowhere over here. So she made a move to Germany, where they are hungry for any entertainment whatsoever. This single from her debut was released in the US a year ago and received no takers. But, it ended going to #1 in many other countries, including the UK, Canada, and Australia. After Air Supply recorded a cover which went to #68, it was re-released here, and this entry will rise to #57. Laura Branigan took her version to #26 in 1987, and then Celine Dion took it over and check thumped her way up to #1 in early 1994.

92. Sheena Easton – Jimmy Mack

Limp Martha & the Vandella’s cover which will fizzle at #65, sounds like it was made for $2.37. It made Prince sad. Sheena should’ve known better.

94. Five Star – Let Me Be the One

This five-person R&B outfit from the UK has some success on the Soul charts but could never rise above the Kasem line in the US. Their second single from their debut Luxury of Life will pip-pip up to #59.

95. Maurice White – I Need You

Leader of Earth Wind & Fire, Maurice White, recorded only one solo album, and while it’s hard to say anything bad about a masterful artist like him, this was not a good record. He deserved way better than this oatmeal lump of a ballad. He barely had any success at the R&B level either with this one. It’s at its peak this week.

97. Scritti Politti – Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)

I’m a huge Scritti fan. Even as they’ve changed styles over the years, I’ve stuck with them. But here is where it started, with the album, Cupid & Psyche 85. I found that heir glossy funk-pop had a deep soul to it that was unusual with synth recordings. They were able to bring typically cold sounds alive in a way I’d never heard before.

When this was released in the UK in early 1984, it became a Top 10 hit. In the US, this was the single they released as a follow-up after Perfect Way made it up to #11. I knew this was too good for pop radio, so I’m surprised at its #91 high. It didn’t stop me from continually calling to request it on Z100. One time I got through to a DJ, made my request, and answered with, “Wow, what a weird title. What’s a wood beez? Ha Ha Ha.” I knew right then it would never get played.

Fun fact: Lead singer/ songwriter Green Gartside came up with the hook each time i go to bed I pray like Aretha Franklin, in a sly reference to Aretha’s hit,  I Say A Little Prayer. Both songs were produced by Arif Mardin.

February 7th, 1987

84. The Pretenders – My Baby

See, this is how you write a love song, one that’s personal and universal, heartfelt without getting mushy. Chrissie Hynde is the real deal, folks. Her little ode to her daughter only made it up to #64, though. What the hell, people?

91. Rob Jungklas – Make It Mean Something

I once took a junk class. Actually, all my classes were junk class. And even though I hated to show up, I never thought to rob junk class. What would I do with the stuff I took anyway? Try to make it mean something? End scene.

92. Sheila E. – Hold Me

The lead single from Sheila’s third solo album is a rare ballad in her catalog. Pop radio got confused and didn’t add it, so it maxed out at #66, while it went to #3 Soul.

96. Freddie Jackson – Have You Ever Loved Somebody

FJ does his Freddie Jackson on yet another smooth ballad that he would take to #1 on Soul charts. Aptly it will reach its peak at #69.

 

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