It’s a lighter chart list, which is why I’m presenting The Other Sixty from the sixth chart week from 1980 through 1984.
February 9th, 1980
Before we even hit the greed decade, Bread was a punchline, a stale one at that. No amount of hot girls, fast cars, or satin jackets was gonna turn that around. David and the guys had a good run, a comeback, and a solo career all within the 70s. Take pride, dear David, that this had any energy to make it up to #46.
Willie is a legend. So any songs that failed to become Top 40 hits can’t be deemed as failures, just part of the story. At this point, he was starting his fourth decade in the music industry. This track from The Electric Horsemen soundtrack will peak at #44 and will be a #1 Country hit. Willie will light it up with another soundtrack hit later in the year.
Before he became a big R&B producer for legends such as Whitney & Aretha, Narada was just a singer, songwriter, drummer just to make it in the disco world. This is his second crossover chart hit from his third LP, Awakening, and will rise to #66. It will become a Top 10 Soul & Disco hit as well as #8 in the UK.
Like to rock? Maybe if you loved it, you’d have a few more hits. As such, this won’t go past #86 or #75 in your home country of Canada. And they have CanCon. Hope you like that.
February 14th, 1981
An ironic title, because this is where the wheels start coming off. The third single from One Step Closer will make its last stop at #62. And that’s where Michael McDonald gets off and transfers to another line.
The Spinners continued to ride out the disco medley until they ran it into the ground. Which is where we are today with this track that will only climb to #52. Can’t hold it against them because their catalog is so strong.
Joe Chemay is a bass player and singer who performed on 70s albums by Elton John, Leon Russell, and Pink Floyd. He recorded a one-off album under the Joe Chemay band called The Riper The Finer, featuring a robust collection of West Coast pop-rock, such as this single, which rides its deadly sin up to #68.
February 13th, 1982
Let’s pretend for a moment that no one making this record had any idea that they were offensive to Native Americans, which is difficult. There’s a reason why this song has been constantly covered and sampled. It’s just so damn funky. I don’t mean the Shadows’ original. Everyone uses the Incredible Bongo Band’s version as the template. The first hip-hop take on this classic will hit #53.
Kool and his NJ buddies had a boatload of hits in the 80s. While this was nont one of them, I prefer to hear it over most of the other stuff. It’s got a mellow pre=Staurday night feel to it, a tinge of jazz amidst the disco, a vibe of melancholy surrounding the promise of getting down. When I heard Super DB’s Kool Funk, I wondered if this was the song they were channeling. It will not rise any higher than its debut.
February 12th, 1983
In between The Cars’ albums, Shake It Up, and Heartbeat City comes Ric’s first solo album, Beatitude. This single didn’t stray too much from his band’s sound, which is why it was probably chosen. That said, it will drive up to and park at #47.
Here’s everyone’s favorite math teacher, Robert John. Dude, we do not need a new version of this song, especially with a sub-Paul Davis arrangement. Please go back to laying bricks. This was released on Motown, y’all!
Here’s a band the was started by two pairs of brothers in the early 70s and by the early 80s was a completely different outfit. They recorded this frenetic single in 1982, and it got them some notice in Los Angeles, enough to be included on the soundtrack to Valley Girl. This coke-addled New Wave rocker just missed the Top 40 peaking at #42.
February 11th, 1984
Could be, but it’s not. Would you like another glass of April Wine? Guess you know where this isn’t going. Anywhere higher than #58.
Cheryl’s trying to get back in the game, hooking up with Jimmy Jam & Terry LEis for her album, Preppie and this single, which will hit #1 on the Soul charts (the producers’ first), but only #69 Pop. It’s still an excellent midtempo jam, although I could do without the fake audience cheering at the end.
Here’s a soundtrack single from the movie Two Of A Kind. It has such a stereotypical 80s film vibe that you can imagine the fun frolicking neon montage that would accompany it. The special will be removed from the menu at #82.
This was back when Bette was still fun before all of those cloying ballads that she became famous for. Here she converts a five-year-old Stones hit into a trashy camp fest. I would expect this to go over well at a drag show, and that’s a compliment. This will flame out at #71.
BOC had moved far away from the cowbells of 76 and into dramatic 80s overproduction by the time of 1983’s The Revölution by Night. They were shedding band members and trying to stay relevant and every now and then would produce something unusual like this single whose lyrics were inspired by a Patti Smith poem. It will need a bigger boat as it will only reach #83 before it sinks.
95. Mink DeVille – Each Word’s a Beat of My Heart
Here’s a group that got lumped in with the punk bands of the 70s because they were a house band at CBGB’s, but they also mixed in a lot of 50s soul, Latin rock, and cabaret flair into their live act. By 1983’s Where Angels Fear to Tread, they had boiled a lot of these elements down to fit within a New Wave mold while still remaining true to their sound. It’s still puzzling to me why this single was not more popular as it topped out at #89.
Get out your breakdancing sheet of cardboard. Here’s some electro-funk from the folks that like to let it whip. Unfortunately this joystick will freeze up at #61.