Crazy People In the Shadows


This list of The Other Sixty from the eighth chart week of the year has more boners than banners, but that’s what you get during the freestyle years of 1980 through 1983.

February 23rd, 1980

83. Jefferson Starship – Girl With The Hungry Eyes

I’m already creeped out by the title. Do I really need to hear Mickey Thomas sing about a hungry-eyed girl? Apparently, none of us did because this rocker only slid up to #55.

86. Crystal Gayle – It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye

Loretta Lynn’s sister is back with her shoe-length hair with a follow-up to 1979’s Top 20 smash, Half the Way. This will be Crystal’s seventh #1 on the Country chart but will wave adios at #63 on the Hot 100.

88. Rush – The Spirit Of Radio

When I think of Rush, this is the track I go to. It’s not my favorite of theirs, but by Permanent Waves, you could feel them become more radio-friendly, and it helped this single climb to #51. Those effortless switches of time signature and groove tell you all you need to know about what you’re gonna hear.

89. Starland Vocal Band – Loving You With My Eyes

Four years after Afternoon Delight reached #1, this domestic ABBA with limited talent and poor decision-making skills is still trying for a follow-up hit. This ain’t it. It will be their last chart hit crawling up to #71 just before the divorce papers were filed.

90. John Denver – Autograph

Here’s SVB’s accomplice who signed them to his Windsong label. And how far has John’s star fallen? He’s debuting below them. It’s been three years since John was in the Top 40, and this one will only take him to #52, although it will be a Top 20 AC hit.

95. Survivor – Somewhere In America

Survivor? Again? Are you fricking kidding me? It’s every week with these guys, having to write about one generic rock song after another that tanked. I’m beginning to think that Eye of the Tiger‘s success was part of an elaborate payola scam. Somehow this moved up twenty-five more spots.

February 28th, 1981

86. Badfinger – Hold On

Badfinger somehow picked up the pieces and reformed after Pete Ham’s suicide in 1975. They would release Airwaves in 1979 and Say No More in 1981. The band was never the same, but the music wasn’t that bad. This single will grasp onto #56 before it slips.

88. Melissa Manchester and Peabo Bryson – Lovers After All

Peabo’s still trying to crossover and thought he could get there with this duet, but all she & he could muster was a #54 placing. The ballad was written by Melissa along with Leon Ware

95. The Gap Band – Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

This is a monster jam. As soon as you hear those tires squeal, you better get on the floor. But in 1981, pop radio was too scared to play something this funky and unrelenting, which explains its #84 showing. It would be the Gap Band’s first #1 R&B hit.

February 27th, 1982

85. Sneaker – Don’t Let Me In

West Coast sextet Sneaker was coming off their first Top 40 hit, More Than Just The Two Of Us, when they decided to release this rare Donald Fagen/ Walter Becker tune, written during their songwriting days at ABC Records between 1968 – 1971. Producer and ol’ Steely Dan cohort Jeff Baxter, who also plays the guitar solo, unearthed this bluesy song from the vaults. It snuck up to #63 and was their last chart entry.

FYI – Their two albums aren’t available to stream, but they are highly polished L.A. pop-rock that I suggest you seek out.

87. Larry Carlton – Sleepwalk

Here’s a dude who guitar mastery you have undoubtedly heard in one form or another. He’s all over Steely Dan’s The Royal Scam, most of Joni Mitchell’s 70s albums and every Mike Post TV theme. But as a solo jazz artist, he only appeared once on the Hot 100 with a cover of Santo & Johnny’s Sleepwalk, which reached #74.

89. Fred Parris and the Five Satins – Memories Of Days Gone By (Medley)

So you’re asking yourself, what is a 50’s doo-wop group doing on the Hot 100 in the 80s? Two reasons – our brief infatuation with revitalizing pre-British Invasion artists and the sudden medley craze. This is why we have this 45, which will doobie-wah on up to #71.

February 26th, 1983

65. Dionne Warwick – Take The Short Way Home

The incognito Bee Gees stamp their sound into Dionne’s catalogue with the Heartbreaker album. This should have definitely been another hit. All the Gibb elements are there – whispery voices, funky groove with horns, a couple of time changes – but it will stall out at #41.

77. J. Geils Band – Land Of A Thousand Dances

The J. Geils band followed up their massively successful Freeze Frame LP with a Gold-certified live album from the Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI called Showtime. They’ve already a Top 40 hit with their concert version of I Do last year. As the second single they released this 60s classic that most know from the wicked Wilson Pickett. It will do the monkey up to #60 and will be the last chart single for the band with Peter Wolf on lead vocals.

83. Toni Basil – Shoppin’ From A To Z

It was always going to be hard to follow-up a hit like Mickey, mainly because no one thought it would be a smash, to begin with. Having a novelty song that lists different things you’re buying at a mall in alphabetical order isn’t gonna get the job done. This was lucky to even reach #77.

89. Gentle Persuasion – Please Mr. Postman

Now we have a trio of ladies who released an album in 1978 that went nowhere and subsequently released singles hoping one would hit. This was the best they could do – an out-of-step cover of the Marvelettes classic that will reach #82.

90. Yaz – Only You

Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode after one album and formed this synth duo with vocalist Alison Moyet. Both albums are filled with New Wave classic, but this one may be their most enduring. The world wasn’t ready for it in early 83, so it only climbed to #67. Alison would go on to a successful solo career as Vince formed another duo, Erasure, to cement his legendary status.


One Reply to “Crazy People In the Shadows”

  1. I discovered “Hold On” a couple of years ago–it’s no “No Matter What,” but yes, it’s much more than serviceable. And it has Tony Kaye on keyboards!

    Looks to me that you’re getting a break now from writing about Survivor until May?

    Liked by 1 person

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