Somewhere In The Crowd There’s You

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As we enter the thirteenth chart week of the year, we come across a lot of well-done Spring singles that just didn’t have the juice to break into the Top 40. Here’s The Other Sixty from 1980, 1981, and 1982.

March 29th, 1980

81. Styx – Borrowed Time

Dennis DeYoung wanted the ballad, First Time to be the follow-up to Babe. Tommy Shaw got pissed off and was ready to quit about it. So Why Me was single #2 and hit the Top 30. This was single #3, one they started their Cornerstone concerts with, but it only reached #63. Dennis would write Mr. Roboto in retaliation.

86. Dionne Warwick – After You

After You had the pleasure to be recorded by an aunt and niece combo, the aunt being Cissy “Whitney’s mom” Houston and Dionne. Neither had a hit with it on the Pop charts as this 45 had a #65 showing, but it made the Top 10 on the AC charts.

92. Nazareth – Holiday

The Scottish one-hit-wonder group finally gets another chart hit. From their eleventh album, Malice In Wonderland, produced by Skunk Baxter, this non-Bee Gees or Madonna rocker would go back to work after hitting #87.

April 4th, 1981

82. Dolly Parton – But You Know I Love You

Dolly was riding high with a #1 smash and a #1 movie. So why not push it with a sappy Country ballad to really see where your fans lie? Well, this one got as high as it could without reaching the Top 40 but became one of twelve Country #1s in the 80s alone. It was written by former First Edition member Mike Settle and produced by the King of TV themes, Mike Post.

84. Rupert Holmes – I Don’t Need You

That’s true. He doesn’t. The dude seems to have success in whatever he sets his mind out to do. And of course, he has a great sense of humor. He named one of his kids, Timothy, after all. [Dude, don’t go inside a mine with your dad.] It will be his last chart single when it apathetically hits #56.

88. Abba – Super Trouper

The enthusiasm of a Swedish pop band singing quirky phonetic ditties started to wear off in the States as the decade turned from the 70s to the 80s. They still remained huge around the world as this track will hit #1 in the UK, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Here it will only hit-pa-pa number #45-pa-pa. But don’t feel blue. Because somewhere in the crowd there’s Catherine Johnson. And P.J. Hogan. And Meryl Streep.

90. Shot In The Dark – Playing With Lightning

Ever wondered what Al Stewart would sound like if you rocked him a little more and took away his dreamlike imagery? Behold, it’s Shot In The Dark who backed up Al on the time passage from 1980 to 1981, stopping long enough to record their own album and take their shot. Their only charted single zapped to #71 before fizzling out.

Fun fact: SITD leader Peter White has had a long career as a smooth jazz guitarist and played on Basia’s debut, Time & Tide with his brother, Danny.

April 3rd, 1982

80. Gordon Lightfoot – Baby Step Back

How does a song this good by an established artist on a major label only make it #50? How did Pia Zadora climb over ol’ Gordo? I will never understand the arbitrary nature of the charts, except for my belief that it’s mostly fixed, like slot machines or the NBA.

82. War – You Got The Power

Here’s a great track by the East L.A. syndicate of Latin funk. Unfortunately, it’s a disco jam two years two late and actually sounds like something Gene Chandler was doing in 1979. Released from their LP, Outlaw, it will lose steam at #66.

83. Richard “Dimples” Fields – If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another

This barely-there single actually reached #1 on the Soul charts for three weeks, which means that everyone falls prey to a lack of reasoning. I completely missed writing anything about this song before I posted this blog because I didn’t even notice it. [Thanks Victorvector for the catch.] I’m assuming its #47 Pop high was due to its R&B success. Maybe we were distracted by the Falkland Islands War. Or a Spring blizzard in early April.

85. Waylon and Willie – Just To Satisfy You

You can’t go wrong with Jennings and Nelson. Although it’s not a barn burner on record, I betcha these two outlaws tore it up live. This will be their third #1 Country hit as a duo and will all the right buttons until its #52 climax.

86. T.G. Sheppard – Finally

Please don’t confuse this with the 1992 Ce Ce Peniston hit. I know you might, so here’s a guide to avoiding it. TG’s song is a Country ballad. Ce Ce’s is an uptempo house track. TG hit #1 on the Country chart. Ce Ce hit #1 on the Dance chart. TG will peak at #58 on the Hot 100. Ce Ce will make the Top 5. You’re welcome.

Fun fact: The songwriter of Finally, Gary Chapman, married his wife Amy Grant right after it hit #1.

87. Gamma – Right The First Time

It was hard to break through the rock scene in the 80s. You had to choose an allegiance – straight up macho heartland rock or New Wave image-driven rock. If you were somewhere in between, then you fell through the cracks like Gamma did. Led by guitarist Ronnie Montrose, the third letter of the Greek alphabet, their second chart single from the third album only rose to #77.

Fun fact: This song is co-written by Mitchell Froom, who’d go on to produce Crowded House, Suzanne Vega, and Paul McCartney and TV writer, Jerry Stahl, who wrote for Alf and thirtysomething before his memoir, Permanent Midnight was turned into a film starring Ben Stiller.

90. Al Jarreau – Teach Me Tonight

The jazz singer who made Milwaukee famous comes in with the third single from his Jay Graydon-produced LP, Breakin’ Away. It’s a Sammy Cahn-Gene DePaul classic that many singers such as Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, and Jo Stafford recorded in the 50s. The Decastro Sisters had the biggest Pop hit, #2 in 1955. Al’s lesson would end at #70.

 

We Gain A Fake Upper Hand

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Let’s finish out the twelfth charting week by reviewing The Other Sixty from 1986 up to 1989.

March 29th, 1986

87. David Bowie – Absolute Beginners

The mid-80s was David’s commercial period, and yet I’m surprised by some of the singles that did not become hits such as this one. Was it because the movie that the song was associated with bombed? It’s worth another watch just to see David, Sade and Ray Davies chilling together. It reached #2 in the UK but stalled at #53 here in the States.

96. Greg Kihn – Love And Rock And Roll

I’ve come to really appreciate Greg Kihn’s catalog over the year. But in the 80s, I feel like his albums were always in the cut out bin. I remember a record store actually had a sign above a box of discounted albums and called it, Discount Bihn, spelling on purpose. This was credited to Greg without his band but will only rock up four more spots before rolling off the charts as his last entry.

Fun fact: Even though he still plays currently, he started a second career as a horror fiction writer, publishing four books to date. That explains the Jeopardy video.

March 28th, 1987

86. Night Ranger – The Secret of My Success

At this point, Night Ranger was done with accruing Top 40 hits. They just didn’t know it yet. I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to have these folks do the title song to a Michael J. Fox (very) light comedy. Success very much remained a secret to them and that film. And it took me years to figure out what drummer Kelly Keaggy (Will Ferrell’s doppelganger) was saying in the chorus. He adds about twenty extra syllables to the phrase is how I’m living. He and Jack Blades sing las if they were in the film Saw and were both chained together. And let’s not forget the best part – they rip-offed Jermaine Stewart by inverting his na-na-na part in We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off at the end of this one.

91. Corey Hart – Dancin’ With My Mirror

We’re in the middle of a stereotypical 80s sound barrage, lots of reverb, drum machines, and overzealous vocals. And nothing says the 80s then dancing in front of your mirror. The third charting single from Fields Of Fire will only bop to #88 before passing out.

93. Pseudo Echo – Living In A Dream

Here’s a band from Down Under with a name that translates to fake repeat. You can apply that to their cover of Funkytown, which was a Top 10 hit. I purchased this album back then based on this single and one of those Polygram/Polydor/Mercury deals at Record World when they’d feature new artists for $4.99 on cassette. It was a hit one year earlier in Australia before hitting #57 in the States the following Spring.

95. Georgia Satellites – Battleship Chains

Here’s a breath of fresh air; some quality rock from Dan Baird and company. In the dance-pop soaked world of 1987, these guys were lucky enough to have one hit (Keep Your Hands To Yourself). It would have been a miracle if this was successful as well which explains its #86 showing. Hindu Love Gods (R.E.M. minus Stipe plus Zevon) recorded a version in 1990.

March 26th, 1988

90. The Alarm – Presence Of Love

The Alarm had so many good songs, but not one of them was a Top 40 hit. I think programmers saw them as a U2-ripoff. They weren’t. They were much more than that. Unfortunately, both charting singles from Eye of The Hurricane were members of the Other Sixty, this one with a #77 zenith.

93. World Class Wreckin Cru – Turn Off The Lights

Wanna know why this cheesy AF track wasn’t mentioned in the NWA biopic? Just take a listen. It is so painful. I remember hearing it back then, and I thought it was a parody. Dr. Dre and DJ Yella left after this and starting work on the first NWA album. The female vocals were by Michel’le, who would have several solo hits in the early 90s. This will rise up to #84, ten spots higher than the song below.

94. Robert Palmer – Sweet Lies

Here’s the title track to a film no one saw. I remember hearing this on Future Hits and immediately picking up the 45. I love the way Palmer cooly sang with a faint air of drama and mystery, never raising his voice but always in control. This single was released between the Riptide and Heavy Nova albums. It should have done a lot better than debuting at its peak.

March 25th, 1989

89. Chris Rea – Working On It

Eleven years after his only US Top 40, Fool (If You Think It’s Over), Rea is working on trying to get another one in the US. This single was from a compilation New Light Through Different Windows, which features the updated Fool as well as other re-recordings. He’ll get to #73 and then get fired.

Fun fact: Chris has 13 UK Top 40s over 20 years, including Fool, which only reached #30. I can’t figure why.

92. Peter Schilling – The Different Story (World Of Lust And Crime)

Since Peter was done stealing from David Bowie, he decided to move on to New Order. Ripping off True Faith, Peter phonetically sings us an alternative tale of lust and crime. That’s rich. It will hit #61 before an Auf Wiedersehen.

95. Escape Club – Walking Through Walls

This is what happens when the coke wears off. And it’s a rare UK band that charted here but not in their home country. #81 is the case that they gave them. Funny how escape rooms are now a thing.

 

Life Is A Short Trip

 

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We’re getting to the mid-80s, so Soul and getting crushed by the wheels of the music industry. Let’s collect the dust and review The Other Sixty from 1983 through 1985.

March 26th, 1983

72. Pointer Sisters – If You Want To Get Back Your Lady

The So Excited LP yielded to Top 40 hits in 1982, so a third single was released. Grammar aside, this is a pretty good boogie track from June, Anita, and Ruth. With June taking lead vocals and a synth solo from Greg Phillinganes, the reach for this tune will be only #67. The album also included the first cover of Prince’s I Feel 4 U, two years before Chaka tore it up.

79. Sammy Hagar – Never Give Up

Or maybe sometimes, it’s OK. But the red rocker never did and eventually became the lead singer of Van Halen. Who saw that coming in 1983? This single will indeed falter at #46.

82. Lou Rawls – Wind Beneath My Wings

Here’s a song that was covered many times since being written in 1982. Eventually, Bette Midler will hit #1 with it in 1989. Lou’s version is my favorite. You would think he’d wring it out for sobs like he was working a telethon. But this arrangement has a little bounce and is way less morose than Bette’s. His supper-club style flew it up to #65.

89. Tony Carey – I Won’t Be Home Tonight

The former late70s Rainbow keyboardist had been trying to get his solo career going for a while. His first chart single from his second album will rise to #69. But the co-owners of his record label, Rocshire, were arrested for embezzlement and insurance fraud, and the album’s masters were seized by the Federal Government.

March 24th, 1984

84. Golden Earring – When The Lady Smiles

Ten years after Radar Love, one of Holland’s biggest musical exports is still at it, charting in the States with their last entry. Buoyed by the success of their Top 10 smash, Twilight Zone in 1983, the band got a few more videos onto MTV. And even though this will become a Dutch #1, it will only turn that frown upside down at #76.

95. Bobby Womack & Patti LaBelle – Love Has Finally Come At Last

Bobby’s 1984 album, The Poet II, featured three duets with Patti Labelle, who people still only knew from Lady Marmalade. This ballad will reach #3 Soul but barely get out of the Hot 100 starting gate, peaking at #88. Patti’s next single New Attitude released at the end of this year will be her first solo Top 40.

March 23rd, 1985

77. Pointer Sisters – Baby Come And Get It

Break Out was the Pointer’s Thriller moment. Although it didn’t take over the world like MJ’s opus, it spawned six charting singles, four of them hitting the Top 10. This was the sixth, and it’s written by Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, and James Ingram. It just missed the Top 40 rising all the way up to #44.

84. Los Lobos – Will The Wolf Survive?

How Will The Wolf Survive is Los Lobos’ first full-length album, after releasing two EPs during the previous six years. It will kickstart an incredible career for the band, which continues to this day. That they could chart with something so unique to pop music in 1984 and stay true to their roots is a testament to their collective talent. It will howl up to #78 and inspire Waylon Jennings to cover it two years later.

88. Giuffria – Lonely In Love

This was your run-of-the-mill midtempo pop-rocker, and if you heard it, I doubt you could identify the band. Still, it rode the coattails of the group’s previous single, the Top 20 Call To Your Heart, which is why ended up as high as #57.

89. Dan Fogelberg – Go Down Easy

Dan moved into Newgrass territory with his release High Country Snows. This was the only track even close enough to his pop past to have a shot at the charts. Although it would only move up another four spots, it would hit at #56 on the Country charts.

90. Sheena Easton – Swear

Sheena was shooting for the moon on her LP, A Private Heaven with lots of great uptempo pop songs. This one borders the New Wave neighborhood as its a cover of Tim Scott’s classic, which was a Screamer of the Week at WLIR during the week of August 3rd, 1983. Sheena will cuss this one up to #80.

93. Donnie Iris – Injured In the Game Of Love

With the Cruisers in tow, Donnie plows through another album of power pop rockers produced by Wild Cherry pal, Mark Avsec. As solid as this LP is, radio wasn’t interested, and this single will go on the DL after a two notch rise.

95. Alphaville – Forever Young

This Greman synth trip never had a Top 40 hit in the US. But many folks embrace this song as a New Wave classic. For me, it was played at so many proms and bar mitzvahs in the 80s that its inclusion in Napolean Dynamite made perfect sense to me. Forever will end at #65.

Everything’s In Perfect Tense

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The early 80s were such an excellent time for popular music. Record companies were spending tons of money, signing bands and throwing everything against the wall to see what would stick. Thus, you get a mix of Southern Rock, Soul, Country, Power Pop, and Disco offerings in 1980 alone. Quite a contrast from the end of the decade. Let’s review The OthEr Sixty from the twelfth chart week from 1980 to 1982.

March 22nd, 1980

72. Korona – Let Me Be

After the third Starbuck release yielded nary a hit, leader Bruce Blackman said Screw You and formed a new band called Korona. He almost made the Top 40 with this ballad, but it decided to be at #43. Also, before you think that Bruce should have sued a certain Seattle coffee company, Starbucks existed three years before the band did.

79. The Bar-Kays – Today Is The Day

Here’s the funk band, The Bar-Kays, who were never able to duplicate the success of Shake Your Rump To The Funk on the Pop charts. They were probably just happy to be alive. They had a few chart singles such as this rare soul ballad from their LP, Injoy, their highest-charting album on the R&B survey. It will reach Top 30 soul and #60 on the Hot 100.

88. Mac Davis – It’s Hard To Be Humble

This was the closest Mac ever got to the 40 since his Top 20 hit Rock N Roll in 1975 (or his North Dallas football movie). It’s a cheeky, sarcastic take on being famous and successful and reached the Top 10 on the Country charts while peaking at the humbling #43.

90. Off Broadway USA – Stay In Time

Now for the Power Pop edition of the Other Sixty with a quintet from Chicago who should have had more success with this 45 than they did. It’s a great example of straight-ahead catchy pop-rock, but it lost its rhythm at #51.

92. Vaughan Mason and Crew – Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll (Part 1)

The Good Times rip-offs just keep on coming, although, in all fairness, it did beat Another One Bites The Dust to the charts. It will not have near the success that the Queen song will have later this year, but it remains a Roller Disco classic. It will fall on its ass at #81, as I did many times on skates.

March 28th, 1981

84. Michael Stanley Band – Lover

Outside of friends and family was anyone into this band? This is not a comment, more of a question. As one listens to this song, I don’t think there’s anything here that would clue someone in as to who this band was. I’m thinking a lot of promotion was required to even get it up to #68.

85. Heart – Unchained Melody

In late 1980, the Wilson sisters and company released a Greatest Hits/Live double album, a combination of some of their big hits, some live tracks, and a few newly recorded songs. Their version of Aaron Neville’s Tell It Like It Is reached the Top 10 in early 1981. The follow-up single was a cover of the eternal classic whose title is not mentioned in the song (It was initially written as the theme to a 1955 film, Unchained. Mystery solved.) Heart’s version was recorded during a 1980 performance at McNichols Arena in Denver, CO. It will move up two spots before getting ghosted.

87. Lenny LeBlanc – Somebody Send My Baby Home

Lenny was once one half of the death metal duo know as LeBlanc and Carr. Lots of folks in 1978 thrashed to their Top 20 smash, Falling. Unfortunately, all of that headbanging caused the partnership to end. Lenny then found Jesus but could never find the Top 40 again, and this track was sent packing at #55.

89. Delbert McClinton – Shotgun Rider

This blues singer-songwriter was already 40 years old when he garnered his first and only Top 40 triumph Giving It Up For Your Love, a #8 high. The second single from The Jealous Kind only made it to #70. Delbert has continued a long career to this day, including several #1 Blues albums.

90. Bill Medley – Don’t Know Much

Bill was a righteous brother. He had been continuing his solo career will singing with his Bobby Hatfield duo and was entering decade number three with a release called Sweet Thunder. From that album, Bill released this single originally written and recorded by Barry Mann in early 1980. It would be his first solo chart entry since 1968 but it will stall at #88. Several other folks will record it until 1989 when Linda Ronstadt and her duet partner, Aaron Neville take their version up to #2. Bill’s career will get going again after his Dirty Dancing duet with Jennifer Warnes hits #1 in early 1988. And then the Righteous Brothers will have a resurgence in 1990 after one of their songs gets re-released and makes the Top 20. You guessed it. Unchained Melody.

March 27th, 1982

78. The Cars – Since You’re Gone

I love that little tap intro and how its rhythm sucks you in before the band turns it on its head. The Cars were the kings of #41 peaks with three of them, including this one. I hate to include this one as The Other Sixty, but technically it is, even though it’s one of their classic songs. Ric really Dylans up those vocals almost to a comical point. But it all works.

82. O’Bryan – The Gigolo

Here’s another product from Soul Train Enterprises. Don Cornelius met O’Bryan (not this one), and via his new enterprise, Friendship Partners, he hooked him up with a contract at Capitol Records. This funk-rock jam that splits the middle between Shalamar and Prince will be his only chart record. It will solicit at #57 zenith while becoming a Top 5 Soul smash.

83. Duke Jupiter – I’ll Drink To You

Here’s another rock band that was popular regional, specifically upstate NY, but could never get the entire country on board, despite opening for lots of well-known artists such as David Bowie, Bob Seger, and ZZ Top. Their fifth album spawned their first and biggest Hot 100 entry, making a toast up to #58.

84. Shooting Star – Hollywood

Another band just like Duke Jupiter, but these folks were huge in the heartland, specifically Kansas City. Their second chart single from their second album, Hang On For Your Life should have easily opened up the door to stardom. But instead, the lights on this rock ballad went out at #70.

86. Carole King – One To One

This is where the chart story ends for legend Carole King. The title track to her 1982 LP on Atlantic Records will peak at #45. It features a guitar solo from Eric Johnson, some of his earliest session work. There was also an hour-long documentary with live band performances made at that time but available only on VHS, which someone has graciously uploaded to YouTube.

87. Pia Zadora – I’m In Love Again

Sometimes someone doesn’t make it because they are not very good. Pia tried many careers and didn’t get far with any of them. She tired a singing career in Country in the late 70s but that bombed. She had the most success as a Pop singer when The Clapping Song went to #36 with its annoying Taco effects. This was her first chart entry a year previous, and it will climb as high as #45?! And who said payola was dead. I dare you to listen to the whole song. She makes Charlene sound like Aretha.

 

Put Your Head Back In the Clouds

jcwLet’s finish out the eleventh chart week of the year with those (mostly) gems from The Other Sixty in 1987, 1988, and 1989.

March 21st, 1987

These three songs say as much about me then as it does today. I rocked all three of those in the Spring of 1987 and will gladly blast each of them today.

77. Beastie Boys – Brass Monkey

Fight For Your Right (To Party) was the big hit off of Licensed To Ill. Although it was a poor representation of this hip-hop classic, it gave us a hint on where they’d been and where they would be headed in the 90s. Their follow-up told you what they were bringing to the party. The bottle ran empty at #48, but every White frat boy in the world probably knows the lyrics by heart.

93. Julian Cope – World Shut Your Mouth

I loved this song so much, I tried singing it in the band I was in at the time. My enthusiasm did not make up for the lack of vocal strength I needed to sing it. So instead, we just play this loud out of whatever hand-me-down car we were driving at the time. The former leader of The Teardrop Explodes was in his most commercial period at the time with this album, Saint Julian and his next, My Nation Underground, being the closet thing he’d ever get to the mainstream. He’ll fly in the face of fashion until #84

94. Anita Baker – Same Ole Love (365 Days Of The Year)

If you need to mellow out and smile, put on some Anita Baker. Between her and Sade, they are responsible for lots of Millenial babies. This track has a slinky groove with some classy slap bass in the chorus, courtesy of “Ready” Freddie Washington. This song will make the Soul & AC Top 10 while just missing Caseyland at #44, and it makes me feel good all over when I hear it.

March 19th, 1988

82. Bananarama – Love In The First Degree

Yes, their sound seemed tailor-made for the Stock Aiken Waterman machine. It doesn’t mean they needed to join automated clowns. Because when they did, any edge they had was removed and replace with heaping loads of sugar. The song will go into insulin shock at #48, and the original trio will never be the same again.

90. Barry Manilow with Kid Creole & The Coconuts – Hey Mambo

Believe it or not, this is better than you think. Barry plays it like a Jewish Coati Mundi, and the duet is actually kinda fun. So that’s probably why his fans scoffed, and it debuts at its peak.

91. Big Pig – Breakaway

Here’s another band and single from Down Under, part of the Australian Invasion of the late 80s. Their sound was heavily percussed as they had at least 4 or 5 and up to 9 members playing different drum beats at once. Their only chart single is one you should play loudly, a 1973 Chuck Jackson cover of I Can’t Break Away that these folks totally tear up. It will only climb up to #60 but will be a Top 10 Dance hit.

March 18th, 1989

81. Robbie Nevil – Somebody Like You

Robbie gets his first charting swing and miss as his follow-up to Back On Holiday with flatline at #63. I’m not sure why, as it’s a pleasantly slick slice of upbeat pop. Guess programmers needed room for the next White Lion single instead.

87. Steve Winwood – Hearts On Fire

Steve’s trying milk his Roll With It with another single, his fourth. Alas, this will one flameout at #53. It was co-written with former Traffic member, Jim Capaldi. They should have chosen this instead.

91. Duran Duran – Do You Believe In Shame?

This was the third release from Big Thing and an early single release on CD. It can also be found on the soundtrack to the film Tequila Sunrise. It will only rise up to #72. A much better choice for a single from that album would have been this one.

92. Glenn Frey – Livin’ Right

Glenn cleaned up his act and started lifting weights, and he wants all of you to know that’s the only way to live. So enjoy this Hip to Be Square rip-off, and he shoves it down your throat. The workout ends at #90.

I can just imagine Glenn at a health club. What a treat he must have been. “Hey, man, where the hell are the towels? Put more towels in the locker room. Do you know who I am? I’ve been paying your salary for years, fuckhead.

Things Ain’t Always Smooth

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Soul and rock get the short shrift during the eleventh chart week of the year. Let’s find out why these ended up becoming The Other Sixty in 1984, 1985, and 1986.

March 17th, 1984

85. Mr. Mister – Hunters Of The Night

When the band Pages split in 1981, Richard Page & Steve George started a new venture together called Mr. Mister. Adding drummer Pat Mastelotto and guitarist Steve Farris, they aimed for a harder edge on the West Coast sound. Their first LP, I Wear The Face, spawned this single that will reach #57, Richard & Steve’s highest placing with either band thus far. They will have a lot more success with their follow-up, Welcome To The Real World.

87. Missing Persons – Give

I’m not sure why these New Wave Zappa disciples never had a Top 40 hit. But if Destination Unknown couldn’t gonna crack it, this single definitely wasn’t gonna do it either. While it’s a cool-sounding track, it doesn’t have the immediacy or catchiness of the previous song. Their last charting 45 will hit #67.

89. DeBarge – Love Me In A Special Way

If someone asks me to describe DeBarge to them, I do it in six words: Love. Me. In. A. Special. Way. (By the way, no has asked as of yet. But if they do…) This shows off El’s warm vocals and strong falsetto, as well as his piano skills. And when the band kicks in, they show how well they support and compliment his talent. It will rise up to #45 Pop and #11 Soul and features a sweet harmonica solo by labelmate, Stevie Wonder.

March 16th, 1985

89. Jesse Johnson’s Revue – Be Your Man

After three top-notch funk albums, The Time splintered off into many factions. Guitarist Jesse Johnson formed his Revue and charted his first single as Jungle Love finally fell out of the Top 40, and The Bird was flying up to meet it. Had he waited a few more months, he might not have had to compete with himself and settle for #61 showing.

95. Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly – Back In Stride

This was the first single I remember hearing from this Philly outfit, although I recall seeing their albums and posters in record stores for years. They never had a Top 40 hit, which means Pop radio missed out on these sweet grooves. It also established their Black Fabulous status for eternity. Don’t be a sucker, though. You can still get in on the party. 

This track will break its stride at #88, although it will be their sixth Top 10 Soul hit as well as their first #1.

March 22nd, 1986

85. Starpoint – Restless

There were many bands like Starpoint in the 80s, all competing for that spot on a pop playlist not taken by Prince or Michael Jackson. I don’t know why we didn’t give these bands more play. This one almost made it but crashed at #46. Ironically there are lots of current synth-pop groups trying to recreate that 80s vibe who sound an awful lot like soul and funk bands such as Starpoint.

89. Rene & Angela – Your Smile

Rene Moore and Angela Winbush formed their duo in 1979. By their fourth album, Street Called Desire, they finally broke through on the Soul charts with four Top 10 singles. This ballad was their second #1. On the Pop charts, that smile gets turned upside down at #62. This twosome would soon split and never work with each other again.

94. Jimmy Barnes – Working Class Man

This song sounds like such an 80s American anthem, you’d think it would have done well in the States. Instead, it is highly regarded in Australia to this day, where Jimmy is from. The former lead singer of Cold Chisel put out this tune written and produced by Journey’s Jonathan Cain to a loud unionized thud at #74. Getting featured in the 1986 movie, Gung Ho, didn’t seem to help it either.

Fun fact: Lacy J. Dalton released a twangy version later in the year that made the Country Top 40

95. Ozzy Osbourne – Shot In The Dark

The Blizzard of Oz took over MTV with this track, probably his most commercial to date. How many Camaro’s had this blasting out of their windows during the Spring of 86? Maybe not enough to get this shot to rise above a #68 posting.

The Touch Of A World That Is Older

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The eleventh chart week of The Other Sixty has some rockets and some bombs. Such was life in the early 80s.

March 15th, 1980 (The Love Trilogy)

84. Engelbert Humperdinck – Love’s Only Love

The man born Arnold Dorsey was attempting to dominate a new decade. But the babies born in the wake of After The Lovin’ ain’t gonna take care of themselves. So an #83 topper will be all this song will achieve.

89. Suzanne Fellini – Love On The Phone

This is some truly obscure New Wave rock, courtesy of Casablanca Records who, by the turn of the decade, was proving that they were the world’s worst run company. The budget for this record included recording, mastering, packaging and distribution, and not much else. That’s probably why most of us missed out on hearing it, and it over made it up two more notches before disappearing. Since it was never released digitally, your best bet is to search for the vinyl.

90. Debbie Jacobs – High On Your Love

Even though she’s more well-known for Don’t You Want My Love?, this slab of disco-funk was her only Hot 100 entry. It will get as high as #70 while becoming her only #1 on the Disco charts.

March 14th, 1981 (This One’s For The Ladies)

81. Rod Stewart – Somebody Special

Rod should not have sung this ballad. It’s a sweet and gentle affair, and his raspy vocals are like metal on a grinder. It will be forgotten after a #71 showing

89. Sister Sledge – All American Girls

This quartet of siblings spent the entire decade of the 70s trying to break through before doing so in 1979. Then the Disco Sucks campaign happened, and radio turned their backs on them, even as they continued to put out quality dance-pop. The title track to their 1981 Narada Michael Walden-produced album should have easily made the Top 40 rather than stiffing at #79.

90. Lani Hall – Where’s Your Angel?

Lani burst on the hip scene in the mid-60s as one of the lead vocalists of Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66. In the early 70s, she embarked on a solo career as well as a lifelong partnership with Herb Alpert. And yet even with many top-notch releases and that sweet hookup, this West Coast pop-infused 45 will be her only Hot 100 entry, topping out at #88.

Fun fact: The late Allee Willis co-wrote the last two discussed songs.

March 20th, 1982 (No Means No Collection)

90. Aurra – Make Up Your Mind

Aurra was an off-shoot from the band Slave, formed in 1979. They had their most significant pop success with this slice of soul boogie, which hit its zenith at #71. By 1986, the band changed its name to Déjà. We’ll talk about them in November.

92. Eddie Schwartz – Over The Line

I’m sorry, Smokey. It’s a league game. Next frame. This song enters a world of pain at #91.

96. Laura Branigan – All Night With Me

This was the first single released from Branigan’s debut album. Her manager was simultaneously trying to break her here and in Germany, thus this decision. It will only reach 69, dudes and never chart en Allemagne. Her second release, Gloria, will fare much better. Here’s the original, written and recorded in 1980 by Chris Montan.

March 19th, 1983 (The Anything Goes Early 80s)

71. Billy Joel – Goodnight Saigon

From one of Joel’s best albums, The Nylon Curtain, here is the third single released from it. Starting and ending with the spinning rotors on a Huey, it tells the non-judgemental tale of a Marine fighting in the Vietnam War from the soldier’s point of view, a story that was finally getting proprerly told and listened to empathetically. Its heavy content and seven-minute length kept it from getting any higher than #56.

81. Le Roux – Carrie’s Gone

This will be the last chart entry for the boys from Louisiana. Released from their 1983 album, So Fired Up, and written about Carol Burnett’s daughter, Carrie, this will find the lights at #79 before sliding back down. It would begin a nearly 20-year recording hiatus.

82. The Oak Ridge Boys – American Made

Nothing like a Country song to remind you that jingoism, racism, and sexism go hand in hand in hand. Damn these foreign cars and TVs. I need me one them there sexy US girls. Would it surprise you to learn that Miller used this song in one of their commercials? For someone who didn’t listen to Country music in the 80s, I heard this a lot for a #72 showing.

83. Jeffrey Osborne – Eenie Meenie

Another smooth soul groove by the former LTD drummer. Co-written by Michael “Maniac” Sembello, it also features a piano solo by George Duke. It will miney-mo up to #72

85. Patti Austin – Every Home Should Have One

Quincy Jones thought he could make jazz singer Patti Austin, a pop star. He just about succeeded when the re-release of Baby, Come To Me hit #1 in early 83. He remixed this Rod Temperton-penned track with Bob James on synths as a follow-up, but it only rose to #62 Pop and #55 Soul.

90. Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

Too weird for Top 40 radio and also way too cool. Leader Stan Ridgeway creates a New Wave classic that still made it to #58. And it great music to reverse your peephole to.

A Simple Man With Simple Words To Say

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R&B music had a hard time crossing over in the late 80s, So did many new artists in general. Both groups make up The Other Sixty from the tenth chart week between 1986 and 1989.

March 15th, 1986

89. Dionne Warwick – Whisper In the Dark

Dionne burned up most of her 80s cred on That’s What Friends Are For. We didn’t bother to give her a chance with the follow-up as our ears needed a cleansing. That also goes for Elton, Stevie & Gladys, who were all off radio and the Top 40 for over a year. This one will creep up to #72.

94. Feargal Sharkey – A Good Heart

Now that’s a kick-ass name, and it’s awesome for when you’re leading a punk band like the Undertones. When they broke up in 1983, FS embarked on a solo career and had an international hit with this single as it went #1 in Australia, Belgium, Ireland, and the UK. This mellow affair only floated to #74 in the States, where the appreciation of a good heart doesn’t happen often unless you’re Norman Shumway.

95. Dennis DeYoung – Call Me

Call you what? This song proves that the sum is always greater than the parts. And even then, it’s a crapshoot. It will record a #54 chart peak and a dentist office worthy #5 on the AC charts.

97. Wax – Right Between The Eyes

Now here’s a great pop-rocker that easily should have been a Top 40 smash, but ended up just missing at #43. Somehow it wasn’t even a hit in the UK who love their pop as much as they love their local. Wax is the teamwork of Andrew “Lonely Boy” Gold and Graham “I’m Not In 10cc Anymore” Gouldman. Andrew had recorded with 10cc on their 1981 LP, Ten Out of 10 and hooked up again with GG after that band’s last album in 1983

March 14th, 1987

95. Starpoint – He Wants My Body

Here’s the final chart single and final Soul Top 10 from this R&B sextet which was beginning to move into New Jack territory. So many artists were into that sound back then, so it’s hard to figure out who sang what. If it wasn’t a hit like this one, which will only snatch a #89 spot, then they are quickly forgotten.

96. Luther Vandross & Gregory Hines – There’s Nothing Better Than Love

In between this 1987 lust sandwich is a sweet duet by Luther and Gregory. And even though you can’t do the Ethiopean Shim-Sham to it, it still became a #1 Soul record while reaching #50 on the Hot 100. Both men passed away too soon in their mid-fifties.

98. Samantha Fox – Do Ya Do Ya (Wanna Please Me)

From the UK, where it’s fine to pose topless in newspapers as a sixteen-year-old, comes this little pop treasure. This #87 track is her follow-up to Touch Me (I Want Your Body), so if I’m sensing a pattern, I think her next single may be Hold On (I Made A Mistake).

March 12th, 1988

87. Roxanne – Play That Funky Music

I was in L.A. in early 1991, and a friend and I went down to the Whiskey A-Go-Go. It was like a scene from Wayne’s World, which was still a year away – long-haired girls in miniskirts and heels, long-haired guys in leather or ripped jeans – all of them keeping Aqua Net rolling in dough. This was the band that was playing that night, and all I could think was when will they pull this track out. They did. It was awful. I believe song recognition was the thing that got this track as high as #63. They released their second album thirty years later.

Fun fact: An even worse version of Play That Funky Music made the Top 10 almost three years later courtesy of Vanilla Ice.

89. Teena Marie – Ooh La La La

Here’s another Soul #1 ballad that barely crossed over to the Pop charts. Lady T does not fuck around. If she wants you to get up and dance, she’ll make you do it. But if she wants to lay you down, let it happen (consensually, of course). This will post at #85 and be her only #1 out of 15 Top 40 hits on the R&B charts.

92. The Tami Show – She’s Only 20

So she can vote but not drink. What’s the problem? We need young voters. This Chicago sextet led by the Massey sisters and named after a 1964 Soul concert film released this pop-rocker, which fizzled at #88. They would become a one-hit-wonder in 1991 when their song The Truth peaked at #28.

March 11th, 1989

89. Choirboys – Run To Paradise

Is it metal if it comes from Australia or is it pub rock? Let’s say hard rock and also that it doesn’t matter. This track, initially released down under in the Summer of 1987, finally washed ashore in the Spring of 1989. They’ll drive their fried-out Kombi up nine spots before they run, before they take cover.

95. Midge Ure – Dear God

After co-organizing Band Aid and then Live Aid, everything else must have been a let down for Midge or at least gave him pause to reflect on what he’d accomplished or had yet to. I believe that’s where the soul of the song comes. This debuts at its peak and that’s quite disappointing, but Midge was already on his next project – Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Tribute

 

It’s Only Customary To Give This Commentary

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It’s the middle of the 80s, so the Other Sixty has a glut of New Wave, classic rock, and a rare hip-hop sighting. Let’s check out what happened during the tenth chart week between 1983 and 1985.

March 12th, 1983

79. Gap Band – Outstanding

Aw c’mon. Now, this is a Sunday barbecue jam, son. How the hell did we let this languish down at #51? Guess it would have been asking too much for pop radio to add this, seeing that they finally let Prince in the door. By the time of its Hot 100 debut, it had already hit #1 on the Soul charts.

80. Heaven 17 – Let Me Go

MTV and the second British invasion opened the doors so wide that just about every New Wave act crossed the pond for a chance at stardom. Unfortunately, it’s hard to break them all at once, and some good songs and bands got left behind. Formed after breaking away from the Human League in 1980, Heaven 17 checks both of those boxes, and this single will let go after reaching #74.

83. Missing Persons – Walking In L.A.

Here’s a great example of an artist that did not rack up any Top 40 songs but still had what many consider hits. It’s entirely possible you’ve heard this or one of the other three charted singles from their album, Spring Session M. Even though it will only walk up to #70, it’s considering a New Wave classic.

86. Adam Ant – Desperate But Not Serious

Adam & the Ants released three albums before splitting in 1981. Adam released his debut solo LP, Friend or Foe, and immediately had success in the States with Goody Two Shoes. This follow-up didn’t keep the momentum going stalling out at #66. If he & the record execs wanted to be daring, they should have released as a single Crackpot History and the Right To Lie, the best song on that album.

90. Robbie Patton – Smiling Islands

Robbie got a gig opening up for Fleetwood Mac on their Tusk tour in 1979. After they were all up in each other’s business. Robbie co-wrote the Top 10 smash Hold Me from 1982’s Mirage. Christine McVie produced his second LP, Distant Shores with Lindsey Buckingham and Bob Weston playing guitar. And on his third album, Orders From Headquarters, we have this single which became surrounded by water at #52 and featured Stevie Nicks on backing vocals.

March 10th, 1984

80. David Bowie – Without You

Bowie was in the midst of his most significant period of mainstream success, but a few of those released 45s didn’t quite make it. In all fairness, this is the fourth single from Let’s Dance, and most folks already had the LP by now. This will only travel to #73, but it’s the only song on the Nile Rodgers-produced album to also feature Bernard Edwards and Tony Thomspon, the rhythm section of Chic, together.

88. Genesis – Illegal Alien

And now we get to the racist part of the program. I’m not sure what these guys were thinking when they recorded this, but people want to hate on Phil Collins, this is where they can focus their ire. Even though Mike Rutherford wrote the lyrics, Phil the Shill thought it would be a good idea to sing them in an offensive Mexican accent. And did they need the line about the guy offered his sister to bang whoever he needed to cross the border and get free handouts? Is that how immigration works in the UK? And if you think I am misinterpreting the song, the band made sure to reinforce their message with a video. This had a #44 showing, and I’m surprised it hasn’t reentered the charts.

I’m convinced Brexit happened because this existed.

89. Billy Rankin – Baby Come Back

Here’s a track I had never heard before. Billy was the guitarist for Nazareth (early 80s version) before releasing his first solo album in 1983, Growin’ Up Too Fast. The opening single topped out at #52.

95. Stacy Lattisaw & Johnny Gill – Perfect Combination

Stacy is only 17, and she’s putting out her sixth album, a collection of duets with fellow DC singer Johnny Gill. This Top 10 Soul single will peak at #75, and even though Stacy’s pop success is pretty much wrapped up by now, Johnny’s will soon be getting started.

March 9th, 1985

79. UTFO – Roxanne, Roxanne

My friends & I would bug over this song when this came out. Mind you, we were all suburban white kids, but we knew the future when we heard it. This got some airplay on Z100, but if you wanted to listen to it often, you had to listen to WBLS or buy the 12″. All of us would learn each word, cadence, rhythm, and flow. But when we’d break up into rappers, I always picked Dr. Ice. (He’s the one who did the 3rd verse.) The song made it into the R&B Top 10 while breakin’ it up to #77 Pop.

An entire industry was built around this song (The Roxanne Wars) up to a 2018 documentary about hip hop pioneer, Roxanne Shante. It’s on Netflix, and if you remember this song, it’s worth a watch.

Fun fact: The record samples the beginning drum intro to Billy Squier’s The Big Beat. I don’t know if it’s the first hip-hop record to use this, but it’s one of the most famous.

81. Barbra Streisand- Emotion

Even though she started the decade with one of her most successful albums, Babs couldn’t follow it up with anything else substantial. The music was of high quality and well-produced. It just kept missing the mark. Maybe it’s because her audience was getting older even as she was trying to skew young. Richard Perry was manning the boards on this one and brought the Pointer Sisters along to sing back up, but this mid-tempo pop tracks developed apathy at #79.

89. Triumph – Follow Your Heart

As they maintain the same lineup for the last ten years, this Canadian trio bangs their head on the door of the Hot 100 once again with no luck. The pop-rocker will move up only one notch before they politely exit the charts

90. The Tubes – Piece By Piece

This is a band that was not built for Top 40 success yet still managed two Top 40 hits. Because when they played the game, they did it better than most bands at the time. This will be their last charted single and will move up only three pieces. It’s from the album Love Bomb, produced by Todd Rundgren. The band will then go on an eleven-year hiatus.

Pretend A Stranger Is A Long Awaited Friend

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In the early 80s, The Other Sixty is usually full of West Coast pop, some Country or Southern rock, a little bit of Power pop, and disco/ soul. This list is particularly hard on 70s superstars, shutting them down hard. That means radio turned them away, and so most likely, we didn’t get a chance to weigh in. Let’s reevaluate those non-hits from the tenth chart week of the year from 1980 to 1982.

March 8th, 1980

82. Captain and Tennille – Love On A Shoestring

Their first chart hit went to #1. Their last Top 40 hit was a chart-topper as well. But now Daryl & Toni are getting kicked to the curb forever. The lace tip breaks off at #55 and makes Sammy Hagar jealous.

85. Dottie West – A Lesson In Leavin’

As Pee Wee Herman once said, “Put Dottie on!” West had been trying to cross over to the Pop charts ever since she became a Country star in the early 60s. She got close in 1973 with Country Sunshine, which peaked at #49. Seven years later, she had another Hot 100 entry and that should have broken her open in the mainstream. But her first Country #1 only made it to #73. In 1999, Jo Dee Messina would cover this and have a Top 30 hit.

86. England Dan and John Ford Coley – In It for Love

Singer-songwriter soft rock wasn’t entirely out of style in 1980, but I guess these guys were. After figuring out the answer in 1979 (spoiler: it’s love) they took the next year trying to figure out the question, which eventually did. “What does the radio & music industry not have for us?” This #75 peaker was ironically released from their Best Of collection.

89. Warren Zevon – A Certain Girl

Warren was obsessed with cool-sounding titles. He thought that was the key to songwriting. Great title, great song. That’s why he put out an album called Bad Luck Streak In High School, form which this poppy single comes from. In a cooler world, this is a much bigger hit than its #57 showing.

Fun fact: This song was written by Allen Toussaint and originally recorded by Ernie K. Doe, who took it to #71 in 1961.

90. Festival – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

Here is where Broadway and Euro-disco intersect. This song was written for the musical, Evita which debuted in London in 1978 by Tim rice & Andrew Lloyd-Webber. This single was released from a disco LP of Evita covers, and this trainwreck crashed its way up to #72

91. Jimmy Buffett – Survive

Buffet was done with Top 40 as soon as 1980 dawned as this track belies its title and dies at #77. That just gave Jimmy more time to perfect his brand and tequila.

97. Jackie DeShannon – I Don’t Need You Anymore

Here is Jackie’s last Hot 100 entry from the soundtrack to the film, Together? starring Jacqueline Bisset. Scored by Burt Bacharach and co-written with Paul Anka, this 45 will stiff at #86. But one year from now, Jackie will find herself on top of the charts courtesy of Kim Carnes.

March 14th, 1981

79. Barry Manilow – Lonely Together

This was Barry’s first charted single to miss the Top 40 since 1975’s Mandy. That’s 18 straight Top 40s. Guess there is an expiration date on maudlin ballads with multiple key changes. #45 will be its zenith.

81. Hawks – Right Away

Power Pop from the heartland – does it get any better than that? These guys received a record contract by just sending out their demo to various record companies. Columbia signed them based on those songs, and their debut was released in 1981. This 45 will only reach #63, which is ridiculous considering the competition at the time.

Fun fact: In 2007, they were inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

83. Rush – Limelight

By 1981’s Moving Pictures, Rush was now moving lots of albums and playing bigger arenas. This meant that it was time to start questioning stardom and its trappings, thus this single. Their fourth chart entry will shine up to #55 but will become a rock radio classic.

86. Garland Jeffreys – 96 Tears

Here’s a New York singer-songwriter who was plying his trade around the city since the mid-60s. He had a very prolific recording period during the late 70s/early 80s, releasing six albums during that time. Yet his only Hot 100 placing was a cover of ? & the Mysterians #1 smash from 1966. Guess what number it made it up to.

90. Tierra – Memories

Tierra was one the leaders of Chicano rock in the 70s, but it took until early 1981 to have success in the Top 40 with the Gamble & Huff tune, Together. This upbeat followup will bounce up to #62.

March 13th, 1982

80. A Taste Of Honey – I’ll Try Something New

Hazel Payne and Janice–Marie Johnson had new life breathed into their band when their cover of Sukiyaki made the Top #3, three years after winning a Grammy for Best New Artist. Someone (i.e., record execs) thought their new path should be 60s covers and suggested this Miracles tune. It almost worked but skimmed out at #41. They should have just released this banger first.

83. Glass Moon – On A Carousel

Here’s another cover of a 60s classic, initially a hit by the Hollies in 1967. Featuring a modern New Wavy arrangement from this Raleigh quartet’s second album, Growing In The Dark, it will be their only chart single, and the ride will end at #50.

Fun fact: Bassist Bobby Patterson would join the band for their third album. When Glassmoon (name change) broke up, he formed the funk band, Dag with Nantucket drummer Kenny Soule. Highly recommended.

88. Bryan Adams – Lonely Nights

Bryan was now two albums deep but had yet to have any success in the States. His first chart single from You Want It You Git It will be stranded at #84. He will never have a single chart this low again until 1995’s Rock Steady, which sunk at #73. Bryan

93. GQ – Sad Girl

It’s not a good sign when your drummer leaves, and you don’t replace him. When this disco quartet shrunk to a trio for album #3, the rock freak died along with it. This will be the band’s last Hot 100 entry as its upside-down smile peaks on its debut.

Fun fact: Bassist Keith “Sabu” Crier’s nephew is Keith Sweat.

96. Gene Cotton – If I Could Get You (Into My Life)

The 80s weren’t kind to Gene either, and this will be his last entry topping out at #76. But Gene refocused his career and created Kids On Stage in Nashville, whose mission is to provide world-class experiences in the visual, performing and technical arts that, through process, performance and production, empower students to be self-disciplined and lifelong learners. Gene is currently one of the artistic directors.

 

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