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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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