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