Things Ain’t Always Smooth

mbis

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.

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