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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.