Amongst the over-processed dance tracks, there’s a handful of good songs that just failed to get on everyone’s radar. That’s why they are The Other Sixty. And from the ninth chart week of the year, let’s review the debuts who never got a Casey shout out from 1986 to 1989.
March 8th, 1986
Remember those award shows in the 80s, where Little Richard would start ranting about how the music industry has screwed for decades, and everyone would start laughing like it was a joke? Disgusting. It sort of plays like his appearance in Down & Out In Beverly Hills from which this song comes. I bought this 45 when it came out, so I hope he got my $.01. Probably didn’t. Co-written with Billy Preston, it will top out at #42
Joe was looking to keep the momentum going after his #1 hit with Jennifer Warnes in 1982, but could never find the right song. This recording should have done a lot better, even though it was a little out of step with Top 40 rock. Even so, a #91 peak is ridiculous.
Even though this band had a few hits in 1985, it started to become a revolving door of musicians. That’s why a good song like this piece of synth-pop has the vibe of a studio creation rather than artists trying to mature their sound. As such, the train derails at #76.
Fun fact: This song was written by Holly Knight and Bernie Taupin. Holly formed Device with singer Paul Engemann who will become Animotion’s new lead singer in 1989. Bernie will run back to Elton.
March 7th, 1987
Good to see that trashy disco was still alive in 1987, even if it was labeled as Hi-NRG, produced by Italians. It almost got the AT40 call, but stalled at #43.
I had a friend named Rod, straight-laced and nerdy, clean-cut, with dark-rimmed glasses. But he loved this song so much. He would belt out the chorus unironically with the biggest smile on his face. It would crack me up so much that I’d have him do it over and over again. I lost contact with him after high school and was sad to hear that he died young in his late 20s in a car accident. But just hearing this track put a smile on my face thinking of him.
We remember Graceland as an absolute classic. But the journey to that status was not immediate. This will be the third single released from the album to miss the Top 40 as this one peaks at #86. It took a re-release of You Can Call Me Al along with a funny Chevy Chase cameo to boost this one into the mainstream
97. Tia – Boy Toy
It’s one thing to be a Madonna clone. It’s another to be an Alisha clone and not a good one at that. This is so bad. I don’t know how it ever charted, but I know why it won’t move any further than where it debuts.
My ire at the above track is because of this one and its #99 peak. This single is far superior to Boy Toy and should have been given multiple chances to catch on with the public, especially given Hay’s pedigree. This is a guy who was leading Men At Work, one of the biggest bands in the world only four years ago, and he barely gets one solo chart entry? His debut is worth a revisit.
I saw him in the 2000s do a one-person show. Not only is he a great singer and songwriter, but he’s also a hilarious storyteller.
March 5th, 1988
Here is another one of those faceless bands singing another bland dance track that the UK was seemingly pumping out in the late 80s. I guess the coke/ecstasy combo was working in the clubs because this was a #1 dance hit for a month, while radio programmers enjoy weed and ludes resulting in a #66 showing.
I spent the Summer of 1987 digging on this album, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. Radio took a while to get around to its charms, and in early 88, Just Like Heaven peaked at #40. This is the band at their funky best and will burn its way up to #68. Even though they are two different songs, if you ever have the urge to play Buster Poindexter’s Hot Hot Hot, please stop and play this instead.
Three songs from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack went Top 10. This was the fourth release, and it only made it to #45. It’s better than the other three combined. Merry has had a long, varied career but never captured a Top 40 hit on her own. Watch the documentary 50 Feet From Stardom, and that will give you a glimpse at her amazing life.
Fun fact: Merry had a recurring role on Cagney & Lacey for one season.
Do you remember the radio program Joel Denver’s Future Hits? I would listen to that religiously every Sunday night in the mid to late 80s. Most of the time, they got it right. But every so often they would play songs like this, which, for example, would only peak #69. I’d run out and buy the 45, adding it to a custom mixtape of mine for repeated listening. I’m not sure how else I ever would have had the chance to hear it. Thank you, Joel!
Fun fact: This project was led by Marc Avsec, who co-founded Wild Cherry. He later joined Donnie Iris and co-wrote Ah! Leah! Donnie joined Mark for CON’s second album on which this single appeared.
March 4th, 1989
House and techno music was starting to leak out of the clubs and get radio airplay in the late 80s. But it would be another year before it would truly breakthrough into the Top 40. So, sweet jams like this would end up languishing at the bottom of the Hot 100, #73, to be exact. This was produced by one of the godfathers of techno, Kevin Saunderson.
We finish up with one of Carly’s last solo Hot 100 entries, and she sings it like her life is on the line. It’s the theme of the movie, Working Girl and even though the river dries up at #49, it will win a Grammy, Golden Globe, and an Oscar.
Fun Fact: The drummer on this song is Mickey Curry. He scheduled this one in between leaving the Hall & Oates touring band and joining the Cult. He’s also in this son’s video.