A Stranglehold On A Certain Feeling


We’re reviewing the mid-80s, 1983-86, to be exact, which is why we see more New Wave and songs with a synthy vibe. Hip hop makes an appearance and some proto hair rock which will rule the last years of the decade. What else does the fourteenth chart week bring?

April 9, 1983

75. Night Ranger – Sing Me Away

This was their follow-up to the group’s first Top 40 hit, Don’t Tell Me You Love Me. The midtempo rocker was sung by drummer, Kelly Keaggy, and will be sung away at #54.

77. Walter Egan – Full Moon Fire

It’s been five years since Walter charted on the Hot 100, and he’s back with a track from his fifth album, Wild Exhibitions, that should have burned its way up the chart. Instead, this inferno turned to ash at #46. It will be his last chart single, although he got a writing credit on Eminem’s We Made You cause Dre though he might have sampled/borrowed its melody from Walter’s Hot Summer Nights. I think Walter has a good lawyer.

85. Ultravox – Reap The Wild Wind

The first single from the band’s sixth album is notable for two reasons. One, they were beginning to sound more and more like OMD. Two, the album was produced by Sir George Martin, right after Sir Paul’s Tug Of War. This Top 20 UK hit may have been too good or too dramatic for Pop radio and blew away after hitting #71.

87. Gerard McMahon – Count On Me

Gerard spent many years in the 70s as a session musician in NY and LA as well as a composer for PBS projects. He even had a stint playing bass with Jackson Browne’s touring band. After fronting the bands Gerard & Kid Lightning, he released his first solo album, No Looking Back in 1983. This single will be his only chart hit inching up another two notches before slipping away.

April 14, 1984

83. Sheena Easton – Devil In A Fast Car

Sheena hadn’t fully got her freak on as she was still singing dopey love songs like Almost Over You. This single was a nice peek of what was to come once Prince got his “hands” on her. Pop radio wasn’t so sure, so the car will break down at #79. Richard Page & Steve George from Mr. Mister sing backing vocals.

89. Dolly Parton – Downtown

Even though we may not have needed a #80 Country cover of the Petula Clark classic, I am not going to begrudge Dolly anything. She’s an icon and an American hero. She’s reading children’s books to my kids before bed, for chrissakes. BTW, do you think Mr. Wilhelm had this version in mind for George’s project?

90. Michael Gore – Theme From Terms Of Endearment

This James L. Brooks movie cleaned up at 56th Academy Awards – Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress. One week later, the theme to the film composed by Best Film Score nominee, Michael Gore was on the Hot 100. These were the goofy things that would happen on the charts through the 80s, as this instrumental would coast to #84 before everyone moved on.

92. Yarbrough & Peoples – Don’t Waste Your Time

Cavin & Alisa go back to the well again for “another” Don’t Stop The Music. Unfortunately, the well was running dry on the Pop charts, at least. This will peak at #49 while becoming their second Soul #1.

April 13th, 1985

85. Kurtis Blow – Basketball

Kurtis was one of the first rap stars but really didn’t get to share in the money that others will make in the ensuing decades. Respect doesn’t really pay the bills. This hip hop pioneer has his second chart single released from his fifth album. Even though this will only dunk up to #71, I feel like I heard this song constantly that Summer.

90. Fiona – Talk To Me

Fiona Flanagan has an Irish name with none of the luck. This single, produced by the Good Rats’ Peppi Marchello and written by her future husband, Beau Hill, should have easily coasted into the Top 40. But the conversation ended at #64. She’d star in an episode of Miami Vice during their second season as a teenage prostitute.

93. Robin George – Heartline

Here’s a synth rocker from British singer and guitarist Robin George, who released his debut in 1984 and didn’t pick up his solo career again until the early 2000s. The synths were played by Adrian Lee, who would go on to play with Mike & the Mechanics for their first few albums. This single will slide up one spot before flatlining and falling off the chart.

Fun fact: Robin would form a duo with vocalist Sean Harris called Notorious, who would chart in late 1990 with a song called The Swalk.



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