A Four-Letter Word In the Night


I feel like you can never have too much New Wave and/or soul in your life. But radio programmers begged to differ which is why the bulk of the Other Sixty during 1984, 1985 and 1986 from the fourteenth chart week show up here.

April 7th, 1984

77. Sergio Mendes – Olympia

Here’s a song that was written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil specifically for the 1984 Summer Olympics, which would be held in L.A. Sergio Mendes recorded with his homie Joe Pizzulo on vocals. It sounds very bit like an 80s over the top-we’re gonna win sports montage cliche song if there ever was one. But with jingoism riding high, even a song this cheesy could climb as high at #58 before someone swept the leg.

80. Cameo – She’s Strange

This was my introduction to Cameo and was obsessed with this cut. I just love their sparsely-arranged but aggressive electro-funk. Plus, I wanted a girl who was my Rolling Stones and my Eva Perrone. Let your imagination run wild. This #1 Soul track just missed out on becoming their first Top 40 hit peaking at #47.

84. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax

How is this an alumnus of The Other Sixty, you might ask? I always thought it was a big hit, you may add. Well, you’re right – on its second go-round. The first time it was released, it climaxed at #67. It will get re-released at the beginning of 1985 and eventually hit #10. Its follow-up is under the 1985 debuts.

85. The Temptations – Sail Away

The Temps were in a big rut throughout the 80s. Their last Top 40 hit was Powerhouse in 1975. Personnel changes and label indifference contributed to a lot of inconsistent recordings. This mellow ballad with Ron Tyson on lead vocals isn’t bad, but given their pedigree, it should have been a lot more inspiring. It will capsize at #54.

89. James Ingram – There’s No Easy Way

Don’t know why, but it was hard for James to have a Top 40 hit without anyone else credited as an artist along with him. In fact, he only had one. So in many ways, fate was against him when he decided not to add any other names to this 45. That’s why this ballad will stall at #58. Also, I think he was one of the best Soul singers of the decade, and I wish he recorded more albums back then.

90. David Gilmour – Blue Light

Dave’s impetus was never in piling up Top 40 hits. But if ever one should be, this is it. Released as a single from his second solo album, About Face, and featuring Jeff Porcaro on drums, Steve Winwood on Hammond organ and a full horn section this 45 will reach a disappointing #62.

93. Modern English – Hands Across The Sea

Here’s another chart single from the melt with you guys. Their third album, Ricochet Days, provided this lackluster New Wave folly, which will only reach up two spots before drowning.

95. Josie Cotton – Jimmy Loves Maryann

I never knew I needed a New Wave version of a Looking Glass single, but I definitely do. It works so well within that 80s Valley Girls vibe. And when you fact in some Lindsey Buckingham guitar, you scratch your head to wonder why it only made it to #82. Wonder what writer Eliot Lurie thought of it?

April 6th, 1985

77. Shannon – Do You Wanna Get Away

Straddling the line between Freestyle and New Wave, Shannon didn’t get enough fans from either to make this one a Top 40 hit. It will get close as it peaked at #49. Her dance-pop fans were into it as it became a #1 Club hit.

84. Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome

Here’s another track that sounded great in the clubs, especially if you ha da kickin’ speaker system. That’s Trevor Horn’s production value right there, making the song feel ten times bigger than it is. This almost made the made a two-hit-wonder, but topped out at #48 while becoming a #2 hit in the UK, their first to not hit #1.

87. Philip Bailey – Walking On The Chinese Wall

This sounds like Phil was moved by the spirit of Paul Simon but left in all of the typical 80s production and drum machine sounds. Actually, Phil Collins produced this one as well as added the drums and percussion. At least the Phenix Horns were in the house. This will get up to #49. Also, his jazzy album, Love Will Find A Way released in 2019, is fantastic.

89. Jules Shear – Steady

I had to doublecheck to make sure this wasn’t a Top 40 hit. It has Casey stamped all over it. But for some reason, this track co-written with Cyndi Lauper will only make it to #57. How did this get missed?

90. John Parr – Magical

How in the hell did this guy end up with a musical career? That St. Elmos’ Fire theme bought him a lot of hairspray and ripped tight jeans. This song aimlessly bangs and thuds until you forget why you starting playing it in the first place. Then you see that it was co-written by Meat Loaf, and the ironic part of your brain has a great laugh, and you take it to your next party. The magical part is how it ever got as high as #73.

April 19th, 1986

88. Vanity – Under the Influence

Here’s a lady who was heavily under the influence of Prince and escaped his purple arms to have her own career. That meant The Last Dragon instead of Purple Rain. And this single co-written by Robbie Nevil, which, although will hit the Soul Top 10, will only garner a #56 Pop zenith. C’est la vie!

92. Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

The tour following the successful 1983 release of Speaking In tongues was documented by Jonathan Demme and released in theatres in 1984. Stop Making Sense captures the band at their best and their funkiest. The original version of this Remain In Light cut never made the Hot 100. But the live version did, almost two years after it was released as a single. Unfortunately, it will ask itself why is it only going to go up one more notch before the water holds it down.

97. Atlantic Starr – If You’re Heart Isn’t In It

In 1984 Hamish Stuart was a man without a band but with lots of new songs. Average White Band had split up the year before, and it would a few more years before he would join Paul McCartney for his Flowers In The Dirt tour. In the meantime, he had a track that he thought would be a surefire smash. It ended in the Ny quintet, Atlantic Starr’s hands, as they recorded the album, As The Band Turns with new lead vocalist Barbara Weathers. They would have a big #3 hit, Secret Lovers from this album, and this single was put out as the follow-up. It made the Top 5 on the Soul charts, but it lost its way after reaching #57 on the Hot 100.


2 Replies to “A Four-Letter Word In the Night”

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