There aren’t as many candidates for The Other Sixty during the sixteenth chart week as in past weeks, so we are splitting this up into two five-year posts. The first one will be a review of 1980 up through 1985.
April 19th, 1980
Here’s a Massachusetts band that started out as a lark, making fun of the Talking Heads and one year later found themselves on the Hot 100 with this track as well as the opening act for The Knack. From their debut LP, Sold Out, this single will reach #67.
If the Weather Channel never used this as the music bed during their Weather on the 8s segments, they missed an opportunity. This mellow fusion instrumental would work well for that or underneath David Hartman as the intro to Good Morning America. As a single, it will rise to #68.
This is where the legend started. Released as a 45 to promote their 1979 debut, it became one of the band’s signature tunes and a great song to ignite a house party. This kitschy dance single was dubbed New Wave, but it was truly a surf rock throwback. That it charted and made it up to #56 during 19870 was a miracle. It will take the band all decade to finally land a Top 40 hit, Love Shack in 1989, which would be their other signature hit.
Fun fact: According to a John Lennon interview, hearing this song while he was in Bermuda with his family inspired him to go back in the studio and record new music, which would result in the Double Fantasy LP.
The music industry is so damn fickle. Bobby should have had a bigger US career with many more hits than just What You Won’t Do For Love. This WestCoast flavored jam coulda/shoulda been as huge, but will stall at #42. It will be his fourth R&B Top 40 hit when it peaks at #28. They know what’s up.
Also, Bobby is the best example of being big in Japan. They love him so much over there, they refer to him as Mr. AOR.
What kind of crazy shit is this? It sounds like White Rabbit being performed at a Greek festival. All that’s missing is the smell of souvlaki and a few Opas. No wonder the Chrome Nun ran back to the money train known as Jefferson Starship, aka Starship, aka Sh. This will transition up three spots before blowing away.
April 25th, 1981
Cliff was in the middle of his US salad days after living as a huge star in the UK for decades. This was the follow-up to his Top 20 hit A Little In Love, and fell on the other side of Casey’s radar, peaking at #41. It ended up getting caught in a log jam of softer pop hits, which is a shame. If you like keyboard-driven pop-rock, give this one a try.
Here’s another group that couldn’t buy another Top 40 hit after The Second Time Around, even though they were releasing one jam after another. This Top 10 Soul smash will go still after hitting #60. C’mon folks, this is so damn good.
April 24th, 1982
Can a song be a member of The Other Sixty and a #1 hit? Well, many are called, but few are chosen, and this single, the apex of WestCoast soul, fits the bill. From Patti’s Quincy Jones-produced Every Home Should Have One LP, the one Q recorded after The Dude, this duet with James Ingram was the first single released. Somehow this Rod Temperton composed got lost in the shuffle and peaked at #73. After some constant exposure on General Hospital, the 45 was rereleased and recharted in late October, eventually climbing to #1 in February 1983.
Karen & Richard dip back into the Marvelettes well for another soft rock cover of a Motown smash. Originally a #17 in 1962, this Marvin Gaye co-write will get disconnected at #73 for the duo. It will also be their last chart single.
Why Rod covered this 1975 Ace hit was anyone’s guess. He didn’t add much to it other than his rasp and ego. Considering it will just miss the Top 40 at #41, it’s interesting that it was never added to any of Rod’s compilations, meaning that it’s still available on his Tonight I’m Yours LP.
April 23rd, 1983
Outside of Kenny Rogers, Eddie was probably the biggest Country star on the Pop charts in the later 70s and early 80s. But by 1983, his run was over. Even though this will be another #1 Country smash, this midtempo track will stop running at #55.
This is one of my favorite Ronstadt songs. No one can make heartbreak sound so good. From her LP Get Closer, this Jimmy Webb-penned ballad is given a sultry and seductive reading by Linda, equally coming on to her-ex and traveling the pain they caused. This will unfairly top out #54 while becoming a Top 10 AC hit.
The third single from Neil’s Heartlight turned out to be a swing and a miss. Considering how much Pop music had changed into the 80s, it’s amazing he lasted this long. This dramatic ballad (is there any other from Neil?) will turn away after hitting #65. Neil would never hit the Top 40 again. But I think he’s doing just fine, especially with Red Sox fans.
Letting those Burundi drums boom, this English quartet will have their second and final Hot 100 entry. This Mike Chapman-produced single will pitter-patter up to #77.
This Dutch quartet is back with a rocker that should be played more often around Halloween. It was their follow-up to Twilight Zone, from the album Cut, but unfortunately didn’t have the near the success as that single did, peaking at #79.
April 21st, 1984
Sometimes the Brits support artists that don’t get a fair shake in the US. Sometimes they prop up novelty acts like this one. This dude has had a long career across the pond without making much a blip over here. His only chart entry on the singles or album charts in the States will be this 45 that will weep its way to #67. Singer Sylvia will have a Top 10 Country hit with her version in 1985.