Let’s review the musical bouillabaisse called The Other Sixty for seventeenth chart week from 1980 up to 1983.
April 26th, 1980
When Tom damned the torpedoes at the end of 1979, he signaled a change as one of the leaders in 80s rock. Straddling the line between heartland honesty, swampy soul, and punk attitude, he clobbered the charts with one hit after another. But even though this remains a popular tune in his catalog, it only made it to 59.
In the late 70s, Steve Marriott decided to get Humble Pie back together, because of or despite the success of their former guitarist Peter Frampton. You’d have to look at the record sleeve to see who this is because on first listen it could be Bad Company or Nazareth. Or whoever else sounds like them. The confusion may have helped it rise to #52.
Supper club soul was on its way out in the early 80s, perhaps its demise was accelerated due to the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire in Kentucky, outside of Cincinnati. At least he had the Parade of Stars Telethon to keep him busy throughout the decade. This one will bow out after reaching #77.
Fun fact: Lou’s 1971 Top 20 hit A Natural Man was written by Bobby “Sunny” Hebb and comedian Sandy “Jack Klompus” Baron
The last chart hit from the pride of Spartanburg, South Carolina, was from their tenth album, Tenth. This was also the last album to feature original member and bass player Tommy Caldwell, who was killed in a car crash the same week this song debuted. It was one month after Tommy’s and Toy’s brother Tim was killed in an accident as well. They would write Ride In Peace to both of them of their next album, Dedicated. Personally, I’d rather hear this than Can’t You See for the millionth time. Time will run out after it hits #79.
Randy Bachman decided to follow-up on the success of the first Ironhorse album in 1979 with another one the following year. He co-wrote this song with Carl Wilson, so if you ever wondered what BTO mixed with the Beach Boys would sound like, here’s your answer. This one will come to a halt at #89.
May 2nd, 1981
Here’s the third single from the brothers Jackson album, Triumph. And I’d like to know how the hell did this get stuck at #77 and not become a bigger smash. I bet its lack of success motivated Michael to make the biggest album of all time and finally get away from his bros once and for all.
Phoebe would have had a much bigger career had it not been for a run of bad luck with record companies and some personal tragedies. She moved to the Atlantic Records subsidiary Mirage as the 80s commenced and put out one of her best LPs, Rock Away. Her cover of the 1964 Don Covay (not the Buckinghams) hit only made it to #52.
Fun fact: Phoebe Snow was the name of a passenger train that ran through New Jersey and New York from the late 40s through the mid-60s. That’s where she got her name.
If you were a Dr. Dmento fan like I was, then you heard this song a lot on his shows in 1981. It was created by an Ohio-born entertainer as part of his theatre act in Australia. Once it was recorded and released, it went to #1 to fifteen countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, and Australia, where it was the biggest selling single in the countries history for years. In the US, someone put a hit on it and whacked it at #53.
May 1st, 1982
Here’s the first in a yacht rock/ West Coast pop trifecta, starting with the former lead singer of Wet Willie, who had a Top 40 in 1980 with I’m Happy That Love Has Found You. This was the first single release from his second album, Cadillac Tracks. This soulful Alabama via L.A. pop tune will crawl up only six more spots and will be Jimmy’s last chart hit.
Bertie follows up his surprise hit Key Largo with another one for the beach hammock. This breezy track will chart on the AC & Country charts just like his other single, but the dreaming will end at #46.
After the quartet Barnaby Bye split in the mid-70s, Bobby & Billy Alessi formed a duo and recorded album after album of smooth R&B-inspired pop, made for long Summer night drives down the 101. From their fifth album Long Time Friends, this synth-driven pop tune will be their only chart single when it peaks at #71.
April 30th, 1983
This is one of my favorite groups if the New Wave era. Originally a septet in 1981, they had shrunk down to a trio for their Side Kicks album, which spawned a Top 30 hit, Lies. This was the next single which almost followed suit, but peaked at #45, even as it became their first Top 10 in the UK. It was also the first song of many which contained clever TT song callbacks, in this case, to In The Name Of Love.
The 80s became possibly the whitest decade of music as soul music continues to be marginalized. Please explain to me why a funky as hell dance track like this from an established group can’t get past #84. Their equally body-shaking follow-up Keep On Lovin’ Me didn’t even chart.
Gary was a singer/songwriter who got the chance of a lifetime to write a TV show theme for a new show called Cheers. No one could imagine how popular the show would be, which in turn would make this tune iconic. The show finished near the bottom of the rating after its first year and was almost canceled. Someone thought that was the perfect time to release its theme as a single. It’s hard to imagine Pop radio latching on to it, and thus only got as high as #83. Gary, along with partner Judy Hart Angelo, would write the themes to Punky Brewster and Mr. Belvedere.
This would be Weird Al’s first chart single, a parody of the #1 hit Mickey by Toni Basil, which was a cover of the 1979 Racey UK hit, Kitty. Taking advantage of I Love Lucy‘s ubiquitous syndication broadcasts at the time, it became a big hit on MTV but only translated into a #63 peak. The duet was performed with Tress MacNeille, who has a long career as a cartoon voice artist for The Simpsons, Futurama, Tiny Toons, and others.