Here’s where one-hit-wonders’ careers are cemented, legends try to find their first hit, overnight successes watch the sun set on their dreams, and cult artists rear their head for a minute. It’s The Other Sixty from chart week 21 during 1983, 1984, and 1985.
May 28th, 1983
This former Vegas blackjack dealer got his Country career started in the early 80s, and since the beginning has mixed his politics in with his music, performing for each Republican president since Reagan was elected. His first chart hit was this wedding-first-dance ballad that made the Country & AC top 10 while peaking at #53. Lee would get his only Top 40 after 9/11 when everyone and their brother played God Bless The U.S.A. Some think that was letting the terrorists win.
This California New Wave sextet follows up their first chart hit another one from their second album, Pleasure Victim. It’s a more accessible synth-pop track that received plenty of MTV airtime, but will still make its last stop at #58.
Kevin Rowland and his band of overalls-with-no-shirt-wearing comrades follow-up their surprise #1 hit, Come On Eileen with a track that really leans into the Celtic and the soul, hence the title. It was actually the first single release from 1982’s Too-Rye-Ay, and it makes sense since it’s a great introduction to the new direction that KR was taken his group. While this sound might have seemed weird or out-of-place musically back then, it is omnipresent now, especially with the buskers in my hometown. The brothers split up at #86. BTW – the entire album is a hidden gem, especially their cover of Van Morrison’s Jackie Wilson Said.
Here’s another band that was struggling for a hit in the States since the late 70s. They finally found it with their English cover of Falco’s Der Kommissar, but unfortunately could not replicate its success. This was their last chart hit, an original whose legs would give out at #85.
British singer-songwriter Joan Armatrading has a long, prolific career since her first album back in 1972 and is definitely deserving of more recognition or a musical resurgence. Her first twenty years were spent on the A&M Record label, and it took until her tenth album, The Key to finally chart on the Hot 100. This single was also her biggest hit in the UK thus far flying to #11. In the States, her only appearance crash-landed at #78.
May 26th, 1984
This is a funk band that can’t be stopped, musical trend changes and plane crashes be damned. Here they are adapting to electro-funk with a single from the Breakin’ soundtrack. This #2 Soul smash would only cross over to a #73 pop high. Grab your piece of cardboard, turn up your boombox, and start poppin’.
..but if she did, she would buy you a Grammarly subscription, because it’s doesn’t, not don’t. Actually, I should take aim at the Wild Cherry himself, Marc Avsec, who originally wrote this song for the Canadian disco band, La Flavour. Because they shared labels with the Jovis, someone had the group record a version as well. [The Grass Roots would as well.] It will climb up to the Top 50 but stop at #48. Bon Jovi will never release a single that wasn’t written by the band ever again.
May 25th, 1985
The funk dudes from Tuskegee proved they could have a hit without Lionel in the group when Nightshift went into the Top 3 earlier in the year. This follow-up, a Martin Page dance track sung by Walter Orange, almost made the Top 40 but was caged up at #43.
It was otherworldly how huge Men At Work were in the early 80s. Their debut album spent four months at #1, spawning two #1 singles. By the time of their third and final album, the band was worn out and on the verge of splitting up. Their lead single only got as high as #47, and everyone seemingly packed it in.
Wack Jagner, as we used to call him, lays out his latest selection of cheese. This David Foster ballad is perfect for a scene change during a General Hospital episode, but programmers quarantined themselves from this. Thus after seven spots upward, the heart will die on the operating table.
This Westchester, NY quintet was still trying to cross over to Pop radio through the funk door, but it still wasn’t working as this one debuts at its peak. But once they ballads were successful, they never stopped coming.