The Night Exposes The Cracks

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Let’s review The Other Sixty during chart week eighteen for the years 1984, 1985, and 1986.

May 5th, 1984

77. “Weird” Al Yankovic – King Of Suede

The Police get the Weird Al treatment with a parody of their Top 5 smash from their final album, Synchronicity. Produced by Rick Derringer, Al tells the tale of a guy who runs a clothing store with his claim to fame being his line of suede products. I’m pretty sure Eddie Murphy checked the place out before filing Raw. This yuk fest will peak at #62.

80. LaToya Jackson – Heart Don’t Lie

Weird Al was following up his successful cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It. And now here’s sister LaToya (still not Michael) with her grab at some Thriller money. It’s not as awful as you’d think, but it’s not up to the Jackson standard. Sung as a duet with Shalamar’s Howard Hewitt, it will flatline at #56.

88. Re-Flex – Hurt

I loved The Politics of Dancing when it came out, and I bought this group’s cassette, wearing it out to the nubs. Listening to it years later, I noticed how just about every sound sounds similar. It doesn’t stop me from cranking it up anyway. This single will only move up six spots from its debut.

89. Frank Stallone – Darlin’

Weird Al also recorded an Eye of The Tiger lampoon on In 3-D called The Rye or the Kaiser. And now here’s Sly’s brother trying to follow-up his hard-earned success of Far From Over with this pop-rocker but ends with a #81 showing. Too bad, Sly couldn’t use it for a scene in Rambo.

May 4th, 1985

77. Natalie Cole – Dangerous

Natalie’s career was lost in the 80s. She tried to get it back on track with this ill-advised dance track. It’s not that the song is bad. It’s that her voice just should have been paired with better material with more natural arrangements. She’ll have some success at decade’s end before heading back towards the standards.

84. Jean Knight – My Toot Toot

Mrs. Big Stuff came from out of nowhere in the mid-80s with this cover of the Rockin’ Sydney zydeco classic. Are we supposed to keep our hands off of her coke? That was the question as it sniffed its way to #50. I also remember some radio stations playing a parody called Don’t Mess With My Tatupu referring to the current New England Patriots running back, Mosi Tatupu. It was just as dumb.

85. Gino Vannelli – Black Cars

Calling all Celtics fans. It’s Gino time, and he’s back with his first new album in four years. The title track was the lead-off single and should have been a surefire hit. But it skidded out at #42, getting leapfrogged by Amy Grant in the process.

86. Dokken – Alone Again

Don Dokken and his crew nab their first chart single, a power ballad that has nothing to do with Gilbert O’Sullivan. It has everything to do with being a misunderstood metalhead in the 80s, and it will hit its zenith at #64.

89. Maureen Steele – Boys Will Be Boys

Motown’s complete lack of vision in the 80s led to quizzical signings, such as this artist. It’s soulless dance-pop that has no place standing in connection to that label’s history. This single also featured on the soundtrack to The Flamingo Kid, will man down at #77.

90. The Firm – Satisfaction Guaranteed

Or my money back? I’d like my money back. I am not satisfied with this “supergroup.” Was Jimmy Page really a part of this, or did he sell his name for the project? This single would travel up to #73 before offering refunds.

92. Slade – Little Sheila

The boys from Ireland get bit by the synth-rock bug, recording a song that doesn’t sound like them at all. It’s still better than a lot of other pop-rock songs out there. I just can’t imagine Noddy Holder hilariously bending his face to something this corporate. And thus, it slides up only six notches before sliding back down.

93. Alex Brown (Come On) Shout

Alex recorded a few jazzy soul albums in the 70s and seemed to disappear from the scene. She popped back up in the mid-80s on the soundtrack for the Sarah Jessica Parker film, Girls Just Want To Have Fun. This single will go from shout at #93 to whisper at #76.

Fun fact: Alex co-wrote the Anita Baker Top 20 smash, Just Because.

95. Belouis Some – Imagination

I dug this dude’s singles, but I have yet figured out how to pronounce his name or understand why he changed it to that. Nevertheless, this New Wave dance track mixes in some Prince, Bryan Ferry, and the Cars and comes out with a Top 10 Club hit, but only a #88 Pop showing.

May 10th, 1986

82. Magazine 60 – Don Quichotte

WTF? I loved it when other countries tried to make an American single, and everyone is left laughing and scratching their head. This is a slice of Italian Disco by way of France that barely tells the story of Don Key Shot (yes, one dude asks for him that way in the song) and his homie Sancho Panza. It ends with some dude freaking out in the end, promising to put a bullet in the brain of the lady who’s only there to say no esta aqui. Due to lots of club play, this will stare at windmills at the way up to #56.

Personally, I prefer Nik Kershaw’s take on the Cervantes novel.

88. Robert Tepper – Don’t Walk Away

It’s hard not to ignore his advice on this heavily produced song that takes itself way too seriously. Remember, Robert is the guy who co-wrote this. I guess high drama meant turning up the reverb on the snare hits. It strolls three spots before turning around.

90. Trans-X – Living On Video

And now for some heavy synth-pop from North of the border, which had been released as a single three years before. A new remix helps it get on the charts, but it will dance itself off after hitting #61.

Like Pouty Children Denied Their Candy

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The eighteen chart week of the Other Sixty brings a solid batch of Top 40 contenders that may have faltered due to competition or lousy promotion. Let’s review 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983.

May 3rd, 1980

84. Little River Band – It’s Not A Wonder

LRB had a ton of Top 40 smashes as they moved into the Me Decade, and they started it off with the requisite double live album, Backstage Pass. Having a hit with a live song is always a tough task, but this rollicking ole time rocker will hit a respectable #51. It was probably too hard for radio who was looking for another Lady.

87. The Babys – Midnight Rendezvous

This one rocks much harder than their radio hits, just like LRB. With new keyboardist Jonathan Cain in tow, John Waite and co. will only meet up at #72, though the two Johns will hook up at the end of the decade for some horrible grammar.

88. Eddie Rabbitt -Gone Too Far

The third single from Eddie’s 1979 LP, Loveline will end up becoming his sixth Country #1. When it crosses over to Pop, it will not travel any further than #82. But one listen to this soft pop track will make your wonder why this was rejected in 1980.

89. Ray Kennedy – Just For The Moment

Ray co-wrote two hits for The Babys, Isn’t It Time & Every Time I Think Of You, and this week, his first charted solo single debuts alongside them. This mushy ballad won’t get any higher than the Rabbitt’s track. The record company should have released his version of Sail On Sailor with the original lyrics instead.

98. The Cretones – Real Love

From the New Wave Power Pop department comes this slick lyrically sharp L.A. band destined for success. Unfortunately, their only chart single will peak at #79. Linda Ronstadt will record three of leader Mark Goldenberg songs for her Mad Love album, and that will permanently distract his attention from the band, who would break up after one more album, Snap Snap in 1981.

May 9th, 1981

82. Steve Winwood – Arc Of A Diver

Steve was still applying the prog-rock ethos to his solo music with more synths and New Wave flourishes. That’s a good thing, but not always a recipe for Top 40 success. He’ll learn to really smooth out his vibe as the decade progresses. I prefer this part of his career when Steve is playing all of the instruments and experimenting. This is one of my favorites of his and will hit the water at #48 before going under.

86. Tommy James – You’re So Easy To Love

Tommy missed have missed a memo as he records and releases a mild disco-pop tune in 1981. It will be his last solo chart hit when it reaches #58. He’ll have reason to cheer in six years from now as two of his, and the Shondells songs will hit #1 in cover versions by Billy Idol & Tiffany back to back in 1987.

87. Dave Edmunds – Almost Saturday Night

When Dave Edmunds covers John Fogerty, it’s hard to know where one ends, and one begins. John’s version will hit #78 in 1975 while this one featuring Rockpile will peak at #54. Either one is as good as you’d expect it to be.

88. The Dillman Band – Lovin’ The Night Away

From the prairies of Minnesota comes this quintet for looking for some of that Toby Beau money, gently rocking you with an easy groove and a sax solo. Released from their second album, the title track will be the highest charter out of the 1981 non-Top 40s this week when it hits #45

90. Sister Sledge – Next Time You’ll Know

Two years away from dominating 1979, the Sledge sisters just could not buy a hit no matter what they tried. This classy ballad written by Narada Michael Walden and Allee Willis was released as the second single from their All American Girls album will only move up another eight spots before doing an about-face.

May 8th, 1982

82. The Temptations feat. Rick James – Standing On The Top (Part 1)

Motown had been ignoring the Temps for so long that by 1982, they decided to go the other way and indulge the ever-loving hell out of them. Not only did the current five members invite David Ruffin & Eddie Kendricks back into the fold, but they also threw current young gun Rick James in the mix too. That wasn’t really a good idea for Ruffin, who was a big-time cokehead. But the musical result was transplendent, mixing old school soul with hotshot funk. (The Temps had already provided some oh-oh-ohs on Rick’s Super Freak) The Mary Jane Girls are here too for some backing vocals and whatever else. All of this talent and only a #66 showing precipitated the implosion of the reunion by the end of the year.

84. The Waitresses – I Know What Boys Like

This New Wave outfit from Akron, OH, actually started out as a side project by guitarist Chris Butler of Tin Huey. The original version of this song was recorded in 1978 and was first released as a single in 1980 on Ze Records. When Chris officially put a band together and secured a deal, it was rereleased in 1982. Although it will only reach #62, it’s a stone-cold New Wave classic. Every time Patty Donahue zaps some guy with a Sucker diss, it gets me every time.

98. The Frank Barber Orchestra – Hooked On Big Bands (Glenn Miller Medley) 

Dammit, it looks like we’re still stuck in that Hooked On rut. This time the ghost of Glenn Miller is dragged out of the English channel for this snoozefest. Even the drum machine sounds disinterested. That it peaks higher than the previous two singles at #61 shows how much pull the old folks still had. Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers, who were obviously money launderers, plundered this bad idea and somehow had a hit with it in 1989.

May 7th, 1983

78. Todd Rundgren – Bang The Drum All Day

Runt did not have any Top 40 solo hits in the 80s. In fact, this was his only Hot 100 entry, and it only reached #63. But it’s one of his most well-known tunes, most likely from DJs playing it regularly at 5PM on Friday. It’s taken on a life of its own, especially during football games. Packers fans, amirite? And then there’s this.

81. The Belle Stars – Sign Of The Times

Out of the ashes of the all-female ska band, the Bodysnatchers comes this Stiff Records septet. Their first chart single, a #3 UK hit, will only post at #75. Five years later, Allan Mason, the music supervisor on the film, Rain Man, thought that the Belle Stars version of Iko Iko would be a good song to start off the movie. It was released as a single and became their only Top 40 hit in 1989.

87. The Call – The Walls Came Down

From their second album, Modern Romans, here’s the California quartet with their first Hot 100 entry. Combing the same territory as the Alarm and U2 albeit, with a tighter sound, they had similar success as this single hit the wall at #74 before coming down.

88. New Edition – Candy Girl

Maurice Starr thought the world was ready for a new Jackson 5. At least that’s what he thought when he saw Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike, and Ralph perform at a talent show in Boston. He signed them and had Arthur Baker co-produce an album full of sweet harmonies with a street attitude. This was also a great breakdancing tune, too, and I’m surprised it couldn’t move up any further than #46. It would be the first of five #1s on the Soul chart as well as a #1 in the UK. Guess the Brits were ready.

 

Depth of Feeling Is A Currency

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Let’s wrap up chart week seventeen with The Other Sixty from 1986 up to 1989. There’s some good ones in here.

May 3rd, 1986

83. Patti Austin – The Heat Of Heat

Patti continued down the R&B path through the 80s with very little crossover success. This Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis written and produced track should have easily got the Casey call. But somehow this laidback Top 20 Soul jam will only manage a #76 Pop showing.

84. Giuffria – I Must Be Dreaming

Because of the success of their debut, Greg Giuffria and his bandmates were allowed to record a second album, Silk And Steel. This midtempo rocker, a Mink Deville cover, was the leadoff single and was awakened at #52 before sleepwalking off the charts. The band would split, and Greg would move on to his next project, House Of Lords.

May 2nd, 1987

86. Duran Duran – Meet El Presidente

Notorious is hands down my favorite D2 album. I may have mentioned that before. It’s partly because of Nile Rodgers production, but also his freedom to let this now trio get funky. Simon’s stream of consciousness lyrics work well when the emphasis is on moving, not thinking, and John really lets his bass fly against Steve Ferrone’s solid grooves. I’m still shocked it only reached #70.

Even though I had the album at the time, I bought the single because it was a remixed version, plus it had Vertigo on the B-side. Over time, I prefer the album version anyway.

April 30th, 1988

89. New Order – Blue Monday 1988

Because True Faith from their compilation became a surprise TYop 40 hit over the Winter, New Order decided to have Quincy Jones remix one of their cult classics and released it in early 1988. It also featured a new track on the B-side, Touched By The Hand Of God, which I really liked, so I bought the 12″ single. It will become a #1 Dance hit and peak at #68 on the Pop charts. How does it feel?

91. Honeymoon Suite – Love Changes Everything

This Canadian quartet founded near Niagara Falls (get the name now?) finally got a Top 40 in 1987  1986 south of their border with Feel It Again. They felt like their next album could be a breakthrough, so they hired Ted Templeman. But the sessions were delayed, and their momentum was slowed by a bad car accident that lead singer Johnny Dee was in. By the time their new album came out, the public moved on to bands with more makeup, and they were left at the altar. It debuts at its peak.

92. Jody Watley – Most Of All

The singles success of Jody’s debut is baffling to me. She had three Top 10s from the album, but the best songs, at least in my opinion, fell short of the Top 40. This one will only climb to #60, but I’d rather hear it a thousand times more than Don’t You Want Me? Luck and money.

94. Kool Moe Dee – Wild, Wild West

Everyone made a big deal when Lil Nas X mixed being a cowboy into hip-hop. But that’s nothing new. Shoot, Cowboy was part of the Furious Five posse. And Kool Moe was kicking it to the old frontier decades before anyone was ridin’ a horse till it couldn’t ride no mo’. This is a rap classic, and even though it was gunned down at #62, it became a Top 5 R&B hit, which was a big deal. Will Smith updated this for the 1999 film of the same name, and even though it bombed, the song, which featured Kool, went to #1.

97. The Adventures – Broken Land

I always thought this group was from Australia, but they were Irish. I should have realized that the land they were speaking of was Ireland, and the broken part referred to the Troubles, the decades-long conflict within the country. Not that any of it mattered to programmers who ignored this well-done passionate rock track that tanked at #95.

April 29th, 1989

87. BulletBoys – For The Love Of Money

BulletBoys manager: Guys, your album sounds like crap. No one’s gonna buy one copy, not even your grandmas. But I’ve got an idea. (Opens up a bag and pulls out the O’Jays’ Ship Ahoy album. He flips the record to side two, places it on a nearby record player and drops the needle) Here’s your new single, mates. (He’s English. Aren’t all managers English?)

The band looks confused. They look at each other. Suddenly the guitarist asks: Can I still do this? (pulls out a guitar and makes horrible loud shrieking sounds)

BulletBoys manager: Sure. I don’t care.

The band shrugs at each other, high fives, and starts recording. One year later, the single peaks at #78, and the manager is found dead of an “OD” on the Faster Pussycat tour bus.

92. XTC – The Mayor Of Simpleton

1986’s Skylarking is easily one of my Top 10 favorite albums of all time. That this trio could come close to topping it with the follow-up Oranges & Lemons shows how much of a roll they were on at the time. I was thrilled that they were finally getting some airplay, and this single was their one and only Hot 100 entry. It’s too good for us mere pop lover mortals, and it will dunce out at #72 while becoming a #1 Modern Rock hit. The follow-up, King For A Day, is even better.