We’re up to the twenty-third chart week of the year. Let’s review which debuts didn’t make it into the Top 40 during 1980 up to 1983, or as well call them, The Other Sixty.
June 7th, 1980
The Todd Rundgren-led quartet follows up their one and only Top 40 hit, Set Me Free with this blast of pop-rock that will only move up four notches. Utopia will put out a second album later in the year, a tribute/parody to the Beatles called Deface The Music.
Player was crushing it in 1978 with three Top 40 hits, including the monster smash, Baby Come Back. Two years later and three albums in, pop radio seemed to lose interest in them. It’s not that songs weren’t any good, and West Coast music was hot during this time. This single only reached #46, and if you asked me, they might have had better luck with Givin’ It All or Who Do You Think You Are?.
Is this a sequel to Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue? Or just a request from the record company to try and replicate its success? This Top 10 Country hit will scoot up two spots before turning brown.
Here’s an excellent Power Pop tune from the UK that sounds like Elvis Costello meets the Easybeats. It went Top 20 across the pond, but in the States, it stiffed at #84.
This was the fourth single released from F-Mac’s 1979 double LP, Tusk. Written by Stevie Nicks, it’s another underrated gem on an album that many were disappointed by at the time. I wish this would get played on the radio rather than Rhiannon for the millionth time. The moon will go new at #86.
From their fourth album, Progressions of Power, here’s the Canadian hard rock trio trying to get some more of those US dollars after their 1979 breakthrough. Alas, this track will not survive as it debuts at its peak.
June 13th, 1981
Nothing like a white hippie singing a smooth, soft pop tune about “hard times.” I’m sure life was a treat for a hungry woman dealing with an angry man. And as if to be even more tone-deaf, PBS including this song in a documentary called Freedom: A History of US, a story of how people lived, sacrificed, and died for freedom. Wonder who PBS’ demographic is? Also, I’m guessing that James lost his hit when it only chain ganged itself up to #72.
No Springtime for Hitler here. This is the Power Pop quartet from Atlanta, GA, who recorded three fabulous albums. This single is from their debut and only climbed to #61, though it should have received more airplay. Their follow-up, What’s She Got? is superb as well.
Fun fact: Bass player Kyle Henderson lives in Madison, WI, and plays in a band called Blue-Eyed Soul, but occasionally there are Producers reunions up there.
Eric Clapton is a racist asshole. He’s so racist that a movement called Rock Against Racism was ignited because of him. It also took him over thirty years to make a lazy, half-hearted apology about his remarks in 1976. We don’t need him. There are other musicians out there we can enjoy instead. He can take his slow hand and fuck himself with it.
June 12th, 1982
If you didn’t own a leotard and leg warmers in 1980, you probably did after hearing Physical for the billionth time in 1981. The album is a well-produced and performed collection of West Coast Pop. Liv actually recorded a video album companion for each song on the LP. This was the third single, written of course by John Farrar, but it was blocked by falling rocks at #52.
This trio was formed by Otis’ two sons, Dexter and Otis III, and their cousin Mark Lockett. They were creating their own stew of soulful funk and waited until album number three to give their dad’s swansong a try. It’s not bad and definitely beats out Bolton’s vocal shredfest during the late 80s. This version will whistle its way up to #55.
What a sad ass rip-off of Elvira. All that’s missing is the papa-oom papa-mow-mows. This deserves a lower showing than its high of #76. Even Country radio, which runs on automatic kept this one at #22.
Everything this band touches has a soft layer of sleaze on it. I mean it as a compliment. I mean, this was their producer. It’s the second single from Players In The Dark (see?) and was co-written by Eddie Rabbitt. I’m sure if this song was more widely available, it would make many yacht rock playlists. This song will be the last chart hit after a ten-year run when it peaks at #60.
June 11th, 1983
If you get your impression of Australia from the song Down Under, you need to listen to this. Formed in the late 70s and named after a carnivorous lizard, this band crossed the oceans with this plea of indigenous land rights for the Aboriginals. This #3 Aussie smash will reach #71 in the States.
Can you believe people were intimidated by video games and the popularity of arcades? If you were afraid that Pac-Man was going to replace your Elton John Pinball Wizard machine or push all pool tables into the nearest dumpster, then you’re paranoid, an idiot or Joe Walsh. This was his last chart hit when Donkey Kong threw a barrel at it at #52.