As we start off the thirtieth chart week review of The Other Sixty, there are a few classics which have stood the test of time, some hidden gems, and those deserving of their chart fate. Let’s take a look at 1980 through 1982.
July 26th, 1980
The pride of Lindenhurst, Long Island leads off her second album, Crimes of Passion, with a cover of the Rascals 1966 Top 20 hit. It also had the notoriety of being the second video play on MTV. It will just miss out, hitting #42, but her follow-up, Hit Me With Your Best Shot, will become her first Top 10 smash.
[Somehow I missed this one in the first post. Thanks Victorvector for catching this omission.]
We have some Southern rock here from the surviving members of the horrific 1977 plane crash that killed Ronnie Van Zant, Steve, and Cassie Gaines. Feeling unable to continue as Lynyrd Skynyrd, they reformed in late 1979 under a new moniker and a female lead singer. This was their only charting hit released from their debut album. It will peak at #55.
This is Ted’s seventh and last Hot 100 entry as a solo artist. He had one Top 40 hit back in the Fall of 1977 called Cat Scratch Fever. This one will barely move inching up one spot before falling off the charts.
This was the first single from this Long Island, New York AOR quartet’s debut album, Touch. Three of the members had been in the band American Tears, which had released three albums in the late 70s. For all of that experience, this will be their most significant chart success before the spirit dies at #65.
This type of disco single was already out of fashion by 1980. Not sure who thought this would succeed in the post-Disco sucks, proto-New Wave era. I believe this was a Canadian release, so that might have something to do with it. This barely made the Top 50 on the Disco charts and on the Hot 100, it only climbed to #53.
This one debuts at its peak but, man, Pop radio missed out big on this one. Its lack of success also kept Chrysalis Records from releasing his full album debut. What I wouldn’t give to walk into a Karaoke bar and see this one on their playlist. Eric is a good friend of Jim Steiman and is usually the person singing vocals on his demos. He has also had a long career singing backing vocals of giant hits, such as John Lennon’s Woman, Billy Joel’s Tell Her About It, and Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back To Me. He also joined ELO Part II with Bev Bevan.
There were two bands of this namesake that charted in the 80s. This one was from a Power pop quintet from Pittsburgh, who only charted this one time. It would cease shivering and end shaking at #81. LEader Frank Czuri was in a previous band called Diamond Reo, and peaked at #44 in 1975 with a cover of Ain’t That Peculiar.
August 1st, 1981
I got a feeling this one didn’t so well at the time because radio was pushing Stop Dragging Me Heart Around instead. That single moved up to #38 during the week that this one, the second release from Hard Promises, debuted. As a result, this will only slide up three more notches.
Isn’t funny how some songs that don’t perform well initially end up becoming classics, even the defining song for a band? Squeeze has two Top 40 hits, but I bet you know this one way more than those two. Utility player Paul Carrack sang lead on this song and recorded with the band for one album, East Side Story, an LP that was originally going to be a double album producer for four different people, including Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, and Paul McCartney. In the end, it was mostly produced by Elvis Costello (he sings a few lines on the second verse), and it’s my second favorite album of theirs after Babylon & On. It will only reach #49 but will spawn many covers versions. Personally, I like Erykah Badu’s.
Fun fact: Paul would join Squeeze again for another album in 1993, Some Fantastic Place. And here’s the only other Squeeze song that he sings lead vocals on.
After scoring his first Top 20 hit in ten years with Winning, Santana follows it up with another slinky track, this time written by J.J. Cale. Alex “not Steve Perry” Lighterwood handles the lead vocal again on this 45, which will only reach #56.
When you think about all of the successful Australian acts of the 80s, Icehouse doesn’t get mentioned much. But they were charting in the US before Men At Work and INXS. It just took them a while to get their big hits. This one is probably a little ahead of its time, but it will still reach #62. Hey Little Girl is another great track that should have some success as well but didn’t chart.
July 31st, 1982
After Sons Of Champlin split up and before his turn in Chicago, Bill released two solo Westcoast albums. This single is the second release from his second solo album, Runaway, written by David Foster and Alan “Growing Pains” Thicke. This ballad is one of many potential hit singles. Unfortunately, Elektra Records had some management changes as this album was released, and subsequently, there was no push behind it. Still, this track would have a #61 zenith.
After having a #11 hit with Body Language, Queen follows up it up with the least disco sounding track on the album, Hot Space. Written by drummer Roger Taylor, the girls will turn a deaf ear to it at #60
Trying to get some of that Meco money, Walter leaves the classical composer alone and goes after John Williams instead. This disco medley of different themes from the movie, E.T., was his first chart hit since 1976 and his last. It will go home at #47.
This may be the most important song Dolly has ever written. She wrote it as a farewell to Porter Wagoner and his show, on which Dolly was a star. Released as a single from her Jolene LP in 1974, it became a #1 Country smash. She re-recorded it for the soundtrack to The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, and it hit #1 again as well as reaching #53 on the Pop charts. It was this incarnation which the producers of The Bodyguard heard and had Whitney Houston record it for the film. It will eventually hit #1 for 14 weeks, with the single selling four million copies. It will reach #3 in 2012 after Whitney’s death. The money Dolly made from this recording has been given back to her community, primarily through children’s book programs, many times over.
John was earnestly trying to keep his career going in 1982. His single Shanghai Breezes reached #31, so there was reason to hope. He released the title track to his recent album as the follow-up single, but all this ballad could manage was a #78 showing.
Foreigner had their biggest success with their fourth album, 4, which spun off four Top 40 singles. Why not go for five? This one sounds like album filler to me, and radio agreed. Ice cold Luanne will run and ride at #75.
Here’s a singer/ songwriter from England who’s trying to get some of that Bob Seger cash, singing in a gruff voice about the past. Sorry, Joe, that’s Bob’s stock in trade. You’re gonna have to get your own schtick. This will one will peak at #80.