Slick Performance On Demand

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We’re kicking off the thirty-second chart week of the 1980s with a mix of classics, should-have-been hits, and a fistful of clunkers. Let’s see who The Other Sixty were in 1980 up to 1983.

August 9th, 1980

84. Roxy Music- Over You

It makes no sense to me how Roxy Music’s singles failed to get Pop airplay, except for Love Is The Drug back in 1975, especially considering that every successful New Wave band that came out of the UK in the early 80s was obviously influenced by them. Maybe Bryan Ferry was too suave for us Americans. By their 1980 LP, Flesh and Blood, the group shrunk to a trio and released this as their first single. It reached #5 in England but will bow out at #80 over here as their last chart entry.

89. Linda Clifford – Red Light

Linda is an unsung hero during the disco era. She had so many good jams back then, including this one, featured on the Fame soundtrack, which Leroy used to break out of his own during his friend’s audition.  This will be her second chart hit to hit #41, but at least it will be #1 on the Disco charts.

August 15th, 1981

75. Debbie Harry – Backfired

Blondie had two #1 singles in 1981, with the last one, Rapture having only climbed down from the top, four months previous to Debbie’s first solo LP, Kookoo, and lead single. This choppy New Wave proto-disco single written and produced by Nile Rodgers, and Bernard Edwards did not have the desired effect on the Pop charts and, oh, how do you say it….didn’t work out the way the planned. It will malfunction (?) at #43, becoming her biggest solo single in the States.

81. Andy Gibb and Victoria Principal – All I Have To Do Is Dream

Love can make you do stupid things. This Everly Brothers cover converted into a duet with Pamela Ewing, effectively ended Andy’s recording career. His last release on RSO Records will feel blue at #51.

88. Deniece Williams – Silly

Neicy asked master producer Thom Bell to take the reins for her fifth album, My Melody. This beautiful ballad was one of two Top 20 Soul hits from the album. It was silly of her to think Pop radio would play something this sophisticated, which is why it peaked at #53.

90. Sad Cafe – La-Di-Da

Before Paul Young sang lead on Top 40 hits for Mike & the Mechanics, he was fronting this pop-rock Manchester sextet, which had success in the late 70s and early 80s in his native land. They first charted in the States with Run Home Girl, which peaked at #71 in 1979. This was their second and last US chart entry. From the Eric Stewart-produced Facades LP, this will only reach #78.

94. Debra Laws – Very Special

After singing on brother Ronnie’s and brother Hubert’s albums in the late 70s, Debra embarked on a solo career and released her debut in 1981. The Quiet storm classic featuring Ronnie on male vocals will be her biggest R&B hit, peaking at #11, while being her only Hot 100 representation, only moving up four spots from her debut.

August 14th, 1982

73. Huey Lewis and the News – Workin’ For A Livin’

This received so much airplay back then, especially on Fridays at 5PM, I would’ve sworn it hit the Top 40. It just missed, peaking at #41. Just because it was leapfrogged by Oh Julie by Barry Manilow doesn’t mean it’s not a classic.

83. Quarterflash – Night Shift

This nightshift is not referring to any passed away friends in heaven, like The Commodores would sing about in 1984. This is the title track to the Henry Winkler/ Michael Keaton movie about two guys who run a brothel from a city morgue. Talk about hardening your heart. This slinky pop track will fade into the dark at #60.

88. Spys – Don’t Run My Life

Original Foreigner members Al Greenwood and Ed Gagliardi decided to leave the group after the Head Games LP since they were tired of the money and fame. They started up a new group figuring it would be fun to make the same type of music, but without the pressures of popularity or check cashing. Their only chart single will quietly have a #82 zenith.

90. John Schneider – In The Driver’s Seat

Bo Duke thought it would be funny to record a song about being Bo Duke. The producers decided to include it on their Dukes Of Hazzard soundtrack album. But this modern-day Robin Hood didn’t jump up the charts at either Pop or country with this one. His last chart hit will spin out at #72.

August 13th, 1983

81. Styx – High Time

Does this mean it was recorded at 4:20? This Chicago quintet is obsessed with time. It’s their fourth charting single in the 80s with time in the title[They’ll end up with five.]. And that doesn’t count a Dennis DeYoung single in 1986 called This Is The Time. Buy a watch and move on, guys. The buzz will wear off at #48.

82. The Animals – The Night

A decent amount of 60s bands reunited for nostalgia and some new Boomer bucks in the 80s. Eric Burdon rounded up the original guys for a second time and recorded one more album, Ark, in 1983. They tried to go in through the Moody Blues door, but if you don’t have someone as creative and adept as Patrick Moraz, it ain’t gonna work. And the night will end at #48.

84. Heart – How Can I Refuse

And now we’ve reached Ann & Nacy Wilson’s low point as a band, but only if you look at the charts. Their 1983 album, Passionworks, is the only studio album between 1975’s Dreamboat Annie and 2004’s Jupiter’s Darling not to yield a Top 40 hit. It doesn’t mean this rocker isn’t good, quite the opposite. For some reason, Pop radio (or maybe the record company) lost interest in the band. This will be refused Top 40 entry at #44. But the group will change labels and being their most successful five years as a band beginning with 1985’s What About Love.

87. Sergio Mendes – Rainbow’s End

Here’s Sergio’s follow-up to his biggest career hit, Never Gonna Let You Go, which hit #4 in early Summer. Gone were the Latin rhythms and instruments, and in were the Westcoast smooth vibes. This one features vocals by Dan “Michael’s brother” Sembello, who co-wrote Neutron Dance with Allee Willis. Instead of a pot of gold, they found a #52 at the rainbow’s end.

90. Eddy Grant – I Don’t Wanna Dance

How do you follow up a monster smash like Electric Avenue? It’s hard, I know. So Eddy decided to release this lite reggae dance track that he doesn’t want to move to. In the street, there was violence at #53.

95. Ronnie Milsap – Don’t You Know How Much I Love You

Ronnie was a Nashville hit machine in the 80s. We are only in 1983, and this will be his eleventh #1 single on the Country charts. This midtempo ballad will only get to #58 on the Hot 100 but will reach the Top 20 on the AC charts. In my opinion, it has a lot more in common with a dentist chair than a mechanical bull.

 

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