As we reach the middle of the decade during chart week thirty-three, we come across a lot of great singles that just didn’t get a chance or the timing wasn’t right. Let’s review The Other Sixty from 1983 up to 1985.
August 20th, 1983
Boy, how things can change in a short time. Five years before this release, the Brothers Gibb were dominating the Pop charts with one #1 after another. Cut to 1983, and they are having trouble getting into the Top 20, let alone the Top 40. This second single release from the Saturday Night Fever sequel, Staying Alive, is a quiet ballad featuring a sax solo from David Sanborn that barely makes it into the Top 50, dying at #49.
Chris’ follow-up to his first Top 40 hit, Don’t Pay the Ferryman, was this boisterous pop-rock affair, both from his sixth album, The Getaway. It will wash up on the rocks at #71.
It’s 1983, twenty plus years since The Lonely Bull and Herb is releasing his twenty-seventh album, Blow Your Own Horn. Gotta keep the lights on. His first single release is this instrumental, which will only get as high as #81 though it will chart on the R&B charts reaching #77. It will also become a Top 20 AC hit.
Way before the mashup movement gained momentum in the 2000s, an Italian quartet took a 1972 Steely Dan Top 10 and perfectly blended it with Michael Jackson’s #1 from earlier in the year. This song was so hot that an American group called Slingshot recorded their own version of the mashup and had a #1 Club hit. Club House’s recording was a smash throughout Europe, but it was no high climber in the States, only hitting #75.
The legend of George Michael and Andrew Ridgely begins here with this disco-flavored synth-pop from their debut, Fantastic. This ode to the rebellious male teen would be a #2 hit in the UK, but would only stick together up to #60 in the U.S. But one year later, they would go-go to the top.
Fun fact: Want to know why they initially added the UK to their name? It was because of this band.
Here’s an oddity in the early MTV era, a Virginia sextet playing country rock. Their only chart entry was this track released from their EP, Nightfighter. It will have a #88 zenith.
Kenny was a machine in the 80s. This single release is from the first of two 1983 album releases, We’ve Got Tonight, which has already resulted in two hits, the title track and All My Life. I’m not sure why this charted at all, even though it was a Top 5 country smash. Islands In The Stream will debut on the Hot 100 next week while this is debuting at its peak.
This Kentucky octet had been making great synth-funk since 1980, but their fourth album, No Parking On The Dance Floor, is their masterpiece. It’s the album where all of the pieces fit together perfectly – writing, performance, and production – and features three of their classics, including this one. It was the first single released at will get freaky on the Soul charts hitting #2, but it will wind down after reaching #66 on the Hot 100.
August 18th, 1984
I think we had formulaic pop-rock covered by 1984, so I’m not sure who thought we needed more. This was the first single from the Oakland, CA quartet’s debut, and it will not get the satisfaction of going higher than #64.
After a decade of hits with the Electric Light Orchestra, Jeff Lynne gets his first and only chart single in the States. A reworked outtake from the Secret Messages sessions, it was featured on the soundtrack to the film, Electric Dreams, which featured a love triangle between a man, woman, and a computer. It will inch up two spots before turning the channel.
90. Dragon – Rain
This Australian pop-rock band had formed in the early seventies, releasing six albums, but failed to breakthrough in America even after an opening spot on a Johnny Winter tour. So they split up at the end of the decade. But the tax collector came a-calling, so they reformed with XTC’s old drummer Terry Chambers to pay some bills. Their 1984 album Body and The Beat became their biggest selling long play Down Under and nabbed them this chart hit in the States. The rain will end at #88.
When you hear the first few bars of this track, you know that Neil must have written this with Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager. Unfortunately, without a Speilberg film to be inspired by, it just didn’t have the spark to connect with Pop audiences, and we all turned back around at #62.
August 17th, 1985
Foreigner’s fourth single release from 1984’s Agent Provocateur is like a weak first draft of I Want To Know What Love Is. They obviously didn’t have enough songs for an album while they were recording this. Otherwise, why put it on? If it wasn’t sung by Lou Gramm, I’m not sure that anyone would ever pay attention. It will peak at #54 before ignoring Lou’s advising and going down.
Survivor is testing our patience with another single from their Vital Signs LP, which has already generated three Top 40 songs. This will end up being one of their ten tracks in The Other Sixty when the night ends at #53.
Steve was too potent a player to hang in the funk outfit Slave for very long. He recorded with them from 1978 to 1981 before releasing his dynamite debut album, Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame, Vol. 1 in 1983. This uplifting dance single was the title track from his third album, and this Top 10 Soul hit will be only chart entry at #68. Brother George Johnson plays the funk bass line. I guess all that was missing was wonder and music.
This California quartet featured drummer Jack Irons and guitarist who also had a side project called the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When they got a record deal, they left RHCP to focus on this band. Produced by Todd Rundgren, their own and only chart hit is a rock cover of The Spinners’ 1972 smash. It will hit a fork in the road at #62. Hillel and Jack will rejoin the Peppers for two albums before Slovak’s overdose and death in 1988.
Sweet little Amy crossed over to the Top 40 in the Summer of 1985 with Find A Way from her seventh album, Unguarded. This was her follow-up, another dance-pop single that warns the listener about falling in love, especially with false prophets. We will get wise at #66.
The story goes that Tom was getting pissed off during the recording of this track for the band’s upcoming Southern Accents album. Because they couldn’t nail down the sound the way he heard it, he lost his shit and punched a wall breaking his left hand, which required surgery and multiple ins and screws to fix. To add insult to injury, this 45 will only get as high as #75