When It’s All Too Late

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As I take a look at The Other Sixty from the thirty-first chart week, I see a few of my faves in there. Hopefully, they outweigh the duds. Let’s review 1982 through 1985.

August 7th, 1982

81. Steve Winwood – Still In The Game

Steve was still looking for his second solo Top 40 hit when he released the first single from his third album, Talking Back To The Night. He plays all of the instruments on this song, and his then-wife, Nicole, sings backing vocals. It will peak just outside at #47.

82. Nicolette Larson – I Only Want To Be With You

This former background singer for Neil Young was carving out a steady solo career for herself in the late 70s and early 80s. This 1964 Dusty Springfield cover was from Nicolette’s fourth album, All Dressed Up and No Place To Go. Unlike the Bay City Rollers and Samantha Fox version, which hit the Top 40, this Westcoast pop-rocker will not stand a chance in rising any higher than #53. This will be her last chart single.

83. Billy Squier – Emotions In Motion

Welcome to the thud of Squier. If this music sounds like an outtake from Queen’s The Game, it’s because Billy and they were sharing the same producer, Reginald Mack. Also, Roger Taylor and Freddie sing backing vocals. It will be attacked by a dragon at #68.

89. Christopher Atkins – How Can I Live Without Her

Here’s Golden Raspberry award winner, Chris Atkins trying his hand at singing with this ballad from The Pirate Movie, in which he starred with Kristy McNichol in an update of The Pirates of Penzance. Many bombs were ignited in the process, and this one exploded at #71.

90. Toronto – Your Daddy Don’t Know

Following in the footsteps of Boston and Chicago, here’s a Canadian quintet named after the capital of Ontario with their one and only US chart hit. Released from their third album, Get It On Credit, dad gets wise at #77.

Fun fact: During the recording of their third album, two band members plus Jim Valance wrote the song, What About Love. They didn’t include it on the album, but Jim took it to Heart, who had a Top 10 hit with it in 1985.

August 6th, 1983

90. Tears For Fears – Change

Man, do I love these guys. My wife and I saw them live when she was pregnant with our first child. I’m sure a lot of the music seeped in because I find my daughter sitting on her bed, sometimes looking like the cover of The Hurting. This was the only charting single from their debut in the US and will only hit #73, although it will be a UK Top 10. Seems that we need our pain wrapped in sugar, which is why TFF’s next album was a smash here. Also, I love that bassline, just thump, thump, thump on the one and three, doing so little but still funky.

92. Lindsey Buckingham – Holiday Road

I heard this song so much as a kid from watching reruns of National Lampoon’s Vacation over and over on HBO. It never occurred to me that it was released as a single to be played on the radio. The two-minute ditty works for the movie, but it sounds like it was recorded in ten minutes. It drove up to #82 before being shut down for renovations. The moose out front should have told ya.

95. Kissing The Pink – Maybe This Day

If the idea was to make money at music or at the least, have people listen to it, this UK quartet shot themselves in the foot with their band name. Otherwise, this synth oddity is a lost pop gem that should have gone beyond its #87 zenith. It won’t do much better in England, hitting #83.

August 4th, 1984

83. Van Stephenson – What The Big Girls Do

Van follows-up his tale of the beauty salon battleax with this creepy rocker about a young girl who tries to seduce older men. Dude, you need a healthy relationship. It will reach #45 and become his last Pop chart entry.

86. The Bus Boys – Cleanin’ Up The Town

We got one! As the siren blares and the boys slide down the pole off to their first ghost bust, this L.A. sextet rolls through some 50s-inspired rock and soul. But their sound also included New Wave flourishes which garnered them spots in 48 Hrs and an opening slot on Eddie Muphy’s Delirious tour. They were also a smoking hot live band. Their one and only chart hit was from the Ghostbusters soundtrack, but gets slimed at #68.

88. Grandmaster Melle Mel & The Furious Five – Beat Street Breakdown (Pt. 1)

After royalty disputes caused Grandmaster Flash to split from the group, Melle Mel renamed their outfit and released their own album in 1984. This track was recorded after that for the Beat Street soundtrack and lyrically sounds like The Message and White Lines mixed together. It’s still a classic breakdancing track but will only move up two spots before disappearing.

94. Ronnie Milsap – She Loves My Car

I dig Ronnie’s country-pop crossover hits of the early 80s, but this one in particular. It had an MTV-ready video that rarely got played outside of CMT, even though it had a twenty-year-old Mariska Hargitay hijacking a convertible that just got a fill-up from Tattoo. It also has a high-heeled moonwalker, breakdancers with wrenches, John Doe and Exene from X and climactic dance sequence. Co-written by Bill LaBounty, it was released specifically for the pop market but crashed at #84.

August 3rd, 1985

74. Kim Carnes – Abadabadango

For every sussudio, there’s an abadabadango. I get a headache just looking at that title. Kim’s upbeat follow-up to her last Top 40 hit, Crazy In the Night, stumbles up seven spots before dropping off.

75. Julian Lennon – Jesse

Julian delivered an excellent debut album, Valotte, in 1984. I think the fascination of being John’s son as well as sounding like him, wore off quickly and the songs stood up on their own. This was the fourth single released and easily could have been another Top 40 hit. But it said its goodbyes at #54.

88. Bon Jovi – In And Out Of Love

I listen to a single like this, and I can’t believe this group is in the RNRHOF. This song has such an anonymous sound, I could tell you it was by Wyld Stallyns, and you’d believe me. It’s only a coincidence that it peaks at #69 dudes.

89. Belouis Some – Some People

B-lizzle has his second chart hit from his debut, and this one will be better than the first. It’s another NewWave classic even though this Top 10 Club hit will only reach #67. The song was also used to sell Swatches.

90. The Beach Boys – It’s Getting Late

The follow-up to the Beach Boys’ Getcha Back is, in my opinion, a better song and a valiant attempt to take their sound forward into the 80s. Because it only hit #82, I feel like everyone just rode out that early 60s vibe on future singles until it wore as thin as Eugene Landy’s patience. But it’s always great to hear Carl Wilson’s soaring tenor.

 

A Word That Anyone Can Say

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We have a lot of The Other Sixty to review for the thirty-first chart week. So let’s take a look at 1980 and 1981.

August 2nd, 1980

83. Lipps, Inc. – Rock It

This Minneapolis led outfit led by Steven Greenberg had one of the biggest hits towards the end of the first Disco era with Funkytown. It was going to be hard to scale those heights again. Their follow-up was actually the first single that was recorded and released by the group, which got them signed to Casablanca. It will reach #64 then make a move to a town that’s off the Hot 100.

84. Whitesnake – Fool For Your Loving

This British hard rock quintet started off the 80s much differently than they finished it. This was the lead single from the band’s third album, Ready an’ Willing, and will peak at #53. In 1989, a newly recorded version will make the Top 40 getting the Shadoe call at #37.

85. Foghat – Stranger In My Home Town

Foghat wraps up their chart singles career with this one from the album, Tight Shoes. This upbeat rocker was recorded at Foghat Studios on Long Island, making them strangers in their adopted home town of Port Jefferson. It will walk up four spots before running away.

87. Randy Vanwarmer – Whatever You Decide

After hitting the Top 10 in 1979 with Just When I Needed You Most, everyone expected Randy to churn out the fuzzy ballads. But that single was not representative of his style as singles like this one attest. This pop-rock 45 from his second album, Terraform, will decide to only go as high as #77.

88. Spider – Everything Is Alright

This New York quintet follows up their only Top 40 single, New Romance, with this pop-rocker from their debut album, written and sung by keyboardist Holly Knight. Holly will write tons of 80s smashes from Pat Benatar’s Invincible to Tina Turner’s Better Be Good To Me, but not this one. It will barely move two notches.

89. Yipes!! – Darlin’

Wow, what a band name. This Power pop quintet from Milwaukee, Wisconsin nabs their only chart hit with a cover of the Beach Boys 1968 hit from the 1979 debut album. It’s a pretty good version, but it will peak at #68.

August 8th, 1981

83. Art Garfunkel – A Heart In New York

Art had a respectable solo career away from his former partner, racking up five Top 40 hits and one as a trio with James Taylor & Paul Simon. The man with a Masters in math will garner his last Hot 100 solo entry with a slice from Scissors Cut. Written by Gallagher & Lyle, this folky acoustic ballad with stop beating at #66.

84. Michael Stanley Band – Falling In Love Again

This Cleveland, Ohio bunch scored a Top 40 hit earlier in 1981 with he Can’t Love You. This is the lead single from their latest album, North Coast, their sixth. Produced by Eddie Kramer, the midtempo rocker will hit #64 and start falling again.

85. Don McLean – It’s Just the Sun

Ten years after releasing American Pie, Don racks up his second to last chart single with the follow-up to the #23 single, Since I Don’t Have You as well as the #5 cover of Roy Orbison’s Crying. With backing vocals by the Jordanaires, this mellow Nashville single will burn out at #83.

86. Larry John McNally – Just Like Paradise

This is a mighty fine song and one of my faves from the Westcoast genre. I would love to see someone put this on a current show or in a movie to bring it back to life. Rod Stewart did the reverse with another LJ track, The Motown Song when he found it on the Quicksilver soundtrack and covered it with the Temptations. This debuts at its peak, and that’s a friggin’ injustice, especially in such a lax year of programmer playlists.

87. Bernadette Peters – Dedicated To The One I Love

After scoring a #31 hit with a cover of Carla Thomas’ Gee Whiz in 1980, this Tony award-winner released a remake of the Shirelles 1960 hit, also popularized by the Mamas and Papas in 1967, in 1981. She will only take hers up to #65. Should have added a trumpet solo.

88. Cheryl Lynn – Shake It Up Tonight

And now we’ve reached the part of the 80s where quality disco tracks get ignored by Pop radio. This is a stone jam, written by Mike & Brenda Sutton and produced by Ray Parker Jr. with other members of Raydio playing on it as well. It will reach the Top 5 on the Soul and Disco charts, but only #70 on the Hot 100.

89. Change – Hold Tight

Another great Disco single, given the Heisman by Pop programmers. Even though Change’s debut gave us A Lover’s Holiday and The Glow Of Love, their second album, Miracles, is even better and my favorite from this Italo-Anglo group. But, dammit, it’s debuting at its peak.

90. Nielsen/Pearson – The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore

Reed Nielsen and Mark Pearson put a hold on their Westcoast career and instead record a cover of this 1966 Walker Brothers hit, initially written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio for Frankie Valli. It was going to be the first single from their new LP, Atomic Cafe, but the album was shelved after the sun sets on this single at #56. This duo will record one more album, Blind Luck, in 1983 before splitting up for good.

Running Wild In A Confined Space

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Time to finish up our review of The Other Sixty from the thirtieth chart week. Our debuts are from 1987, 1988, and 1989.

August 1st, 1987

88. Glenn Medeiros – Watching Over You

Hawaiian singer Glenn Medieros had an international with a George Benson cover of Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You. That prompted the recording of a full album full of sappy ballads such as this one. The watchdog falls asleep at #80. In three years from now, he will hit #1 with a Bobby Brown throwaway single, She Ain’t Worth It.

Fun fact: Glenn is currently the principal of a Catholic school in Honolulu.

93. Curiosity Killed The Cat – Misfit

Man, I was obsessed with this song from the first time that I heard it. Funny how that can happen, how a particular song can cut into deeply without explanation. It takes me back to the Summer of 87, carrying my boombox on the beach, sitting in the dunes playing the song which I taped off the radio, WLIR specifically, over and over. I had to go to a specific record store to order the 12″ single as an import, which took four weeks for me to receive.

This single and quartet were initially referred to as teeny-bop but also labeled as sophisti-pop, which just means they mixed jazz and soul into their pop sound, just like Sade and Swing Out Sister. This single will be their only chart hit, just missing the Casey call at #42.

Fun fact: Andy Warhol directed the video to this song when it was first released in the UK in 1986. It was his last appearance on camera. By the time it was released in the US, he had passed away.

98. Cover Girls – Spring Love

This New York freestyle trio is on the second chart single after the mild success of Show Me. It is debuting at its peak this week. Also, it has nothing to do with Stevie B.’s freestyle track of the same name.

July 30th, 1988

86. Run-D.M.C. – Mary, Mary

The Hollis, Queens threesome follow-up their breakthrough album, Raising Hell with Tougher Than Leather, which features the classics Run’s House and I Ain’t Going Out Like That. This single, which covers and samples the 1966 Monkees song, was the only one that charted. But Pop radio started buggin’ and turned away from this song as it only climbed to #75. They should have asked Peter Tork to wear a Kangol and Addidas tracksuit in their video.

90. Cher – Skin Deep

I love Cher. You never know what version of her act that you’re gonna get. In the late 80s she did some double-dipping, jumpstarting her music career yet again at the same time as her Oscar-winning performance in Moonstruck. Her 1987 self-titled album netted her two big hit ballads, but for her third single, she goes the dance-pop route. I can take this way more than I Found Someone, but radio felt differently, shedding it on the charts at #79.

94. Belinda Carlisle – I Feel Free

A 1966 Cream cover may seem like an odd choice for this Go-Gos singer. For what it’s worth, she makes it work for her. For the crowd that enjoyed her Top 10 smashes, Circle In The Sand, I Get Weak, and Heaven Is A Place On Earth, they were non-plussed and gave her a spoonful of strange brew at #88.

98. Kings Of The Sun – Black Leather

Yes, if you are kings of the sun, your skin will be black leather. But this song is not a PSA. It’a hard rock track from an Australian group that debuts at its peak with its only US chart hit.

July 29th, 1989

82.John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band – Pride & Passion

When Eddie & the Cruisers died at the theatres in 1983, I can’t imagine anyone thought there would be a sequel only six years. I’m sure any of us asked for one. Well, maybe a handful of guys from Rhode Island did. John and his cohorts decide to ride that ship until it sinks, providing music for Part II: Eddie Lives and give everyone yet another chance to hear third-rate Springsteen rockers. This will be the last chart hit for these dudes when it hits #66.

92. The Jets – You Better Dance

I’ve watched Unsung: The Jets (I sure did), so I’m guessing someone in their family pissed off their record company just enough for them to give up on this single. This Michael Jonzun cut was way better than most of the dance-pop on the charts at the time. But it bombed out everywhere. The guilty feet lost their rhythm at #59.

95. Waterfront – Nature Of Love

I never understood the point of a duo. Yes, Hall & Oates is a duo, but they need a band to make their music. So why not just be a band? Indigo Girls can play by themselves just fine. Chromeo, ditto. Those are true duos. These two British bros looked good brooding in suits, but they needed lots of production behind them. It helped them score a Top 10 hit, Cry, but their soft pop follow-up will only climb to #70.

96. Stage Dolls – Love Cries

Glam rock was a money-printing machine, and everyone wanted in on the action. This Norwegian power trio just to shoehorn their style into that genre for a few bucks. All they ended up with is one US chart single that sobbed its way up to #46.

97. Guns N’ Roses – Nightrain

Guns N Roses had four straight Top 10 hits, starting in late 1987. Their last one, Patience, was from the GNR Lies EP. Because the band was touring, they decide to release another single from Appetite For Destruction. This ode to cheap liquor passed out at #93.