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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.