Chart week thirty-six is another light week for The Other Sixty. That said, this group is filled with classics representing just about every genre you would expect from 1980 through 1983, minus some New Wave. Let’s review.
September 6th, 1980
From the Phil Collins Divorce Files comes another post-first wife track. But rather than talk about what a harlot she was, Phil the Shill sings about his loneliness and horniness. He also needs help with his pick up lines, because can I touch you for a while probably only works if there’s a money exchange happening. They played this so much back then, and since on rock radio, I’m shocked that someone hit the switch at #58. Also, this is the first song I learned to play on the drums.
The former DJ turned MC was rap’s first superstar. Capitalizing on the Sugarhill Gang’s success earlier in the year, Kurtis released his debut and this classic hip-hop jam. [For context’s sake, Kurtis actually released Christmas Rappin’ on a 12″ record in 1979 a few months after Rapper’s Delight]. Rather than use samples, the music was recorded live by musicians, including jazz player John Tropea on guitar and T-Bone Wolk on bass, who’d go on to play with Hall & Oates throughout the 80s. It was the first rap record to go Gold and will hit the R&B Top 5. That it charted on the Hot 100 at #87 was indeed a success as well.
September 12th, 1981
Here is the follow-up to the Karen & Richard’s final Top 40 hit, Touch Me When We’re Dancing. This song and its structure sound so close to the Pointer Sisters’ He’s So Shy, I would have sued writers Chris Christian and Kerry Chater. I think these two were dealing with other stuff at that time. Nevertheless, it will stall out #72.
This bluesy little number was Van’s first appearance on the Hot 100, even though he had written a Top 10 Country hit for Crystal Gayle in 1979 called Your Kisses Will. From his debut, China Girl, this single will stop coming at #79.
Saxophonist Ronnie was laying down laws like Alan Kopit. But he wouldn’t stop it even if he thought he wouldn’t make a profit. Uh. His only chart hit, released from his sixth album, Solid Ground, would make the R&B Top 20 even as it fell asleep here at #60. Personally, I prefer the album before this one, Every Generation.
Here’s a trio who released their first album on the Sugarhill Records label, but it was not rap but rather electro-funk. It helped that member Joey Robinson was label head Sylvia Robinson’s son. This single boogied up to #18 on the R&B chart, but only moved up three spots on the Hot 100. There was also an uptick in cardboard sales.
September 11th, 1982
This was the first solo chart single from the leader of the freshly defunct band, Led Zeppelin. His debut, Pictures At Eleven featured Phil Collins drumming on most songs, including this one. And now you know why he played Bonham in the Live Aid movie. It got a lot of Rock airplay, ut eventually collapsed after hitting #64.
This is a guy who is a living testament to the phrase “big in Japan.” Folks over there call him Mr. AOR. In his native country, we only know him by his one and only hit, What You Won’t Do For Love, though he has maintained a following from Westcoast enthusiasts, such as myself. This was the lead single for his third album, Carry On, which featured most of the players in Toto as well as the Tower of Power horns. This will be his last chart hit when it reaches #77, although he’ll return as a songwriter four years later with the #1 smash, The Next Time I Fall.
This was the lead single from this Cleveland, OH sextet’s, and one of Drew Carey’s favorite bands’ eighth album, MSB. By adding a saxophonist to the group, they started to edge their way towards some of that Journey money, but never quite got there. This single will peak #78.
September 10th, 1983
Man, everyone lost their mind over this Godley & Creme-produced video. It helped to turn this jazz keyboardist, who was playing with Miles in the early 60s, on to a whole new generation. As Herbie moved from fusion into electro-funk with the help of his Fairlight CMI, this single became more infamous than famous, as it only hit #71, even though it went Gold. It would be a Top 10 hit in the UK and eventually win him a Grammy for R&B instrumental
Crystal’s crossover days were coming to an end, just like her trips to the hair salon. Written by Josh Leo and Wendy Waldman, this midtempo ballad will be another Country #1 for Miss Gayle but will flounder at #83 Pop.
How about a little Westcoast jazz from Milwaukee’s famous Al? No, not this guy, I mean, Al Jarreau. His third single from his Jarreau LP will scat up to #63, but it will be a Top 10 AC hit.
Crystal’s former duet partner is debuting two spots below her with a track that was recorded for and released from his Greatest Hits Vol. II album. It will be yet another Country smash, hitting #10, but his last Hot 100 entry will only get up to #81.