As we start chart week thirty-seven and our review of The Other Sixty, it still looks like most singles are making it in the 40. Some of the ones on this list probably ended where they should. One from the 70s came back to cement its iconic status. Another one will hit #1 almost six years after its debut. Let’s take a look at 1980 up through 1984.
September 13th, 1980
This artist got the Supertramp bump because his brother was in the band. That’s why you might have heard his one hit, Take a Little Rhythm. He was on A&M Records, which is why you probably didn’t hear anything else from them. Seriously, that company’s A&R department was awful. This breezy follow-up missed the Casey call by a notch. Ali recorded an even better album, Deception Is An Art, but it fell into the cut out bins. His first album in almost thirty years was released at the end of last year called Songs From the Playroom.
It’s evident that radio wanted Long Islander Eddie to only rock. Any variation from that caused them to lose interest in his stuff. That’s why singles such as the lead release from his third album, Playing For Keeps, will stiff. It’s gonna trip and fall like Michael Douglas at #78.
The Southern rock enlightened rogues got back together in 1979 for a trio of albums, which the band considers their “embarrassing” era. Reach For The Sky might not be one of their best albums, but this single was OK, reaching #58. It would drummer Jaimoe’s last album with the band until he rejoined them at the end of the decade.
I’m not sure why Solar Records needed another group like Shalamar on their roster, but here there are. With Jody, Howard & Jeffrey already established at radio, this LA trio found themselves competing for a spot that was already taken. This slice of dance funk will hit the R&B Top Ten but will be their only chart entry on the Hot 100, peaking at #87.
September 19th, 1981
I honestly never heard this song before this week. There are so many lost Temps songs from the late 70s through the 80s. I’m amazed they didn’t give up during this time. It’s not that this single isn’t good, per se. It’s just not befitting a Soul group of their stature and importance. It will barely crack the R&B Top and aim for #67 on the Pop charts.
Here’s a song by the Australian pop duo Alan Tarney and Trevor Spencer whose first attempt at success garnered them a chart entry in May 1979, when it reached #84. The pair had split by the beginning of the 80s, and Alan was working as a producer for Cliff Richard and Leo Sayer. This single gathered renewed interest as its video was played a lot during the first few months of MTV. A&M Records tried to capitalize on this, re-releasing a shorter version of the song. This easily could have been a hit in the weaker 1981 Pop market, but it will only get up to #74. Did I mention A&M Records sucks?
Poor Marvin. By the time ‘ol Loaf got his voice back and finally recorded his follow-up to Bat Out Of Hell, the fire was gone. Jim Steinman was back though, with a new group of songs that go on forever. The album, Dead Ringer, included the original version of Read Em And Weep, which Barry Manilow made a Top 40 hit in 1984. They picked this as the lead single, and even with Meat’s double love, it will only budge one spot. Fear not, devoted fans – he’ll go back to hell well in the 90s and have a huge #1 smash with I‘d Do Anything For Love in 1993.
For anyone else doing a honky-tonk disco cover of an Animals hit, I’d give them hell. For Dolly, she gets a ain’t that precious? Plus, Mike Post produced her album, and I’m not about to start talking trash about him. This tale of a poor boy’s ruin will stall out at #77.
Billy had been performing and recording since the mid-60s. In fact, he had a Top 40 hit with Judy Clay in 1968 called Country Girl – City Man. In the late 70s, he formed a band called the Beaters in Los Angeles, which ended up with a regular gig playing the Troboudaour every Monday night. Those gigs nabbed them a contract with Alfa Records, and Billy and the boys recorded their debut live at the Roxy in January 1981. The album even gave them a minor hit, I Can Take Care of Myself, which hit #39. This soulful ballad was released as their follow-up but unfortunately only got as high as #79. Billy didn’t have any more chart success in the early 80s. Then a producer for the show Family Ties saw his current band at the time perform this song live and decided it would work as a backdrop for Micahel J. Fox’s character as he went through torture pining for his eventual girlfriend, Ellen (not that one.). The song would be reissued on Rhino Records (yes, that one) and reach #1 for two weeks in early 1987. The moral of the story is if you like what you do, keep doing it. You never know who may be listening to you.
September 18th, 1982
90. Yaz – Situation
After helping to form and then leaving Depeche Mode after one album, Vince Clarke formed his first duo, Yazoo (known as Yaz in the States). This synth-pop twosome featuring the vocals of Alison Moyet, recorded two albums and several classic New Wave singles. This was their first chart entry. It don’t make sense, but it will move out at #73
September 17th, 1983
The former Top 30 hit from 1979 is here for only one reason: Tom Cruise sliding across the floor in his shirt and socks. Because this is what a rich white senior in high school plays when he’s left alone in a house full of booze. This reissue will get as high as #48.
I’m sure his fellow bandmates wished Lionel well on his solo adventures, but I’m also sure they missed the hell out of good songs to sing. This ballad by keyboardist Milan Williams was a valiant effort but lacks the earnest charm of their previous slow numbers. It still worked its way up to #54.
Anne is still crossing over trying to get back into the Top 40, although by this point, she is primarily a Country artist. This single will go to #1 on the Country charts and receives a little good news on the Hot 100 as it moves up, but only for twenty-one notches.
September 15th, 1984
I’m not going to use this space to talk about how Juicy Fruit should have been a bigger snash at Pop radio, but damn, it should have. It also bought Reggie Lucas and James Mtume another chart entry, the lesser but still smooth title track from their new album. It will reach #2 on the R&B charts, but stall on the Hot 100, only climbing six more steps before the menage a trois gets busted up.
Herb was having trouble keeping his success going after Rise hit #1 in 1979. So he had a great idea: try to sell his synth exploits and trumpet noodling to the Boomer audience by putting the old easy listening band back together. It didn’t work. It debuts at its peak. I can’t help but think this title is missing a T. A&M Records, folks.
Nothing sounds as metal as a Swiss band named their group after a pretty flower. Their eighth album, The Blitz, produced their first US chart single. Alas, it will die like a plant under the winter snow at #71.