Life Is So Strange When You Don’t Know

It’s another heavy week for The Other Sixty with lots of well-known artists missing the mark. Let’s see what chart week thirty-nine has in store for us as we review 1980 up to 1983.

September 27th, 1980

90. Frank Stallone – Case Of You

I had a boss who told me that he went to AA meetings with Frank Stallone in the 80s. He wouldn’t have known who he was except that he told everyone all the time whether they asked or not. It makes those jokes Norm McDonald said on Weekend Update even funnier knowing how much he puffed himself for strangers. This was Frank’s first solo 45 after spending time as the lead singer of Valentine. And yes, it is, a cover of the Joni Mitchell song. But, more than that, it was arranged by Van Dyke Parks and produced by Harry Nilsson. It will reach #67.

[Currently, there is no audio of the original single on YouTube (that’s first for The Other Sixty), only the 2007 re-recorded version.]

October 3rd, 1981

84. Rickie Lee Jones – A Lucky Guy

Rickie followed-up her Grammy-winning debut two years after its release with Pirates. While it was more musically ambitious than the first, it was also harder to find an obvious single. The record company chose this ballad, one of many on the album that details her break-up from Tom Waits. Its luck will run out at #64.

85. ZZ Top – Leila

Uh-oh. ZZ is getting a little soft. Are they hanging out with Leila on her yacht in the Santa Monica harbor? I’m not sure their fans approve, which explains the #77 zenith. Luckily they’ll be back to do the Tube Snake Boogie with Leila and give her a Pearl Necklace.

86. The Dirt Band – Fire In The Sky

The 1981 album, Jealousy, will mark an end to the five-year Dirt Band run, as they will add back the Nitty Gritty with their next album. This single will be their last entry on the Hot 100 as they begin a concerted effort as a Country band in 1983, racking sixteen Country Top 10 hits in the 1980s, with three of them going to #1. This single, with backing vocals by Kenny Loggins, will burn out at #76.

89. Triumph – Magic Power

This Canadian hard rock trio pulls out the acoustic guitars, Tenacious D-style, for the lead-off single from their fifth album, Allied Forces. It will become their biggest hit in Canada when it reaches #14. Here in the States, the magic will fade away at #51.

October 2nd, 1982

70. Donna Summer – State Of Independence

Donna follows up her Top 10 hit, Love Is In Control, with a reggae-lite cover of a 1981 Jon & Vangelis song. Producer Quincy Jones pulled out all the stops on this one, putting together an all-star back-up choir featuring Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, and others. Too bad the proceeds didn’t go towards the famine in Ethiopia. Otherwise, the track might have gone reached a higher state than #41.

75. Paul McCartney – Tug Of War

Tug Of War was Mac’s first album since the death of his friend, John. While there weren’t any obvious tribute songs on this album, the title track could be seen as one, illustrating their tight, but at times, contentious relationship.  It will fail as a single here and in the UK. But as this falls from its zenith of #53, Paul debuts up at #45 with Michael Jackson with The Girl Is Mine.

80. Bill Medley – Right Here And Now

Righteous bro, Bill, continues to jump-start his solo career, this time with another Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil track. This Richar Perry-produced single will be the title track to his ninth album and peak at #58. I swear. It’s the truth.

81. Timothy B. Schmit – So Much In Love

After the Eagles broke up, it was a race to see who could get their solo career going first. Joe Walsh hit the Top 40 in 1981 with A Life Of Illusion, but that really doesn’t count since he was releasing solo records before and during his band tenure. Henley got into the Top 40 at the end of 1981 but as a duet with Stevie Nicks. So Frey considers himself the winner as got in there by himself first earlier in the year, and he’s currently in the Top 40 with The One You Love. But what about poor Timbo? He got a song onto the Fast Times At Ridgemont High soundtrack along with Walsh, Henley, and Felder. [Sorry, Glenn] His cover of the Tymes #1 smash from 1963 will say Aloha, Mr. Hand at #59.

85. Missing Persons – Destination Unknown

This LA quintet was one of the first to take advantage of MTVs influence by pairing their synth-pop sound with a unique, flashy look, especially lead singer Dale Bozzio’s wild look, which folks went gaga over. I felt like I heard this song all Summer. One of the local radio stations that our camp bus driver listened to all the time jumped on it before it became a single. This New Wave classic will miss getting the Casey call when it reaches its final destination of #42.

87. Bad Company – Electricland

If you wondered what a Foreigner song would song like if they weren’t singing about a conniving devil woman slut, then give this one a play. [I may be paraphrasing the original review in Billboard.] This bluesy shuffler will get short-circuited at #74. The band would break-up shortly after that, and Paul Rodgers would form The Firm.

October 1st, 1983

76. Quarterflash – Take Another Picture

This Portland band, led by husband and wife combo of Marv and Rindy Ross, follows-up their latest Top 20 track, Take Me To Heart, by rocking harder than their fans might be used to. Rindy puts the sax to channel her inner Benatar, but the photo goes out of focus at #58.

80. The Tubes – The Monkey Time

Producer David Foster continues to try and rope this loony conglomerate in by commercializing their sound without losing their creative energy. We’re beginning to see the tipping on this Curtis Mayfield cover, which was initially a Top 10 hit for Major Lance in 1963. Fee Waybill sings this as a duet with Martha Davis as a funky uptempo New Wave pop ditty. But no one is ready at it stops at #68.

Fun Fact: There is also a version where singer Michelle Gray sings the female part. Michelle was a background singer for the Tubes in the mid-80s and will eventually marry Todd Rundgren.

85. Paul Young – Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)

This was the first charting single from Paul’s debut, No Parlez, a cover of a Norman Whitfield/ Barrett Strong song initially recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1962. Paul will take his version to #1 in the UK. In the US, we will tell him to hold on to his hat and get out of our house at #70.

89. ELO – Four Little Diamonds

It makes sense that the Electric Light Orchestra would shorten their name to ELO, since the strings were long gone by now, having been replaced by synths. Their follow-up to the Top 20 track, Rock N Roll Is King is the better single, in my opinion, but will only inch up three spots before disappearing.

90. Roman Holliday – Don’t Try To Stop It

This is the second chart single for this retro New Wave septet, who benefitted from an opening spot for The Clash. It led to an album contract with Jive, who released a self-titled EP as well as a full-length debut album, Cookin’ On The Roof, in 1983. This song was featured on both and will become their biggest UK hit, peaking at #14. Over here, it will stop climbing at #68.

93. Genesis – Mama

The first single from Genesis’ self-titled album was not That’s All. It was this instead, a six-minute opus with Phil the Shill doing his best Melle Mel after each chorus. From its release on, it would be a fan favorite in concert. It also became their biggest UK hit, reaching #4. For the 45, its life had just begun at #93, but then it gets thrown all away at #73.

95. AC / DC – Guns For Hire

It’s odd that these Australian maniacs couldn’t get another Top 40 hit in the 80s after Back In Black and that they had to wait until 1991 for Moneytalks to break the streak. Their eighth album, Flick Of The Switch, gave us this hard rocker, which will shoot up to #84.

96. Lee Greenwood – Somebody’s Gonna Love You

This sounds like a Dr. Hook deep cut. But if those guys weren’t cutting it in 1983, Lee wasn’t gonna go anywhere with it either. This ballad would be Lee’s first#1 Country hit, but debuts at its peak on the Pop charts.

 

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