The middle of the decade during chart week thirty-nine has a handful of songs that were my favorites then and still are now. Let’s review The Other Sixty from 1984 and 1985.
September 29th, 1984
The title track to Glenn’s second solo album opens with Glenn either peeing on or lighting his enemies on fire. Then he begins singing an uptempo tale about a male prostitute that is either his fantasy or is about his weed dealer. Hard to tell which. This follow-up to Sexy Girl will fall asleep at #54.
Here’s another track from the well-intentioned but poorly performing soundtrack to the film restoration of the movie, Metropolis. Produced by Giorgio Moroder, it was Freddie’s first official solo single. Imagine a faster Radio Ga-Ga without any guitars or harmonies. It’ll reach the UK top 10, but in the States, the murdered love lies still at #69.
Rickie spent some time in Paris getting her life together and writing her third album, The Magazine, a wildly eclectic long play that illustrates how much she likes to dabble in all genres, moods, and themes. This was the lead single released to promote the album, and its way too good and sophisticated for Pop radio, so its #82 zenith isn’t a surprise. I always like to throw this in when I close out a set of DJ’d Westcoast music.
The pride of Greenville, SC, is back with a Marvin Gaye-styled two-stepper perfect for that Quiet Storm playlist. The song is pretty much Peabo, a Memorymoog, and a Simmons drum pattern, but it sounds anything but cold and synthesized. As it was the follow-up to If Ever You’re In My Arms Again, I’m sure Pop programmers got flustered and didn’t know what to do with it. That’s why the guilty feet lost their rhythm at #82.
What better way to cap off the faltering genre of Hi-NRG music than a song with that title? This was a massive club hit, reaching #1 on the Dance charts. The Brits loved it too, as it hit #5. The Americans kept this underground at #85, so if you weren’t in a club, you probably never heard it. That is unless you lived in New York, where it got plenty of airplay.
September 28th, 1985
When the Time split up in 1984, Morris went solo (see #84), Jesse Johnson formed the Revue, the rest of the members joined the Family, led by St. Paul and Susannah Melvoin, Wendy’s twin sister and Prince’s fiance at the time. The Purple One wrote and recorded this album just after the Around The World In A Day sessions, so there’s still some hints of funky psychedelic pop on this LP, especially on this lead single. It will get quiet at #63. The album is also notable for the first released recording of Nothing Compares 2 U, which Sinead O’Connor found, covered, and had a huge #1 with, in 1990.
I’m a huge HoJo fan, have seen him live many times, and continue to buy his records. I also had a chance to interview him, and he’s as polite and humble as you would imagine. Dream Into Action is my favorite album of his, and it’s loaded with catchy synth-pop. Five of these tracks were smash hits in the UK, but only two made the Top 40 in the States. [ed note – The original version of No One Is To Blame is on this album, but it was the re-recording with Phil Collins in 1986, which became a Top 5 hit.] This reggae-tinged single was first released in England in August 1984 for the Summer Olympics, reaching the Top 5. One year plus later, it will peak in the US at #49.
Here is the highest-charting crossover hit for Rene Moore and Angela Winbush from their final album, Street Called Desire. This funky little jam will reach #47 on the Hot 100, #4 on the Soul charts, and #22 over in the UK.
Now that Jerome was in The Family, who was holding the mirror up for Morris? He could have been a bigger star. The dude was talented and quite a character. He just didn’t have the material for that one big hit to get him over. This #3 Soul hit will shake its leaves at #65 Pop. Morris will eventually have a solo Top 40 in 1988 called Fishnet, which will reach #23. Its basically The Time but credited to Morris Day.
The solo bug hit Jane as well in 1984 as she was the first to split the Go-Go’s, which broke up soon after. She had already charted in 1983 with Sparks on Cool Places, but this was her first chart hit by herself. This sweet little pop song will only climb up to #77.
This is the third chart single from the UK duo’s and my favorite from their debut. They still can’t buy a Top 40 appearance, and this mid-tempo soul-pop ditty about a cheating dude looking for some redemption will blink at #73. For a time capsule on how pop was invading the Soul charts in the mid-80s, here’s a clip of Soul Train dancers groovin’ to this song while “Flip Wilson” is on the scramble board.