We’re up to chart week forty-one, and we have another full dose of debuts who missed the Top 40. Let’s review The Other Sixty from 1980 thru 1983.
October 11th, 1980
Back in the days of appointment TV, this five-part miniseries based on the best-selling James Clavell novel did back up business when it aired beginning the week of Septemeber 15th, 1980. Meco had already covered the title songs from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, so why do a version of Maurice Jarre’s love theme. This one says sayonara at #70.
Both Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend had solo Top 40 hits in 1980. Pete’s album, Empty Glass, is like a Who album that never was. While many remember Let Me Love Open The Door, this follow-up is a richer track, in my opinion. This will only move up ten spots, so I hope Pete meant what he said.
Recorded in the mold of 70s Buffett or The Dirt Band comes this Nashville band comprised of then-current Music row studio musicians. The group was originally called Dandy and the Doolittle Band, but stupid names aside, this slice of soft country-pop will only climb up to #49 as well as #54 on the Country charts.
Here’s the debut chart single from a Michigan quartet named after an airplane that was big during the Jet Age. This midtempo rock track from their debut, 707, will crash land at #52.
After a decade of trying, these Country-rock pioneers finally broke through into the Top 40 in 1979 and then immediately struggled through most of the decade to get back in. This was the follow-up to their new album’s title track, Under The Gun, which will do even worse, topping out at #74. With lead vocals by Paul Cotton, it should have had a better fate.
One year before Rick Springfield hit #1 with Jessie’s Girl, a soap star on a different program was trying out that angle. Wayne was cast as Country superstar, Johnny Drummond on One Life To Live, and released this single as an unofficial theme. Even though his character would last four years on the show, this 45 will move up one spot before disappearing after a two-week showing [I assume it found out that it was its own son, father, and sister and died tragically in a lawnmower accident.]
When a baseball gets a call up from the majors only to be sent down just as quick, they call it “having a cup of coffee.” This swinging little track barely got its order in before falling off the charts after a #90 zenith. Jim recorded one 45 – an A & B side, and that was it for his recording career. He did write a few hits for other artists, including Alabama’s Love In The First Degree.
October 17th, 1981
After two Top 20 hits from The Turn Of A Friendly Card, APP released a third single, part of the sixteen-minute title track suite, sung by Chris Rainbow. This one will roll two ones at #67.
The Cruise dubbed Pablo follows-up their fifth Top 40 hit, Cool Love, with this smooth ballad from the LP, Reflector. It will break away from the moors and float out to sea at #75 and be their last chart entry.
This song from English singer Arlan Day seems tailor-made for those early 80s soft rock playlists. That’s why probably a label like Pasha, whose focus was on hard rock and metal, picked it up in the States. That’s also why it didn’t do as well as it should, giving up at #71.
October 16th, 1982
Steve-o nabbed his third #1 hit during the Summer of 1982 with Abracadabra. He will never write a song as catchy as that again, and this follow-up makes all of that momentum disappear without even a wave of a wand. It will peak at #57.
This one is a sapfest, and for Kenny, that’s saying something. From his Love Will Turn You Around LP, this Lee Greenwood-penned track that will hit #3 on the Country charts, Kenny’s version will bow out at #47 on the Hot 100
Rap music, committed to vinyl, was only three years old before this single took the game to a whole new level. DJ Flash was already becoming a legend, but this track made him and his crew hip-hop icons. There was no bragging, no party people, and the only battling was for one’s survival. This is considered the first successful political rap song written two years earlier as a response to a NY transit strike. The single’s innovation though are the spaces between the music, its downtempo beats almost dragging you along for the ride, and the solidification of the rapper as the star of hip-hop rather than the DJ
Stacy is trying to get back to the streets with a rap update of the 1964 Shirley Ellis classic. I’m not sure what the thinking was here for producer Narada Michael Walden and subsequently, this Top 20 R&B single will banana-banna-fo-fanna its way to #70. Mariah Carey will sample it for her 1999 hit, Heartbreaker.
This is where the legend of singer/songwriter Mark Hollis begins. Could anyone know from this New Wave classic that we would create beautiful minimalist albums such as Laughing Stock or his 1998 solo debut? I also love that this single only has one word four times on the 45. It will peak at #75.
October 15th, 1983
It’s only the beginning for this Boston quintet, and in one year from now, they’ll be telling everyone to cool out and slow down. If this ballad reminds you a little of NKOTB’s Please Don’t Go Girl, it’s because they were both written and produced by Maurice Starr. This one would not do very well, only reaching #85.