Blowing It All With Paranoia

As we enter chart week forty-three, we’re beginning to see songs debut that will most likely peak in the Top 40 during the following year. That won’t happen for these singles in The Other Sixty pool, as their impact, if any, will be gone by Christmas, maybe even Thanksgiving. Let’s first review 1980, 1981, and 1982.

October 25th, 1980

82. Robert John – Sherry

It made sense for Robert to cover a Four Seasons tune for someone with such a high falsetto. Of course, he’s no Frankie Valli, but it’s not that bad. The original went to #1 on the Pop & R&B charts in 1962. RJ’s version will only come out tonight at #70.

88. Larry Graham – When We Get Married

The Jehovah Witness of funk follows up his Top 10 smash, One In A Million You, with another wedding ballad. While it will head into the R&B Top 10, it will end up in divorce on the Hot 100, separating at #76.

October 31st, 1981

81. The Knack – Pay The Devil (Ooo, Baby, Ooo)

The Knack leads off their third album, Round Trip, with this rock waltz ballad that’s miles away from their Sharona lust. This quartet was on top of the world two years prior, and now their writing songs about their backlash and demise. Pop is a fickle beast. Beelzebub will get his “due” fill at #67.

82. Jermaine Jackson – I’m Just Too Shy

Here’s the leadoff single off Jermaine’s new album, I Like Your Style, which like its predecessor, Jermaine, fails to build upon the success of Let’s Get Serious. I’m not sure how Motown screwed this up as this is a funky little midtempo gem. But it will barely make the R&B Top 30 and peak at #60 on the Hot 100. JJ will give a peace out to his father-in-law, Berry, and move to Arista for his next release.

84. Debbie Harry – The Jam Was Moving

The matchup of Debbie Harry with Chic should have provided big dividends. In the end, it may have ended up splitting Blondie and delayed Debbie’s solo career. This was the second release from her debut solo album, Kookoo, and it feels like the funk and the rock keep fighting each other for three minutes with neither giving in. I’ll still take this over Hooked on Classics any day. The groove stops at #82.

85. John Denver – The Cowboy And The Lady

John is running low on weed and is having trouble writing anything worth a damn. So he turns to a Bobby Goldsboro-penned song, a  Top 10 Country song for Brenda Lee in 1980 called The Cowgirl and The Dandy. He switches genders and tries his hand., but he should have left it the way it was. It would have been way more interesting. The days turn to stone for this single at #66.

91. Donnie Iris – Sweet Merrilee

Donnie leads off his second album, King Cool, with this groovy rocker that should have reached a lot higher than #80. Damn, what happened? This is awesome. At least his next two singles will reach the Top 40, but this tops both of them. I’d love to know if there are any current thirty-eight-year-old women from the Pittsburgh area named Merrillee.

92. The Kinks – Destroyer

You know what that say about paranoia, or at least what Ray Davies says? Ray decides to rip off his own hit, All Day And All of The Night, and steal a little from Lola too, for this leadoff track from Give The People What They Want. It received a lot of Rock airplay, which is why I remember it from that time, but will only inch up seven spots on the Hot 100.

October 30th, 1982

76. Charlene and Stevie Wonder – Used To Be

It’s bad enough that DJ Scott Shannon helped bring this 70s singer and her song, I’ve Never Been To Me, back from the dead. Now Motown has given this once-retired artist a chance to record another album and sing a duet with a legend. Seriously what the hell was Motown doing in the 80s besides white lines? Who thought it was OK for Stevie to sing a line like “You’re twelve years old, and sex is legal.”? That person needs to be fired into the sun along with anyone else who helped this piece of garbage get as high as #46.

81. Prince – 1999

Why is this here, you ask? Because as the first release from his new double album, Pop radio didn’t give it much of a chance, and its 12″ sales are what drove it up to its original #44 high. After realizing their stupid mistake, this classic will be re-released after Little Red Corvette and Delirious both hit the Top 10. It will climb up to #12 and make the Top 40 two more times in 2016 and, of course, in 1999.

84. The Fixx – Stand Or Fall

Here’s the third single released from this UK quintet’s debut, Shuttered Room, but the first one to chart. This tale of the effects of war on the young generation is one of my faves from this group. The Euro Theatre will close at #76.

86. Sheena Easton – I Wouldn’t Beg For Water

Sheena’s third LP, Madness, Music, and Money, didn’t bring her the latter but maybe the former. None of the singles from that album were Top 40 hits in the States or the UK. This ballad will get parched at #64 but will reach the Top 20 on the AC chart. Remember that the next time you’re in the dentist’s office and Mr. Thirsty is in your mouth, sucking you dry.

90. Luther Vandross- Bad Boy/ Having A Party

Considering Luther passed away at 54, we took way too long to realize this guy’s talents while he was here among us, knocking out tasty jams like this one. This #3 R&B smash is a medley of an LV original and the 1962 Sam Cooke classic. It’s gonna sneak out tonight at #55.


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