Another Spoke In A Great Big Wheel

We’re getting closer and closer to the end of the chart year as we enter chart week fifty with many veteran artists making one more play for the year. Alas, they end up in The Other Sixty instead. Let’s review 1980, 1981, and 1982.

December 13th, 1980

81. Rita Coolidge – Fool That I Am

For the Robert Blake/ Dyan Cannon film Coast To Coast, the music supervisor pulled this ballad from Rita’s 1979 album, Satisfied, her eleventh, to use as its main theme. The film was an absolute bomb, but this track made it all the way up to #46 and the AC Top #15.

82. Supertramp – Breakfast In America (live)

Supertramp was at the height of its powers in 1980, which usually means one thing in the music industry – time for a live double album. Paris was taken from a November 29th, 1979 show in the French capital and had already spawned a Top 20 hit, the live version of their 1974 Crime Of The Century cut, Dreamer. Their second single from the album was the title track to their 1979 #1 long play, and it will play its jokes upon you at #61. FYI – the studio version of this song will reach #9 in the UK.

85. Oak – Set The Night On Fire

This one’s for all you Oak fans out there. You know who you are. This New Hampshire quintet hit the Top 40 earlier in the year with a track from their 1979 debut, called King Of the Hill, credited to Rick Pinette and Oak. Their second and final chart entry was the title track to their second album. Credited to just Oak [Who was doing the branding for these guys?], this mellow pop-rock number will burn out at #71.

91. The Star Wars Intergalactic Droid Choir and Chorale – What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)?

Before the Star Wars enterprise understood its brand, they threatened to undermine its own franchise with this ill-advised holiday album, Christmas In The Stars, produced by Meco. This LP barely went brass, and that was in the wake of The Empire Strikes Back, which was huge that Summer. This is so God-damned awful that people would rather hear The Chipmunks or Mariah Carey each Christmas than this. I can’t believe it got as high as #69. Also, the answer to the title’s questions is two hot pokers to jam into his ears, so he never has to hear this.

96. Four Seasons – Spend The Night In Love

The Jersey Boys mounted an impressive comeback in the mid to late 70s. In the music industry, that only means one thing – time for a live double album. The group nabs their only Hot 100 appearance of the 80s with this studio cut from Reunited, one of two new tracks recorded. The title was a bit misleading because the only reunited members were the new ones from the Who Loves You & Helicon albums. Was the world missing Valli and Gerry Polci kickin’ it together? Bob Gaudio was back but mostly in the producer’s chair, and his wife, Judy Parker, co-wrote this single, which sounds like something off of the Bee gees scrap pile. That will most likely explain its #91 zenith.

December 19th, 1981

79. Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band – Feel Like A Number

The Seeg came a long way since his Live Bullet days as he just garnered his first #1 album in 1980, Against The Wind. In the music industry, that only means one thing – time for a live double album. Bob released his cover of an obscure Otis Clay song, Tryin’ To Live My Life Without You, which reached #5. This was his second single, originally a cut from his 1978 album, Stranger In Town, which will reach #48.

82. The Carpenters – Those Good Old Dreams

Karen & Richard recycle their Top Of The World groove for some lude-induced pop, which will nod off at #63. It was the third single released from their second-to-last studio album, Made In America, which spawned the Top 20 hit, Touch Me When We’re Dancing.

96. Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin – It’s My Party

English singer Barbara Gaskin was the lead singer of the early 70s folk group Spirogyra (not the jazz band). Keyboardist Dave Stewart (not of the Eurythmics) had been in prog bands such as Egg, Natural Health, and played for years with Bill Bruford. In 1981, these two artists teamed up for a slow-cooked synth cover of the Lesley Gore classic. It was a smash throughout Europe, reaching #1 in the UK and Ireland. Here in the States, it decided to cry at #72.

December 18th, 1982

79. Janet Jackson – Young Love

Miss Jackson [I’m nasty.] charts on the Hot 100 for the first time with a single from her debut album written by Rene & Angela. It’s actually an excellent uptempo boogie track, but it doesn’t even hint at the talent this lady had. But everyone has to start somewhere. She was not yet in control. This Top 10 R&B song will top out at #64 Pop.

81. Rough Trade – All Touch

This Canadian outfit has existed in one form or another since the late 60s and as Rough Trade since 1974. By the early 80s, they adopted a New Wave sound and spawned their only Hot 100 entry from their third album, For Those Who Think Young. This catchy yet sparsely arranged synth-pop track feels its way up to #58.

85. Hot Chocolate – AreYou Getting Enough Happiness

Hot Chocolate? Now you’ve got somethin’. This UK soul quintet places one more single on the Hot 100 before going on vacation with their Swiss miss. It’s a re-recording of a track from their sixth LP, Class, originally titled Are You Getting Enough of What Makes You Happy? The newly concisely-titled single will peak at #65.

89. Poco – Shoot For The Moon

These country-rock veterans moved to a new label, Atlantic Records, for their fifteenth studio album, Ghost Town. But they continue to squander any of their momentum from their ’79 successes. This will be the only release out of three from the LP mentioned above to chart. The moon will wax new at #50.

90. Hughes/Thrall – Beg, Borrow Or Steal

Bass player and singer Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Trapeze) teamed up with guitarist Pat Thrall (Automatic Man, Pat Travers Band) for a really well-done 80s rock album., co-produced with Andy Johns. This was the lead-off single from the album, sporting a driving drum beat and a catchy synth riff, lifted from Foreigner’s Urgent. That said, it should have definitely been more successful than its #79 peak. Its spirit lives on in contemporary tracks from The Sutcliffe Brothers, such as this one.

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