Somehow I Believed We’d Always Survive

Any smart corporation releases its strongest product in the fourth quarter to show positive sales growth going into a new year. Record companies would utilize this ploy as well. That is why we have a stacked Top 20 here in early January ’80. Sixteen of these twenty songs are by artists who have already had a Top 10 hit. Out of the last four, two will become superstars. Even the one-hit-wonder has a hitmaker attached. Most of these songs still get played today, thanks to the emergence of yacht rock stations. And more importantly, this group is in my wheelhouse. Let’s review the Top 20 from January 26th, 1980.

20. K.C. and the Sunshine Band – Please Don’t Go

This was the Florida band’s fifth #1 single (sixth, if you believe the story of Keep It Comin’ Love getting the shaft) over a five year period, a rare and risky ballad for a Disco group.

SXMFU – On this Big 40 Countdown, Alan mentions that this single comes from Wanna Go Party, but the album is titled Do You Wanna Go Party? He also notes that this is the band’s last hurrah, which was not true either. The band released two more albums, and although they didn’t spawn any hits, a third release, All In A Night’s Work, did. Give It Up in #1 for three weeks in the Uk in the Summer of 1983. Since their US record company, Epic, wouldn’t release it, KC had to find an independent label to put it out, which meant he would have to release it under his own name. It made the Top 20 here in early 1984.

19. Isaac Hayes – Don’t Let Go

Some know him as Gandy. Some know him as Chef. But all music fans know that Isaac always throws down. This smooth and soulful disco jam, the title track to his fourteenth album., was a cover of a 1958 Roy Hamilton hit. He’s one spot away from his peak.

18. Daryl Hall and John Oates – Wait For Me

Even though this duo racked three Top 10 singles, with one of them reaching #1, their ride through the 70s was not a smooth one. It took them the decade to find their sound and the right players to help them achieve it. By the time of their eighth album, X-Static, they have guitarist G.E. Smith on board and sax player Charlie DeChant, both stable members of their 80s crew. Produced by David Foster, the album featured minor forays into disco as well as glimpses of their New Wave-inspired rock and soul. This potential graduation ballad is at its peak.

17. Dionne Warwick – Deja Vu

RAR – We heard Isaac Hayes at #19 with a song someone else wrote. Now here’s Dionne singing a song that Isaac wrote for her. And it’s produced by Barry Manilow, but even he can’t fuck up this sweet, sultry groove. If you were born around Thanksgiving in 1980, you might be a product of this song’s potent prowess.

16. Teri DeSario with KC – Yes, I’m Ready

OHW – Henry W. Casey and Teri were classmates back in Miami. So when she was looking to record her second album, she asked him to produce and sing a few duets. This one, a 1965 Barbara Mason smash, was the first single released, and it’s on its way up to #2., held down by Queen. After this, Teri found Jesus and disappeared.

15. Kenny Loggins – This Is It

Here’s WestCoast at his most mystical with a mother collaboration with Michael McDonald, one it’s way up to #11. It’s become a Yacht Rock staple, no doubt due to its inclusion in this.

14. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Don’t Do Me Like That

This Gainesville, FL quintet shoots a missile towards Pop programmers with their first single from their third album, Damn The Torpedos. Benmont Tench is working the piano and organ simultaneously like a champ. And Tom is ready to punch if you do him wrong. It will become their first Top 10 hit.

13. Kool & The Gang – Ladies Night

PD – I went down a rabbit hole and found a 1980 performance at the American Music Awards on YouTube. Check out who’s in the audience diggin’ on this jam.

12. Dr. Hook – Better Love Next Time

RAR – Dr. Hook sprinkled in a tinge of disco vibes into their music and a nice run in the Top 40 between 1978 and 1980. This single was the first released from their 1979 LP, Sometimes You Win, and it’s chillin’ at its high. Somehow it even crossed over to the Country charts, peaking at #91.

11. Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover

Here is the first of many Top 40 smashes by the Purple one. And just like Stevie Wonder and Todd Rundgren before him, he plays everything on this Polymoog-soaked disco smoker. Supposedly this song was inspired by meeting and developing a crush on singer/ keyboardist Patrice Rushen. It will be his first R&B #1 and also gave us this fantastic American Bandstand interview.

10. Fleetwood Mac – Sara

Is this song about Stevie Nicks’ best friend marrying Mick Fleetwood? Is this song about her & Don Henley’s unborn child? Or is this just another sublime performance by the WestCoast witch on a double album, Tusk, full of some of the band’s most experimental moments?

9. Eagles – The Long Run

They have one of the best selling albums of all time. They permanently jacked the price of concert tickets up. A 3-hour 2013 documentary on the group won two Emmys. Now that the run is over, I guess we all found out that they made it. Bastards.

8. Queen – Crazy Little Thing Called Love

PD – I like Danny Zucco look that Freddie adopted around this time. Makes me sad that we never got to hear his version of Sandy.

7. Cliff Richard – We Don’t Talk Anymore

PD – Cliffo is on the verge of one of his biggest US hits as well as his first UK #1 hit since 1968. From his twenty-seventh album, Rock And Rock Juvenile, this Polymoog-led single will hit the top in eight countries and sits at its peak this week in the US. Not bad for a guy about to turn 40. Also, do not hire this man as a shepherd.

6. Stevie Wonder – Send One Your Love

PD – From Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants, his first album in three years here’s Stevie with his first Top 10 since Sir Duke hit #1 in 1977. This jazzy ballad and unofficial F.T.D. campaign slips from its Pop high of #4. It will also be an R&B Top 5 and #1 on the AC charts

5. Smokey Robinson – Cruisin’

RAR – It only took nine albums, but Smokey finally has a Top 10 hit on the Hot 100. Whether you dig it or not, all I know is someone’s getting pregnant by the time this ballad is over. It still bothers me that Gwyneth Paltrow had a #1 AC hit in 2000 with her version of this classic, which is just proof that White people will ruin everything if you let them.

4. Rupert Holmes – Escape (The Pina Colada Song)

PFK – Imagine finally having a Top 40 single climb the charts only to have your record label fold because a deal they made with the Catholic church bankrupted them. Infinity Records released Rupert’s Partners In Crime album just before releasing Pope John Paul’s album of songs and sermons, which they invested heavily in. Pope’s album bombed, but champagne-enthusiast Holmes eventually took his track up to #1 for three weeks. The lesson learned here is obvious.

3. Kenny Rogers – Coward Of The Country

Kenny really got on a roll in 1979 with three significant cross-over smashes – The Gambler, She Believes In Me, and You Decorated My Life. The latter was the first single from Kenny, and now we have the second, a tale of ol’ Tommy going from a yellow-bellied pacifist to beating up the gang-raping Gatlin boys.

2. Captain & Tennille – Do That To Me One More Time

PFK – Daryl and Toni moved from A&M Records to Casablanca with the apt title, Make Your Move. This single will have to play bridesmaid for a full month before finally reaching the mountaintop during the week of Valentine’s Day. It will be their last Top 40 hit. Tom Scott plays the lyricon solo.

1. Michael Jackson – Rock With You

Last weekend I took my kids to a record store for the first time in a month. Our neighborhood shop, Harvest Records, allows you to schedule hour-long “appointments” to shop by your self in the store. I let my kids pick out a CD to buy. My daughter picked a Jason Mraz CD. My son found Back In Black and Off The Wall and didn’t know which to choose. He eventually selected MJ, and we’ve been rewarded with continuous plays of this month-long #1. Although I would have been okay with AC-DC too.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around
  • SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake

Injections of Magic Stimulation

They could have been. They should have been. But they never got to the Hot 100. Here are the songs that stayed below in the Bubbling Under charts in the 80s during chart week four.

Head East – Got To Be Real (debuted 1/26/80, peaked at #103)

This Midwest quintet sounds like Styx if they never let Dennis DeYoung join them. They dropped three singles onto the Hot 100 in the late 70s, with each one doing progressively better. Their fifth album, A Different Kind Of Crazy, spawned this track, which I think is better than the others. I guess I’m alone in thinking that.

Fun fact: Lead singer Dave Schlitt was fired after the group’s sixth album in 1980 for being a druggie. He cleaned up and formed the Christian rock band Petra.

Ambrosia – Outside (debuted 1/31/81, peaked at #102)

Now a little West Coast for you from a band with two big singles in 1980 – You’re The Only Woman and Biggest Part Of Me. They were asked to be a part of the soundtrack to the Richard Donner-directed film, Inside Moves and had this jazzy single released only to languish below the Hot 100 for two months. It was written by lead singer David Pack along with Michael McDonald, who also provided backing vocals.

Moon Martin – Love Gone Bad (debuted 1/31/81, peaked at #105)

Oklahoma native John “Moon” Martin had a memorable 1979. He nabbed his only Top 40 hit, Rolene and Robert Palmer took one of his songs, Bad Case Of Lovin’ You (Doctor, Doctor), into the Top 20. This singer-songwriter put out his third LP, Street Fever, in late 1980, and this country-tinged midtempo pop-rocker was the lead single. Moon passed away in May 2020.

Nielsen/Pearson – Two Lonely Nights (debuted 1/31/81, peaked at #110)

Here’s a little more smoothness for ya. Pull the boat out of dry dock and enjoy this follow-up to Reed Nielsen and Mark Pearson’s only Top 40 entry, If You Should Sail.

ELO – Rain Is Falling (debuted 1/30/82, peaked at #101)

Jeff Lynne decided it was too much work to say “the electric light orchestra’ and from now on, his band would be known as three letters. Plus, technology started to wipe away the necessity of stringed instruments. Their cinematic third single from the album Time did not follow the other two into the Top 40, let alone the Hot 100.

Rick James – Ghetto Life (debuted 1/30/82, peaked at #102)

It’s interesting to see these two artists chart and fail together. Rick’s music was never made for the Pop crowd. The fact that he crossed over with his punk-funk was a testament to his talents. It’s a shame, though, that a terrific song like this, the third released from Street Songs and featuring backing vocals by The Temptations, wasn’t more successful.

Prince – Let’s Work (debuted 1/30/82, peaked at #104)

The student will soon become the master. The man Rick took out on tour with him, dissed and humiliated constantly, will become an icon in the 80s. It will take a while for many folks to appreciate the dark funk of his fourth album, Controversy. This jam was probably to most straightforward tune on the album but isn’t even close to the best. And within nine months, he will release his first opus, the double LP, 1999, so he’s just getting started.

Chic – Stage Fright (debuted 1/30/82, peaked at #105)

Nile Rodgers was hit with divine inspiration while he wrote this. Or maybe he was feeling the force from Dagobah? Otherwise, how do you explain the Yoda-like hook, “My stage fright holds back me.”? The lead single from Take It Off was funky disco-rock, showing more muscle than their polished classics, and it’s one of my faves from them.

Tané Cain – My Time To Fly (debuted 1/29/83, peaked at #108)

Jonathan Cain moved from The Babys to Journey in 1981 and immediately used that juice to get his then-wife, Tane (pronounced Tawnee), an album deal. Her single, Holdin’ On, co-written by Jonathan, reached #37. This slick pop-rock offering was the follow-up, but it never took flight.

Fun fact: Tane played Reese Witherspoon’s mom in Legally Blonde.

Randy Crawford – Imagine (debuted 1/29/83, peaked at #108)

It’s a shame that Randy didn’t have more success on the Pop charts, outside of her appearance of the Crusaders’ 1979 hit, Street Life. Her buttery voice melts over everything she sings. This jazzy cover of John Lennon’s classic was recorded with the Yellowjackets live in Europe, where she was well-regarded, for an all-star Warner Brothers album called Family Affair. I’m not sure it was ever released.

Shalamar – You Can Count On Me (debuted 1/28/84, peaked at #101)

Shalamar released a rare ballad that starts off sounding like Styx’s Babe before Howard Hewitt kicks in with his silky falsetto. It was the third single released from their seventh album, The Look. This will still be bubblin’ as Jody Watley splits the group, and they debut in mid-March on the Hot 100 with their last Top 40 hit, Dancing In the Sheets.

Earth, Wind & Fire – Touch (debuted 1/28/84, peaked at #103)

The second single from EWF’s thirteenth album, Electric Universe, did not reach any of the band’s heights of the 70s.  Even Let’s Groove, a smash two years previous, seemed like a lifetime ago in 1984. They have fully embraced the digital age, and while this is a good song,  it’s just not as immediate as their other hits.

Freeez – Pop Goes My Love (debuted 1/28/84, peaked at #104)

Freeez started out as part of the Brit-Funk movement of the early 80s, and their debut contains one of my faves from that period, Southern Freeez. Fast forward a few years, and the group is now recording breakdance music with Arthur Baker. This was the second track from their second album, Gonna Get You, and it hit #5 on the Dance charts and the UK Top 40.

Whodini – Freaks Come Out At Night (debuted 1/26/85, peaked at #104)

Finally, some hip-hop, even if it’s being held down. Another great track from the Brooklyn trio’s landmark second album, Escape. I also remember hearing this song in The Jewel Of The Nile for some reason.

Sam Harris – Hearts On Fire (debuted 1/26/85, peaked at #108)

Star Search legend follows up his one Top 40, Sugar Don’t Bite, with another one for your aerobic workout.

Fun fact: Sam co-created the TV show, Down to Earth, which ran for four seasons on TBS.

Find The Words To Say It Yourself

It’s January 26th, 1980, and the world is about to be introduced to one of the biggest toy crazes of the decade: the Rubik’s Cube. It was showcased at the British Toy & Hobby Fair, and the world never looked at nine squares the same again, especially if Paul Lynde wasn’t in the middle. You wouldn’t be able to buy one until May, but as you waited to be equally entertained and frustrated by a combination puzzle, this group of Top 40 songs would do the trick for you.

40. Electric Light Orchestra – Last Train To London

Jeff Lynne keeps his foray into Disco rock rolling with his fourth Top 40 hit from the group’s eighth album, Discovery. It will slide up one mores spot before arriving at its final destination. In the UK, it will the LP’s fourth Top 10 single and the band’s thirteenth overall. Check out how he bites the Mary Tyler Moore theme during the chorus.

39. John Stewart – Lost Her In The Sun

PD – John and co-producer Lindsey Buckingham are in the Top 40 twice. They’re in with John’s third and final Top 40 hit. Then John’s in as a songwriter for Anne Murray and Lindsey, as part of Fleetwood Mac. This song has five spots to go until its peak.

38. The Commodores – Wonderland

PD – Have you ever seen the film, Wonderland? It was about the 1981 Wonderland murders and came out in 2003 with a solid cast. But outside of its disturbing subject matter, it was a total letdown of a movie. I’m glad Lionel didn’t license this song for that, as it wouldn’t have fit. But I wondered if he had a squeeze living in those townhouses, and the address inspired this song.

37. The Spinners – Working My Way Back To You/ Forgive Me, Girl

PD – Without Phillipe Wynne, all they’re these guys are doing with a Disco cover of a Four Seasons tune is padding their 401Ks. Though, retirement investments are never this catchy.

36. Santana – You Know That I Love You

Here’s a fun game to play with someone who’s under 40. Play any Santana or Journey Top 40 song from the early 80s (Don’t Stop Believing doesn’t count) and ask the listener to tell you which band it was. If you don’t think it’s easy to sound like Steve Perry, ask this guy how he did it.

35. Donna Summer – On The Radio

PFK – One of my DS faves will become Donna’s eighth consecutive Top 5 single. It was included on her double LP Greatest Hits compilation, which featured both the long and short versions. The Jodie Foster film Foxes, which came out that Winter, also showcased this track. It will also cap her five-year career at Casablanca Records as she will release her next album, The Wanderer, on Geffen Records.

34. Rufus and Chaka – Do You Love What You Feel

PD – Rufus never got the love they deserved from Pop audiences. Hell, neither did Chaka. How do you explain a track this irresistible stalling at #30 while reaching #1 on the R&B charts?

33. Cheap Trick – Voices

This Rockford Illinois Power Pop quartet shows off their Beatles influences on their second release from the Dream Police LP. It will be their fourth straight Top 40 hit but will also start an eight-year drought. Supposedly Steve Lukather plays lead guitar on this track, but I have no idea why.

32. Little River Band – Cool Change

Time for…a long nap on a boat. And when you wake up, drinks with your brothers, Albatross and Whale. Man, the weed was good back then.

31. Neil Diamond – September Morn

PD – My parents had Neil’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 on vinyl, and they asked me to record a copy onto a cassette. Without the proper technology, I had to use a mic positioned near the stereo speakers while the LP played on the turntable. For added effect, I pretended to be a DJ between tracks and added things like, “That was Neil singing about coming to America. And now, here he is wondering where his flowers are.” They were not enthused.

30. Herb Alpert – Rotation

Herb sees his fortunes ascend again in the Top 40 arena, and his single from Rise is in the Top 40. Written by a true Bad Azz (that’s Randy Badazz) and Andy Armer, it features a pulsing bassline triggered from a control pad through a modified Minimoog. No drum machines. No sequencers. It’s sitting at its high this week.

29. The O’Jays – Forever Mine

The Philly soul trio from Canton, OH, squeezed out one more Top 40 single into the new decade. Released from their thirteenth album, Identify Yourself, this smooth R&B ballad written by Gamble & Huff is one spot away from its zenith.

28. Jefferson Starship – Jane

In the Summer of 1978, as Runaway was on the charts, professional drunkard Grace Slick got the heave-ho. By the end of the year, Marty Balin had left as well. How do you replace two founding members of the bands? With the lead singer from Elvin Bishop’s band, as it turns out. Mickey Thomas takes over the lead vocal duties and immediately takes the band into the Top 15 again with this single from Freedom At Point Zero. It will also be the group’s only Top 40 hit in the UK.

27. Styx – Why Me?

PD – This Chicago quintet was nine albums in with Cornerstone, and they were more known for their ballads than for uptempo rockers such as this. That’s probably the reason this won’t travel any higher than #26.

26. Led Zeppelin – Fool In The Rain

PD – No one knew that this band would cease to exist within the first year of the decade, not even the band members. This will be their final Top 40 hit with a #21 zenith next month. I always thought that All My Love could have been another hit from In Through The Out Door, but it was never commercially released. Also, can someone please mash this up with Steely Dan’s Babylon Sisters?

25. Dan Fogelberg – Longer

RAR – Dan gets his biggest Top 40 hit and simultaneously destroys his reputation with this tender love song. He might as well have added the line longer than there’s been cheese in Wisconsin… It will climb up to #2, kept off the mountain top by Pink Floyd. No pudding for poor Dan.

24. The Dirt Band – An American Dream

RAR – This California country-rock band dropped the nitty gritty from their name in 1978 to the more self-effacing Dirt Band. But it paid dividends as they dropped the nitty-gritty from their sound as well, nabbing two Top 40 hits during the early 80s. This was the first one, a Rodney Crowell-penned track featuring backing vocals by Linda Ronstadt, which will top out at #13.

23. Foghat – Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was a Fool)

PD – This UK quartet gave up the blues and boogie for some straight AC cash in 1979. Their final Top 40 song is at its peak. By the way, what happened the second time?

22. Anne Murray – Daydream Believer

Canadian Anne Murray makes Davy Jones sound like Barry White with her version of the Monkees’ 1968 #1 smash. It will reach #3 on Country charts and #1 on the AC list. She’s slowly climbing up to her eventual #12 high.

21. Steve Forbert – Romeo’s Tune

OHW – Steve became a critic’s darling with his 1978 debut, Alive on Arrival, and racked up continued accolades with its follow-up, Jackrabbit Slim. This single, released from that album, is on its way up to #11. And if I’m making a mixtape of my favorite one-hit-wonders, this is track number one every time. Also, according to the album’s liner notes, this song is dedicated to Supremes singer Florence Ballard.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around
  • SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake

Tired Of All The Darkness In Our Lives

Were you turning on the latest Jim Henson show, Fraggle Rock, or recovering from Kilauea erupting in Hawaii? Then you were alive on January 15th, 1983, and might have been listening to these Top 20 songs during that week.

20. John Cougar – Hand To Hold On To

JC had a year to remember when Hurts So Good and Jack & Diane dominated the charts in 1982. Their success will allow him to begin the transition to his birth name of Mellencamp, and so the third single from American Fool will be his last one credited to John Cougar. It’s one notch away from its peak.

19. Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes

Does it make sense that Adam had more Top 40 hits in the 90s than in the 80s? This will be his only Caseyland entry during the decade of greed. It’s also his first solo single after Adam & the Ants split up, or rather, half of the members joined Bow Wow Wow. This #1 UK smash is on its way to a #12 zenith. Also, love that Al Green name check.

18. ABC – The Look Of Love

With a name like ABC, this UK New Wave quartet always found themselves first in the rock albums rack. [Not so, with a Google search] As early purveyors of sophisti-pop, they find themselves with their first US hit, sitting at its peak this week. In the UK, this was their third Top 20 hit, landing at #4.

17. Kenny Loggins – Heart To Heart

If we go by the Yachtski scale, this along with the Doobie Brothers’ What A Fool Believes in the nexus of the Yacht Rock universe. As the latter was Michael McDonald singing a song he wrote with Kenny Loggins, this track is Kenny’s pipes over a song he wrote with Michael. [McD plays the Rhodes and provides backing vocals.] I always prefer West Coast Kenny to Movie Kenny, and this is one of his smoothest moments. Featuring David Sanborn on the sax solo, his second single from High Adventure is inching up to its final destination of #15. It even somehow crossed over to the R&B charts peaking at #71.

16. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Shame On the Moon

PD – This Country rock song will be Bob’s biggest hit when it reaches #2, until Shakedown in 1987. That’s amazing considering we’re in the midst of a New Wave/MTV revolution. Also, that’s Bill Payne from Little Feat on the piano solo.

15. Phil Collins – You Can’t Hurry Love

From the divorce files of Phil The Shill: A Motown cover of the Supremes 1966 #1 smash, recorded for and released from his second album, Hello, I Must Be Going. The single was successful in many countries and will be Phil’s first US Top 10. It was perfect for the burgeoning 60s nostalgia crowd, who’s Big Chill soundtrack was right around the corner. I wonder if Phil sang this song from memory because he butchers unnecessarily changes many of the original lyrics.

14. Little River Band – The Other Guy

Here’s a defensive divorce song from a group who just went through a messy one, as lead singer Glenn Shorrock has just left. This single released from their Greatest Hits album will feature new lead singer, John Farnham, but will get clipped by DSS at #11.

13. Joe Jackson – Steppin’ Out

Joe is one of my all-time faves and seeing him live, just him and his piano on a Summer night in Central Park, is one of my best concert memories. This single, from his fifth album, Night And Day, a tribute to Cole Porter, was an across-the-board smash hitting the Top 10 here and in the UK and officially began my lifelong love affair with his music. It sonically captures the unique feel of a night out in Manhattan as Joe sings and plays all of the instruments on the track. The pulsating bassline was created by hooking up a Minimoog to a Korg KR55 drum machine, using it as a makeshift sequencer trigger.

12. Eddie Rabbitt with Crystal Gayle – You & I

PD – My son saw a picture of Eddie this weekend and thought it looked like a murderer. Well, he’s definitely killin’ it with Crystal as they continue to take this wedding song up the charts. It will also be the last Top 40 hit for both of them.

11. Laura Branigan – Gloria

PD – I would have never thought in 2021 we would have to collectively take this song back from the folks who thought it necessary to destroy our democracy. They can have How Am I Supposed To Live With You? instead.

10. Dionne Warwick – Heartbreaker

RAR – Much has been discussed about The Bee Gees’ career crashing in the 80s. While their name might have instigated unfair ridicule back then, they were just hiding in plain sight, having hits with others singing lead. It’s not like their voices disappeared either, as their backing vocals were always very prominent. They produced the entire Heartbreaker album, and the title track became Dionne’s biggest solo hit during the 80s, outside of That’s What Friends Are For. It will also hit #1 on the AC charts, #14 Soul, and #2 in the UK.

RFW – Since SXM doesn’t think anyone reads Wikipedia, they still steal their copy from the artist’s song pages, just like this one, where they lift the first two lines under Background.

9. The Clash – Rock The Casbah

THW – This New Wave nee punk quartet from the UK have their biggest US hit when they let this raga drop onto Pop programmers playlists. These folks were always a dance band hiding behind the notion that music and politics can mix, so long as it makes you feel something good. That also explains Mick Jones’ next project, Big Audio Dynamite. Anger is an energy, Johnny Rotten once said. Also, this was the minarets’ bomb growing up, and we turned it up at any opportunity. My daughter thought they were saying Rock In the Cat’s Spa, which is cute and makes me feel old as hell.

8. Patti Austin with James Ingram – Baby Come To Me 

PD – I love the fact that Patti uses her lower register on this song while James uses his upper tenor. Her natural transition from jazz to R&B under Q’s tutelage should have been experienced more by Pop audiences. But alas, this #1 was her only Top 40 hit. At least we got more of him, or as my daughter calls him, James Instagram.

7. Toto – Africa

Ok, kids, settle down. I wrote about this song on another blog a few years back, so here ya go.

6. Toni Basil – Mickey

PD, OHW – The former #1 single, replaced at the top by the song at #4, had also reached the mountain top in Australia & Canada and hit #2 in the UK. Lolly will cover it in 1999 and hit #4 in the UK, and Gorie and Jasmine’s cover will hit #1 in Japan in 2004. Both reference the cheerleader look and chant that Toni created on her own.

5. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing

The comeback of the year. Marvin had virtually disappeared since 1976, as far as the mainstream was concerned after his revolutionary R&B albums, 1971’s What’s Going On and 1973’s Let’s Get It On earlier in the decade. [1978’s Hear, My Dear, is also a beautiful piece of work] And for those that think drum machines are all sterile, it’s all about the groove, folks. And that aching voice. This song makes Let’s Get It On sound like Oh Babe, What Would You Say in comparison. And yet there is nuance, even if we all know what he’s after. It will spend ten weeks atop on the R&B charts and reach #3 on the Hot 100 for three weeks, held off my only Africa and Australia.

Fun fact: The whispered get up, get up, get up is by singer Harvey Fuqua, who gave Marvin his start and became his brother-in-law when he married Anna, Harvey’s wife, Gwen’s sister, whose brother was Berry Gordy.

4. Hall & Oates – Maneater

I combined my son’s love for dinosaurs and this song (he plays it on a loop) with this shirt that I made him for Christmas. Out of the six #1 singles this duo garnered, Maneater will spend the most weeks at the top at four.

3. Don Henley – Dirty Laundry

This single and lyrical subject is how I expect Don to live his daily life, angry about something to the point of satire but never figuring out the solution. It still sounded good on the radio back then, which is why it reached #3 and boiled Glenn Frey’s blood for years.

2. Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney – The Girl Is Mine

PFK – This is how Thriller‘s phenomenon got started, a soft rock milquetoast pop fight from a ridiculously faithful ex-Beatle and the increasingly androgynous gloved one.  It will still be a #1 smash on the R&B and AC charts. The band is mostly Toto members, their second appearance in the Top 10 with Louis Johnson on bass. They start off the year together at #2 and will end it together at #1 with Say Say Say, a song they recorded back in 1981.

RFW –  SXM is at it again: “The Girl Is Mine” has been the subject of two plagiarism lawsuits, the first in 1984 and the latter in 1993. Ok great, from who and about what? Oh, Wiki doesn’t tell you.

1. Men At Work – Down Under

PD – Before this song makes you book your next vacation to Australia, you should know that this continent has the world’s most deadly wildlife living there. Unless you have a head full of zombie, then, by all means, have fun in the Outback.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

 

Tired Of Being In The Shade

Who’s that looking through the window into the warm halls of the Hot 100? It’s those Bubbling Under songs trying to keep warm while they chill in the hundreds. Let’s review chart week three from 1980 to 1985.

Jimmy Messina – Do You Want To Dance (debuted 1/19/80, peaked at #110)

It’s a mystery why this former Buffalo Springfield & Poco member and Kenny Loggins cohort never mustered a solo hit or at least a Hot 100 entry. He barely even gets a tally here placing this song at #110. It’s quite a pleasant mix of Westcoast pop with some yachty disco vibes from his 1979 album, Oasis.

Patrice Rushen – Look Up (debuted 1/24/81, peaked at #102)

Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Patrice Rushen was one of the best of her ear to effortlessly blend jazz, soul, and disco. This single from her sixth album, Posh, is one of many great examples and while it makes the R&B Top 15 and #2 on the Dance charts, it misses the mark here. She’ll become a one-hit-wonder next year when Forget Me Nots reaches #23.

Jackson Browne – Hold On, Hold Out (debuted 1/24/81, peaked at #103)

This was Jackson’s third single from his sole #1 album, Hold Out, with the first two, Boulevard & That Girl Could Sing, reaching the Top 40. Because he chose to not edit the eight-minute song down, it was released as a special 12″ record. It’s a product of a decade-long love affair with long overly-dramatic rock songs that ends up sounding like an overblown mess.  Two thumbs up!

XTC – Generals And Majors  (debuted 1/24/81, peaked at #104) (RSO/Virgin 300)

XTC is one of my all-time favorite bands. This Swindon, England quartet possessed two great songwriters: guitarist Andy Partridge, who was Lennon & McCartney rolled into one and wrote the bulk of their songs, and bassist Colin Moulding, who was more like Harrison. Early on in the band’s history, it was Colin’s songs that were successful. In the UK, Life Begins At The Hop hit #54, and Making Plans For Nigel reached #17. The first release from their fourth album, Black Sea, will top out at #32. Andy will eventually write their biggest British hit, Senses Working Overtime, in 1982.

XTC remained a cult band in the US, partly because they stopped touring in 1982, partly because they were severely mismanaged, and partly because their singles were being released on different labels in the States. This one is on RSO, and it’s strange to think they were US labelmates with the Bee Gees and Andy Gibb. What were those company barbecues like?

Roger Daltrey – Waiting For A Friend (debuted 1/24/81, peaked at #104)

Daltrey is back with another song from the McVicar soundtrack, this one working as the follow-up to his lone Top 40 hit, Without Your Love, which peaked at #20 in the Fall of 1980. This rocker gets caught in the Bubblin’ jail for two weeks before being released for bad behavior.

There were no songs during chart week three in 1982 that stayed peaked below #100.

KISS – I Love It Loud (debuted 1/22/83, peaked at #102)

This N.Y. quartet is still wearing their make-up, trying to avenge their disco sins but to no avail. It will stomp around underneath the Hot 100 for two months, and it’s from their tenth album, Creatures of the Night, which is notable as the last Ace Frehley album, even though he didn’t play on it.

New Edition – Popcorn Love / Jealous Girl (debuted 1/21/84, peaked at #101)

Here’s the teenage quintet from Boston who made their debut in 1983 with Candy Girl, an updated version of the Jackson 5’s ABC. This was their third single release, a two-sided 45 with the sprightly Popcorn Love on the A-side and the doo-wop ballad Jealous Girl on the flip. It will reach #25 on the R&B charts.

Debbie Harry – Rush, Rush (debuted 1/21/84, peaked at #105)

Now that Blondie had officially split, Debbie tries her hand at another solo hit, this one from the soundtrack of the Al Pacino movie, Scaface. It reunites her with producer Giorgio Moroder, and it garnered some club play and a minor hit down under. But after one week, it says goodbye to the bad guy after a #105 debut.

Was (Not Was) – Knocked Down, Made Small (Treated Like A Rubber Ball) (debuted 1/21/84, peaked at #109)

Before they went dinosaur walking and love house spying, this Detroit act led by un-brothers Don & David Was mixed a variety of styles such as New Wave, lounge rock, and soul into their own musical stew. With lead vocals by Sweet Pea Atkinson, this track was from their critically acclaimed second album, Born to Laugh At Tornadoes.

Rock Master Scott and the Dynamic Three – Request Line (debuted 1/19/85, peaked at #103)

Break out your worn piece of cardboard for this early hip-hop track. Rockmaster Scott was the DJ and MBG, Slick Rick (not the well-known one), and KingCharlie Prince handled the mic. This track will reach #21 on the R&B charts, but it’s the B-side, The Roof Is On Fire, that they are well-known for. Notoriously, their tour rider included no need for water.

Missy E. sampled the beginning of this track for her 2002 hit, Work It.

You Know He Leads You On

I enjoy recapping the Billboard Top 40 charts from the 80s, so I thought I’d give another one a go since I listened to this on Sirius XM over the weekend. As I heard each song, I could picture just about every video, scene by scene. The images are now permanently linked in my head from Boy George on trial to Tom Petty pushing over an Astro Invader console. Let’s review the first twenty Top 4O hits, Casey-style, during the week of January 15, 1983.

40. Ray Parker Jr. – Bad Boy

Ol’ Ray’s been kicked out of the house for going back for a little more with the other woman. But now he wants back in. He says, “I’ll do the dishes.” She says, “I have a dishwasher.” Well, “I’ll take out the trash.” “Uh, That’s what I just did” Burn, Ray. Who you gonna call now?

39. Barry Manilow – Memory

PFK – Here’s a man who never shied away from a key change or two at the end of a song. Maybe he should have. This Cats track from Barry’s twelfth album, Here Comes The Night, is at its peak this week. If you really want drama, listen to Jennifer Hudson’s version in the 2019 film. It sounds like she’s about pound all the Jellicos into kitty litter. If you do like this song, though, search for the original Broadway version with Betty Buckley.

38. Air Supply – Two Less Lonely People In The World

RAR – This sounds like the Australian duo is just ripping themselves off by this point, which is why they’re at their peak with this track. I bet if you asked AI to write an Air Supply song, it would be than this.

37. A Flock Of Seagulls – Space Age Love Song

This New Wave quartet followed up their immensely successful Top 10 smash, I Ran with a similarly sounding song that wasn’t as catchy, hence its #30 peak. Why didn’t they just write a track called I Raq?

36. Kim Carnes – Does It Make You Remember

Remember what? (face slapped) This ballad will be the second Top 40 from Kim’s Voyeur LP, and it’s at its peak.

35. Culture Club – Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

PD – Unfortunately, George will do all the damage to himself that his body can take without dying. This is the first of three songs in this group of twenty with some reggae vibes.

34. Moving Pictures – What About Me?

OHW – On SXM’s Big 40 Countdown, Nina will talk about the Australian Pop invasion of the 80s and mention many groups from down under, even the Hoodoo Gurus. But they never mention this band from Sydney currently in the Top 40. This song has been chillin’ at #34 for the past three weeks but will eventually get up to #29. This 45 will get re-released in 1989 and become a member of The Other Sixty as well.

33. Tavares – A Penny For Your Thoughts

RAR – The five-man group of brothers from New Bedford, Massachusettes nab one more Top 40 hit, their only one during the 80s. Written by Kenny Nolan, this track will not travel any higher than it is today. It will hit the R&B Top 20. Also, adjusting for inflation, your thoughts would now cost $0.

32. Peter Gabriel – Shock The Monkey

It was only a matter of time that Top 40 would catch up to Peter’s vision, freaky videos aside. Meanwhile, Phil the Shill is further up the chart doing Motown covers. This will be Gabriel’s first solo Top 40 and it’s on its way up to #29. It will also chart on the R&B Hot 100 reaching #64.

31. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie

OHW – This Mighty Diamonds cover of Pass The Kouchie is reggae-pop entering through the New Wave door. It might not make sense on paper, but that was the unpredictable nature of Top 40 that has since been homogenized. [Don’t get me wrong. It was happening plenty in 1983. It’s just been a slow, steady process.] This 45 makes a giant leap into the Top 40 up from #52 towards its destination of #10. It will hit #1 in twelve countries.

Fun Fact: Kouchie is slang for cannabis pipe. But we couldn’t have kids sing about that. So they changed it to Dutchie, a different type of pot, one you cook with. Next time you go into a La Creuset outlet, have some fun with the clerks.

It was also sampled in this early 90s hip hop song, but I think they misheard the lyrics.

30. Kool & the Gang – Let’s Go Dancin’ (Ooh La, La, La)

Back to back reggae on the Top 40? Well, it’s a tad lite. It’s not like it’s Tosh & Marley. In fact, it’s some kids from England and a funk group from NJ. Still whatever it takes to spread the Jah love. The second Top 40 hit from As One is at its peak. It will hit the R&B & UK Top 10.

29. Juice Newton – Heart of the Night

The Juice is losing steam on the Pop charts as her Top 10 days are over. Hell, her Top 20 time has come to a close, too, as Pop radio closes the door on most Country or Country-ish artists. At least there are the AC charts where this will hit #4, while it peaks only four more spots higher in the Top 40

28. Lionel Richie – Truly

The song that spawned a million wedding first dances was the first true solo release from the former Commodores member, and it went straight to #1. His first thirteen singles will hit the Top 10, and he will not miss until his 1987 duet will Alabama.

27. Sammy Hagar – Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy

Here’s the first Top 40 single from the Red rocker. It will also be his best showing when it peaks at #13. Just for reference, at this point, the highest-charting Van Halen was a Roy Orbison cover, (Oh) Pretty Woman, which hit #12.

26. Stray Cats – Rock This Town

What the hell is rockabilly doing here, right? This Long Island trio broke through in the States after taking their act to the UK in 1980 and having a Top 10 hit called Runaway Boys. This Dave Edmunds-produced track was recorded for their debut and re-released on the 1982’s Built For Speed. It’s climbing down from its high of #9.

25. Stray Cats – Stray Cat Strut

PD – Back to back felines. The follow-up to Rock This Town was also on the band’s 1980 debut and will be the threesome’s biggest hit in the US, reaching #3.

24. J. Geils Band – I Do

These guys are still riding that Centerfold momentum. How else to make sense of their appearance in the Top 40 with a live cover of an obscure Marvelows hit from 1965. Actually, I like it more than most of the Freeze Frame album. It’s at its peak this week. Lead singer Peter Wolf will leave the band after the Showtime LP and never look back.

23. Billy Joel – Allentown

PD – You just know Billy wanted to call this song Levittown but didn’t have the guts to do it. Plus, I’ve been there. There’s nothing that interesting in that town. What would you be waiting for? A black and white at Dortoni’s? Also, Levittown doesn’t have the same ring as that Eastern Pennsylvania town. Did you know that there are at least seven Allentowns in the US? Did you know there was one on the other side of PA, as a suburb of Pittsburgh? So which one is it?

FYI – I once ordered a tuna Shorti at a Wawa in Allentown. Don’t think I didn’t hum this as I waited.

22. Fleetwood Mac – Love In Store

This was the third Top 40 hit from the quintet’s 1982 album, Mirage. Written by Christine McVie, it won’t go any further than where it is now. Still, I think it’s good enough for its own TikTok video. In fact, if Ocean Spray brought back its Mauna Loa drink, I’d do one.

FYI – This is the seventh song in the countdown so far, which has reached its peak.

21. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – You Got Lucky

This is the best song in the first twenty, and it’s not even the best song in the Petty catalog. I loved it back then as I love it now, how Tom growls, telling off a lover who thinks about leaving while the song is underpinned by a lingering sadness showcased through Mike Campbell’s Morricone lone-gunslinger guitar solo and Benmont Tench’s eerie Roland Juno-60 keyboard lick. It’s one notch away from its zenith.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around

 

 

 

 

For Everybody Who Can Understand

We’re going to review the second half of the first two chart weeks of songs Bubbling Under during the 80s. Reminder – Billboard killed this feature in August 1985, so we can only review 1983 up to that year. Pity those songs that lost the bragging rights to a #109 hit.

Mickey Gilley – Talk To Me (debuted on 1/8/1983, peaked at #106)

Mickey was still trying to ride the bull for more than eight seconds of fame throughout the early 80s. But this #1 Country ballad will be the last time he’ll sniff the Pop charts.

Fun fact: Mickey’s cousins include Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart.

Yarbrough & Peoples – Heartbeats (debuted on 1/15/1983, peaked at #101)

Cavin & Alisa, an unofficial offshoot of The Gap Band, hit the Pop Top 20 with Don’t Stop The Music in 1981. This was the lead single off their follow-up album, which was also the title track. It will reach the R&B Top 10, but Soul music was beginning to have a more challenging time crossing over. In fact, Pop songs were starting to cross over to the R&B charts. God knows why R&B stations had Sting & Wham! forced upon them. BTW – this duo got married in 1987, and as of 2020, is still keeping the music going.

Devo – That’s Good (debuted on 1/15/1983, peaked at #104)

This innovative synth-rock quintet, which featured two sets of brothers, is inexplicably a one-hit-wonder with Whip It. They have a handful of singles that are as good or better than that one, but most of them didn’t even chart. [Currently, they have five Bubblers.] This single was the second Bubbler from their fifth album, Oh No, It’s Devo, but has since become a New Wave classic.

Rush – Subdivisions (debuted on 1/15/1983, peaked at #105)

It took nine albums, but by the release of 1982’s Signals, this Canadian prog-trio had a Top 40 hit, with New World Man. They started to understand who was buying their records, so a song about teenage isolation and social hierarchy was right in their fan’s wheelhouse.

Cynthia Manley – Back In My Arms Again (debuted on 1/15/1983, peaked at #109)

One of the adverse side effects of nostalgia are people’s attempts to cash in and milk the memories. In the 80s, Motown was pilfered from so much, it can be hard to listen to the originals and remember why they were so great in the first place. San Francisco-based cabaret singer Manley had sung lead for The Boystown Gang, a DJ-led group releasing warmed-over disco versions of Diana Ross And Stevie Wonder smashes. So her move to a New Wave rock cover of this 1965 Supremes #1 was opportunistic at best, career diluting at least.

Ronnie Milsap – Show Her (debuted on 1/7/1984, peaked at #103)

Ronnie’s trying to get one more Pop hit before the door closes on Nashville for a while. It didn’t work, but the ballad from his album, Keyed Up, will be his twenty-fifth Country #1.

Luther Vandross – I’ll Let You Slide (debuted on 1/14/1984, peaked at #102)

Luther had his second crossover Top 40 hit in 1983, a duet with Dionne Warwick called How Many Times Can We Say Goodbye. That momentum should have carried this boogie follow-up from his third album, Busy Body, into Caseyland as well. But as you see, it did not. FYI – it took twelve Hot 100 chart entries before LV had a Top 20 hit and sixteen before his first Top 10.

Twisted Sister – The Price (debuted on 1/5/1985, peaked at #107)

Stay Hungry was this Long Island, NY’s third album and their most successful to date, featuring their only Top 40 hit, We’re Not Gonna Take It. This was their third single, and lead singer Dee Snyder had already become more well-known than the band. He will be the host of Headbanger’s Ball, which will debut on MTV in a few months, and publically spar with Tipper Gore during the PMRC Senate hearings that Summer.

The Gap Band – Beep A Freak (debuted on 1/12/1985, peaked at #103)

Tulsa, Oklahoma funk trio, The Gap Band are the owners of five Bubblers, with this single being the last one to chart there. It will hit #2 on the R&B charts and will go on to have eleven more Top 40 entries on that chart.

Vanity – Mechanical Emotion (debuted on 1/12/1985, peaked at #107)

Vanity dropped out of Purple Rain for this? Now that she was banished from the Prince empire, she would be busy filming The Last Dragon for Motown Productions while juggling her film and music career. Hey, she was in Highlander II, so back off. Her second single release from 1984’s Pretty Mess isn’t bad and featured Morris Day on backing vocals. But its peak at #107 isn’t all that surprising either. Strangely, she would pass away two months before Prince did.

To Be What I Was Meant To Be

Here at Music In the Key of E, we talked about 80s Top 40 hits and The Other Sixty, so it makes sense to keep digging down and discuss those songs that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100. This was a feature in Billboard that began in June 1959 to predict which new records will become chart climbers, as they put it. They started off with a list of 15 songs per week but expanded it during the 1960s up to 35 (and on a few occasions, 36) depending on the volume of releases. Boy, that must have been some ego boost to tell everyone that you had a single reach #135. I’m looking at you, P.J. Proby.

By 1974, the magazine settled on ten spots, numbered #110 to #120, and ran the chart until August 1985. They picked it up again in 1992, and it still exists today. I have frequently mined these lower ten for The UnCola as many exciting singles peaked there. So we’re going to review them all – January 1980 to August 1985 – starting with the first two weeks of the chart year.

Here are the Bubbles that never Popped.

January 1980 – 1982 (chart weeks 1 & 2)

Oak – Draw The Line (debuted on 1/5/1980, peaked at #108)

If you’re buying a record based on a name, then surely you think you’re gonna hear some good ol’ Country rock, right? Nope, you’re gonna get some warmed-over soft rock by a bunch of wannabe Eagles, who look like they’ll do your taxes for you in exchange for an eight ball. This quintet from Maine was led by Rick Pinette, who eventually joined the Jim Bakker Morningside Band in the 2000s. Let’s move on.

Chic – My Feet Keep Dancing (debuted on 1/12/1980, peaked at #101)

Disco did not die in 1979 after the record demolition at Comiskey Park. Disco never died. The blood-sucking ad executives and coked-out record company exploiters just moved on. Unfortunately, they took many good bands down with them, and Chic, which was peaking in ’79, felt it immediately. This was the third single from their third album, Risque, which yielded the classic #1, Good Times. The follow-up, My Forbidden Lover, only reached #43. This one didn’t even chart on the Hot 100, missing by a notch. It will only reach #42 on the R&B charts but will get loads of Disco play.

April Wine – Say Hello (debuted on 1/12/1980, peaked at #104)

Alright, the pride of Nova Scotia is getting a little funky. This Canadian rock quintet released this as the first single from their eighth album, Harder…Faster. Their US fans took a pass on it, which is why it’s down here. They preferred the follow-up, I Love To Rock, although not that much as it only hit #86.

Hansie – Automobile (debuted on 1/12/1980, peaked at #109)

Artist Hansie or Hansje, if you’re enjoying a spacebar, was a singer from the Netherlands, who released a silly pop single in 1978 called Silex Pistols Piew Piew. She had a modicum of notoriety in the States when this 45 reached #109 in early 1980. It’s a car crash full of New Wave synths and sub-Moroder bass patches that could have found a home on the Bachelor Party soundtrack….and I can’t look away.

Tommy Dee – Here Is My Love (debuted on 1/10/1981, peaked at #107)

Who’s Tommy Dee? Never heard of him? Then you must have missed seeing The Idolmaker in the theatres, a Taylor Hackford-directed bomb starring Ray Sharkey as an overzealous manager trying to find the next big star. Even though this single release from the film is credited to “Dee,” it’s actually Jesse Frederick’s voice. He didn’t get rich on this, but eventually, he started lining his pockets with residuals from writing the TV show themes, Perfect Strangers, Family Matters, and Full House a handful of years later.

Jon Anderson – Some Are Born (debuted on 1/17/1981, peaked at #109)

Jon Anderson released his second solo album, Song Of Seven, in 1980 after the recording sessions for Yes’ Drama album went awry, and he and Rick Wakeman left the band. He would have varying degrees of success with his Vangelis collaborations, but not as much with his solo releases. This #109 single will be his best solo Pop showing. Some are born to work as a group.

The Spinners – Love Connection (Raise The Window Down) (debuted on 1/9/1982, peaked at #107)

The Spinners’ run of top-notch output from 1972 to 1976 was rarely matched by any R&B act during the 70s. When singer Phillipe Wynne left in 1977, the wheels just fell off. The magic was gone, and the group spent decades trying to restore it. A single like this has the group sounding like a band trying to sound like them, meaning you have no idea it’s the Spinners unless you look at the label. It will not get any higher than #68 on the R&B Hot 100.

Slave – Wait For Me (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #103)

Some groups were just too funky (aka “black”) to be on Pop radio and needed a ton of 45 sales even to have a chance. This was the Dayton, OH’s band’s third single to linger as a Bubbler [after 1978’s The Party Song and 1979’s Just Freak]. They just kept hitting the Pop roadblocks. No wonder Steve Arrington tried to branch out on his own. [We’ll hear from him in April.] It will still reach the R&B Top 20.

The Manhattan Transfer – Spies In The Night (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #103)

This New York vocal quartet was always riding the line between classy and cheesy. Sampling the James Bond theme (without any songwriting credit) pushes the band into the latter. Co-written by David Foster and producer Jay Graydon, it was the third single released from Mecca For Moderns and second follow-up to the Top 10 hit, Boy From New York City. Their second release, Smile Again, only showed up on the AC charts.

Diesel – Goin’ Back To China (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #105)

Dutch quartet Diesel had a surprise Top 30 hit in late 1981 with Sausalito Summernight.  After visiting California, these dudes take a trip to Asia with this slower-paced follow-up. This had been a  1979 Top 40 hit in the Netherlands for the group, but no such luck over here.

Luther Vandross – Don’t You Know That? (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #107)

Even though he became a star in his relatively short time on Earth, it took a lot of perseverance for him to finally breakthrough. There was a lot of backing vocal sessions on hit songs (Bowie, Chic), failed bands (Luther), uncredited lead vocals (Change), and commercial work (Kodak, KFC). But it wasn’t until 1981’s Never Too Much that Pop audiences first heard of him. This funky Quiet Storm jam was the follow-up to his first Top 40 single. It will become his second Top 10 Soul hit.

Diana Ross –  My Old Piano (debuted on 1/16/1982, peaked at #109)

What is this doing here almost two years after the release of 1980’s Diana? I’m guessing it’s due to Diana’s compilation, All The Great Hits, that Motown released after Diana signed with RCA Records.  In the UK, this single reached #5 in the Fall of 1980. It should have been released in the US back in early 1981 as the third single, and it might have had a better shot at success. It will not show up on any other Billboard chart.

 

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