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.