I love listening to Top 40 countdowns, so I keep coming back to them on this blog. This first time around, I tried my best not to post countdowns with much overlap. But that left out plenty of songs that I wanted to comment on. So going forward, any week that has more than 10 previously discussed songs or 25%, I’m calling it an inbetweener. I link to my previously discussed post and give myself the freedom to add something new if I choose.
I’ve talked about 25 of these tunes previously, some twice during this chart week’s list. But I couldn’t resist. I call this group, The Ground Round countdown. Just about every song here reminds me of going to that restaurant with my family, smashing peanuts on the floor, watching Heckle & Jeckyl on a projector screen, and quickly losing quarters in the arcade.
Now, without further adieu, let’s jump into Top 40 from the week of February 13th, 1982. [This post may be long, so thanks for indulging me.]
That’s me, crunching peanuts to the beat.
This was the second single from Donnie’s King Cool LP after Sweet Merilee stiffed at #80. It’s one notch away from its peak, and the chorus reminds me of that classic, unreleased track from Brock Landers.
After a twenty-seven-year gap, Del is back in the Top 40 with his cover of the 1959 Phil Phillips smash, which reached #2. The song and album that it was released from, Drop Down and Get Me, was produced by Tom Petty and features the Heartbreakers as Del’s backing band. It is resting at its zenith.
Put them in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame already. The Bangles are next.
OHW – Here’s a Canadian singer/songwriter whose big break came when Pat Benatar recorded his tune Hit Me With Your Best Shot, which reached #9 in late 1980. When Eddie released his second album, No Refuge, Pop radio took notice a year later, and the first single release will reach #28. He’ll have further success co-writing two songs that Paul Carrack will make Top 40 hits (Don’t Shed A Tear, I Live By The Groove) as well as co-writing the Doobie Brothers 1989 comeback hit, The Doctor.
It seems that radio stations had a three-song rotation in the 80s every Friday at 5 PM: Partytown by Glenn Frey, Take This Job And Shove It by Johnny Paycheck, and this one. [They should have just played this.] This will become the Vancouver quintet’s second Top 40 hit in the US, and it will not travel and further than where it is today. Personally, I prefer their follow-up single, When It’s Over.
28. Genesis – Abacab
From the divorce files of Phil The Shill: Phil was always good at creating nonsense words for song titles (see Paperlate, Sussudio), but he uses this one as a cover to get pissed off at his ex-wife. Since Mike & Tony didn’t think Demon Whore would go over well, they suggested using the chords used during the chorus, stringing them together to make a new word with no meaning. Though they could have a laugh about it when they shared a pint. Songs like this and the album they came from were a good bridge from their progressive roots to the Pop landscape. Current artists such as Steven Wilson are doing this but have faced a more significant backlash than this trio ever did.
It was odd that Pop radio ultimately rejected this funk band’s last album, Faces, but was on board with the opening single from their new long-play, Raise! It has already peaked at #3 for five weeks sitting behind Foreigner’s Waiting… and Livvy’s Physical. This group dominated the 70s, but they will only have one more Top 40 hit during the Synth-funk era, which is a travesty.
OHW – Just imagine if Bertie was inspired by Bogey’s The African Queen. Don’t know about you, but I’d love to hear a rock song called Leaches Suck.
If we are spirits in the material world and Madonna is living in a material world as a material girl, does that mean she’s a ghost?
OHW – I much prefer MJ’s ode to his favorite game.
I have nothing against Barry. He’s good at what he does. I’m not impressed by the fact that he can churn out one sugary, overly dramatic ballad after another. I’m amazed that we let him get away with it for this long.
A gigantic smash on the Soul charts, it’s always been my favorite Stevie jam. That angelic choir during the chorus gets me every time.
People don’t immediately think of Rick as a Power Pop artist, but that’s precisely what this is. It’s the third Top 20 hit from his 1981 Working Class Dog album after I’ve Done Everything For You and Jessie’s Girl. It is sitting at its high.
After a decade of classic with the Supremes and another decade of hits as a solo artist, her 80s songs were like icing on the cake. That may be why some are forgotten. Is that possible with a Top 10 hit? Well, when was the last time you heard this?
RAR – Lionel Richie will hit #1 later in the year with his first solo hit, Truly. This was his warm-up.
PFK – Sheena was on a roll in 1981 – three Top 20 hits, two of them reaching the Top 10, one reaching #1. Her fourth straight Top 20 was the title track to her second album, a biting ballad that is two notches away from its peak.
PFK – Stevie’s first two Top 40 hits were duets. Her match-up with Don Henley was her second and is coming down from its high of #6. She wrote this for Jessie Colter & Waylon Jennings, who named their album after it but didn’t include the song. Stevie took it back and made them pay.
OHW – Oh no, someone made Pop music for my mom. She played this every time she could, probably because she enjoyed aggravating us. These folks took the Stars on 45 approach, stitching a bunch of well-known melodies, in this case, classical passages performed by this London Orchestra conducted by Louis Clark to a lame drum machine track. This is falling from its high of #10. How did Pop programmers put this in their playlists?
SXMFU – During the Big 40 Countdown on SXM, they mention that K-Tel had a big hit with this. But it was actually released on RCA Records.
Here’s the second single from the Stones’ last great album, Tattoo You. Had Keith been more persuasive, we would have heard the best songs from this album and Emotional Rescue in one package rather than be exposed to Mick’s disco distractions. This single was originally created during the Goat’s Head Soup sessions in 1972. It’s a beautiful and tender song and finishes with a soulful sax solo by Jazz great Sonny Rollins.
I’m not dissing Dan, but I’m going to use space to post a different cool song with the same name that I enjoy more.
How did this long-haired Country hippie from Mississippi churn out some smooth Yacht Rock jams late in his career? This was the title track to his last released album before he dives back into Country music. This week, it is at its zenith.
Still playing second fiddle to ONJ.
And this where I place a Grease gif of Sandy saying Tell me about it, stud.
Juice was a Country artist who had more success on the Pop & AC charts than over in Nashville in the early 80s until this song became her first Country #1. When the Pop hits dried up in 1984, it allowed her to fully commit to Opryland and continue her career. This is her third Pop Top 10 from her album, Juice.
In a month from this current chart week, Ric Ocasek will turn 38. Let that sink in.
Aww yeah. The Yachtski Scale says that What A Fool Believes is the nexus of Yacht Rock, but you can make a strong case that this track from George’s double LP greatest hits compilation is the penultimate smooth jam. GB mixes jazz, R&B, and pop like Reese’s mixes peanut butter and chocolate. It’s written by Bill Champlin, Steve Lukather, and Jay Graydon, who also produced it. That’s three heavy West Coast hitters. Also, David Paich plays Synth bass. Jeff Porcaro programmed the synth drums. David Foster is on synthesizer. I feel like I’m sailing on the S.S. Velvet.
When Hall & Oates hit #1 with this song on the Soul charts, it may have seemed like validation for them by staying true to their R&B roots. The fallout may have been the whitewashing of the Pop charts and record company budget cuts to their Black music divisions. Take, for instance, the duo’s label, RCA. Outside of Diana Ross, whom they signed in 1981, the record label never produced an R&B song in the Pop Top 10 in the 80s after this, and instead focused on soulful White acts, such as Eurythmics and imposters such as Rick Astley.
Peter Wolf and pals are in the middle of a six-week run, propelled by one of the catchiest na na na-na na na lines in Pop history. They hit that point home by whistling that melody at the end too.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- PD – Previously Discussed
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake