As we take a look at the songs that were Bubbling Under during chart week eight, there were actually two years – 1980 & 1982 – that sprung all of its debuts out of jail. Let’s see who ends up stuck.
Chris Montan – Let’s Pick It Up (Where We Left Off) (debuted 2/28/81, peaked at #106)
Back in 1980, Chris released his only full-length LP, Any Minute Now in the West Coast style. This smooth little pop tune is one of many well-crafted songs from that album, but the only one to ever sniff the charts. But don’t feel bad for this dude. He’s the current President of Walt Disney Music. And after music supervising a decade of soundtracks, he’s produced the music to just about every Disney film since 1995’s Pocahantas.
Nicolette Larson – Ooo-Eee (debuted 2/28/81, peaked at #110)
Here is the lead single from Nicolette’s third album, Radioland, produced by Ted Templeman and performed by most of the current Dobbies lineup. Linda Ronstadt sings back up and Little Feat’s Paul Barrere plays guitar. This was one of many in her catalog that deserved more airplay.
Indeep – Last Night A D.J. Saved My Life (debuted 2/26/83, peaked at #101)
This was the jam back in the day, nestled somewhere between disco and hip-hop. Maybe that’s why it never crossed over. With its Chic-styled guitar lines and funky bass riff, it was huge in the Dance clubs, made the R&B Top 10 as well as the tops of many charts across the world. Pop radio turned it away, probably because they straight-up hate DJs. Isn’t that why Pandora exists?
George Kranz – Trommeltanz (Din Daa Daa) (debuted 2/25/84, peaked at #110)
This futuristic electro-funk dance number has become a classic in its genre. Created by German singer and drummer, George Kranz, it has been countlessly sampled and used in a number of commercials. It will reach #1 on the Dance charts in 1984 and a re-recorded version will hit #8 in 1991.
The New Jersey Mass Choir – I Want To Know What Love Is (debuted 2/23/85, peaked at #101)
Did anyone think the band that wrote Cold As Ice and Hot Blooded would have one of their song covered by a gospel choir? This group was on the original recording which went to #1, testifying behind Lou Gramm. They were obviously moved by the spirit to make a few dollars for their own congregation. The arrangement is fairly similar, although they had a little more funk in it, which accounts for its appearance on the Dance charts. It will also reach #37 on the R&B charts.
Ready For The World – Tonight (debuted 2/23/85, peaked at #103)
They may have been ready for the world, but we were not ready for this Flint, MI sextet. This was their debut single, a Quiet Storm jam is written by their lead singer Melvin Riley Jr. and guitarist Gordon Strozier, and will reach #6 on the R&B charts. The band would finally break through with single #3. What’s good for the goose is always good for the gander.
Narada Michael Walden (with Patti Austin) – Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (debuted 2/23/85, peaked at #106)
Narada got his start playing drums with the Mahavishnu Orchestra performing on three albums, before starting his solo career. This upbeat dance track was from his eighth album, The Nature Of Things, and features Patti Austin on lead duet vocals. This will sneak into the R&B Top 40 and will be a hit in Sweden, which makes me wonder if they thought it was an ABBA cover.
Rockwell – He’s A Cobra (debuted 2/23/85, peaked at #108)
It’s funny that the story of Kennedy Gordy changing his name to Rockwell to avoid any charges of nepotism has been kept alive for so long. If he really wanted to work his way up without any help, he wouldn’t have recorded for his dad’s record label in the first place, would he? Or have the biggest Pop star in the world in 1983 sing the chorus of one of his hits? Left to his own devices, we received generic 80s synth-funk like this, the lead single from his second album, Captured. It remains unreleased on CD.