We’re up to the unlucky chart week of thirteen. Actually, it was only unfortunate for these artists back in the 80s. Now that we’re spotlighting them decades later, you might actually go out and buy their music.
The Gap Band – I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops Upside Your Head) (debuted 3/29/1980, peaked at #102)
By the end of the 70s and their fourth album, the Wilson brothers were wearing their Parliament influences on their sleeves with this jam. Maybe that’s because their cousin was Bootsy Collins or because they were the best and most exciting funk group to imitate. This nursery rhymes-laden groove was not only their third Top 10 hit on the R&B charts. It became their first big hit in the UK, reaching #4. It has been sampled and covered countless times since.
Herb Alpert – Street Life (debuted 3/29/1980, peaked at #104)
Herb was enjoying a renaissance in 1979 with his song and album, Rise. On that LP, he released another track, Rotation, which reached the Top 30. The third was a cover of the 1979 Crusaders smash with Herb’s trumpet trying to replicate what Randy Crawford sang so well. Where the jazz trio made this song the perfect soundtrack to a night on the L.A. town, this version tried too hard and grooved too much, like your parents disco dancing in the living room to impress your friends.
Dazz Band – Invitation To Love (debuted 4/4/1981, peaked at #109)
This ballad was the second single and title track to the Cleveland, OH band’s 1980 debut. It’s not bad, but it lacks a distinctive personality to distinguish it from the other horn funk groups. It only peaked at #51 on the Soul charts, but within two more albums, they’d be letting it whip.
Jennifer Warnes – Come To Me (debuted 4/3/1982, peaked at #107)
This was the second single from an aborted 1981 album that ended up getting released as part of a Best Of compilation. Decisions like this would have seriously derailed Jennifer’s career had she not recorded a love theme with Joe Cocker to a Richard Gere film. That future #1 song will debut on the Hot 100 four months from now.
Dan Seals – Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind (debuted 4/3/1982, peaked at #110)
England Dan and John Ford Coley went their separate ways in 1980, and neither ever had any Pop success again. Dan recorded two quality but rarely-heard Yacht Rock LPs. This was the lead for the second one, Harbinger. After it failed, he ran to Nashville and became a successful Country artist racking up nine #1s during the 80s, including Bop.
KC & The Sunshine Band (with Teri DeSario) – Don’t Run (Come Back To Me) (debuted 4/2/1983, peaked at #103)
KC had a great start to the 80s with Please Don’t Go reaching #1. But it all went downhill from there. It reminds me of the scene in Boogie Nights. TK Records went bankrupt. He was in a horrible car accident and had to learn how to walk again. And the Disco backlash chewed his band up and spit them out in the gutter. All In A Night’s Work was their third straight 80s release that bombed. But hidden on side two was a track called Give It Up that needed a little time to percolate before it was ready.
Peter Godwin – Images Of Heaven (debuted 4/2/1983, peaked at #105)
Peter was the lead singer of the English trio Metro, who recorded two albums in the late 70s, including the song Criminal World, which David Bowie covered on his 1982 Let’s Dance album. That allowed Peter to have his Images of Heaven EP released in the US. Unfortunately, this New Wave dance track wasn’t successful on the charts, although it received some moderate Club play.
Johnny Mathis (with Deniece Williams) – Love Won’t Let Me Wait (debuted 4/1/1984, peaked at #106)
We all heard Johnny & Niecy singing to us every Thursday night as we watched Family Ties. So what better time to record another duet together? This one was released from A Special Part Of Me, and it was a cover of the 1975 Major Harris Top 10 smash, minus the moaning. It will creep into the R&B Top 40 at #32.
Alexander O’Neal – Innocent (debuted 3/30/1985, peaked at #101)
Alex was the lead singer of Flyte Tyme before pissing off Prince and getting replaced by Morris Day. Probably for the best, as his style was very intense and Day was more like a cartoon character come to life. O’Neal released his debut five years later and was backed by the Time members he once played with. In fact, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis wrote and produced the entire album. This was the first single release, and it reached #11 on the R&B charts. He wouldn’t cross over until his 1986 duet with Cherelle called Saturday Love.
Van Morrison – Tore Down A La Rimbaud (debuted 3/30/1985, peaked at #101)
Van might be one of the most enormous pain in the asses (or select a different adjective, if you like) in music, but this dude never stops working. He has forty solo albums in his catalog and is planning his new one for release this year. Released from his fifteenth, A Sense Of Wonder, this shuffler just missed climbing onto the Hot 100 at a time when his music sounded way out of date (Or, as some call it, timeless).
John Palumbo – Blowing Up Detroit (debuted 3/30/1985, peaked at #109)
Here is the lead singer of the cult prog-pop group, Crack the Sky, a band that was on the cusp of a breakthrough throughout the 70s but never had that one song to do it. This single from the singer’s solo debut should have easily received more airplay and could have been a hit. Maybe the title scared folks away. But it had that frenetic 80s New Wave dance groove that sounded reminiscent of Oingo Boingo.