We’re up to chart week ten in our review of the Bubbling Under singles from the 80s. Here’s the list of folks who were kept below the surface of the Hot 100.
Rufus and Chaka – Any Love (debuted 3/8/80, peaked at #102)
Do You Love What You Feel was a monster jam, and its peak of #30 on the Pop charts was proof that R&B and funk were unnecessarily caught up in the Disco backlash. This was the second single from the Quincy Jones-produced Masterjam, another straight-up groove that didn’t get any notice at Pop radio while it reached #24 on the Soul charts. Massive Attack recorded their version in 1990.
L.A. Boppers – Is This The Best (Bop-Doo-Wah) (debuted 3/8/80, peaked at #103)
The Boppers were the backing band for the R&B group Side Effect, and they scored their own album deal in 1978. Produced by Augie Johnson, they changed their name to the L.A. Boppers for their second album released in 1980. This was the lead single, a slice of swinging jazz-funk that reached the Top 30 on the R&B charts that had more in common with the emerging Brit-Funk movement than the US disco scene.
Dan Hartman – Relight My Fire (debuted 3/8/80, peaked at #104)
Dan made the transition from Prog-rock to disco in 1978 with the #29 hit Instant Replay, a great example of 70s dance-pop. His second foray for the dancefloor went even deeper, and this single featuring female vocals by Loleatta Holloway reached #1 on the Disco Top 100.
Rainbow – All Night Long (debuted 3/8/80, peaked at #110)
Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow made a few changes for album #4, Down To Earth. Ronnie James Dio was gone, replaced by singer Graham Bonnett, and Deep Purple cohort Roger Glover was in to play bass and produce. The album was their most commercial to date and yielded the #57 single in late 1979, the Russ Ballard-penned Since You Been Gone. This was the follow-up, another catchy rocker that will reach #5 in the UK.
Ali Thomson – Foolish Child (debuted 3/14/81, peaked at #105)
In between Breakfast In America & Famous Last Words, the brother of Supertramp bassist Dougie Thomson released two solo albums. The first one spawned a Top 20 hit, Take a Little Rhythm. The second one, Deception Is An Art, put out this track as the lead single. I much prefer Ali’s second album as it is nestled firmly in the smooth arms of West Coast pop. It has yet to be released digitally. Ali released his third album last year, Songs from the Playroom, and I found it quite enjoyable.
Any Trouble – Second Choice (debuted 3/14/81, peaked at #108)
Here’s a British New Wave quartet who made quite a splash with critics with their 1980 debut, Where Are All the Girls? Unfortunately, none of it translated into any big successes, even in their native land. All that’s left is this enduring single, a mix of pub rock, reggae, and power pop. Marti Jones recorded a slow acoustic version in 1990 for her Any Kind Of Lie album.
Graf – Come To My Arms (debuted 3/14/81, peaked at #110)
If you thought Robbie Dupree’s Steal Away sounded like the Doobie Brothers, wait till you hear this single from Ohio quartet Graf. It was produced by Steve Katz, and here’s what the band looked like. Two of the members were previously in a jazz-rock group called I Don’t Care.
Bonnie Raitt – Keep This Heart In Mind (debuted 3/13/82, peaked at #104)
It’s incredible to think that it took someone as talented as Bonnie nearly two decades and ten albums before she broke through with Nick Of Time. The music industry slept on her career for far too long, those imbeciles. Here she is with the lead single from her eighth album, Green Light, a solid effort that didn’t go anywhere. Jackson Browne provides backing vocals on this track.
Maxus – Nobody’s Business (debuted 3/13/82, peaked at #109)
The only album by this quartet released in 1981 is held in high regard by West Coast artists. Featuring Jay Gruska on vocals and session player Michael Landau on guitar, this LP is a smooth pop-rock ride. It’s proto-Toto which should have been given the same support as those guys but never did.
The Fixx – Red Skies (debuted 3/12/83, peaked at #101)
It’s strange to think this ode to nuclear war was a Bubbler since it now stands as a New Wave classic. But the second single from this UK quintet’s debut, Shuttered Room, only received Rock radio airplay back then and some moderate video showings on MTV. Their next album would do much better.
Smokey Robinson – I’ve Made Love To You A Thousand Times (debuted 3/12/83, peaked at #101)
What an odd title for a Quiet storm ballad. That’s like every day for almost three years. Who are you, Wilt Chamberlain? The song was still good enough to make the R&B Top 10, but Pop radio was in the midst of ignoring Smokey for many years.
Chilliwack – Secret Information (debuted 3/12/83, peaked at #110)
The Vancouver trio broke through in 1981 with two Top 40 hits South of the border. Their follow-up album, Opus X, was not as successful but just as slick. I would have instead heard this single than any Loverboy tune at the time. Two of the members left the group, and Bill Henderson recorded one more album under the Chilliwack moniker.
Ozzy Osbourne – So Tired (debuted 3/10/84, peaked at #104)
I’m sure you are, Ozzy. Getting rabies will do that to a person, even if you are the prince of darkness. The opening of this Bark at the Moon track sounds like something from Wayne Newton until Ozzy chimes in. And he does sound tired.
Anne Murray – That’s Not The Way (It’s S’posed To Be) (debuted 3/10/84, peaked at #106)
Record label: Anne, you’re missing two letters in your song title.
Anne: Oh yeah, which ones?
Record label: U. P.
Anne: (giggles) Only when I drink too much water.
Jenny Burton – Bad Habits (debuted 3/9/85, peaked at #101)
Disco singer Jenny Burton racked up a few members of the Other Sixty in 1984. She also sang on the club hit, One More Shot by C-Bank. Jenny scored her biggest overall success with this funky track from her second album, Jenny Burton, hitting #1 on the Dance charts and reaching the R&B Top 20. It also contains the same shabba-doo-wah lick as the above L.A. Boppers tune.
Roxanne Shanté – Roxanne’s Revenge (debuted 3/9/85, peaked at #109)
UTFO put out a classic Hip-hop track in 1984 called Roxanne, Roxanne. Then the real Roxanne put out this answer track and pummeled those three fellas into dust, stomping into the R&B Top 30. Netflix put out a movie in 2018 based on her life, which was quite good.