As we approach chart week twelve, we are 1/4 done with our review of singles Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s.
Hall & Oates – Who Said The World Was Fair (debuted 3/22/1980, peaked at #110)
This was the Philly duo’s first Bubbler and a slap in the face for the guys that hung out at #1 with Rich Girl only three years before. This follow-up to the Top 20 hit, Wait For Me, from their David Foster-produced X-Static album, was the last single to miss the Hot 100 for the next eleven years. Their next 22 singles would reach the Top 40, starting with the prescient How Does It Feel To Be Back, charted in four months from now. Don’t Hold Back Your Love broke the streak when it peaked at #41 in early 1991.
Todd Rundgren – Time Heals (debuted 3/28/1981, peaked at #107)
After his 1978 Top 30 hit, Can We Still Be Friends, Todd only had one more Hot 100 solo career chart entry [Bang The Drum All Day]. How does a song this catchy get stuck down here? Can’t blame MTV cause this was the eighth video that was played on the channel. His 1981 Healing LP also has one of his best and most beautiful ballads, Compassion, and it should have been a big hit for him. It’s definitely something we all need right now.
Bobby Vinton – Let Me Love You Goodbye (debuted 3/28/1981, peaked at #108)
Who OK’d the A&R budget for this one? Bobby, you had your time and your hits and even a mid-70s comeback. Please, love yourself goodbye.
Third World – Try Jah Love (debuted 3/27/1982, peaked at #101)
Here’s a Jamaican reggae band formed in 1973 who also threw jazz, funk, and disco into the mix. Their only Hot 100 entry, Now That We’ve Found Love, was a Gamble & Huff composition, initially recorded by the O’Jays in 1973. Their dancefloor cover reached #47 on the Pop charts, #9 R&B, and #10 in the UK in early 1979. This single, co-written by Stevie Wonder, who took the band on tour with him, Is from their seventh album, You’ve Got The Power, and peaked at #23 on the Soul charts.
Bobby Caldwell – Jamaica (debuted 3/27/1982, peaked at #105)
Keeping with the Jamaica theme, we have singer-songwriter Booby Caldwell with the lead single from this third album, Carry On. This Pop one-hit-wonder will nab four Top 40 hits on the Soul chart, but this one will peak #54. He is also a legend in Japan.
Dwight Twilley – Somebody To Love (debuted 3/27/1982, peaked at #106)
It’s been seven years since power-pop rocker Dwight Twilley came near a Hot 100 chart. This one started out as an Arista Records singles release before getting picked up by EMI, wherein he released his new album Scuba Divers. Neither 45 nor LP would come up for air.
Kashif – I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On) (debuted 3/26/1983, peaked at #103)
The 80s showed a limited amount of love to R&B artists. No matter how much juice the man, born Michael Jones, put into his boogie, it wasn’t going to make much of a Pop impact. It will be the former BT Express member’s first R&B Top 10 when it reaches #5.
Q-Feel – Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop) (debuted 3/26/1983, peaked at #110)
How does one of the most 80s-sounding songs not succeed in the 80s? The synth-pop duo of Martin Page & Brian Fairweather switched to writing songs for other artists, such as Kim Carnes, Barbara Streisand, and Earth, Wind & Fire. This single finally entered the Hot 100 in 1989 and reached #75, at a time when songs like this were already out of fashion. Martin Page will nab a #14 hit in 1994 with In The House Of Stone And Light.
Endgames – Love Cares (debuted 3/24/1984, peaked at #105)
Here’s a Samuel Beckett-loving New Wave quartet from Glasgow, Scotland, who is still a forgotten band of the era. Sitting somewhere between the synth-funk of Human League and the sophistication of ABC, this single was released from their debut album, Building Beauty, and their one week at #105 will be the closest the band will come to US success.
David Sanborn – Love & Happiness (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #103)
Saxophonist Sanborn played on the music scene for the previous two decades, starting with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and moving over to Stevie Wonder’s posse before beginning a solo career in 1975. From his Grammy-winning seventh album, Straight From The Heart, this cut was an Al Green cover recorded live featuring AWB’s Hamish Stuart on lead vocals.
Fun fact: All of those little sax outbursts in the Lethal Weapon movies are played by David.
Fun fact 2: In 1988, David will co-host Night Music with Jools Holland, a late-night music TV show that was almost too to be true.
The Whispers – Some Kinda Lover (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #106)
The further we move through the 80s, the more that Soul music gets kicked to the curb. Here’s another synth-funk jam from the LA quintet, the second release from their thirteenth album, So Good. It will reach #17 on the R&B charts.
Shalamar – My Girl Loves Me (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #103) (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #106)
This was the third and final Bubbler for an act that evolved from the Soul Train dancers back in the late 70s. It’s also where lead singer Howard Hewitt finally jumps ship. The second proper release from their eighth album, Heartbreak, will hit #22 R&B.
Run-D.M.C. – King Of Rock (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #108)
This is where I officially became a RUN-DMC fan. I liked Hard Times and Rock Box from their 1984 debut, but this one blew my mind the first time I heard it. No synths, no samples. Just blazing guitar solos courtesy of Eddie Martinez over a TR-88’s drum beats turned up to 11. Producer Larry Smith should get the credit for providing the blueprint for rock and rap even though Rick Rubin would build the house. This single will reach #14 on the R&B charts, which was quite an accomplishment.
Dazz Band – Heartbeat (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #110)
The Pop one-hit-wonder funk band from Cleveland is still trying to cross over one more time with something a bit slower. This will be their final and closest attempt from their seventh album, Hot Spot. They’ll rack up four more R&B Top singles, including this one which will reach #12.