What Do You Consider Fun?

Here’s another Top 40 inbetweener. Even though I recapped a countdown from March and May of 1982, I couldn’t help wanting to jump into this one from April 24, 1982, with lots of forgotten tracks. Also, if you’ve ever listened to Barry Scott’s The Lost 45s, then you might have been reacquainted with most of these songs on his show.

40. David Lasley – If I Had My Wish Tonight 

OHW – David was part of a trio called Rosie, who released two albums in the mid-70s. Along with Arnold McCullar and Luther Vandross, he became an in-demand backing singer and shows up on many Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards productions. He also nabbed some co-songwriting credits for Maxine Nightengale’s Lead Me On and Jojo by Boz Scaggs. All of this experience helped him land a recording contract as a solo singer. He released Missin’ Twenty Grand in 1982, and the first single became his only Top 40 hit, eventually peaking at #36. He is also in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.

39. John Denver – Shanghai Breezes 

John’s superstar days were mainly over by the turn of the decade. In fact, many people might have only known him as the checkout clerk from Oh God. But this son of a former Air Force major’s concerts still drew large numbers, even if the size of the hits shrank. From his 15th album, Seasons of the Heart, this single will blow up to #31, but will gust as high as #1 on the AC chart, his ninth. It will be his last Top 40 hit.

Fun fact: John asked to be a part of We Are The World but was turned down. That’s rough getting dissed from a charity event.

38. Dan Fogelberg – Run For The Roses PD

Quick question – if the horse comes in last, is that when the precious flesh is greedily consumed?

37. Barry Manilow – Let’s Hang On

I listened to this Four Seasons cover a few times over the weekend, and it strikes me how Barry has absolutely no soul in his voice when he sings. How does he do that? He opens his mouth and hits the notes as hard as he can with nothing much behind it.  I’m guessing this is where Debbie Gibson learned her singing style, where loud is better than nuance.

36. Roberta Flack – Making Love PD

I love Roberta, but this song is like a four-minute nap. Feels good when you’re in it but disorienting when it’s over.

35. Buckner & Garcia – Pac-Man Fever PD

OHW – I loved this game so much that I would play the Atari 2600 version and pretend like it was fine. It wasn’t.

34. Quincy Jones ft. James Ingram – One Hundred Ways  – PD

33. Charlie Daniels Band – Still In SaigonPD

Here’s one for the Vietnam Vets and the first honest attempt to musical categorize the horror many of them went through. It’s no surprise that First Blood would be a box office hit late in the year. Also, when Charlie performed this in later years, did he sing Still in Ho Chi Minh City, or would that have made it worse?

32. Stars On 45 – Stars On 45 III

THW – Oh damn,, they’re back. It’s funny to think that a studio group that did a medleys cover could come back a year later and have another hit. It’s one thing to impersonate John and Paul, but this Stevie Wonder tribute sucks. Why did we need this when the living legend was already at #6 and #26 this week?

31. Tom Tom Club – Genius Of Love 

OHW – Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of the Talking Heads took a break down in the Bahamas in 1980, started to jam, formed a band, and bumped into Island Records owner Chris Blackwell, who had them record a few tracks at Compass Point Studios. They squeezed out Wordy Rappinghood and this one, which became a high selling import 12″, eventually reaching #1 on the Disco Top 80 charts. It became a very influential track in the hip-hop community (more so than Blondie’s Rapture) and was a giant hit on the R&B charts climbing to the bridesmaid’s spot held off only by the man at #26. I mean, how many other songs do you know have paid tribute to James Brown, Kurtis Blow, Smokey Robinson, Bob Marley, Bootsy Collins, Sly & Robbie, and Hamilton Bohannon in one tune? That’s some funky love.

Pop radio didn’t care much and didn’t let this one get any higher than it is right now. They’ll wait for Mariah Carey to sample it for 1995’s #1 hit, Fantasy, to make it a mainstream success.

So by 1982, Talking Heads and this 50% spinoff had one Top 40 each. Although this song was featured in Stop Making Sense, its popularity motivated the competitive David Byrne to make the Heads successful on his terms. Now take a listen, go have some fun and stay out of jail.

30. Junior – Mama Used To Say 

OHW – “Hells, yes. This jam starts out so good and immediately pulls me in. I love the smooth feel and jazzy chord changes. Then it kicks off, and the bassline becomes a little square for me, but not enough to ruin it. I’d like to see Elvis Costello write something this engaging as this British soul singer.” – That would have been my entry into the 1982 Village Voice Pazz and Jop poll, which Robert Christgau would have violently spit on. This #2 Soul song is sitting at its peak.

29. Mike Post – Theme From ‘Magnum P.I.’ 

Having the instrumental theme to this Tom Selleck show in the Top 40 might be the most 1982 about this countdown. Or maybe it’s just because Mike Post is the friggin man?

28. Elton John – Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny) PD

27. Human League – Don’t You Want MePD

26. Stevie Wonder – That Girl PD

25. Dr. Hook – Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk

Dr. Hook and his crew have always projected a skeezy vibe. And now they’re starting at your ass. Inspired as much from hanging out at malls on a Saturday afternoon as it was from watching Sassoon and Jordache commercials, this will be the New Jersey’s group’s last Top 40 hit.

24. Rolling Stones – Hang Fire

Emotional Rescue: Mick’s in charge.

Tattoo You: Keef’s in charge.

I ask you which album has stood the test of time.

23. Journey – Open Arms PD

Don’t forget to close them, Steve. Maybe that’s why Sherrie fell through.

22. Ray Parker Jr. – The Other WomanPD

I always wanted to hear what someone like Conway Twitty would have done with this song. Then I researched his catalog and found that he recorded a song with the same title back in 1966. Great cheatin’ minds think alike.

21. Willie Nelson – Always On My MindPD

Props to Willie for writing a song so good that it became a standard, even though it came through the Country door. [Ed.  note – It was pointed out to me that Willie didn’t write this. Or record it first. That would be B.J. Thomas in 1970. In my defense, he sings it like he did.]

20. Charlene – I’ve Never Been To Me PD

OHW, STA, PFK – When people say “so bad, it’s good,” I always assume they are using this song as the Gold standard.

19. Greg Guidry – Goin’ Down

OHW, RAR – Greg is goin’ down for the last time, so please give him some tips on what to do because his neck is getting tired.

18. Le Roux – Nobody Said It Was Easy (Looking For The Lights)

OHW – This is what I was talking about when I mentioned Barry Scott. Songs like this are pure gold to The Lost 45s, a track that will reach the Top 20 (it’s at its peak) and never be heard of again. It didn’t even float back via Yacht Rock. You can find it on their fourth album, Last Safe Place.

The next group of songs is a product of their time, and I do not have any other association with them other than their place in the Spring of 1982. Maybe it’s because nine of them were one-hit wonders. Actually, the Stevie Nicks track makes me think of School of Rock, but everyone else belongs encased in this countdown’s time capsule.

17. The Beatles – The Beatles’ Movie Medley PD

16. Quarterflash – Find Another Fool PD

15. Kool & The Gang – Get Down On ItPD

14. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Did It In A MinutePD

13. Olivia Newton-John – Make A Move On MePD

12. Van Halen – (Oh) Pretty Woman PD

11. Stevie Nicks – Edge Of Seventeen (Just Like The White-Winged Dove)PD

10. Tommy Tutone – 867-5309/JennyPD, PD

THW – FYI – Tommy Tutone is the band’s name. Tommy Heath was the lead singer. No ska was played, and no one wore two-tone shoes.

9. Paul Davis – ’65 Love AffairPD

If Paul Davis and Crystal Gayle had a kid, it would been Chewbacca.

8. Bertie Higgins – Key LargoPD

OHW – 39.75 on the Yachtski scale, yet I still hear this on Yacht Rock radio channels.

7. Huey Lewis & The News – Do You Believe In LovePD

6. Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder – Ebony And Ivory PD

5. Rick Springfield – Don’t Talk To StrangersPD, PD

4. The J. Geils Band – Freeze FramePD

3. Vangelis – Chariots Of Fire (Titles)PD, PD

OHW – When Jon Anderson and Vangelis teamed up to release a few albums in the early 80s, I’m sure neither of them assumed they would each have a #1 record in the US just a few years later. Vangelis (hard G) did with the instrumental title sequence to Chariots Of Fire. Jon wasn’t even in Yes at this time but would rejoin and hit the top singing Owner of A Lonely Heart in early 1984.

2. The Go Go’s – We Got The Beat PD

1. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – I Love Rock N Roll PD, PD

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around

Step Out And Dare To Declare

There must have been a Pop radio jailbreak during chart week sixteen since there aren’t that many Bubblers left behind. Let’s review those forgotten 45s from the 80s.

Sister Sledge – Reach Your Peak (debuted 4/19/1980, peaked at #101)

This is easily my favorite of the bunch. Had the Disco backlash not happened, the Sledge sisters would have had a few hits from 1980’s Love Somebody Today, their Nile Ridgers/ Bernard Edwards-produced follow-up to We Are Family. After Got To Love Somebody reached #64 Pop and #5 R&B, this breezy reggae-tinged track only climbed as high as #21 on the Soul charts. The album track Pretty Baby was never minted as a 45, but this confident disco strutter was another favorite of mine.

John Cougar – A Little Night Dancin’ (debuted 4/19/1980, peaked at #105)

Don’t let the title fool you. JC didn’t go disco, but he did get his Van Morrison on. This straight-ahead acoustic rocker was the third single released from his self-titled third LP, which included his first Top 40 hit, I Need A Lover.

The 1981 debuts all moved onto the Hot 100, so let’s continue with 1982.

Cameo – Just Be Yourself (debuted 4/24/1982, peaked at #101)

Funk was another casualty of the Disco backlash as well as the recession. It’s hard to keep ten guys on the payroll if you do not have giant hits. Cameo was now down to five members on their 1982 release, Alligator Woman. They’d shrink to four with their next release, and by the time of their first Top 40 ht, Word Up!, they were a trio. This compact jam will reach #12 on the R&B charts.

Fun fact: Did you know that the model on the cover of Alligator Woman was Vanity?

Xavier – Work That Sucker To Death (debuted 4/24/1982, peaked at #104)

Here’s a funk octet from Connecticut that received a little help from George Clinton & Bootsy Collins, who performed on two tracks on their album, Point Of Pleasure. This monster jam was one of them and worked itself into the R&B Top 10, hitting #6. Because it was released on the same label as Kenny Rogers, I’m not sure that was any A&R money to go around to push this one to Pop radio.

Devo – Through Being Cool (debuted 4/24/1982, peaked at #107)

Devo will amass five single singles that were labeled as Bubblers in the 80s. Pop radio had no idea what to do with them. And even during the early 80s New Wave invasion, their sound was too future-forward. This was the second single released from 1981’s New Traditionalists and was also featured on the Heavy Metal soundtrack. Writing a song for nerds when that word was still an insult garnered them a loyal cult following to this day. Now they look to aim their spud guns at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

1983 was strutting around like a sharp-dressed man this week, moving their singles up to higher highs.

Evelyn “Champagne” King – Shake Down (debuted 4/21/1984, peaked at #107)

This was one of the few songs of Evelyn’s that I wasn’t as familiar with. It sounds like Sly Stone meets synth-funk with King working her sultry lower register a la Ruth Pointer on Automatic or Jody Watley on Still A Thrill. [JW’s producer, Andre Cymone produced four tracks on Face To Face.] This #12 peaker will be one of eighteen Top 40 R&B hits that she’ll rack up.

B.E. Taylor Group – Reggae Rock N Roll (debuted 4/20/1985, peaked at #102)

The pride of Pittsburgh, Bill Edward Taylor, known as BE, formed a quartet with three former members of the West Virginia prog-rock band, Crack The Sky. They released three albums, which yielded two Hot 100 entries and one EP called Life Goes On, which this single was spawned [It would also appear on their final full length, Our World in 1986.] Also, the single didn’t have a lot of (if any) reggae, but it did have a lot of anthemic Midwest pop-rock comin’ at ya.

If you want to read more weeks of Bubbling Under during the 80s, the rabbit hole is this way.

For Sins And False Alarms

Here’s another lot of unlucky soul, classic rock, and New Wave. Some have reached mythical standing as the years have come by. But most are just songs that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100 in the 80s during chart week fifteen.

[No entries this week for 1980, so let’s move on to 1981.]

Outlaws – I Can’t Stop Loving You (debuted 4/18/1981, peaked at #102)

The Tampa, FL band Outlaws managed a second Top 40 hit, Ghost Riders In The Sky, in 1981, just as Southern Rock was losing favor with the Pop audience. This was the follow-up, their version of a song that Leo Sayer took into the UK top 10 in 1978. Phil Collins would have the most successful US cover when his recording hit #1 on the AC charts in 2003.

Tom Jones – Darlin’ (debuted 4/18/1981, peaked at #103)

Welsh singer Tom Jones decided to move to Country music in the late 70s, which effectively killed his Pop career, save for 1977’s Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow. The title track to his 1981 album will reach #19 on the Country charts two years after singer David Rogers hit #18 with his version.

Rainbow – I Surrender (debuted 4/18/1981, peaked at #105)

This is the lead single from the group’s fifth album, Difficult To Cure, their first with new lead singer Joe Lyn Turner. Written by Russ Ballard and initially recorded by Head East the previous year, it will be the band’s biggest hit in the UK, reaching #3.

John Hall Band – You Sure Fooled Me (debuted 4/17/1982, peaked at #109)

After John Hall left Orleans in 1977, his primary focus was on becoming active in the anti-nuclear movement and co-founding MUSE, which organized the No Nukes concert of 1979. He released a solo album that year called Power, then formed the John Hall Band, which released two LPs in the 80s. This straight-up New Wave-flavored pop-rocker was the follow-up to Crazy, which hit #42 earlier in 1982.

The Dregs – Crank It Up (debuted 4/17/1982, peaked at #110)

The Dixie Dregs were a jazz-rock ensemble formed by guitarist Steve Morse in the early 70s down in Georgia. For their sixth album, they changed their name to The Dregs. By album seven, Industry Standard, they finally recorded two songs with lead vocals, one by Patrick Simmons and this single featuring Santana collaborator Alex Ligertwood. It will also become a Screamer of the Week on WLIR 92.7 during the first week of March. Steve will go on to join Kansas in the late 80s and Deep Purple in the 90s.

Dire Straits – Twisting By The Pool (debuted 4/16/1983, peaked at #105)

After four albums with the band, drummer Pick Withers left, leaving the remaining three dudes scrambling for a replacement. They found one in Terry Williams and immediately recorded three new tracks they put out as Extendedance Play in 1983. This was the single they released to promote, and it will climb to #14 in the UK and #1 in New Zealand.

Randy Newman – I Love L.A. (debuted 4/16/1983, peaked at #110)

Randy takes all of the juice out of what a one-hit-wonder truly means. Yes, his only Top 40 hit was Short People in 1978. But he was written and recorded enduring songs for the last six decades – Sail Away, Baltimore, You’ve Got A Friend In Me, If I Didn’t Have You, to name a few. His ability to write songs in which the line between mockery and admiration is blurred is what I find the most entertaining about his music. Whether he loves or loathes the City of Angels (probably both), people can find whatever they want in this song, which is why Angelinos have adopted it as their anthem.

The Spinners – Right Or Wrong (debuted 4/14/1984, peaked at #104)

If you listen to this track and think it’s the Whispers, I can’t blame you. By 1984 they sound more like them than the band that recorded I’ll Be Around and The Rubberband Man. Cross Fire will be their final album for Atlantic Records, a fruitful partnership that began twelve years previous. This single will also be their last R&B Top 40, climbing as high as #22.

Sandy Stewart – Saddest Victory (debuted 4/14/1984, peaked at #105)

Sandy Stewart was a singer/ songwriter/ keyboardist and friend of Stevie Nicks. She co-wrote If Anyone Falls and Nightbird on Nicks’ The Wild Heart album and sang backing vocals on the latter track. Sandy released her first album, Cat Dancer as Nightbird was falling off the charts. The album has many strong tracks on it, such as Get My Way, Cat Dancers, and this, the first single. Sandy will also co-write Seven Wonders with Stevie, which the Mac will take up to #19 in 1987.

The Alarm – Sixty Eight Guns (debuted 4/14/1984, peaked at #106)

The Welsh quartet comes on like sixty-eight thousand guns on this political rocker from their album, Declaration. This New Wave classic will become their biggest hit in the UK with a #17 peak, and their presence as a Bubbler will be their first flush with US success.

Eddie “D” – Backstabbin’ (debuted 4/13/1985, peaked at #103)

Once rap music started making waves in the early 80s, it wasn’t long before it spread to other cities. This was one of Philadelphia’s first entries by Eddie Drummond, otherwise known as Eddie D. I listened to a lot of hip-hop back then and don’t remember this one getting a lot of play. It will chart on the R&B Hot 100 getting as high as #75.

Melba Moore – Read My Lips (debuted 4/13/1985, peaked at #104)

Melba was on her thirteenth album by 1985 and still came up empty when it came to a Pop crossover hit. Her new album saw Melba tries fuse more rock into her Soul, and one of the tracks, I Can’t Believe It, will garner her a Best Female Rock Grammy nomination. The title track was the first single to come out, and it will reach #12 on the R&B charts.

Nik Kershaw – The Riddle (debuted 4/13/1985, peaked at #103)

Nik may be most known for his 1984 Top 40 near miss, Wouldn’t It Be Good. But he’s released a plethora of great Pop songs, such as Wide Boy, Don Quixote, and Radio Musicola, the latter of which featured many WLIR DJs in the intro. This was the title track and first single released from his second album. It will become a Top 10 single in many European countries, including #3 in the UK.

 

Taking A Ride On A Brand New Tide

Twenty-Ten Favorite

Here’s a British quintet from London who went through several band iterations before finding the right one to record their debut, No Hard Feelings on the Acid Jazz label in 2014. But this is not Jamiroquai. New Street Adventure’s classic soul sound pays homage to Curtis Mayfield and Mods as much as they do to Paul Weller and nights at the Wigan Casino. Their first album is a solid mix of uptempo swingers with a  few slow dance numbers performed by jazz musicians with a rock mentality. But it’s the final track, the horn-laden The Big A.C., that sticks out. It was inspired by leader Nick Corbin’s experience at the 100 Club all-nighter, where the music being played, primarily Northern Soul, sunk into his bones and hooked him for life. He and the band return their debt by recording this track, which became a Northern Soul dancefloor filler itself.

Here’s DJ/ dancer Levanna McLean, aka Northern Soul Girl, in the band’s video for the single, The Big A.C.

The Way You Wonder If It’s Real

As we continue our review of songs that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during chart week 14 in the 80s, we find a strong group of tunes that aimed to dominate their respective Spring. Personally, just about all of these tracks are sitting in one of my musical playlists on my phone.

English Beat – I Confess (debuted 4/9/1983, peaked at #104)

At the height of MTV and the second British Invasion, I’m not sure why this UK octet could not break through with any of the singles from their third album, Special Beat Service. They toned the ska down just enough to add a little pop into the mix but ended up getting stuck down here. It will reach #4 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 charts.

Fun fact: The band was called The Beat in the UK and changed it to The English Beat in the US because there was already a band here with that name. By the time of this release, the US group was calling themselves Paul Collins’ Beat.

Fats forward to the 2010s – Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger, once homies in General Public, fought for the use of the name for years. This is why we had albums by The Beat Featuring Ranking Roger followed by The English Beat Featuring Dave Wakeling.

Garland Jeffreys – What Does It Take (To Win Your Love) (debuted 4/19/1983, peaked at #107)

Here’s an artist that was a critic’s darling for many years but just never got the proper big break. His biggest success was his cover of 96 Tears, which reached #66 in 1981. He went back to the remake well with his take on Jr. Walker & the All-Stars Top 5 smash from 1969. On this track, David Sanborn stands in for Jr. Walker. Garland is still at it after fifty years in the biz.

The Cure – Let’s Go To Bed (debuted 4/9/1983, peaked at #109)

One of my favorite Cure songs. By this point, Robert Smith was finally figuring out how to write bright, catchy pop songs that were still enshrouded with darkness and mystery. It was a bold move at the time, but it ended getting them one step closer to mass acceptance.

The Art Of Noise – Beat Box (debuted 4/7/1984, peaked at #101)

This group was formed when three members of Trevor Horn’s production team had to figure out how a Fairlight synthesizer and sampler worked. In their efforts to program, they created techno sounds that they recorded as song snippets. This was the first single they released during Christmas 1983, and it became #1 on the Dance charts. The big beats also helped it land in the R&B Top 10.

Alisha – All Night Passion (debuted 4/7/1984, peaked at #103)

This was the first single released by Brooklyn singer Alisha Itkin. Producer Mark Berry was trying to get some of that Madonna money. Little did they know that her next album’s sound was already evolving out of the underground clubs, so tracks like this already started to sound old even when they were newly released. Regardless it will still reach #4 on the Dance club charts and become a Top 40 in the Netherlands.

Con Funk Shun – Don’t Let Your Love Grow Cold (debuted 4/7/1984, peaked at #103)

I knew this song from the South Carolina beach band, The Entertainers. Many years later, I found out that it was a Con Funk Shun original. Released from the band’s ninth album, Fever, produced by Deodato, it will reach #33 on the R&B charts.

Fun Fact: After the group’s first break up in 1987, song co-writer Felton Pilate would be instrumental in turning MC Hammer into a worldwide phenomenon.

Pat Wilson – Bop Girl (debuted 4/7/1984, peaked at #104)

I’ve been counting the weeks until I got to this song. This bubbly New Wave pop-rocker may be one of my favorite 80s Bubblers. Pat was a music journalist in Australia and her husband Ross was the frontman for the band Mondo Rock. He had this song lying around for years, even demoing it with his band, but could never write the right sound. He had his wife sing it and, voila, a #2 smash Down Under in 1983. I’m surprised that no one has rediscovered this song as it has such an 80s feel without being stereotypical. Not many Pop songs back then had fiddle solos in them.

Fun fact: The video for this song was directed by Gillan Armstrong, who had directed  1979’s My Brilliant Career. It also features a young, well-known actress.

Bryan Loren – Lollipop Luv (debuted 4/7/1984, peaked at #105)

You may never have heard of this dude, but he sure has an impressive resume. He was a member of Fat Larrys Band and collaborated with Michael Jackson, Sly Stone, Whitney Houston, and Barry White. He co-produced Sting’s Top 10 hit, We’ll Be Together. But his most recognized credit was writing and producing, Do the Bartman, which reached #1 in five countries

George Benson – I Just Wanna Hang Around You (debuted 4/6/1985, peaked at #102)

George never stopped making quality Jazz-Soul albums, but he was past his heyday on the Pop charts by the time he released 1984’s 20/20. The title track reached #48, and this midtempo ballad released as the second single and written by “Maniac” Michael Sembello and his three brothers would only climb to #24 on the R&B charts.

Jeff Lorber featuring Audrey Wheeler – Step By Step (debuted 4/6/1985, peaked at #105)

Jeff was a Jazz  Keyboardist from Philly who had released five albums as the leader of the Jeff Lorber Fusion band. By the time of his third solo album, he was trying to figure out a way to cross over to the Soul charts. He recorded this track, co-written with Anita Pointer and produced by the System –  David Frank and Mic Murphy. They hired the former lead singer of Disco group Unlimited Touch, and the song ended up hitting #31 on the R&B charts and #4 on the Dance charts. On his next album, Jeff will team up with unknown singer Karyn White for his only Top 40 hit, Facts Of Love.

The Kid With The Clues

As we reach chart week fourteen in our review of 80s tunes that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100, we find a bunch that did not make it, so much so that I split the group in two. Let’s review the Bubblers from 1980 to 1982.

Jane Olivor – Don’t Let Go Of Me (debuted 4/5/1980, peaked at #108)

Jane was a singer who got her start performing in the NY cabaret scene and places such as the Continental Baths, where Bette Midler was discovered. Thus far, her biggest hit was a cover of the Shirelles’ He’s So Fine, which reached #77 in 1978. This single, released from her fourth album, The Best Side Of Goodbye, should have been a much bigger hit. Its soft pop vibes would have sounded great next to Melissa Manchester or anything else on this countdown. It’s a mystery as to why someone on a major label with minor successes couldn’t get this Randy Edleman-penned tune onto the radio.

Atlantic Starr – When Love Calls (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #101)

This was the first big hit for the White Plains, NY sextet, climbing to #5 on the R&B charts. Released from their third album, Radiant and produced by Commodores pal James Anthony Carmichael, this funky jam was a far cry from the wedding tunes that they are more well-known for.

Fantasy – You’re Too Late (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #104)

Here’s a monster disco smash from a vocal quartet from New York. The Chic-ish track dominated the clubs during the Winter of 1980/ 1981 and spent five weeks at #1 on the Disco Hot 100. It also made the R&B Top 30, but Pop radio had long closed their door to Disco.

Point Blank – Let Me Stay With You Tonight (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #107)

Here’s a Texas rock quintet on their fifth album, American Exce$$, by 1981 with not much national exposure to show for themselves. The catchy tune got them a little more notice, enough to show up here. But their second single, Nicole, was the one that broke them when it reached #39.

Stephen Bishop – Send A Little Love My Way (Like Always) (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #109)

After scoring three Top 40 singles from his first two albums, Bish came up snake eyes with his third release, Red Cab To Manhattan, another well-crafted West Coast pop album. It’s befuddling that he couldn’t get this ballad on Pop radio when they were playing stuff like Wayne Newton’s Years instead. Stephen was already becoming somewhat of a movie guy with soundtrack songs to Animal House and Roadie. He’ll add Tootsie to that list a year from now, and It Might Be You will hit #25 in 1983. An aside: the B-side to this single is City Girl, one of my favorite tracks of the Bishmeister.

Rox – Dddddddance (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #109)

Not sure if this was a band or just an alter-ego for Boston singer Mike Rox. But the title is definitely someone’s attempt to obscure the fact that this song is boring as hell. It was produced by Village People impresario Jacques Morali and released on Boardwalk Records while it was going under. So it didn’t have a lot going for it at the time.

Grover Washington Jr. – Jamming (debuted 4/10/1982, peaked at #102)

Put this track on, and at about 20 seconds in, say out loud,” We’re experiencing operating difficulties. Please stand by.” If you were there, you’d get it. This is a very chill and pleasant cover of the Bob Marley classic and the second single from GW’s Come Morning LP.  But a minute into this, you might start wondering why you’re not listening to Exodus instead.

Lulu – Who’s Foolin’ Who (debuted 4/10/1982, peaked at #106)

Here’s the third single release from Scottish singer Lulu’s 1981 comeback album, which gave us the #18 hit, I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do). It’s a bluesy number that rocks way harder than her previous pop endeavors. In fact, it was nominated for a Best Female Rock Grammy. It was originally recorded by Bobby Blue Bland for his 1974 album, Dreamer, and written by the guys that produced hits like this.

Poco – Sea Of Heartbreak (debuted 4/10/1982, peaked at #109)

It definitely seemed like MCA Records had contempt for these guys when they took over their ABC contract, even making them audition all over for them to keep them on. They completely destroyed a decade’s worth of momentum and success at radio, and the band just wanted out by this time. So the fellas recorded a half-hearted covers album, which benefited no one, least of which, the fans. This track was co-written by Hal David and recorded by Country singer Don Gibson, who took track up to #2 on the Country charts and #21 on the Hot 100 back in 1961.