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.
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.
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.
Quick question – if the horse comes in last, is that when the precious flesh is greedily consumed?
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.
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.
OHW – I loved this game so much that I would play the Atari 2600 version and pretend like it was fine. It wasn’t.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
Emotional Rescue: Mick’s in charge.
Tattoo You: Keef’s in charge.
I ask you which album has stood the test of time.
Don’t forget to close them, Steve. Maybe that’s why Sherrie fell through.
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.
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.]
OHW, STA, PFK – When people say “so bad, it’s good,” I always assume they are using this song as the Gold standard.
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.
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.
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.
If Paul Davis and Crystal Gayle had a kid, it would been Chewbacca.
OHW – 39.75 on the Yachtski scale, yet I still hear this on Yacht Rock radio channels.
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.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- ML – Misheard Lyrics
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- STA – Second Time Around