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.

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