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.