Not as many songs held back as Bubblers during the seventeenth chart week of the 80s, but many good ones. Let’s review and rediscover.
Crown Heights Affair – You Gave Me Love (debuted 4/26/1980, peaked at #102)
Here’s a Brooklyn R&B octet that formed in the last 60s, moved over to funk by the mid-70s, and settled into a disco groove by the decade’s end. Their biggest crossover hit was Dancin’ which reached #42 in 1977. This was the first single from their seventh album, Sure Shot, and will become their biggest UK hit, peaking at #10. It will also climb to #12 on the Disco Top 100.
Greg Kihn Band – Sheila (debuted 5/2/1981, peaked at #102)
Greg and his buddies follow up their breakthrough hit, The Breakup Song, with a Power pop cover of Tommy Roe’s #1 smash from 1962. They’ll wait for two more albums for more success until 1983 when Jeopardy climbs all the way to #2.
Alabama – Old Flame (debuted 5/2/1981, peaked at #103)
This Country quartet released their fifth album, Feels So Right, but had yet to cross over to Pop radio. The lead single, co-written by Mac McAnally, is a honky-tonk ballad that would have been at home on the Urban Cowboy soundtrack. It will be their third straight #1 on Country charts, and their next two follow-up singles, the title track and Love in The First Degree will reach the Top 40
Life – Cool Down (debuted 5/2/1981, peaked at #106)
Here’s a Pop duo formed by Florida guitarist George Terry, who worked with Eric Clapton in the 70s and co-wrote Lay Down Sally. He also played on Andy Gibb’s solo records and the Bee Gees’ Spirits Having Flown. This bluesy number stalled under the Hot 100, but another track of theirs, E.T. Phone Home charted in the UK.
William “Bootsy” Collins – Take A Lickin’ And Keep On Kickin’ (debuted 5/1/1982, peaked at #103)
Bootsy kept a second career going as Booty’s Rubber Band while still a member of Parliament and Funkadelic before recording under his own name. He would rack up 12 Top 40 hits on the Soul charts, including the world’s funkiest sing-a-long, The Pinnochio Theory (don’t fake the funk or your nose will grow), and the #1 smash, Bootzilla. None of them would cross over to the Hot 100. In fact, this was his best solo showing regarding the Pop charts, unless you count Tom Tom Club dropping his name on Genius Of Love, which is up at #31 this week. He would show up in the Top 10 in 1990 as a guest on Dee-Lite’s Groove Is In The Heart.
Point Blank – Let Her Go (debuted 5/1/1982, peaked at #109)
This Texas sextet finally nabbed a Top 40 in 1981 when Nicole reached #39. Let Her Go was their sixth, which spawned this single. But the lack of continued success plus the relentless touring schedule combined to break up the band. They will get back together in the late 2000s and release and few more albums.
Julio Iglesias – Amor (debuted 4/30/1983, peaked at #105)
Enrique’s dad was a massive star in Spain since the late 60s, but that will only get you so far in the financial department. So he started singing in other languages besides Spanish. His twentieth release, Julio, was a compilation that featured a few tracks in English, including this one which is partly sung in Spanish. The album did quite well in the States and precipitated his move to Florida, setting him up for success with 1984’s 1100 Bel Air Place.
Fun fact: Julio was once a goalie for a Real Madrid soccer team in his youth.
The Manhattan Transfer – Mystery (debuted 4/28/1984, peaked at #102)
After their #7 hit, Boy From New York City in 1981, Pop radio mostly shunned them, even as this vocal quartet recorded and released well-produced and performed singles ready for radio. This Rod Temperton-penned ballad featured a soulful sax solo from Ernie Watts and caught the ear of an up-and-coming Detroit R&B singer who was looking for songs for her new album.
Peter Brown – They Only Come Out At Night (debuted 4/28/1984, peaked at #102)
The man who asked if we wanted to get funky back in 1977 recorded a quick follow-up album to 1983’s Back To The Front called Snap. This was the lead single, a fast-paced dance track, perfect for all the lean and hungry types, and it will reach #1 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 charts. It will also cross over to the R&B charts and get as high as #50.
Break Machine – Street Dance (debuted 4/28/1984, peaked at #105)
Break out your worn piece cardboard and your Adidas tracksuit because it’s the Village People of hip-hop, minus the Halloween costumes. I only say that because Jacques Morali and Henry Belolo put this trio together and produced them. This single was huge across Europe hitting #1 in Spain, Norway, and France and #3 in the UK. In the States where rap and breakdancing were created, no one cared, except for the clubs which pushed this single to #6 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 charts. I first heard this track on an airplane station playlist and really dug it, spending years trying to find it.
Steve Arrington – Feel So Real (debuted 4/27/1985, peaked at #104)
The former drummer and eventual lead vocalist of the funk band Slave left in 1982. He released Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame, Vol. 1 one year later, a tremendous album and one of the best R&B albums of the 80s. Naturally, Pop radio dissed it. Two albums later, in 1985, Steve smoothed his sound out a little and was rewarded with a #5 Dance hit, #17 R&B zenith, and a #5 peak in the UK. His follow-up, Dancin’ In the Key Of Life, will climb onto the Hot 100 and reach #68. Steve is still doin’ his thing and put a solid effort in 2020 called Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions, as well as guesting on Thundercat’s release, It Is What It Is.