Faded Memories Of Used To Be

We’re up to chart week forty in our review of 80s singles that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100. Let’s take a look at what we have this week.

Joni Mitchell – Why Do Fools Fall In Love (debuted on 10/4/1980, peaked at #102)

Joni released her second live album, Shadows and Light, in 1980. This was recorded in September 1979 at the Santa Monica Bowl during the Mingus tour. For the title track and this Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers #1956 classic, she brought out the R&B group, The Persuaders, to back her up. Had critics not been so down on her work during this period, they might have given this fun cover a better chance.

Roxy Music – Oh Yeah (On The Radio) (debuted on 10/4/1980, peaked at #102)

Bryan Ferry and the boys reached #80 with the lead single from their seventh album, Flesh & Blood. This mid-tempo tune was the follow-up release, a pleasant mix of New Wave and island rhythms which reached #5 in the UK. In the States, it will be the first of four 80s Bubblers for the group.

Lenny Williams – Ooh Child (debuted on 10/4/1980, peaked at #109)

Lenny was the lead singer of the horn rock band Tower of Power, taking them into the Top 40 three times. But when he officially went solo in 1976, it was all Bubblers for the poor dude, five in total. Until he hooked up with Kenny G in 1987 for the #15 hit, Don’t Make Me Wait For Love. The slowed-down cover of the Five Stairsteps 1970 smash was from his sixth album, Let’s Do It Today.

Tubes – Talk To Ya Later (debuted on 10/10/1981, peaked at #101)

After four albums on A&M Records, The Tubes retained a devoted fan base but not many monetary gains. And those bills were piling up, keeping seven band members on the payroll. After an appearance in 1980’s Xanadu, the group signed with Capitol Records, who insisted on some commercial success to keep their contract. The band asked Bobby Colomby to produce the album, bringing in David Foster to take over. David co-wrote the first single, Don’t Want To Wait Anymore, and the power ballad reached #35. Next up was this single, a track co-written by David with the band along with Steve Lukather, who plays additional guitars. It was one of his first co-writes outside of Toto. The track got lots of Rock airplay reached #6 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Teddy Baker – It’s Over (debuted on 10/10/1981, peaked at #101)

Teddy and his band were popular in Atlanta in the late 70/ early 80s, enough to get a notice from fellow Southern singer Paul Davis. He brought him to Casablanca Records for this one-off single that Paul co-produced and featured his keyboard playing. This is a missed opportunity by pop programmers, a tune that splits the difference between Paul & the Atlanta Rhythm Section, tailor-made for soft 81 charts. A lost 45, for sure.

Rodney Crowell – Stars On The Water (debuted on 10/10/1981, peaked at #105)

When people tell me that they like all kinds of music except for Country, I tell them to take a listen to any of Rodney’s first three albums. He’s one of my favorites of that era, and I wish songs like these received more Pop airplay. This was the lead single from his self-titled third album, which features wife Rosanne Cash on backing vocals and Vince Gill on guitar. The LP also showcases the original version of Shame on the Moon, which Bob Seger took to #2 in 1983.

Poco – Ghost Town (debuted on 10/9/1982, peaked at #108)

Just in time for Halloween, Paul Cotton, Rusty Young the fellas release their fifteenth album and second of 1982.  The title track was the first 45 spun off to radio and record stores. More melancholy than spooky, this should have received more spins but will end up as a lost Westcoast AOR track. The follow-up, Shoot For The Moon, will do better, peaking at #50.

Willie Nelson with Waylon Jennings – Take It To The Limit (debuted on 10/8/1983, peaked at #102)

Willie & Waylon threw out their third duets album in 1983 using the Eagles’ hit as its title. From the sound of it and the way the critics thumbed their nose at it, it was an apropos title. They had reached their limit. Then again, I would rather hear Willie sing this than hear Randy Meisner and think of the emotional abuse he had to endure from Glenn Frey every night performing it live.

Miquel Brown – So Many Men, So Little Time (debuted on 10/8/1983, peaked at #107)

I’m surprised that more Hi-NRG/ Eurodisco tracks didn’t become popular when New Wave took hold in the early 80s.  What was New Wave dance music but sped up synth-laden 60s soul? This track was co-written and co-produced by Ian Levine, a notable Northern Soul DJ in the 70s, spinning for years at Blackpool Mecca.

Alicia Myers – You Get The Best From Me (Say, Say, Say) (debuted on 10/6/1984, peaked at #105)

Here’s a Detroit singer who was part of Al Hudson’s group, the Soul Partners, and eventually, One Way. She left in 1981 for a solo career, and by 1984 she was on album number four, I Appreciate. This was her signature song and biggest hit on the R&B and Dance charts, reaching the Top 5 on both. If Maze isn’t playing at your barbecue, then it’s only because this is instead.

Smokey Robinson – I Can’t Find (debuted on 10/10/1981, peaked at #109)

Smokey is a legend, an icon, and he’s one of my favorite singers. I know that singles like these aren’t his best work, but his voice can still melt the chill in the heart and cool the anger in my mind, no matter what he sings. That’s why I have no idea why Pop radio ignored him for most of his solo career. Looking at the stats, it’s an indisputable fact that his solo work was ignored mainly by Pop radio. Over an eighteen-year chart period, where he placed twenty-five singles on the Hot 100,  nine hit the Top 40, and only three of those climbed into the Top 10. He has more than double the Bubblers [7] than Top 10 hits. But that also doesn’t mean I sanction a Doja Cat or Da’Baby duet either.


Don’t You Believe In Mystery?

It’s chart week thirty-nine during the 80s. Let’s see which singles were Bubbling Under the Hot 100 in 1980 through 1984.

Gary Numan – I Die: You Die (debuted 9/27/1980, peaked at #102)

Gary had lots of early success but could not follow it up on the charts, though he’s maintained a long career with a devoted following. He released his second solo album, Telekon, months after Cars reached the Top 10. And in true UK fashion, the first two singles, We Are Glass, and this track were not on the LP released in the States, yet it does feature the classic I Dream Of Wires. This synth tune was a preview of many New Wave singles we would hear in the 80s.

Roberta Flack – Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long (debuted 9/27/1980, peaked at #104)

This was the third single from the aborted duets album that Roberta recorded with Donny Hathaway just before he committed suicide in 1979. Thus, the release is titled Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway. Written by Stevie Wonder, this track was one of the handful that did not feature Donny, an understated funk-pop tune that should have received more notice. It only reached #67 on the R&B charts but peaked at #6 on the Disco Top 100.

Le Roux – Let Me Be Your Fantasy (debuted 9/27/1980, peaked at #105)

Louisiana sextet Le Roux was still trying to break through with a hard rock sound for their third album Up. Its lack of success forced Capitol Records to drop them like a flying house with no balloons left and compel the band to reassess their sound. They’ll emerge in 1982 with a pop AOR vibe and snag a Top 20 hit with Nobody Said It Was Easy.

Love Affair – Mama Sez (debuted 9/27/1980, peaked at #109)

Don’t change horses in the middle of a stream. That goes double for band names. Don’t change band names unless you’ve broken up or are legally required to. This Cleveland rock quintet was Love Affair for the debut album, L.A., for their follow-up, Doyawanna and Unknown Stranger for their next release. We don’t know if keeping their original name would have made them more successful based o this single. But switching identities definitely hurt them.

Exile – Heart & Soul (debuted 10/3/1981, peaked at #102)

Before you sit down at a piano and pluck out the melody with one finger, it’s not that Heart & Soul. It’s the original of a song that will be a 1983 hit for Huey Lewis & the News.  While that one was clipped, polished, and packed a pop punch, this single is fun, sloppy, and loose, as if the band doesn’t know what direction they wanted to go in while producer/writer Mike Chapman pushed it towards Top 40 and hard as he could. The band would make a firm commitment to Country for their next release and go on a Nashville chart run.

Greg Kihn – The Girl Most Likely (debuted 10/3/1981, peaked at #104)

Greg and his band were constantly missing out on chart hits. They ended up with six Bubblers which is twice as many Top 40 hits. This chugging rocker was the follow-up to the #15 peak of The Breakup Song from his sixth album, Rockihnroll.

Fun fact: I can’t remember if I mentioned this before or not – Greg was a morning DJ on KUFX in San Francisco for sixteen years, starting in 1996.

Oak Ridge Boys – (I’m Settin’) Fancy Free (debuted 10/3/1981, peaked at #104)

After the massive platinum success of Elvira, the Tennessee quartet followed it up with a ballad that Pop radio let get away like Silver in a thunderstorm. It will become their fifth #1 Country smash and reach the top 20 on the Adult Contempo charts.

Vanity 6 – Nasty Girl (debuted 10/2/1982, peaked at #101)

Three albums into his career, Prince started to diversify, first with the Time and then by forming this female trio. It’s hard to know if Prince was just a misogynistic horndog or if we wanted to see how far he could push the envelope. Maybe both, as originally wanted to call this group, the Hookers, and have lead singer Denise Matthews change her name to Vagina. They settled on Vanity and recently this fairly explicit song to radio. Amazingly it reached #7 on the Soul charts and #1 on the Dance charts. I’m assuming it became a favorite in many a champagne room as well.

Fun Fact: Prince had songs ready for a second Vanity 6 album while preparing for Purple Rain. But Vanity quit and was replaced by Appolonia. Supposedly one of the tracks he had ready was Manic Monday, which he instead gave to the Bangles, who took it to #2 in 1986.

Bow Wow Wow – Baby, Oh No (debuted 10/2/1982, peaked at #103)

Here’s a UK outfit formed by Malcolm McLaren, who pilfered three members from Adam and the Ants to form this New Wave quartet. Their biggest hit, a cover of The Strangeloves’ I Want Candy, peaked at #62 in the early Summer of 1982. This single was released as the follow-up but didn’t make much noise or in England.

Bobby Nunn – She’s Just A Groupie (debuted 10/2/1982, peaked at #104)

The pride of Buffalo, NY, just like his pal Rick James, Bobby will lay down his version of synth-funk for the Motown label. Just Playing almost all of the instruments on his debut album, Second To Nunn, he scored a Top 20 R&B hit with this track. His biggest success will be writing and producing the Top 10 smash, Rocket 2 U for The Jets in 1988.

Pablo Cruise – Will You, Won’t You (debuted 10/1/1983, peaked at #107)

The cruise goes out for one more sail before pulling into the Top 40 dry dock. Coming off like a mellower Jefferson Starship, this single from their seventh and final album, Out Of Our Hands, will be the last time they sniff the Hot 100. But once Yacht rock becomes a thing, they’ll be back sailing around the harbor.

The Whispers – This Time (debuted 10/1/1983, peaked at #110)

Here’s the L.A. quintet with one of their nine Bubblers, a ballad released from their twelfth album, Love for Love, which had already spawned Tonight [#84]. It’ll squeak into the R&B Top 40 at #32 and chart in the UK at #81.

Michael Furlong – Use It Or Lose It (debuted 9/29/1984, peaked at #103)

And now we have some straight-ahead rock which was already going out of style by 1984 with many Pop playlists becoming New Wave dance-heavy. Michael had been the lead singer of a hard rock from Oregon called Wild Dogs but left before recording any albums together. Since the early 1990s, he’s been leading Petty Theft, a Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers tribute band.

The Stompers – One Heart For Sale (debuted 9/29/1984, peaked at #110)

We finish up with a Boston quintet channeling some early 60s rock n roll on this single from their second album, One Heart For Sale. They gave some retro vibes on their previous single Never Tell an Angel, which climbed to #88 in 1983. A fun band that needed some luck and a good A&R push to get their music heard.


Concentrate On The Source

We’re up to chart week thirty-eight. Let’s see who ended up Bubbling Under the Hot 100 that week during the 80s.

Oak Ridge Boys – Heart Of Mine (debuted 9/20/1980, peaked at #105)

This Country quartet, as we know them, had been around since the mid-60s when they tried their hand at crossing over to the Pop world in the late 70s. This ballad, the second release from their 1980 album, Together, was their third Bubbler and will reach #3 on the Country charts. In six months from now, they will be paw-paw-oom-paw-paw-mao-mao-ing all over the Top 40 with Elvira.

Tim Weisberg – I’m The Lucky One (debuted 9/20/1980, peaked at #106)

A little ham n’ eggs comin’ atcha – here’s jazz flutist Tim Weisberg hanging out with another son from a different mother, Bill Champlin. He sings lead on a handful of tracks, including this one, which sounds like a lost Westcoast jam. Tim’s albums can be hard to find, so grab a vinyl copy if you find one.

Billy Idol – Mony Mony (debuted 9/26/1981, peaked at #107)

If someone was going to update this song for the 80s, Billy was the perfect candidate. After Generation X disbanded, he moved to New York and got to work on his solo career recording the EP, Don’t Stop in 1981. It featured a remixed version of Gen X’s Dancing With Myself and this cover of the #3 Tommy James & the Shondells smash. I remembered hearing this on the radio for years and was surprised that it never charted. It will reach #7 on the Disco Top 80 charts.

In 1987, Billy will release a live version to coincide with his Vital Idol compilation, and it will reach #1, though I feel that most folks still play the original instead. And please, get laid, get f’d on your own time.

Blackfoot – Searchin’ (debuted 9/26/1981, peaked at #108)

For all of the popularity and mystique of Southern Rock, I feel more songs of this genre failed at Pop radio than there were that succeeded.  Here’s another one. This midtempo rocker was the follow-up to Fly Away, which reached #42, both from their fifth album, Marauder.

Dan Hartman – All I Need (debuted 9/26/1981, peaked at #110)

Dan had a hard time (or at least until 1984)  following his 1979 Disco hit, Instant Replay. This was the third failed single from his fourth album, It Hurts To Be In Love. While the first two charted on the Hot 100, this Billy Joel-styled ballad is left gasping for air down here. A better push might have gotten this single more programmer pickups.

Fun Fact: Dan wrote the song Love Sensation for Loleatta Holloway, which was sampled by Marky Mark for the #1 hit, Good Vibrations. As far as I know, Dan is still not credited as a songwriter on that track. Didn’t that happen to someone else?

Howard Johnson – So Fine (debuted 9/25/1982, peaked at #105)

Man, I used to love those fried clams as a kid. I’d get some ketchup and tarter sauce, make a pile of each on my plate and mix them up. I’d dip those clams and my fries in them and wipe that plate clean. I can still taste them as I write this.

Anyway, here’s the former Niteflyte singer with a smooth soul jam from his solo debut, Keepin’ Love New, written by Kashif, which, of course, was held down here. Damn, I want those clams.

Uriah Heep – That’s The Way That It Is (debuted 9/25/1982, peaked at #106)

Were these guys trying to sound like Jefferson Starship, or was it the other way around? For years, this UK quintet continued trying to follow up their 1972 Top 40 hit, Easy Livin. I’m surprised this track from their fourteenth album, Abominog, didn’t do the trick. It received mild rock airplay, which had the tune peak at #25 on the Mainstream Rock charts. It was initially written by Paul Bliss and appears on the Bliss Band’s second album, Neon Smiles.

Stephen Bishop – If Love Takes You Away (debuted 9/25/1982, peaked at #108)

Let’s face it. Stephen is the poor man’s Kenny Loggins, a dude that was frequently called upon to record soundtrack songs but never had much success as an artist with them, save for It Might Be You.* This mellow Yachty song was from the campy film Summer Lovers, which also spawned Chicago’s Hard To Say I’m Sorry.

*Stephen wrote Separate Lives for the film White Nights, which went to #1 but was a hit for Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin.

Freeez – I.O.U. (debuted 9/24/1983, peaked at #104)

Here’s a UK outfit that was a pivotal member of the Brit-funk scene in the early 80s. The title track to their debut album, Southern Freeez, was a Top 10 hit in the UK. Fast forward two years, and the band is now a trio, recording electro freestyle for B-boys. This was the jam back then, and it received a lot of airplay in New York, going to #1 on the Hot Dance Club charts and reaching the R&B Top 20. I have no idea how this textbook 80s track missed the Hot 100.

Dave Edmunds – Information (debuted 9/24/1983, peaked at #106)

Dave first hit the Top 40 in early 1971 with the #4 smash, I Hear You Knocking, which sounded like a song out of a time. Now it’s 1983. We’re in the midst of the second British invasion, and this former Rockpile member has racked up his second Top 40 hit, Slipping Away. This was the follow-up single and the title track to his 1983 album. And if you’re wondering why it sounds like a lost E.L.O. tune, that’s Jeff Lynne on the production and keyboards.

Luba – Everytime I See Your Picture (debuted 9/22/1984, peaked at #105)

We finish up with a singer/songwriter from Montreal, Canada, who recorded songs in English and Ukrainian. Her fourth full-length album, Secrets And Sins, spawned this single, her first hit North of the border. This Daniel Lanois-produced release garnered her two Junos in 1985, but the rock ballad ended up as a Bubbler in the lower 48.

The Years When I Once Lived

What was Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during chart week thirty-seven? What were the songs most folks never got to hear? What were the reasons for their inevitable obscurity? What is wrong with this whole system? What is wrong with me?

Henry Paul Band – Longshot (debuted 9/13/1980, peaked at #103)

Henry Paul was a member of two successful bands, Outlaws and Blackhawk. In between the two, or as more of a side project, was this group, whose only chart single Keeping Our Love Alive would reach #50 in early 1982. This was the lead single from their second album, Feel The Heat. Even though HP has a Southern rock pedigree, this track has some elements of New Wave in it as well.

Toronto – Even The Score (debuted 9/13/1980, peaked at #104)

Here’s a Canadian rock sextet led by North Carolinian Holly Woods. Their first album, Lookin’ for Trouble, was produced by fellow Canucks Bill Henderson & Brian MacLeod of Chilliwack. Even with CanCon, this single will make a minor impact North of the Border. But it will net them a Juno nomination for Most Promising Band along with Loverboy, Red Rider, Martha & the Muffins, and the Powder Blues Band. Guess who won?

Chris de Burgh – The Traveler (debuted 9/13/1980, peaked at #106)

English singer-songwriter Chris DeBurgh ( a very John Houseman name) released his fifth album in 1980 called Eastern Wind, and he had yet to have a lot of success here or in England yet. This single won’t change that very much, but at least it’s Bubbling here, and he’s one album away from having a Top 40 in the US [Don’t Pay The Ferryman]. John Helliwell of Supertramp plays the sax on this tune.

Fun fact: Chris loves suing people, especially if you say something about him that he doesn’t like. He has filed sixteen defamation suits to date.

Rita Coolidge – The Closer You Get (debuted 9/19/1981, peaked at #103)

The Delta Lady is back with the first single from her twelfth album, Heartbreak Radio, produced by Andrew Gold. It was her first studio album since her divorce from Kris Kristofferson. Originally written and recorded by Exile, this midtempo pop ballad should have fit right in with the oatmeal soft playlists floating around at the time. Instead, Top 40 preferred Alabama’s version two years later (or had it jammed down their throat by RCA.), where it climbed to #38.

Fun fact: It is an open secret that Rita wrote the piano coda to Layla and that Clapton used it and only begrudgingly gave his drummer, Jim Gordon, credit. Just another reason to hate that backward racist mongoloid.

Meco – Blue Moon (debuted 9/19/1981, peaked at #106)

Meco loved recording soundtrack albums. He loved them so much that he recorded them even if he wasn’t asked. Such was the case for the film, An American Werewolf In London, and his LP, Impressions of An American Werewolf In London. He decided to cover songs with ‘moon’ in that title, such as Moondance, Bad Moon Rising, and this Rodgers & Hart classic that the Marcels took to #1 in 1961, twenty-six years after it was first written. If only Meco had steered clear of the moors.

Tim Goodman – New Romeo (debuted 9/19/1981, peaked at #107)

Here’s a track from Boulder, CO singer Tim Goodman, which should have received a few more chances, especially since sounding like The Doobie Brothers was in high fashion in the early 80s. That probably wasn’t a coincidence since the album was produced by John McFee and also featured Michael McDonald and Keith Knudsen. He, John & Keith would form the country-rock band Southern Pacific in 1983, and whose debut in 1985 would spawn three Top 40 Country hits.

Soft Cell – What! (debuted 9/18/1982, peaked at #101)

Take a look at the Top 40 playlists of 1982 and ask yourself, how in the hell did this UK duo notch a Top 10 hit with Tainted Love during that year. It’s a shame they ended up as one-hit-wonders, but songs such as their follow-up, a cover of an H.B. Barnum tune initially recorded by Groucho Marx’s daughter, Melinda, were never going to cut through the speedwagons and loverboys twice. What! became a popular Northern soul track through Judy Street’s cover in 1968, which is how Marc Almond heard it. Soft Cell’s version will hit #3 in the UK, but we’re all waiting for the re-recorded duet with Lil Jon.

Midnight Star – Hot Spot (debuted 9/18/1982, peaked at #108)

We only have only R&B song as a Bubbler this week for a change. This was the first single for the Kentucky funk band to sniff around the Hot 100, but it won’t be the last. It’s from their album, Victory, but this jam will only peak at #35 on the Soul charts.

Axe – Rock ‘N’ Roll Party In The Streets (debuted 9/18/1982, peaked at #109)

Here’s the hard rock quintet from Gainesville, FL, with the follow-up to their first chart single, Now Or Never [ #64]. Coming off their third LP, Offering, it received some Rock radio airplay reaching #23 on the Mainstream Rock charts. It sounds like the type of song you’d hear coming from a Trans Am at 4 in the morning when the party is most definitely over, blasted by a thoroughly drunk, newly divorced middle-aged man just before he runs the car into a ditch.

Orleans – One Of A Kind (debuted 9/18/1982, peaked at #110)

Kudos for Orleans picking up the pieces after John Hall left in 1977 and coming back with a big hit in 1979, Love Takes Time. Their 1980 follow-up was a victim of Infinity Records’ Popemania bust. Their One of A Kind album and the title track 45  released in 1982 on Radio Records was their last hurrah with Pop radio. Orleans would travel to Nashville to keep their songwriting careers going and hook back up with John Hall. Currently, they’re basking in the Yacht Rock revival sunshine.

Tom Tom Club – The Man With The 4-Way Hips (debuted 9/17/1983, peaked at #106)

The surprise success of this Talking Heads side project prompted Chris Frantz & Tina Weymouth to quickly record a follow-up. Closer To The Bone follows the same funky formula but doesn’t have anything as quirky and fun as Genius of Love. Although this single will reach the Top 5 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 charts, I prefer Pleasure Of Love.

Frank Stallone – If We Ever Get Back (debuted 9/15/1984, peaked at #105)

The former lead singer of the 70s rock band Valentine is back. This Westcoast AOR tune was the follow-up to his Top 10 smash, Far From Over, from the film Stayin’ Alive, produced by his brother Sly. And then there’s this.

Jim Capaldi – I’ll Keep Holding On (debuted 9/15/1984, peaked at #106)

We finish off the week with the former drummer of Traffic, who by 1984 was on his tenth solo album, One Man Mission. His previous release, Fierce Heart, contained his only US Top 40 hit, That’s Love. This dance-rock track didn’t seem to click with his audience, although it received minimal club play.

A Record Selection and a Mirror Direction

Timing is everything. That’s why we have two songs that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during chart week thirty-six during the 80s, only to become classics in their genre in later years. I’m sure you’ve heard them many times since. So who else got lumped in with them?

Clif Newton – The Rest Of The Night (debuted 9/6/1980, peaked at #101)

Here’s a soft rock single written, produced, and performed by Clif Newton. It has the requisite sax licks and a gentle Doobie bounce, but not much else that would distinguish it from the rest of the pack. Clif’s real name is Clif(ton) Magness, and under that name, he would have a lot of success as a songwriter and/or producer for Jack Wagner, Wilson Phillips, Avril Lavigne, and Kelly Clarkson to name a few. He was also nominated for a Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe for his theme song to Beethoven’s 2nd.

Player – Givin’ It All (debuted 9/6/1980, peaked at #105)

Only two years ago, Player had one of the hottest songs in the land with Baby Come Back. Two albums later, they had trouble getting anyone to play their stuff. This was the second single from Room With a View with the previous 45, It’s For You, reaching #46. Pop playlists were getting softer, so their brand of smooth Westcoast should have fit right in.  Maybe the switch to Casablance Records doomed them. In 1984, leader Peter Beckett will co-write the ONJ smash, Twist of Fate.

Neil Sedaka – Letting Go (debuted 9/6/1980, peaked at #107)

After Neil’s big comeback in 1974 with Laughter In the Rain, he was able to stretch his run of hits out for another five years racking up eight more Top 40 hits and twice as many #1s as he had during his initial career peak in the 50s & 60s. This track, a mellow midtempo ballad with some mild Caribbean vibes, was the second release from In The Pocket and the follow-up to Should Have Never Let You Go.

Nine of the ten songs Bubbling under this week in 1981 were just floating around, hoping for a chance to land on a programmer’s playlist. Only The Temptations’ Aiming At Your Heart, at #101, will climb onto the charts. It will eventually stall at #67. Now, onto 1982…

George Thorogood & The Destroyers – Nobody But Me (debuted 9/11/1982, peaked at #106)

If you ever wanted to slam dance to the pride of Wilmington, Deleware, here’s your song. It’s a cover of the 1968 Top 10 smash by the Human Beinz, originally written by the Isley Brothers. You can find it on George’s classic Bad To the Bone album.

The Gap Band – Party Train (debuted 9/10/1983, peaked at #101)

Yeah, this is what I’m talking about. Ronnie, Robert, and Charlie ask everyone to climb aboard and fill the dancefloor with this quintessential party jam, complete with a choo-choo whistle. It will reach #3 on the R&B charts. I have no idea how something good ended up here.

Billy Idol – Dancing With Myself (debuted 9/10/1983, peaked at #102)

If I had to describe Billy Idol to someone, I’d put on this record. His pedigree was just getting established in the early 80s, but he had already scored two Top 40 hits, Hot In the City & White Wedding, during the past year. This was a single that was originally recorded with his band Generation X in 1980 and failed. Then it was remixed for his first solo album, released, and failed again. But with a few hits under his belt and a video that MTV seemingly played every hour, the record company re-released it. And it failed. Today, it’s considered a New Wave classic. Go figure.

Zebra – Tell Me What You Want (debuted 9/10/1983, peaked at #107)

Before the Spice Girls, three hard rock dudes from New Orleans were asking you to tell them what you want. Maybe not what you really, really want, so that lack of urgency keeps them down here as a Bubbler. This single, released from their self-titled debut, was the follow-up to their #61 single, Who’s Behind The Door?

Fun fact: This trio played so often on Long Island that they decided to move there and were eventually inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

Janet Jackson – Don’t Stand Another Chance (debuted 9/8/1984, peaked at #101)

Had it not been for Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Damita Jo might have given up on her music career. I wouldn’t have blamed her when she was given formulaic synth-pop like this to sing. This was the lead single to her second album, Dream Street, and it was produced and co-written by her brother Marlon. It will reach #9 on the R&B charts.

Xavion – Eat Your Heart Out (debuted 9/8/1984, peaked at #103)

Here’s a funk-rock sextet from Memphis that didn’t get much push from their label with this single from their only album, Burnin’ Hot. This video did get some MTV airplay and paved the way for future African-American rock bands such as Living Colour and Fishbone or, at least, Ready For The World.

Alfonso Ribeiro – Dance Baby (debuted 9/8/1984, peaked at #104)

Time for everyone to do the Carlton. Before his memorable stint on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Alfonso was doing weekly work as Ricky Schroder’s best friend on Silver Spoons. He got the gig to play the ‘kid’ in the infamous Jacksons Pepsi commercial, which led to the inevitable recording career. This was his first single, and its status as a Bubbler was the closest it came to any Billboard chart.

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