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.


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