It’s a short list of Bubbling Under singles from chart week fifty during the 80s. Let’s jump in and review.
Carly Simon – Take Me As I Am (debuted 12/13/1980, peaked at #102)
Here’s the follow-up single to Carly’s #11 hit, Jesse, from her ninth album, Come Upstairs. The album had a harder edge adding in more synths. And if Jesse didn’t reflect that, this song did – a straight-up rocker that was a warning to her partner about the “grasser never being greener on the other side.” Or, as Roy Munson once said…
The Manhattans – I’ll Never Find Another (Find Another Like You) (debuted 12/13/1980, peaked at #109)
After reaching #5 during the Summer with Shining Star, this vocal quartet decided to wrap up the year with a Greatest Hits collection. They recorded a few new tunes for the set, including this sprightly number which was considerably out of step for Top 40. It was a great catchy little tune, but it probably would have been more successful in 1973. This will be the final of the group’s nine Bubblers.
Carly Simon – Hurt (debuted 12/19/1981, peaked at #106)
Carly’s back with her tenth album, Torch, a collection of standards that she recorded during her divorce of James Taylor. And you can feel the pain and ache in each song, especially this one, initially recorded by Timi Yuro in 1961. Michael Brecker is playing the sax solo. An overlooked gem in her collection.
Nikki Wills – Some Guys Have All The Luck (debuted 12/19/1981, peaked at #109)
Many folks have recorded this song since it was first released by The Persuaders, who took it to #39 in late 1973. The most successful version was by Rod Stewart in 1984, who had his version climb to #10. Along the way, Robert Plamer, Maxi Priest, and Louise Mandrell gave their respective takes. And in 1981, former lead singer of the Johnny Average Band, Nicole Wills, who first went by Nikki, threw her soft-rock shot into the ring. This seems custom-tailored for those mushy soft early-80s playlists. I could see this showing up on one of those Radio Daze compilation volumes right next to Leslie Pearl.
The Time – The Walk (debuted 12/18/1982, peaked at #104)
One of the best contributions Prince made to popular culture was writing and producing this group of talented musicians and giving us music that was as funk as his own output. It took Purple Rain to finally break these guys into the mainstream. But those first two LPs were some of the best, sophisticated slapdown funk of the period or, as Ricky Vincent described them, “refined tightness in a band.” The album version is nine-plus minutes, and you never know where the time went.
Fun fact: Denise Matthews shows up on the album version as Grace “in tight jeans,” and Prince plays a club owner with a bad Italian accent who’s about to get introduced to a headache.
Gloria Gaynor – I Am What I Am (debuted 12/17/1983, peaked at #102)
We hadn’t heard much from GG since her 1979 smash, I Will Survive, and the July Disco demolition backlash. She released three albums between 1979 and 1982, all of which were ignored. Then for her 1983 album, I Am Gloria Gaynor, she recorded this song from the Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles (The Birdcage, to you American folks). If she wasn’t a gay icon before, she definitely was now. It will reach #3 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 charts, where she will have #1 hits into the 2000s.
Force M.D.’s – Tears (debuted 12/15/1984, peaked at #102)
I don’t think I’ve had a week where R&B bubblers were less than 50 % of the group. This week’s no exception. It makes me realize how much Soul music was out there, trying to crossover during the 80s, and percentage-wise, how little actually made it. This vocal quintet from Staten Island will nab two Bubblers before being saved by some ‘tender love’ in 1986. This throwback ballad will become their first Soul hit, rising to #5 on the R&B charts.
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – I Love You Love (debuted 12/15/1984, peaked at #105)
I thought I knew all of Joan’s 80s singles, but I didn’t remember this one. From her third album with the Blackhearts called Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth, here’s another cover from artist and convicted pedophile Gary Glitter, which had previously been #1 for him in the UK in 1973. Even though it rocks, I’m sure Joan isn’t happy that this piece of trash gets any royalties from this.