Let’s continue our review of those 80s singles Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during chart week thirty-three. Also want to mention that seven of these eight songs were R&B-based.
Kagny & The Dirty Rats – At 15 (debuted 8/20/1983, peaked at #110)
A year before Berry Gordy let his son, Kennedy, aka Rockwell, record on Motown, he let his son, Kerry write and produce the debut of this Detroit synth-funk band. But since there was no Michael Jackson, there were no hits cause Gordy’s was adrift in bad decisions during the 80s.
Lillo Thomas – Your Love’s Got A Hold On Me (debuted 8/18/1984, peaked at #102)
Brooklyn-born singer Lillo Thomas garnered seven Top 40 hits on the Soul charts during the 80s, but only one of those songs sniffed the Hot 100. This mid-tempo boogie jam from his second album, All Of You, will reach R&B #11 and nab him an invite to open for Eddie Murphy on tour.
The Art Of Noise – Close (To The Edit) (debuted 8/18/1984, peaked at #102)
“Hey, mates. I bought a Fairlight synthesizer. Let’s see what it can do,” said producer Trevor Horn to his production team. Those three folks, Gary Langan, J.J. Jeczalik, and Anne Dudley, learned on the job working on ABC’s debut, The Lexicon Of Love. During their work on Yes’ 90125 album, they came up with a #1 Dance track called Beat Box and called themselves The Art Of Noise. Challenged to make a song truly out of odd sounds, they created this gem, a #8 UK smash and the best representation of what they could do. Hearing this and watching the video multiple times opened up my mind to a myriad of alternatives to making music. And it reached #23 on the R&B charts, so that’s what’s up.
The Time – Ice Cream Castles (debuted 8/18/1984, peaked at #106)
Believe it or not, this was the lead single from this Minneapolis septet’s third album. Prince wrote this with Morris Day and plays all of the instruments again except for guitar by Jesse Johnson. This chill funk jam will reach #11 on the Soul charts, but their follow-up, Jungle Love, will finally cross these funkateers over to the Pop charts. Considering Jungle Love was in Purple Rain, but this single wasn’t, why not put this out first, Jamie?
Juicy – Beat Street Strut (debuted 8/18/1984, peaked at #107)
Here’s a brother and sister duo, Jerry and Katreese Barnes, who placed this lame-ass quasi-dance song on the Beat Street soundtrack, a lame-ass quasi-film. This only made it to #76 on the R&B charts, and Juicy’s only Top 40 over there was Sugar Free in 1986, which was much better (even if it was a rip-off of Mtume’s Juicy Fruit.)
Katreese will go on to bigger and better things, such as becoming the musical director of SNL in 2006 and co-writing this brilliant Christmas present, which would earn her a Primetime Emmy. Well deserved!
The Boogie Boys – A Fly Girl (debuted 8/17/1985, peaked at #102)
Yes, yes, y’all. Here’s some hip-hop from the Harlem trio of Boogie Night, Romeo J.D., and Lil’ Rahiem, who gave us one of the best basketball court jams of the Summer. It will rocket up to #6 on the R&B charts but fizzle out here. The duo SlyFox will steal the drumbeat for Let’s Go All The Way, which will reach #7 in the Spring of 1986. The Boogie Boys have yet to receive any royalties from that hit.
Shannon – Stronger Together (debuted 8/17/1985, peaked at #103)
Brenda Shannon Greene may be a one-hit-wonder with Let The Music Play, but she kept the club floors moving through 1984 and into 1985 which freestyle dance cuts like this. It will reach the Top 30 on the R&B and Dance charts and #46 in the UK.
R.E.M. – Can’t Get There From Here (debuted 8/17/1985, peaked at #110)
What a fitting way to end this group of singles and well to say goodbye to 1985 Bubblers. After having two Hot 100 charting singles from their first two albums, this Athens quartet skimmed the Bubblers with their lead single from Fables of The Reconstruction. It’s hand down my favorite song of theirs, and nothing else feels like the slow change from a warm Summer to a cool Fall than this tune.
Well, this was the last Bubbler of the 80s. After almost thirty years, Billboard discontinued this feature until December 5th, 1992, when songs by INXS, Fleetwood Mac, and Foreigner mixed it up with Keith Sweat, Wilson Phillips, and Marky Mark. They also expanded it from 10 to 25, which meant more sludge at the bottom of the barrel.
Next week, we’ll review chart week thirty-four from 1980 and 1984. Goodbye, 85.
And, thank you, Ray.