It’s Easy To Live In Your Imagination

We have made it to chart week forty-four and this motley crew of singles Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s.

Vince Vance & The Valiants – Bomb Iran (debuted 11/1/1980, peaked at #101)

In November 1980, the Iran Hostage crisis had been happening for a year, and people were fed up. Some people tied yellow ribbons on trees and held vigils. Others recorded this song – a parody of the Regents/Beach Boys hit of the 60s. I say others because there were multiple ‘bomb Iran’ singles out in the late Fall of 1980. In fact, this was even the first one as supposedly a version came out almost a year earlier. But this 45 was the one that got the closest to the Hot 100.

Fun Fact: Vince recorded a Christmas song in 1989 called All I Want For Christmas Is You, which gets played frequently on Country stations during the holiday season. It is a different song than the one we’re subjected to each year by Mariah. Two Christmas songs. Same title. Different song.

Benny Mardones – Hometown Girls (debuted 11/1/1980, peaked at #103)

The Voice follows up his pedophile kidnapping opus with this pleasant-sounding pop-rocker. On its own, the lyrics are innocuous until you think about Into the Night and hear Benny sing this:

I was up and gone. I disappeared in the night. 

This dude is all about fleeing the scene of the crime.

Molly Hatchet – Beatin’ The Odds (debuted 11/1/1980, peaked at #107)

Well, I wouldn’t be putting down all my money on Southern rock in the 80s to win. Most music of the decade was starting to lose its rural feeling, and this genre was one of the first to be absorbed into corporate rock. The first single released was the title track to their third album and first with Danny Joe Brown singing lead. Its follow-up, The Rambler, will climb to #91.

Rocky Burnette – Fallin’ In Love (Bein’ Friends) (debuted 11/1/1980, peaked at #109)

The son of rock and roll follows up his surprise Top 10 smash, Tired of Toein’ The Line with more late 50/ early 60s-inspired sock hop rock. When I listen to tracks like this, I can’t help but think that it opened the door for Gary U.S. Bonds to have a few hits again.

John Entwistle – Too Late The Hero (debuted 11/7/1981, peaked at #101)

Thunderfingers was on solo album number five by 1981, his first in six years. The album featured Joe Walsh on guitar and Joe Vitale on drums, and he released the epic title track as the first single. It will be the closest John will get to a chart single, but its follow-up, Talk Dirty, received moderate Rock radio airplay.

Rupert Holmes – Loved By The One You Love (debuted 11/7/1981, peaked at #103)

Seven albums. Six different record labels. Such was the momentum-killing recording career of Rupert Holmes, who still somehow managed three Top 40 hits, including the #1 smash, Escape. After the lack of success of this single and accompanying album, Full Circle. Holmes moved on to the playwrighting, debuting on Broadway in 1985 with The Mystery Of Edwin Drood.

Spyro Gyra – Summer Strut (debuted 11/7/1981, peaked at #108)

Buffalo, NY jazz-fusion were on their fifth album, Freetime, by 1981, trying to get back on Pop radio after the #24 peak of 1979’s Morning Dance. The lite funk interplay between Jay Beckenstein’s sax licks and Tom Schuman’s electric piano didn’t get the group back onto the charts. But I bet a few stations played while they were “experiencing technical difficulties.”

Karla DeVito – Midnight Confession (debuted 11/7/1981, peaked at #109)

With the bombast of a Jim Steinman song, Karla covers this 1968 Grass Roots classic from her debut, Is This A Cool World or What? I’m all for it. The Meatloaf connection was strong, and although she didn’t sing on the recorded version of Paradise by the Dashboard Light, she appeared in the video and went out on the Bat Out Of Hell tour.

Zapp – Doo Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing) (debuted 11/6/1982, peaked at #103)

All Roger and Zapp did in the early 80s was put out one funky synth jam after another. All Pop programmers did was ignore it until they were hidden in many hip songs from the 90s onward. This will reach #10 on the Soul charts and first show up as a sample on the Beastie Boys’ #36 charter, Hey Ladies. It will also feature on Paperboy’s  1993 Top 10 single, Ditty.

Melba Moore – Love’s Comin’ At Ya (debuted 11/6/1982, peaked at #104)

This single from Melba’s twelfth album, The Other Side of the Rainbow, was her fourth Bubbler out of seven. If Top 40 radio ignored it, it’s their loss. This will peak at #5 on the Soul charts and #2 on the  Dance/Disco Top 80. Folks in the UK dug this funky boogie track as it reached #15 in England.

Devo – Peek-A-Boo! (debuted 11/6/1982, peaked at #106)

When you think about the success of Whip It in late 1980, it’s truly amazing that the single reached #14. Even though we all might remember the video, it scaled that height before the advent of MTV.  The video channel aided in keeping the band on everyone’s mind through the 80s, but Pop radio did not follow suit. They would rack up five Bubblers, with this one as the lead single from their fifth LP, Oh No! It’s Devo.

Firefall – Runaway Love (debuted 11/5/1983, peaked at #103)

The pride of Boulder, CO, tried to update their Country rock sound by mixing in some synth drums and upping the tempo. But programmers couldn’t get past the band’s cultivated laidback image and sound, so they took a pass. This single from their seventh album, Mirror For the World, would be their last release for twelve years.

Southside Johnny & The Jukes – Trash It Up (debuted 11/5/1983, peaked at #108)

John Lyon and his Jersey shore outfit spent a lot of their career shaking off Springsteen comparisons. By their sixth album, they dropped Asbury from their name and some R&B synths and funky beats. The switch might have turned off some old fans, but they should have picked up some new ones. The album, produced by Nile Rodgers, also netted the band a #55 zenith for Get Your Body On the Job.

Pia Zadora – Rock It Out (debuted 11/5/1983, peaked at #110)

There has been a lot of cash thrown behind the idea that Pia has talent. When she failed as an actress, dollars were given to forward a singing career., first in Country, then in Pop. This is a single from her second album called Let’s Dance Tonight. When you listen to it, you will wonder how many people could have been fed with that money rather than it being wasted here.

There are no singles that debuted this week in 1984 that did not chart, with one being this track from Alphaville.

Sordid Details Following

Not all 80s Bubblers are made the same. Some singles signify an artist trying to get noticed. Some are at the tail end of their career. Some are crossing over from their main genre. And then some are just ahead of their time, to become classics later on. We have them all during chart week forty-three.

Prince – Uptown (debuted on 10/25/1980, peaked at #101)

Prince had a big hit from his second album in early 1980, I Wanna Be Your Lover. It got the record companies off his back and allowed him to do what he wanted while he tried to perfect his musical vision. You were going to come to him, not the other way around. That’s why he followed up his mainstream success with an album called Dirty Mind. This was a powerful shot of New Wave funk, and its lack of cross-over success was a portent of the mellow, risk-free programming that Top 40 radio would subject us to for the next few years. Or maybe they were afraid of this lyric:

“What’s up, little girl? I ain’t got time to play.”
Baby didn’t say too much
She said, “Are you gay?”
Kinda took me by surprise, I didn’t know what to do
I just looked her in her eyes, and I said, “No. Are you?”

David Bowie – Ashes To Ashes (debuted on 10/25/1980, peaked at #101)

This is a stone-cold classic, so you may be wondering why it ends up here. Well, Woman In Love by Barbra Streisand was the #1 song when this debuts. Imagine anyone in 1980 thinking those two songs should be played back to back. Bowie is driving a stick through the heart of the 70s with this one, taking his Space Oddity character, Major Tom, and turning him into a heroin fiend. It was the lead single from his fourteenth album, Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), and it would go to #1 in the UK.

Fun Fact: The video for the single cost £250,000, making it the most expensive at the time, even more than Thriller three years later. And MTV was still a year away from its debut.

Barry Goudreau – Dreams (debuted on 10/25/1980, peaked at #103)

After the second Boston album, Don’t Look Back, leader Tom Scholz became embroiled in a multitude of legal battles for a long time. So the remaining members, Brad Delp and Sib Hashian, joined guitarist Barry Goudreau and recorded an album together. It sounded like a warmed-over Boston record, and Tom Scholz got so pissed, he kicked Barry out of the band. Barry & Brad would form Orion the Hunter and release an LP in 1984, two years before Boston’s third offering, Third Stage. Delp was allowed to participate in that recording, but Barry was never allowed back in the fold.

Bruce Cockburn – Rumours Of Glory (debuted on 10/25/1980, peaked at #104)

Ottawa native Bruce finally found success in the US with his ninth album, Dancing In the Dragon’s Jaws, and #21 single, Wondering Where The Lions Are. His follow-up long play, Humans, led off with this 45 release, which ends up as a Bubbler. It will land in the Canadian Top 40 at #36.

Yes – Into The Lens (I Am A Camera) (debuted on 10/25/1980, peaked at #104)

Drama, Yes’ tenth album is an od one in the group’s catalog as they absorb Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes from the Buggles into the band after Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman left the group. Prog rock purists thumbed their nose at it. But when listened to it in hindsight, it’s a fantastic blueprint for where the band would travel throughout the 80s. I mean, once they would inadvertently get back together in 1983 after they officially split in 1981. Adding Trevor and Geoff was a superb decision to modernize their sound and cut down on the one-song-per-side album bloat. The Buggles would release their second album in 1981 and include a new recording of this single.

Johnny Van Zant Band – 634-5789 (debuted on 10/25/1980, peaked at #105)

While brother Donnie was getting his band .38 Special off the group, Johnny and his fellas released their debut, No More Dirty Deals. Produced by Al Kooper, it features this boogie rock cover of the 1966 Wilson Pickett classic written by Eddie Floyd & Steve Cropper. Kinds surprised the Blues Brothers didn’t tackle this the first time around. Unfortunately, they would tackle it in Blues Brothers 2000.

Curtis Mayfield – She Don’t Let Nobody (But Me) (debuted on 10/31/1981, peaked at #103)

I think I knew all of Curtis’ solo material, so I was surprised to find this single from an album I didn’t own called Love Is The Place, his twentieth release. To succinctly sum it up, Mayfield gets on the yacht. This 45, co-written and co-produced by Dino Fekaris, would reach #15 on the soul charts.

Jefferson Starship – Save Your Love (debuted on 10/31/1981, peaked at #104)

Now that Mickey Thomas had taken over the band and had a hit with Jane in 1980 [#14], Grace Slick slid her way back in. She joined the group for their follow-up album, Modern Times, which yielded the #29 track, Find Your Way Back (Grace wasn’t on that one.) This was the third single released, a Pete Sears co-write with his wife, Jeanette.

Fun fact: bassist Pete and Jeanette would write the band’s next two Top 40 hits, Be My Lady & Winds Of Change.

Gary Wright – Heartbeat (debuted on 10/31/1981, peaked at #107)

Gary had his first Top 40 hit in five years since the twin #2 peaks of Dream Weaver & Love Is Alive in 1976. The #16 peak of Really Wanna Know You from the LP, The Right Place, was followed up with this catchy pop-rock single that couldn’t get any traction at Top 40 radio. It features backing vocals by David Pack from Ambrosia and Timoty B. Schmit.

Fun fact: Gary has a sister, Lorna, who recorded a soulful Westcoast pop album in 1978 called Circle Of Love.

Spinners – You Go Your Way (I’ll Go Mine) (debuted on 10/31/1981, peaked at #110)

The Spinners had two big comeback hits in 1980, and they tried to parlay that success throughout the decade. This midtempo ballad, written by James Mtume & Reggie Lucas, was the first single from their upcoming album, Can’t Shake This Feelin’, the feelin’ being that the salad days were over. It barely snuck into the R&B Top 40, settling at #39. Had Pop radio not tried to slam the door so hard on 70s artists, this quintet and smooth track might have had a better showing.

Al Jarreau & Randy Crawford – Your Precious Love (debuted on 10/30/1982, peaked at #102)

Here’s a single from the Casino Lights album, a live concert in Montreux, Switzerland, featuring the Yellowjackets, David Sanborn, and Al & Randy dueting on three tracks. This duo adds a little more gospel and jazz into Ashford & Simpson’s sweet sentiment, originally made famous in 1967 by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. It will reach #16 on the Soul charts.

The Jonzun Crew – Pack Jam (Look Out For The OVC) (debuted on 10/30/1982, peaked at #108)

And now, from Boston, we have the Johnson Brothers, not the Brothers Johnson. This trio foresaw that confusion and changed their electro-funk outfit to the Jonzun Crew. They had a handful of minor hits on the Soul charts, this being their first. This 12″ single will climb to #13 R&B and #19 in Germany, where a cult following of the group was formed. Michael Johnson, otherwise known as Maurice Starr (don’t ask), was also busy discovering five young kids from Roxbury called New Edition.

Mary Jane Girls – Boys (debuted on 10/29/1983, peaked at #102)

One of four Bubblers from this Rick James-produced debut by a female quartet. This synth-funk jam will climb to #29 on the Soul charts, the group’s third straight Top 40 hit.

Timothy B. Schmit – Playin’ It Cool (debuted on 10/27/1984, peaked at #101)

Imagine working your ass off in an established band (Poco) but never reaching that next level. Then one day, you get a call to join the biggest rock band in the world (Eagles), only for them to implode after one album. Welcome to Tim’s world. [Don’t feel too bad. He’ll rejoin the reformed Eagles in 1994 and get payyyyyy-d.] His first solo single, So Much In Love, was on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack and peaked at #59 in 1982. This single was the title track to his debut, and it sounds like it could have been featured in that movie as well. J.D. Souther co-wrote the track and sings back up.

The Staple Singers – Slippery People (debuted on 10/27/1984, peaked at #109)

The Staple Singers’ last Top 40 hit was the #1 smash, Let’s Do It Again, in 1975. And then Pop radio ignored them for the rest of time. In 1984 Pops got the kids together for their first album in five years, Turning Point, and it featured this fantastic cover of the Talking Heads’ track from Speaking In Tongues. That they were ignored again by Pop programmers speaks volumes to their tight-fisted conservative playlists where Soul had very few opportunities. It will climb to #22 on the R&B charts and #4 on the Hot Dance/Disco charts.


A Pack Of Lies

The mish-mash of tunes Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s on chart week forty-two continues. All of these artists were a part of a Top 40 hit either as a band or by themselves. Unfortunately, all of these (minus one) didn’t cut it. Let’s review.

Exile – Take Me Down (debuted on 10/18/1980, peaked at #102)

Here’s a band started in the mid-60s, had a huge pop smash in 1978 with Kiss You All Over, and was utterly lost by the turn of the decade. By their 1980 album Don’t Leave Me This Way, it sounded like they wanted to turn towards Country but couldn’t make the total commitment. When Alabama recorded this track for their Mountain Music LP and watched it cross over to the Hot 100, peaking at #18, the group knew which way to go.

Melissa Manchester – If This Is Love (debuted on 10/18/1980, peaked at #102)

And now we have an ordinary ballad from Melissa’s ninth album, For The Working Girl, which probably wouldn’t have even shown up here had it not been for her engaging vocal performance. Co-written by Robbie “Don’t Give It Up” Patton, it will reach the Top 20 on the AC chart, so root canals, beware.

Average White Band – For You, For Love (debuted on 10/18/1980, peaked at #106)

As soon as you hear those jazzy Rhodes chords, you know no one is picking up any pieces anymore. In fact, they are steering their yacht towards the sunrise cause it’s been a long day, and they work to do, if you know what I mean. This was the second single from their 1980 LP, Shine, on their new label Arista. Obviously, the company had no idea what to do with a sophisticated ballad and worthy radio successor to After The Love Is Gone, both co-written by Bill Champlin. It will climb to #60 on the Soul charts and #46 in the UK.

The Dirt Band – Badlands (debuted on 10/18/1980, peaked at #107)

The Dirt Band dropped the nitty-gritty and had a few Top 40 hits in 1980. But this is where the magic ends. This was the second release from Make A Little Magic and the follow-up to the #25 title track. Not sure why Pop radio ignored this catchy little pop-rock ditty.

Nils Lofgren – Night Fades Away (debuted on 10/24/1981, peaked at #109)

This former leader of the band Grin and early 70s Crazy Horse member set out for a solo career in the mid-70s, beginning with his self-titled debut in 1975. It was highly reviewed by Jon Landau that year, but another album by a dude named Bruce. Speaking of which, Nils will join the E Street Band in 1984, just in time for the Boss to become a superstar.

Carl Carlton – Baby I Need Your Loving (debuted on 10/23/1982, peaked at #103)

Carl Carton, the man who had hits with a cover of Everlasting Love in 1974 and She’s A Bad Mama Jama in 1981, tries to top them both with his shuffly version of a Motown classic. Released from his album, The Bad C.C., it will reach #17 on the Soul charts and become his only hit in Australia, climbing to #12.

Ray Parker Jr. – It’s Our Own Affair (debuted on 10/23/1982, peaked at #106)

If there’s something ol’ Ray is an expert on, it’s singing about infidelity. But folks said enough is enough. Do you have any other material besides cheating songs, the public asked as they passed on this breezy single. Maybe that’s why everyone went crazy when he wrote a song about busting ghosts.

Marshall Crenshaw – There She Goes Again (debuted on 10/23/1982, peaked at #110)

Another terrific track from a great debut. This was the follow-up to Marshall’s only Top 40 hit as a solo artist, Someday, Someway, which topped out at #36. In my opinion, this is way better and typifies Power Pop during the New Wave years. I guarantee that Lee Mavers of The La’s had this in his head when he wrote There She Goes, title coincidence aside.

James Ingram – Party Animal (debuted on 10/22/1983, peaked at #101)

Pop radio seemed to prefer James’ songs if he was collaborating with someone rather than by himself. Case in point – the lead single from It’s Your Night, his debut album, although he charted five times on the Hot 100. It’s slick, soulful Dance-pop from the QuincyJones camp with a groove that Lionel Richie would have killed for. But it was ignored at Pop radio while clipping up to #21 on the Soul charts. The follow-up, Yah Mo B There will reach the Top 20, but only because he had some help from Michael McDonald.

James had only one true solo Top 40 hit, but it was a big one. In 1990, I Don’t Have The Heart went to #1.

Lani Hall – Never Say Never Again (debuted on 10/22/1983, peaked at #103)

Lani was the lead vocalist for Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66, singing on The Look of Love and The Fool On the Hill. Once Serge started changing band names, Hall left, embarked on a solo career, and married Herb Alpert. She charted only once on Hot 100 in 1981 during her Westcoast era with Where’s Your Angel? [#88] She got the opportunity of a lifetime to sing a James Bond movie theme. Too bad, not many checked out Sean Connery’s return to the role or else this might have received more play.

Fun Fact: Herb Alpert recorded the theme to the 1967 film, Casino Royale making Herb & Lani and the first and only married couple to record Bond songs.

Robin Gibb – Juliet (debuted on 10/22/1983, peaked at #104)

Robin has his first US solo Top 40 hit in 1978 with his cover of The Beatles’ Oh Darling, which will peak at #15. The Bee Gees spent more time writing for other artists and being embroiled in lawsuits; it left more solo time for the Gibb brothers. This single was from the first of three Robin released in the 1980s titled How Old Are You? It will reach #1 in Germany.

Michael Murphey – Don’t Count The Rainy Days (debuted on 10/22/1983, peaked at #106)

The pride of Oak Cliff, TX, who went out to look for his horse Wildfire in 1975, came back in 1982 to ask the Grammarly-challenged question, What’s Forever For? This was the lead single from his eleventh album, The Heart Never Lies,  and reached #9 on the Country charts. It has a gentle air to it and some Yachty vibes but ended up as the last time M2 sniffed the Hot 100.

Phil Collins – In The Air Tonight (debuted on 10/20/1984, peaked at #102)

This is a first in the annals of 80s Bubblers – a song that reached the Top 40 and, upon re-release, ended up here. Why, you ask? Two words – Miami Vice. The track was played during the first episode while Crockett & Tubbs intensely drove at night through the streets. One month later, it showed up here but didn’t have enough juice to re-enter the Hot 100.

Fun Fact: This 45 went Gold, selling over 500,000 copies. The digital download has been certified for 3 Million. Also, it will initially hit #2 in the UK, then enter their Top 40 again in 1988 [#4] and 2007 [#14}.

Julio Iglesias – Moonlight Lady (debuted on 10/20/1984, peaked at #102)

After years of trying, Julio finally broke to the US Pop charts in 1984 with duets with Willie Nelson and Diana Ross. Hey, whatever works. This was the third single from 1100 Bel Air Place, written by Albert Hammond & Carole Bayer Sager. It will slide up to #17 on the AC charts, and the video will be in high rotation when VH-1 debuts at the beginning of 1985.

America – Special Girl (debuted on 10/20/1984, peaked at #106)

Perspective was the twelfth album by America and the last one before they reformed ten years later. It’s an interesting mix of New Wave and Westcoast, and if you listened to this track, you would probably have no idea who it was. Maybe not until the harmonies in the chorus. It might not be Sister Golden Hair, but it’s an oddity from a lost period in their career. Meat Loaf covered this on this 1986 album, Blind Before I Stop.


The Rats And Snakes Will Never Fade Away

Here we are rummaging through those 80s Bubblers during chart week forty-one. Shall we?

Atlanta Rhythm Section – I Ain’t Much (debuted 10/11/1980, peaked at #101)

Here’s a sextet from Atlanta (Doraville, specifically) who had racked up six Top 40 hits in the 80s. As the decade turned, they released their ninth album, The Boys From Doraville, and completely struck out. The band believed that their record label gave up on them and promptly left to sign with Columbia, where they would score the #29 hit, Alien, one year later.

Sammy Johns – Falling For You (debuted 10/11/1980, peaked at #103)

The pride of Charlotte, NC, tries to recapture some of his 1975 glory when his single Chevy Van reached #5 with a ballad that sounds a little less skeevy. But no matter; if you see this dude pull up in a G10 Nomad, run in the opposite direction.

The Bay Brothers – Baby Don’t Give Up (debuted 10/11/1980, peaked at #108)

The Bay Brothers were not brothers or had the last name of Bay. Discuss. Actually, they were a group led by the Brooklyn duo of Lou Hokenson and Ernie Sorrentino. They recorded a handful of singles for Millennium Records, and this soulful midtempo track was their most significant success. It was followed up by a Yachty take on Junior Walker’s What Does It Take (To Win Your Love).

Jet – Stranded In The Moonlight (debuted 10/17/1981, peaked at #105)

Here’s a Chicago sextet led by a husband and wife, kind of a midwest Quarterflash minus the sax playing. It’s just enough of an off-center pop-rock song that should have picked up more spins by programmers. Led by folk singer Michael P. Smith and his wife Barbara Barrow, the group disbanded after one album, and Michael picked his solo career back up, recording music until his death in 2020, six months after his wife.

The Pretenders – Louie Louie (debuted 10/17/1981, peaked at #110)

Hold on a second. Before you pass this by, this is not a cover of the Kingsmen classic. It’s a Chrissie Hynde original and one that is forgotten within their catalog. This horn-laden Stax rave-up was the only song from their second album, Pretenders II to sniff around the Hot 100, an album that featured stone classics such as Message Of Love, Talk of the Town, and I Go To Sleep. After an audacious debut in 1980, pop programmers totally fell asleep. It took a year full of tragedy to get the States to notice them again.

Cheryl Lynn & Luther Vandross – If This World Were Mine (debuted 10/16/1982, peaked at #101)

Cheryl was four years removed from her roller-skating classic Got To Be Real but still in the capable hands of Luther for this tender ballad. This duet was initially recorded by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, peaking at #68 in 1968. It will soar to #4 on the R&B charts.

We don’t have any Bubbler from 1983 this week. But a lady originally from Bay City, MI, lands on the chart at #109. The track, Holiday, will climb onto the Hot 100 and peak at #16, after which Madonna will peel off seventeen straight Top 10 smashes.

Marc Anthony Thompson – So Fine (debuted 10/13/1984, peaked at #101)

I really love this upbeat slice of synth-funk and marvel at the fact that it got stuck here as a Bubbler. Some just fall through the cracks. He’d release one more solo album in 1989 before forming the collective Chocolate Genius in the late 90s, collaborating with Marc Ribot, Vernon Reid, and John Medeski, to name a few. he also turned with Springsteen in 2006 as part of the Seeger Sessions Band.

Anne Murray (with Dave Loggins) – Nobody Loves Me Like You Do (debuted 10/13/1984, peaked at #103)

God bless Anne Murray, still trying to cross over to Pop radio long after her window was closed and musical trends moved on. This duet with Dave Loggins will reach # 1 on the Country charts and #10 on the AC charts. So if you went to the dentist in Nashville in 1983, your teeth were probably drilled to the gentle sounds of this ballad.

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.

Time That Will Last Until The End

The good news is that there weren’t many singles loitering beneath the charts during week thirty-five during the 80s. The bad news is that there aren’t many to talk about. Actually, decide for yourself what is good, bad, or neither and let’s review what’s left as well as a couple of “maybe” Bubblers from 1985.

Paul McCartney – Waterfalls (debuted on 8/30/1980, peaked at #106)

Macca cleaned the Wings out of his system with his electronically experimental LP titled McCartney II. It didn’t yield any hits, but a live B-side of one of the tracks, Coming Up, hit #1 in the Summer of 1980. That’s Paul’s luck – even when he fails, he succeeds. Also, in the fact that this album has gained a significant cult following. This pretty ballad, which sounds nice next to The Korgis’ left-hield hit of that same year, may have also inspired TLC’s  1995 #1 smash. When this song was played during the McCartney 321 documentary, I thought for sure Rick Rubin was gonna say something about TLC. Probably ended up getting edited out. I guess considering that The Beatles were so heavily influenced by rhythm and blues, it’s only fitting that a Soul group would take a little back.

Ray Kennedy – Starlight (debuted on 8/30/1980, peaked at #109)

Ray was a singer/songwriter from Philly who got a co-write credit on the original version of the Beach Boys’ Sail On, Sailor, and The Babys’ Top 20 hit, Isn’t It Time. This upbeat horn-laden 45 was the second release from his second and final album, which follows the #82 single, Just For The Moment.

Teddy Pendergrass – I Can’t Live Without Your Love (debuted on 9/5/1981, peaked at #103)

Man, did TP know how to work a crowd? I mean, listen to his vocals on a sultry ballad like this and just imagine him whipping up the females into a frenzy. And he was single-handedly keeping Philadelphia International afloat into the 80s with his album sales. I have no clue what this R&B Top 10 and lead single from his fifth album, It’s Time For Love, is doing, languishing under the Hot 100. Tragically, in six months from this release, Teddy’s world changed forever after an auto accident left him a quadriplegic.

Nothing left behind from 1982 or 1983 this week.

Helix – Rock You (debuted on 9/1/1984, peaked at #101)

Even though I was never really into metal, I absolutely remember this song. My cousin played it a lot too, and we wouldn’t give Helix an R or an O, instead offering an F and a U. This will be the closest that this Canadian quintet will get to the Hot 100, although they did get some MYV airplay with the censored version of the video. The band Sun 41 recorded a cover for the indie film FUBAR. And there’s also this.

The Bubblers have dried up for 1985, but maybe we can create a few.

Let’s take a look at Billboard magazine for the week of August 31st, 1985, and their weekly Pop picks, which included  Stevie Wonder’s Part-Time Lover, Starship’s We Built This City, and Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice Theme, all of which went to #1. There’s also the Pop picks which made the Top 40: Springsteen’s I’m Goin’ Down, Don Henley’s Sunset Grill,  Hall & Oates’ A Nite at the Apollo Live!, Bowie & Jagger’s Dancing In the Street, and Kate Bush Running Up That Hill (which was recommended, not picked)

Some of the picks made the Hot 100, such as The Romantics’ Test of Time, Depeche Mode’s Master & Servant, Debarge’s You Wear It Well and Talking Heads’ And She Was. That left us with two songs that did not chart, so…

Possible 1985 Bubblers:

April Wine – Rock Myself To Sleep (from Fright Night)

If you watched the clip under the Helix post, you know that Ricky always confuses Rush with this band. At this point, the wine was going sour with their last hit, Just Between You & Me, coming in 1981. In 1984, they reached #58 with This Could Be The Right One. This song was recorded for the Fright Night soundtrack, and although I never saw the film, I remember this one (probably, my cousin again). It was also released on their twelfth album, Walking Through Fire, and written by Kimberly Rew & Vince De La Cruz, both members of Katrina & the Waves. The band would take a seven-year hiatus after this. Starship would also record a version of this on their Knee Deep In The Hoopla LP. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Rio – I Don’t Wanna Be The Fool 

Billboard calls this song Power pop, but it sounds more like arena rock to me. This UK duo features Steve Rodford, whose dad Jim was the original bass player for The Zombies. When the band reformed in the early 2000s, Jim recruited his son Steve to play drums, which he has since 2004.

Rio would record a second album, Sex Crimes, in 1986 before washing away.

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