Throw Your Trolls Out The Door

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.

The Lines Of Lies

We have another large batch of singles Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s, so we’re breaking it up again. Let’s review the first half of chart week thirty-three.

Holly Penfield – Only His Name (debuted 8/16/1980, peaked at #105)

Holly was a singer-songwriter who got her start in San Francisco in the mid-60s singing with the garage rock band, Fifth St. Exit. By the time of her debut in 1980, Full Grown Child, she had moved on to New Wave pop. Her closest attempt at success was this Phil Spector-inspired ballad which could have reached a few more ears with more promotional push. But it was released on Dreamland Records, a subsidiary of RSO, which was flushing its 1978 profits down the toilet.

Earl Klugh – Doc (debuted 8/16/1980, peaked at #105)

Earl was a jazz fusion guitarist from Detroit who nabbed his first Grammy nomination (for Best Jazz Fusion performance) for his sixth album, Dream Come True. If you listen to this song and think, which TV show is this from, don’t tax your brain too hard. It’s not a TV theme, although it sure sounds like one. This bouncy instrumental is a tribute to percussion player/ bandleader Leonard Gibbs Jr. This was the closest Klugh ever came to landing on the Hot 100, although I think Twinkle from his next LP, Crazy For You could have done the trick.

Joyce Cobb – How Glad I Am (debuted 8/16/1980, peaked at #107)

Here’s a lady who just missed the Top 40 in early 1980, with her disco single, Dig The Gold, which peaked at #42. Her next closest visit was this buried treasure, a mellow-funk cover of the 1964 Nancy Wilson hit. Joyce went on to greater acclaim as a jazz singer, specifically in Memphis. In the mid-90s, there was a club on Beale Street called Joyce Cobb’s and by 1996 she was added to the Beale Street Walk of Fame.

Rob Hegel – Tommy, Judy & Me (debuted 8/16/1980, peaked at #109)

This is the kind of single that should win the Bubbling Under Gold medal. It’s such a weirdly constructed Pop rock song with a chorus that comes out of nowhere and an arrangement that gets in the way of the tune’s hook. It would have been perfect for a show like Glee to cover had he not been singing about how he and his friend love banging random chics in the backseat of their car with schoolmate Judy, their next exploit. Although we find out this five-foot diamond in the rough has the upper hand with the boys and might be into S&M. Also, there’s a dose of racism, sexism, misogyny, and a possible school shooting attempt by Tommy that’s quickly averted by his friend. It makes for an interesting song, but it scared the folks at American Bandstand away. Frankly, it’s an awkward twenty seconds that has nothing to do with the song but hits too close to home. Rob would smooth it out five years later and co-write Air Supply’s last Top 40 hit, Just As I Am.

Carl Wilson – Heaven (debuted 8/22/1981, peaked at #107)

With all of the Beach Boys’ success, the only one who had a Top 40 hit was Brian. And that was once, back in 1966, with Caroline, No [#32], a track from the group’s Pet Sounds album credited only to him. Carl definitely had the voice to do it, just not the right song. This single was released from Carl’s self-titled debut, a beautiful ballad that still became a Bubbler.

The Producers – What’s He Got? (debuted 8/22/1981, peaked at #108)

Some breaks just don’t go your way. Here’s some Power pop from an Atlanta quartet that really should have broken through, and they had a good promotional push. Their first single from their debut, What She Does, climbed to #61, but this frenetic follow-up disappeared. Personally, I dig this one better. Also, if you live in the Southeast or near Madison, WI, a Producers reunion show may pop up from time to time.

Voggue – Dancin’ The Night Away (debuted 8/22/1981, peaked at #109)

And now for some leftover throwback Disco from a Canadian duo that owes its sound to the late 70s European machine sound. Weird to think that by 1981 that it was clearly out of date. Even still, it will spend three weeks at #1 on the Disco Top 80 charts.

Phil Gentili – Mama Lied (debuted 8/22/1981, peaked at #110)

Another lost single by an artist who’s hard to find. All that’s known is that this was the first of two solo 45s this Boston-based singer-songwriter recorded. It’s a contemporary version of a 50’s style ballad, and I’m surprised it even shows up here. Tower of Power found it and recorded their version for their 1993 album, T.O.P.

Are all of the singles of 1982 in these last few weeks good enough to have them cruise up to the Hot 100? Or was there a lack of releases and space to fill? You read Billboard and judge for yourself.

Zapp – I Can Make You Dance (debuted 8/20/1983, peaked at #102)

Yes, it’s the requisite funk and soul that misses out on the blanched-out Pop playlists of the early 80s. No matter, the second single from Zapp III will reach #4 on the R&B charts and be sampled on numerous hip-hop jams by Erick Sermon, Guy, and Naughty By Nature.

Ministry – I Wanted To Tell Her (debuted 8/20/1983, peaked at #106)

Of all the great Ministry tunes out there, I can’t believe this is the one to get closest to crossing over to the Hot 100. Not Work For Love, Revenge, or Halloween. This one. It’s a great dance tune, but just not the one I think of from these folks when describing them. Featuring lead vocals by Shay Jones, it will peak at #13 on the Dance/Disco Top 80.

I got to see them live once during the first run of Lollapolooza. I can’t remember if it was great or not. All I remember was the twenty-minute paper cup shower on the audience.

Part two coming up in two and two.

 

A Feeling I’ve Been Holding Back

We’re up to chart week thirty-two in our review of those singles that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s. Let’s take a look.

The Chipmunks – You May Be Right (debuted 8/9/1980, peaked at #101)

This is the stupidest novelty that will not die. What seemed cute or mildly funny (after twenty Mai Tais) in 1958 has been highly annoying ever since. The nadir of the Chipmunk unpleasantry was 1980’s Chipmunk Punk album, one of the rodents’ countless reboots, which contained grating covers of current pop songs (aka no punk at all). Take the last five seconds of Godley & Creme’s Cry, apply that vocal to any song, and feel your ears bleed profusely. I guarantee when Billy Joel heard this, that rock surely left his hand.

This almost charted on the Hot 100, folks. Worse, the album went Gold by October. If you find yourself minutes from the apocalypse, find their version of The Knack’s Good Girls Don’t and play it. Everything that comes after that will feel like paradise.

Ronnie Milsap – Cowboys and Clowns (debuted 8/9/1980, peaked at #103)

Here’s one of a zillion Country #1s [actually, his 15th, at the time] that Ronnie will garner in his career. This ballad will be featured on the soundtrack to the Clint Eastwood film Bronco Billy, which was the seventh one he directed.

Photoglo – When Love Is Gone (debuted 8/9/1980, peaked at #106)

Singer-songwriter Jim Photoglo released his debut under his last name and nabbed a  mellow Top 40 hit, We Were Meant To Be Lovers. His follow-up was even wispier and disappeared like the air after a newly-poured  Sprite’s bubbles pop. Like most Pop stars do when they fall out of favor, Jim will move over to Nashville and write #1 hits for Alabama.

Fred Knoblock – Memphis (debuted 8/15/1981, peaked at #102)

Fred scored a Top 20 hit in 1980 with Why Not Me. Then he followed it up with an unlikely duet with Susan Anton, assisting her on her debut album. Killin’ Time would reach the Top 30. After that, his career started to fizzle up, beginning with his lifeless cover of the 1959 Chuck Berry classic. Fred’s was more aligned by the Johnny Rivers version with reached #2 in 1964. Unfortunately, Marie hung up the phone on him.

Foghat – Live Now-Pay Later (debuted 8/15/1981, peaked at #102)

The name “foghat” was a made-up word by guitarist Dave Peverett back in the early 70s. Now it means out-of-touch overblown classic rock. By the time of their eleventh album, Girls To Chat and Boys To Bounce, the group expanded to a quintet, adding keyboardist Nick Jameson, but their sound had to evolve beyond mumbly blues guitar caveman stomps.

George Harrison – Teardrops (debuted 8/15/1981, peaked at #102)

What is an ex-Beatle doing here? First, let’s remember that George was done with the music industry by the mid-70s. Whatever the greedy hands and the hounding press didn’t take from him, the My Sweet Lord copyright infringement suit surely did. Also of note,  in 1980, Warner Brothers rejected his original submittal of Somewhere in England. Two months later, his friend was murdered, prompting Harrison to rework a tune he gave Ringo as a tribute to John he could record himself. All Those Years Ago would reach #2. This was the follow-up, also written as a commercial attempt. It’s amazing that the record suits forced a song like this out of George and then failed to push it as a single.

Jody Moreing – All Girls Want It (debuted 8/15/1981, peaked at #103)

Now here’s a lost 45. There’s not a lot out there about Jody, but I do know this. She was in a late 60s band called Sincerely, San Jose, which changed its name to the Fritz Rabyne Memorial Band. When she left, she was replaced by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. So let’s say she’s the Bob Welch of Fritz. This single is Jody’s only known solo recording before she moved over to Christian music in the late 80s. Though she did make a few bucks writing a song on Tiffany’s debut album.

Billy Preston & Syreeta – Searchin’ (debuted 8/15/1981, peaked at #106)

The Fifth Beatle loved his duet with Syreeta Wright, With You, I’m Born Again, recorded for the film, Fast Break. A year after that film’s release, the 45’s success prompted the duo to record a full duets album a la Flack & Hathaway. But because this was on the Motown label, the promotion was bungled, so no one had a chance to hear it. This funky track was written and produced by Raydio’s Ollie Brown.

Tom Jones – What In The World’s Come Over You (debuted 8/15/1981, peaked at #109)

Here’s Tom doubling down on the Country thing in  1981. I grew up hearing him played in my house a lot as a kid, but thankfully my folks spared me this era where he sounds like a parody of himself. This will be the second Bubbler from The Country Side of Tom Jones, a cover of Jack Scott’s #5 smash in 1960. Tom’s will reach #25 on the Country chart.

All the songs that debuted as Bubblers during this chart week in 1982 made it onto the Hot 100, including Josie Cotton’s He Could Be The One.

Mary Jane Girls – All Night Long (debuted 8/13/1983, peaked at #101)

Don’t tell me Soul music wasn’t being shut out by Pop programmers in the 80s? The Mary Jane Girls had four singles from their debut remain as Bubblers, including this stone-cold classic. This was the jam back in the day, and that cliche doesn’t remotely cover how cool it was. When it came to producing Female groups, Rick was better at it than Prince was, and this was proof. This made it to #11 on the R&B charts and #13 in the UK, so what gives Top 40? In the 90s, it will show up in the Top 10 as a sample in  LL Cool J’s Around the Way Girl and Groove Theory’s Tell Me.

Fun fact: To be fair, that sweet bassline and groove were “borrowed” (I’m being nice) from Keni Burke’s 1982 single, Risin’ To The Top.

Southside Johnny & The Jukes – New Romeo (debuted 8/11/1984, peaked at #103)

This was the Asbury Park band that didn’t make it out. It’s not for the lack of good songs as this one from the Nile Rodgers-produced seventh album, Trash It Up, is. It’s also the first to drop the “Asbury” from their name. Some just don’t get the breaks.

Fun Fact: For those that don’t know, the band was co-founded by Steven Van Zandt (y’know, the dude from Lilyhammer). Even when he left in the mid70s to join the E Street Band, he still collaborated and performed with the group.

The System – The Pleasure Seekers (debuted 8/10/1985, peaked at #108)

Keyboardist David Frank met singer Mic Murphy while both were on tour with the funk band, Kleeer, the former as a session musician, and the latter as road manager. They formed The System, and by 1985, they were three albums deep with one catchy charting single (You Are In My System, #64) and this synth-funk Bubbler. In two years, they’ll hang a sign upon the door that says, “don’t disturb this groove.”

Mai Tai – History (debuted 8/10/1985, peaked at #109)

We finish with one of my favorite songs of this lot. I first found this Dutch trio’s single on an import cassette compilation, Now That’s What I Call Music 5. It compiled the biggest UK smashes from the Summer of 1985 and turned me to so many great bands, such as Scritti Politti, Fine Young Cannibals, and Simply Red. And of course, this track, which reached #8 in England, #3 on the US Dance charts, and #37 on R&B charts. After 36 years, I still have it, and it still plays.

The Twentieth Century’s Latest Scam

Let’s continue our review of 80s singles bubbling under the Hot 100 during chart week thirty-one with a look at 1984 and 1985.

Duke Jupiter – Rescue Me (debuted on 8/4/1984, peaked at #101)

Here’s a rock quintet from Rochester, NY, who was on the verge of breaking through for years but just never had that one single. Even after their bass player, George Barajas, suddenly passed away from cancer in 1982, the band pressed on and recorded three more albums. This single was released from their White Knuckle Ride album on Morrocco Records, a subsidiary of Motown. That these guys were the most successful band on it should tell you something.

Russ Ballard – Two Silhouettes (debuted on 8/4/1984, peaked at #106)

Russ was a singer/ songwriter whose success lay in other folk singing his songs. That may be why he racked up three Bubblers in the mid-80s, including this one from his self-titled LP. The 70s hard rock band Bronz got back together in 2010 to record a new album, including their version of this song.

Greg Kihn Band – Rock (debuted on 8/4/1984, peaked at #107)

The cut-out king of the 80s (at least in the record stores where I shopped) with one of his six Bubblers and the second from their Kihntagious album. I think Greg missed a crossover marketing opportunity by not teaming up with Kinney Shoes. They don’t wear ’em like that anymore.

Kashif – Baby Don’t Break Your Baby’s Heart (debuted on 8/4/1984, peaked at #108)

Kasif is back with the lead single from his second album, Send Me Your Love. This midtempo synth-funk jam will reach #6 on the R&B charts but kept him an unknown at Pop radio. Next Summer, his production of Whitney Houston’s first Top 10 hit, You Give Good Love, will be all over Top 40 station playlists.

Nick Lowe – Half A Boy And Half A Man (debuted on 8/4/1984, peaked at #110)

Here’s a tune that sounds like it should be blasting out of the speakers while you ride the Tilt-A-Wheel at a carnival. Nick’s first two 80s albums, Nick The Knife & The Abominable Showman, were ignored by Top 40 radio. But the lead single from Nick Lowe and his Cowboy Outfit got enough of a sniff that it barely showed up here. If all you know you all is Cruel to Be Kind, you’re missing out on this man’s rich forty-plus year catalog.

Sheila E. – Sister Fate (debuted on 8/3/1985, peaked at #102)

This was the first released single from Sheila’s second album Romance 1600, and it stiffed, only climbing to #36 on the Soul charts. It’s obvious that A Love Bizarre should have been put out first. But I’m sure Sheila wanted to prove she didn’t need Prince’s help to succeed. She didn’t need to – she’s a badass.

New Edition – My Secret (Didja Gitit Yet?) (debuted on 8/3/1985, peaked at #103)

Someone thought they had another Thriller on their hands when they kept releasing singles from this teen Boston quintet’s sophomore album. Thankfully they stopped at four. Also, they had a new album on the way. This will climb to #27 on the R&B charts. If you can get through the tune without strangling that rhythm guitarist, you’re a better man than I am.

The Weather Girls – Well-A-Wiggy (debuted on 8/3/1985, peaked at #107)

Martha Wash and Izora Redman started out as backup singers for Sylvester before striking out on their own as Two Tons O’ Fun. Prompted by their 1982 single It’s Raining Men, they smartly changed their name to The Weather Girls. This was the first 45 from their follow-up LP, Big Girls Don’t Cry, a reggae-tinged doo-wop track written by folk singer Jesse Winchester, who’d release his version on 1988’s Humour Me.

Fun Fact: Martha would go on to be the anonymous lead singer for C&C Music Factory, Black Box, and Seduction. Ever been to a sporting event and heard “everybody dance now“? That’s her.

Robert Plant – Too Loud (debuted on 8/3/1985, peaked at #108)

It may be weird to see Plant here as a Bubbler, but he spent most of the 80s having his material constantly compared to Led Zeppelin. This was the follow-up to the #36 single, Little By Little, from his third album, Shaken N Stirred, and even Rock radio ignored it. Maybe it was too avant-garde for folks as Plant himself admits it was a little out there and acknowledges its Talking Heads influence.

 

Gotta Fight To Keep On Dreaming

It’s chart week thirty-one, and another pile of songs has been left by the dumpster under the Hot 100. Let’s review those tunes from 1980 thru 1983 and see if we can rescue some of them.

In Transit – Turn On Your Light (debuted 8/2/1980, peaked at #107)

Here’s a forgotten 45 from an AOR sextet that released only one album. The band might have quickly disappeared, but its keyboardist Bill Cuomo showed up a year later playing the familiar synth riff on Kim Carnes’ #1 smash, Bette Davis Eyes.

Jimmy Spheeris – Hold Tight (debuted 8/2/1980, peaked at #110)

Now here’s a single that is so lost, I couldn’t even find a decent version on YouTube. Jimmy had released four quality jazz-folk albums in the 70s, with only 1975’s The Dragon Is Dancing appearing on the Album charts. After a four-year dry spell, He signed a single deal with Warner Brothers and released this yachty 45, which barely caused a ripple. Four years later, Spheeris was killed in a drunk driving accident mere hours after finishing his latest album, which wouldn’t get an official release until 2000.

Steve Winwood – Night Train (debuted 8/8/1981, peaked at #104)

Even though Steve-O finally crossed over to the Top 40 as a solo artist with While You See A Chance, which reached #7 earlier in the year, he still had a foot firmly in his prog roots. This was the third single from his second LP, Arc Of A Diver, and easily my favorite in his catalog. He records all of the instruments himself, a la Stevie or Rundgren, barely bothering to cater to the Boomer crowd. When he does, they’ll make Roll With It their own mantra along with Don’t Worry Be Happy, ponytails blowing in the wind.

The A’s – A Woman’s Got The Power (debuted 8/8/1981, peaked at #106)

Here’s a Philly Power Pop quintet, named after the baseball team initially founded in their city, who smoothed out their sound a bit for the Rick Chertoff-produced sophomore release. The title track received a good amount of rock radio airplay and a few New Wave fans but missed out on a ton of marketing opportunities. No matter how many times I listen to this, I can’t tell if they are pandering to the ladies or making an ironic joke.

Fun fact: Guitarist Rick DiFonzo would play on Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual, also produced by Chertoff.

Odyssey – Inside Out (debuted 8/7/1982, peaked at #104)

The New York trio who had a big Disco hit in early 1978, Native New Yorker, could never find a follow-up here in the States. They ended up having a pretty good career in the UK, where this single from their fifth album, Happy Together, will land at #3, their fifth Top 10 across the pond. It will climb to #12 on the R&B charts and inspire many cover versions, most recently from the duo, Workshy.

Pete Townshend – Face Dances Part Two (debuted 8/7/1982, peaked at #105)

I think Pete dealt with the loss of Keith Moon by burying his grief within his work. Between Who project and solo work, he wrote, recorded, and released at a frenetic pace in the late 70s and early 80s. I’m also assuming no one was acting as a filter for him, and that’s why we have All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. Racist title aside, this sounds like a half-baked attempt to sound relevant during New Wave’s early years. No wonder this Who castoff ended up as a Bubbler.

Gary Myrick – Message Is You (debuted 8/6/1983, peaked at #103)

Guitarist Gary Myrick has had an interesting underground career. Not people can say that they replaced Stevie Ray Vaughn in a band before. Of course, Stevie was already leaving, but that’s besides the point. The Texas native was on album number three, Language, when he released this moody synth-led Pop tune that sniffed the Hot 100. One year later, you’ll hear his guitar work on John Waite’s #1 smash, Missing You.

High Inergy – Back In My Arms Again (debuted 8/6/1983, peaked at #105)

Motown Records perfected the art of R&B crossover to the Pop charts, making their name synonymous with 60s Soul. But by the time of the 1980s, they were absolutely lost and running fumes and dumb luck. This is why we have one of their current roster girl group destroying their own legacy with a poorly conceived and arranged cover of the 1965 Supremes classic. It was the second single released from their eighth (!) album, Groove Patrol, and has since been out of print. I don’t know how it escaped the Friday production meeting. These ladies deserved better.

“Weird Al” Yankovic – I Love Rocky Road (debuted 8/6/1983, peaked at #106)

Al follows up his parody of Mickey [Ricky, #63] with a shot at one of the biggest singles of 1982, I Love Rock N Roll. [Side note – do they even make Rocky Road ice cream anymore?] Produced by Rick Derringer and complete with hardcore accordion solo, this is kind of stuff that was perfect for MTV and the Dr. Demento crowd. I think it’s funny that every time he does one of these tunes, people want to know if the original artist likes it or not. I bet Joan thought it was funny, and even if she didn’t, she’s still cool.

Stars On 45 proudly presents The Star Sisters – The Star Sisters Melody (debuted 8/6/1983, peaked at #107)

Fun fact: Did you that Stars On 45 was so popular that it created spinoff acts? No one asked for them, but they came anyway. The Star Sisters were the three ladies who sang on the Beatles medley, which went to #1 in 1981. Inspired no doubt by the Hooked on Classics, etc. craze, the crazy Dutch folks murdered replicated a string of Andrews Sisters tune to a mild Disco beat, most likely created by a Lowery Organ setting.

Rebecca Hall – Who Says Girls Can’t Rock & Roll (debuted 8/6/1983, peaked at #109)

First of all, they can and have. But it has been with better songs than this one. Also, how about we exchange girls for women, or did that make the record company exec queasy? And we don’t have to do a 1-2-3-4 count off four times, do we? You know I’d give Rebecca a little more slack had she not been involved with this. Yes, that’s her on “lead” vocals.

Something That Keeps You Here

Let’s continue our review of singles that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during chart week thirty in the 80s with a health slab of Soul, a little New Wave, and some Southern rock.

Smokey Robinson – Yes It’s You Lady (debuted 7/31/1982, peaked #107)

Smokey racked six Bubblers between 1982 and 1984. So if he wasn’t getting in the Top 40, chances were no one else was going to be able. The track was tailor-made for supersoft playlists the Top 40 radio was programming at the time. Maybe too it was mellow as R&B radio didn’t pick up on either.

Larry Graham – Sooner Or Later (debuted 7/31/1982, peaked #110)

Here’s some smooth synth-funk from the former Family Stone bassist, now on his fourth official solo album. The title track was the second release from said LP as well as the second Bubbler. Yet, it will reach the Top 30 on the R&B charts and the Top 20 on the Dance Club Play charts.

Blackfoot – Teenage Idol (debuted 7/30/1983, peaked #103)

Jacksonville, FL, turned out a few successful Southern rock bands in the 70s. This one of them, trying to recapture some of their glory days (mostly, 1979) with this single from their sixth album, Siogo. Instead, this will be their last appearance anywhere near the Hot 100.

Fun fact: A new lineup of Blackfoot with no original members played a show in Greenville, SC, in June of 2021.

Lakeside – Outrageous (debuted 7/28/1984, peaked #101)

Here’s a funk band from the fertile ground of Dayton, OH, who has the unique distinction of recording a bonafide dance classic (Fantastic Voyage) that never crossed over. In fact, it was their only occurrence on the Hot 100, peaking at #55. This single was the title track to their eighth album and their last Top 10 on the R&B charts, reaching #7.

Andy Fraser – Fine, Fine Line (debuted 7/28/1984, peaked #101)

Here’s a former bass player of Free, who not only wrote their biggest smash (All Right Now) but also Robert Palmer’s 1978 Top 20 hit, Every Kinda People. The single was the follow-up to Andy’s cover of Do You Love Me, which reached #82 in the Spring of 1984. With a bit of a push, this pop-rocker, from his second solo album, could have done a lot better.

Sparks – With All My Might (debuted 7/28/1984, peaked #104)

The Mael Brothers have had a fifty-year career, releasing catchy oddball Pop songs that have fueled their cult status. Even Paul McCartney was a fan. This was the lead single from their thirteenth album, Pulling Rabbits Out Of A Hat, and its sweet and earnest feel may have confused most of their rabid base. That said, there is an excellent documentary out now directed by Edgar Wright, which I recommend, that should give you a great perspective on this band.

Menudo – Please Be Good To Me (debuted 7/27/1984, peaked #104)

I’m not sure whose idea it was to name a pop band full of kids after a soup made of cow’s stomach. Despite that, Menudomania was real in the mid-80s, contrived as it may have seemed. This ballad follows up their only showing on the Hot 100 (Hold Me, #55) before they faded away in the U.S.

Rick James – Glow (debuted 7/27/1985, peaked #106)

Here’s the last time Rick ever came close to the Pop charts again with the title track to his eighth album. It might not have been his best work, but it should have been given a better shot. Even still, it hit #5 on the Soul charts and topped the Dance charts.

Also, this might be a good place to share this 1983 report on why Black artists weren’t shown on MTV.

Carol Lynn Townes – I Freak For You (debuted 7/27/1985, peaked #106)

Carol had been recording singles for a few years, most of which showed up on breakdancing movie soundtracks. In 1985, she released her first album, Satisfaction Guaranteed, and this was the lead single, which sounds like a Shannon outtake. Nevertheless, the early Freestyle jam will reach the Top 30 on the Dance charts.

New Order – The Perfect Kiss (debuted 7/27/1985, peaked #109)

Out of the ashes of Joy Division came this New Wave synth group who had already racked six Top 40 hits in the UK and two Top five smashes on the US Hot Dance charts. By the time of their third album, Low Life, I was already a fan and looking forward to anything they would release. This eventual Top five Club hit is one of my favorites, complete with a breakdown full of croaking frogs.

Put One And One Together

Man, do we have a lot of tunes that missed the Hot 100 during chart week thirty in the 80s. We’re just gonna focus on the Bubbler, the near misses from 1980, 1981, and (some of) 1982.

France Joli – This Time (I’m Giving All I’ve Got) (debuted 7/26/1980, peaked #103)

From her debut album, sixteen-year-old France Joli had a Top 20 hit in 1979, Come To Me. So she thought it best to alienate her fans and put out a ballad when she released her follow-up, Tonight. Needless to say, Pop radio didn’t bite. Luckily for her, the fanbase forgave her, so long as she churned out danceable singles, none of which would crossover.

Grace Slick – Dreams (debuted 7/26/1980, peaked #104)

The Chrome Nun released her second solo album during a brief hiatus from Jefferson Starship, with no help from her current band members. The album garnered her a Best Rock Female Vocalist Grammy nomination and reached #32 on the Billboard Top Albums chart. The lead single, Seasons, only climbed to #95 while its follow-up, the title track, remained as a Bubbler.

Spyro Gyra – Percolator (debuted 7/26/1980, peaked #105)

Here’s the fusion pride of Buffalo, a  jazz quintet whose music has entertained us many times during the Weather on the 8s segments of the Weather Channel. Their third album, Catching The Sun, hit #1 on the Jazz charts, and the title track had already reached #68. This peppy follow-up didn’t even get any Maxwell House endorsements.

Stephen Bishop & Yvonne Elliman – Your Precious Love (debuted 7/26/1980, peaked #105)

And now, from the soundtrack of the absolute mess of a film starring Meat Loaf called Roadie comes a yachty version of the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell 1967 classic from two artists who released a lot of movie songs between them. Bishop still had a Tootsie left in him, but Elliman was done as the decade turned as her career felt the love pains.

Exile – You’re Good For Me (debuted 7/26/1980, peaked #105)

After hitting the top of the charts in late 1978 with Kiss You All Over, this sextet had no idea what they wanted to be or sound like for years. Here we find them in their Westcoast phase, ripping off a Roger Voudouris tune. By 1983, they fully commit to Nashville and rack up ten Country #1s.

RCR – Give It To You (debuted 7/26/1980, peaked #108)

RCR is short for Rhodes, Chalmers, and Rhodes, a two-women (sisters), one-man trio of background session singers. They got their chance at fame with their 1980 LP, Scandal, whose title track clipped the Hot 100 at #94. This funky follow-up pop tune was probably deemed to Disco for Top 40 playlists. If it sounds like a Bee Gees outtake, it’s because Bee Gee keyboardist Blue Weaver co-produced the track.

Van Halen – So This Is Love? (debuted 8/1/1981, peaked #110)

Van Halen started off their career with a few Top 40 hits in the late 70s. Then Pop programmers went soft, and VH’s singles didn’t get much chance for Top 40 airplay. This was the only single from their fourth album, Fair Warning, to sniff the Hot 100, even though four of its tracks got lots of Rock airplay. It’s easy to forget how great a band they were, and songs that can swing easy and rock hard can only be mastered by a few.

Stacy Lattisaw – Don’t Throw It All Away (debuted 7/31/1982, peaked #101)

And now we’ve reached the Soul portion of the Bubblers, the 80s R&B that was continuously kicked to the curb. The D.C. teenager had a few Top 30 hits in 1981 but then got locked out in 1982 with the release of her Narada Michael Walden-produced LP, Sneakin’ Out. This 60’s styled ballad would reach the R&B Top 10.

Stephanie Mills – Last Night (debuted 7/31/1982, peaked #101)

The production team behind her 1980 smash – James Mtume & Reggie Lucas – produced this track from her sixth album, Tantalizingly Hot. This would be her fourth and last collaboration with the duo. #14 on the R&B charts will be the peak for this slab of synth-funk.

Deniece Williams – Waiting By The Hotline (debuted 7/31/1982, peaked #103)

Niecy follows her up Top Ten cover of the Royalettes’ It’s Gonna Take a Miracle with this sweet midtempo ballad co-written and produced by Thom Bell. Released from her sixth album titled after her nickname, this track will rise to #29 on the Soul charts.

Nazareth – Love Leads To Madness (debuted 7/31/1982, peaked #105)

Sweet Jesus. It’s Nazareth, still trying to shake off their one-hit-wonder label. The Scottish lads had released their thirteenth album, 2XS, in 1982. This was the lead single and, in my opinion, good enough to break the curse. But alas, it ends up as a Bubbler even as it reached #3 in South Africa.

The second half shall be forthcoming. Until then, here’s Prince.

Nothin’ Worth Stealin’ In Here

Let’s continue our review of Bubbling Under singles from chart week twenty-nine during 1984 and 1985. Hopefully, all your questions will be answered.

Brothers Johnson – You Keep Me Coming Back (debuted 7/21/1984, peaked at #102)

Even though they had a smash in 1980 with Stomp!, Lightnin Licks and Thunderthumbs’ Pop career effectively ended due to the Disco backlash. They continued to record through the 80s and well as release solo material, and continue session work. This track from their 1984 album, Out Of Control, was the last time they’d ever sniff the Pop charts as an act again. It would be their final R&B Top 40 when it climbs to #12.

J.D. Souther – Go Ahead And Rain (debuted 7/21/1984, peaked at #104)

70s singer-songwriters had a hard time keeping their career going through the 80s, especially if they didn’t add some New Wave vibes to their sound or have a splashy video. Home By Dawn was J.D.’s first album five years after his breakthrough, You’re Only Lonely. If he had been released three years earlier, I bet this ballad would have gained more traction on radio.

Fun fact: A video was made for this song with actress Madeleine Stowe playing J.D.’s love interest. Unfortunately, VH-1 was still six months away.

The Alarm – The Deceiver (debuted 7/21/1984, peaked at #104)

Here’s the Welsh quartet back with another Bubbler from their debut album, Declaration. What do you say about a band who worked so hard to break themselves in America, who opened for The Police and Bob Dylan, and who seemingly were at the right place and time to bust out with their songs? Alas, the best they’ll ever do in the US is a #50 placement of 1989’s Sold Me Down The River.

Rush – The Body Electric (debuted 7/21/1984, peaked at #105)

Do not get this confused with I Sing The Body Electric from the Fame soundtrack like I did back then. Boy, did I get schooled? This was from the Canadian trio’s tenth LP, Grace Under Pressure, which also features Distant Early Warning, which seemed to be on MTV a lot that Summer. This one, not as much, although it did get a fair amount of airplay on Rock radio. Maybe when MuchMusic debuted that August, the video beamed into homes North of the border.

Bob Dylan – Tight Connection To My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love) (debuted 7/20/1985, peaked at #103)

Dylan’s last Top 40 hit was in 1979 when Gotta Serve Somebody hit #24. So someone at Columbia Records decided they needed to make him sound more contemporary and get some more hits. We all know that isn’t why Bob does what he does, but, hey, the machine must be fed. It’s why we have this album, Empire Burlesque. This single was initially recorded during the 1983 Infidels sessions with Sly & Robbie, which accounts for its reggae lilt and had additional female Soul vocal overdubs. It became a big hit in New Zealand. The video was directed by Paul Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver & Raging Bull and directed American Gigolo.

R.J.’S Latest Arrival – Swing Low (debuted 7/20/1985, peaked at #107)

What would 80s Bubblers be without some forgotten soul? We’re going to finish with two. Here is a Detroit R&B band, led by R.J. Rice,  who were on their fourth album by 1985. This synth-funk dance single is the closest they’d get to Pop success, and it would peak at #27 on the R&B charts.

Atlantic Starr – Cool, Calm, Collected (debuted 7/20/1985, peaked at #110)

This White Plains, NY quintet was on album number six, As The Band Turns, but better days lie ahead for them. This upbeat single wasn’t very distinguishable from the other synth Soul being released at the time, which is why it Bubbled here and only reached #33 on the Soul charts. But when they released Secret Lovers later in the year, and it climbed to #3, this funk band understood that the key to Pop success would be ballads only.

Images Conflicting Into Data Overload

We are back with our review of Bubbling Under the Hot 100 singles during the 80s. Let’s take a look at the first half of chart week twenty-nine.

Waylon – Clyde (debuted 7/19/1980, peaked at #103)

Singer-songwriter Jennings became well-known as a Country outlaw, first with the Wanted! album in 1976, then through his collaboration with Willie Nelson in 1978, leaving him to go by his first name only for several years. This J.J. Cale-penned number was the lead single from his LP, Music Man, and would climb to #7 on the Country charts. But his follow-up, Good Ol’ Boys, would take him into the living rooms of Dukes Of Hazzard fans each Friday night, reaching #21 on the Pop charts.

Glass Moon – (I Like) The Way You Play (debuted 7/19/1980, peaked at #108)

Here’s the pride of Raleigh, North Carolina – a progressive rock quartet that evolved into a no-frills Power Pop outfit by the time of their self-titled 1980 debut. The album became such a big hit in Puerto Rico that they were commissioned to record a 7-Up commercial in Spanish to broadcast there.

The only single to debut as a Bubbler this week in 1981 is Larry Graham’s Just Be My Lady. It will chart on the Hot 100 and hit a high of #67.

Tommy Tutone – Which Man Are You (debuted 7/24/1982, peaked at #101)

The San Francisco band (yes, Tommy Tutone is a band, not a person) that made Jenny’s phone number a fun prank opportunity is back with their follow-up. Released from their second album Tommy Tutone 2, this laid-back rocker featured former Steve Miller Band member Lonnie Turner on bass.

Shalamar – I Can Make You Feel Good (debuted 7/24/1982, peaked at #102)

After reaching #8 in early 1980 with The Second Time Around, this trio had trouble getting anything else into the Top 40 for years, despite their success on the Soul charts and over in the UK, where this reached #7. This was the follow-up to the #44 single, A Night To Remember, from their sixth album, Friends. Personally, I would have traded this midtempo boogie for one less Journey or REO Speedwagon tune on the radio.

Cheryl Lynn – Instant Love (debuted 7/24/1982, peaked at #105)

Here’s another R&B one-hit-wonder whose solid output was virtually ignored by Pop radio since her 1979 smash, Got To Be Real. This was the title track to her fourth album, produced and written by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller recorded almost as a warm-up to their Aretha Franklin renaissance. It will climb to #16 on the Soul charts.

Charlene – It Ain’t Easy Comin’ Down (debuted 7/24/1982, peaked at #109)

From the song-things-are-better-left-alone file: Here’s a singer who retired from the music industry in 1980 and was working in a candy store in England when her 1977 single, I’ve Never Been To Me, took off on Pop radio in 1982, getting undressed by kings all the way up to #3. The very white Charlene resigned a contract with Motown (that sentence sounds wrong, but it’s true), and the company re-released this 1976 flop looking for some double lightning. Had something actually hit them in the head, they might not have wasted Stevie Wonder’s time with her. You can also hear this song in The Last American Virgin, which seems perfect if you’ve seen that film.

Fun Fact: The man that wrote this and “never been to me” originally co-wrote Stevie’s For Once In My Life. How?

Gary Moore – Falling In Love With You (debuted 7/23/1983, peaked at #110)

Here’s the second Bubbler from Gary’s second album, Corridors of Power, his attempt at a US Pop crossover. This bluesy ballad has the ingredients of a sleeper hit but gets weighed down by the sleepy performance. Gary’s a great guitarist, but this song would have benefited from a guest vocalist with more depth and range.

“We’ll be back with more stuff,” as Chuck Barris used to say in our review of 1984 and 1985 from chart week twenty-nine in the 80s.

Find Me The Place For Us

Here we are. We’ve reached chart week twenty-eight during our review of Bubbling Under the Hot 100 singles from the 80s. There’s a lit bit of country, soundtrack tunes, and as always, soul. Let’s lift these castoffs up and give them a new life.

Barbara Mandrell – Crackers (debuted 7/12/1980, peaked at #105)

Is this song about the eldest Mandrell sister going crazy? No, the title refers to the food she won’t mind her lover eating in bed with her. My joke meter just sounded off multiple alarms, but I’ll keep it clean. Considering Babs doesn’t mind sleeping in a double bed rather than a Queen or King or could care less about being wrong about love, her low self-esteem of sleeping in a pile of Ritz crumbs matches perfectly. From her first 80s LP, Love Is Fair, this single will climb to #3 on the Country charts.

Cheeks – Boney Moronie (debuted 7/12/1980, peaked at #110)

Here’s a pub rock band that released a few singles between 1979 and 1981. This one ended up on the soundtrack to the Animal House-ripoff, Up The Academy starring a young Ralph Macchio. The film is an absolute debacle, and even Mad Magazine, which “presented” it, immediately distanced itself from it after its release.  This amateur cover of this 1957 Larry Williams classic fits the movie to a T. As it plays, you can imagine horny teens crazily running around, gratuitous nudity, and senseless destruction.

Savoy Brown – Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone (debuted 7/18/1981, peaked at #107)

UK blues-rock outfit Savoy Brown had some minor success in the States during the late 60s and early 70s but fell out of favor by the time of their 1976 release Skin N Bone, which failed to chart. Their last attempt at crossing over to the US Top 40 was filled with Smokie covers, first this single, initially a #12 UK hit for Chris Norman and his gang (a Bubbler for Savoy B.), then Run To Me released later in 1981. It was featured on Smokie’s 1980 Greatest Hits Volume 2 collection, but Savoy Brown’s version was their best US showing, reaching #68.

Charlie Daniels Band – Sweet Home Alabama (debuted 7/18/1981, peaked at #110)

From Volunteer Jam VII (which I assumed no one was paid for) comes the inevitable Skynyrd cover from Charlie D. I’m not sure if this was done as a tribute to the fallen members, pandering to the Nashville crowd, or a veiled political statement. I only say that as after the line Birmingham, they love the governor, and he leaves out the Boo, boo, boo part. They peaked at #94 on the County charts.

Zapp – Dance Floor (Part I) (debuted 7/17/1982, peaked at #101)

Roger Troutman was the most successful musically in advancing the funk genre into the 80s with funky synth grooves that were so tight, you’d think they’d snap in half. Maybe his talkbox was the glue that held them together. These jams were too good for Top 40 the first time around, but the hip-hop community sampled them so much, you heard them in dozens of rap songs, especially West Coast, in the 80s and beyond. Everything came full circle when Roger performed the talkbox on Dr. Dre & 2Pac’s #1 smash, California Love. This single will be Zapp’s only R&B #1 hit.

John Williams – Theme From E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) (debuted 7/17/1982, peaked at #103)

John Williams is one of the best-known film composers of all time and has garnered a few Top 40 hits with his themes to Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Jaws. The blockbuster film E.T. quickly became the highest-grossing film for over a decade. The single didn’t get any traction on radio, though, and was relegated to Bubbler status. As soon as you hear John’s theme, you immediately think of Elliott riding his bicycle, flying in the sky with E.T. in his basket. Or it makes you hide in your closet crying into a bag of Reese’s Pieces. Take your pick.

Charlie Daniels Band – Ragin’ Cajun (debuted 7/17/1982, peaked at #109)

Charlie’s back with the second single from his twelfth studio album, Windows, and the follow-up to his #22 hit, Still in Saigon. Someone from Louisiana will have to confirm if this funky fiddle hoedown gets played at U of L games or maybe during your roller coaster ride at Six Flags America in Maryland.

Dionne Warwick – All The Love In The World (debuted 7/16/1983, peaked at #101)

The third single from the Bee Gees-produced Heartbreaker album has a similar shuffly feel to Eyes That See In The Dark, a tune the trio would write for Kenny Rogers. This single didn’t chart on the Hot 100 or the R&B charts, but it would reach #16 on the AC charts and #10 in the UK.

Yello – I Love You (debuted 7/16/1983, peaked at #103)

Here’s the Swiss electronic duo with the lead single from their third album, You Gotta Say Yes To Another Excess,  a New Wave-vibed dance track that will reach #16 on the Dance Club charts. In the US, they are most known for their tune, Oh Yeah, featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which only reached #51. Or, as Mac calls it, Day Bow Bow.

Juluka – Scatterlings Of Africa (debuted 7/16/1983, peaked at #106)

Here’s the Johannesburg, South Africa band led by Johny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu with a single from their fourth album, Scatterlings, which helped get their interpretation of  Zulu music heard outside of their native country. Only three years later, we’d be listening and overpraising Paul Simon’s Graceland. Johnny would re-record this track with his new band Savuka in 1987, and it would land on the Rain Man soundtrack.

Shor Patrol – Loverboy (debuted 7/16/1983, peaked at #108)

The pride of Baltimore (or at least, Ocean City) in the 80s was this hard-working rock band led by vocalist Alana Shor. This quintet, which rose from the ashes of the group Paper Cup,  released a four-song EP on Arista Records in 1983, and this single almost broke them into the big time. Instead, its lack of success drove the five members to split up.

Karla Bonoff – Somebody’s Eyes (debuted 7/14/1984, peaked at #109)

The Footloose soundtrack had already generated six Top 40 hits in 1984. But I think Columbia Records got a little greedy releasing a seventh single. Not that the tune isn’t good. It was just overkill. Though it did manage to climb the AC charts landing at #16.

Russ Ballard – The Fire Still Burns (debuted 7/13/1985, peaked at #105)

We wrap up chart week twenty-eight with the title track from this British singer/songwriter/guitarist’s seventh album and last, for eight years. It will fail to make an impact on Pop radio but will receive a decent amount of airplay on Mainstream Rock stations.