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.