If We’d Stayed To Play For Fortune

This is an exciting collection of songs for chart week eighteen in the 80s. And if you’re like me, you might listen to these and wonder why a lot of them didn’t succeed. Let’s review those tunes that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100.

Con Funk Shun – Got To Be Enough (debuted 5/3/1980, peaked at #101)

Let’s get it started with some Oaktown funk from a septet that was on their sixth album. Spirit of Love was the first of two LPs released in 1980, and it spawned this sweet horn-laden jam. What I like about these guys was how they could throw down a stanky groove and add just enough smoothness with a catchy hook on top to keep their R&B audience [this peaked at #8 Soul] but have just enough appeal for Top 40. Pop radio was too narrow-minded, and the Disco backlash lumped most funk-soul-disco acts as the same thing. Otherwise, you might have heard this one before or after Call Me on the radio.

Jerry Knight – Overnight Sensation (debuted 5/3/1980, peaked at #103)

Before Ray Parker Jr. added his name to the band or even began his solo career, fellow bandmate Jerry Knight tested the waters with a funky self-titled debut and this monster groove. It will make the Top 20 on the Soul and Dance charts. He’ll team up with former Wonderlove member Ollie E. Brown for the theme of the movie Breakin, which will be a Top 10 smash. Jerry will write songs for other artists as well, including The Jets’ Crush On You.

Floyd Cramer – Dallas (debuted 5/3/1980, peaked at #104)

TV show themes crossing over to the Pop charts is nothing new. Even instrumentals have reached the higher echelons of playlists. What makes this one strange is that Dallas was one of the biggest television shows. Of course, this was about five months before the Who Shot J.R. episode, so maybe the 45 release was a little premature. This single will make the AC (sure) and Country (what?) Top 40.

Fun Fact: You may have heard of The Wrecking Crew, the group of studio musicians who played on almost all Pop hits from the 60s. Piano player Cramer was part of the Nashville A-Team, the Country equivalent that lasted much longer.

Webster Lewis – Give Me Some Emotion (debuted 5/3/1980, peaked at #107)

Soul music took such a beating on Pop radio in the 80s after truly breaking out the decade before. Record companies had enough budget to create great music like this, but not enough to get it heard by the masses.  Was it too jazzy? This won’t even make the R&B Top 40, despite this smooth groove that Nathan Watts and James Gadson lay down.  This track is from Lewis’ second solo album, 8 for the 80s, produced by Herbie Hancock.

Robert Winters & Fall – Magic Man (debuted 5/9/1981, peaked at #101)

Pianist Robert Winters released the first of his two albums in 1981. This lead single, a ballad sung by Walter Turner, will be his biggest hit, reaching #11 on the R&B charts. You wouldn’t know it from the album covers, but Robert was handicapped, confined to a wheelchair after a childhood bout of polio.

Susan Hart – Is This A Disco Or A Honky Tonk? (debuted 5/9/1981, peaked at #109)

Susan was a film actress in the 60s, appearing in flicks such as The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini and Pajama Party. She retired mainly by 1971 but decided to record this Country single as an attempt at a new career. The song is not as interesting as the title.

The O’Jays – I Just Want To Satisfy (debuted 5/8/1982, peaked at #101)

It’s 1982. The O’Jays are still recording with Philadelphia International. But their Pop crossover days have come to an end two years previous. Justified? Of course not. This lead track from their fifteenth album, My Favorite Person, is another high-quality addition to their vast catalog, written by Kenny Gamble and Cecil & Linda Womack. The problem is that it still has its foot in the classic 70s soul sound, which sounded out of date at the time. Trends have passed, so enjoy this one now.

Alex Call – Just Another Saturday Night (debuted 5/7/1983, peaked at #101)

Alex was a member of the Marin County sextet, Clover, which recorded four albums in the 70s, but is more remembered for being the backing band on Elvis Costello’s debut, My Aim Is True. They propped that dude up and were promptly forgotten. To make matters worse, the band’s harmonica player started his own band, the News, and they and Huey Lewis became huge in the 80s. Alex would write a tune for Tommy Tutone called Jenny, and that would get him a recording contract which is why he was Bubbling here in 1983. That said, his record company screwed up by not pushing this to Pop radio.

Bananarama – Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (debuted 5/7/1983, peaked at #101)

This UK female trio made its first proper attempt to break into the US market in 1983 after having a few hits in England. What better way to do it than with a cover of a 1969-released #1 hit? [No, not Venus. Wait another three years.] The gals update this accidental smash on their debut album, Deep Sea Skiving, with tons of tom fills and tambourines a-plenty, a formula they’d repeat on their first big hit in the States, Cruel Summer.

Marty Balin – Do It For Love (debuted 5/7/1983, peaked at #102)

The former captain of the Airplane Starship released his second solo album after his debut spawned two Top 40 hits, including Hearts. This one will get stuck in the hangar as the follow-up to What Love Is, which peaked at #63.

Frida – Here We’ll Stay (debuted 5/7/1983, peaked at #102)

Anni-Frid Lyngstad, or 25% of ABBA, came on strong with her first all- English album (her first two were sung in Swedish), released two months before her former group’s double LP compilation The First Ten Years. Produced by Phil Collins, the first single I Know There’s Something Goin’ On slapped its gated reverb drums up to  #13. This follow-up, a  sprightly duet with Phil the Shill, should have followed it the first one into the Top 40. But in the Bubblers here, it will stay.

Fun fact: Per Gessle will co-write a track on Frida’s album. Within six years, he’ll have the first of four US #1s as part of Roxette.

Menudo – If You’re Not Here (By My Side) (debuted 5/5/1984, peaked at #102)

Menudo was a Latino boy band formed in Puerto Rico in the late 70s. They only had one rule: once you hit puberty, you were out of the band. That kept the group as a teen band in perpetuity. The problem was that they were big in many Hispanic countries but had no support in the US. In fact, many record labels didn’t even have  Latin divisions in their company. They had to manufacture Menudomania for folks here to get interested, and then they bombarded us with a full entertainment assault. To their credit, their inroads were the seeds of the Latin music explosion of the 90s. This ballad from their fourteenth album, Reaching Out, was sung by new member Robbie Rosa.

Nena – Just A Dream (debuted 5/5/1984, peaked at #102)

I was never sure if the band or the singer was Nena. Maybe that’s where Sade got her inspiration. The West German New Wavers almost hit #1 with 99 Luftballons except that Van Halen did not believe in tearing down the wall, just jumping off of it instead. This follow-up from their debut posited more happy times with a loved one. And who wants to hear about that?

KC – Are You Ready (debuted 5/5/1984, peaked at #104)

I’m glad the KC had a comeback hit with Give It Up. But this follow-up track was a great reminder that the gas had entirely run out of the tank. Even if you were standing at an Amoco pump, nothing was going to make this car drive again.

Con Funk Shun – Electric Lady (debuted 5/4/1985, peaked at #101)

We started with Con Funk Shun. We will end with Con Funk Shun. I love that symmetry. But hate it for these guys who saw another R&B smash [#4] remain as a Bubbler. Pick up their Best of collection, and you won’t be disappointed.

Tryin’ To Find That Happy Ending

Not as many songs held back as Bubblers during the seventeenth chart week of the 80s, but many good ones. Let’s review and rediscover.

Crown Heights Affair – You Gave Me Love (debuted 4/26/1980, peaked at #102)

Here’s a Brooklyn R&B octet that formed in the last 60s, moved over to funk by the mid-70s, and settled into a disco groove by the decade’s end. Their biggest crossover hit was Dancin’ which reached #42 in 1977. This was the first single from their seventh album, Sure Shot, and will become their biggest UK hit, peaking at #10. It will also climb to #12 on the Disco Top 100.

Greg Kihn Band – Sheila (debuted 5/2/1981, peaked at #102)

Greg and his buddies follow up their breakthrough hit, The Breakup Song, with a Power pop cover of Tommy Roe’s #1 smash from 1962. They’ll wait for two more albums for more success until 1983 when Jeopardy climbs all the way to #2.

Alabama – Old Flame (debuted 5/2/1981, peaked at #103)

This Country quartet released their fifth album, Feels So Right, but had yet to cross over to Pop radio. The lead single, co-written by Mac McAnally, is a honky-tonk ballad that would have been at home on the Urban Cowboy soundtrack. It will be their third straight #1 on Country charts, and their next two follow-up singles, the title track and Love in The First Degree will reach the Top 40

Life – Cool Down (debuted 5/2/1981, peaked at #106)

Here’s a Pop duo formed by Florida guitarist George Terry, who worked with Eric Clapton in the 70s and co-wrote Lay Down Sally. He also played on Andy Gibb’s solo records and the Bee Gees’ Spirits Having Flown. This bluesy number stalled under the Hot 100, but another track of theirs, E.T. Phone Home charted in the UK.

William “Bootsy” Collins – Take A Lickin’ And Keep On Kickin’ (debuted 5/1/1982, peaked at #103)

Bootsy kept a second career going as Booty’s Rubber Band while still a member of Parliament and Funkadelic before recording under his own name. He would rack up 12 Top 40 hits on the Soul charts, including the world’s funkiest sing-a-long, The Pinnochio Theory (don’t fake the funk or your nose will grow), and the #1 smash, Bootzilla. None of them would cross over to the Hot 100. In fact, this was his best solo showing regarding the Pop charts, unless you count Tom Tom Club dropping his name on Genius Of Love, which is up at #31 this week. He would show up in the Top 10 in 1990 as a guest on Dee-Lite’s Groove Is In The Heart.

Point Blank – Let Her Go (debuted 5/1/1982, peaked at #109)

This Texas sextet finally nabbed a Top 40 in 1981 when Nicole reached #39. Let Her Go was their sixth, which spawned this single. But the lack of continued success plus the relentless touring schedule combined to break up the band. They will get back together in the late 2000s and release and few more albums.

Julio Iglesias – Amor (debuted 4/30/1983, peaked at #105)

Enrique’s dad was a massive star in Spain since the late 60s, but that will only get you so far in the financial department. So he started singing in other languages besides Spanish. His twentieth release, Julio, was a compilation that featured a few tracks in English, including this one which is partly sung in Spanish. The album did quite well in the States and precipitated his move to Florida, setting him up for success with 1984’s 1100 Bel Air Place.

Fun fact: Julio was once a goalie for a Real Madrid soccer team in his youth.

The Manhattan Transfer – Mystery (debuted 4/28/1984, peaked at #102)

After their #7 hit, Boy From New York City in 1981, Pop radio mostly shunned them, even as this vocal quartet recorded and released well-produced and performed singles ready for radio. This Rod Temperton-penned ballad featured a soulful sax solo from Ernie Watts and caught the ear of an up-and-coming Detroit R&B singer who was looking for songs for her new album.

Peter Brown – They Only Come Out At Night (debuted 4/28/1984, peaked at #102)

The man who asked if we wanted to get funky back in 1977 recorded a quick follow-up album to 1983’s Back To The Front called Snap. This was the lead single, a fast-paced dance track, perfect for all the lean and hungry types, and it will reach #1 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 charts. It will also cross over to the R&B charts and get as high as #50.

Break Machine – Street Dance (debuted 4/28/1984, peaked at #105)

Break out your worn piece cardboard and your Adidas tracksuit because it’s the Village People of hip-hop, minus the Halloween costumes. I only say that because Jacques Morali and Henry Belolo put this trio together and produced them. This single was huge across Europe hitting #1 in Spain, Norway, and France and #3 in the UK. In the States where rap and breakdancing were created, no one cared, except for the clubs which pushed this single to #6 on the Dance/Disco Top 80 charts. I first heard this track on an airplane station playlist and really dug it, spending years trying to find it.

Steve Arrington – Feel So Real (debuted 4/27/1985, peaked at #104)

The former drummer and eventual lead vocalist of the funk band Slave left in 1982. He released Steve Arrington’s Hall Of Fame, Vol. 1 one year later, a tremendous album and one of the best R&B albums of the 80s. Naturally, Pop radio dissed it. Two albums later, in 1985, Steve smoothed his sound out a little and was rewarded with a #5 Dance hit, #17 R&B zenith, and a #5 peak in the UK. His follow-up, Dancin’ In the Key Of Life, will climb onto the Hot 100 and reach #68. Steve is still doin’ his thing and put a solid effort in 2020 called Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions, as well as guesting on Thundercat’s release, It Is What It Is.

Step Out And Dare To Declare

There must have been a Pop radio jailbreak during chart week sixteen since there aren’t that many Bubblers left behind. Let’s review those forgotten 45s from the 80s.

Sister Sledge – Reach Your Peak (debuted 4/19/1980, peaked at #101)

This is easily my favorite of the bunch. Had the Disco backlash not happened, the Sledge sisters would have had a few hits from 1980’s Love Somebody Today, their Nile Ridgers/ Bernard Edwards-produced follow-up to We Are Family. After Got To Love Somebody reached #64 Pop and #5 R&B, this breezy reggae-tinged track only climbed as high as #21 on the Soul charts. The album track Pretty Baby was never minted as a 45, but this confident disco strutter was another favorite of mine.

John Cougar – A Little Night Dancin’ (debuted 4/19/1980, peaked at #105)

Don’t let the title fool you. JC didn’t go disco, but he did get his Van Morrison on. This straight-ahead acoustic rocker was the third single released from his self-titled third LP, which included his first Top 40 hit, I Need A Lover.

The 1981 debuts all moved onto the Hot 100, so let’s continue with 1982.

Cameo – Just Be Yourself (debuted 4/24/1982, peaked at #101)

Funk was another casualty of the Disco backlash as well as the recession. It’s hard to keep ten guys on the payroll if you do not have giant hits. Cameo was now down to five members on their 1982 release, Alligator Woman. They’d shrink to four with their next release, and by the time of their first Top 40 ht, Word Up!, they were a trio. This compact jam will reach #12 on the R&B charts.

Fun fact: Did you know that the model on the cover of Alligator Woman was Vanity?

Xavier – Work That Sucker To Death (debuted 4/24/1982, peaked at #104)

Here’s a funk octet from Connecticut that received a little help from George Clinton & Bootsy Collins, who performed on two tracks on their album, Point Of Pleasure. This monster jam was one of them and worked itself into the R&B Top 10, hitting #6. Because it was released on the same label as Kenny Rogers, I’m not sure that was any A&R money to go around to push this one to Pop radio.

Devo – Through Being Cool (debuted 4/24/1982, peaked at #107)

Devo will amass five single singles that were labeled as Bubblers in the 80s. Pop radio had no idea what to do with them. And even during the early 80s New Wave invasion, their sound was too future-forward. This was the second single released from 1981’s New Traditionalists and was also featured on the Heavy Metal soundtrack. Writing a song for nerds when that word was still an insult garnered them a loyal cult following to this day. Now they look to aim their spud guns at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

1983 was strutting around like a sharp-dressed man this week, moving their singles up to higher highs.

Evelyn “Champagne” King – Shake Down (debuted 4/21/1984, peaked at #107)

This was one of the few songs of Evelyn’s that I wasn’t as familiar with. It sounds like Sly Stone meets synth-funk with King working her sultry lower register a la Ruth Pointer on Automatic or Jody Watley on Still A Thrill. [JW’s producer, Andre Cymone produced four tracks on Face To Face.] This #12 peaker will be one of eighteen Top 40 R&B hits that she’ll rack up.

B.E. Taylor Group – Reggae Rock N Roll (debuted 4/20/1985, peaked at #102)

The pride of Pittsburgh, Bill Edward Taylor, known as BE, formed a quartet with three former members of the West Virginia prog-rock band, Crack The Sky. They released three albums, which yielded two Hot 100 entries and one EP called Life Goes On, which this single was spawned [It would also appear on their final full length, Our World in 1986.] Also, the single didn’t have a lot of (if any) reggae, but it did have a lot of anthemic Midwest pop-rock comin’ at ya.

If you want to read more weeks of Bubbling Under during the 80s, the rabbit hole is this way.

The Kid With The Clues

As we reach chart week fourteen in our review of 80s tunes that were Bubbling Under the Hot 100, we find a bunch that did not make it, so much so that I split the group in two. Let’s review the Bubblers from 1980 to 1982.

Jane Olivor – Don’t Let Go Of Me (debuted 4/5/1980, peaked at #108)

Jane was a singer who got her start performing in the NY cabaret scene and places such as the Continental Baths, where Bette Midler was discovered. Thus far, her biggest hit was a cover of the Shirelles’ He’s So Fine, which reached #77 in 1978. This single, released from her fourth album, The Best Side Of Goodbye, should have been a much bigger hit. Its soft pop vibes would have sounded great next to Melissa Manchester or anything else on this countdown. It’s a mystery as to why someone on a major label with minor successes couldn’t get this Randy Edleman-penned tune onto the radio.

Atlantic Starr – When Love Calls (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #101)

This was the first big hit for the White Plains, NY sextet, climbing to #5 on the R&B charts. Released from their third album, Radiant and produced by Commodores pal James Anthony Carmichael, this funky jam was a far cry from the wedding tunes that they are more well-known for.

Fantasy – You’re Too Late (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #104)

Here’s a monster disco smash from a vocal quartet from New York. The Chic-ish track dominated the clubs during the Winter of 1980/ 1981 and spent five weeks at #1 on the Disco Hot 100. It also made the R&B Top 30, but Pop radio had long closed their door to Disco.

Point Blank – Let Me Stay With You Tonight (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #107)

Here’s a Texas rock quintet on their fifth album, American Exce$$, by 1981 with not much national exposure to show for themselves. The catchy tune got them a little more notice, enough to show up here. But their second single, Nicole, was the one that broke them when it reached #39.

Stephen Bishop – Send A Little Love My Way (Like Always) (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #109)

After scoring three Top 40 singles from his first two albums, Bish came up snake eyes with his third release, Red Cab To Manhattan, another well-crafted West Coast pop album. It’s befuddling that he couldn’t get this ballad on Pop radio when they were playing stuff like Wayne Newton’s Years instead. Stephen was already becoming somewhat of a movie guy with soundtrack songs to Animal House and Roadie. He’ll add Tootsie to that list a year from now, and It Might Be You will hit #25 in 1983. An aside: the B-side to this single is City Girl, one of my favorite tracks of the Bishmeister.

Rox – Dddddddance (debuted 4/11/1981, peaked at #109)

Not sure if this was a band or just an alter-ego for Boston singer Mike Rox. But the title is definitely someone’s attempt to obscure the fact that this song is boring as hell. It was produced by Village People impresario Jacques Morali and released on Boardwalk Records while it was going under. So it didn’t have a lot going for it at the time.

Grover Washington Jr. – Jamming (debuted 4/10/1982, peaked at #102)

Put this track on, and at about 20 seconds in, say out loud,” We’re experiencing operating difficulties. Please stand by.” If you were there, you’d get it. This is a very chill and pleasant cover of the Bob Marley classic and the second single from GW’s Come Morning LP.  But a minute into this, you might start wondering why you’re not listening to Exodus instead.

Lulu – Who’s Foolin’ Who (debuted 4/10/1982, peaked at #106)

Here’s the third single release from Scottish singer Lulu’s 1981 comeback album, which gave us the #18 hit, I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do). It’s a bluesy number that rocks way harder than her previous pop endeavors. In fact, it was nominated for a Best Female Rock Grammy. It was originally recorded by Bobby Blue Bland for his 1974 album, Dreamer, and written by the guys that produced hits like this.

Poco – Sea Of Heartbreak (debuted 4/10/1982, peaked at #109)

It definitely seemed like MCA Records had contempt for these guys when they took over their ABC contract, even making them audition all over for them to keep them on. They completely destroyed a decade’s worth of momentum and success at radio, and the band just wanted out by this time. So the fellas recorded a half-hearted covers album, which benefited no one, least of which, the fans. This track was co-written by Hal David and recorded by Country singer Don Gibson, who took track up to #2 on the Country charts and #21 on the Hot 100 back in 1961.

 

You Know It’s Hard Some Time

We’re up to the unlucky chart week of thirteen. Actually, it was only unfortunate for these artists back in the 80s. Now that we’re spotlighting them decades later, you might actually go out and buy their music.

The Gap Band – I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops Upside Your Head) (debuted 3/29/1980, peaked at #102)

By the end of the 70s and their fourth album, the Wilson brothers were wearing their Parliament influences on their sleeves with this jam. Maybe that’s because their cousin was Bootsy Collins or because they were the best and most exciting funk group to imitate. This nursery rhymes-laden groove was not only their third Top 10 hit on the R&B charts. It became their first big hit in the UK, reaching #4. It has been sampled and covered countless times since.

Herb Alpert – Street Life (debuted 3/29/1980, peaked at #104)

Herb was enjoying a renaissance in 1979 with his song and album, Rise. On that LP, he released another track, Rotation, which reached the Top 30. The third was a cover of the 1979 Crusaders smash with Herb’s trumpet trying to replicate what Randy Crawford sang so well. Where the jazz trio made this song the perfect soundtrack to a night on the L.A. town, this version tried too hard and grooved too much, like your parents disco dancing in the living room to impress your friends.

Dazz Band – Invitation To Love (debuted 4/4/1981, peaked at #109)

This ballad was the second single and title track to the Cleveland, OH band’s 1980 debut. It’s not bad, but it lacks a distinctive personality to distinguish it from the other horn funk groups. It only peaked at #51 on the Soul charts, but within two more albums, they’d be letting it whip.

Jennifer Warnes – Come To Me (debuted 4/3/1982, peaked at #107)

This was the second single from an aborted 1981 album that ended up getting released as part of a Best Of compilation. Decisions like this would have seriously derailed Jennifer’s career had she not recorded a love theme with Joe Cocker to a Richard Gere film. That future #1 song will debut on the Hot 100 four months from now.

Dan Seals – Can’t Get You Out Of My Mind (debuted 4/3/1982, peaked at #110)

England Dan and John Ford Coley went their separate ways in 1980, and neither ever had any Pop success again. Dan recorded two quality but rarely-heard Yacht Rock LPs. This was the lead for the second one, Harbinger. After it failed, he ran to Nashville and became a successful Country artist racking up nine #1s during the 80s, including Bop.

KC & The Sunshine Band (with Teri DeSario) – Don’t Run (Come Back To Me) (debuted 4/2/1983, peaked at #103)

KC had a great start to the 80s with Please Don’t Go reaching #1. But it all went downhill from there. It reminds me of the scene in Boogie Nights. TK Records went bankrupt. He was in a horrible car accident and had to learn how to walk again. And the Disco backlash chewed his band up and spit them out in the gutter. All In A Night’s Work was their third straight 80s release that bombed. But hidden on side two was a track called Give It Up that needed a little time to percolate before it was ready.

Peter Godwin – Images Of Heaven (debuted 4/2/1983, peaked at #105)

Peter was the lead singer of the English trio Metro, who recorded two albums in the late 70s, including the song Criminal World, which David Bowie covered on his 1982 Let’s Dance album. That allowed Peter to have his Images of Heaven EP released in the US. Unfortunately, this New Wave dance track wasn’t successful on the charts, although it received some moderate Club play.

Johnny Mathis (with Deniece Williams) – Love Won’t Let Me Wait (debuted 4/1/1984, peaked at #106)

We all heard Johnny & Niecy singing to us every Thursday night as we watched Family Ties. So what better time to record another duet together? This one was released from A Special Part Of Me, and it was a cover of the 1975 Major Harris Top 10 smash, minus the moaning. It will creep into the R&B Top 40 at #32.

Alexander O’Neal – Innocent (debuted 3/30/1985, peaked at #101)

Alex was the lead singer of Flyte Tyme before pissing off Prince and getting replaced by Morris Day. Probably for the best, as his style was very intense and Day was more like a cartoon character come to life. O’Neal released his debut five years later and was backed by the Time members he once played with. In fact, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis wrote and produced the entire album. This was the first single release, and it reached #11 on the R&B charts. He wouldn’t cross over until his 1986 duet with Cherelle called Saturday Love.

Van Morrison – Tore Down A La Rimbaud (debuted 3/30/1985, peaked at #101)

Van might be one of the most enormous pain in the asses (or select a different adjective, if you like) in music, but this dude never stops working. He has forty solo albums in his catalog and is planning his new one for release this year. Released from his fifteenth, A Sense Of Wonder, this shuffler just missed climbing onto the Hot 100 at a time when his music sounded way out of date (Or, as some call it, timeless).

John Palumbo – Blowing Up Detroit (debuted 3/30/1985, peaked at #109)

Here is the lead singer of the cult prog-pop group, Crack the Sky, a band that was on the cusp of a breakthrough throughout the 70s but never had that one song to do it. This single from the singer’s solo debut should have easily received more airplay and could have been a hit. Maybe the title scared folks away. But it had that frenetic 80s New Wave dance groove that sounded reminiscent of Oingo Boingo.

No One Can Tell Your Hell Goes Unspoken

As we approach chart week twelve, we are 1/4 done with our review of singles Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s.

Hall & Oates – Who Said The World Was Fair (debuted 3/22/1980, peaked at #110)

This was the Philly duo’s first Bubbler and a slap in the face for the guys that hung out at #1 with Rich Girl only three years before. This follow-up to the Top 20 hit, Wait For Me, from their David Foster-produced X-Static album, was the last single to miss the Hot 100 for the next eleven years. Their next 22 singles would reach the Top 40, starting with the prescient How Does It Feel To Be Back, charted in four months from now. Don’t Hold Back Your Love broke the streak when it peaked at #41 in early 1991.

Todd Rundgren – Time Heals (debuted 3/28/1981, peaked at #107)

After his 1978 Top 30 hit, Can We Still Be Friends, Todd only had one more Hot 100 solo career chart entry [Bang The Drum All Day]. How does a song this catchy get stuck down here? Can’t blame MTV cause this was the eighth video that was played on the channel. His 1981 Healing LP also has one of his best and most beautiful ballads, Compassion, and it should have been a big hit for him. It’s definitely something we all need right now.

Bobby Vinton – Let Me Love You Goodbye (debuted 3/28/1981, peaked at #108)

Who OK’d the A&R budget for this one? Bobby, you had your time and your hits and even a mid-70s comeback. Please, love yourself goodbye.

Third World – Try Jah Love (debuted 3/27/1982, peaked at #101)

Here’s a Jamaican reggae band formed in 1973 who also threw jazz, funk, and disco into the mix. Their only Hot 100 entry, Now That We’ve Found Love, was a Gamble & Huff composition, initially recorded by the O’Jays in 1973. Their dancefloor cover reached #47 on the Pop charts, #9 R&B, and #10 in the UK in early 1979. This single, co-written by Stevie Wonder, who took the band on tour with him, Is from their seventh album, You’ve Got The Power, and peaked at #23 on the Soul charts.

Bobby Caldwell – Jamaica (debuted 3/27/1982, peaked at #105)

Keeping with the Jamaica theme, we have singer-songwriter Booby Caldwell with the lead single from this third album, Carry On. This Pop one-hit-wonder will nab four Top 40 hits on the Soul chart, but this one will peak #54. He is also a legend in Japan.

Dwight Twilley – Somebody To Love (debuted 3/27/1982, peaked at #106)

It’s been seven years since power-pop rocker Dwight Twilley came near a Hot 100 chart. This one started out as an Arista Records singles release before getting picked up by EMI, wherein he released his new album Scuba Divers. Neither 45 nor LP would come up for air.

Kashif – I Just Gotta Have You (Lover Turn Me On) (debuted 3/26/1983, peaked at #103)

The 80s showed a limited amount of love to R&B artists. No matter how much juice the man, born Michael Jones, put into his boogie, it wasn’t going to make much of a Pop impact. It will be the former BT Express member’s first R&B Top 10 when it reaches #5.

Q-Feel – Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop) (debuted 3/26/1983, peaked at #110)

How does one of the most 80s-sounding songs not succeed in the 80s? The synth-pop duo of Martin Page & Brian Fairweather switched to writing songs for other artists, such as Kim Carnes, Barbara Streisand, and Earth, Wind & Fire. This single finally entered the Hot 100 in 1989 and reached #75, at a time when songs like this were already out of fashion. Martin Page will nab a #14 hit in 1994 with In The House Of Stone And Light.

Endgames – Love Cares (debuted 3/24/1984, peaked at #105)

Here’s a Samuel Beckett-loving New Wave quartet from Glasgow, Scotland, who is still a forgotten band of the era. Sitting somewhere between the synth-funk of Human League and the sophistication of ABC, this single was released from their debut album, Building Beauty, and their one week at #105 will be the closest the band will come to US success.

David Sanborn – Love & Happiness (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #103)

Saxophonist Sanborn played on the music scene for the previous two decades, starting with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and moving over to Stevie Wonder’s posse before beginning a solo career in 1975. From his Grammy-winning seventh album, Straight From The Heart, this cut was an Al Green cover recorded live featuring AWB’s Hamish Stuart on lead vocals.

Fun fact: All of those little sax outbursts in the Lethal Weapon movies are played by David.

Fun fact 2: In 1988, David will co-host Night Music with Jools Holland, a late-night music TV show that was almost too to be true.

The Whispers – Some Kinda Lover (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #106)

The further we move through the 80s, the more that Soul music gets kicked to the curb. Here’s another synth-funk jam from the LA quintet, the second release from their thirteenth album, So Good. It will reach #17 on the R&B charts.

Shalamar – My Girl Loves Me (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #103) (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #106)

This was the third and final Bubbler for an act that evolved from the Soul Train dancers back in the late 70s. It’s also where lead singer Howard Hewitt finally jumps ship. The second proper release from their eighth album, Heartbreak, will hit #22 R&B.

Run-D.M.C. – King Of Rock (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #108)

This is where I officially became a RUN-DMC fan. I liked Hard Times and Rock Box from their 1984 debut, but this one blew my mind the first time I heard it. No synths, no samples. Just blazing guitar solos courtesy of Eddie Martinez over a TR-88’s drum beats turned up to 11. Producer Larry Smith should get the credit for providing the blueprint for rock and rap even though Rick Rubin would build the house. This single will reach #14 on the R&B charts, which was quite an accomplishment.

Dazz Band – Heartbeat (debuted 3/23/1985, peaked at #110)

The Pop one-hit-wonder funk band from Cleveland is still trying to cross over one more time with something a bit slower. This will be their final and closest attempt from their seventh album, Hot Spot. They’ll rack up four more R&B Top singles, including this one which will reach #12.

Be Kind, Then You’ll Feel Fine

We are reviewing those songs that ended up trapping Bubbling Under the Hot 100 during the 80s. Let’s take a look at chart week 11.

Ava Cherry – Love Is Good News (debuted 3/15/80, peaked at #107)

Ava got her start in the music business as a protege of David Bowie’s and sang on the Young Americans album, heavily influencing his move towards soul music. Supposedly, the song Golden Years was about their relationship. After an early stint in the Steve Winwood-led supergroup Go, she embarked on a solo career. Her first album, produced by Curtis Mayfield, released this single first, a 50-styled ballad, which squeaked into the R&B Top 40 at #39.

Shelley Looney – This Is My Country, Thank You Canada (debuted 3/15/80, peaked at #109)

Here’s a song I was not aware of, and it’s perfect for its time. It’s a spoken-word piece underscored by some cheesy cartoon music by an eight-year-old girl from Michigan thanking Canada for their part in helping to free US hostages from the US embassy in Iran. But wait, it gets better….

Fun Fact: Shelley grew up to be a hockey player, was picked for the 1998 Winter Olympics team, and scored the winning goal in the Gold medal game against….Canada. As it was the first Women ‘s US Hockey Olympic gold, she and her teammates are in the US Olympic Hall of Fame.

Marvin Gaye – Praise (debuted 3/21/81, peaked at #101)

Because Berry Gordy had a tricky, prickly, even spiteful relationship with Marvin, a sweet jam like this was left for dead by Motown. None of his singles charted on the Hot 100 after 1977’s #1 smash, Got To Give It Up until he changed labels in 1982 and released the monster, Sexual Healing. I also love how he adds a lyric in the song directed at Stevie Wonder apologizing for stealing a riff of his.

Also, Marvin Gay, Sr. was an abusive alcoholic piece of shit who hid behind his mask of “minister” and “a man of God” to continually torture his only son throughout his entire life until he eventually shot him point-blank and murdered him. He was given a six-year suspended sentence.

“Weird Al” Yankovic – Another One Rides The Bus (debuted 3/21/81, peaked at #104)

The Dr. Demento Show has spawned many Bubblers, but this may the first career that it launched when Al and his accordion appeared on his September 14, 1980 show and performed this Queen parody. [The original has just entered the Top 10 that week.] The live recording was released as a 45 on T.K. Records, owned by Henry Stone and home to George McCrae and KC & the Sunshine Band. It will be the last record that the label released before it was “acquired” by Morris Levy.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – For You (debuted 3/21/81, peaked at #106)

The UK band dips back into the well with another Springsteen cover, this time from his Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ album. But they weren’t the first, as Greg Kihn recorded his take for an album back in 1977. MM would get one more Top 40 in 1984 with their version of Ian Thomas’ The Runner.

The Kings – Don’t Let Me Know (debuted 3/21/81, peaked at #109)

Here’s the Canadian Power Pop quartet, which had a Top 40 near-miss in 1980 with Switchin To Glide/The Beat Goes On. Their debut album, The Kings Are Here, produced by Bob Ezrin, also spun off this midtempo rocker.

Melanie – One More Try (debuted 3/21/81, peaked at #110)

The pride of Astoria, Queens, folk singer/ songwriter Melanie Safka collected six Top 40 hits in the early 70s, including the #1 smash, Brand New Key. She had trouble keeping that momentum throughout the decade, but she has been recording and releasing new work for the last four decades. This soft rock ballad was a one-off single released on Portrait Records.

Alabama – Mountain Music (debuted 3/20/82, peaked at #101)

Here was the first single and title track to this heavily-decorated Country quartet, released during their run of Top 20 singles. Was it too “Southern” for Pop radio? It’s a catchy tune, and even though I lived in New York, I remember this getting airplay back then.

Fun fact: Brad Paisley used a piece of this song, asking members of Alabama to record it with him, for his 2011 single, Old Alabama, which reached #38.

Lindsey Buckingham – It Was I (debuted 3/20/82, peaked at #110

This quirky-sounding track was Lindsey’s follow-up to the mellower #10 hit, Trouble. It’s a cover of Skip and Flip’s 1959 hit, which reached #11. And because it didn’t sound like the Mac, Pop radio dissed it. No matter, we’re only three months away from Hold Me debuting on the Hot 100. Also, if those female vocals sound familiar, they’re not Stevie’s. They were sung by Carol Ann Harris, his then-current partner.

Phil Garland – You Are The One (debuted 3/19/83, peaked at #109)

There’s not a lot of info out there about this singer/songwriter from Boston, who supposedly also plays a mean electric violin. This pop-rocker was released from his debut album, Dreams Of A Boy, and showed up as a Bubbler for one week. It was produced by Steve Burgh, who played acoustic guitar on Billy Joel’s Just The Way You Are, and She’s Always a Woman.

The Dells – You Just Can’t Walk Away (debuted 3/17/84, peaked at #107)

Here’s the long-time 5-man doo-wop group who had hits with Stay In My Corner and Oh What A Night and were the main inspiration behind Robert Townsend’s The Five Heartbeats film. This was their last brush with crossover success, the lead single from their album, One Step Closer, produced and written by Natalie Cole’s cohorts, Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy. This ballad will reach #23 on the Soul charts.

Melba Moore – Livin’ For Your Love (debuted 3/17/84, peaked at #108)

Here’s the Harlem, NY singer who racked 23 Top 40 hits on the Soul charts, with the second single from her thirteenth album, Never Say Never. Written by La La, who penned You Give Good Love for Whitney Houston, this sultry Top 10 Soul track barely got a chance to shine at Pop radio.

The Fat Boys – Can You Feel It (debuted 3/16/85, peaked at #101)

Finally, we get some hip-hop, but it’s buried alive under the Hot 100. Had we shown the Disco 3 some more love, maybe they wouldn’t have resolved to record Wipeout or The Twist. I love these guys, and Buffy Love, aka the Human Beat Box, was the best at “making music with his mouth.”

General Public – Never You Done That (debuted 3/16/85, peaked at #105)

After the English Beat split up, Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger were the first to succeed with their debut album, All The Rage, and their#27 single, Tenderness. This was their follow-up, a New Wave classic that was just as catchy. Their follow-up album Hand To Mouth had lots of great singles on it, but none of them garnered any chart notice.

Carol Lynn Townes – Believe In The Beat (debuted 3/16/85, peaked at #109)

Here’s a single from the tragically awful sequel to Breakin’ called Electric Boogaloo. [Someone thought that was a good title. I’m guessing he was White.] This very 80s track had some minor success on the R&B charts and hit the Top 30 on the Dance charts.

Two Shots of Fantasy and One of Make-Believe

We’re up to chart week ten in our review of the Bubbling Under singles from the 80s. Here’s the list of folks who were kept below the surface of the Hot 100.

Rufus and Chaka – Any Love (debuted 3/8/80, peaked at #102)

Do You Love What You Feel was a monster jam, and its peak of #30 on the Pop charts was proof that R&B and funk were unnecessarily caught up in the Disco backlash. This was the second single from the Quincy Jones-produced Masterjam, another straight-up groove that didn’t get any notice at Pop radio while it reached #24 on the Soul charts. Massive Attack recorded their version in 1990.

L.A. Boppers – Is This The Best (Bop-Doo-Wah) (debuted 3/8/80, peaked at #103)

The Boppers were the backing band for the R&B group Side Effect, and they scored their own album deal in 1978. Produced by Augie Johnson, they changed their name to the L.A. Boppers for their second album released in 1980. This was the lead single, a slice of swinging jazz-funk that reached the Top 30 on the R&B charts that had more in common with the emerging Brit-Funk movement than the US disco scene.

Dan Hartman – Relight My Fire (debuted 3/8/80, peaked at #104)

Dan made the transition from Prog-rock to disco in 1978 with the #29 hit Instant Replay, a great example of 70s dance-pop. His second foray for the dancefloor went even deeper, and this single featuring female vocals by Loleatta Holloway reached #1 on the Disco Top 100.

Rainbow – All Night Long (debuted 3/8/80, peaked at #110)

Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow made a few changes for album #4, Down To Earth. Ronnie James Dio was gone, replaced by singer Graham Bonnett, and Deep Purple cohort Roger Glover was in to play bass and produce. The album was their most commercial to date and yielded the #57 single in late 1979, the Russ Ballard-penned Since You Been Gone. This was the follow-up, another catchy rocker that will reach #5 in the UK.

Ali Thomson – Foolish Child (debuted 3/14/81, peaked at #105)

In between Breakfast In America & Famous Last Words, the brother of Supertramp bassist Dougie Thomson released two solo albums. The first one spawned a Top 20 hit, Take a Little Rhythm. The second one, Deception Is An Art, put out this track as the lead single. I much prefer Ali’s second album as it is nestled firmly in the smooth arms of West Coast pop. It has yet to be released digitally. Ali released his third album last year, Songs from the Playroom, and I found it quite enjoyable.

Any Trouble – Second Choice (debuted 3/14/81, peaked at #108)

Here’s a British New Wave quartet who made quite a splash with critics with their 1980 debut, Where Are All the Girls? Unfortunately, none of it translated into any big successes, even in their native land. All that’s left is this enduring single, a mix of pub rock, reggae, and power pop. Marti Jones recorded a slow acoustic version in 1990 for her Any Kind Of Lie album.

Graf – Come To My Arms (debuted 3/14/81, peaked at #110)

If you thought Robbie Dupree’s Steal Away sounded like the Doobie Brothers, wait till you hear this single from Ohio quartet Graf. It was produced by Steve Katz, and here’s what the band looked like. Two of the members were previously in a jazz-rock group called I Don’t Care.

Bonnie Raitt – Keep This Heart In Mind (debuted 3/13/82, peaked at #104)

It’s incredible to think that it took someone as talented as Bonnie nearly two decades and ten albums before she broke through with Nick Of Time. The music industry slept on her career for far too long, those imbeciles. Here she is with the lead single from her eighth album, Green Light, a solid effort that didn’t go anywhere. Jackson Browne provides backing vocals on this track.

Maxus – Nobody’s Business (debuted 3/13/82, peaked at #109)

The only album by this quartet released in 1981 is held in high regard by West Coast artists. Featuring Jay Gruska on vocals and session player Michael Landau on guitar, this LP is a smooth pop-rock ride. It’s proto-Toto which should have been given the same support as those guys but never did.

The Fixx – Red Skies (debuted 3/12/83, peaked at #101)

It’s strange to think this ode to nuclear war was a Bubbler since it now stands as a New Wave classic. But the second single from this UK quintet’s debut, Shuttered Room, only received Rock radio airplay back then and some moderate video showings on MTV. Their next album would do much better.

Smokey Robinson – I’ve Made Love To You A Thousand Times (debuted 3/12/83, peaked at #101)

What an odd title for a Quiet storm ballad. That’s like every day for almost three years. Who are you, Wilt Chamberlain? The song was still good enough to make the R&B Top 10, but Pop radio was in the midst of ignoring Smokey for many years.

Chilliwack – Secret Information (debuted 3/12/83, peaked at #110)

The Vancouver trio broke through in 1981 with two Top 40 hits South of the border. Their follow-up album, Opus X, was not as successful but just as slick. I would have instead heard this single than any Loverboy tune at the time. Two of the members left the group, and Bill Henderson recorded one more album under the Chilliwack moniker.

Ozzy Osbourne – So Tired (debuted 3/10/84, peaked at #104)

I’m sure you are, Ozzy.  Getting rabies will do that to a person, even if you are the prince of darkness. The opening of this Bark at the Moon track sounds like something from Wayne Newton until Ozzy chimes in. And he does sound tired.

Anne Murray – That’s Not The Way (It’s S’posed To Be) (debuted 3/10/84, peaked at #106)

Record label: Anne, you’re missing two letters in your song title.

Anne: Oh yeah, which ones?

Record label: U. P.

Anne: (giggles) Only when I drink too much water.

Jenny Burton – Bad Habits (debuted 3/9/85, peaked at #101)

Disco singer Jenny Burton racked up a few members of the Other Sixty in 1984. She also sang on the club hit, One More Shot by C-Bank. Jenny scored her biggest overall success with this funky track from her second album, Jenny Burton, hitting #1 on the Dance charts and reaching the R&B Top 20. It also contains the same shabba-doo-wah lick as the above L.A. Boppers tune.

Roxanne Shanté – Roxanne’s Revenge (debuted 3/9/85, peaked at #109)

UTFO put out a classic Hip-hop track in 1984 called Roxanne, Roxanne. Then the real Roxanne put out this answer track and pummeled those three fellas into dust, stomping into the R&B Top 30. Netflix put out a movie in 2018 based on her life, which was quite good.

The Memories Sail Round Like A Ghost

I know this may discourage you from reading any further, but this is a group of underwhelming tunes, save for one classic. They belonged in the Bubbling Under crew during chart week #9. Let me know if you disagree.

Ray Stevens – Shriner’s Convention (debuted on 3/1/1980, peaked at #101)

With Ray, you either get saccharine (Everything Is Beautiful, Misty) or cornpone (all the other crap). I’m not sure who finds stuff like this funny, but I bet they have a Big Mouth Billy Bass on the wall of their living room too.

Barbara Mandrell – Years (debuted on 3/1/1980, peaked at #102)

After a decade of recording, Barbara notched a Top 40 hit in 1979 with a cover of Luther Ingram’s If Loving You Is Wrong. She’d aim for the Pop charts one more time with her next album, Just For The Record, and this ballad became her third Country #1. Wayne Newton’s version later in the year would reach #35.

Sue Saad and the Next – Won’t Give It Up (debuted on 3/1/1980, peaked at #107)

Here’s a New Wave quintet from Santa Barbara that had the energy but never the right song to catapult them to success. They only recorded one album but contributed to multiple soundtracks such as Roadie and Radioactive Dreams. One of their songs was covered on Sheena Easton’s debut album.

Mac Davis – Hooked On Music (debuted on 3/7/1981, peaked at #102)

This Country rocker was Mac’s follow-up to the #51 single, Texas In My Rear View Mirror, and details how he got into songwriting and performing.  We could have all guessed it was because of Elvis, and it was for the chicks.

Toto – Goodbye Elenore (debuted on 3/7/1981, peaked at #107)

After a successful 1978 debut and mildly popular follow-up, this sextet’s third album completely stiffed. All of the music is well-performed and arranged, but their progression into a harder rock sound at a time when Pop programmers were looking for something mellow kept them from getting on the radio. Of course, they refocused and put out Toto IV, so….

Blues Brothers – Going Back To Miami (debuted on 3/7/1981, peaked at #108)

The schtick has finally worn off by their second live album, Made In America, though Dan and John had more success with these characters than I’m sure they ever imagined. I never understood the point of the SML skits, but I loved the movie. That said, I never need to hear two White sketch comedians sing the blues ever again.

Bobby Womack – If You Think You’re Lonely Now (debuted on 3/6/1982, peaked at #101)

BW had his last Top 40 hit in 1974, Looking For A Love and true gritty Soul was never gonna get on Pop radio during the 80s no matter what he did. This #3 R&B hit was from his 1981 album, The Poet, and was originally released as the B-side to the first single, Secrets.

Henry Paul Band – Brown Eyed Girl (debuted on 3/6/1982, peaked at #105)

Henry was the original guitarist for the Country-rock outfit, the Outlaws. He left in 1979 and recorded three albums with his new group. Released from his Anytime album, this Van Morrison cover was the last time he sniffed the Hot 100 again.

Jean-Luc Ponty – As (debuted on 3/6/1982, peaked at #108)

French fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty had been recording albums for two decades, playing with the likes of Frank Zappa, George Duke, and Elton John. His 26th LP, Mystical Adventures, contained this electronic Stevie Wonder cover, co-produced with Arif Mardin, which was just odd enough to get as far as Hot 100 Bubbler.

George Clinton – Atomic Dog (debuted on 3/5/1983, peaked at #101)

The Bomb! Parliament and Funkadelic completely fell apart at the start of the 80s. But George continued to funk on and created one of his most sampled tracks of all time. Hell, this single from his first solo album, Computer Games, basically launched Snoop Dogg’s career. It will reach #1 on the R&B charts but inexplicably get stuck here as a Bubbler.

Jon St. James – Oogity Boogity (debuted on 3/3/1984, peaked at #105)

Jon has spent most of his career recording music for TV shows such as Hill Street Blues and Dawson’s Creek. But he had a few moments of Pop success, such as this New Wave flavored dance track from his debut, Trans-Atlantic. He also produced Bardeux’s Top 40 hit, When We Kiss, and Stacey Q’s 1986 smash, Two Of Hearts.

Ted Nugent – Tied Up In Love (debuted on 3/3/1984, peaked at #107)

Between 1976 and 1980, The Nuge had seven entries on the Hot 100 with one Top 40 hit, Cat Scratch Fever. This was the lead single from his tenth release, Penetrator, and will bungle itself up in knots. He’ll be back in the Top 40 in 1991 as a member of Damn Yankees.

Jack Wagner – Premonition (debuted on 3/2/1985, peaked at #101)

General Hospital’s Frisco Jones wanted to be a real-life musician, so he recorded an album in 1984 with producer Glen Ballard and collected a #2 hit, All I Need. This was the follow-up single, which immediately went on life support but was flipped to the B-side before finally flatlining.

A Cool Dude In A Loose Mood

Let’s take a look at those unlucky singles that were Bubbling Under in the 80s during chart week seven. [Note – more New Wave, more Soul]

The Inmates – The Walk (debuted on 2/16/1980, peaked at #107)

British quintet, The Inmates, crossed over in the US with their first single, Dirty Water, a cover of the Standells 1996 hit. [They substituted the Thames for the Charles.] This was their follow-up track, a song originally performed by Jimmy McCracklin, who took it into the Top 10 in 1958. It will reach the UK Top 40.

Pearl Harbor & The Explosions – You Got It (Release It) (debuted on 2/16/1980, peaked at #108)

Here’s a sensitively-titled quartet from San Francisco with a single from their one-off debut album. This song isn’t the best track off of the album (that would be this one), but it’s still a fair representation of what most New Wave rock bands sounded like in 1980. Lead singer Pearl E. Gates was married to Clash bassist Paul Simonon for a spell.

Crazy Joe and the Variable Speed Band – Eugene (debuted on 2/21/1981, peaked at #105)

What the hell is this? I remember this song getting a lot of NY airplay when I was younger. Was the lead character mentally challenged or just doing a poor Italian accent? As kids, we assumed the former, using the line ma-name-is-uh-you-jean to make fun of anyone we thought was a dork. (not realizing that I was one myself) Eugene is horrible at picking up women (two ginger ales for my girls) and pick-up lines (I like to stick my hands in fans for fun). But it’s still debatable whether or not this Ace Frehley-produced disco-rock song is parody or not. Or were they making fun of a bass player named Mr. Simmons?

Chas Jankel – Glad To Know You (debuted on 2/20/1982, peaked at #102)

Labelmate Quincy Jones had a Top 30 hit in 1981 with his version of Chas’ Ai No Corrida. So the label made sure to promote (poorly) the first single from his next album, Questionnaire (or Chasanova in England). I quite enjoy Chas’ first two albums, and they were a big hit in the clubs. This track, which reached #57 on the R&B charts, was the biggest Dance single of 1982, reaching #1 for seven weeks. Future Mechanic Peter Van Hooke programmed the Linn drum patterns.

Rosanne Cash – Blue Moon With Heartache (debuted on 2/20/1982, peaked at #104)

Rosanne, daughter of Johnny and his first wife, Vivian, scored a surprise smash in 1981 when Seven Year Ache, the title track of her third album, reached #22. This was the third single released from the album, a beautifully tender ballad that will become her third #1 Country hit. [Love Emmylou Harris’ harmonies on the chorus.] It’s the last time she’ll come anywhere near the Hot 100, but she will rack up seven more Nashville chart-toppers before the decade’s end.

New York Citi Peech Boys – Life Is Something Special (debuted on 2/19/1983, peaked at #108)

Pumping Iron was a bodybuilding documentary released in 1977, which centered on a competition for Mr. Olympia between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. Eight years later, the sequel focused on the women. the soundtrack featured way better music by Art of Noise, Grace Jones, and this track, which was co-written and produced by DJ Larry Levan. This was their first single, but they would shorten their name to Peech Boys for all subsequent releases.

Survivor – I Never Stopped Loving You (debuted on 2/18/1984, peaked at #104)

Over an eight-year period, this Chicago quintet had eight Top 40 hits, ten entries into The Other Sixty, and two Bubblers. This rock ballad was the second single released from the group’s fourth album, Caught In The Game, which would be lead singer Dave Bickler’s last recording.

Mary Jane Girls – Jealousy (debuted on 2/18/1984, peaked at #106)

I’m gonna guess that producer Rick James severely pissed off the A&R department at Gordy Records. Otherwise, how do you explain this single as one of four Bubblers from this quartet’s debut? This one was the most Pop of the bunch, which also explains its #84 zenith on the R&B charts.

Pieces Of A Dream – Fo-Fi-Fo (debuted on 2/18/1984, peaked at #107)

Here’s a jazz fusion trio from Philly who started incorporating more R&B a la George Benson as they moved on. Their third album, Imagine This, was produced by Saxophonist Grover Washington Jr, a big 76ers fan. He had already written an ode to Dr. J. [Let It Flow] in 1980, so when his favorite basketball team won the NBA champs, he knew he needed to pay tribute again. Thus, he wrote this song that enumerates his Moses Malone-inspired lucky number 4-5-4, the amount games the Sixers won in the 1983 playoffs. This smooth paean was the group’s biggest hit reaching #15 on the Soul charts.

Wilton Felder featuring Bobby Womack – (No Matter How High I Get) I’ll Still Be Lookin’ Up To You (debuted on 2/16/1985, peaked at #102)

Crusaders sax player Wilton Felder released his fifth solo album, Secrets, in 1985, which featured this gospel-flavored ballad sung by Bobby Womack and female singer Alltrinna Grayson. It will hit #2 for three weeks on the R&B charts.

Gladys Knight & The Pips – My Time (debuted on 2/16/1985, peaked at #102)

At this point, Gladys and the guys had been shut out by Top 40 radio for ten years. What were they supposed to do? Their sound changed with the times, and this boogie jam reflects that. I think their move to Columbia was a mistake, and they were forgotten on that massive roster for years. This track, the lead single from their album, Life, will reach the R&B Top 20.

Dokken – Just Got Lucky (debuted on 2/16/1982, peaked at #105)

Here’s the only band that I know of who had their lawyer fill in on guitar. After the failure of this metal quintet’s debut and a growing contention between Don Dokken and guitarist George Lynch, their follow-up Tooth and Nail almost didn’t happen. This was the second single released from the album, and it gave the ban a little hope even as it bubbles here. Their next single, Alone Again, will get up to #64 and push sales onto the Gold level.