Somewhere In The Crowd There’s You

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As we enter the thirteenth chart week of the year, we come across a lot of well-done Spring singles that just didn’t have the juice to break into the Top 40. Here’s The Other Sixty from 1980, 1981, and 1982.

March 29th, 1980

81. Styx – Borrowed Time

Dennis DeYoung wanted the ballad, First Time to be the follow-up to Babe. Tommy Shaw got pissed off and was ready to quit about it. So Why Me was single #2 and hit the Top 30. This was single #3, one they started their Cornerstone concerts with, but it only reached #63. Dennis would write Mr. Roboto in retaliation.

86. Dionne Warwick – After You

After You had the pleasure to be recorded by an aunt and niece combo, the aunt being Cissy “Whitney’s mom” Houston and Dionne. Neither had a hit with it on the Pop charts as this 45 had a #65 showing, but it made the Top 10 on the AC charts.

92. Nazareth – Holiday

The Scottish one-hit-wonder group finally gets another chart hit. From their eleventh album, Malice In Wonderland, produced by Skunk Baxter, this non-Bee Gees or Madonna rocker would go back to work after hitting #87.

April 4th, 1981

82. Dolly Parton – But You Know I Love You

Dolly was riding high with a #1 smash and a #1 movie. So why not push it with a sappy Country ballad to really see where your fans lie? Well, this one got as high as it could without reaching the Top 40 but became one of twelve Country #1s in the 80s alone. It was written by former First Edition member Mike Settle and produced by the King of TV themes, Mike Post.

84. Rupert Holmes – I Don’t Need You

That’s true. He doesn’t. The dude seems to have success in whatever he sets his mind out to do. And of course, he has a great sense of humor. He named one of his kids, Timothy, after all. [Dude, don’t go inside a mine with your dad.] It will be his last chart single when it apathetically hits #56.

88. Abba – Super Trouper

The enthusiasm of a Swedish pop band singing quirky phonetic ditties started to wear off in the States as the decade turned from the 70s to the 80s. They still remained huge around the world as this track will hit #1 in the UK, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Here it will only hit-pa-pa number #45-pa-pa. But don’t feel blue. Because somewhere in the crowd there’s Catherine Johnson. And P.J. Hogan. And Meryl Streep.

90. Shot In The Dark – Playing With Lightning

Ever wondered what Al Stewart would sound like if you rocked him a little more and took away his dreamlike imagery? Behold, it’s Shot In The Dark who backed up Al on the time passage from 1980 to 1981, stopping long enough to record their own album and take their shot. Their only charted single zapped to #71 before fizzling out.

Fun fact: SITD leader Peter White has had a long career as a smooth jazz guitarist and played on Basia’s debut, Time & Tide with his brother, Danny.

April 3rd, 1982

80. Gordon Lightfoot – Baby Step Back

How does a song this good by an established artist on a major label only make it #50? How did Pia Zadora climb over ol’ Gordo? I will never understand the arbitrary nature of the charts, except for my belief that it’s mostly fixed, like slot machines or the NBA.

82. War – You Got The Power

Here’s a great track by the East L.A. syndicate of Latin funk. Unfortunately, it’s a disco jam two years two late and actually sounds like something Gene Chandler was doing in 1979. Released from their LP, Outlaw, it will lose steam at #66.

83. Richard “Dimples” Fields – If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another

This barely-there single actually reached #1 on the Soul charts for three weeks, which means that everyone falls prey to a lack of reasoning. I completely missed writing anything about this song before I posted this blog because I didn’t even notice it. [Thanks Victorvector for the catch.] I’m assuming its #47 Pop high was due to its R&B success. Maybe we were distracted by the Falkland Islands War. Or a Spring blizzard in early April.

85. Waylon and Willie – Just To Satisfy You

You can’t go wrong with Jennings and Nelson. Although it’s not a barn burner on record, I betcha these two outlaws tore it up live. This will be their third #1 Country hit as a duo and will all the right buttons until its #52 climax.

86. T.G. Sheppard – Finally

Please don’t confuse this with the 1992 Ce Ce Peniston hit. I know you might, so here’s a guide to avoiding it. TG’s song is a Country ballad. Ce Ce’s is an uptempo house track. TG hit #1 on the Country chart. Ce Ce hit #1 on the Dance chart. TG will peak at #58 on the Hot 100. Ce Ce will make the Top 5. You’re welcome.

Fun fact: The songwriter of Finally, Gary Chapman, married his wife Amy Grant right after it hit #1.

87. Gamma – Right The First Time

It was hard to break through the rock scene in the 80s. You had to choose an allegiance – straight up macho heartland rock or New Wave image-driven rock. If you were somewhere in between, then you fell through the cracks like Gamma did. Led by guitarist Ronnie Montrose, the third letter of the Greek alphabet, their second chart single from the third album only rose to #77.

Fun fact: This song is co-written by Mitchell Froom, who’d go on to produce Crowded House, Suzanne Vega, and Paul McCartney and TV writer, Jerry Stahl, who wrote for Alf and thirtysomething before his memoir, Permanent Midnight was turned into a film starring Ben Stiller.

90. Al Jarreau – Teach Me Tonight

The jazz singer who made Milwaukee famous comes in with the third single from his Jay Graydon-produced LP, Breakin’ Away. It’s a Sammy Cahn-Gene DePaul classic that many singers such as Dinah Washington, Nat King Cole, and Jo Stafford recorded in the 50s. The Decastro Sisters had the biggest Pop hit, #2 in 1955. Al’s lesson would end at #70.

 

Everything’s In Perfect Tense

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The early 80s were such an excellent time for popular music. Record companies were spending tons of money, signing bands and throwing everything against the wall to see what would stick. Thus, you get a mix of Southern Rock, Soul, Country, Power Pop, and Disco offerings in 1980 alone. Quite a contrast from the end of the decade. Let’s review The OthEr Sixty from the twelfth chart week from 1980 to 1982.

March 22nd, 1980

72. Korona – Let Me Be

After the third Starbuck release yielded nary a hit, leader Bruce Blackman said Screw You and formed a new band called Korona. He almost made the Top 40 with this ballad, but it decided to be at #43. Also, before you think that Bruce should have sued a certain Seattle coffee company, Starbucks existed three years before the band did.

79. The Bar-Kays – Today Is The Day

Here’s the funk band, The Bar-Kays, who were never able to duplicate the success of Shake Your Rump To The Funk on the Pop charts. They were probably just happy to be alive. They had a few chart singles such as this rare soul ballad from their LP, Injoy, their highest-charting album on the R&B survey. It will reach Top 30 soul and #60 on the Hot 100.

88. Mac Davis – It’s Hard To Be Humble

This was the closest Mac ever got to the 40 since his Top 20 hit Rock N Roll in 1975 (or his North Dallas football movie). It’s a cheeky, sarcastic take on being famous and successful and reached the Top 10 on the Country charts while peaking at the humbling #43.

90. Off Broadway USA – Stay In Time

Now for the Power Pop edition of the Other Sixty with a quintet from Chicago who should have had more success with this 45 than they did. It’s a great example of straight-ahead catchy pop-rock, but it lost its rhythm at #51.

92. Vaughan Mason and Crew – Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll (Part 1)

The Good Times rip-offs just keep on coming, although, in all fairness, it did beat Another One Bites The Dust to the charts. It will not have near the success that the Queen song will have later this year, but it remains a Roller Disco classic. It will fall on its ass at #81, as I did many times on skates.

March 28th, 1981

84. Michael Stanley Band – Lover

Outside of friends and family was anyone into this band? This is not a comment, more of a question. As one listens to this song, I don’t think there’s anything here that would clue someone in as to who this band was. I’m thinking a lot of promotion was required to even get it up to #68.

85. Heart – Unchained Melody

In late 1980, the Wilson sisters and company released a Greatest Hits/Live double album, a combination of some of their big hits, some live tracks, and a few newly recorded songs. Their version of Aaron Neville’s Tell It Like It Is reached the Top 10 in early 1981. The follow-up single was a cover of the eternal classic whose title is not mentioned in the song (It was initially written as the theme to a 1955 film, Unchained. Mystery solved.) Heart’s version was recorded during a 1980 performance at McNichols Arena in Denver, CO. It will move up two spots before getting ghosted.

87. Lenny LeBlanc – Somebody Send My Baby Home

Lenny was once one half of the death metal duo know as LeBlanc and Carr. Lots of folks in 1978 thrashed to their Top 20 smash, Falling. Unfortunately, all of that headbanging caused the partnership to end. Lenny then found Jesus but could never find the Top 40 again, and this track was sent packing at #55.

89. Delbert McClinton – Shotgun Rider

This blues singer-songwriter was already 40 years old when he garnered his first and only Top 40 triumph Giving It Up For Your Love, a #8 high. The second single from The Jealous Kind only made it to #70. Delbert has continued a long career to this day, including several #1 Blues albums.

90. Bill Medley – Don’t Know Much

Bill was a righteous brother. He had been continuing his solo career will singing with his Bobby Hatfield duo and was entering decade number three with a release called Sweet Thunder. From that album, Bill released this single originally written and recorded by Barry Mann in early 1980. It would be his first solo chart entry since 1968 but it will stall at #88. Several other folks will record it until 1989 when Linda Ronstadt and her duet partner, Aaron Neville take their version up to #2. Bill’s career will get going again after his Dirty Dancing duet with Jennifer Warnes hits #1 in early 1988. And then the Righteous Brothers will have a resurgence in 1990 after one of their songs gets re-released and makes the Top 20. You guessed it. Unchained Melody.

March 27th, 1982

78. The Cars – Since You’re Gone

I love that little tap intro and how its rhythm sucks you in before the band turns it on its head. The Cars were the kings of #41 peaks with three of them, including this one. I hate to include this one as The Other Sixty, but technically it is, even though it’s one of their classic songs. Ric really Dylans up those vocals almost to a comical point. But it all works.

82. O’Bryan – The Gigolo

Here’s another product from Soul Train Enterprises. Don Cornelius met O’Bryan (not this one), and via his new enterprise, Friendship Partners, he hooked him up with a contract at Capitol Records. This funk-rock jam that splits the middle between Shalamar and Prince will be his only chart record. It will solicit at #57 zenith while becoming a Top 5 Soul smash.

83. Duke Jupiter – I’ll Drink To You

Here’s another rock band that was popular regional, specifically upstate NY, but could never get the entire country on board, despite opening for lots of well-known artists such as David Bowie, Bob Seger, and ZZ Top. Their fifth album spawned their first and biggest Hot 100 entry, making a toast up to #58.

84. Shooting Star – Hollywood

Another band just like Duke Jupiter, but these folks were huge in the heartland, specifically Kansas City. Their second chart single from their second album, Hang On For Your Life should have easily opened up the door to stardom. But instead, the lights on this rock ballad went out at #70.

86. Carole King – One To One

This is where the chart story ends for legend Carole King. The title track to her 1982 LP on Atlantic Records will peak at #45. It features a guitar solo from Eric Johnson, some of his earliest session work. There was also an hour-long documentary with live band performances made at that time but available only on VHS, which someone has graciously uploaded to YouTube.

87. Pia Zadora – I’m In Love Again

Sometimes someone doesn’t make it because they are not very good. Pia tried many careers and didn’t get far with any of them. She tired a singing career in Country in the late 70s but that bombed. She had the most success as a Pop singer when The Clapping Song went to #36 with its annoying Taco effects. This was her first chart entry a year previous, and it will climb as high as #45?! And who said payola was dead. I dare you to listen to the whole song. She makes Charlene sound like Aretha.

 

The Touch Of A World That Is Older

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The eleventh chart week of The Other Sixty has some rockets and some bombs. Such was life in the early 80s.

March 15th, 1980 (The Love Trilogy)

84. Engelbert Humperdinck – Love’s Only Love

The man born Arnold Dorsey was attempting to dominate a new decade. But the babies born in the wake of After The Lovin’ ain’t gonna take care of themselves. So an #83 topper will be all this song will achieve.

89. Suzanne Fellini – Love On The Phone

This is some truly obscure New Wave rock, courtesy of Casablanca Records who, by the turn of the decade, was proving that they were the world’s worst run company. The budget for this record included recording, mastering, packaging and distribution, and not much else. That’s probably why most of us missed out on hearing it, and it over made it up two more notches before disappearing. Since it was never released digitally, your best bet is to search for the vinyl.

90. Debbie Jacobs – High On Your Love

Even though she’s more well-known for Don’t You Want My Love?, this slab of disco-funk was her only Hot 100 entry. It will get as high as #70 while becoming her only #1 on the Disco charts.

March 14th, 1981 (This One’s For The Ladies)

81. Rod Stewart – Somebody Special

Rod should not have sung this ballad. It’s a sweet and gentle affair, and his raspy vocals are like metal on a grinder. It will be forgotten after a #71 showing

89. Sister Sledge – All American Girls

This quartet of siblings spent the entire decade of the 70s trying to break through before doing so in 1979. Then the Disco Sucks campaign happened, and radio turned their backs on them, even as they continued to put out quality dance-pop. The title track to their 1981 Narada Michael Walden-produced album should have easily made the Top 40 rather than stiffing at #79.

90. Lani Hall – Where’s Your Angel?

Lani burst on the hip scene in the mid-60s as one of the lead vocalists of Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66. In the early 70s, she embarked on a solo career as well as a lifelong partnership with Herb Alpert. And yet even with many top-notch releases and that sweet hookup, this West Coast pop-infused 45 will be her only Hot 100 entry, topping out at #88.

Fun fact: The late Allee Willis co-wrote the last two discussed songs.

March 20th, 1982 (No Means No Collection)

90. Aurra – Make Up Your Mind

Aurra was an off-shoot from the band Slave, formed in 1979. They had their most significant pop success with this slice of soul boogie, which hit its zenith at #71. By 1986, the band changed its name to Déjà. We’ll talk about them in November.

92. Eddie Schwartz – Over The Line

I’m sorry, Smokey. It’s a league game. Next frame. This song enters a world of pain at #91.

96. Laura Branigan – All Night With Me

This was the first single released from Branigan’s debut album. Her manager was simultaneously trying to break her here and in Germany, thus this decision. It will only reach 69, dudes and never chart en Allemagne. Her second release, Gloria, will fare much better. Here’s the original, written and recorded in 1980 by Chris Montan.

March 19th, 1983 (The Anything Goes Early 80s)

71. Billy Joel – Goodnight Saigon

From one of Joel’s best albums, The Nylon Curtain, here is the third single released from it. Starting and ending with the spinning rotors on a Huey, it tells the non-judgemental tale of a Marine fighting in the Vietnam War from the soldier’s point of view, a story that was finally getting proprerly told and listened to empathetically. Its heavy content and seven-minute length kept it from getting any higher than #56.

81. Le Roux – Carrie’s Gone

This will be the last chart entry for the boys from Louisiana. Released from their 1983 album, So Fired Up, and written about Carol Burnett’s daughter, Carrie, this will find the lights at #79 before sliding back down. It would begin a nearly 20-year recording hiatus.

82. The Oak Ridge Boys – American Made

Nothing like a Country song to remind you that jingoism, racism, and sexism go hand in hand in hand. Damn these foreign cars and TVs. I need me one them there sexy US girls. Would it surprise you to learn that Miller used this song in one of their commercials? For someone who didn’t listen to Country music in the 80s, I heard this a lot for a #72 showing.

83. Jeffrey Osborne – Eenie Meenie

Another smooth soul groove by the former LTD drummer. Co-written by Michael “Maniac” Sembello, it also features a piano solo by George Duke. It will miney-mo up to #72

85. Patti Austin – Every Home Should Have One

Quincy Jones thought he could make jazz singer Patti Austin, a pop star. He just about succeeded when the re-release of Baby, Come To Me hit #1 in early 83. He remixed this Rod Temperton-penned track with Bob James on synths as a follow-up, but it only rose to #62 Pop and #55 Soul.

90. Wall Of Voodoo – Mexican Radio

Too weird for Top 40 radio and also way too cool. Leader Stan Ridgeway creates a New Wave classic that still made it to #58. And it great music to reverse your peephole to.

Pretend A Stranger Is A Long Awaited Friend

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In the early 80s, The Other Sixty is usually full of West Coast pop, some Country or Southern rock, a little bit of Power pop, and disco/ soul. This list is particularly hard on 70s superstars, shutting them down hard. That means radio turned them away, and so most likely, we didn’t get a chance to weigh in. Let’s reevaluate those non-hits from the tenth chart week of the year from 1980 to 1982.

March 8th, 1980

82. Captain and Tennille – Love On A Shoestring

Their first chart hit went to #1. Their last Top 40 hit was a chart-topper as well. But now Daryl & Toni are getting kicked to the curb forever. The lace tip breaks off at #55 and makes Sammy Hagar jealous.

85. Dottie West – A Lesson In Leavin’

As Pee Wee Herman once said, “Put Dottie on!” West had been trying to cross over to the Pop charts ever since she became a Country star in the early 60s. She got close in 1973 with Country Sunshine, which peaked at #49. Seven years later, she had another Hot 100 entry and that should have broken her open in the mainstream. But her first Country #1 only made it to #73. In 1999, Jo Dee Messina would cover this and have a Top 30 hit.

86. England Dan and John Ford Coley – In It for Love

Singer-songwriter soft rock wasn’t entirely out of style in 1980, but I guess these guys were. After figuring out the answer in 1979 (spoiler: it’s love) they took the next year trying to figure out the question, which eventually did. “What does the radio & music industry not have for us?” This #75 peaker was ironically released from their Best Of collection.

89. Warren Zevon – A Certain Girl

Warren was obsessed with cool-sounding titles. He thought that was the key to songwriting. Great title, great song. That’s why he put out an album called Bad Luck Streak In High School, form which this poppy single comes from. In a cooler world, this is a much bigger hit than its #57 showing.

Fun fact: This song was written by Allen Toussaint and originally recorded by Ernie K. Doe, who took it to #71 in 1961.

90. Festival – Don’t Cry For Me Argentina

Here is where Broadway and Euro-disco intersect. This song was written for the musical, Evita which debuted in London in 1978 by Tim rice & Andrew Lloyd-Webber. This single was released from a disco LP of Evita covers, and this trainwreck crashed its way up to #72

91. Jimmy Buffett – Survive

Buffet was done with Top 40 as soon as 1980 dawned as this track belies its title and dies at #77. That just gave Jimmy more time to perfect his brand and tequila.

97. Jackie DeShannon – I Don’t Need You Anymore

Here is Jackie’s last Hot 100 entry from the soundtrack to the film, Together? starring Jacqueline Bisset. Scored by Burt Bacharach and co-written with Paul Anka, this 45 will stiff at #86. But one year from now, Jackie will find herself on top of the charts courtesy of Kim Carnes.

March 14th, 1981

79. Barry Manilow – Lonely Together

This was Barry’s first charted single to miss the Top 40 since 1975’s Mandy. That’s 18 straight Top 40s. Guess there is an expiration date on maudlin ballads with multiple key changes. #45 will be its zenith.

81. Hawks – Right Away

Power Pop from the heartland – does it get any better than that? These guys received a record contract by just sending out their demo to various record companies. Columbia signed them based on those songs, and their debut was released in 1981. This 45 will only reach #63, which is ridiculous considering the competition at the time.

Fun fact: In 2007, they were inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

83. Rush – Limelight

By 1981’s Moving Pictures, Rush was now moving lots of albums and playing bigger arenas. This meant that it was time to start questioning stardom and its trappings, thus this single. Their fourth chart entry will shine up to #55 but will become a rock radio classic.

86. Garland Jeffreys – 96 Tears

Here’s a New York singer-songwriter who was plying his trade around the city since the mid-60s. He had a very prolific recording period during the late 70s/early 80s, releasing six albums during that time. Yet his only Hot 100 placing was a cover of ? & the Mysterians #1 smash from 1966. Guess what number it made it up to.

90. Tierra – Memories

Tierra was one the leaders of Chicano rock in the 70s, but it took until early 1981 to have success in the Top 40 with the Gamble & Huff tune, Together. This upbeat followup will bounce up to #62.

March 13th, 1982

80. A Taste Of Honey – I’ll Try Something New

Hazel Payne and Janice–Marie Johnson had new life breathed into their band when their cover of Sukiyaki made the Top #3, three years after winning a Grammy for Best New Artist. Someone (i.e., record execs) thought their new path should be 60s covers and suggested this Miracles tune. It almost worked but skimmed out at #41. They should have just released this banger first.

83. Glass Moon – On A Carousel

Here’s another cover of a 60s classic, initially a hit by the Hollies in 1967. Featuring a modern New Wavy arrangement from this Raleigh quartet’s second album, Growing In The Dark, it will be their only chart single, and the ride will end at #50.

Fun fact: Bassist Bobby Patterson would join the band for their third album. When Glassmoon (name change) broke up, he formed the funk band, Dag with Nantucket drummer Kenny Soule. Highly recommended.

88. Bryan Adams – Lonely Nights

Bryan was now two albums deep but had yet to have any success in the States. His first chart single from You Want It You Git It will be stranded at #84. He will never have a single chart this low again until 1995’s Rock Steady, which sunk at #73. Bryan

93. GQ – Sad Girl

It’s not a good sign when your drummer leaves, and you don’t replace him. When this disco quartet shrunk to a trio for album #3, the rock freak died along with it. This will be the band’s last Hot 100 entry as its upside-down smile peaks on its debut.

Fun fact: Bassist Keith “Sabu” Crier’s nephew is Keith Sweat.

96. Gene Cotton – If I Could Get You (Into My Life)

The 80s weren’t kind to Gene either, and this will be his last entry topping out at #76. But Gene refocused his career and created Kids On Stage in Nashville, whose mission is to provide world-class experiences in the visual, performing and technical arts that, through process, performance and production, empower students to be self-disciplined and lifelong learners. Gene is currently one of the artistic directors.

 

Why Do We Forget What’s Been Said?

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We start the ninth chart week listening to another group of the Other Sixty from 1980 to 1982. It’s a lot of what you’d expect: disco and soul, WestCoast pop, over-signed Power Pop and New Wave. Still, there are a few gems here.

March 1st, 1980

77. Stevie Wonder – Outside My Window

Here’s the second single from Stevie’s soundtrack to the documentary, The Secret Life Of Plants. It’s not a strong song based on his high level of output, but it’s still pleasant and works within the confines of the album. It will only make it to #52 Pop and #56 Soul and is only available by buying this LP.

80. Karla Bonoff – Baby Don’t Go

Karla is a singer/songwriter whose songs have been covered by Bonnie Raitt, Wynonna Judd, and Linda Ronstadt. Her style and vocals were so close to Linda’s that I think it kept her from being successful on her own. Nevertheless, this midtempo pop number from her second LP, Restless Nights, will strut its way up to #69.

March 7th, 1981

81. The Fools – Running Scared

It’s hard to tell if this Masschusettes band took themselves seriously or not. This cover of the Roy Orbison classic doesn’t leave us any clues. All it does is make us want to hear the original. It’ll run up to #50 before turning yellow and heading the other way.

87. Yoko Ono – Walking On Thin Ice

John and Yoko had been in the studio on December 8th, 1980, on the final mix of this song. Four hours later, he was murdered in front of her as he held onto that tape. I don’t know how one could ever separate those two events in your life experiencing them like that. Still, Yoko pushed on and released this song in tribute to John. People were not kind to her when that happened and give her unnecessary grief about it, and it only rose to #58. Time and distance have been kinder to this slice of ambient disco, and current remixes of this track have seen it rise to #1 on the dance charts in 2003 & 2013.

88. The Sherbs – I Have the Skill

Here’s one of the most successful Australian bands of the 70s never to cross over to the States. I guess because we let the Little River Band in, they were our token Aussies, but this group was every bit as good. In the 70s, they were called Sherbet, and the best they did was a pop single called Howzat in 1976 that reached #61. They changed their name to Highway to no avail and then to the Sherbs in 1980. This 45 will have the chops to equal their other entry and peak at #61.

89. The Rings – Let Me Go

The Cars’ success definitely pointed a lot of A&R execs to the Boston music scene. Here’s another group that benefited with two albums on MCA with their debut spawning this faux-reggae pop-rocker. It will circle up to #75 before the charts let it go.

92. Molly Hatchet – The Rambler

Lead singer Danny Joe Brown flirted with disaster and left after one album. That momentum change did not help the band, and they could never rise to the success of their debut. Also, Southern rock was changing, and they were slow to make that happen. Thus this single will ramble up a notch to #91 before disappearing.

March 6th, 1982

89. The Boys Band – Don’t Stop Me Baby (I’m On Fire)

Even though the three members of this band were Nashville players, this is a pretty good slice of soft West Coast pop, in the style of Fred Knoblock or Pure Praire League. Written by Austin “Rocky” Roberts, this baby will stop at #61.

90. Gino Vannelli – The Longer You Wait

Gino was riding a hot streak into the 80s. His last two albums had spawned Top 10 singles. But this is where the momentum died. His second Arista album, Twisted Heart, was a swift departure from his synth-laden, densely arranged dramatic style. His record company wouldn’t release it, and they and Gino waged a four-year standoff. This was the only product of that recording, and this 45 would only slide up one spot to #89. To this day, the album remains unreleased, but if you listen to his last album, 2019’s Older N Wizer, you can get a taste of what it might have sounded like.

95. The Spinners – Never Thought I’d Fall In Love

By 1982 The Spinners’ salad days were long behind them. This single, written by James Mtume & Reggie Lucas, who also penned Stephanie Mills’ Never Knew Love Like This, is actually a great slice of early 80s soul boogie. But it’s just not up to the standards the band kept for themselves. It sits at its peak this week. It also did not cross over to the Soul charts.

 

Crazy People In the Shadows

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This list of The Other Sixty from the eighth chart week of the year has more boners than banners, but that’s what you get during the freestyle years of 1980 through 1983.

February 23rd, 1980

83. Jefferson Starship – Girl With The Hungry Eyes

I’m already creeped out by the title. Do I really need to hear Mickey Thomas sing about a hungry-eyed girl? Apparently, none of us did because this rocker only slid up to #55.

86. Crystal Gayle – It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye

Loretta Lynn’s sister is back with her shoe-length hair with a follow-up to 1979’s Top 20 smash, Half the Way. This will be Crystal’s seventh #1 on the Country chart but will wave adios at #63 on the Hot 100.

88. Rush – The Spirit Of Radio

When I think of Rush, this is the track I go to. It’s not my favorite of theirs, but by Permanent Waves, you could feel them become more radio-friendly, and it helped this single climb to #51. Those effortless switches of time signature and groove tell you all you need to know about what you’re gonna hear.

89. Starland Vocal Band – Loving You With My Eyes

Four years after Afternoon Delight reached #1, this domestic ABBA with limited talent and poor decision-making skills is still trying for a follow-up hit. This ain’t it. It will be their last chart hit crawling up to #71 just before the divorce papers were filed.

90. John Denver – Autograph

Here’s SVB’s accomplice who signed them to his Windsong label. And how far has John’s star fallen? He’s debuting below them. It’s been three years since John was in the Top 40, and this one will only take him to #52, although it will be a Top 20 AC hit.

95. Survivor – Somewhere In America

Survivor? Again? Are you fricking kidding me? It’s every week with these guys, having to write about one generic rock song after another that tanked. I’m beginning to think that Eye of the Tiger‘s success was part of an elaborate payola scam. Somehow this moved up twenty-five more spots.

February 28th, 1981

86. Badfinger – Hold On

Badfinger somehow picked up the pieces and reformed after Pete Ham’s suicide in 1975. They would release Airwaves in 1979 and Say No More in 1981. The band was never the same, but the music wasn’t that bad. This single will grasp onto #56 before it slips.

88. Melissa Manchester and Peabo Bryson – Lovers After All

Peabo’s still trying to crossover and thought he could get there with this duet, but all she & he could muster was a #54 placing. The ballad was written by Melissa along with Leon Ware

95. The Gap Band – Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)

This is a monster jam. As soon as you hear those tires squeal, you better get on the floor. But in 1981, pop radio was too scared to play something this funky and unrelenting, which explains its #84 showing. It would be the Gap Band’s first #1 R&B hit.

February 27th, 1982

85. Sneaker – Don’t Let Me In

West Coast sextet Sneaker was coming off their first Top 40 hit, More Than Just The Two Of Us, when they decided to release this rare Donald Fagen/ Walter Becker tune, written during their songwriting days at ABC Records between 1968 – 1971. Producer and ol’ Steely Dan cohort Jeff Baxter, who also plays the guitar solo, unearthed this bluesy song from the vaults. It snuck up to #63 and was their last chart entry.

FYI – Their two albums aren’t available to stream, but they are highly polished L.A. pop-rock that I suggest you seek out.

87. Larry Carlton – Sleepwalk

Here’s a dude who guitar mastery you have undoubtedly heard in one form or another. He’s all over Steely Dan’s The Royal Scam, most of Joni Mitchell’s 70s albums and every Mike Post TV theme. But as a solo jazz artist, he only appeared once on the Hot 100 with a cover of Santo & Johnny’s Sleepwalk, which reached #74.

89. Fred Parris and the Five Satins – Memories Of Days Gone By (Medley)

So you’re asking yourself, what is a 50’s doo-wop group doing on the Hot 100 in the 80s? Two reasons – our brief infatuation with revitalizing pre-British Invasion artists and the sudden medley craze. This is why we have this 45, which will doobie-wah on up to #71.

February 26th, 1983

65. Dionne Warwick – Take The Short Way Home

The incognito Bee Gees stamp their sound into Dionne’s catalogue with the Heartbreaker album. This should have definitely been another hit. All the Gibb elements are there – whispery voices, funky groove with horns, a couple of time changes – but it will stall out at #41.

77. J. Geils Band – Land Of A Thousand Dances

The J. Geils band followed up their massively successful Freeze Frame LP with a Gold-certified live album from the Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI called Showtime. They’ve already a Top 40 hit with their concert version of I Do last year. As the second single they released this 60s classic that most know from the wicked Wilson Pickett. It will do the monkey up to #60 and will be the last chart single for the band with Peter Wolf on lead vocals.

83. Toni Basil – Shoppin’ From A To Z

It was always going to be hard to follow-up a hit like Mickey, mainly because no one thought it would be a smash, to begin with. Having a novelty song that lists different things you’re buying at a mall in alphabetical order isn’t gonna get the job done. This was lucky to even reach #77.

89. Gentle Persuasion – Please Mr. Postman

Now we have a trio of ladies who released an album in 1978 that went nowhere and subsequently released singles hoping one would hit. This was the best they could do – an out-of-step cover of the Marvelettes classic that will reach #82.

90. Yaz – Only You

Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode after one album and formed this synth duo with vocalist Alison Moyet. Both albums are filled with New Wave classic, but this one may be their most enduring. The world wasn’t ready for it in early 83, so it only climbed to #67. Alison would go on to a successful solo career as Vince formed another duo, Erasure, to cement his legendary status.

 

New York City – Still #1 In My Heart

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Let’s kick off the seventh chart week from the decade of greed by looking at The Other Sixty from 1980 and 1981.

February 16, 1980

73. Jim Kirk and the TM Singers – Voice Of Freedom

We start off with a really bizarre one. You may not know who Jim Kirk is, but if you listened to American Top 40, you might recognize some of the jingle work he produced, including Shuckatoom. In 1980 frustrated with how our country had been torn apart, he decided to do substantial, pull everyone together, which meant all the white folks he knew and record this song. It will climb two more notches before getting kicked off the charts.

If you want to experience it in all its 70s/80s glory, watch this clip of Jim and pals on the Dinah Shore show with Isaac Hayes, Fernando Lamas and Herve Villechaize chilling on set watching in disbelief,

77. Foreigner – Women

From the album Head Games, which features a cheaply dressed forlorn young female on the cover sitting on a urinal wiping a bathroom wall with toilet paper, comes their third single, which missed the Top 40 by one notch. If you want to know what kind of women Foreigner likes to write about, here’s a short list: women behind bars, women with no dress, women who need a shove, women that stab you in the back. Somebody has mommy issues.

85. The Romantics – What I Like About You

Here’s a question. Is it only a hit if it makes the Top 40? This can be discussed until the end of time. It’s interesting how a song can take a long time to resonate with a crowd. Case in point: this Detroit quartet took this single only up to #49 in 1980. But when was the last time you made it through a baseball game without hearing it play?

Fun fact: This song did reach the Top 40 in 1989 in a cover by Michael Morales, and still folks only remember the Romantics version.

88. John Cougar – Small Paradise

Johnny finally broke into the Top 40 in late 1979 with I Need A Lover. This is the follow-up, which will top out one notch higher. Hurts So Good is only two years away.

89. The Rockets – Desire

From the ashes of the Detroit Wheels comes this sextet who will break through in 1979 with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well. This was the lead single from their fourth LP, No Ballads, and features organ by Lee Michaels. It will shoot up to #70 before losing its will.

Fun fact: Founder and songwriter John “Bee” Badanjek played drums for the Rockets and the Romantics.

91. Roberta Flack with Donny Hathaway – You Are My Heaven

Donny Hathaway was a world class soul singer. He was also a paranoid schizophrenic. After an aborted recording session for another duet album with Roberta Flack, Donny jumped off the balcony from his suite at the Essex Hotel to his death. One year later, Roberta released this single, one of two finished recording duets, written by Stevie Wonder & Eric Mercury. It will rise up to #47 and #8 on the Soul charts.

February 21, 1981

83. Joel Diamond – Theme From Raging Bull (Cavalleria Rusticana)

I’ve seen Raging Bull several times. I didn’t know there was a theme. I couldn’t hum it if you banged my head against a jail cell wall. People forget that at the beginning, when the film was released, it barely made back its budget and received mixed reviews. Once the Academy Awards got involved a few months later, people started taking a different look at the movie. DeNiro would win a Best Actor Oscar. Motown Records got excited and released this single, but it would get knocked out at #82. It coulda been a contender.

86. The Johnny Average Band – Ch Ch Cherie

Here’s a band that was built around two singers – Johnny Average and Nicki Wills. She sings lead on this proto-New Wave pop rock track that stuttered its way to #53. And then the band disappeared.

87. Jimmy Buffett – It’s My Job

Here we are at Jimmy’s tenth Gulf & Western album, Coconut Telegraph. The first single released was written by Mac McAnally, a singer-songwriter who would eventually join the Coral Reefer band as well as be awarded Musician of The Year by the CMAs every year from 2008 to 2018. This will peak at #57 and be Buffet’s last chart hit until 2003. It also features backing vocals by J.D. Souther.

88. Night – Love On The Airwaves

Night had two Top 20 hits in 1979 that I bet you have no recollection of, as they have been forgotten in history. So I know you will not remember this single released from the second album, Long Distance, which peaked at #87. After the failure of the album and single, Lead singer Chris Thompson would go back to Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, and guitarist Robbie McIntosh would join the Pretenders.

89. Phoebe Snow – Games

In 1980 Phoebe left Columbia Records and signed with Mirage for her new album, Rock Away. She recorded most of the tracks with members of Billy Joel’s band. But for this single which peaked just outside the box at #46, she was backed by the Section.

90. T.S. Monk – Bon Bon Vie (Gimme the Good Life)

I have always loved this disco-funk tribute to New York, led by Thelonious Monk, Jr., son of Monk. I had no idea one of the co-writers was the same dude that gave us this. But then it made sense that the other writer was the one who gave us this. The champagne will be popped at #90 but will get flat by #63.

Fun fact: The intro to Bon Bon Vie was sampled as the intro to this Public Enemy track.

 

Hauling Your Love Around

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It’s a lighter chart list, which is why I’m presenting The Other Sixty from the sixth chart week from 1980 through 1984.

February 9th, 1980

85. David Gates – Where Does The Lovin’ Go?

Before we even hit the greed decade, Bread was a punchline, a stale one at that. No amount of hot girls, fast cars, or satin jackets was gonna turn that around. David and the guys had a good run, a comeback, and a solo career all within the 70s. Take pride, dear David, that this had any energy to make it up to #46.

87. Willie Nelson – My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

Willie is a legend. So any songs that failed to become Top 40 hits can’t be deemed as failures, just part of the story. At this point, he was starting his fourth decade in the music industry. This track from The Electric Horsemen soundtrack will peak at #44 and will be a #1 Country hit. Willie will light it up with another soundtrack hit later in the year.

89. Narada Michael Walden – I Should Loved Ya

Before he became a big R&B producer for legends such as Whitney & Aretha, Narada was just a singer, songwriter, drummer just to make it in the disco world. This is his second crossover chart hit from his third LP, Awakening, and will rise to #66. It will become a Top 10 Soul & Disco hit as well as #8 in the UK.

90. April Wine – I Like To Rock

Like to rock? Maybe if you loved it, you’d have a few more hits. As such, this won’t go past #86 or #75 in your home country of Canada. And they have CanCon. Hope you like that.

February 14th, 1981

82. Doobie Brothers – Keep This Train A-Rollin’

An ironic title, because this is where the wheels start coming off. The third single from One Step Closer will make its last stop at #62. And that’s where Michael McDonald gets off and transfers to another line.

85. The Spinners – Yesterday Once More / Nothing Remains the Same

The Spinners continued to ride out the disco medley until they ran it into the ground. Which is where we are today with this track that will only climb to #52. Can’t hold it against them because their catalog is so strong.

90. The Joe Chemay Band – Proud

Joe Chemay is a bass player and singer who performed on 70s albums by Elton John, Leon Russell, and Pink Floyd. He recorded a one-off album under the Joe Chemay band called The Riper The Finer, featuring a robust collection of West Coast pop-rock, such as this single, which rides its deadly sin up to #68.

February 13th, 1982

88. Sugarhill Gang – Apache

Let’s pretend for a moment that no one making this record had any idea that they were offensive to Native Americans, which is difficult. There’s a reason why this song has been constantly covered and sampled. It’s just so damn funky. I don’t mean the Shadows’ original. Everyone uses the Incredible Bongo Band’s version as the template. The first hip-hop take on this classic will hit #53.

89. Kool and the Gang – Steppin’ Out

Kool and his NJ buddies had a boatload of hits in the 80s. While this was nont one of them, I prefer to hear it over most of the other stuff. It’s got a mellow pre=Staurday night feel to it, a tinge of jazz amidst the disco, a vibe of melancholy surrounding the promise of getting down. When I heard Super DB’s Kool Funk, I wondered if this was the song they were channeling. It will not rise any higher than its debut.

February 12th, 1983

76. Ric Ocasek – Something To Grab For

In between The Cars’ albums, Shake It Up, and Heartbeat City comes Ric’s first solo album, Beatitude. This single didn’t stray too much from his band’s sound, which is why it was probably chosen. That said, it will drive up to and park at #47.

79. Robert John – Bread And Butter

Here’s everyone’s favorite math teacher, Robert John. Dude, we do not need a new version of this song, especially with a sub-Paul Davis arrangement. Please go back to laying bricks. This was released on Motown, y’all!

87. Felony – The Fanatic

Here’s a band the was started by two pairs of brothers in the early 70s and by the early 80s was a completely different outfit. They recorded this frenetic single in 1982, and it got them some notice in Los Angeles, enough to be included on the soundtrack to Valley Girl. This coke-addled New Wave rocker just missed the Top 40 peaking at #42.

February 11th, 1984

81. April Wine – This Could Be The Right One

Could be, but it’s not. Would you like another glass of April Wine? Guess you know where this isn’t going. Anywhere higher than #58.

87. Cheryl Lynn – Encore

Cheryl’s trying to get back in the game, hooking up with Jimmy Jam & Terry LEis for her album, Preppie and this single, which will hit #1 on the Soul charts (the producers’ first), but only #69 Pop. It’s still an excellent midtempo jam, although I could do without the fake audience cheering at the end.

89. Patti Austin – It’s Gonna Be Special

Here’s a soundtrack single from the movie Two Of A Kind. It has such a stereotypical 80s film vibe that you can imagine the fun frolicking neon montage that would accompany it. The special will be removed from the menu at #82.

90. Bette Midler – Beast Of Burden

This was back when Bette was still fun before all of those cloying ballads that she became famous for. Here she converts a five-year-old  Stones hit into a trashy camp fest. I would expect this to go over well at a drag show, and that’s a compliment. This will flame out at #71.

94. Blue Oyster Cult – Shooting Shark

BOC had moved far away from the cowbells of 76 and into dramatic 80s overproduction by the time of 1983’s The Revölution by Night. They were shedding band members and trying to stay relevant and every now and then would produce something unusual like this single whose lyrics were inspired by a Patti Smith poem. It will need a bigger boat as it will only reach #83 before it sinks.
95. Mink DeVille – Each Word’s a Beat of My Heart

Here’s a group that got lumped in with the punk bands of the 70s because they were a house band at CBGB’s, but they also mixed in a lot of 50s soul, Latin rock, and cabaret flair into their live act. By 1983’s Where Angels Fear to Tread, they had boiled a lot of these elements down to fit within a New Wave mold while still remaining true to their sound. It’s still puzzling to me why this single was not more popular as it topped out at #89.

96. The Dazz Band – Joystick

Get out your breakdancing sheet of cardboard. Here’s some electro-funk from the folks that like to let it whip. Unfortunately this joystick will freeze up at #61.

 

Believe What You Want To Believe

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I thought I’d get one more of these in before I would start to repeat myself. Since this countdown from February 9th, 1980 had lots of 1979 hits, I figured it would be a good excuse. It ends up being a very solid list. The first twenty are all by established artists – no one or two hit wonders in the bunch.

[Also, just a reminder, the Big 80s countdown is still ripping their info directly from Wikipedia. So if you have the time, have a little fun.]

40. Pat Benatar – Heartbreaker

This is where it begins for Pat, Top 40 wise. No one would call this punk, but it certainly has that same type of energy. And while Pat wasn’t the only woman making rock music in 1980, she was one of the best doing it, because she surrounded herself with top-notch musicians. It’ll crack its way up to #23 and became one of George Steinbrenner’s favorite songs.

39. Toto – 99

RAR – Was this song genuinely written as a tribute to George Lucas’ film THX 1138, as the band states? Or was someone in the group dating Barbara Feldon from Get Smart?

38. Stevie Wonder – Send One Your Love

RAR – Are your ferns drooping over their macrame plant holder? Perk them up with the new Stevie Wonder double LP, Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants! The album was the soundtrack to the documentary, The Secret Life Of Plants, as well as his follow-up to Songs In The Key Of Life. Thus everyone was excited to buy it, but immediately became confused by it. In retrospect, taken on its own, the album has a profound beauty and sensitivity that Stevie rarely achieved again. This single was one of his best love songs, which continues to get lost in his catalog shuffle, but one that seems custom made for FTD.

37. Kool & The Gang – Ladies Night

This track was a game-changer for this Jersey City funk outfit, as it was their first Top Pop single since 1974’s Hollywood Swinging. But more than that, it would begin a serious run of radio smashes through 1987 – 16 Top 40 hits, 10 Top 10s and a #1 single. This would also be their first hit in the UK, peaking at #9.

36. Rupert Holmes – Him

This is the first of two in the Top 40 for Rupert, an amazing feat considering that the record label that released Partners In Crime went out of business three months ago. But sometimes you can’t keep the good stuff down. This will make it up to #6 and then be left for dead by the annals of history. Until a boat, with a yacht rock flag sailed up to its pier.

Fun fact: Rupert recorded a French version for his Canadian friends called Lui, which was only available on 45.

35. Linda Ronstadt – How Do I Make You

Linda must have heard Pat and decided to up her game with this New Wave rocker. Supposedly she listened to the band Billy Thermal’s debut album, even though it never got released. Knowing a good song when she heard one, she plucked this one out, recorded it with a new band, and released it as her debut 45 from Mad Love. It will reach #10, but continually gets overlooked.

Fun fact: Nicolette Larson sings backing vocals.

34. John Stewart – Lost Her In The Sun

This was the third Top 40 hit from Bombs Away Dream Babies, but most people only remember Gold. It’s sitting at its peak this week. John has another song that he wrote in the Top 40 this week somewhere further up the chart.

33. Shalamar – The Second Time Around

Shalamar was a musical spinoff from the show Soul Train. They would take some of the good looking dancers who could sing and record some disco songs. Then Don could have them on the program to promote it. The problem was that they couldn’t get the formula right. They were on album three with their third different lineup. Fortunately for them, Howard Hewitt, Jody Watley & Jeffrey Daniel was the trio that worked, at least for the next four years. This #1 Soul & Dance smash will sashay up to #8.

Also if the second time around is gonna be better, how bad was the first time?

32. Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)

PD – I always eat all of my meat, but I have yet to receive any pudding? What am I doing wrong?

31. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – Refugee

…on which Tom perfects the I dumped you. Get over it song that he would still revisit every album. I miss him. Also being a refugee isn’t a choice, so it’s not something you have to do. It’s something you’re forced to do.

30. Rufus & Chaka – Do You Love What You Feel

Rufus used to only feature Chaka Khan. Then by 1977, they received equal billing as Rufus & Chaka Khan. In 1978, Rufus recorded an album without Chaka. No one bought it. So when they hooked up for the Quincy Jones-produced Masterjam, they were now called Rufus & Chaka. When they teamed up for 1981’s Camouflage, they were then known as Rufus with Chaka Khan. At that point, we all had it, and we all jumped ship for a few years. Also, this is a wicked jam!

29. Commodores – Wonderland

We’re only six weeks into the 80s, so pop, rock, and soul still sit very comfortably together on the charts. Here’s the third single from the band’s Midnight Magic LP riding a natural high to its zenith of #25.

28. Barry Manilow – When I Wanted You

Eleven songs in and it’s all good. I don’t even mind hitting a bump like this. I can just time my time filling my wine glass with ice cubes and some Reunite. Yeah, that’s nice.

27. Kool & The Gang – Too Hot

PD – Just in time for more smooth jams, one that’s burning its way up to #5. Although it makes me wonder, why is having a relationship get too hot a bad thing? Is J.T. Taylor just being a prude? Was Nurse Diesel hiding in a closet ready to whip him when he came home?

26. Styx – Why Me

Here’s the release that got Dennis DeYoung preemptively fired from the band. He wanted another ballad to follow-up, Babe. No one else did. The record company eventually released this instead, and it rests at its peak this week. Meanwhile, Dennis continues to sing this song every day.

25. Spinners – Working My Way Back To You/ Forgive Me, Girl

PD – Did you know The Spinners were on an episode of Laverne & Shirley? As themselves? In 1983?

24. Foghat – Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was a Fool)

From their eighth album, Boogie Motel, this single slips from its high of #23. The actual Boogie Motel was a recording studio in Port Jefferson, NY out on Long Island, set inside a large 1751 Victorian house. It grew to be a live-in studio with a cafe and a bar and had Blue Oyster Cult, Zebra, and Aldo Nova as a clientele.

23. Cliff Richard – We Don’t Talk Anymore

After decades of trying, Cliff will finally have some consistent US success, starting with this Top 10 track, which uses a Polymoog as its lead synth, played by songwriter Alan Tarney. It will hit #1 in the UK (his first in 11 years) and other European countries as it climbs to #7 in the US.

22. Led Zeppelin – Fool In The Rain

This was Led Zep’s last Top 40 single, and it will inch up only more notch. Described as Bonham’s last stand, his drums are so heavy and thick throughout, especially during the samba break. Even though he gets the back into the original groove, you can tell he’s worn out. The fills get shorter, and eventually, the song runs out of gas. John will be dead within seven months from this hit, and the band as we know will be no more.

21. Neil Diamond – September Morn

RAR – A nice little train wreck. Neil’s songs are always good for one of those. On the surface, this is a soft sleepy ballad. Dig into the lyrics a little, and you find out it’s a lot more sleazy. The singer recalls his current affair with a woman that he used to know as a little girl. What the fuck, Neil? Oh wait, I see that you co-wrote this with a Frenchman. That may explain a bit of it, but I don’t ever wanna hear Heartlight again.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around
  • SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake

Everybody Had On Their Radio

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Misery loves company and so the fifth chart week of the year will be packed with lots of members of The Other Sixty. Let’s focus on the first two years of the decade: 1980 and 1981.

February 2, 1980

80. .38 Special – Rockin’ Into The Night

By 1979, these boys from Jacksonville were releasing their third album, hoping for a successful turnaround after the second album, Special Delivery bombed. They at least nabbed their first Hot 100 entry with this single’s debut and just missed the Top 40 when it peaked at #43. By 1981, they were leading Southern Rock’s next phase.

87. Kenny Nolan – Us And Love (We Got Together)

Kenny likes dreaming, so I imagine he fell asleep listening to the Bee Gees’ Spirits Having Flown LP and woke up thinking he wrote a new hit. In actuality, he wrote a fourth rate Xerox of Too Much Heaven. But because we were still riding a Gibb high, this song flew all the way up to #44. It would be Kenny’s last chart entry as a solo artist.

88. Blondie – The Hardest Part

Blondie had so many big hits between 1979 and 1981; it’s easy to forget that they had a few misses as well. Their follow-up 45 to Dreaming from their album, Eat To The Beat, would hit a wall at #84. To me, this story of an armored car robbery is one of their forgotten gems.

90. Twennynine Featuring Lenny White – Peanut Butter

Drummer Lenny White was a founding member along with Chick Corea of the fusion outfit, Return to Forever. After leaving the group in 1976, Lenny put out a few solo records before forming Twennynine, which focused more on R&B and funk. Their debut, Best Of Friends, was co-produced with EWF’s Larry Dunn and featured this jam in search of two slices of bread. It’ll get caught on the roof of the Hot 100’s mouth at #83.

91. The Boomtown Rats – I Don’t Like Mondays

Bob Geldof takes a tragic school shooting in San Diego and turns it into a pop song that topped out at #73. It’s an early New Wave classic, but in light of what’s happened on campuses since, should it be? If you’re not familiar with the story – on January 29, 1979, a sixteen-year-old girl using a .22 caliber rifle her dad bought her that Christmas opened fire on a school playground killing the principal and a custodian and injuring eight children. When a reporter asked her why she did it, her reply was, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” As of this post, she is still currently in prison.

92. Yellow Magic Orchestra – Computer Game

Haruomi Hosono was already gaining a reputation as one of the most influential musicians in Japanese pop music. And that was before he assembled Yukihiro Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakamoto for a one-off album called Yellow Magic Orchestra. They had just released their LP when this track from debut released in 1978 started getting airplay in the US. An early example of synthpop, it was released as a single and reached #60 and influenced most electronic music going forward from New Wave to techno.

February 7th, 1981

82. Fleetwood Mac – Fireflies

Even if the Mac underwhelmed the record company by not selling 20 million copies of Tusk as it did with Rumours, they were not above another money grab during the Holiday season. Thus we have this double live album with performances from the Rumours & Tusk tours as well as a few sound checks. This Stevie Nicks-penned track was recorded on tour during a private show for crew and friends. This 45 will buzz up to #60, and it’s the only known FMac version of this tune.

87. Earth, Wind, and Fire – And Love Goes On

1979’s I Am was a monster album with two of EWF’s biggest hits. So they had a pyramid’s worth of momentum heading into the release of their double album, Faces, which hit #2 on the Billboard Albums chartSurprisingly none of the singles made the Top 40. Were two LPs too much for their fans? Did they suffer as part of the disco backlash? This was the third single released, and its zenith will be at #59. If you are a casual fan of this group, I urge you to revisit this LP. The Pop public missed out.

89. Spyro Gyra – Cafe Amore

The jazz fusion quintet from Buffalo is back with another track you might hear as you watch Local on the 8s on The Weather Channel, that is if they’re not playing The Yellowjackets. It will be a Top 20 AC hit, but the caffeine buzz wore out at #77.

98. The Sugarhill Gang – 8th Wonder

The Sugarhill Gang tried to match the success of Rapper’s Delight with the title track to their second album. Even though it will fizzle out at #82, keeping them a one-hit-wonder, this track has been sampled multiple times by the likes of Public Enemy, Busta Rhymes, Beastie Boys, J-Lo, and others.