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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.