By the time this countdown was released, it had only been five days since John Lennon was murdered in front of his home in New York City. We were still in shock that man who asked us to give peace a chance was now gone. He had just turned 40 that October, and his physical body has been gone from earth almost as long as it was here. His death shrouded that holiday season in sadness, making it challenging to hear Happy Xmas (War Is Over) or the repeated spins of (Just Like) Starting Over, which was in the Top 10.
Here are the songs from the week of December 13th, 1980, that played as a de-facto wake to one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
40. Stephanie Mills – Never Knew Love Like This Before
PD – Hanging in the Top 40 for one more week, here is the original Dorothy from The Wiz with a former #6 smash, a great one to couples skate together.
39. Roger Daltrey – Without Your Love
OHW – When you’re a member of a famous rock band, you get bored sometimes. That’s usually where the solo albums come in. Daltrey took it a step further and stared in a motion picture about bank robber John McVicar, then recorded a soundtrack to it. This mellow acoustic ballad, written by Billy Nicholls, falls from its high of #20. It will be Roger’s only solo Top 40.
38. Tierra – Together
OHW – The Latin band, Tierra, formed in the wake of early 70s groups such as Malo and their hit Sauvecito. And in the spirit of Sunday picnics in the park comes this cover of The Intruders’ 1967 release, which made it up to #48. Tierra, as a team, will march this one up to #18. Also, sweet call back in the break down to another Intruders hit, Cowboys to Girls.
37. Pointer Sisters – He’s So Shy
PD – Here’s a song that was initially written for Leo Sayer called She’s So Shy. But when his producer, Richard Perry, moved on to producing the Pointers, he had writers Tom Snow and Cynthia Weil change it to he and a #3 was born. That’s sister June singing lead.
36. Donna Summer – The Wanderer
PD – Here’s another #3 stumbling down the charts. It would be Queen of Disco’s highest charting song for three years until She Works Hard For The Money equaled this peak.
35. Steely Dan – Hey Nineteen
Imagine the luck in finding a nineteen-year-old girl to be interested in you as a man in your early 40s and then blowing it because you’re pissed she doesn’t know who Aretha Franklin is. She’s the actress who played Matt Murphy’s partner in the Blues Brothers movie from that Summer. Duh. Also, don’t you blaspheme up in here.
And, sweet drum licks, Wendel.
34. Dr. Hook – Girls Can Get It
The pride of Union City, NJ caps off a big 1980 with another Top 40 hit, written by Leslie “If The Love Fits Wear It” Pearl. These guys can make anything sound sleazy. It is sitting at its zenith.
33. Cliff Richard – Dreaming
PD – Cliff’s first of two hits in the Top 40 falls from its peak of #10. Originally called Dreamin’ in the UK, Cliff asked Chuck Woolery for a G and stuck one at the end of the title for the US release.
32. Eddie Rabbitt – I Love A Rainy Night
Eddie had been crossing over from the country charts since 1979. But he was gearing up for a big 1981 with the second single from his LP Horizon. This ode to evening storms will hit #1 on the Pop, AC & Country charts.
31. Andy Gibb – Time Is Time
Andy started off his career with three straight #1s and six Top 10s. Released as a single from his Greatest Hits LP, it will be his third Top 40 hit in 1980 and will peak at #15 in early 1981. After one more Top 40, he’ll begin hosting Solid Gold with Marilyn McCoo later in the year.
30. Doobie Brothers – One Step Closer
Nearly five years after Michael McDonald joined the Doobies, the ride was coming to an end with this track being the last Top 40 hit he performed on with them. It will top out at #24 next month. I’ve always liked the way the song starts off. It sounds like something Good Morning American would play as they come back from a commercial break.
29. Barry Manilow – I Made It Through The Rain
28. Olivia Newton John & Cliff Richard – Suddenly
Pals Livvy and Cliff team up for a duet from the movie Xanadu. It’s the fifth Top 20 song from that soundtrack on its way up to #20. If you have trouble sleeping, you might want to try watching the song clip from the movie.
27. John Cougar – This Time
The Coug’s second Top 40 hit is at its final resting place. It deserved a better showing as it’s quite enjoyable, fun and swinging, whereas his ensuing music became too serious the more progressed through the 80s and became famous.
26. Don Williams – I Believe In You
OHW – Here’s a dude that doesn’t get mentioned often as Country legend, but most definitively should. Maybe it was gentle singing style or his lack of crossover success. He started as a founding member of the Pozo-Seco Singers in the mid 60s, before he racked up 17 #1s on the Country charts, including this one. This ballad is two spots away from its high.
25. Kool & The Gang – Celebration
Break out the yellow ribbons and celebrate. The hostages will be coming home in another month. No one knew that then, but when it happened the played this song loudly. It would be #1 two weeks after that.
24. Rod Stewart – Passion
Even the President needs passion. What the hell does that mean? Do you know something about Rosalind that we don’t? He’s already admitted that he’s lusted in his heart. What do you want to guy to do? Rod ends his trilogy of sleaze with this future Top 5.
23. Harry Chapin – Sequel
Harry became a big pop star since he drove his Taxi up to #24 back in 1972. So he thought he’d write a song about how he’d rub in the face of his former girlfriend, using the same melody as his previous hit, thus – Sequel. I generally like Harry’s music, but this is just six and a half minutes of boredom and should be called Seek Hell. JB from The Hits Just Keep On Coming has a hilarious take on Taxi and Sequel.
22. Randy Meisner – Deep Inside My Heart
The former Eagle and Poco member finally has his first solo Top 40 hit. He pulls a “Whenever I Cal You Friend” on Kim Carnes, who adds her lead vocals to this record but is not credited.
21. Waylon Jennings – Theme From The Dukes Of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys)
This tune is third Country song thus far in the Top 40, and it’s by an outlaw legend. Waylon was tapped as the balladeer on the TV show, The Dukes Of Hazzard and wrote & sang its theme. A year and a half after the show’s debut, it was released as a single. It’s his third and final Top 40 hit, and it will climb no higher, even it jumped a dirt ramp in the General Lee.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- PD – Previously Discussed
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
- STA – Second Time Around