Take Me Along When You Slide On Down

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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

Can someone please mash this up with this track? Maybe sprinkle a little Missy E in there?

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.

KEY

  • 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

 

 

The Music’s Seeping Through

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We talk a lot about our musical heroes passing away, what it means to us and how it takes a part of us with them.  We’ve been hit hard in the last few years but as much as we lament, most of them were taken way after their prime years. Imagine then it’s September 27th, 1980 and as you listen to this Top 20, we had just lost John Bonham, which was th end of Led Zeppelin. In the next few months we’ll lose John Lennon, which is the official end of the Beatles and we’ll lose Steve McQueen, which is the end of cool.

20. Stephanie Mills – Never Knew Love Like This Before

The woman who played Dorothy in the orginal run of The Wiz on Broadway has clicked her heels to find herself in the Top 20. It will eventually rise all the way up to #6. She’ll have one more Top 40 in 1981 a #40 duet with Teddy Pendergrass called Two Hearts before she gets kicked out of Oz for good. Nasty wizard.

19. Billy Joel – Don’t Ask Me Why

Billy is peaking with his third Glass Houses single, but lets his Long Island out when he tells you not to acts him why.

18. Pointer Sisters – He’s So Shy

Whenever I hear this song, I think of the Pointer Sisters appearance on an episode of The Love Boat. Issac the bartender wants to be a big star and is going to impress a record executive on the ship using June, Anita & Ruth as his background singers. But when it comes time for him to sing, he gets a case of stage fright. The Pointers take over and Isaac stands there frozen on stage, cause he’s…well, you know.

17. Robbie Dupree – Hot Rod Hearts

THW – Robbie is having his second big hit of the year cruising up to its future high of #15. His take on high school sweathearts pressing their respective sweatshirt & sweater tagainst each other gets a little confusing during the chorus. The couple is driving down the boulevard, but who or what are the hungry sharks up from the bottom for another bite? Did they crash their car into Sea World?

16. Doobie Brothers – Real Love

How the hell do you follow up a monster like What A Fool Believes and the Minute By Minute LP? If you’re the Doobies you get out of Michael McDonald’s way and let him do his thing. And his thing is to soulfully ramble about sad love affairs over an easy yet slightly funky groove. It’s moving itself slowly up to #5.

15. Electric Light Orchestra – All Over The World

John Lennon was quoted as saying that this was one his current favorite songs in 1980 and it’s easy to see why. It’s direct catchy pop with layered harmonies and lots of orchestral synth flourishes. Another Xanadu smash. At least the soundtrack was crushing it.

14. Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – You’ll Accomp’ny Me

YOU’LL xCCOMP’xY ME

Chuck, I’d like to buy an A.” “There’s one A.” “What?!? Why?” [ugly buzzer sound] “Sorry, you already guessed Y, buddy. Sarah, would you like to solve the puzzle?”

13. Ambrosia – You’re The Only Woman

Peaking at #13, here is Ambrosia’s second Top 40 from the album One Eighty. It would be the last Top 40 for the band. Bassist Joe Puerta would join Bruce Hornsby’s Range in 1985 with great success.

Also here is a really awful cover of this song which will hit the Top 40 in 1990.

12. Barbra Streisand – Woman In Love

Popular record artists turning into producers was nothing new in 1980. But the disco backlash almost made it a neccasity. The Bee Gees were on top of the world in 1979, but were getting burned by the limelight heat so they moved into heavy songwriting and production mode. After years of working with brother Andy, they tackled other singers such as Babs who will have the biggest album of her career with Guilty. This song will be a #1 very soon, making it her 4th year in a row with a charttopper.

11. Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra – Xanadu

A place where nobody dared to go. That’s called the movie theatre wherever this was playing. Ba-dum-bum. Thankfully the music was entertatning as ELO & Liv pair up for another Top 10 hit,

10. Kenny Loggins – I’m Alright

This is the point in time when Kenny Loggins becomes Movie Kenny with this Caddyshack song on its way up to #7. I would love to see someone do a mash-up of this with Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk.

Fun fact: Eddie Money sings a line in this song. That’s him at :50.

9. Larry Graham – One In A Million You

OHW – The man who likes to add some bottom created a first-dance wedding song in 1980, originally written by soul singer Sam Dees. It would not hit one [#9] but would sell a million copies.

8. Irene Cara – Fame

Coco is trying to live forever with her sixth straight week in the Top 10 after peaking at #4 last week. But for God’s sake leave your shirt on, Coco. You don’t need to do that. Leave it on!

7. Eddie Rabbitt – Drivin’ My Life Away

If it’s 1980, then there must be some Country crossing over. Eddie’s LP Horizon yielded this, his first Top 10 hit steering its way up to #5, but there was another cut that would soon provide his biggest smash.

6. Paul Simon – Late In The Evening

Late In The Evening is at its zenith this week, featuring some awesome double drumstick drumming from Steve Gadd, who is also on song #12 and who played that famous opening lick on 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Coming from the One Trick Pony soundtrack, it’s one of the liveliest songs Paul had ever recorded to date. How does such joyous music come from such a sad sack like Simon?

5. Johnny Lee – Lookin’ For Love

OHW – Out of the six Top 40 singles from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack this one will be the biggest, reaching its peak this week. That said, this will forever be Wookin’ Po Nub because once Buckwheat sings a song, it’s eternally his.

4. George Benson – Give Me The Night

This song takes me back to those late nights of driving with my parents through Manhattan at midnight after NY Cosmos games. It was late. I was tired. But the city was still lit up and had a palpable energy that left me enthralled

3. Queen – Another One Bites The Dust

We had a pool table in our house and a neighborhood kid who was older than me would watch my brother and I occasionally. Halwaysys wanted to play pool, but he wasn’t very good. I remember him making a bet that if he missed a shot, he would bite the dust. He missed badly, and then we watched him eat dirt from one of our plants. I bet he’s a cop now.

2. Air Supply – All Out Of Love

Graham Russel Hitchcock is running out of breath unable to take over the #1 position. For as many hits as they will come to have in the US, this will be their only one in England.

1. Diana Ross – Upside Down (4 wks at #1)

Nile and ‘Nard were approached by Diana Ross to produce what would be her last album for Motown. [not sure anyone knew that yet.] Since their pop career with Chic was about to crash [not sure anyone knew that yet.] they approached this project with the seriousness and sensitivity of seasoned pros. Diana ended up dissing the final mix, so she had someone else mix it, bringing up her vocals to the front and turning down the funk. [this song was funkier?] It would be the biggest hit of her career – #1 Pop, Soul & Disco. You can watch Nile talk more about it here.

Here’s the Chic mix and the one we all know and love. Also MJ is singing background vocals.

KEY

  • 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

Hope They Never End This Song

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Most of the songs on this countdown from September 27th, 1980 feel like a carry over from that Summer of watching the New York Cosmos, doctors appointments, hospital visits and long stretches left alone at the Sunrise Mall to watch movies. I was framing my changing world to a Top 40 soundtrack in order to cope with my life. I didn’t know it then but this period of life would inform by thorough immersion into WestCoast music many year later. Music was my medicine and so, here’s the first twenty doses.

[I also added a new abbreviation to the key called PD as in previously discussed, so you can click the link to see what I originally talked about regarding the song.]

40. Irene Cara – Out Here On My Own

Here’s the first of two songs in the Top 40 from the Fame soundtrack, both sung by Irene Cara. If someone was doing a vocal recital in the  early 80s, chances are they sang this song.

39. Elton John – Sartorial Eloquence (Don’t Ya Wanna Play This Game No More?)

21 At 33 was the album that featured songs with lyrics by four different songwriters. The words on this one are written by new wave artist Tom Robinson known for the songs 2-4-6-8 Motorway and Glad to Be Gay, an early LGBT anthem. This one is at its peak this week.

38. Charlie Daniels Band – The Legend Of Wooley Swamp

Charlie’s at it again with another countrified tale that doing well on the Pop charts, eventually scaring itself up to #31. The legend is that a trio of rednecks kill an old man for his mason jars full of money, dump him in the swamp and then they die in quicksand. But what happened to the money? No one knows.

37. Billy Joel – It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me

PD – Billy’s first #1 song takes me back to those of days of my first swimming lessons during that 1980 Summer. Damn that water was cold. We would also learn that Billy doesn’t know how to deliver a metaphor subtly. It would get worse as the decade worn on, but his Glass Houses album cover is a great early example. And yes, that’s his house.

36. Jackson Browne – Boulevard

This former Top 20 single finds a member of one generation singing down to the lost kids of a younger generation with lines like no one owes you nothin’ and nobody hands you any guarantee without even asking them what they want or what they’re looking for. Punk was not created to kill disco. Disco had its own power and was an inclusive movement. Punk was created to kill this.

35. Willie Nelson – On The Road Again

After his turn as Wendell Hickson in 1979’s The Electric Horseman, Sweet Willie headlined his first film in 1980 called Honeysuckle Rose. The producer needed Willie to cough up a theme song for the movie so he wrote one on the back of an airplane barf bag. It will be his 6th #1 Country hit and a future Top 20, his first.

34. S.O.S. Band – Take Your Time (Do It Right)

OHW, PD – This Atlanta R&B band used to be called Santa Monica for no apparent reason. Maybe it was due to the popularity of WestCoast music in the late 70s but this isn’t a jam you drunk Riunite on ice to. You should be sweaty after this is over.

33. Larsen Feiten Band – Who’ll Be The Fool Tonight

OHW – Session musicians Neil Larsen & Buzz Feiten formed a band in New York called Full Moon and released an album in 1972. Eventually they both headed out West and teamed up again in 1980 forming the Larsen Feiten Band. This classic Westcoast album featured this jazzy laid-back horn laden single which will sashay up to #29. And just to confuse anyone following along, their 1982 LP was called Full Moon featuring Neil Larsen & Buzz Feiten.

32. Cliff Richard – Dreaming

Cliff was in the middle of his only fruitful time in the US during the late 70s/ early 80s. He leaps twenty notches into the Top 40 with a song co-written by Leo Sayer. This will be his third and last Top 10 hit.

31. Al Stewart – Midnight Rocks

It’s funny to think of any Al Stewart song using the word “rocks” in the title unless you think of a hammock and how it rocks in a gentle breeze. But then we are weeks away from Neil Diamond using it as well. It is on its way to a #24 high and will be Al’s final Top 40 song.

30. Donna Summer – The Wanderer

The disco backlash did not kill the Queen of disco. It only made her stronger. Her big switch from Casablanca to the newly formed Geffen Records will be celebrated by this future #3 smash, though less widely remembered compared to her other hits. And it has nothing to do with Dion.

29. Benny Mardones – Into The Night

OHW, PD – Are you a one hit wonder if you have a hit twice with the same song? I think in Benny’s case, we just need to call him a repeat offender.

28. Amy Holland – How Do I Survive

OHW – Here’s another Westcoast singer who was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy in 1981. This future #22 track, produced by her future husband Michael McDonald, was originally recorded by the Bliss Band from Atlanta.

27. Olivia Newton-John – Magic

PD – The former #1 is holding tight at #27 for another week, cause we couldn’t get enough of roller skatin’ Liv, which also features producer & songwriter John Farrar playing all of the keyboards and guitars. He was also about to release his first solo album, which you can read more about here.

26. Christopher Cross – Sailing

PDSailing is the first number one pop song to be recorded digitally. That’s why it sounds so good.

25. Dionne Warwick – No Night So Long

If some dude is bothering Dionne at the bar. this is what she tells them – No night. So long! Otherwise this doesn’t make any sense.

24. Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue

PD – This is falling from its top of #3. How did it get up so high? Even the Stones were perplexed. They didn’t play the song live for decades until just a few years ago. At least Mick’s vocals inspired a few tracks on the New Radicals album…

23. Boz Scaggs – Look What You’ve Done To Me

PFK, RAR – Is there a more Westcoast song on this countdown? Check out this lineup: Toto’s Steve Lukather on guitar, Mike Porcaro on bass and Jeff Porcaro on drums, then the Eagles’ Don Felder on guitar, Glenn Frey, Don Henley & Timothy B. Schmit on backing vocals plus David Foster on keyboards and production.

And depending on when you bought your 45, it will either list Boz as the sole writer or Boz & David Foster. One more thing: the backing vocals on the Urban Cowboy version are by women not Eagles: Venetta Fields, Paulette Brown and Julia Waters.

22. Carly Simon – Jesse

Dick Clark: “OK we’re back on the $50,000 Pyramid. Our returning champ, Brandi will try to move up the pyramid. Her partner McLean Stevenson will receive. And here’s your first clue.”

Brandi: “Cut fresh flowers. Make the wine cold. Change the sheets. Put on cologne.

McLean: “Things Carly Simon won’t do for Jesse.” [ugly buzzer sound] “Oh, things Carly Simon will always do for Jesse.” [ugly buzzer sound] “Ok, pass.

21. Natalie Cole – Someone That I Used To Love

This was Natalie’s first Top 40 in almost three years, since Our Love charted. This is at its high of #21 and it would be another seven years before her next Top 40.

KEY

  • 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

The Fears Of Youth

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So much was changing around me. Even when I thought I was settling in, I didn’t realize I was actually floating aimlessly through the days. The Top 20 songs from the July 5th, 1980 countdown were the only anchor I had, and knowing I could return to these songs time and again quelled the fears in me before they arose.

20. In America – Charlie Daniels Band

There are five Country songs on the countdown, but only four of them charted in the Country Top 40. This one is the highest at #20, and it will still move up another nine places. A song from a time when uniting the country still seemed like a reality, and it’s us vs. them meant the people vs. the government.

19. Should’ve Never Let You Go – Neil Sedaka & Dara Sedaka

No No No No! Neil, what are you doing? That’s your daughter. You’re singing a love song to your daughter. When you sing, Why did I have to write this song?, we say we have no idea and frankly don’t want to know.

The song was initially written and recorded as Should’ve Never Let Her Go on Neil’s 1978 LP All You Need Is The Music. He should have left it there, but Neil wanted to help his daughter out with her singing career, and thus, you get this. The vocals sound like they were taught by a junior high chorus teacher.

This ended up being Neil’s final Top 40 hit, and it didn’t help out Dara either. When she recorded and released her David Foster-produced debut album I’m Your Girlfriend in 1982,  it didn’t even get a US release. And that’s a shame because there’s some great WestCoast pop on there performed by some heavy studio hitters, such as Steve Porcaro, Richard Page & Steve Lukather.

And again…

18. I’m Alive – Electric Light Orchestra

The soundtrack to Xanadu gave Urban Cowboy some competition that Summer, and here’s the first of two songs from that film. This was on the E.L.O. side, and if we’re comparing the two films based on music alone, I’m gonna favor this as an ELO & ONJ (and Tubes) fan.

17. Cars – Gary Numan

OHW – Gary was at the forefront of the New Wave synth movement. Recording a track like this in 1979 meant that you had to know your way around temperamental analog keyboards and have the knack for a catchy pop hook. It was bizarre to hear this on the countdown in 1980, but looking back on it, it’s weirder that it took so long for everyone else to catch up.

16. One Fine Day – Carole King

This was Carole’s first Top 40 hit since 1977’s Hard Rock Cafe and the only one in the 80s. It was written with her then-husband Gerry Goffin, and the Chiffons had the first hit recording of it reaching #5 in 1963. Carole’s version would hit #12.

Fun fact: Neil Sedaka and Carole dated in high school. He should’ve never let…..

15. Tired Of Toein’ The Line – Rocky Burnette

OHW – It’s the son of rock & Roll, or so sayeth Rocky, as he is the progeny of Johnny Burnette. This is a prime example of a forgotten 45 in which this rockabilly meets new wave stomper would eventually reach #8 but has disappeared not only from 80s classic stations but 80s reissue compilations as well.

14. Magic – Olivia Newton-John

The first single from the Xanadu soundtrack is still climbing the charts on its eventual path to the top, where it will stay there for a whole month. It also received high praise from John Lennon.

I remember being left alone for hours at a multiplex in the mall by myself. And while I was waiting for whatever movie my mom bought for me, I snuck into the theatre to see parts of Xanadu. I saw a good chunk of that movie and missed most of the other one. This was a piece of what I saw. After I got past the why is Andy Gibb in this film? thought, I saw Olivia roller skating to this song and just melted into my seat.

13. She’s Out Of My Life – Michael Jackson

The fourth single from Off The Wall is falling from its high of #10 last week. This was the first true ballad Michael had released since 1972’s Ben, but he was eight years older, and his maturity was evident in his singing. Listen to how perfectly he sings the phrasing of the lyrics and at the same time evokes deep emotion from his voice.

And..Tito, get me some tissue.

12. Shining Star – Manhattans

SXMFU – Big 80s on 8 starts to talk about the history of the Manhattans and mentions that their last hit was in 1975, Kiss & Say Goodbye. Ooops. That song was a #1 hit in the Summer of 1976. It will hit #4 later in the Summer and won an R&B Grammy for the group. No song brings back memories of that time more than this one.

Just take three minutes and forty seconds and bask in this sweet glory.

11. Let Me Love You Tonight – Pure Prarie League

PPL was toast by 1977, with members leaving, retiring, or just getting the hell away from the band. The bass player Michael Reilley decided to find new members and start over. His best replacement was their new lead singer and banjo player named Vince Gill. With Vince’s smooth vocal twang and a sax solo by David Sanborn, they took this soft rock track up to #10 on the pop charts and #1 on the AC charts.

10. Let’s Get Serious – Jermaine Jackson

Produced and written by Stevie Wonder, this was Jermaine Jackson’s biggest single as a solo artist. It was a Top 10 hit here in the States and in the UK. It spent six weeks at the top of the R&B charts making it the number one Soul song of 1980, better than his brother’s Rock With You.

9. Biggest Part Of Me – Ambrosia

The story goes that David Pack was sitting in the car waiting for his family to get their stuff together so that they could enjoy a pleasant 4th of July vacation. Being impatient, he went into his studio, started playing the piano, and the song just began to pour out of him. He finished it when he got back, and exactly one year later, he & his band Ambrosia have another Top 10 hit. It would also become their hugest smash, peaking at #3 and the biggest part of their setlist.

8. Cupid/I’ve Loved You For A Long Time – Spinners

If a medley worked the first time, why not try again? This time the Spinners mash-up Sam Cooke’s Cupid with a Michael Zager-penned I’ve Loved You For A Long Time. It was an across-the-board smash reaching #4 on the Pop charts. This was their last Top 40 hit.

7. Steal Away – Robbie Dupree

THW, SXMFU – Mark Goodman tries to be funny and sing What A Fool Believes during the outro alluding to its similarity, then messes up and says that the Doobie Brothers song he just sang would be released two years after Steal Away. Good job.

Note To Sirius XM, if you need a part-time copy editor, please send me an email. I’m sure I can proof the written and recorded copy quickly and efficiently but mostly correctly.

6. Against The Wind – Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Back in the day when Bob Seger released a new single, I figured it was just his thing to always write songs about his youth. Now I realize it was more than that. He was really trying to capture a feeling he had in the past and figured that if he kept writing the same song over and over, attacking it from different angles, polishing it, and reforming it, that one day he would perfect it. I feel like he finally did it with Like A Rock, but he comes very close here.

5. Little Jeannie – Elton John

There was a family who moved into the house across the street from us in the late 70s. They had two daughters, the oldest a few years younger than me and her sister, a toddler. Sometimes we would go into their backyard when they had a babysitter and sit on their swing set talking and playing games.

One night the mom came running over to our house screaming with her two kids, her face puffy and bloodied. Between her choked tears, she swore she’s was never going back home. I had never witnessed anything like that, and my logical brain could not comprehend what I was seeing or hearing.

Her name was Jeannie, and I think of her just about every time I hear this song and wonder if she made it out alive.

4. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me – Billy Joel

The top four songs are in the same position as last week, with Billy poised to rocket to the top and get his first number one.

Now I love some Billy Joel. But I cannot defend his defensiveness, and I’m not sure which side he stands on. He tries to say that music’s all the same and that nothing is new, even as he classifies it differently. He chides those who want to learn or just spend money on better stereo equipment. Basically, what the ignorant call today “elitists.” If there was a more straightforward, less threatening intention there, it’s lost in the delivery.

I thought white males were afraid of disco. What they were terrified of was newer versions of themselves.

3. The Rose – Bette Midler

The Rose was written by a cabaret singer and actress named Amanda McBroom. I looked her up to see what else she wrote, and there’s not much else. It looks like the bulk of the hundreds of composition credits she’s accrued over time have been from different versions of this song. I wonder how much money she makes annually for writing it.

Although not well known, Amanda had an interesting career. Not only did she act on an episode of Taxi, M*A*S*H and Magnum P.I., to name a few, but she was also a musical guest on the Tonight Show in 1983.

2. Funkytown – Lipps Inc.

OHW – I remember being driven to soccer practice by a friend’s mom, and this song came on the radio. She cranked it up and started singing as loud as she could Won’t you take me to…..funky… towwwwwn? We thought it was hilarious. Not because of her singing but that an adult knew the song existed. I was so insular in my thinking that it never occurred to me that a grown-up would like anything popular.

1. Coming Up – Paul McCartney and Wings (2 wks at #1)

Paul McCartney has had #1 hits with the Beatles, Wings, Paul McCartney & Wings, Paul & Linda McCartney, Paul & Stevie Wonder, and Paul & Michael Jackson. Paul has never had a US number one hit credited to himself alone. Even when he tried to, as he did with this single, radio flipped it and preferred Paul with the band.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for karaoke

RAR – Rite-Aid Rock

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

SXMFU – Sirius XM Mistake

Find The Joy Of Innocence Again

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The Summer of 1980 still lingers in my mind with two big memories – long days visiting my mom in the hospital and late nights watching the Cosmos in Giants Stadium. I filled those days escaping the only way I knew how as a kid – into a radio. Those nights were filled with driving through Manhattan close to midnight with the whole world lit up, a city that truly never went to sleep. These songs from the July 5th, 1980 countdown were my soundtrack.

{Some of these songs have been mentioned on an early countdown here & here, though I try to add something new to them.]

40. Clones – Alice Cooper

Remember that time that you saw Alice Cooper on a golf course, and you were like, Alice Cooper plays golf? Wow, that’s so weird. C’mon, he’s just a regular guy who had some early 70s success “shocking” people with his stage antics during the glam rock era. From that point on, he chased every musical trend out there, trying to stay relevant. Thus you have this song, which sounds like a guy who plays golf trying to create a new wave record.

39. Atomic – Blondie

And now a band that only not only represented early New Wave but transcended the genre. This one is at its peak and is the second Top 40 hit from Eat To The Beat. [They had a monster in between the two that you’ll hear about later.] It seems odd that Blondie either had a #1 record or barely made the Top 40.

38. Walks Like A Lady – Journey

Journey was three albums deep with their new lead singer Steve Perry and started to accrue some minor Top 40 hits, like this one which will peak at #32. They hadn’t broken out yet, and that might be because they still hadn’t fully gelled or completely agreed on a musical direction. This track has more of a jazzy laid back feel with a walking bass line under some soulful organ licks rather than powerhouse straight-ahead rock. Escape was still one year away when the doors would blow open, and radio stations played just about everything Journey gave them.

37. Ashes By Now – Rodney Crowell

OHW – For an artist so associated with Country music, it’s amazing that he crossed over to the Top 40 Pop charts before he even had a Country Top 40 hit. In fact, it wouldn’t be until 1988 when he had five Country #1s in a row that he finally firmly established himself as a Nashville superstar. His wife at the time, Rosanne Cash, would have a bigger pop hit in 1981, Seven Year Ache, which hit #22, while Rodney’s crossover wouldn’t get past its stay at #37.

36. Theme From New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

There’s a lot to unpack with this song, but I’ll just hit the highlights and save the dissertation for another time.

  • Liza Minnelli first recorded the song for the 1977 Martin Scorsese film, New York, New York. Her version bubbled under the Hot 100 at #104.
  • Ol’ Blue Eyes recorded his version for his 3 LP set called Trilogy: Past Present Future. It was featured on the Present record, but you should really listen to the Future set. Frank is totally out there.
  • This was his first Top 40 hit since 1969’s My Way, which hit #27, proving that chart positions rarely determine a song’s status as a classic.
  • Frank’s last Top 40 hit reached #32 during the same year that he released his last film, The First Deadly Sin.
  • He’s the only artist to have a Top 40 hit in the 1930s and the 1980s.
  • This song is played after many NY sporting events. But the most amazing stat is that it will start getting played after Yankees games in July 1980 while the song is still on the Hot 100, and that tradition continues to this day.
  • This song was also recorded [but never released] by Queen for the movie Highlander.

35. Let My Love Open The Door – Pete Townshend

THW – From Pete’s third solo album, Empty Glass comes his first Top 40 hit, coincidentally the same year Roger Daltrey had his first and only. It jumps fifteen places into the Top 40 this week and will eventually hit #9. Also, Pete must have fallen in love with this song because he rewrote it for The Who the following year.

Fun fact: The Who has had as many US Top 10 singles as Pete did as a solo act.

34. Sailing – Christopher Cross

RAR – Chris was riding high on his first single Ride Like The Wind momentum when he breezed in with this WestCoast classic and future #1. It would also win Grammys for Record & Song of The Year and made me want a pet pink flamingo.

33. Emotional Rescue – Rolling Stones

Entering the Hot 100 at #33, we have this hot mess of a song by the Stones, which would eventually hit #3. It was fine when they added a smidge of disco and came up with Miss You. But when Mick extracted all the forgettable and formulaic parts of that genre, exaggerating them to the point of parody, you ended up with this helium-induced vocal spaz fest with unironically spoken lines like I am your knight in shining armor. And was a fine Arab charger referencing a horse or a gas-guzzling El Dorado?

They righted the ship next year with Tattoo You, but for a while, it looked like they were quickly sinking.

32. Stand By Me – Mickey Gilley

OHW – The double LP soundtrack to Urban Cowboy was a tremendous success, with three singles from the album in this week’s Top 40 with three more to come. This was Country singer Mickey Gilley’s only crossover hit, a cover of the Lieber & Stoller classic, last heard in the Top 40  by John Lennon. The film takes place at Gilley’s, a honky-tonk that Mickey opened in 1971 in Pasadena, Texas, years before his first Country Top 40. I wanna ride that bull.

31. Misunderstanding – Genesis

Phil Collins’ divorce from his first wife was a devastating event in his life, so much so it inspired lots of personal songwriting. But you see, when life gave Phil lemons, he squeezed them into his tea and wrote hits like this one, Genesis’ first Top 20 smash on its way up to #14.

Whenever I hear this song, I like to sing the chorus of Hot Fun In The Summertime over the verses as my own personal mash-up. It actually hit #1 in Canada – big Sly Stone fans up North.

30. Two Places At The Same Time – Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio

This was the first time that the lead single from a Raydio album wasn’t a Top 10 pop hit, as this is chilling at its apex this week. Maybe it was the band name change. Or maybe it was the fact that this song was creepy as hell.

I wanna be two places at the same time,
Inside you and inside your mind.

What the hell does that even mean? That sounds like the leader of some perverted cult. Ladies, you should probably stay away from Ray.

29. Empire Strikes Back – Meco

In 1977, the Pop charts’ battle between John Williams’ movie scores and Meco’s disco interpretations waged its final battle in 1980 as Meco crushed John into submission with this Top 20 version of the Empire Strikes Back theme. Although not as iconic as the Star Wars theme, it still holds a place in the heart of Yoda lovers everywhere.

28. Stomp! – The Brothers Johnson

Louis & George Johnson, and for that matter, Quincy Jones, did not give a shit that morons from the Chicago area got excited about blowing up disco records the year previous. That just made Thunder Thumbs and Lightning Licks double down and lay the funk on thicker. From its high of #7, this is sliding down the charts slowly like ketchup from a new bottle.

27. Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer – Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes

PFK – Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes are two of three artists with double entries in the Top 40. This former Top 5 Pop & Country hit is the perfect duet for you and a true karaoke professional (or someone who’s four bourbons deep).

Caution – unless you’re Bonnie Tyler, please don’t try to sing like Kim does.

26. Call Me – Blondie

This single from American Gigolo spent the bulk of April and most of May at the top of the charts. It was also a #1 hit in the UK and the #1 song of 1980 here in the States.

25. All Night Long – Joe Walsh

Here’s another hit from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack. It’s Joe Walsh taking a break from the Eagles to do his Joe Walsh thing. Not a true Country song but rednecky enough for someone who works at an oil refinery and lives in a trailer with Debra Winger. It’ll make the Top 20 in a few weeks and will be included on the Eagles Live album at the end of the year.

24. Love The World Away – Kenny Rogers

Kenny was money in 1980, a virtual cash printing machine. And he hadn’t even peaked yet. That would come soon enough when he hooked up with Lionel Richie & the Bee Gees. [sounds weird, I know] This one is on its way up to #14. Grab your honey and slowly sway with them on the straw-covered dance floor.

23. Take Your Time (Do It Right) – S.O.S. Band

OHW – The only, and I mean only, good thing about the Disco Demolition night was that it scared enough of the disco posers, charlatans, and bandwagon record execs away and let the professionals do their work and rescue the genre. Here’s a great example. I mean, this is a jam- #1 Soul, #1 Disco, and it will rise to #3 on the Pop charts. The S.O.S. Band should have had more crossover hits. If they were worth it for Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis to stick their necks out and risk Prince firing them from the Time, they had to be good.

Note: Prince did fire them in 1983, but then we were treated to this.

22. Gimme Some Lovin’ – Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers was an odd SNL sketch. I was never sure whether to laugh at the schtick or appreciate them as performers. Their 1979 album Briefcase Full Of Blues went #1, which meant there was real money to be made. And then thankfully came the movie, which is a hilarious comedy classic. Just the car chase scene alone where they tear up the Dixie Square Mall is enough to make me roll around and slap the couch cushions. This track, a Spencer Davis Group cover that had nothing to do with Chicago blues, is on the soundtrack and will make it up to #18.

21. More Love – Kim Carnes

RAR – For her 1980 album Romance Dance, Kim embraced a more modern synth sound. That would suit her well in 1981, but for now, we have her version of a Smokey Robinson & the Miracles hit. While Smokey & the gang only took theirs up to #23, Kim will beat them with a #10 showing.

There’s also a charmingly clunky video for the song as well.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

THW – Two-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for karaoke

RAR – Rite-Aid Rock

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

For The Girl Who Didn’t Sign Her Name

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While you were watching Genuine Risk win the Kentucky Derby on May 3rd, 1980, these Top 20 songs would have been your soundtrack.

20. Think About Me – Fleetwood Mac

How do you follow up a smash like Rumours? Make Rumours 2? Or follow what Fleetwood Mac did – create a double album of ambitious pop that was at once bombastic as it was personal, as welcoming as it was mistrustful, as radio-friendly as it was alienating. Think About Me might not be a Top 5 Fleetwood Mac song nor a Top 5 Christine McVie track, but it was pleasant enough to make the Top 20, their tenth straight single to do so in the U.S.

19. Breakdown Dead Ahead – Boz Scaggs

After the success of Silk Degrees, Columbia Records rushed Boz in to record a follow-up which featured another strong group of Westcoast rock songs but didn’t translate into silky sales. He took his time with the next LP Middle Man and with Bill Schnee producing, returned to the Top 20 with this rolling number featuring two scorching solos by Steve Lukather.

18. Cars – Gary Numan

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce you to the Polymoog? There was nothing like this on pop radio in 1980 and sandwiched in between Boz and the younger Gibb, this slab of proto new wave stands out even more.

17. I Can’t Help It – Andy Gibb & Olivia Newton-John

It made sense for these fellow Australians to team up for a duet. But by the time this peaked at #12, Andy’s star was beginning its descent into an eventually early death. I like this tender piano version that Andy played on an episode of Punky Brewster.

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

When lead singer Philippe Wynne left the Spinners, it made the band and producer Thom Bell fidget, so much that they never found another song together to make it into the Top 40 after 1976’s The Rubberband Man. New producer Michael Zager from Ten Wheel Drive had the idea of a disco medley using Working My Way Back To You and song he had written for the band called Forgive Me Girl. It brought the group with new lead singer John Edwards all the way up to #2, held down by Pink Floyd and some flying pigs.

15. Hurt So Bad – Linda Ronstadt

Linda was on a ridiculous hot streak from 1975 to 1980. Her 1980 album Mad Love spawned two more Top 10s including her version of this oft-covered classic, originally recorded by Little Anthony & the Imperials

14. Biggest Part Of Me – Ambrosia

Alan Hunter goes on and on about how he hated his mom’s ambrosia salad while introducing this song. Dude, it doesn’t sound like she was making ambrosia. By the ingredients you listed, it sounds like crazy mom pudding. Wouldn’t be surprised if there was Meow Mix in it. Also, this Westcoast gem is moving its way up to be the biggest hit of their career.

13. Pilot Of The Airwaves – Charlie Dore

OHW – Charlie Dore may not be a household name but I bet she was loved by DJs around the world when this tribute to radio mic masters hit the charts. It’s at its peak this week.

The record companies wanted to Amercianize Charlie,  so they sent her to Nashville to turn her into a Juice Newton, who was yet to be Juice Newton. When that didn’t work they brought in the Cliff Richard production team of Alan Tarney & Bruce Welch and Nashville then tried to turn Juice Newton into Juice Newton. Success on both fronts! And although Charlie got the cliched comparisons to Joni Mitchell, her voice always reminded me of Judie Tzuke.

Charlie would write 1984 Sheena’s Easton Top 10 hit Strut.

12. Special Lady – Ray, Goodman & Brown

OHW (kinda) – Technically, the law firm of Ray, Goodman & Brown only had one Top 40 hit. But as the group, the Moments they had a few crossover hits in the 70s. To get out of a contract in 1979 they changed their name, kept recording and put up a sign in their office that said, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”

11. Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer – Kenny Rogers & Kim Carnes

Kenny’s one & only crossover single from his album, Gideon took him into the Top 10 with singer/songwriter Kim Carnes along for the ride. She and her husband wrote the entire album for Kenny and it would set Kim up for some big success in the first half of the 80s.

10. Hold On To My Love – Jimmy Ruffin

Jimmy was a Motown artist who had a few hits in the mid-60s. He was almost a Temptation but his brother David ended up filling the missing hole in the group and made history. Such is life. But Robin Gibb remembered what a great singer Jimmy was and produced his 1980 album Sunrise with its comeback single Hold On To My Love. Even though it hit the Top 10, it is sorely forgotten by most folks today.

9. Sexy Eyes – Dr. Hook

I’m not sure what’s creepier – imagining Dr. Hook in a disco leering in the dark at people dancing. Or the thought of him actually using that sexy eyes line on some unassuming chick and taking her home along while she schedules frequent visits to the clinic for shots afterward. [And when I say Dr. Hook I mean anyone in that band.]

8. I Can’t Tell You Why – Eagles

It all worked out for Timothy B. Schmit. But for a while, it seemed as if he didn’t have the best luck. He replaced Randy Meisner in the band Poco, who worked hard throughout the 70s without a true breakthrough while Randy & the Eagles became superstars. Then in 1978, with the Eagles at the height of their fame, Randy left the band only to be replaced by, you guessed it, TBS. But it lasted only one album before the band broke up. At least TBS got a bonafide hit out of it with this smooth and soulful Top 10 ballad.

Again, don’t cry a river for Tim. He was there for the reunion in 1994 and has been ever since including during those jacked up ticket prices.

7. You May Be Right – Billy Joel

Don’t pick on Billy. He’s a tough hombre. He rides his motorcycle while it’s raining. And even walked through Brooklyn in Bedford-Stuyvesant. By himself. He’s so crazy. He’s also an innocent man who didn’t start the fire. And he doesn’t care what you say anymore. It’s his life. Just don’t ask him why.

6. Fire Lake – Bob Seger

It was nice to hear a Bob Seger song that didn’t talk about how great things were in the past. JK. That’s his stock in trade, folks. Bob talks about his (or someone’s) Uncle Joe, a guy you definitely don’t want at a kid’s birthday party, who takes off on a motorcycle for some boozing, gambling and frolicking with some bronzed beauties. Poor old aunt Sara.

Don & Glenn & Tim of the Eagles are singing back up for the 2nd Top 10 appearance.

5. Another Brick In The Wall – Pink Floyd

Every time I hear this song I think of a little English kid named Liam who transferred into our class around the time this song was popular. He loved to tell us that disco sucked and that Pink Floyd was awesome. And that The Wall was the best thing that ever existed. This song, which had a light touch of disco in it, would spend a month at the top. Liam only spent three weeks at our school before he left, never to return.

4. With You, I’m Born Again – Billy Preston & Syreeta

When 1979 turned into the new decade, a whole group of careers were shut down overnight. One of them was Gabe Kaplan’s, whose hit show Welcome Back Kotter was canceled just months after his movie, Fast Break bombed at the theatres.

From the ashes of that crappy movie which also featured Knick legend, Bernard King comes this tender duet from Billy Preston & Syreeta Wright, who had been married to Stevie Wonder in the early 70s. Released six months after the movie left theatres, it traveled all the way into the Top 5.

We had this 45 in the house. My mom probably thought it was a religious thing.

3. Lost In Love – Air Supply

When the aliens come and ask you, what is soft rock, just show them this video. They will either laugh, kill you or cuddle up by a cozy fire.

2. Ride Like The Wind – Christopher Cross

If you don’t know the story it goes like this. Driving around in Texas one afternoon on a car ride to Austin, Chris decides to pop a cap and do some acid. During the ride, this whole scenario of a murderer on the run to Mexico came into his head, which he wrote down and turned into this Westcoast classic. It should have been an easy #1 for him, but it ran into the Blondie buzzsaw. BTW – that’s Chris on the guitar solo tearing it up.

And now I’m obliged to show you this.

1. Call Me – Blondie (3 Weeks at #1)

Blondie is halfway through their six week run at the top with this Giorgio Moroder producer single from American Gigolo. Blondie was the rare group at the time to have critical & commercial success as well as hip cred. And if you ever need to practice your moves ala Damone, Debbie is there for you.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for karaoke

RAR – Rite-Aid Rock

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

No Second Chances Tonight

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Countdowns from the first year of the decade always have a lot the previous decade’s carryover trends mixed with a glimpse of the future. We have a little disco, Westcoast and arena rock mixed in with punk and new wave. and as always, soft rock ballads. Here’s the first 20 of the Top 40 from May 3rd, 1980.

40. Starting Over Again-Dolly Parton

Dolly does Donna. Summer, that is. Miss Parton crosses over to the pop charts with a song written by the Queen of Disco about two people trying to move on with their lives after a divorce. OK, we need to light it up and not be so serious….

39. Let’s Get Serious – Jermaine Jackson

Maybe not. The ever-prolific Stevie Wonder gives the elder Jackson, Jermaine, the biggest hit of his career. On its way up to #9 pop, it would also spend 6 weeks at the top of the soul charts.

38. Wondering Where The Lions Are – Bruce Cockburn

OHW – It took 9 albums for Bruce to finally cross down over the Northern border into the US Top 40 with a track heading up to #21. And that album, Dancing In The Dragon’s Jaws was released the year previously. Its easy soft reggae lilt and the mention of animals make it a nice song for your part-time folk singer to strum at a kid’s gathering at the local library. Adults can find deeper meaning in the lyrics which ask the question who still has the revolutionary spirit within them.

BTW Nina Blackwood reads Bruce’s bio RFW

37. Let Me Be The Clock – Smokey Robinson

Smokey is the man. Sing me the telephone book, Smokey. Wait, not the yellow pages. Are you in the watchmaker section?

36. Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen

This former number one was the first for this quartet as it spent a month at the top. It was written by Freddie Mercury as he was trying to learn how to play guitar and compose a tribute to Elvis. He also played this song at 1985’s Live Aid on guitar even though it wasn’t part of the biopic.

35. The Seduction (Love Theme From American Gigolo)  – James Last Band

OHW – I don’t know anyone else who had this guys album in their collection let alone his catalog, but unfortunately we did. My dad tortured us with this easy listening schlager polka bullcrap every time he had friends over to party. Oh man, this shit is painful. And yet James managed a Top 20 hit in the U.S. that no one remembers or cares about. This was a cover of Giorgio Moroder’s version from the American Gigolo soundtrack.

As an aside, 1980 provided us with lots of Top 20 one-hit wonders that have just disappeared from playlists, maybe more so than any other year. There’s a bunch just in this countdown.

34. Train In Vain (Stand By Me) – The Clash

NAOHW – Hey here’s a seamless transition. Dad, take your James Last LPs and get them away from the stereo. I’m putting on London Calling.

Funny how the Clash for all of their punk leanings would finally breakthrough with a track that sounds like a bitter detour through the backwoods of Mississippi. I wonder if they were worried about alienating their punk fans by releasing it cause it’s the last track on Side four and it’s not even listed on the back cover. It would eventually reach #23 on the pop charts and #30 on the Disco charts. (don’t tell Sid)

33. Steal Away – Robbie Dupree

NAOHW – When disco was blown up in Chicago and Jimmy Carter told us to conserve our energy in July of 1979, we slowed everything down, stopped moving and filled the gap with Westcoast music (Yacht Rock to the snickerers) The groove was smooth, the funk was soft and it came in a “rock” package (aka white folks) so it was OK to play at a barbecue and not offend your racist, homophobic neighbors.

Thus Robbie soars into the Top 40 on a 22-place leap for the first of his two Top 20 hits. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it sounds like a Doobie Brothers B-side if they had let the drummer sing.

32. Fire In The Morning – Melissa Manchester

Are you a pyro in love? Melissa’s got your back with a song that lays out the perfect date plans. Get up early, start a fire and then you’ll have the rest of the day to get it on.

31. And The Beat Goes On – The Whispers

Some 70’s style disco sneaks into the countdown. The Whispers, one of a handful of artists featuring twins to make the Top 40,  took a decade-plus to have some crossover hits. This one is falling from its peak of #19.

30. Off The Wall – Michael Jackson

Quincy has two productions in the first 20. This one is the Rod Temperton title track which had become MJ’s third straight Top 10, a good streak for him at that time. Believe it or not, Karen Carpenter was offered to record this song on her first solo album in 1979, but she passed. That album was shelved until 1996.

29. The Rose – Bette Midler

PFK – As happy as I am that Bette broke out with the title track to the movie she starred in, the best use of this song is in this film.

28. I Pledge My Love – Peaches & Herb

Now that they reunited you two love birds, Peaches & Herb have a song to keep you together. Way more of a wedding song than Reunited but less memorable.

27. Heart Hotels – Dan Fogelberg

From the 1979 LP Phoenix, this song sounds so out of place to me. It’s as if Dan was struggling whether to embrace the soft rock sounds of the day and made his decision too late. It does feature some funky lyricon by Tom Scott.

All I can think of when I hear about a heart hotel are those jacuzzis in the Poconos.

26. Do Right – Paul Davis

Christian music was catching on as a niche genre in the late 780s and early 80s. A lot of artists, mostly in Nashville, were creating some very smooth pop songs to praise the Lord especially when they utilized some Westcoast vibes.

Paul decided to give thanks to Jesus with this song, not because of a DWI conviction or court-ordered Born again switch but because as he says, He gave his life for him. And now He’s hooked him up with a sweetie, hopefully not one from back in 1965.

25. Too Hot – Kool & The Gang

The door to the boogie in the jungle is finally closed shut as J.T. Taylor smooths it out for y’all. And whenever I think 2Pac may be haunting me, I sing this song:

Oh-oh its Tu-pac (Tu-pac) Tu-pac Sha-koh-ur

Gotta run for shelter, Gotta close all my doors

24. Funkytown – Lipps Inc.

OHW – Homer Simpson once said, “Lurleen, I can’t get your song out of my mind. I haven’t felt this way since “Funkytown!” Nuff said.

23. Any Way You Want It – Journey

So what? So let’s dance!

Also, a donut with no holes is a danish.

22. Brass In Pocket (I’m Special) – Pretenders

A great song from a near-perfect debut and no better way to introduce the world to Chrissie Hynde. I hear a song like this and I imagine the hell she must have (possibly, still is) put through as a strong female in the music industry. She went through some major shit in the early 80s and the fact that she survives and is still creating great music should be one of a million reasons to let the artists work and leave women alone.

21. Stomp – The Brothers Johnson

Q strikes again with a mutha of a disco burner and another Temperton co-write, this time from Louis & George Johnson. It’s traveling up the charts to its eventually high of #6.

KEY

OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for karaoke

RAR – Rite-Aid Rock

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia