Sunday, May 16, 2021

40 Years Ago - Top Singles of May 16, 1981


Let's take a look at what was topping the various single charts on May 16, 1981.


Billboard
CashBox
Radio & Records
Record World
1
"Bette Davis Eyes"
Kim Carnes
"Morning Train (Nine to Five)"
Sheena Easton
"Bette Davis Eyes"
Kim Carnes
"Angel of the Morning"
Juice Newton
2
"Just the Two of Us"
Grover Washington, Jr.
"Angel of the Morning"
Juice Newton
"Being With You"
Smokey Robinson
"Morning Train (Nine to Five)"
Sheena Easton
3
"Being With You"
Smokey Robinson
"Being With You"
Smokey Robinson
"Take It On the Run"
REO Speedwagon
"Being With You"
Smokey Robinson
4
"Angel of the Morning"
Juice Newton
"Bette Davis Eyes"
Kim Carnes
"Watching the Wheels"
John Lennon
"Take It On the Run"
REO Speedwagon
5
"Morning Train (Nine to Five)"
Sheena Easton
"Take It On the Run"
REO Speedwagon
"Living Inside Myself"
Gino Vannelli
"Bette Davis Eyes"
Kim Carnes
6
"Take It On the Run"
REO Speedwagon
"Just the Two of Us"
Grover Washington, Jr.
"A Woman Needs Love"
Ray Parker Jr & Raydio
"Kiss on My List"
Daryl Hall & John Oates
7
"Living Inside Myself"
Gino Vannelli
"Kiss on My List"
Daryl Hall & John Oates
"I Love You"
Climax Blues Band
"Too Much Time on My Hands"
Styx
8
"Sukiyaki"
A Taste of Honey
"Watching the Wheels"
John Lennon
"Medley"
Stars on 45
"Just the Two of Us"
Grover Washington, Jr.
9
"Kiss on My List"
Daryl Hall & John Oates
"Sukiyaki"
A Taste of Honey
"Too Much Time on My Hands"
Styx
"Sukiyaki"
A Taste of Honey
10
"Too Much Time on My Hands"
Styx
"Living Inside Myself"
Gino Vannelli
"Just the Two of Us"
Grover Washington, Jr.
"Watching the Wheels"
John Lennon



Exclusive MFD meta-analysis of the above charts:
  1. (tie) "Bette Davis Eyes" and "Being With You" (33 points)
  2. (tie) "Angel of the Morning" and "Take It on the Run" (26 pts)
  3. "Morning Train (Nine to Five)" (25 pts)
  4. "Just the Two of Us" (18 pts)
  5. (tie) "Living Inside Myself," "Kiss on My List" and "Watching the Wheels" (11 pts)
  6. (tie) "Sukiyaki" and "Too Much Time on My Hands" (7 pts)
  7. "A Woman Needs Love" (5 pts)
  8. "I Love You" (4 pts)
  9. Stars on 45 Medley (3 pts)



Friday, April 2, 2021

Promo posters as seen on "WKRP in Cincinnati" #62


Albums: The Doors - Greatest Hits (1980, Elektra), Del Shannon - Drop Down And Get Me (1981, Elektra), Kraftwerk - Computer World (1981, Warner Bros.)
Episode:  Season 4, Episode 14, "Jennifer and Johnny's Charity"
Original air date: Wednesday, February 3, 1982

Saturday, March 20, 2021

American Top 40, November 6, 1982


Let's travel back and take a look at the American Top 40 episode for November 6, 1982 track by track.

As was the custom back then, legendary host Casey Kasem starts the show by counting down the top three songs from the preceding week:
  1. "Eye in the Sky" by The Alan Parsons Project (brutally edited)  
  2. "Jack and Diane" by John Cougar
  3. "Who Can It Be Now?" by Men at Work

#40: "Shadows of the Night" by Pat Benatar. The countdown kicks off with the first of three AT40 debuts. I never much cared for this song until I heard Rachel Sweet's version. Benatar's version attempts to be a rock anthem but never really does it for me. Nonetheless, it would spend 10 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at #13.

Three tunes fall - and fall hard - from the Top 40 this week:
  • "Hold On" by Santana (dropping from 15 to 73)
  • "Don't Fight It" by Kenny Loggins with Steve Perry (17 to 76)
  • "Young Love" by Air Supply (38 to 80) - more on this group's chart drops later

"Every week, American Top 40 is heard in the 50 states and around the world on great radio stations like:"
  • KSTT - Davenport, Iowa
  • WTLB/WRCK - Utica & Rome, New York
  • ProFM - Providence, Rhode Island

#39:
 "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters. This is the first of two appearances of this song in the Top 40. It will peak at #30 this go-round, but will reach #9 with a slightly different mix in 1984. And, like many people, this fun, energetic song has been absolutely ruined for me by its use in a 'very special' episode of Saved By The Bell. You know the one. Damn shame.

#38: "Heartbreaker" by Dionne Warwick. Our second debut, up from #41. After a brief recap of how Warwick's career hit the skids in 1971 after an astrologer told here to add an 'e' to the end of her last name, we get this great duet between Dionne and an uncredited Barry Gibb, who wrote the thing. A great soft rocker that sounds strongly resembles a later Gibb tune, "Islands In The Stream," this was a #1 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart and a #10 hit here on AT40. It was her 28th of 31 Top 40 hits, but with her recent crowning as 'The Queen of Twitter,' she might have one or two more chart hits to come. 

#37: "I Need You" by Paul Carrack. Carrack left Squeeze to release a solo album Suburban Voodoo, produced by Nick Lowe. I bought the thing almost immediately upon release. At the time, I was trying to impress a girl with the fact that I was listening to music one didn't normally hear on local radio. So, in my weak efforts to woo this girl, I mentioned that I had just bought this album. She responded "Surburban what?!?" before never talking to me again. Thanks alot for the stupid album title, Paul. In any case, this week would be this single's second and final appearance in the Top 40, spending both weeks here at #37. In 1989, Linda Ronstadt would cover this tune on her Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind album. 

#36: "Maneater" by Daryl Hall and John Oates. The third and final Top 40 debut this week and the first single released from the H2O album. I dig the echo on sax solo. Maneater remained in the #1 spot for four weeks, more than any of the duo's five other number-one hits. Oates claims the song is about NYC, not a woman, but I have my doubts.

"Three of the eight English acts in this week's survey are from the city of Sheffield. There's Paul Carrack - who we heard from at #37, there's Joe Cocker who's somewhere higher up in the countdown, and there's the group at #35..."

#35: "The Look of Love (Part One)" by ABC. Not my pick for top song on the Lexicon of Love album (that's "All of My Heart"), but with Trevor Horn on the console, this is undeniably a New Romantic classic. This single would spend 13 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at #18 in early January, 1983.

Casey spends a little time talking about the singers of groups 'going solo' and lists the possible reasons for this 'current trend.' He states that of the 22 solo acts in this week's countdown, at least five were originally with big name groups: Diana Ross, Glenn Frey, Michael McDonald, Lionel Richie, and...

#34: "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)" by Donald Fagen. The Nightfly is a desert island disc for me and I'll just leave it at that. Fagen's only solo Top 40 hit, it would peak at only #26.

#33: "Rock This Town" by Stray Cats. One of the band's better cuts, I really dig Setzer's guitar work on this cut. I gotta admit: this one gets me movin'. It would eventually hit #9 in mid-December.

#32: "I Get Excited" by Rick Springfield. I owned a vinyl copy of Springfield's 1982 album Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet on which this single is the second track.  I made the purchase for two reasons: 1) the girls were crazy about Rick so I thought listening to his music would help me with the ladies (it didn't), and 2) "Don't Talk to Strangers" is softrocktastic.  I gave the album another listen not long ago and I didn't remember much of it other than "Don't Talk to Strangers." That includes this reworking of "Jessie's Girl" which peaked here at #32.

--end of hour one--

#31: "Get Closer" by Linda Ronstadt. In any other hands, this tune would simply be album filler. But with Linda's golden pipes, it's a catchy single despite an odd instrumental bridge. I love the 7/4 groove. It would only climb a couple more notches to #29 in its scant five weeks in the Top 40. Man-oh-man, that woman could belt it out.

#30: "Love Me Tomorrow" by Chicago. My favorite tune on the Chicago 16 album. It's clearly a David Foster production and the only members of Chicago on the thing are singer Peter Cetera and drummer Danny Seraphine. The other musicians were members of Toto. Horn section need not apply. It was #8 on the AC chart but only reached a peak of #22 on the pop chart.

"Coming up: a long distance dedication. It's a 'boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl' story." (Spoiler alert: it's not like that at all.)

#29: "It's Raining Again" by Supertramp. The upbeat tempo and happy melody belie the lyrics. One of the few recorded melodica solos that I can think of. But, oh, that soaring, wordless bridge! So good I can forgive rhyming "fighter" with "up-tight-ah". Supertramp's 7th Top 40 hit, this one would peak at #11.

LDD: From David in Brookfield, Connecticut to Amy. They lived together near Chicago in the late '70s and David was crushing on Amy when he had to move with his family. He moved away to Connecticut, but always thought of Amy. They developed a correspondence via mail. No talk of dating or plans or commitment, but he still dedicates Dusty Springfield's "I Only Wanna Be With You" to her. Well, you can't really go wrong with Dusty so I can't blame Davey. The tune went to #12 in 1964 and was later covered by the Bay City Rollers (#12 in 1976), The Tourists (#83 in 1980), Nicolette Larson (#53 in 1982) and Samantha Fox (#31 in 1989), among others.

#28: "Athena" by The Who. Casey introduces this tune by listing all the cities in North America named Athens. It's a good song, not a great song, and it doesn't always make the cut for Who greatest hit packages, but it never sent me scrambling to change the radio station  This was the group's 16th and final Top 40 appearance, peaking here at #28. At the time of this AT40 countdown, I had this poster on my bedroom wall. The beer tie-in must have caused some concern for my parents.


#27: "Mickey" by Toni Basil. Relentlessly catchy in '82, but I could do without it these days. Surprisingly, I never heard any controversy related to the lyrics, "So come on and give it to me anyway you can. Anyway you want to do it, I'll take it like a man." Of course, it's very possible my perverted mind wants that lyric to be about sex.  Anyhoo, this would eventually top the charts on December 11.

#26: "Sweet Time" by REO Speedwagon. I have absolutely no memory of this tune, but I've never been a big fan of the group. Based on interviews I've seen, Kevin Cronin seems like a great guy and I'd buy him a beer if I ever ran into him; I just don't like his vocals. This tune is peaking this week at #26.

#25: "Pressure" by Billy Joel. Before playing this tune, Casey talks about a motorcycle accident Joel had earlier in the year and how the ordeal changed his outlook on life, leading to The Nylon Curtain, that Casey calls Joel's "most mature LP." I like the tune good enough; I prefer "Allentown" and "She's Right On Time" from that album, though. This would peak at #20 in a few weeks.

"American Top 40 is heard in the 50 states and around the world every week on great radio stations like:"
  • KXXE - Miles City, Montana
  • WWKX - Gallatin, Tennessee
  • 7EX - Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

#24: "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson. Man, I really dig this tune and have for almost 38+ years now. I once named it as the best single of 1982 and I'll stick with that. Hell, I love the whole Night and Day album. Jackson's biggest US hit, this would peak at #6 but, more importantly, during my senior year in high school, I tried my hand at music arranging by adapting "Steppin' Out" for jazz band. The arrangement wasn't too terrible for a teenager with no formal theory training. I look at it now and cringe, but that's to be expected. To his credit, my jazz band director not only humored me, but encouraged me and had the jazz band perform that arrangement more than once. Quite an positive learning experience for this guy.

#23: "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills & Nash. I've never been much for this group, I think it's something about the way they arrange the vocal harmonies. This single would eventually peak at #18 and be the last appearance in the Top 40 for the group.

A listener in Alabama asks: "What song, excluding Christmas hits, was at the highest position the week before it fell out of the Top 40?" Details coming up.

#22: "Nobody" by Sylvia. Casey says this is the artist's second #1 country hit and I'm hard-pressed to find any country in it. It's catchy as heck and it's fun to sing along with the silly background vocals. Sylvia's got a problem, though, if she thinks she can get her man back from 'Nobody.' If she actually could love him "like Nobody can, even better," she probably should have done so before now and avoided this whole affair. Or maybe not. Cheaters gonna cheat, amirite? Her only Top 40 hit, this single will peak at #15 on November 20.

Answer to the above question: "Even the Nights are Better" by Air Supply, which Casey claims fell from #6 to #42 earlier in '82. However, a quick look at the charts shows a peak position of #5 before moving back down to #6 and then falling to #42. And, as mentioned above, this very week that record was shattered by Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry with "Don't Fight It" falling from its peak of #17 to #76. Now, on with the countdown.

#21: "New World Man" by Rush. Two consecutive one-hit wonders on this week's chart. The most notable difference between the two is that one wonder is in the RnR Hall of Fame. The band's only Top 40 hit, peaking here at #21. It's success might contributed to one of two reasons: 1) they sound alot like The Police on this cut, or 2) Geddy Lee keeps his vocals in his more restrained, pleasant, lower range.

--end of hour two--

#20: "American Heartbeat" by Survivor. Not much going on here - move along. Will hit #17 in only 7 weeks in the Top 40.

#19: "What's Forever For" by Michael Martin Murphey. Fifth week in a row at #19, it's peak. Another #1 country hit without much country flavor other than some slide guitar. Nonetheless, it's a wonderful ballad and I know all the lyrics and harmony vocals should you need that sort of thing. It probably would have worked wonderfully as a pick-up song if I'd ever gotten close enough to female to try it.

#18: "You Don't Want Me Anymore" by Steel Breeze. A solid rocker with just the right mix of synth and guitar along with hooks for days. The only weak link is the bridge. Casey says the band is from Sacramento but this sure sounds like Southern Rock to these ears. This single would move up to #16 as its peak.

#17: "Love Come Down" by Evelyn King. A great funk tune with an addictive bass line underneath a beautiful, smooth melody. Take the champagne out and toast this one (too easy?). I figured AT40 would edit out the breakdown section, but there it is. It hit #1 on the R&B charts for five weeks and would peak here at #17 on the pop chart.

Casey then tells a story about Ali & Mike Score and UFOs which isn't worth recapping here, but apparently the next tune was inspired by a picture of a flying saucer.

#16: "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls. I always found this tune to be too repetitive and boring but bought the album on cassette anyway because trendy New Wave. This week, the single was on its way down the charts after peaking earlier at #10. 

"Until recently, the record for the most weeks a song has spent on the Billboard Hot 100 was held by Paul Davis' song, "I Go Crazy" with 40 weeks on the chart. But that record's been broken and the song that did it is a recent top ten hit by a two-man English band. It's coming up as an AT40 Extra."

"Every week, American Top 40 is heard in the 50 states and around the world on great radio stations like:"
  • WXLK - Roanoke, Virginia
  • KCBW - Sedalia, Missouri
  • WPGC - Washington, D.C.
#15: "The One You Love" by Glenn Frey. One of those songs that, when you hear for the first time, you feel like you’ve heard it before. That smooth scalewise sax line from Ernie Watts is immediately likable and then Frey uses the same melody in the verse. The tune reminds me of an ill-advised hayride date in the fall of ‘82 (hell, it could have been this very weekend).  Long story short: that night ended up with me alone at the counter of the local Jack In the Box [insert sad trombone sound here]. The song scored better than I did, spending 11 weeks in the Top 40, peaking here at #15.

AT40 Extra: "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell was in its 43rd week in the Hot 100 on this date. It would be the final week of its run, however. Casey jinxed it! Fortunately, he plays the single version without the unnecessary cover of "Where Did Our Love Go."


#14: "Muscles" by Diana Ross. Written and produced by Michael Jackson, I'm guessing this was a song that didn't make the cut for Thriller and passed on Ross. Love the chorus. I don't think I've heard it since '82, though, even though it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. It would peak at #10 in 10 weeks on the chart.

#13: "Somebody's Baby" by Jackson Browne. This cut had peaked at #7 back in October. How can you hear this song and not think about Stacy losing her virginity to Ron in the baseball dugout?  Neither writer Cameron Crowe or director Amy Heckerling wanted this song in Fast Times At Ridgemont High but they didn’t get to make that call.  Related note: the DVD of that movie contains the best commentary I’ve heard.  Oh, what do I think about this song?  Meh. 

"There's a song in the survey that was written over 20 years ago - became a big hit. But the two songwriters split up. Now the song's a big hit again and it's brought those two songwriters back together. Details and that former Brenda Lee hit, coming up."

#12: "Gypsy" by Fleetwood Mac. Casey states this is the third week in a row at #12 for this tune; indeed this spot would be its peak. When this single was released, I didn’t have much time for the “old ‘70s acts” like Fleetwood Mac and Jackson Browne because I was buying the latest New Romantic technopop releases.  Mea culpa - that was a mistake on my part.  This is a great song with vocals from Stevie Nicks and brilliant guitar work from writer Lindsay Buckingham.

Casey shares the story of blues musician/actor Joe Seneca and lyricist Diane Lampert not writing together after Brenda Lee recorded "Break It to Me Gently" but they made contact after Juice Newton recorded her version. Not much of a story, but Casey needs content.

#11: "Break It to Me Gently" by Juice Newton. Juice ain't exactly breaking new ground here, but it was a hit, so good for her. It is at its peak here at #11, but hit #1 on the AC chart and #2 on the country chart and won the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

--end of hour three--

#10: "Truly" by Lionel Richie. Dadgum, Richie could write some ballads and this is one of his best. His first solo chart single, this would hit #1 by the end of the month and would also spend 4 weeks atop the AC chart.

#9: "Gloria" by Laura Branigan. A cover of an Italian smash hit, I can take it or leave it. The tune isn't bad, but Gloria screams more than sings a good bit of it. Today, I'll leave it. My buddy Blake once told me the story of drunken Branigan showing up for one his high school pep rallies as part of a radio promotion. That would have taken place around '82 or '83. To be fair, if I had to go to a high school pep rally again, I'd probably enjoy a nip or three beforehand. In any case, this tune would work its way up to #2 in a remarkable 22 weeks in the Top 40.

A listener in North Carolina wants to know who is the oldest person to ever hit the top 10 on the pop chart. Hint: it was a famous movie actor who won three Academy Awards but became even more famous for a TV series where he played Grandpa. Details coming up.

#8: "You Can Do Magic" by America. This one is peaking here at #8. I attach this one to a bad marching band arrangement I played in the fall of 1983.  Maybe I’m just bitter because I didn’t get play the trumpet solo. I can tolerate this recording now. I wonder if they ever named that horse?

Answer to the above question: A 67 year old Walter Brennan with a #5 hit in 1962, "Old Rivers." Casey plays a few bars of the piece and I don't recognize it.

#7: "Heartlight" by Neil Diamond. One of the few pop songs I remember my mother actually stating that she liked. I bought her the 45 that Christmas, the only time I ever bought her a 45. Another #1 AC single, this one peaked at #5 here in the Top 40. It's no "Cracklin' Rosie," but its tolerable.

#6: "Eye in the Sky" by The Alan Parsons Project. A very enjoyable soft rocker. Eric Woolfson has a pleasant, understated voice and there's no denying Parsons' studio skills. This song would spend 17 weeks in the Top 40 and had peaked at #3 the week prior to this countdown.

"Coming up, a long distance dedication from a young Marine in California to a friend in Illinois."

#5: "Jack and Diane" by John Cougar. This tune had spent most of October at #1. It's played out now, but I didn't know anyone that didn't love this song when it hit, including myself. I only recently heard that the drum break was patterned after "In the Air Tonight." Makes sense. Casey mentions that the album American Fool had been #1 for 9 consecutive weeks. (Spoiler alert: Casey jinxs another one - it would be replaced by Men at Work's Business As Usual the following week.)

LDD: Casey relates the tale of a Marine named Jeff and his relationship with platonic high school friend Rhonda. Never anything romantic, but Jeff dedicates "She's Got A Way" by Billy Joel. Such bland dedications are making me rethink my theory that Casey and his staff wrote the LDD letters themselves. But the song, from the album Songs in the Attic, peaked at #23 in 9 weeks in the Top 40.  The song is overwrought romantic pap, but it's also pretty easy to play. In 1982, I purchased the sheet music and quickly learned it (never had the range to sing the high G, but that didn't stop me from trying), and then used my playing/singing to seduce girls. Hey, I wasn't a jock and I didn't have a new sportscar, so I had to use the tools at my disposal. I'd like to tell you that my plan worked often, but I can't name one time that it did. Still dig the song, though.
Sheet music from the MFD archives


"American Top 40 is heard in the 50 states and around the world every week on great radio stations like:"

#4: "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" by Michael McDonald. More than a cover version, McDonald makes it his own. My wife and I once had the pleasure of seeing Mr. McDonald in concert and I'll be doggoned if he doesn't have so many hits that he can start a show with whatever smash hit he damn well pleases. In our case it was this tune, which peaks here at #4.

#3: "Heart Attack" by Olivia Newton-John. Great tune from Steve Kipner and ONJ brings the seductive goods, giving me heart palpitations at the very least. This was ONJ's 24th single to make the Top 40, peaking here at #3. I can't find any credits for the single, but that sure sounds like Tom Scott on the sax solo.

#2: "Who Can It Be Now" by Men At Work. Slipping from #1 this week. This song captivated me from the get-go. The ominous lyrics flew right over me head - just give me that sax hook! I can now appreciate the lyrics about someone who just wants to be left alone. A definitive New Wave single.

Casey takes a look at what is atop the other charts:
  • Soul: "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye
  • Country: "You're So Good When You're Bad" by Charley Pride
  • Album:  American Fool by John Cougar
#1: "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes.  I'm not usually fond of sappy ballads, but I have to confess a soft spot for this song. This chart-topping track won a Grammy, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar. By 1983, I had decided to pursue a music degree once I left high school and, to that end, started taking piano lessons at age 17. My piano teacher gave me a book of pop tunes to keep me interested in daily practice. This song is the only one I remember from that book - I butchered it on a daily basis for weeks.

"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."


Previously, I've looked at these AT40 episodes:
July 2, 1983 - "The Forty Top Acts of the Eighties - So Far"
September 18, 1982
October 24, 1981
July 19, 1980
July 5, 1980 - "The Book of Records"
February 16, 1980
August 4, 1979
June 9, 1979 - Guest host: Bruce Philip Miller
September 16, 1978
July 1, 1978 - "The 40 Biggest Acts of the 70's"
April 1, 1978 - "AT40 Goes to the Movies"
April 23, 1977
July 4, 1976 - "4th of July's Greatest Hits"