Monday, June 18, 2018

MFD Not-So-Random Five #6

In which I select five songs from 1976-1985 based on an arbitrary theme. (Not to be confused with this blog's Random Five feature, a different exercise in arbitrariness). Today's theme: Live Top 40 hits.

  1. "I Do" by J. Geils Band (1982, EMI)
    From the album Showtime!, this single peaked at #24 in 7 weeks in the Top 40. The band's last Top 40 hit, this single is a cover of a 1965 single by the Marvelows. Like most any live Geils performance, this is a non-stop high-energy, balls-to-the-wall performance. The highlight for me is the harmonica solo by the wonderfully named Magic Dick. I quickly bought the album, followed by other J. Geils live albums.

    And I've just repeated this song five times before moving on with the four tunes to follow.

  2. "Going to a Go-Go" by Rolling Stones (1982, Rolling Stones)
    From the album Still Life, this single peaked at #25 in 5 weeks in the Top 40. An appropriately named album as the band trudges through this lifeless cover of a Smokey Robinson tune. I submit that it only made the Top 40 because it was a Stones single. I'll take the 1965 original any day.

  3. "Daybreak" by Barry Manilow (1977, Arista)
    From the album Barry Manilow Live, this single peaked at #23 in 5 weeks in the Top 40. Love this one. This song makes me feel good, but if you don't like it, I get that - it's too saccharin for some. The key to this live version is the backing vocals by Lady Flash. I recently caught Barry's act and IIRC, he sang this at the beginning of the show because of course he did. And we all sang along and were happy.

  4. "She's Got a Way" by Billy Joel (1981, Columbia)
    From the album Songs in the Attic, this single peaked at #23 in 9 weeks in the Top 40. By 1981, I was buying anything Joel released, but I was pleasantly surprised by this album. This 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. Anyhoo, still dig the song.

    Sheet music from the MFD archives

  5. "I Want You to Want Me" by Cheap Trick (1978, Parachute)
    From the album Cheap Trick at Budokan, this single peaked at #7 in 13 weeks in the Top 40. When I was dreaming up today's theme, this was the first song I thought of. If you've heard the uneven studio cut, you know this live version blows it away - no comparison. Can't stand still, can't help but sing along, can't help but be in a good mood. And even though I've been married 29 years, I still want her to want me. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

#1 Albums of 1978: Side-by-Side Charts

Cash Box
Record World
January 7 Rumours
Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac
January 14
January 21 Saturday Night Fever
Saturday Night Fever
Saturday Night Fever
January 28
February 4
February 11
February 18
February 25
March 4
March 11
March 18
March 25
April 1
April 8
April 15
April 22
April 29
May 6
May 13
May 20
May 27
June 3
June 10
June 17
June 24
July 1
July 8 City to City
Gerry Rafferty
July 15 Some Girls
The Rolling Stones
Some Girls
The Rolling Stones
Some Girls
The Rolling Stones
July 22Grease
July 29 Grease
August 5
August 12
August 19
August 26
September 2
September 9
September 16 Don't Look Back
September 23 Grease
September 30
October 7 Don't Look Back
October 14 Grease
October 21
October 28
November 4 Living in the USA
Linda Ronstadt
November 11 Live and More
Donna Summer
52nd Street
Billy Joel
November 18 52nd Street
Billy Joel
52nd Street
Billy Joel
November 25
December 2
December 9
December 16
December 23 Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
Barbra Streisand
Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
Barbra Streisand
December 30
Cash Box
Record World

Note: we did a similar side-by-side chart comparison three years ago.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Billboard's #1's on my Birthday

These are the US Billboard number one albums and singles for the weeks that include June 9, 1976-85, representing my 10th through 19th birthdays. Tomorrow I may feel differently, but today my favorite list is that Jazz Album column.

Hot 100
Jazz Album
AC Single
R&B Single
1976 Wings at the Speed of Sound
"Love Hangover"
Diana Ross
George Benson
"Shop Around"
Captain & Tennille
"Young Hearts Run Free"
Candi Staton
Fleetwood Mac
"Sir Duke"
Stevie Wonder
Heavy Weather
Weather Report
"Looks Like We Made It"
Barry Manilow
"Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)"
Marvin Gaye
"Devil's Gun"/"We Got Our Own Thing" (12 inch)
C.J. & Company
1978Saturday Night Fever
"Too Much, Too Little, Too Late"
Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams
Weekend in L.A.
George Benson
"Even Now"
Barry Manilow
"Used Ta Be My Girl"
The O'Jay's
"Last Dance"/"After Dark"/"Thank God It's Friday"/"Take It to the Zoo"
Various Artists
1979Breakfast in America
"Love You Inside Out"
Bee Gees
Livin' Inside Your Love
George Benson
"Just When I Needed You Most"
Randy Vanwarmer
"We Are Family"
Sister Sledge
Bad Girls (all cuts)
Donna Summer
1980Against the Wind
Bob Seger
Lipps, Inc.
Catching the Sun
Spyro Gyra
"The Rose"
Bette Midler
"Let's Get Serious"
Jermaine Jackson
"A Lover's Holiday"/"Searching"/"Glow of Love"
1981Hi Infidelity
REO Speedwagon
"Bette Davis Eyes"
Kim Carnes
Grover Washington, Jr.
"How 'Bout Us"
"What Cha' Gonna Do for Me"
Chaka Khan
1982Tug of War
Paul McCartney
"Ebony and Ivory"
Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
Breakin' Away
Al Jarreau
"Ebony and Ivory"
Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
"Let It Whip"
Dazz Band
"In the Name of Love" (12 inch)
Thompson Twins
Michael Jackson
"Flashdance.... What a Feeling"
Irene Cara
Al Jarreau
"My Love"
Lionel Richie
"Juicy Fruit"
"Let's Dance" (12 inch)
David Bowie
"Time After Time"
Cyndi Lauper
Think of One
Wynton Marsalis
"Time After Time"
Cyndi Lauper
"Let's Hear It for the Boy"
Deniece Williams
"Tell Me I'm Not Dreamin' (Too Good to be True)"
Jermaine Jackson
1985Around the World in a Day
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
Tears for Fears
Magic Touch
Stanley Jordan
"Axel F"
Harold Faltermeyer
"Rock Me Tonight (For Old Time's Sake)"
Freddie Jackson
"Call Me Mr. Telephone"

Saturday, June 2, 2018

MFD Random Five #32

In which I click the shuffle icon on the iTunes app and listen to the first five songs that pop up from the years 1976-85.

  1. "Everybody Loves You Now" by Billy Joel (1981, Columbia)
    I prefer this live version from Songs in the Attic to the 1971 original. Lots of energy but it's still just filler. Not bad filler for a debut album, mind you, and I dig the snarky lyrics.

  2. "Tragedy" by John Hunter (1984, Private I)
    If I've heard this before, I've forgotten it. The song peaked at #39 on the Billboard chart in '85 so I must have this file because of the legendary, now complete, Megalist project. As for the song, it sounds like a poor man's Springsteen-Winwood-Carrack, driven by keyboard instead guitar. Easily forgettable, I'm surprised it made it to 39. Let's see how it did over on Adult Contemporary: no dice. A one-hit wonder. And now that I've heard it, I'll quickly forget it; next time I hear it, I'll say, "If I've heard this before, I've forgotten it."

  3. "Mull of Kintyre" by Wings (1977, Capitol)
    #1 in the UK, non-charting here in the States. Sounds like an old Scottish pub singalong waltz, complete with bagpipes. Not bad, but not for me. Raise a glass to Sir Paul always, though.

  4. "Empire Strikes Back (Medley: Darth Vader/Yoda's Theme)" by Meco (1980, RSO)
    What might have been a good idea in 1977 had tarnished badly by 1980.

  5. "Atomic Dog" by George Clinton (1982, Capitol)
    And this Random Five is ultimately saved by Dr. Funkenstein! "Bow-wow-wow-yippee-yo-yippee-yay!" may be some of my favorite '80s lyrics. Amazingly, this 1982 single never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 (it "bubbled under" at 101, but it topped the R&B chart and peaked at #38 Disco). I didn't love this as much in the early '80s as I should have. Now a classic, being widely sampled in hip-hop music for the last 35+ years.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Covering the Covers: How Do I Survive

The chorus to the song "How Do I Survive" (the Amy Holland version) got stuck in my head the other morning, so I found it on the YouTube for a quick listen only to discover other versions, including...

Released: 1979 (Columbia)
Written by: Paul Bliss
Produced by: Geoff Westley
Album: Neon Smiles

 U. S. Billboard Charts:
 Not released as a single

Released: 1980 (Capitol)
Written by: Paul Bliss
Produced by: Michael McDonald
Album: Amy Holland

 U. S. Billboard Charts:
 Hot 100 22
 Adult Contemporary 34

Released: 1982 (Epic)
Written by: Paul Bliss
Produced by: Nicky Graham
Album: Portrait

 U. S. Billboard Charts:
 Not released as a single

It's beyond the scope of 1976-85, but Paul Bliss re-recorded his own tune in 1997: