Thursday, July 30, 2020

Promo posters as seen on "WKRP in Cincinnati" #60

Album: Poster on left currently unidentified, Pat Benatar - Crimes of Passion (Chrysalis, 1980).
Episode:  Season 3, Episode 9, "The Painting"
Original air date: Saturday, January 10, 1981

Monday, July 27, 2020

1980 Album of the Month: Give Me The Night

Released: 1980 (Warner Bros./Qwest)
Produced by: Quincy Jones

Side One Side Two
Love X Love
Off Broadway
Moody's Mood
Give Me the Night

What's On Your Mind
Dinorah, Dinorah
Love Dance
Star of a Story (X)
Midnight Love Affair
Turn Out the Lamplight

Billboard 200 3
CashBox Albums 7
Rolling Stone 100 5
Billboard Jazz 1
Billboard R&B 1

Rolling Stone, October 16, 1980, p. 56
Record World. August 2, 1980, p. 1
Stereo Review, December, 1980, p. 85
CashBox, July 26, 1980, p. 11
Billboard, August 2, 1980, p. 58

Allmusic ★★★★★

Billboard, June 21, 1980, p. 99
CashBox, June 21, 1980, p. 22

Billboard, October 4, 1980, p. 110

Thursday, July 23, 2020

MFD Not-So-Random Five #20

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: 1985 singles that just missed the Billboard Top 40.

  1. "To Live and Die in L.A." by Wang Chung (peaked at #41)
    This movie theme fared better on the Rock charts, peaking at #21, and previously on this blog where it was named the 26th best single of 1985. Ominous and driving, this dense dance tune perfectly captures the mood of the film (disclaimer: I've only seen the first 30 minutes of the movie).

  2. "We Close Our Eyes" by Go West (peaked at #41)
    This dance track peaked at #5 on the dance chart and #15 on my 85 of '85 list. What a synth hook!  That thing hits you in the face about 7 seconds in.  Lots of over-produced synth hits, pads, and effects throughout - the producer (Gary Stevenson) was having fun trying to be Trevor Horn.  All this over a driving, danceable, eighth note beat.  And then we get a nice bridge that goes right back into that sweet synth hook.

  3. "You Wear It Well" by El DeBarge with DeBarge (peaked at #46)
    The third single from the Rhythm of the Night album. That synth chord progression at the intro and then things go up a notch in the pre-chorus. Guitar solo from Jesse Johnson of The Time. While it didn't make the Top 40, it did top the Billboard Dance chart and peaked at #7 R&B. Sounds like something from a club scene in an episode of Miami Vice, but instead was relegated to The Facts of Life with a disinterested George Clooney:

  4. "Black Cars" by Gino Vannelli (peaked at #42)
    I had always thought of Vannelli as a soft rocker and then I heard this tune. It peaked at #34 rock and #15 dance, while I placed it at #50 for the year. Lots of guitar and synth hooks and while the drum sound dates it a bit, there's no denying this thing is danceable. Speaking of dancing, in the summer of 1985, I was home from college working during the day and trying to enjoy my nights. One night, I was hanging out with a high school buddy (who I'll call Brent) when he got a phone call from another friend (who I'll call Steve) inviting us to a party where we were promised the presence of girls. Lots of girls. What 19-year-old boy could refuse? Brent and I traveled to some local apartments where we met Steve. As luck would have it, we were the only 3 males in a sea of females. I soon found out why - we were at a bachelorette party and Steve was the "entertainment." When he started dancing/stripping, I got uncomfortable and left. The song Steve chose to dance to? Gino Vannelli's Black Cars.

  5. "20/20" by George Benson (peaked at #48)
    In which Benson tries his best to sound like Al Jarreau. In other words, this was squarely in my wheelhouse in 1985. Fairly generic with a DMX drum machine, saved at the end with a vocalized guitar solo from Benson. It was good enough to peak at #15 R&B and #15 AC while placing at #82 for the year for me.