Thursday, April 18, 2019

35 Years Ago - Top Singles of April 14, 1984


Let's take a look at what was topping the various single charts on April 14, 1984.


Billboard
Cash Box
Radio & Records
1
"Footloose"
Kenny Loggins
"Footloose"
Kenny Loggins
"Against All Odds"
Phil Collins
2
"Against All Odds"
Phil Collins
"Against All Odds"
Phil Collins
"Footloose"
Kenny Loggins
3
"Somebody's Watching Me"
Rockwell
"Somebody's Watching Me"
Rockwell
"Hello"
Lionel Richie
4
"Hello"
Lionel Richie
"Eat It"
Weird Al Yankovic
"Hold Me Now"
Thompson Twins
5
"Automatic"
Pointer Sisters
"Here Comes the Rain Again"
Eurythmics
"Miss Me Blind"
Culture Club
6
"Miss Me Blind"
Culture Club
"Jump"
Van Halen
"Love Somebody"
Rick Springfield
7
"Here Comes the Rain Again"
Eurythmics
"Hold Me Now"
Thompson Twins
"You Might Think"
The Cars
8
"Hold Me Now"
Thompson Twins
"Automatic"
Pointer Sisters
"Adult Education"
Daryl Hall & John Oates
9
"Adult Education"
Daryl Hall & John Oates
"Miss Me Blind"
Culture Club
"They Don't Know"
Tracy Ullman
10
"Jump"
Van Halen
"Hello"
Lionel Richie
"Here Comes the Rain Again"
Eurythmics



Exclusive MFD meta-analysis of the above charts:
  1. "Footloose" (29 points)
  2. "Against All Odds" (28 pts)
  3. (tie) "Somebody's Watching Me" (16 pts)
  4. (tie) "Hello" (16 pts)
  5. "Hold Me Now" (14 pts)
  6. "Miss Me Blind" (13 pts)
  7. "Here Comes the Rain Again" (11 pts)
  8. "Automatic" (9 pts)
  9. "Eat It" (7 pts)
  10. "Jump" (6 pts)
  11. (tie) "Adult Education" (5 pts)
  12. (tie) "Love Somebody" (5 pts)
  13. "You Might Think" (4 pts)
  14. "They Don't Know" (2 pts)


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

MFD Not-So-Random Five #14


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: one-hit wonders of 1979.


  1. "Music Box Dancer" by Frank Mills (1979, Polydor)
    #3 Pop, #4 Adult Contemporary.

  2. "Please Don't Leave" by Lauren Wood (1979, Warner Bros.)
    #24 Pop, #5 Adult Contemporary. This is a smooth little West Coast ditty and just as you're thinking "this sounds like it could be a Doobie Brothers song," here comes Michael McDonald with some vocals to seal the deal.  Doobies producer Ted Templeman also produced this track with members of Toto in the backing band. Dig!

  3. "Such a Woman" by Tycoon (1979, Arista)
    #26 Pop. Proof that producer Mutt Lange didn't always have the Midas touch. I can't believe this one broke the Top 40.

  4. "Oh Well" by The Rockets (1979, RSO)
    #30 Pop. I didn't recognize the band name or the song title, but there's no mistaking that bluesy guitar riff on this cover of an early Fleetwood Mac tune. A Michigan band channeling ZZ Top. Good stuff.

  5. "If You Want It" by Niteflyte (1979, Ariola)
    #37 Pop, #21 R&B. Too R&B for yacht, too yacht for R&B, but so dadgum smooth. The only thing I'd change would be the addition of a Jerry Hey horn arrangement.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Counting down my Top 79 of '79: Bubbling Under Singles


I hope you enjoyed my Top 79 of '79 series. As I mentioned in each post, I started with the 475 singles that peaked on Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 chart in 1979. An initial pass through that list narrowed it down to 105 before deciding on the final 79. But what of those other 26 singles that made the first cut but weren't selected for the final list? Here they are, in alphabetical order:


  • "Bad Case of Loving You" - Robert Palmer
  • "Come to Me" - France Joli
  • "Dog & Butterfly" - Heart
  • "Dream Police" - Cheap Trick
  • "Every 1's a Winner" - Hot Chocolate
  • "Fire" - Pointer Sisters
  • "Georgy Porgy" - Toto
  • "Good Girls Don't" - The Knack
  • "Good Timin'" - The Beach Boys
  • "Half the Way" - Crystal Gayle
  • "Head Games" - Foreigner
  • "Heart of Glass" - Blondie
  • "Knock on Wood" - Amii Stewart
  • "Life During Wartime" - Talking Heads
  • "Lotta Love" - Nicolette Larson
  • "Love Takes Time" - Orleans
  • "Main Event/Fight" - Barbra Streisand
  • "No Tell Lover" - Chicago
  • "Renegade" - Styx
  • "Rock N Roll Fantasy" - Bad Company
  • "Sail On" - Commodores
  • "Shake Your Body" - Jacksons
  • "Song on the Radio" - Al Stewart
  • "Sultans of Swing" - Dire Straits
  • "Take Me to the River" - Talking Heads
  • "You Decorated My Life" - Kenny Rogers

Any of those singles could have easily made the 79 of '79 on another day. 1979 had lots of good tunes - what a wonderful problem to have!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Counting down my Top 79 of '79: Singles #10 - 1


A breakdown of my top singles from 1979


Minute by Minute
The Doobie Brothers
Weeks in Hot 100: 14
Peaked: June 23
Album: Minute by Minute (Warner Bros.)

 U.S. Billboard charts:
 Hot 10014
 Adult Contemporary13

Heck, this thing might have cracked the top ten even if the entire single was only the electric piano intro on repeat for three minutes, but then the smooth groove hits and Michael McDonald's vocals and man-oh-man, I just can't help but sing along. It's the title track to a great album, but it's not even the best cut on the album (see below).




Good Times
Chic
Weeks in Hot 100: 19
Peaked: August 18
Album: Risqué (Atlantic)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 1001
 Adult Contemporary28
 R&B1
 Disco3

And there it is. That bass line. One of the most important, most sampled, most imitated bass lines of all time (see Bowie's "Let's Dance," Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust,' and, of course, "Rapper's Delight"). But then add Nile Rodgers' guitar scratching, soaring strings, and precise vocals and, baby, you got a stew goin'. Ranked #229 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.



My Sharona
The Knack
Weeks in Hot 100: 22
Peaked: August 25
Album: Get the Knack (Capitol)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 1001

According to Billboard, this was the #1 song of 1979, but #8 was the best I could do for it. New wave power pop like nothing I'd ever heard before. The Knack got more out of a one note bass line than any other.  The first New Wave #1? Could be. I like to tell people that my wife's nickname is Sharona and that the song was written about her. Apparently, the real Sharona is a real estate agent in L.A.



Got to be Real
Cheryl Lynn
Weeks in Hot 100: 18
Peaked: February 17
Album: Cheryl Lynn (Columbia)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 10012
 R&B1
 Disco11

There's absolutely nothing in this song that doesn't work: the bass and horns intro to the funky groove to the countermelody to the key change to the backing vocals, more horns, great vocals, and did I mention that groove. Never fails to get me moving. Written by Lynn, David Foster, and Toto keyboardist David Paich.

During the 1997-98 school year, I taught 8th grade English (holycowwasthatreally21yearsago?? Those kids are now in their mid 30s. Sheesh.). Not being much for classroom management, my classes were always a little loose (but test scores were fantastic - my administrators never could quite wrap their head around the dichotomy of noisy learning). One day, out of the blue, a student named Nick sang the intro to this song and, within seconds, the whole class joined in the singing, including myself. (It was probably just a few students and myself, but "whole class" makes for a better story.) That scene in room 104 always comes to mind when I hear this song now. (End of parentheticals).



Rise
Herb Alpert
Weeks in Hot 100: 25
Peaked: October 20
Album: Rise (A&M)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 1001
 Adult Contemporary1
 R&B4
 Disco17

If there's such a thing as a laid back disco tune, this is it.  This song became popular as I was learning to play trumpet and I was hooked immediately. I even bought the sheet music so I could play along with Herb.  It came with the lyrics which I've never heard sung other than by myself:


Of all the songs here in the top ten, this record was the first I purchased. Heck, I had lawn mowing earnings burning a hole in my pocket, so why not?



I Want You to Want Me
Cheap Trick
Weeks in Hot 100: 19
Peaked: July 21
Album: Cheap Trick at Budokan (Epic)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 1007

One of the great live singles and great love song to boot. A power pop song that rocks so hard that it needs two guitar solos, a drum break, and a live version that is miles ahead of the studio version.  This song reminds me of my childhood friend Robert - we rode our bikes and threw the Frisbee a lot in the summer of '79.



Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough
Michael Jackson
Weeks in Hot 100: 21
Peaked: October 13
Album: Off the Wall (Epic)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 1001
 R&B1
 Disco2

One of the great album openers. Check your pulse if you can sit still during this one because the force got a lot of power. Just when you think it can't get any better, an instrumental bridge kicks in at 2:40  with a guitar solo over horns and there's so much going on I don't know what to listen to and it doesn't really matter. Just listening to the syncopated cowbell part gets me going.



What a Fool Believes
The Doobie Brothers
Weeks in Hot 100: 20
Peaked: April 14
Album: Minute by Minute (Warner Bros.)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 1001
 Adult Contemporary22
 Disco40

According to the creators of the term "yacht rock," this is the ultimate yacht rock song, scoring a perfect 100 on their Yachtski Scale. All that is well and good, but this had quite the pedigree before that. In addition to topping the charts, it won three Grammy awards, including two top awards at the end of the broadcast:
  1. Record of the Year 
  2. Song of the Year
  3. Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocals 
Never heard the Jim Burgess 12" disco remix? Treat yo self:


I have tickets to see Michael McDonald in July and if he doesn't play both this song and "Minute by Minute" I can't be held responsible for my actions.



We are Family
Sister Sledge
Weeks in Hot 100: 19
Peaked: June 16
Album: We are Family (Cotillion)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 1002
 Adult Contemporary30
 R&B1
 Disco1

I always call this song "the best Chic single of all-time" and that's tongue-in-cheek but it's really not, is it? The single version gets me dancing every time, but the 8:20 full version is spectacular because Bernard Edwards lays down a great bass solo. How could bass playing be both understated and funky at the same time?  Check out his work at the break about 3:55 into the title track. It's one of the few overplayed '70s tunes that could be played every hour and it probably wouldn't bother me. To that short list, please add...



September
Earth, Wind & Fire
Weeks in Hot 100: 17
Peaked: February 10
Album: The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol. 1 (Columbia)

 U.S. charts:
 Hot 1008
 Adult Contemporary41
 R&B1

Not only the best song of 1979, this is one of the all-time greats. I gave it a grade of A+ a few years back and that seems low.



All chart positions are peak positions from Billboard charts. These are my personal top 79 singles of those that peaked on the Billboard charts in 1979. The list is solely my opinion. Using Joel Whitburn's book, Pop Annual 1955-1999, I started with the 475 singles that peaked on Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 chart in 1979. An initial pass through that list narrowed it down to 105 tunes, then listening, ranking, and editing began. The top 79 are presented here, in order.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Counting down my Top 79 of '79: Singles #26 - 11


A breakdown of my top singles from 1979




Title
Artist
Pop
AC
R&B
Disco
26
"Is She Really Going Out with Him"
Joe Jackson
21



25
"I Do Love You"
GQ
20

5

24
"Blow Away"
George Harrison
16
2


23
"Born to Be Alive"
Patrick Hernandez
16


1
22
"Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'"
Journey
16



21
"Shine a Little Love"
Electric Light Orchestra
8
40


20
"A Little More Love"
Olivia Newton-John
3
4


19
"Bicycle Race/Fat Bottomed Girls"
Queen
24






Title
Artist
Pop
AC
R&B
Disco
18
"My Life"
Billy Joel
3
2


17
"Arrow Through Me"
Wings
29
29


16
"Heartache Tonight"
Eagles
1
38


15
"Boogie Wonderland"
Earth, Wind & Fire
6

2
14
14
"Cruel to be Kind"
Nick Lowe
12
36


13
"What You Won't Do for Love"
Bobby Caldwell
9
10
6

12
"After the Love has Gone"
Earth, Wind & Fire
2
3
2

11
"Morning Dance"
Spyro Gyra
24
1
60





All chart positions are peak positions from Billboard charts. These are my personal top 79 singles of those that peaked on the Billboard charts in 1979. The list is solely my opinion. Using Joel Whitburn's book, Pop Annual 1955-1999, I started with the 475 singles that peaked on Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 chart in 1979. An initial pass through that list narrowed it down to 105 tunes, then listening, ranking, and editing began. The top 79 are presented here, in order.