Monday, January 17, 2022

10 Great Soft Rock Tunes from 1982

Please check out my list of soft rock tunes from 1982 by clicking the link below:

Second in an ongoing series. Previous entries below:


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Billboard's Top Jazz Artists 1976-85

Not sure if they still do it, but years ago Billboard would list its top jazz artists in its year-end issues, based on album sales for that year. Here's a sample list from 1982:

I'm guessing the results were based on both chart peak as well as the number of weeks the artists' albums spent on the charts. Regardless, I took the results of the 10 lists from the years 1976-85 and ran them through a simple algorithm. Here's a countdown of the top ten jazz artists for the decade along with albums that placed on the Billboard Jazz Album charts during those years:

Album Jazz Chart
Main Squeeze4
Chase the Clouds Away30
Land of Make Believe21
Feels So Good1
The Best of Chuck Mangione23
Children of Sanchez1
Live at the Hollywood Bowl5
Fun and Games1
Love Notes8
70 Miles Young19
Journey to a Rainbow10

Album Jazz Chart
Taking Off19
Promise Me the Moon27
Heart to Heart16
As We Speak1
Straight to the Heart1


Album Jazz Chart
Spyro Gyra14
Morning Dance2
Catching the Sun1
City Kids2
Access All Areas1
Alternating Currents3

Album Jazz Chart
Lucky Seven3
All Around the Town3
Sign of the Times2
Hands Down3
The Genie5


Album Jazz Chart
Chain Reaction1
Those Southern Knights2
The Best of The Crusaders18
Free as the Wind1
Street Life1
Rhapsody and Blues1
Standing Tall2
Royal Jam5
Ghetto Blaster3

Album Jazz Chart
Look to the Rainbow5
All Fly Home2
This Time1
Breakin' Away1
High Crime2
In London10

Album Jazz Chart
Bright Size Life28
Pat Metheny Group5
New Chautauqua3
American Garage1
As Falls Wichita...1
First Circle2

Album Jazz Chart
Earl Klugh16
Living Inside Your Love8
Finger Paintings6
Magic in Your Eyes4
Heart String2
Dream Come True4
Late Night Guitar4
Crazy for You2
Low Ride2
Wishful Thinking1
Soda Fountain Shuffle3
Key Notes30

Album Jazz Chart
Mister Magic1
Feels So Good1
A Secret Place1
Live at The Bijou1
Reed Seed1
Anthology (Motown)11
Come Morning1
The Best is Yet to Come2
Inside Moves3
Anthology (Elektra)37

Album Jazz Chart
Good King Bad3
The Other Side of Abbey Road28
Blue Benson23
In Flight1
In concert - Carnegie Hall6
Weekend in L.A.1
Livin' Inside Your Love1
Give Me the Night1
The George Benson Collection1
In Your Eyes1

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Promo posters as seen on "WKRP in Cincinnati" #70

Albums: The Blues Brothers - Original Soundtrack (Atlantic, 1980),  Billboard magazine (July 21, 1979 issue, pg. 83), Kraftwerk - Computer World (1981, Warner Bros.), Ringo Starr - Stop and Smell the Roses (Boardwalk, 1981), John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Double Fantasy (Geffen, 1980).
Episode:  Season 4, Episode 13, "Changes"
Original air date: Wednesday, January 27, 1982

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Bubbling Under 1981

The following songs didn't quite make Billboard's Hot 100 list in 1981, peaking at positions 101-110. Nevertheless, there's some good tunes here that deserve a second listen and at least one that has had some real staying power over the last 40+ years.

Below is a Mixcloud show containing 14 of the Bubbling Under tunes followed by an annotated playlist:

"Look Up!"
Patrice Rushen
From the album Posh
Written by Patrice Rushen, Charles Mims, Jr., Sheree Brown
Produced by Charles Mims, Jr & Patrice Rushen

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under102
 R & B13

Patrice Rushen put out a series of wonderful singles on Elektra from about 1977-87 yet only one song became a Top 40 pop hit. This fact absolutely baffles me. However, her singles did much better on Billboard's Dance and R&B charts. As this single illustrates, Rushen had a fantastic blend of R&B, pop, disco, and jazz in her music.

"Goodbye Elenore"
From the album Turn Back
Written by David Paich
Produced by Toto & Geoff Workman

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under107

For the guitar-heavy, arena-rock Turn Back album, the band seems to have come up with some great, aggressive riffs and then didn't do much with them. But the classic Toto chops are on full display, so it's got that going for it. The shuffle groove here reminds me a little of Boston's "Smokin'" so maybe that's what they were going for.

"Once in a Lifetime"
Talking Heads
From the album Remain in Light
Written by David Byrne, Brian Eno, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth
Produced by Brian Eno

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under103

The band's signature tune wasn't the most successful on the charts, but even after 40+ years, I never tire of hearing it. Classic. A live version of the tune later peaked in the Hot 100 at #91 in 1985.

"Send a Little Love My Way (As Always)"
Stephen Bishop
From the album Red Cab to Manhattan
Written by Stephen Bishop
Produced by Mike Mainieri & Tommy LiPuma

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under108
 Adult Contemporary31

With a supporting cast that includes Steve Gadd, Dean Parks, and Mainieri, this single is a little piece of soft rock heaven yet it only hit #31 on the AC chart. Go figure.

"Generals and Majors"
From the album Black Sea
Written by Colin Moulding
Produced by Steve Lillywhite

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under104

I can't explain why XTC wasn't bigger in the US. Maybe they were a bit too quirky. The band's pop songwriting was always top-notch and this anti-war song is no exception. It did better in the band's native UK, peaking at #32.

"Time Heals"
Todd Rundgren
From the album Healing
Written by Todd Rundgren
Produced by Todd Rundgren

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under107

Daryl Hall once said, "I think [Todd Rundgren] writes great religious music. He just doesn't have very many members of his church." Well, I'm a member. This upbeat tune is typical Rundgren with all his familiar chord progressions and cadences. This tune sometimes gets a mention in the annals of pop culture as its video was the eighth music video to air on MTV during its launch on August 1, 1981.

"Two Lonely Nights"
Nielsen Pearson
From the album Nielsen/Pearson
Written by Reed Nielsen and Mark Pearson
Produced by Richard Landis

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under110

From the album that spawned the duo's only Top 40 hit, "If You Should Sail," this single doesn't quite meet that song's standard, but its a decent, smooth westcoast joint. Odd choice for single release - it's good album filler, but it's still filler. Is that Tom Scott on a lyricon solo?

"Second Choice"
Any Trouble
From the album Where Are All the Nice Girls?
Written by Clive Gregson
Produced by John Wood

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under108

The entire Where Are All the Nice Girls? is full of hook-laden power pop and is highly recommended for fans of Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Marshall Crenshaw, early Joe Jackson, etc.

"Summer Strut"
Spyro Gyra
From the album Freetime
Written by Jeremy Wall
Produced by Jay Beckenstein & Richard Calandra

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under108

Spyro Gyra hit the Top 40 in 1979 with "Morning Dance" and the MCA label spent the next few years releasing singles in an attempt to duplicate that success. Top 40 success never came again for the band, but they earned a lifelong fan in me, if that helps them any. If you watched the Weather Channel back in the '80s and '90s, you might have caught this tune in a "Local on the 8's" segment.

"One Step Ahead"
Split Enz
From the album Waiata
Written by Neil Finn
Produced by David Tickle

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under104

The best cut on the Waiata album (pronounced why-arter), this song's hook isn't immediate, but once it grabs hold, it's in my ears for days. Another early MTV participant, the video for this song was the 28th aired on the network.

"Talk to Ya Later"
The Tubes
From the album The Completion Backward Principle
Written by The Tubes, David Foster & Steve Lukather
Produced by David Foster

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under101

Reportedly, the album was lacking a clear cut single. So, producer David Foster, well known for bringing in session musicians if the band isn't meeting his standards, brought in Toto guitarist Steve Lukather was brought in to co-write and do the guitar work here. Nevertheless, it's the lead track on the album and, as such, grabbed my attention immediately when Jim, a high school buddy, loaned me his cassette of The Completion Backward Principle, a tasty collection of catchy, high gloss power pop. I wore that tape out. And then returned it. Sorry, Jim.

"Beautiful World"
From the album New Traditionalists
Written by Gerald Casale & Mark Mothersbaugh
Produced by Devo

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under109

The lyrics of this song start off as positive and upbeat then turn cynical and darker in short order. But I dig the simplistic music. Along with "Through Being Cool," this single is certainly one of the top two tunes on New Traditionalists.

"Tube Snake Boogie"
ZZ Top
From the album El Loco
Written by Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill & Frank Beard
Produced by Bill Ham

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under102

I grew up in the Houston area, so I heard a lot of ZZ Top on the radio and friend's tape decks. I was 14 years old when this song was released and, because of the sexual innuendo or double entendres throughout, me and my friends knew all the lyrics. Typical sex-crazed teenage mindset - it amused me much more as a teenager than it does now as a grandfather who is recently retired. But I guess that's to be expected.

"Going Back to Miami"
The Blues Brothers
From the album Made in America
Written by Wayne Cochran
Produced by Bob Tischler

 U.S. Billboard charts peaks:
 Bubbling Under108

The Blues Brothers weren't actually brothers, didn't play much actual blues music, and weren't particularly funny other than in their 1980 movie, which is fantastic. However, they were able to put together a stellar band (the likes of which hasn't been seen since) and that made all the difference. The band constantly steals the show and in this piece, Tom Scott rips off a reed-melting tenor solo that should have placed this live single in the Hot 100 all on its own.