Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Bracketology: 1980 Adult Contemporary singles, Finals

So today's picks will leave many of you disappointed in me and it wouldn't be the first time.
  • Semifinal #1: While I enjoy "All Things Are Possible," it doesn't immediately take me back to 8th grade memories at McAllister Middle School like "Lead Me On" does. Hooks a'plenty. I didn't really understand the lyrics then, but that didn't keep me from singing them at the top of lungs, much to my mother's dismay. To her credit, she never told me stop singing.
  • Semifinal #2:  Elsewhere on this blog, I once wrote the following about "Where Were You When I Was Falling in Love:" "This one doesn't float my boat.  I find it boring, but it's harmless enough." That means another upset victory for Stevie, setting up an unprecedented 7 seed vs. 8 seed match-up in the final round.

Check back as we crown the champion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Bracketology: 1980 Adult Contemporary singles, Semifinals

Let's see how the quarterfinal match-ups panned out - bracket-busting-upset-alert!:
  • Quarterfinal #1: We start with upset number one - an eight over one, at that! There's nothing particularly wrong with the Air Supply tune - I like the thing, but Lead Me On is soooo freakin' smooth.
  • Quarterfinal #2: The Dan Peek tune didn't crack the Top 40, but the former voice of the group America gets the edge here with this CCM tune, if only for the Brain Wilson-esque bridge.
  • Quarterfinal #3: I've been hating "The Rose" for 40 years now.
  • Quarterfinal #4:  Tough choice here. The Souther tune is a great homage to Roy Orbison (complete with falsetto) with help from Jackson Browne and members of The Eagles.  The song is so true in style that I originally thought it was from the '60s. Elsewhere on this very blog,  I gave "Send One Your Love" a grade of B+ and wrote "it's Wonder writing a memorable ascending melody over descending chords beautifully provided by electric piano and background vocals.  Love that contrary motion.  Plus, I love a sweet Stevie Wonder harmonica solo." Advantage Wonder simply because he's Stevie Effin' Wonder. Seven seed over a two.

Check back for the final round match-up.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Bracketology: 1980 Adult Contemporary singles, Quarterfinals

I've created this bracket of the top eight Adult Contemporary singles from 1980 and we'll match them against each other, round by round, until a winner emerges. I hope you'll play along as I'm sure your bracket will turn out differently from mine. Singles and seedings taken directly from the December 20, 1980 issue of Billboard magazine:

  • Quarterfinal #1: "Lost in Love" by Air Supply (#1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts for 6 weeks) vs. "Lead Me On" by Maxine Nightingale (#1 for 7 weeks)
  • Quarterfinal #2: "Broken Hearted Me" by Anne Murray (#1 for 5 weeks) vs. "All Things Are Possible" by Dan Peek (#6)
  • Quarterfinal #3: "The Rose" by Bette Midler (#1 for 5 weeks) vs. "Where Were You When  I Was Falling in Love" by Lobo (#1 for 3 weeks)
  • Quarterfinal #4: "You're Only Lonely" by J.D. Souther (#1 for 5 weeks) vs. "Send One Your Love" by Stevie Wonder  (#1 for 4 weeks)

I'll stipulate the majority of these tunes are from 1979 --

AC chart debut
Lost in Love
You're Only Lonely
The Rose
Broken Hearted Me
All Things are Possible
Where Were You...
Send One Your Love
Lead Me On

-- but I'm going to keep the same seeding methodology that I've used for other bracketology appearances on this blog. ("A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson 😉).

Fill out your bracket with your personal favorites and check back for the semifinal round.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

MFD Random Five #51

In which I shuffle through some music files and listen to the first five songs from the years 1976-85 that randomly pop up.

  1. "Lay It Down" by Ratt (1985, Atlantic)
    I always considered Ratt to be a poor man's Van Halen even though they're more hair metal, but man-oh-man that's a sweet opening riff. If only the chorus could keep pace. Peaking at #40 for one week in August of 1985, was the band's second and final Top 40 hit.

  2. "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg (1979, Epic)
    I disliked this song when it was on the charts because I thought it was schmaltzy. Now that I'm a lot older and slightly more mature, I think it is one of the most beautiful ballads this side of The Beatles' "Yesterday." Shout out to the incomparable Jerry Hey for the flugelhorn solo.

  3. "Stand By" by Roman Holliday (1983, Jive)
    I almost hate myself for liking this Stray Cats-meets-Sha Na Na rockabilly number.  I like it now, but if I had heard it in 1983, I would have hated it. Discovered this tune in the late 90's via Rhino's spectacular CD series Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s.

  4. "It Might Be You" by Stephen Bishop (1983, Warner Bros.)
    From the 1982 movie Tootsie, this single peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. We love the soft rock goodness of Bish around here and this song fits right in that category. I only recently discovered Bishops's 1980 album, Red Cab To Manhattan, which I recommend. Anyway, this song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1983, losing to Up Where We Belong.

  5. "Birdland" by Freddie Hubbard (1982, Elektra/Musician)
    Birdland was first released by Weather Report in 1977 and quickly became a standard. Maynard Ferguson and The Manhattan Transfer, among others, quickly released versions of their own. Heck, by the early '80s, high school bands all over the country were playing arrangements. The stellar, melodic material actually lends itself to any sort of jazz group (combo, big band, etc); this direct-to-digital big band version isn't the best I've heard, but it's certainly not the worst.