Wednesday, April 8, 2015

AT40, July 19, 1980 [Part 2 of 4]


I'm breaking down the AT40 show of July 19, 1980 track by track.  For an introduction and a look at #40-31, click here.

#30:  "Into the Night" by Benny Mardones.  Benny sounds like Steve Perry, doesn't he?  Sure, the lyrics are creepy (a 30-something man singing about his obsession with a 16 year-old girl), but ignore those and the music is great.  So good, in fact, that it hit the Top 40 twice: here in 1980 when it peaked at #11 and again in 1989 when it peaked at #20 (full story on that chart resurgence can be found here).  "Into the Night" was Mardones' only Top 40 hit, but since it charted twice can he still be called a one hit wonder?  Judges ruling?  Yes, he can.

#29:  "Old-Fashion Love" by Commodores.  A minor hit for the boys from Tuskegee, but the group could do no wrong around this time.  A funky change of pace for the band that had increasingly drifted to Lionel Richie ballads (Still, Sail On, Oh No, etc) as singles.  This one peaked at #8 on the R&B chart and spent 11 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at #20 on August 30.  My favorite part?  The falsetto background vocals throughout, particularly at the chorus.  Not Casey's best introduction: "...a song about old fashion love called 'Old-Fashion Love.'"

Long Distance Dedication: "Danny's Song" by Loggins & Messina is dedicated to new father Bill from his brother in Polynesia. Amazingly, this 1971 song never charted in the Hot 100 (wha!?! coulda knocked me over with a feather), but a cover by Anne Murray was a #7 hit in 1972.  It's good enough that it should have hit the chart both times, but didn't.  I recently placed this song at #8 on my list of top 10 Kenny Loggins tunes.

#28:  "Take a Little Rhythm" by Ali Thomson.  Another one hit wonder appears.  Driven by relentless acoustic guitar chugging and a soprano sax line reminiscent of Tom Scott's work on McCartney's "Listen to What the Man Said," it's a catchy little thing.  Just enough country influence to remind me of Pure Prairie League or England Dan & John Ford Coley which is odd since Thomson is Scottish.  It peaked at #15 in its 9 weeks in the Top 40.

#27:  "Against the Wind" by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band.  I'm by no means a Seger fan, but this song has grown on me over the years, mainly because of the harmony vocals on the chorus and the thoughtful piano licks that fill in between the choppy lyrics.  This week, the song was on its chart descent from its 3 week peak at #5 back in June.  This would be its final week in the Top 40, dropping to #41 the next week.

#26:  "Stand By Me" by Mickey Gilley.  Don't care for it.  Some songs should never be covered and this is one of them.  From the soundtrack to Urban Cowboy, this song peaked at #22 on the pop chart and topped the country chart.  It would be Gilley's only Top 40 pop hit.  The Ben E. King version would hit the Top 10 twice, in 1961 it peaked at #4 (#1 R&B) and in 1986 it peaked at #9.

#25:  "Let My Love Open the Door" by Pete Townshend.  During this part of his career, Townshend left his rock background and wrote more popish music.  Fine with me.  Critics didn't take to the change of pace, but I like this song (especially the synth parts) as well as the music he wrote for the Who's Face Dances album around the same time.  Eventually spending 12 weeks in the Top 40, this song would go on to peak at #9 for three weeks in August.

#24:  "Misunderstanding" by Genesis.  This was my introduction to Genesis and, maybe because the song bears more than a passing resemblance to the chorus of  "Hot Fun in the Summertime," I like it.  I later came to appreciate the whole Duke album, which remains my favorite of this group as it is more prog pop than prog rock.  The song spent 11 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at #14 on August 16.

#23:  "Sailing" by Christopher Cross. My love for yacht rock has already been established so I don't think I need to say much more (but I will).  So smooth and relaxing, the only things that bothers me is Cross' inability to enunciate.  This would hit the #1 spot on August 30.  It was also #10 on the Adult Contemporary chart and would go on to win Grammy awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Arrangement of the Year. In 2007, VH1 named the song the greatest "softsational soft rock" music song of all time.  I think they meant that as a snarky put down, but that don't fly at this house.

#22:  "Empire Strikes Back (Medley)" by Meco.  Trombonist/producer Meco Monardo made some decent money recording disco versions of movie themes.  This isn't his best effort, but as 14 year old kid, I dug it because it's cheesy fun and what did I know, anyway?  Not something I'll seek out to listen to, but hearing it on AT40 is okay.  This disco medley would spend 8 weeks on the chart, peaking at #18.

AT40 Archives:  "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" by Connie Francis.  As Casey continues to play the #1 songs of the 1960's, he plays this song which stayed at the top spot for two weeks in July 1960.  It's a fun flashback to that kind of girl pop of the late '50s/early '60s.  Francis had a total of 35(!) songs hit the Top 40 during the years 1958-1964, including three #1's.

#21: "All Night Long" by Joe Walsh.  I always like Walsh's songs because it feels like we're just hanging out at his backyard BBQ while he and his friends are just throwing together some great tunes.  It's just that laid back.  And I have no doubt that Walsh's BBQs would last all night long.  This is another track from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack.  It would peak at #19 during its 8 week chart run.

More to come...

1 comment :

  1. God help me, I so love singing along with Mr. Mardones in his imorral not too mention illegal pursuit of an underage girl. Has it ever been made clear whether he is playing the character of a teen-aged suitor within the lyrics? The opening line kinda blows that theory out of the water but for all we know and hope, the song's Romeo is but a few months older than his Juliet but I digress. I sing this song until my entire throat hurts, struggling and straining to hit those notes. It is one of those time travelling songs that takes me back to Summer 1980 every time I hear it.

    Love me some Seger and that song in particular takes on more resonance as the sands in the hourglass of my life increasingly fall prey to gravity. Damnit, it does seem just like yesterday.

    And Joe Walsh is a goofy guitar god, never taking himself too seriously but still able to reel off rocking riffs with ease. Truth be told, life has been real good and I.L.B.T.'s too.