Wednesday, June 10, 2015

AT40, June 9, 1979 [Part 2 of 4]


I'm breaking down the AT40 show of June 9, 1979 track by track.  For an introduction and a look at #40-31, click here.

#30:  "Gold" by John Stewart.  Stewart was more known for his songwriting than his singing. With production by Lindsey Buckingham and background vocals by Stevie Nicks, this sounds like a mid-'70s Fleetwood Mac hit.[1]  I didn't care much for this one back in '79 but I don't mind it these days.  This was the song's second of thirteen weeks on the chart; it would reach as high as #5 in early August.

#29:  "Dance the Night Away" by Van Halen.  Lots of good rock songs start off with a cowbell, huh? My introduction to Eddie and the boys, although I quickly went back and acquainted myself with the debut album.  Good stuff with typical Roth screaming, high flying background vocals on the chorus, and a great tap harmonic riff at the bridge.  The song would peak at #15 on July 14.

#28:  "Bad Girls" by Donna Summer. The highest debut on this week's countdown.  Summer and Moroder and the peak of their disco powers.  A huge hit, this would spend a total of 15 weeks in the Top 40, five of those weeks in the #1 spot.  It also hit #1 on the R&B chart and, of course, #1 on the disco chart.

#27:  "Heart of Glass" by Blondie. Before I had even heard of MTV, I remember seeing the promotional video for Heart Of Glass at my grandmother's house.  I thought about buying the band's Parallel Lines album, but couldn't pull the trigger for some reason (no money, I'm guessing).  As a 12 year old boy, seeing Debbie Harry in a sheer dress dancing around Studio 54 made me feel funny.[2]  This hit single was #1 in the April 28 countdown and was descending the charts on this date.  It would drop to #38 the next week before leaving the AT40 after a 14 week run.

#26:  "Love is the Answer" by England Dan & John Ford Coley.  A soft rock classic with a gospel-like section in the middle.  An excellent cover of a Todd Rundgren tune (the choice of adding a saxophone was inspired).  I could listen to this one all day.  The duo's final Top 40 hit, it peaked at #10 in late May; this episode marked the song's tenth and final week in the Top 40.  It also spent 2 weeks atop the Adult Contemporary charts.

#25:  "Shine a Little Love" by Electric Light Orchestra.  As an ELO fan, I was elated when they decided to make a disco album.  Our family moved to the Texas Gulf Coast in August 1978 and I'm fairly certain that the band's Discovery LP was the first one I purchased after said move, based solely on the strength of this single.  The song was ascending the chart on this date; it would spend 11 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at #8 in late July.

#24:  "I Want You to Want Me" by Cheap Trick.  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 that summer.  The song is still a favorite.  It would go on to peak at #7 and spend 13 weeks in the Top 40.

#23:  "Get Used to It" by Roger Voudouris.  Now we're treated to some West Coast stylings.  Roger has a singing voice than reminds me of Elton John.  Writer/producer Michael Omartian put out much better West Coast releases later in his career.  Not a great song; I can't manage anything more than a meh.[3]  Despite the fact that Voudouris boasted he would be bigger than Elvis and The Beatles, this was his only Top 40 hit.  Sadly, he died in 2003 at age 48.  This song spent 10 weeks in the Top 40, peaking at #21.  The video (featuring wings, designer jeans, gold chain, velour v-neck, pastel colors, and a wind machine) is not to be missed:

#22:  "Ain't Love a Bitch" by Rod Stewart.  I vaguely remember this shuffle - it didn't do much for me in '79 and I feel the same today.  At #22, it had reached its peak in its six weeks in the Top 40.

AT40 Archives:  "Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney & Wings.  As Miller continues to play the #1 songs of the 1970's, he plays this song which spent one week at #1 in June 1974. This song is a medley of fragments, a classic McCartney technique that he developed when he was in the Beatles.  Most songwriters couldn't pull it off, but McCartney writes hooks such that they all segue into a #1 single.  It also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.

#21: "Hot Number" by Foxy. The Latin dance group's second and final Top 40 hit, this song peaked here at #21 in its nine weeks in the Top 40.  It also reached #4 on the R&B chart and #26 on the disco chart.  Not surprisingly, this single sounds almost identical to their first hit, Get Off.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?  As such, it's a pleasant little disco number, but nothing I'd run out to buy. 

More to come...


  1. HOLY FREAKIN' COW! With one exception, this is a Dream Team of songs, including the extra one from 1974.

    Clearly, you missed the appeal of hearing the B-word on the radio as a 13 year old. It was a fairly big deal for about a week in my circle of geeks.

    1. I had already giggled with my friends about B-word on the radio back in '74 with The Bitch is Back and again in '77 with Rich Girl. More exciting was Debbie Harry telling me love was a pain the ass.

    2. The EJ useage was over my head at the time as I have never been the sharpest spoon in the drawer. But damn I forgot that "Rich Girl" got me in trouble for singing along loudly in the halls of Maplewood Elementary School. I also got detention (aka locker face time) for substituting a few choice words into the lyrics of "Convoy". Much to my future lovers dismay, I got all the dirty talk out of my system early on in life. It worked out though cause I found a "Sweet Talkin' Woman".

  2. A very strong set of ten here. I was never a big fan of the Rod Stewart song though.