Tuesday, October 18, 2016

AT40, October 24, 1981 [Part 2 of 4]


I'm breaking down the AT40 show of October 24, 1981 track by track.  For an introduction and a look at #40-31, click here.

#30:  "He's a Liar" by Bee Gees. No memory of this one and for good reason - it's pretty bad. This was the brothers' 27th Top 40 hit and would spend only 4 weeks on AT40, peaking here at #30.

#29:  "Alien" by Atlanta Rhythm Section.  The last of the group's seven Top 40 hits, this single was peaking here at #29 this week. Sounds very much like the group's "So Into You" from 1977, but if it worked once, maybe it would work again? Not a standout track, but not bad.

Long Distance Dedication: "I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher. Letter from a California man, Paul, about his star-crossed teenage love affair with Tina, the girl next door whose parents hated Paul. Long story short: they had a rocky but predestined relationship and are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary and this was the best song he could come up with for a dedication. I fail to see what is "long distance" about this dedication as the couple lives together, but it's Casey's show, so he gets to set the rules.

#28:  "Hold On Tight" by ELO.  The biggest dropper in this week's countdown; it had been #13 the previous week and peaked at #10 before that. I had the Time album and, at the time, mistakenly thought it was a decent concept album. This single didn't seem to match the rest of the album and it always seemed to me that it was tacked on to the end so they could release a hit single. It worked.

#27:  "Atlanta Lady" by Marty Balin.  Another one that I don't remember, but the former Jefferson Starship singer is bringing us some smooth adult contemporary stuff - let's check how it did on the AC chart: #11. If you like JS's "With Your Love" (and I do), you'll like this one.

An Australian listener sent in a letter to Casey asking, "What foreign female has hit #1 the most on the American charts?" Here's the top 3:
3) Petula Clark
2) Helen Reddy
1) Olivia Newton-John
#26:  "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John. What are the odds that Casey would play an ONJ song immediately following that question? (answer: no bookie would take that bet). 1981's biggest hit was at #26 on its second week in the AT40. It would lay claim to the #1 spot for ten consecutive weeks beginning November 21. Sweet, unabashed pop that bore no resemblance to disco or New Wave, this thing was huge but never gets any airplay anymore, probably because nobody wants to admit they still like it (present company excepted).

#25:  "Urgent" by Foreigner. Recorded in a strange, magic place where Foreigner can record at hit single with Thomas Dolby on keyboards and Junior Walker on sax. And legendary producer Mutt Lange makes it all work. Hooks a'plenty, it prompted me to go buy a cassette copy of 4, which got plenty of playing time in our driver's ed "Student Driver" car.

#24:  "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" by The Police. Easily my favorite tune in this week's Top 40. I never tire of hearing it. This wonderful single would peak at #3 on December 5. Think I'll hit the repeat icon a few times. Be right back...

Special Report: "National Anthem as a Hit Record"  Casey tells the story of a recording of the 1968 World Series national anthem performance by Jose Feliciano becoming a "hit," reaching #50.

#23:  "Oh No" by The Commodores. Sounds very much like "Endless Love" which we'll get to a bit later on. I'm tellin' ya: Lionel Richie can write a freakin' ballad. A perfect slow dance song. Alas, if only young Mark had a dancing partner. Enough of this pity party, let's snap out of it with...

#22:  "She's a Bad Mama Jama" by Carl Carlton.  A most excellent funk dance tune. I just can't sit still. This song was in the Top 40 for 7 weeks, peaking here at #22. I will neither confirm nor deny that I use this funky stuff as my phone ringtone assigned to my wife that usually gets results similar to this.

AT40 Archives:  "Crimson and Clover" by Tommy James and The Shondells.  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 February 1969.  A song that straddles the line between bizarre and catchy as all get-out, I love it.

#21: "Waiting for a Girl Like You" by Foreigner.  The follow up to Urgent (#25), in which Foreigner enters the ballad market and I say goodbye to Foreigner. I mentioned earlier that I had 4 on cassette and here's how it would usually go down:
  1. insert cassette
  2. listen to the first 3 tracks of side one
  3. eject and flip cassette when "Waiting for a Girl Like You" begins
  4. insert side 2
  5. hear "Urgent" and the rest of side two
  6. eject cassette 
  7. repeat if desired
My lack of appreciation didn't slow this track's chart action, though. It would spend 10 weeks at #2 on the Top 40, one week at #1 on the Album Rock chart, and a week at #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

More to come...

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