Thursday, October 20, 2016

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

I'm breaking down the AT40 show of October 24, 1981 track by track.  For a look at #40-31 click here, for #30-21 click here, and for #20-11 click here.

So what was I doing around the time of this AT40 episode's broadcast?  I was a sophomore in high school and according to my transcript, my schedule looked something like this:
Marching Band
Algebra II
World History
Of those six classes, five were taught by what I consider to be bad teachers - some apathetic, some incompetent, some clueless, and some D) all of the above. So I had a rough year academically, but I took the blame (you'd think after 35 years, I'd let it go already). I was also a spotlight operator for the school's fall musical production of Grease even though I was more talented than most of the cast members (you'd think after 35 years, I'd let it go already). On this particular weekend, I marched during halftime of the October 23 high school football game where Bay City defeated Wharton 24-7. If memory serves, the marching show around that time was a theme show based on the Six Flags over Texas (what? you thought Six Flags was just a theme park chain?). So we played a Spanish song, a French song, etc., ending with an arrangement of Neil Diamond's "America."  We brought out an America flag so the crowd would feel obligated to stand and applaud - a tried and true marching band method for receiving a standing ovation.

In 1981, episodes of AT40 in Houston were broadcast on Sundays from 10 AM - 2 PM so I was at church singing in the choir during the first half of the show. I would stick a C-120 into my little Panasonic radio/cassette player, hit record before I left the house, and hope for the best.

Now, on with the countdown:

#10: "I've Done Everything for You" by Rick Springfield. Springfield's third Top 40 hit is a Sammy Hagar cover that would peak at #8 during 12 weeks in the Top 40. A great pop-rock song that's got hooks for days. My sister had a cassette copy of Working Class Dog that I may or may not have taken for my own personal use.

#9:  "The Night Owls" by The Little River Band. For my rankings of Little River Band songs, click here. This song doesn't fare well in my LRB bracket, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad song. I dig the minor shuffle groove going on here. This was the group's 8th of 13 Top 40 singles. It would peak at #6 on AT40 but only manage to get to #33 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

#8:  "Hard to Say" by Dan Fogelberg. This reminds me more of James Taylor than Fogelberg, so I like it more than most Folgelberg tunes. However, I still don't consider myself a Dan Fan. That said, I can still sing along with Glenn Frey on the harmony vocals. Bonus points for hiring Tom Scott for the sax solo. This single would peak on next week's chart at #7.

Long Distance Dedication:  "Upside Down" by Diana Ross. Jeff, from Leesburg, Virginia, writes about meeting a girl on a high school field trip. You see where this is going. The long distance relationship tried to carry on through letters, but was destined to fail. Jeff vows that he broke up with the girl, as he puts it, "not because I didn't love her anymore, but because I loved her too much, too soon." I give it a big eyeroll, but at least this dedication is actually long distance, unlike the earlier LDD. And you can't do much better than this #1 hit from 1980. Ross + Chic = disco/funk gold. This is the second of three Ross appearances on this episode of AT40.

#7:  "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers.  This stalled at the #3 spot for 6 weeks before dropping here to #7. Petty's and Nicks' voices are perfectly suited to each other and when you put them together over a fantastic Benmont Tench organ part, you got a great rock song. I would think it strange that Petty would give away one of his better tunes to Nicks for her solo album, but I woulda given Stevie anything she asked for, too. Can't blame him.

Before unveiling the #6 single, Casey runs down the tops of other Billboard charts.  Here are the #1's for the week of October 24:
Am I the only one that thinks it strange that the #1 Country and R&B songs are nowhere to be found in the Top 40? "Never Been So Loved" wasn't even in the Hot 100 on October 24 while "Never Too Much" was at #52. I'm sure there's a reason for the inconsistent charting, but it probably doesn't make sense.

#6:  "Private Eyes" by Hall & Oates. If there was one act almost all the cliques in my high school could agree on, it was Hall & Oates. I loved H&O and would sing along to all the hits, just like everyone I knew. And who could resist "Private eyes <clap> they're watching you <clap, clap>" and the cheesy trench coat video?

This smash would go on top the chart for two weeks in November before ceding the #1 spot to ONJ's "Physical."

#5:  "Step by Step" by Eddie Rabbitt.  First off, why isn't this #1 on the Country chart? For the record (pun not intended), it was #18 on the Country singles chart this week but had been at #1 the week prior. Not my favorite Rabbitt tune but sawite. As a wannabe ladies man, I took Eddie's step by step instructions in the song to heart. Didn't work for me, but whatever. This one peaked right here at #5.

#4:  "For Your Eyes Only" by Sheena Easton. Ah, the lovely Sheena singing a Bond theme. The song's better than the movie. I like early Sheena just fine but prefer her later work with Prince. This movie theme was written by Bill Conti and would peak here at #4 and would only make it to #6 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

#3:  "Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones. My second favorite Stones tune behind "Gimme Shelter," I remember this blasting from the pick-up trucks in the high school parking lot before school. In an attempt to be cool like those kids, I bought the Tattoo You album.  Good move on my part. This song, the group's 33rd(!) Top 40 hit, spent three weeks in the #2 position on the pop chart, but spent a remarkable, but unsurprising, 13 weeks atop the Rock chart.

#2:  "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie. Another beautiful Richie ballad ("Oh No" was earlier at #23). I don't particularly care for this song anymore, but I can sing both duet parts if you need that sort of thing. During fall 1982, I rode with a older neighbor to marching band rehearsal each morning (band started at 7:15 AM, school started an hour later). This neighbor loved "Endless Love" endlessly and had the cassette of the movie soundtrack. So, for three months, she'd listen to the first track on side one (this song), then flip over the cassette and listen to the last track on side two (titled "Endless Love Reprise" and it was the same damn song), then back to side one, repeat ad nauseum.  Never seen the movie, btw.
Before telling us the #1 single, Casey gives us the top 5 films of 1981 (to date) as 3 of the top 4 songs are from motion picture soundtracks. Here's the list:
  1. Tarzan
  2. Arthur
  3. Stripes
  4. Superman II
  5. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Timpani roll...

#1:  "Arthur's Theme" by Christopher Cross. I loves me some Burt Bacharach plus you've got Toto as the backing band. Then add Ernie Watts on sax solo and Michael Omartian's production and what you've got is a perfect storm of smoothness. The song won the Oscar for Best Original Song as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. This was the song's second of three weeks in the top spot on this chart you just know that something this smooth topped the Adult Contemporary charts, too. Never seen the movie, btw.

"Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

Previously, I've looked at these AT40 episodes track by track:
September 18, 1982
July 19, 1980
June 9, 1979

No comments :

Post a Comment