Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Peaked at #31 in 1982

So I'm looking at my Whitburn Pop Annual book at the year 1982 and singles that peaked at #31 on the Hot 100 caught my eye. I thought it perfectly captured the variety of the Top 40 format at the time.  No two songs alike!

"You Dropped A Bomb On Me" by The Gap Band, from the album Gap Band IV, their most successful album release. If I hadn't just seen this at #31, I woulda sworn it was a top ten hit because it sure got a lot of airplay on the Houston area stations I was listening to. That bassline is immediately recognizable and was probably later sampled in plenty of hip hop tunes (I'd look that info up if I was actually interested in it). Love the synth sound of a bomb dropping, too. Now it's a sporting event standard, so it's longevity far outweighs its peak position on the pop charts.

"I Found Somebody" by Glenn Frey, from his first solo album, No Fun Aloud. If I've heard this song before today, I have no memory of it. Maybe that's because there's nothing particularly memorable or remarkable about it. Not a hook to be found and it was the album opener. And yet it charted as high as that Gap Band song? That leaves me scratching my head. Maybe it charted AC? Let's look: yup, peaked at #27. In the chart photo above, the "1" icon between the composers' names and the artist name indicates that this song was Frey's debut on the chart as a solo artist.

"Hooked On Swing" by Larry Elgart and His Manhattan Swing Orchestra, from the album Hooked On Swing. The final "hooked on" medley to chart, this one clocks in at 3:40 but seems much longer. Let's see if I can identify what tunes Larry put over some incessant hand-clapping:

  1. In The Mood
  2. Cherokee
  3. American Patrol
  4. Sing, Sing, Sing
  5. Don't Be That Way
  6. Little Brown Jug
  7. Opus One
  8. Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
  9. A String of Pearls
  10. In The Mood
I've linked the above titles to original swing recordings because 1) you should familiarize yourself with them, and 2) you might need to get the bad ring of the Elgart medley out of your head.

"Genius of Love" by Tom Tom Club, from their self-titled debut album. Like The Gap Band tune above, I thought this one charted higher. It's hard to pick out what I like best about this song - is it the overall groove? the abstract lyrics? "James Browwwwwn"? The crazy dog in the video? In any case, you haven't fully enjoyed the glory of this tune until you've seen 50+ people in a Texas honky-tonk line dancing to it. "Who needs to think when your feet just go?"

"Shanghai Breezes" by John Denver, from his sixteenth album, Seasons of the Heart. Denver's fifteenth and final Top 40 single. I'm going to excuse myself from conversations about this piece due to the following: when I was a junior in high school, the marching band performed a show with a Far Eastern theme, complete with enormous paper fans, a gong, and dragon dance (see below for culturally insensitive, grainy video capture). Even though "Shanghai Breezes" bears no Eastern influence other than it's title, it was selected for inclusion in the drill (heck, it had been on the charts just a few months earlier, so why not?).  As a contrarian sixteen year old, being forced to play cheesy arrangements of John Denver tunes in public didn't endear me to this song and I'll just end it at that.

1 comment :

  1. It is my sincere honor to witness the birth of a new feature here on MFD.

    More PEAKED AT posts please.