Top 40 Songs This Week – April 4, 1981: Songs 20-11

Hi Everybody, welcome back to the Top-40 Countdown. Today, we will be checking out songs 20-11 from the week ending April 5, 1981. You can check out songs 40-31 and 30-21 if you missed them. Unlike yesterday’s post, I know every song out of these 10. There was one that I wasn’t sure of, but I knew it as soon as I heard it. And also unlike yesterday’s post, I like most of these songs. So, let’s Return to the week ending April 5, 1981, and continue the countdown.

20. “Being With You” by Smokey Robinson

I don’t like most of Smokey Robinson’s music, but this song isn’t bad. “Being With You” was Smokey Robinson’s biggest solo hit, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, behind “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes.

19. “Somebody’s Knockin'” by Terri Gibbs

The title “Somebody’s Knockin'” and Terri Gibbs sounded familiar to me, but I did not know this song. But, I remembered it as soon as I played it. It was another one of those early ’80s Country/Pop crossover hits. This song was Terri Gibbs’ debut single. The song’s success led to Gibbs winning the 1981 Academy of Country Music Top Female Vocalist award, and the first Horizon (now New Artist) Award from the Country Music Association.

It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

18. “Her Town Too” by James Taylor and J.D. Souther

Next up is the soothing sounds of James Taylor. This would be Taylor’s last big hit single.

17. “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang

You all know this song. It was played to death when it came out, and still gets played to death today. Some people don’t consider weddings official until this song is played at the reception. When I saw “Celebration” on this list, the first thing that came to mind was how sick of this song I am. However, once it started playing, it put me in a good mood, and made me want to dance.

16. “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton

“9 to 5” was written by Dolly Parton for the comedy film of the same name, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Parton in her film debut.
This song earned Parton an Academy Award nomination and four Grammy Award nominations, winning her the awards for “Best Country Song” and “Best Country Vocal Performance, Female”. In February 1981, it went to number one both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart, respectively. Parton became only the second woman to top both the U.S. country singles chart and Billboard’s Hot 100 with the same single (the first being Jeannie C. Riley, who had done so with “Harper Valley PTA” in 1968).
As overplayed as this song is, I still like it a lot. I love this verse from the song:

They let you dream
Just to watch ’em shatter
You’re just a step
On the boss man’s ladder
But you got dreams he’ll never take away

15. “Angel of the Morning” by Juice Newton

Here is another country crossover hit. I like a lot of Juice Newton’s songs, including this one. “Angel of the Morning” has been covered many times, first by Merrilee Rush in 1968. Juice Newton had the most successful version of the song, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 22 on the Billboard country music chart, and spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart in April.

14. “The Winner Takes It All” by Abba

This is one of my favorite Abba songs. It is so heart wrenching. This would be Abba’s last top 10 hit in the U.S.

13. “I Can’t Stand It” by Eric Clapton and His Band

I’m not an Eric Clapton fan at all, so I really don’t care for this song. The only song I like by him is “It’s In the Way That You Use It“. If an Eric Clapton song comes on, and it’s not that one, then “I can’t stand it.”

12. “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police

A great Police song. There was another version of this song re-recorded in 1986, which is much slower. But, this version is the one I prefer. The Police won the 1982 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for this song. Classic!

11. “Morning Train (Nine To Five)” by Sheena Easton

We’ll cap off the countdown today with the second Nine to Five song. I like this one as well. The title was originally just “Nine to Five”, and peaked at #3 in the U.K. in August 1980. However, by the time it was released in the U.S., the song needed to be retitled to “Morning Train” to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton’s smash hit. Easton’s song went to #1 on both the U.S. pop and adult contemporary charts. It remained at the top for two weeks on Billboard’s pop chart.

So, what did you think of the countdown today? A lot of familiar songs. We’ll wrap up tomorrow with the Top-10 songs of the week. There are some great songs that landed in the top 10, so I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Top 40 Songs This Week – April 4, 1981: Songs 20-11”

  1. Very good list.

    Man, did I overplay “Celebration” back then! There were days where I would play it, rewind the tape and play it again (and again and again…sometimes ten times in a row). Later that year the R&B station started playing another song from them that I really liked. I said to myself, “I need to get that album, too.” Turns out it was on the same album…I never played side 2 for almost a whole year!

    I never actually got tired of that song. I don’t play it as often, and sometimes when it’s on the radio I’ll keep checking other stations, but if there’s nothing else on I’ll listen to it and enjoy it.


    1. That’s funny about the other song. I have their Emergency album, and I love it – well the first side anyway. There are 7 songs on the whole album. The first side had “Emergency”, “Fresh”, “Misled”, and “Cherish”. The second side only had 3 songs, and I don’t think I ever heard any of them. I love Kool & the Gang. I wish they would release new stuff.


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