Top 40 Songs This Week – June 20, 1981: Songs 40-31

Hi Everybody. It is with a heavy heart that I present this week’s Top 40 Countdown. If you have not heard, Casy Kasem passed away yesterday at the age of 82. For those of us who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, Casey Kasem played a big part in our music lives. We could count on him to be on the radio every week (for me, it was Sundays from 9am to Noon) presenting us with the Top 40 songs of the week. It was comfort food for the ears, and I was always sad when the countdown was over, and regular programming came on the radio. It was so nice hearing his voice, learning new facts about our favorite singers or bands, some fun trivia, and of course, the long distance dedications.
I am proud to keep the Top 40 Countdown alive. This week’s countdown will be in honor of Casey.

Before we begin the countdown, here is a trivia question for you. Casey Kasem’s original run of the American Top 40 ran from July 4, 1970 to August 6, 1988. Which was the only band to appear in both Kasem’s first countdown, and his last of this original run? I’ll give you the answer tomorrow.

Finally, one more thing before the countdown. One of the best parts, if not the best part of the countdown, was the week’s Long Distance Dedication. Here is a full long distance dedication from May 10th, 1986:

Now, let’s begin the countdown, as we Return to the week ending June 20, 1981.

40. “The Stroke” by Billy Squier

We’ll start with Billy Squier’s first hit, and signature song.

39. “How ‘Bout Us” by Champaign

Next up, some adult contemporary music. Champaign was an R&B group who named themselves after their hometown, Champaign, Illinois. This was Champaign’s first, and biggest hit.

38. “Angel of the Morning” by Juice Newton

If there is a countdown from the early ’80s, the odds are pretty good that country-crossover star Juice Newton will be on it. “Angel of the Morning” was written by Chip Taylor and became a hit by Merrilee Rush in 1968. It would go on to be recorded by several artists. Juice Newton had the most successful version. In 1981, it reached No. 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.

37. “Too Much Time On My Hands” by Styx

This is an awesome song written by Tommy Shaw from Styx’s Paradise Theater album.

36. “Stronger Than Before” by Carole Bayer Sager

Here is a hit by Carole Bayer Sager, who is better known for her songwriting than singing. She wrote, “A Groovy Kind of Love“, “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)“, and “That’s What Friends Are For“. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.

35. “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington Jr.

This was a big hit for the jazz-funk saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. One of the songwriters was Bill Withers, who also sings this song.

34. “Sweet Baby” by Stanley Clarke/George Duke

This was a pleasant surprise for me. I had never heard this song before. It is a very good R&B/Adult Contemporary song.

33. “Queen of Hearts” by Juice Newton

Nevermind queen of hearts. Juice Newton is queen of the countdown today! This is already her second entry today.

32. “Say What” by Jesse Winchester

This song has that Jimmy Buffett tropical vibe.

31. “Seven Year Ache” by Rosanne Cash

Johnny Cash is one of my all-time favorite artists. Here is his daughter closing out the list today with her first #1 country hit. This was her breakthrough hit, which proved that not only did she have the name, but she had some talent herself.

Well, that’s it for today. Please let me know if you have any memories of the late Casey Kasem. Are there any songs that you would dedicate for him?

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5 thoughts on “Top 40 Songs This Week – June 20, 1981: Songs 40-31”

  1. Answer to trivia question: The Moody Blues…

    July 4, 1970: Question
    August 6, 1988: I Know You’re Out There Somewhere

  2. Never heard of Jesse Winchester until Sunday, when I heard this countdown on my oldies station. Nice surprise.

    I taped “Sweet Baby” off the radio when it first came out, and I’ve had it on iTunes for a while now. I need to add “Just The Two Of Us.” Used to have the album that was on, but I don’t know what I did with it.

    I would like to Long Distance Dedicate Andrew Gold’s “Thank You For Being A Friend” to Mr. Kasem. Never met you, but your friendly voice made my weekends a little better.

    I didn’t realize the original Top 40 ended in ’88. That’s around the time I started the slow drift away from pop music. Coincidence??

    Rest in peace, Casey. Thanks for carrying on his memory with these countdowns!

    1. As for memories of Casey, I have two. In the early to mid 80s my brother and I played on the same Sunday slow-pitch softball team. We’d ride together and listen to the countdown before and after our games. Also, when I’d watch his Top 10 countdown on TV, I used to mimic the hand motions he’d make when he talked. If I recall, he used to put his hands together then sort of point towards the camera.

    2. Maybe you hung on to pop music as long as you did because of Casey Kasem! 🙂

      Nice memories! Yeah, Casey was pretty animated with his hands. Here some of his Top 10 countdown from 1984:

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