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

Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 countdown. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31 and 30-21.

We will also continue to remember Casey Kasem. Not only did I know him from the American Top 40 radio program and the America’s Top 10 television show, but I also knew him from all the voice acting he had done on some of my favorite cartoons.

Of course, we all know him as Shaggy from all of the Scooby Doo shows. He was also Robin in the 1968 Batman cartoon from the Batman/Superman Hour. This also carried in to Super Friends. I suppose I’m showing my age a little when I say that I started watching Super Friends right from the first season. Yes, long before The Wonder Twins, we had Wendy, Marvin, and Wonder Dog as the sidekicks. Casey Kasem also did double-duty when Batman and Robin appeared on a two-part episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, as he did the voice for both Robin and Shaggy. He also did the voice of Alexander on Josie and the Pussycats. He was also Mark in Battle of the Planets. And if you are a Transformers fan, you may remember him as Bluestreak, Cliffjumper, Teletraan I and Dr. Arkeville.
So, not only was Casey Kasem a big part of our music lives, he also played a big part of our childhood.

Now, on with the countdown as we Return to the week ending June 20, 1981.

20. “Theme from ‘The Greatest American Hero’ (Believe It Or Not)” by Joey Scarbury

The first song for today is my favorite song for the day. The Greatest American Hero was one of my favorite shows when it originally ran, and the song was one of the best parts of the show. So that’s saying something. The song was composed by Mike Post. I think he wrote one or two other television theme songs. Ummmm, let me see. Gee, he only composed the music for The Rockford Files, Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, The A-Team, CHiPs, Hardcastle & McCormick, Hunter, Magnum, P.I., Law & Order, and many more. By the way, you can click on the shows that I just listed so you can hear each theme song (Warning: you are going to want to watch the shows after listening to the songs).
I still love the theme from The Greatest American Hero to this day.

19. “The Waiting” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

For some reason, I feel that I don’t like Tom Petty’s music. But, I’m constantly hearing some of his songs and think to myself: Hmm, I like that one. This is one of those songs. One of these days I’ll have to admit that I like his music.

18. “Hearts” by Marty Balin

Does anybody else out there play SongPop? This song comes up for me every time I play, and I always get it within 1.5 seconds (it would be better if my hand-eye coordination was better).
Marty Balin is best known for being one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane. He left the band in 1971, then rejoined the band in 1975 when they were known as Jefferson Starship. He left again in 1978, so he does not appear on any of the Jefferson Starship/Starship hits that we know from the ’80s.
This song was his biggest hit as a solo artist.

17. “Is It You” by Lee Ritenour

The beginning of this song reminded me of boring dinner music you hear at a wedding reception (for couples who don’t know that it’s cool to play real music while people eat). But, the song gets better when the vocals came in, and redeemed itself for me.

16. “Sweetheart” by Franke and the Knockouts

This feels like deja vu. I had never heard of Franke and the Knockouts before. But, now I think this is the third time I posted one of their songs. I may have already posted this song from another week when we covered 1981. I like this song a lot. It sounds like something Hall & Oates would sing.

15. “What Are We Doin’ In Love” by Dottie West (with Kenny Rogers)

This is a very good country crossover hit by Dottie West.

14. “Take It On the Run” by REO Speedwagon

This is from REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity album. It was a follow-up after the group’s smash hit “Keep on Loving You”. This isn’t a bad follow-up.

13. “Living Inside Myself” by Gino Vannelli

This is an ultimate soft rock song. This is another song still on the countdown from the last time we covered 1981. This gives my Song of the Day a run for its money.

12. “I Love You” by The Climax Blues Band

Here is another outstanding soft rock song.

11. “This Little Girl” by Gary U.S. Bonds

Gary U.S. Bonds was a very successful rhythm and blues and rock and roll singer in the early ’60s. In 1963, he headlined a tour in Europe above a new group that consisted of four lads from Liverpool. The Beatles must have really overshadowed him because he fell of the music radar for almost two decades.

However, Bonds had a huge resurgence with his 1981 album Dedication. On this album, he collaborated with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band. Music writer Dave Marsh called Dedication “one of the most successful comeback albums in rock & roll history”. The biggest hit from that album was this song, which peaked at #11 on the pop chart, and reached #5 on the mainstream rock chart.

Well that’s all for today. We will wrap up the countdown on Friday. I noticed that there are a lot of songs on this countdown that we already covered – and that was 2 1/2 months ago! After playing The Greatest American Hero, and listening to all those other theme songs, what do you guys think about skipping the Top 40 for just a week, and spend the week covering TV theme songs?

2 thoughts on “Top 40 Songs This Week – June 20, 1981: Songs 20-11”

  1. TV Theme songs!! Maybe even commercial jingles? Those 80s beer commercials in particular had some real catchy tunes.

    A one-week break from the countdown might be like a minute of silence for Casey. I like the idea.

    The Super Friends had another star voice: Ted Knight was the narrator.

    Joey Scarbury and Lee Ritenour tied for my song of the day. I recently bought a used copy of the entire Greatest American Hero series on DVD, so I’m going to be enjoying my summer watching that…and singing along with the theme song.


  2. Commercial jingles are a great idea too! I could definitely fill a whole week with just the TV themes (sitcoms, dramas, action shows, cartoons, more sitcoms). But, maybe I can fit in some commercials too. Maybe I’ll have to skip the Top 40 once in a while so I don’t repeat songs. That kind of defeats the purpose of rediscovering music.
    Meanwhile at the Hall of Justice, I am jealous that you got the complete series of The Greatest American Hero! I’m also in the mood for watching all the shows I mentioned in this article (well maybe except for Law & Order – kind of burnt out on that one).


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