Top 40 Songs This Week – October 17, 1981: Songs 40-31

Hi Everybody! Let’s do another Top 40 Countdown! We go back to 35 years ago this week. At this time 6th grade was well underway. It’s Halloween season. This must have been getting towards the end of my trick-or-treating days. But it was, and still is, my favorite time of the year. So, let’s Return to the week ending October 17, 1981, and see what was hitting the U.S. charts at this time.


40. “Burnin’ For You” by Blue Öyster Cult

This classic rock band was big in the ’70s. After this point, the height of their popularity was fading away. This song was the biggest hit off their 1981 album, Fire of Unknown Origin.

39. “In The Dark” by Billy Squier

This was Squier’s follow-up single to “The Stroke” from his Triple Platinum 1981 album Don’t Say No.

38. “The Old Songs” by Barry Manilow

This one’s for you, you Fanilows! This old song was Manilow’s eleventh number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, spending three weeks at number one.
My parents were fans of Barry Manilow. It’s a miracle I made it through the rain of that period in my life. Could it be magic that helped me not want to rip my ears off every weekend in New England during the late ’70s? I mean, I’m envious of Tony from the Copacabana. But by daybreak, it looks like we made it, and now I can’t smile without you guys.

37. “Sausalito Summernight” by Diesel

I had never heard of this song before. Diesel is a Dutch pop/rock group that became one of the few Dutch acts to chart in the U.S. when this song hit the Top 40. This song sounds a lot like The Steve Miller Band’s Rockin’ Me Baby.

36. “Lady (You Bring Me Up)” by The Commodores

This is my favorite Commodores song, and it was one of the band’s last big hits before Lionel Richie left for his legendary solo career.

35. “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” by Ronnie Milsap

As often happened in the early ’80s, we have a country-crossover hit. I was not really a country music fan until the ’90s (with the exception of Alabama). But, there were some crossover artists I really enjoyed, and Ronnie Milsap is one of them.

34. “The Beach Boys Medley” by The Beach Boys

In the ’80s, there was a craze of medley hits, beginning with “Stars on 45”. The Beach Boys hopped on this bandwagon, with some success. Here is a list of the songs in the medley:
“Good Vibrations”
“Help Me, Rhonda”
“I Get Around”
“Little Deuce Coupe”
“Shut Down”
“Surfin’ Safari”
“Barbara Ann”
“Surfin’ U.S.A.”
“Fun, Fun, Fun”

33. “Alien” by The Atlanta Rhythm Section

This song has that classic ear;y ’80s easy listening vibe. Not the most exciting song, but I really like the harmonies. They kind have an Eagles sound to them too.

32. “He’s a Liar” by The Bee Gees

Unfortunately, by this point, The Bee Gees were pigeonholed as a disco act after their incredible success with the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. They had some great rock songs before that point, and after that point, including this overlooked gem.

31. “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John

A lot of people slightly older than me, fell in love with Olivia Newton-John after her role as Sandy in Grease. I was a little late to the party, because this song was my introduction to ONJ, and I was in love. This is the first week “Physical” hit the top 40, and would climb all the way to the top of the charts.


That wraps up today’s list of songs. We are off to a damn good start! So let’s Return tomorrow to continue the countdown. What were you doing this week in 1981?

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