Category Archives: 1981

Top 40 Songs This Week – October 17, 1981: Songs 10-1

Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s Top 40. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. This has been a great week of music so far. And there are some classics here today. And don’t forget, you can click on the song title to get to the YouTube video to listen to the song. Now, let’s Return to the week ending October 17, 1981, and wrap up this week’s countdown.

10. “The Night Owls” by The Little River Band

We begin the top 10 with a decent rock song. This is off of The Little River Band’s Time Exposure album. The album was produced by George Martin. This was the band’s last album with Glen Shorrock on lead vocals until 1988, and with lead guitarist David Briggs.

9. “Hard To Say” by Dan Fogelberg

This was Dan Fogelberg’s third Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. This song is notable for featuring the late (I still can’t believe I’m saying that) Glenn Frey.

8. “Who’s Crying Now” by Journey

download-1This was the first single released from the legendary Escape album. This began the hugely successful commercial run of Journey, 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees. Do hear more about Journey, check out the first episode of the Return to the ’80s Podcast:

7. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)

This was the first single from Stevie Nicks’ debut solo album, Bella Donna. It was written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, inteneded to be a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song. However, Jimmy Iovine, who was also working for Stevie Nicks at the time, arranged for her to sing on it. This was a good call, because these two unique voices sound great together.

6. “Private Eyes” by Daryl Hall and John Oates

How could a song with a handclap in the chorus be bad? This classic Hall & Oates tune was a staple on MTV. It would go on to be a #1 hit, holding that top position for 2 weeks.

5. “Step by Step” by Eddie Rabbitt

This country-crossover hit was also the #1 song on the country chart this week, and would peak right here at #5 on the Billboard 100.

4. “For Your Eyes Only” by Sheena Easton

This was the theme song of the 12th James Bond movie of the same name. Easton is the only artist (to date) to be seen singing the theme song to a Bond movie during its opening titles. This song was also nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards in 1982.

3. “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones

This song was my introduction to The Rolling Stones. I didn’t have MTV yet, but I did see the song on the television show, Solid Gold. The basic track of this song was written during the 1978 sessions for the Rolling Stones’ album Some Girls. It was at first cut as a reggae-rock track named ‘Never Stop’, but after dozens of takes the band stopped recording it and it was shelved. In 1981, with the band looking to tour, engineer Chris Kimsey proposed to Mick Jagger that archived songs could be put in the set. It was re-worked to the classic that we now know, and was recorded for the Tattoo You album.

2. “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie

This is Lionel Richie’s third entry on this countdown. This was recorded as the title track of the film adaptation of Scott Spencer’s novel Endless Love. The song ended up being a bigger hit than the movie, reaching number 1 on the Hot 100, where it stayed for nine weeks from August 15 to October 10, 1981.

Before we reveal the #1 song, let’s see what was topping some of the other charts this week.

The #1 R&B song this week was “When She Was My Girl” by The Four Tops.

Topping the Dance charts was “Do You Love Me” by Patti Austin.

The #1 album this week was Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones

And the #1 Adult Contemporary tune is also the #1 song on the top of the pop charts this week…

1. “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross

And we have another movie soundtrack song. Coming off his mega-successful self-titled debut album, Christopher Cross followed up with this smash hit. This would be a #1 hit for 3 weeks. The song also won the Oscar for Best Original Song. Although his music was still great, Christopher Cross’ popularity faded away quickly once everybody started getting their MTV. This was definitely his high point.

Well that wraps up this week’s countdown. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. Let me know your thoughts on this list, and on any part of the countdown. We’ll count down a different year in the near future. In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.

Top 40 Songs This Week – October 17, 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. At this point in time, MTV was still in its infancy, as it just debuted 2 1/2 months ago. Some artists already threw their hat in the ring, and filmed music videos. Others were not yet ready to embrace this medium. So, this is a very interesting and transitional time. Now, let’s Return to the week ending October 17, 1981, and continue the countdown.

20. “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” by Billy Joel

As far as I’m concerned, you can’t go wrong with Billy Joel. This song was originally released in 1976 on his Turnstiles album. But, it didn’t have success until it was released on Joel’s live album, Songs in the Attic.
Another fun fact: Billy Joel confirmed that he wrote the song with Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes song “Be My Baby” in mind. Because of this, Ronnie Spector recorded her own cover version of “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” in 1977 with the E Street Band, soon after Joel released his first recording of the song on Turnstiles.

19. “We’re In This Love Together” by Al Jarreau

downloadDuring this part of the decade, there were a lot of country-crossover hits. But, now we have a jazz-crossover hit! This is a song I would never have listened to back when it was released, but absolutely love it now. This song came off of Al Jarreau’s Breakin’ Away album, which was his most popular album, spending two years on the Billboard 200. it also won Jarreau the Grammy Award in 1982 Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.

18. “I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)” by Lulu

This was the fourth and final US Top 40 hit for the Scottish songstress. Lulu is best known for her title track songs for the movies To Sir With Love, and The Man with the Golden Gun.

17. “Super Freak (Part 1)” by Rick James

U can’t touch this Rick James smash hit (unless you’re M.C. Hammer), which topped the pop, R&B and dance charts in the US.

16. “When She Was My Girl” by The Four Tops

This was the Mowtown legends’ return to the Top 40. It was the first song released from their new record label Casablanca Records. The song also became an international hit.

15. “Share Your Love With Me” by Kenny Rogers

This isn’t exactly one of Kenny Rogers’ most well known songs. But, it did reach number 14 on the Hot 100 and 5 in the US Country charts. It was off of his album Share Your Love, which was produced by Lionel Richie.

14. “Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You” by Bob Seger

This song was originally performed by Otis Clay in 1973. Bob Seger’s cover of this song is the most successful version of the song, reaching number five on the pop singles charts.

13. “Hold On Tight” by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

This was the first single released off of ELO’s 1981 album, Time, and became an international hit. I’m not sure if I would have heard of this song if it wasn’t featured in The Coffee Achievers TV commercials….

12. “I’ve Done Everything For You” BY Rick Springfield

Well, if you’re gonna follow-up “Jessie’s Girl”, this is the way to do it. Rick Springfield proved he was here to stay with this Sammy Hagar penned tune. Just like “Jessie’s Girl”, this rocker came off of Rick Springfield’s 1981 international breakout album Working Class Dog, and would reach up to #9 on the charts.

11. “Urgent” by Foreigner

I’m not sure what the U.S. presidential debate fact-checkers would say, but I believe that this is where the rage of the ’80s sax solo began. This was the first single released from Foreigner’s classic 4 album. The album was produced by “Mutt” Lange. The then-unknown Thomas Dolby played synthesizer on some tracks on the album, including this song. And the aforementioned sax solo was performed by by Motown great Junior Walker.

That wraps up today’s list of songs. So far, this has been a pretty solid week. And the best is yet to come! So come back Friday to see what the Top 10 was this week in 1981. And as usual, I would love to hear your thoughts on this countdown. See ya Friday!

Top 40 Songs This Week – October 17, 1981: Songs 30-21

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. One thing I love about the countdowns in the early ’80s is the wide variety of music. There was still variety later on in the decade too, but nothing like this. Today, we have some rock, country, pop, R&B, and even an instrumental thrown in here. So, let’s Return to the week ending October 17, 1981, and move on with the countdown…

30. “The Voice” by The Moody Blues

At this point, I had still not heard of The Moody Blues. My introduction to them would not come until 1986 with “Your Wildest Dreams“. This song started off promising. But when Styx didn’t chime in with Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, I was disappointed. This isn’t a bad song. I can see how it got by me, though. I appreciate it more now then I would have back then.

29. “Atlanta Lady (Something About Your Love)” by Marty Balin

Marty Balin was a founding member of Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship. He left the band in 1978. Since the only songs I know by that band from that era are the ones Grace Slick sung, I was not familiar with Marty Balin. This is another middle-of-the-road song for me. Not horrible, but not that good. But, now we will be leaving my uncharted territory, and start getting to more familiar songs.

28. “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” by The Police

I know a lot of people love Sting’s solo career. But, I really love these days when he was teamed up with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland. This is a classic Police tune from their album Ghost in the Machine.

27. “Oh No” by The Commodores

This was The Commodores’ last hit single with Lionel Richie in the band. This is another favorite of mine. It is just as good, if not better, than some of Richie’s other ballads. This song was also featured in the 1982 movie The Last American Virgin.

26. “Queen of Hearts” by Juice Newton

This country-crossover hit was written by written by Hank DeVito, the pedal steel guitarist in Emmylou Harris’ backing group The Hot Band. Juice Newton made this a smash hit, reaching up to #2 for two weeks, being kept out of the top spot by “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie.Juice Newton earned a 1982 Grammy nomination for Best Female Vocalist in the C&W category.

25. “Waiting For a Girl Like You” by Foreigner

This is another smash hit which peaked at #2 on the charts. This power ballad from Foreigner’s classic 4 album, was in the number 2 position in the week of November 28, where it was held off the number 1 spot by Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” for nine consecutive weeks, and then by Hall & Oates’ “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” for a tenth week on January 30, 1982.

24. “She’s a Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)” by Carl Carlton

Time to get funky! This classic R&B hit earned Carl Carlton a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. If you are friends with a Bruno Mars fan, point them to this song to see what it’s all about.

23. “Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)” by Air Supply

To prevent confusion, this song was originally released as “Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You)” so as not to be confused with the group’s No. 1 hit song “The One That You Love” which contains the lyrics: “Here I am, the one that you love.” It didn’t work with me because I still got confused.
When I was in junior high school, I was in a Catholic school. When we had dances, we had them in one of the classrooms, and moved the desks off to the sides of the room. One of the mothers would “dj” by playing tapes and albums on a stereo that somebody brought in. Whenever they wanted to play a slow song, it was always an Air Supply song. So these Air Supply songs bring me back to that time.

22. “The Theme from Hill Street Blues” by Mike Post

indexIn addition to this smash hit that earned Mike Post a Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition, you may know this legendary music producer’s other work in television shows such as Law & Order, Law & Order SVU, The A-Team, NYPD Blue, Renegade, The Rockford Files, L.A. Law, Quantum Leap, and Magnum, P.I.

21. “Just Once” by Quincy Jones Featuring James Ingram

As we drive off in tears at the end of the countdown for the day, let’s listen to the awesome, but sad, ballad by Quincy Jones and James Ingram. This song was featured in The Last American Virgin as Diane Franklin broke Gary’s and our hearts.

That wraps up today’s list of songs. I hope you are enjoying this. Let me know what you think so far. We are already halfway done. Come back tomorrow to see what other awesome songs were topping the charts this week in 1981.

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?

Top 40 Songs This Week – June 20, 1981: Songs 10-1

Hi everybody! Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s Top 40. If you missed the previous posts, have no fear! You can check out songs 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. I was going to wrap up this week with a special long-distance dedication. Instead, I felt it would be more appropriate, and nostalgic to hear from the man himself. So, I present to you this YouTube video of Casey Kasem introducing and recapping several songs taken from throughout the ’80s. Enjoy!!

Now, let’s Return to the week ending June 20, 1981, and wrap up the countdown.

10. “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield

This smash hit is one of the signature songs of the ’80s. “Jessie’s Girl” was actually a real person. According to Entertainment Weekly, Springfield was taking a stained glass class along with his friend Gary and Gary’s girlfriend. He initially wanted to use the actual name of the friend he was singing about, but instead decided to go with a different name — “Jessie”. He happened to see a girl in a softball jersey with the name “Jessie” on it and changed the name from Gary to Jessie, then recorded the song.

9. “You Make My Dreams” by Daryl Hall and John Oates

This is one of my all-time Hall & Oates songs.

8. “America” by Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond is my mother’s favorite singer, so I’ve heard The Jazz Singer soundtrack countless times in my life. And I still love this song. It is appropriate for this time of year as we approach the 4th of July.

7. “The One That You Love” by Air Supply

Out of all the hits that Air Supply had, this was the only number 1 hit. This is one of my favorites by them. By the way, what’s with the shirt in this video?

6. “Being With You” by Smokey Robinson

I was young when this song came out, so I had never heard of Smokey Robinson. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t a woman who was singing this song.

5. “All Those Years Ago” by George Harrison

A very touching tribute to John Lennon.

4. “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” by Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio

I had forgotten about this one! What a pleasant surprise!

3. “Sukiyaki” by A Taste Of Honey

This was a #3 hit!?!? zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

2. “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes

This song spent nine weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was Billboard’s biggest hit of the entire year for 1981. The recording won the 1982 Grammy Awards for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

1. “Stars on 45”

Well my friends, we have arrived at our #1 hit of the week. This is actually a medley of songs. Actually, this is a medley of mostly Beatles songs (with some other songs thrown in the mix). This seemed to capitalize on nostalgia felt around the world after the death of John Lennon.
On the Billboard chart, the full name of the song is “Medley: Intro Venus / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I’ll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want to Know a Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You’re Going to Lose That Girl / Stars on 45”, making it the longest titled song to ever chart in Billboard. This song interrupted Kim Carnes’ run at #1 after being on top for 5 weeks. She would regain the top spot again next week, and retain it for several weeks after.

Well, that wraps up this week’s countdown. We’ll be back with a new countdown in a couple of weeks. But, there will be more awesome 80sness over here next week. See you soon! In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.

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?

Top 40 Songs This Week – June 20, 1981: Songs 30-21

Welcome back as we continue this week’s Top 40 Countdown. If you missed yesterday, you can check out songs 40-31. Today’s songs were interesting to me. I had never heard of most of them. There are some pleasant surprises. One of the songs, that I was not familiar with, happens to be from a band who is the answer to the trivia question from yesterday’s post.

The question was: Which was the only band to appear in both Casey Kasem’s first countdown, and his last of his original run from July 4, 1970 to August 6, 1988?

The answer is: The Moody Blues

Here are the songs:
“Question” which was #21 on July 4, 1970

“I Know You’re Out There Somewhere” was #30 on August 6, 1988

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

30. “Time” by The Alan Parsons Project

We’ll start with a mellow song. This is the first single to feature Eric Woolfson as lead vocalist, and one of the group’s few songs in which Alan Parsons’ own voice can be heard singing.

29. “Fool In Love With You” by Jim Photoglo

This is definitely an early ’80s song. Jim Photoglo was a pop/soft rock singer who had two hit songs: “We Were Meant to Be Lovers” and “Fool In Love With You”. He then moved on to become a successful country music songwriter in Nashville.

28. “Still Right Here In My Heart” by The Pure Prairie League

Country-Rock band Pure Prairie League had a big hit in 1974/1975 with “Amie“. By the late ’70s a lot of the members left the band. Temporary members filled in. In 1978, auditions were held for a vocalist. Future country superstar Vince Gill got the job, and provides the lead vocals on this song.

27. “Boy From New York City” by The Manhattan Transfer

This song is a remake that was originally recorded by The Ad Libs and peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 on February 27, 1965.
It was then covered by Darts, and became a #2 hit on the U.K. Singles chart in 1978. Many of us may be more familiar with The Manhatten Transfer’s version, which peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

26. “Gemini Dream” by The Moody Blues

This song by the prog-rock group, The Moody Blues, kind of reminds me of ELO. “Gemini Dream” was written jointly by the band’s lead guitarist Justin Hayward and bassist John Lodge, both of whom won an ASCAP songwriting award for it.

25. “Modern Girl” by Sheena Easton

This was the debut single by the Scottish pop singer.

24. “Winning” by Santana

Here is a Santana song I had never heard of. It sounds a little like country music. I like this song so much that it is my Song of the Day. I love the music, and Alex Ligertwood’s vocals are awesome!

23. “Elvira” by The Oak Ridge Boys

If you had never heard of the Oak Ridge Boys before 1981, you knew about them when this song was released. It was a huge crossover hit. If you still haven’t heard of this song, then all I have to say is
Giddy up ba-oom papa oom papa mow mow.

22. “I Don’t Need You” by Kenny Rogers

I don’t know how this song got by me. Kenny Rogers was extremely popular in the early ’80s, with one smash hit after another. This song would actually go on to spend two weeks at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was a #1 hit on the Country chart as well as the adult contemporary chart.

21. “Nobody Wins” by Elton John

We wrap up today with another song that I had never heard before, by another superstar. We were still a couple of years away from his Too Low for Zero album. This is a good song. I like it better than anything he’s done recently.

Well, what do you think of this countdown so far? Are you discovering new music? We will continue the countdown tomorrow. See you then!

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?

Top 40 Songs This Week – April 4, 1981: Songs 10-1

Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s Top-40 Countdown! I think this is a very good list. You can check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11 if you missed them. So, let’s Return to the week ending April 4, 1981, and count down the top 10 songs.

10. “What Kind of Fool” by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb

“What Kind of Fool” was on Streisand’s Guilty album. The songs on the album were a collaboration between Streisand and all the members of the Bee Gees. Barry played the biggest role as he co-wrote and co-produced most of the tracks. He also sang on some of them with Babs, including this one. I am so torn with this. I cannot stand Barbra Streisand, but I love the Bee Gees. This song is OK. It’s an early ’80s Easy Listening tune. I probably would not like it at all if Barry Gibb wasn’t on it. I prefer their hit song “Guilty“.

9. “While You See a Chance” by Steve Winwood

Last week, Steve Winwood’s “The Finer Things” was in the countdown. That is one of my favorite songs by him. And this one is another one of my favorites.

8. “Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon

This is REO Speedwagon’s second entry in the countdown this week. “Keep On Loving You” is one of REO’s best known hits, topping the charts in March of 1981.

7. “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington Jr. (with Bill Withers)

Great, classic song! Grover Washingon Jr. was a saxophonist and legendary Smooth Jazz pioneer. This song appeared on his Winelight album. It was written and sung by Bill Withers (“Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Lean On Me”).

6. “Hello Again” by Neil Diamond

My mother’s favorite singer of all-time. So I basically grew up listening to everything Neil Diamond ever did. I much prefer his earlier rockin’ music than is later, glittery years. But, The Jazz Singer Soundtrack, which this song is from, was a good album. This song is OK. It’s better than some of his other slow songs. It’s a nice ballad.

5. “Crying” by Don McLean

Well, I heard of Don McLean. I didn’t know he did anything other than “American Pie“. And I know the Roy Orbison classic, “Crying” (my father is a Roy Orbison fan). This is a really good version of the song! I had never heard it before, and I’m impressed. Why am I not surprised that the only Don McLean song I ever hear on the radio is “American Pie”?! I mean his “Crying” was a top-10 hit, and I never even knew it existed! If I didn’t fire radio a couple of countdowns ago, they would be fired now!

4. “Kiss On My List” by Hall & Oates

Love the Hall & Oates!! This was the duo’s second #1 hit (after 1977’s “Rich Girl“). This song started Hall & Oates’ incredible run of hits throughout the ’80s, and made them one of the greatest duo’s of all time. They are even being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this year. Well, that doesn’t mean too much to me. If you think Radio irritates me, don’t even get me started with the people who make the selections for the Hall of Fame! Anyway, let’s get back to enjoying more great ’80s music, with this classic song.

3. “The Best of Times” by Styx

Styx is another one of my favorite bands, and this is one of their best power ballads. I still love it.

2. “Woman” by John Lennon

Great John Lennon song! This is off of his Double Fantasy album. There’s no truth to the rumor that this album is the reason why CD’s were created. I mean, CD’s did make it easier to skip songs. On this album, you could listen to a Lennon tune, then hit ‘skip’, listen to another song, hit ‘skip’ again, and so on. Those of you who know about the Double Fantasy album know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, listen to a John Lennon song, then step on a cat, and you will get a more pleasurable listening experience than listening to that album straight through. Just sayin’.

1. “Rapture” by Blondie

Today’s #1 hit is Blondie’s follow-up to their smash hit, “The Tide Is High”. I like this song a lot. The second half of the song turns into a rap song. This was technically the first rap video ever broadcast on MTV.

Look, all I’m sayin’ is that I’m so glad that all we saw was her goofy dancing at the Beatles 50th Anniversary Special, and that they didn’t bring her on stage to sing.

Well, I enjoyed that top-10. I hope you enjoyed this week’s countdown, and discovered new songs. Well be back next with a brand new countdown from 1980-something. In the meantime, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

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.