Welcome back to a new week of the Top 40! In preparation for the upcoming new Star Wars movie, last week we covered the Top 40 from the weekend that Return of the Jedi was released – May 1983. Now, we’re working our way back through more Star Wars movies. This week, we will check out the Top 40 from the weekend that The Empire Strikes Back opened. The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980. So, we will see what was topping the charts the week ending May 24, 1980. As is the case with most people, The Empire Strikes Back is my favorite of the series. I normally march to the beat of my own drum, and don’t go along with the masses. But, that is not the case here. I was 9 years old when this was released (I would turn 10 in September), so I was still collecting Star Wars figures and playsets. At this time, I was also really into collecting baseball cards. When The Empire Strikes Back came out, I also collected all the trading cards for the movie. I read all the Star Wars books I could get my hands on. The movie was also showing at a local movie theater, which only cost $1. So, I saw this movie many, many times in the theater. I had written about my Star Wars story in previous articles and will be reposting them during Star Wars week. So, let’s get to the music. I did not get my hopes up with the quality of songs at this time in the ’80s. But man, there was no need for concern! There are several songs that I never heard of until today. But, there is going to be some really great stuff too! So, let’s Return to the week ending May 21, 1980, and begin the countdown!
40. “Love Stinks” by The J. Geils Band
Not a bad way to start a countdown! This is the anthem for anybody that has had their heart broken. Instead of a slow song that makes you cry, this is a great rocker that makes you stand up and pump your fist in the air. A year from now, The J. Geils Band would be releasing their classic Freeze Frame album. This song has the same style as the songs from that album.
39. “Don’t Say Goodnight (It’s Time For Love) (Parts 1 and 2)” by The Isley Brothers
This is a song I had never heard before. This is the total opposite from the previous song. This is a quiet storm ballad perfect for some sexy time. If you play this song in the bedroom, then you won’t need to worry about what the J. Geils Band says about love.
38. “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” by Billy Joel
Oh yeah! There’s nothing like some classic Billy Joel! This is one of those songs that you think, “Do I really need to listen to this again for the bazillionth time?” Then the song starts, and the answer is “Yes”. And as I get older, I can relate to this song more and more.
37. “We Live For Love” by Pat Benatar
Here is an awesome and underplayed rock song. This came off of Benatar’s In the Heat of the Night album, which also featured her breakthrough hit, “Heartbreaker“.
36. “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You” by Barry Manilow
My parents were Barry Manilow fans, so I grew up listening to his music. They had an 8-track of a concert of his. I would get bored, but there was a part of the show, that I enjoyed, where he sings all the commercial jingles that he had written. I had never heard of this song before. After listening to this, I’m thinking that maybe I had heard it, but just zoned out. What am I writing about, now? Oh yeah, “I Don’t Want to Walk Without You”. This song was published in 1941, and became a #1 hit for Harry James and his orchestra in 1942. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, whenever I hear there is a song by somebody “and his orchestra”, I fall asleep instantly, only to wake up from nightmares of seeing Lawrence Welk on my grandparents’ TV. The only good thing about this song is that after it was over, the much better “Could it Be Magic” autoplayed.
35. “Headed for a Fall” by Firefall
Here is another song I had never heard before. It’s not bad, but not great either. I haven’t been missing anything all these years. This band does have that classic late ’70s/early ’80s rock band sound. It’s a little bit of a slow rocker, but the guitar work in this song is really good.
34. “Lady” by The Whispers
This is a good R&B ballad from the group who would bring us the 1987 hit,”Rock Steady“.
33. “Let Me Love You Tonight” by The Pure Prairie League
It’s been a while since I’ve said this, but this is one of those songs that did not look familiar to me. But, as soon as it hit the chorus, I remembered it. This may have been on a previous countdown I covered. That is Vince Gill on lead vocals. Not a bad song at all by this country rock group.
32. “Gee Whiz” by Bernadette Peters
Bernadette Peters can do it all! In a career that has spanned 5 decades so far, she has starred in musical theater, films and television, as well as performing in solo concerts and recordings. I think I may have first seen her on the original Muppet Show. I believe she is mainly known for being a Broadway star. This song sounds like it could be a ballad from a Broadway Show. She has a really good voice. I kind of like this one.
31. “Let Me Be the Clock” by Smokey Robinson
And we go back to an R&B ballad. This song could have just as easily been released in the ’60s or ’70s. It appeared on Smoky Robinson’s 1980 album Warm Thoughts. This is another song on this countdown that’s not great, but not too bad either.
Well, that wraps up today’s list of songs. Let me know what you think. And let me know if you have any fond memories of The Empire Strikes Back. I think the countdown may continue on Wednesday. Tomorrow is going to be a crazy day. So, it will be posted either tomorrow night or sometime Wednesday.Follow @returntothe80s