Welcome back to this week’s Countdown! If you missed the first 10 songs yesterday, you can go ahead and check them out. Some of these songs bring back memories. At this time in 1985, I was in the second half of my freshman year of high school. I enjoyed making new friends in high school, but did not do too well in classes. While I was struggling with my studies, there were some awesome songs to lean back on and use as an escape. Let’s enjoy some of this music now, by Returning to the week ending March 9, and move on with the countdown.
How about we start the countdown today with a little funk?!? The Time, led by Morris Day, was a pop-funk band which was put together by Prince. You can definitely hear the influence in this song. Not long after this, Morris Day left, and went on to a solo career. They would reunite and break up several more times over the years. Currently, they are known as The Original 7ven.
Oh boy, I’m torn on this song now. Before I started the Springsteen project (a.k.a. “Who’s the Boss?”), I would have said that a song with the word “Fire” in the title needs to have screaming in it.
[Possible Spoiler Alert: This song may or may not be on the Live 1975-85 album I’m reviewing right now. And I may or may not express that sentiment as my initial reaction on said review]
But, as I become a Springsteen student, I am beginning to like this song more each time I listen to it. I may not be on fire about this song, but I am warming up to it. What can I say? I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!
With this song, the Commodores finally showed that it may be possible to move on without Lionel Richie. It was their first hit after Richie went solo. “Nightshift” was written by the lead singer at that time, Walter Orange, (along with with Dennis Lambert and Franne Golde). It was a tribute to soul/R&B singers Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye, who both died in 1984. The Commodores won a Grammy Award in 1985 for Best Vocal R&B Performance by a Duo/Group for this song.
The husband and wife songwriting-production team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson had their biggest hit, as performers, with this song. It would go on to peak at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
What a great rocking song! This was John Parr’s first hit in the U.S. In 1985, he and his band, The Business, toured with Toto. At the end of the tour, he was approached by super-producer David Foster, who requested Parr to record a song for the film “St. Elmo’s Fire“. And the rest is history.
This hit came off of one of my favorite albums of the ’80s – Vital Signs. This wasn’t my favorite song from the album though. I feel that this song did get overplayed. But, years removed, I do enjoy hearing this once in a while.
We wrap up the countdown today with an interesting song. “Save a Prayer” was released in the U.K. in August of 1982 from the album, Rio. It had not been released in the U.S. as a single. The video did get play on MTV, though. Then in 1985, a special U.S. version of the song was cut with the live version from the Arena album on the flip side. This live version hit the charts, and climbed all the way up to #16.
Well, that’s the end of the countdown for today. I hope you’re enjoying this week’s songs so far. They are just going to keep on getting better! So, please come back tomorrow as we continue the countdown.
Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s Countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can still check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-10. I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve been liking the songs this week. Since I was so young when these songs came out, I had not heard of most of them. Luckily, I have discovered some really good music. As we hit the Top 10 songs of the week, I am very familair with most of them. But there are still a few that I didn’t know. So, the surprises continue. Now, let’s Return to the week ending January 5, 1980 and wrap up the countdown!
Before I started going over the countdowns this past year, the only thing I knew Cliff Richard from was the duet he did with Olivia Newton-John from Xanadu, “Suddenly.” Since then, I discovered that he was a pretty big star in the late ’50s/early ’60s, until the Beatles came along. Then he fell off the face of the earth until the late ’70s. He’s been on several of our countdowns, and I’ve liked every song by him so far. And this song is no different. This song was Cliff Richard’s biggest worldwide hit. Tt hit #1 in Germany for 5 weeks. It peaked at #7 here in the U.S. Since this song hit the charts in 1979, and is still here in 1980, Richard became the first person to reach the Hot 100’s top 40 in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. One more fun fact about this song – it was the 6th video that ever aired on MTV, on August 1, 1981.
This is another song that I never heard of until years after it was released. This is probably one of the best storytelling songs I ever heard. All it needs is a fiddle, and it would be a perfect Irish folk song. Rogers tells the story so well that you can see the movie in your head. And you’re pumping your fist in the air for Tommy by the end of the song.
This is one of my favorite Commodores songs. It would be the band’s last #1 hit before Lionel Richie went solo. With this song, you could see the writing on the wall that Lionel would be able to go out on his own and have an incredible career.
I had not known that Captain and Tennille went into the ’80s. I knew them from their ’70s variety show. By the late ’70s their popularity was gone. But, “Do That to Me One More Time” was a big comeback hit for them. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to capitalize on the song’s success. It would go on to be their final #1 hit.
This is a song that I didn’t know from just looking at the title. But, as soon as I started playing it, I recognized it. I have it on a Greatest Hits album by Stevie Wonder. This isn’t one of my favorite songs by his, which explains why I didn’t remember it at first. It is better than a lot of his other songs, but there are many more that I like better.
Now, let’s take a moment to see what was topping some of the other music charts this week in 1980.
The #1 Adult Contemporary song was the one we just heard at #4 on the pop charts – Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love”
A week earlier, this classic was the #1 song, making it the last #1 song of the ’70s. The song was popular as soon as it was released. However, the name was just “Escape,” so it was not selling very well. The only words that everybody knew from the song was blah-blah-blah, IF YOU LIKE PINA COLADAS and getting caught in the rain, blah-blah-blah. So reluctantly, Rupert Holmes agreed to change the name of the song to “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”. Then it shot up the charts.
And we have reached the #1 song of the week, which I never heard of before. Even after listening to it, I still didn’t remember it. The first #1 hit of the ’80s was KC and the Sunshine Band’s first ballad. In the coming weeks, the group broke up and Harry Wayne Casey went solo.
That wraps up this week’s countdown. Wow, I guess the ’70s really were wrapping up. In this list alone, we heard songs which were the last #1 hits for The Commodores with Lionel Richie, The Captain and Tennille, and KC and the Sunshine Band. I hope you enjoyed this week’s countdown as much as I did. We are going to keep them coming during the year. In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.