The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is Sports by Huey Lewis and the News.
In my early teen years, I had a very limited collection of albums/tapes. Sports was one of the few that I owned, and I loved it. Not long after I got cable and was pretty much glued to MTV, “Heart and Soul” was released. I thought the song and the video was great, and different from a lot of the other music that was playing. It was followed by “I Want a New Drug”, then “The Heart of Rock & Roll”. I’m thinking I got this at Easter time in 1984, which was the end of my junior high school years. Of course the hits were great. But, they did get overplayed. However, my three favorite songs on the album were not big hits,and they were all on the second side of the tape. They were “Walking on a Thin Line”, “Finally Found a Home”, and “You Crack Me Up”.
Now that decades have passed, I am loving the big hits from that album again. While I am talking about Huey Lewis and the News, I need to mention that they have just released a brand new album, Weather. It is their first studio album of original material in 19 years, and it is incredible! They sound just as good as they do on Sports, and every single song is awesome. I highly recommend you checking this out.
If you want to Return to the ’80s, check out Sports on Spotify:
Then check out their brand new album, Weather:
And if you’d like to get the albums from Amazon, you can click on the album covers below:
Welcome back as we continue this week’s Top 40 countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out Songs 40-31 and Songs 30-21. A lot of times, this is the part of the countdown I love because there are great songs that may not have landed in the Top 10, which means that they don’t get much airplay on the ’80s radio stations and shows. This countdown does not disappoint.
If you’d like to listen to the song, you can click on the song title to get the YouTube video and click on the album cover to get the song on Amazon.
Now, let’s Return to the week ending November 8, 1986, and continue the countdown!
Wow, Corey Hart had another song besides “Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender“?! You would never know it, but he actually had nine Top 40 hits in the U.S. This one, off of his Fields of Fire album, would peak at #18.
This was the third single released from the iconic Control album, and was the first #1 song for Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty). It made her and her brother Michael Jackson the first, and so far only, siblings to both have solo number-one hits on the Hot 100. At the time she was 20 years old, making Janet the youngest artist since Stevie Wonder to top the Billboard Hot 100.
Climbing up from #27 to #18, this Bruce Hornsby & The Range tune would go on to be a #1 hit. This was the second single released from their debut album, The Way It Is. I was never a fan of this song, but some things will never change. That’s just the way it is.
This ballad would be Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam With Full Force’s first Top 10 hit, peaking at #8. They would later top the charts with “Head to Toe” and “Lost in Emotion“. We may not have heard the last of Lisa Lisa. In June of 2019 Lisa Lisa signed with Snoop Dogg’s Army, part of the Snoop Dogg Entertainment Company.
Great ballad by the recently deceased Ric Ocasek. This was the only solo hit by The Cars frontman. The song jumped from #22 to #16 this week, and would top out at #15. After the Cars released their Greatest Hits album in 1985, the group split up to pursue solo careers. Just as Ocasek had this one Top 40 hit, singer/bassist Benjamin Orr did the same with “Stay the Night“.
Huey Lewis & The News did not rest on their laurels after their Sports album. They followed that classic album with another great one – Fore!. This was the second song released from that album, and would top out at #3. Fun fact: the song features Pro Football Hall of Famers and then-San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott singing backup vocals.
Lionel Richie has so many smash hits that some get lost in the mix. This is one of them. I totally forgot about this one. It was a Top 10 hit, topping out at #9 on the Hot 100. It would also be Richie’s tenth number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Great ballad by Toto with legendary guitarist Steve Lukather on lead vocals along with guest vocalist Michael McDonald. Lukather recently published a book called The Gospel According to Luke which I would love to check out.
Former Chicago bassist/singer Peter Cetera followed up his smash hit “The Glory of Love” with this awesome duet with Amy Grant. It was also a success, becoming another #1 hit. Bobby Caldwell and Paul Gordon wrote the song for Peter Cetera to sing, and did not know, at the time, that he was leaving the band Chicago. According to Caldwell, “We did indeed write the song for Chicago and their lead vocalist Peter Cetera. We had his voice in mind, but Paul and I were unaware that he was leaving Chicago at that time, and when we heard the news our hopes were dashed. However, a short time later, I got a call at home from Cetera himself who stumbled upon our demo cassette tape of the song in producer/arranger David Foster’s office. He loved the tune and wanted to record it as a duet. It was simply meant to be—the song landed with the singer we wanted.” This song would bring Contemporary Christian music artist Amy Grant to the mainstream.
This song was Anita Baker’s first big hit single, peaking at number two on the US Billboard R&B chart, number three on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100. This song won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song at the 29th Annual Grammy Awards.
That wraps things up for today. As the numbers get smaller, the hits get bigger! So, come back tomorrow, and see what the Top 10 hits of the week are from this week in 1986.
Welcome back to this week’s countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. This has been a great week of music so far, and it continues today. It was so good, that we will be coming back with another countdown next week, with a twist! We will Return to the top 40 countdown for the week of March 6-12, from the UK! I know there is a huge following here of folks from the U.K. So they will get to relive their past, and 80s fans from the U.S. may discover music that did not make it over here for one reason or another. But first thing’s first. Let’s Return to the week ending February 28, 1987, and check out the top 10 songs of this week.
Peter Gabriel had some groundbreaking videos in the late ’80s. Which means that they were on MTV every other song. Which also means that I couldn’t stand it! I was dreading listening to this again, but now I’m liking it a little more.
Between this, and Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait Awhile” earlier in the countdown, all we need to do is substitute Samantha Fox’s “Touch Me” with Jermaine Stewart’s “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off”, and we would have a perfect countdown for a Catholic school dance.
Bon Jovi had a huge hit with “You Give Love a Bad Name”. But, this ’80s anthem is the one that changed them forever. When you say the words “’80s music” to somebody, this is one of a handful of songs that would immediately come to mind. This is totally deserving of the #1 spot, and a great way to end the countdown.
That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this countdown. Please let me know your thoughts. And as I mentioned earlier, we will be coming right back next week with the UK Top 40 from 1983. Until then, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.
Welcome back as the countdown continues. If you missed the first 10 songs, you can go back and check them out. In the early ’80s, radio was quite diverse. Disco was still winding down, and there were a lot of singer/songwriter, rock, and pop tunes. In the late ’80s, the Top 40 countdowns were still diverse. There was a good combination of pop, rock, and R&B. And today’s list is no exception. So, let’s go back to the good ole days, and Return to the week ending August 8, 1987, and go on with the countdown.
Today, Robert wraps up his series on great songs that feature a saxophone. What are some of your favorites? Please leave a comment below. To kick off the conclusion of this week’s series, here is the legendary, late Clarence “Big Man” Clemons:
Now, take it away, Robert!
“Only the Lonely” by The Motels
As much as I love ‘80s music there were a few bands that barely registered in my collection. The Motels are one of this bands; I did have copies on a mixtape of this song, but I have never purchased an entire album by them. This song come from their most successful album, 1982’s All Four One, and reached #9 on the AT 40. The vocalist, Martha Davis, is well known to ‘80s fans, but the rest of the band toiled in relative obscurity as far as name recognition goes. The subdued sound that this band creates in this song is memorizing with the sax being played by Marty Jourard who is also the band’s keyboardist. Once again, here is a song that has great phrasing. The verses follow a simple pattern – the first two lines of each verse has a pause after two words and then continues. The third line is a longer one that has no pause. They are, in essence creating a music with words. It goes like this, “We walk (pause) the loneliest mile / We smile (pause) without any style / We kiss all together wrong no intention.” Here we have another song about the end of a relationship, this time though, I think the music first perfectly.
“Who Can it be Now?” by Men at Work
Here we have the first hit single from the Australian band that took the American music charts by storm in the early ‘80s and, honestly, sort of just faded away. This song comes from their first album Business as Usual and it hit #1 on the AT 40 in October of 1982. Men at Work feature the quirky vocals of Colin Hay who is clearly an icon of early ‘80s music as well as being in constant rotation on MTV. The saxophone is being played by Greg Ham who also doubles as the keyboard player. The sax is not limited to just a solo here, though. It establishes the song’s theme and has the sound that makes the song instantly recognizable. The song captures something we have all felt, thought, or said out loud at one time or another: “Just leave me alone!” After several pleas for solitude, Hay reveals a possible reason that he is being bothered, “Is that the man come to take me away? / Why do they follow me? / It’s not the future that I can see / It’s just my fantasy.” Is there a good reason for him to be taken away? I’m not sure, but I am sure that the success Men at Work had with their first two albums is well deserved. Their unique, fun style is something that we are missing today. I wish all of them were still around and making this intriguing music like this.
“Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx
Many ‘80s pundits consider 1987 as the end of the true sound of ‘80s music. Maybe. I tend to extend my definition of ‘80s through 1987 with a few good tunes from 1988 when the changes in musical styles are very apparent and the ‘80s’ sound seems to get lost. One major reason I consider 1987 as a vital part of ‘80s lore is that I graduated high school in 1987 and the rise of Richard Marx. Richard Marx’s debut album was released in the Spring of 1987 about the time I graduated; it was the first album I bought after starting college. This song, the third single released from Richard Marx, was on the charts in early 1988 and reached #2. The sax is played by David Boruff and is full of the emotional sadness that the lyrics capture. This sad, sultry ballad is about an intense summer love that is no more. The speaker is lamenting what has been lost, “Summer came and left without a warning / All at once I looked and you were gone / And now you’re looking back at me / Searching for a way that we can be like we were before.” He is just not the same without her and improving the situation does not look like a possibility. He is stuck in the memories of that summer and cannot find a way to break free of them. The chorus captures this perfectly, “I remember how you loved me / Time was all we had until the day we said goodbye / I remember every moment of the endless summer nights.” We tend to take the time we have with others for granted and when the time is over we realize that we cannot get it back – it is gone forever.
“Do You Believe in Love” by Huey Lewis and the News
I saw Huey Lewis and the News in concert in Frankfurt, Germany in November 1986. The tour was in support of their Fore! album, which I liked, but the most memorable songs were “The Heart of Rock & Rolll”, “Walking on a Thin Line”, and this early hit. This song was released in 1982 and reached #7 on the charts. The first time I heard this song I was immediately drawn in by the harmonious background vocals- I thought (and still do) they sounded so cool. The band’s saxophonist is Johnny Colla, although they typically include an entire horn sections on tour in the ‘80s called The Tower of Power horns. The song is not complex – just a lonely man looking for a woman, “I was walking down a one way street / Just a looking for someone to meet / One woman who was looking for a man.” No hidden meanings here, just a plain old love story.
“You Belong to the City” by Glenn Frey
It seems fitting to end this list with another song from the artist who inspired it. This 1985 release was written specifically for the television show Miami Vice. It helped the soundtrack album reach #1, but the song itself climbed to #2, being kept out of the top spot by Starship’s “We Built this City.” The video itself is clearly influenced by the television show; it features Frey walking through a city at night wearing a Sonny Crockett type suit. The unforgettable sax that begins the song is being played by Bill Bergman. Lyrically the song is about someone who seems to be running away from something and has come to “the city” to escape the past, “You were on the run trying to get away from the things you’ve done.” Unfortunately a sense of boredom has set in, “The moon comes up and the music calls / You’re getting tired of staring at the same four walls.” Clearly a change was desired, but in a sense of frustration, “So much has happened, but nothing has changed.” This is one of Frey’s most successful and well known solo hits a perfect way to close my favorite ‘80s hits that feature a prevalent sax sound.
I am well aware that I have most likely left some great sax work in some big songs. It is difficult to include all of them, for instance “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money. It made the first draft of my list, but ultimately, I thought these others were stronger so I left it off. Please do not be offended if I left off your favorite. There were many more sax songs in the ‘80s than I remembered at first. As I kept digging, I found more and more.
The inspiration for this list, Glenn Frey, is such an enormous musical talent that it would be useless to rehash what he has done – you already know about that. As the years continue to roll by, we will be forced to say goodbye to a lot of our favorite artist from the glorious ‘80s. There is no way to avoid it, so let us, instead, celebrate them by remembering and cherishing what they created.