Welcome to a new year of the Top 40 Countdown! We’ll begin the first week of this year with the first top 40 countdown of the ’80s. This should be an interesting week as these songs were released in 1979. At this point in my life, I was still listening to whatever my parents were listening to. There are several songs, in each list this week, that I was unfamiliar with. If you’re anything like me, get ready to redeem any iTunes gift cards you may have gotten over the holiday season. There may be some good songs that you will discover this week, and will want to download. So, let’s Return to the week ending January 5, 1980, and begin the countdown!
We’ll begin the countdown with a nice, soulful song. I mainly know The O’Jays from their ’70s hit “Love Train“.
This R&B ballad would be The O’Jays last single to reach the top 40 on the pop charts as a group.
Rita Coolidge had a string of hits in the mid-’70s. This song was a big comeback single in 1979 for Coolidge. She would go on to sing one of my favorite James Bond themes – “All Time High” from Octopussy. I like this song a lot too.
I had never heard of this song before. It is a very cool Southern Rock tune. That is Blackfoot frontman Ricky Medlocke’s grandfather, Shorty, playing the harmonica in the introduction.
The first countdown of the ’80s has music all over the map. We go from Southern Rock to Rap. This iconic song by the Sugarhill Gang pretty much kickstarted the rap craze. One incredible fact about this song is that it was recorded in a single take.
Next up is an instrumental jazz song from Herb Alpert’s 1979 album, Rise. This song makes me feel like I’m on hold with my health insurance company. While listening to this, I’m waiting for the song to be interrupted with: “Your call is very important to us. Please continue to hold, and the next available operator will take your call.”
This song definitely has that ’70s singer/songwriter sound. Steve Forbert recorded several songs, but none as commercially successful as this one.
This is one of my favorite Eagles songs. The songwriters were just a bit talented: Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bob Seger and J. D. Souther. This song reached the #1 spot on the Hot 100 for one week in November of ’79. It would be the Eagles’ last chart topper.
This is a song I had forgotten about from Country crossover queen, Crystal Gayle. As soon as I heard the chorus, I remembered it. This would be Crystal Gayle’s final solo top 20 pop hit.
This song may have been released in 1979, but it totally has a classic ’80s sound. I love it!
Fun Fact: The baby on the cover of the single is M founder, Robin Scott’s daughter Berenice. She is currently a singer and piano/keyboard player and composer.
This is a cover of Barbara Mason’s 1965 R&B hit.
Teri DeSario is a singer from Miami, and was a high school classmate of Casey (the lead singer and songwriter or KC and the Sunshine Band). Casey produced DeSario’s second studio album, Moonlight Madness. He liked Barbara Mason’s “Yes, I’m Ready,” and the record label president of Casablanca Records, Neil Bogart, had the idea to record the song as a duet. It would go on to be a #2 hit on the Hot 100.
That wraps up the first 10 songs of the countdown. I get a little nervous when I go early into the decade because I may be unfamiliar with a lot of the songs. But so far, there is no reason to fear. I think this was a good start to the countdown. There were even a couple of songs, “Rapper’s Delight” and “Pop Muzik”, that would be a huge influence on a lot of the music that was to come in the ’80s. We’ll be back tomorrow to continue the countdown. I hope to see you then!
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