September 25, 1982

September 24, 2011

As the contents of my head need to settle back into place, I’m pulling up a Billboard magazine Hot 100 chart from the early ’80s – a period of my initial infatuation with music and radio – and checking out the debut songs for that week.

So, here are the eight songs making their first appearance on the chart during this week in 1982…

Billy Preston – I’m Never Gonna Say Goodbye
from Pressin’ On (1982)
(debuted #90, peaked #88, 3 weeks on chart)

For a man known to some as the “Fifth Beatle,” I know surprisingly little about Billy Preston.

I knew that Preston performed on the Apple rooftop with the band, had some legal and health issues, and passed away several years back. As far as his music, all I know is Nothing from Nothing and With You I’m Born Again – the ballad sung with Stevie Wonder’s then-wife Syreeta.

I’d never heard I’m Never Gonna Say Goodbye, but it sounds like a song that James Ingram might have done a few years later if you added a twist of stalker and a bit more melodrama.

Karla Bonoff – Please Be The One
from Wild Heart Of The Young (1982)
(debuted #85, peaked #63, 7 weeks on chart)

Singer/songwriter Karla Bonoff had a hit during the summer of ’82 with Personally. I didn’t really like the song at the time – and it got a lot of airplay – but now I find the catchy song’s bounce and playful vibe appealing.

Bonoff sang back-up for Linda Ronstadt and Please Be The One has a slow, sultry vibe that is reminiscent of Ronstadt to me. I didn’t remember the song until it reached the chorus and rarely heard it on the radio in ’82.

Jeffrey Osborne – On The Wings Of Love
from Jeffrey Osborne (1982)
(debuted #83, peaked #29, 18 weeks on chart)

I would come across Jeffrey Osborne’s On The Wings Of Love often during the autumn and winter that year when I got to the lighter rock stations on the dial. I’d stop long enough to identify it, but would only sit through it when it appeared on American Top 40.

I liked the light-funk feel of Osborne’s I Really Don’t Need No Light, and, though, On The Wings Of Love is pleasant enough, it just doesn’t appeal to me.

The Go-Go’s – Get Up And Go
from Vacation (1982)
(debuted #82, peaked #50, 9 weeks on chart)

The Go-Go’s were seemingly everywhere overnight in 1982. Their debut Beauty And The Beat had topped the album chart in the US with two massive singles – Our Lips Are Sealed and We Got The Beat – becoming instant classics.

Vacation was released toward the end of the summer with Beauty And The Beat still on the album charts. Vacation was an immediate success and the infectious title song was a hit, but both seemed to fade quicker than that summer.

The band seemed to vanish overnight – gone as quickly as they’d arrived – and I didn’t hear a new song by The Go-Go’s on the radio until Head Over Heels two years later.

(an eternity in that era)

Get Up And Go has a nifty opening that echoes Bow Wow Wow and, like most Go-Go’s songs, it is fun, but it isn’t in the same class as the earlier trio of hits by the band.

Survivor – American Heartbeat
from Eye Of The Tiger (1982)
(debuted #79, peaked #17, 16 weeks on chart)

Survivor had had the song of the summer of ’82 with their mammoth hit Eye Of The Tiger and American Haertbeat was culled as the follow-up to the band’s theme from Rocky III.

American Heartbeat was sleeker, built around pulsating keyboards, but still retained a rock edge and, though it certainly fit alongside stuff like Journey and Foreigner hits of the time, the song – not surprisingly – was unable to replicate the success of Eye Of The Tiger.

I dug the song, not that I think I heard it more than a few times on the radio at the time despite it reaching the Top Twenty.

Stevie Wonder – Ribbon In The Sky
from Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium I (1982)
(debuted #76, peaked #54, 7 weeks on chart)

Stevie Wonder had released the double-album retrospective Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium I in the early months of 1982. During that spring and summer, two of the album’s new songs – the yearning That Girl and joyous Do I Do – had become sizeable hits as well as Wonder’s duet with Paul McCartney, Ebony And Ivory.

Ribbon In The Sky was tapped as Original Musiquarium‘s third and final single. Unlike the previous hits from the set, the song was a gentle, lovely ballad that might not have found similar radio acceptance but has endured as a favorite among fans.

Chicago – Love Me Tomorrow
from Chicago 16 (1982)
(debuted #74, peaked #22, 15 weeks on chart)

If Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger was the song of the summer in 1982, Chicago’s Hard To Say I’m Sorry was arguably the season’s biggest ballad and a commercial comeback for the venerable band.

But, as Survivor would learn, it’s difficult to follow up to such a radio juggernaut without the song getting lost in the wake of its predecessor. I heard Love Me Tomorrow plenty and still feel that the song is the best of the group’s ’80s ballads, but it failed to resonate with the public as Hard To Say I’m Sorry had.

Billy Joel – Pressure
from The Nylon Curtain (1982)
(debuted #72, peaked #20, 17 weeks on chart)

When Billy Joel released The Nylon Curtain in autumn 1982, the singer was coming off a trio of albums – The Stranger, 52nd Street, and Glass Houses – that had sold nearly thirty million copies and made Joel a radio fixture.

The Nylon Curtain was edgier and darker, but received glowing reviews and praise for its mature subject matter. The manic, paranoid Pressure also reflected the burgeoning influence of synthesizers becoming prevelant at the time and, even though accompanied by a stylish video clip, the song and album would be a commercial lull before Joel returned with the massively successful An Innocent Man a year later.

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July 16, 1983

July 16, 2011

1983 was a pivitol year for me and music.

As the year began, I had begun to explore more of the radio stations available to me in our corner of the Midwest, gaining familiarity and interest in songs and artists that I might not have heard on Top 40 radio.

I was also hearing music from the ’60s and ’70s, some of which existed as vague recollections, but much of it for the first time.

There would never be a time in which more music would be a wholly new experience for me.

But, American Top 40 with Casey Kasem was still appointment listening each week, offering an education in the acts appearing in the countdown that was not easily obtained in a pre-internet world.

And, 1983 was still a time of a fair amount of diversity on Top 40 radio, meaning that, while I might not particularly like the song playing at any given moment, I was a mere four minutes away from one that I did want to hear.

For our purposes today, though, we’re examining the the songs which debuted on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine during the week of July 16, 1983…

Mitch Ryder – When You Were Mine
from Never Kick A Sleeping Dog
(debuted #95, peaked #87, 4 weeks on chart)

I didn’t know much, if anything, about Mitch Ryder in 1983 and I still have little more than a cursory knowledge of the legendary Detroit rocker’s career thirty years later.

When You Were Mine had first appeared on Prince’s Dirty Mind set in 1980 and – though Prince was becoming a household name with 1999 that summer – I wouldn’t become familiar with the song until hearing Cyndi Lauper’s version on her debut She’s So Unusual in late ’83.

Despite production assistence from John Mellencamp (who, I think, would have still been John Cougar at the time), I don’t recall hearing Ryder’s stellar take on When You Were Mine in 1983 and I suspect that I wasn’t alone.

INXS – Don’t Change
from Shabooh Shoobah
(debuted #90, peaked #80, 4 weeks on chart)

I’ve sung the praises of INXS’ Don’t Change in the past and I will undoubtedly do so in the future. I was indifferent to The One Thing, the initial hit from Shabooh Shoobah, but I instantly fell for Don’t Change.

With soaring synthesizers, grinding guitars, and Michael Hutchence’s defiant vocal, Don’t Change is an anthemic track that is an open road leading to a destination of infinite possibilities.

Jeffrey Osborne – Don’t You Get So Mad
from Stay With Me Tonight
(debuted #89, peaked #25, 14 weeks on chart)

Jeffrey Osborne had a handful of hits in the first half of the ’80s after abdicting his post as lead singer of the R&B act LTD and I was familiar with most of them.

On Don’t You Get So Mad, Osborne advises his significant other to keep her jealousy in check over a light funk melody. The song didn’t really appeal to me, but I do remember being slightly puzzled by my buddy Beej’s affection for it.

The B-52’s – Legal Tender
from Whammy!
(debuted #88, peaked #81, 4 weeks on chart)

Grown-ups have long warned of the evil influence of pop music on “the children” and, though I’ve heard plenty of songs that might have touted less than acceptable behavior, I’ve managed to avoid becoming a menace to society.

However, Legal Tender, The B-52’s ode to counterfeiting is such a bouncy delight, I’m tempted to follow their lead and start cranking out tens and twenties in the spare room.

Engelbert Humperdinck – Til You And Your Lover Are Lovers Again
from You And Your Lover
(debuted #87, peaked #77, 5 weeks on chart)

Is it possible to say “Humperdinck” and be serious?

I suspect I knew of Engelbert Humperdinck from seeing him crooning away on some daytime talk show – maybe Dinah Shore’s – as a kid after school. Or, it’s certainly the type of music I might have heard my mom playing on occasion on the cabinet stereo in our living room.

As for Til You And Your Lover Are Lovers Again, I was certain that I was hearing that rascally Engelbert putting the moves on some woman estranged from her husband. It turns out that, though he might be a crooner, Engelbert’s intentions are honorable.

Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
from Faster Than the Speed Of Night
(debuted #75, peaked #1, 29 weeks on chart)

I, like most listeners, knew Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler for her 1978 Top Ten hit It’s A Heartache, but I distinctly remember being wowed by Total Eclipse Of The Heart the first time I heard the song on the radio one steamy summer day in ’83.

I don’t think that I had ever heard anything so epic and the song seemed to last the entire afternoon.

I totally dug it.

And why not?

Like some demented scientist, producer/songwriter Jim Steinman had assembled a musical cast of thousands – including guitarist Rick Derringer, E Street bandmates Roy Bittan and Max Weinberg – to back Tyler as she raspily belted out her tale of woe to the heavens with enough melodrama that the song could have filled a Behind The Music episode all on its own.

If Steinman drives like he writes and arranges a song, the man has needed the sizable royalty checks he’s accumulated simply to pay his speeding tickets.

Naked Eyes – Promises, Promises
from Naked Eyes
(debuted #71, peaked #11, 20 weeks on chart)

I loved Naked Eyes’ update of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s Always Something There To Remind Me when the UK synth duo reached the Top Ten with the song as their debut in the spring of 1983.

I was far less enamored with Promises, Promises and, though the track failed to follow Always Something There To Remind Me into the Top Ten, I seemed to hear it far more on the radio.


June 5, 1982

June 7, 2011

As part of a semi-recurring series, I thought that I’d pull up the Billboard Hot 100 for this corresponding week from a year in the early ’80s and note the songs that were debuts.

I’m opting with 1982 again as it was the year during which I listened to more Top 40 radio than I ever would again.

(there are also a lot of missing issues during the Junes of the first half of the ’80s in Google’s online archive of Billboard magazine, but ’82 is there)

So, here are the songs which debuted on the Hot 100 during the week of June 5, 1982 as my final summer before entering high school was beginning…

Genesis – Paperlate
from Three Sides Live
(debuted #90, peaked #32, 14 weeks on chart)

Following the success of ’81’s Abacab, Genesis issued Three Sides Live – three sides of live material and – at least in the States – a fourth one consisting of studio material.

Paperlate – like Abacab‘s No Reply At All – featured the the Earth, Wind & Fire horn section giving the song some kick. More than just a lament over an undelivered daily, the ever increasingly commercial trio seems to be warning against slavish devotion to routine.

Ambrosia – How Can You Love Me?
from Road Island
(debuted #89, peaked #86, 4 weeks on chart)

When I pulled up the chart for this week in ’82, I wasn’t surprised that most of the songs debuting were well-known to me. Ambrosia’s How Can You Love Me? was not.

I didn’t recognize it as I listened to it, either, but it certainly surprised me as, like most listeners, I know Ambrosia for their soft rock smashes like How Much I Feel and Biggest Part of Me.

How Can You Love Me? is punchy, guitar-driven rock and maybe the world wasn’t ready for such a thing from the L.A. quartet and the song would prove to be their final hit.

Jeffrey Osborne – I Really Don’t Need No Light
from Jeffrey Osborne
(debuted #88, peaked #39, 15 weeks on chart)

There was essentially one urban station in our range that went by the moniker of The Blaze, but I didn’t spend much time there while surfing the dial. So, I wasn’t really familiar with Jeffrey Osborne’s time as the lead singer of LTD.

But several of his solo hits did make their way to the playlists of the pop stations to which I was partial, so I did hear I Really Don’t Need No Light on occasion. It’s actually a rather catchy, light funk track that I probably enjoy more now than I did then.

Chic – Soup For One
from Soup for One soundtrack
(debuted #87, peaked #80, 6 weeks on chart)

Not only did Chic notch some major hits during the late ’70s with Le Freak, I Want Your Love, and Good Times, the group’s members continued to have an influence on pop music into the ’80s.

Bassist Bernard Edwards worked with acts like Diana Ross, Adam Ant, Rod Stewart, Air Supply, ABC and Duran Duran. He also produced Robert Palmer’s Riptide as well as the debut album by The Power Station, whose line-up included Palmer and Chic drummer Tony Thompson.

Meanwhile, guitarist Nile Rodgers produced pretty much every album during the first half of the decade including releases by Debbie Harry, David Bowie, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, INXS, Madonna, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, and Thompson Twins.

And, yet, Soup For One – a song I hadn’t heard as the title track for a movie I’d never heard of – is pretty unmemorable.

Ashford & Simpson – Street Corner
from Street Opera
(debuted #85, peaked #56, 10 weeks on chart)

The songwriting duo of husband and wife Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson penned songs for most of Motown’s biggest acts, but only managed to reach the pop Top 40 twice as artists. Street Corner wasn’t one of them.

I didn’t hear Street Corner much, if at all, on radio at the time. The only time I really do recall hearing it was on America’s Top 10Casey Kasem’s weekly television countdown – as it was a much bigger hit on the R&B charts.

But the song did catch my ear at the time. It reminded me of songs like George Benson’s Give Me The Night and Brothers Johnson’s Stomp! from the previous summer, both of which I totally dug.

Larry Elgart & His Manhattan Swing Orchestra – Hooked on Swing
from Hooked on Swing
(debuted #83, peaked #31, 12 weeks on chart)

The London Philharmonic had reached the Top 10 with a medley of classical compositions in early ’82 and, later that summer, Meco would reach the Top 40 by stitching together some classic movie themes.

And, over the previous year, Dutch studio group Stars On 45 had also scored hits with medleys of songs by The Beatles and Stevie Wonder.

So, true to form, record labels proved willing to flog the medley equine until it was of no interest to anyone but Elmer’s.

Cheap Trick – If You Want My Love
from One On One
(debuted #81, peaked #45, 10 weeks on chart)

Sure, Cheap Trick had lost a bit of mojo since rocketing to superstardom a few years earlier with Cheap Trick At Budokan, but how could a song as stellar as If You Want My Love fail to even reach the Top 40?

This lack of love for Cheap Trick also baffled ticket-scalper Mike Damone that summer in Fast Times At Ridgemont High as he asked. “Can you honestly tell me you forgot? Forgot the magnetism of Robin Zander, or the charisma of Rick Nielsen?”

(of course, Damone apparently forgot the magnetism and charisma of Bun E. Carlos)

Glenn Frey – I Found Somebody
from No Fun Aloud
(debuted #77, peaked #31, 13 weeks on chart)

Though I’m not as opposed to The Eagles as The Dude was in The Big Lebowski – in which his abiding hatred of the group gets him tossed from a cab – I’ve never been much of a fan, either. Maybe it was the overkill of hearing their music so much on radio as a kid.

So, I had minimal interest in Glenn Frey’s solo debut. However, the languid I Found Somebody is pleasant enough.

Chicago – Hard To Say I’m Sorry
from Chicago 16
(debuted #75, peaked #1, 24 weeks on chart)

I know that Chicago has some seriously devoted fans, but I’ve never been much more than lukewarm toward most of their music. Here and there is a song I like, but, mostly, I’m indifferent.

Hard To Say I’m Sorry would prove to be inescapable that entire summer and remained so as we returned to school in September. I always found the version with Get Away – which I heard as often as the truncated single – to be a bit jarring.

Survivor – Eye Of The Tiger
from Eye Of The Tiger
(debuted #73, peaked #1, 25 weeks on chart)

Sure, the lyrics are pretty goofy – I think I realized that even in ’82 when Rocky III was one of the summer’s biggest flicks and Survivor’s theme was everywhere – but the music is sonic adrenalin.

Rick Springfield – What Kind of Fool Am I
from Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet
(debuted #57, peaked #21, 12 weeks on chart)

Though I don’t usually seek them out, when one of the dozen or so tracks on the iPod by Rick Springfield shuffles up, I’m likely listening to the entire song. The guy had some catchy tracks.

I would have guessed the the mellow rocking What Kind Of Fool Am I had been a Top 10 hit. It certainly seemed to be as popular as Don’t Talk To Strangers, the first single from Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet on the stations I was listening to.