With nothing of use in my head, it’s a good time to pull up a Billboard magazine Hot 100 chart from the early ’80s – a period of my initial infatuation with music and radio – and check out the debut songs.
So, here are the seven songs which were making their first appearance on the chart during this week in 1982…
John Schneider – In The Driver’s Seat
from Quiet Man
(debuted #90, peaked #72, 6 weeks on chart)
John Schneider was one half of the Duke boys in the ’80s series The Dukes Of Hazard. The other brother was played by Tom Wopat and – had he had the song debuting – I could recount the tale of an insane neighbor I once had who dated him, leading her to declare to me, “Tom Wopat loves me!”
(my college education had, unfortunately, not prepared me for such an inconceivable situation so I stood there, slack-jawed and inert, unsure of an appropriate response and not wanting to laugh)
Strange courtships aside, I had never heard In The Driver’s Seat, not in ’82 or during the ensuing three decades, but – rightly or wrongly – it makes me think of Jim Croce’s Speedball Tucker and Rapid Roy (The Stock Car Boy).
Tané Cain – Holdin’ On
from Tané Cain
(debuted #89, peaked #37, 11 weeks on chart)
Tané Cain was the daughter of actor Doug McClure who starred in, among other movies, The Land That Time Forgot which was eagerly awaited by me as a seven-year old in 1975. In 1982, Cain was married to Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain and issued a self-titled album.
Holdin’ On managed to eke into the Top 40, but it’s a rather generic pop/rock track and the only time that I ever heard the song on the radio was when it aired on American Top 40.
More memorable was the sleeve of the 45, catching the attention of me and my buddy Beej when we found it in the record bin of our hometown discount store. It was like she’d been booted out of Charlie’s Angels for dressing like Pocahontas.
Spys – Don’t Run My Life
(debuted #88, peaked #82, 5 weeks on chart)
Formed by keyboardist Al Greenwood and bassist Ed Gagliardi, who had been founding members of Foreigner, Spys released two albums in the early ’80s to scant success.
It’s a bit surprising that Don’t Run My Life didn’t prove to be more popular given Spys’ pedigree and a sound that wouldn’t have been out of place on Journey’s Escape.
The Gap Band – You Dropped A Bomb On Me
from Gap Band IV
(debuted #85, peaked #31, 13 weeks on chart)
Q102, the station I would have favored in August, 1982, was Top 40 with a rock slant, mixing in album tracks and stuff that would be staples of classic rock stations in the future. There wasn’t a lot of R&B.
I knew the Gap Band from hearing Early In The Morning earlier that summer on American Top 40 for a month or so. However, it was the groovy, electro-funky You Dropped A Bomb On Me , though, that was my real exposure to the trio of siblings as Q102 played the song – and often – as the summer was ending.
Quarterflash – Night Shift
from Night Shift soundtrack
(debuted #83, peaked #60, 8 weeks on chart)
My friend Will and I were quite smitten with Rindy Ross, lead singer and saxophonist for Quarterflash. The band had notched a pair of major hits in late ’81/early ’82 with Harden My Heart and Find Another Fool from the band’s self-titled debut.
Night Shift was the title song that I didn’t hear on the radio from a movie that I didn’t see (but apparently was on cable – which we didn’t have – all the time the following year). It starred Michael Keaton and Henry Winkler – Batman and Fonzie – running a brothel from a morgue.
(or something like that)
The song is a pleasant, little number with a laid-back, shuffling groove but doesn’t really pop like those earlier hits.
Huey Lewis & The News – Workin’ For A Livin’
from Picture This
(debuted #73, peaked #41, 9 weeks on chart)
There was a period of about five years during which it was damn near impossible to surf the dial and not come across a song by Huey Lewis & The News. Some folks had an almost deranged reaction to this saturation of the airwaves.
I quite liked some of their songs and the others I ignored.
The manic Workin’ For A Livin’ is one of the former.
Santana – Hold On
(debuted #72, peaked #15, 14 weeks on chart)
I don’t think I knew Santana in 1982 beyond Winning from the year before.
(it was a staple on the bowling alley jukebox)
Though I doubt it’s considered a Santana classic now, Q102 played the hell out of Hold On in ’82. I dug the song’s fluid feel and it does have a chorus that invites a singalong (or murmur under your breath in traffic).