Don’s Top 10 for December 31, 1979: the last day of the seventies
After a break for the holiday hits, we're going back…back…back into time, as “The Time Machine” returns & stops on the very last day of the 1970s! You'll hear me play these in order on New Jersey 101.5, along with a few “countdown extras”, Friday night starting just after midnight.
“Do That To Me One More Time” by The Captain & Tennille
(#14 last week) This song was about as “adult contemporary” as it got, but, oh, the lyrics, written by Toni. Mmmmmm….oh, forgot, I have company. Now back to the countdown……
“We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Cliff Richard
(#10 last week) It's hard to believe the a guy Americans knew as a purveyor of slick late 70s-early 80s pop was Britain's answer to Elvis Presley in the late 50s & early 60s, but Cliff Richard was just that (he charted a dozen times in the states, but over 125 times in the U.K.). And just like the king, he let himself be led toward less-than-artistic-ends. Oh well. At least he's got money, a lot of it, hanging on his mansion walls.
“I Wanna Be Your Lover” by Prince
(#9 last week) Has there ever been a artist more “full of himself” than Prince Rogers Nelson? Probably not. Then again, there have been few performers more talented. Ego & huge talent frequently go hand-in-hand (as a TV appearance at the time showed–BTW, he lied about his age on that appearance). Prince, one of the biggest stars of the 80s, squeaked in at the end of the 70s with his debut hit.
“Please Don’t Go” by KC & The Sunshine Band
(#7 last week) What was America's #1 disco group to do when the “disco era” suddenly ended? (It really didn't; “disco music” just became “dance music”). Record a slow ballad. It worked, slowly. The single took 19 weeks to reach the top of the national chart. But ironically, the band never had another hit. KC did, though: a duet with Teri DeSario (“Yes, I'm Ready”) & a solo hit (“Give It Up”).
“Ladies Night” by Kool & The Gang
(#6 last week) Jersey funk band Kool & The Gang “smoothed up” their rough sound with the addition of lead singer James “J.T.” Taylor, who joined starting with this smash, the beginning of a six-year run of hits for the group. This was produced by Eumir Deodato, an artist himself earlier in the decade (the 1973 instrumental hit “Also Sprach Zarathustra”).
“Still” by The Commodores
(#3 last week) Why mess with a winning formula? Dipping into the same well as “Three Times A Lady” once again proved a winner for Lionel Richie & company. The single was rush-released while their previous hit, “Sail On”, was still in the top 10, due to the demand from radio.
“Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes
(#5 last week) Remember when there were personal ads in the newspaper? What an “O Henry” ending! This was in the #1 spot nationally this last day of the seventies. Rupert Holmes had quite a varied career, writing jingles & musicals as well as performing/writing hit songs & producing (Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow, etc.). Little known: Rupert wrote the only known hit song about cannibalism. Yep, cannibalism. That was “Timothy”, by the Buoys, from 1971. Chomp!
“Rock With You” by Michael Jackson
(#4 last week) We were watching Michael Jackson grow up before our eyes with killer tracks like this, written by Rod Temperton, the keyboardist for the group Heatwave, who has written an amazing list of hits besides this one, including all three of Heatwave's million-sellers “Boogie Nights”, “Always & Forever” & “The Groove Line”. Also: “Off The Wall”, “Thriller”, “Stomp!”, “Yah Mo B There”, “Give Me The Night”, “Love Is In Control (Finger On The Trigger)”, “Baby Come To Me” & “Sweet Freedom”. Wow!
“No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” by Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer
(#2 last week) Not ALL performers have superhuman confidence. Both Barbra & Donna were, according to reports, each intimidated by each other, & could not understand why the other person should be intimidated! The song was co-written by Paul Jabara, who also wrote Donna's Oscar-winning “Last Dance”.
“Babe” by Styx
(#1 last week; 2nd week at #1) Styx was formed way back in 1963 in Chicago, but guitarist Tommy Shaw didn't join until after their first hit, “Lady”, in 1975. In 1979 a Gallup Poll showed Styx as America's favorite rock group.