Don’s Top 10 for February 25, 1981
Back…back…back into time, as I pilot “The Time Machine” onto Wednesday, February 25, 1981, with the local hit radio survey. I'll play the songs on New Jersey 101.5 starting just after midnight Friday night.
“Don’t Stop The Music” by Yarbrough & Peoples
(#38 last week) Biggest mover on the survey! A forgotten R&B favorite that did better locally than nationally. Too bad they put the Chipmunks-like vocals in part of it. Maybe that's why it's forgotten. The song has been sampled numerous times by other artists, most notably the 2002 hit “Gangsta Lovin” by Eve & Alicia Keys. Cavin Yarbrough & Alisa Peoples were childhood friends who eventually worked together (they were in a group with the Wilson Brothers, who left to form the Gap Band), & finally got romantic together, marrying in the late 80s. Still together today.
“Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon
(#19 last week) REO Speedwagon (took their name from a 1911 fire truck) were signed to Epic Records way back in 1971, & were not instant superstars, but steadily toured year after year, & gradually built up their fan base, so by 1981, they exploded with this first single friom “Hi Infidelty”. For me personally, though, their best is 1978's “Time For Me To Fly”. For some reason, that didn't cross over from album rock radio to top 40 radio in most cities. Should have.
“(Just Like) Starting Over” by John Lennon
(#7 last week) It wasn't easy finding a video of the original single on youtube! Had to dig deep. STILL, to this day, when I hear those opening chimes (“Yoko's personal wishing bell”), I choke up. Oh, how I wish John could have grown old together with us. I have a feeling John would still be relevant, all over the new technology used today.
“Together” by Tierra
(#4 last week) Here's another single bigger locally than nationally. Remake of a 60s Philly soul stirrer by the Intruders, written by the great team of Gamble/Huff. Tierra was a 7-man Latin band from L.A. 3 of the group used to be in El Chicano (“Viva Tirado”, “Tell Her She's Lovely”). Sadly, bass player Steve Carlos Falomir passed away on January 21, 2012.
“Woman” by John Lennon
(#4 last week) Many people consider this the most nakedly emotional song ever written by a man for the woman he loves. A PERFECT slow dancer.
“I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt
(#10 last week) The Jersey cowboy! By way of Brooklyn, where Eddie was born. He grew up in East Orange & cut his teeth performing at a bar in Newark in the 60s. Eddie first hit the country chart in 1976, but his earliest taste of success came in 1970 when Elvis Presley recorded his song “Kentucky Rain” & made it a classic.
“Rapture” by Blondie
(#3 last week) It didn't take long for rap music to hit the 'mainstream”, just two years removed from “Rapper's Delight”. “Rapture” was the first rap song many people had ever heard. It really cemented Blondie's status as an adventurous act, not afraid to try (& succeed) with different sounding records. Strangely, though, this would be their last big hit. I'm kinda surprised there's never been a Blondie resurgence on the charts, given how fresh their hits still sound.
“9 To 5″ by Dolly Parton
(#9 last week) Never knew that Dolly's uncle was Buck Owens of “Hee Haw” fame. This was her biggest pop crossover hit as a singer, but not as a songwriter. That would be “I Will Always Love You”.
“Celebration” by Kool & The Gang
(#2 last week) You would have thought this party anthem by Jersey boys J.T. Taylor & company would be a surefire #1 hit, & you'd be right–but nationally, where it hit the top for two weeks. Shockingly, this did NOT get to #1 locally, peaking here at #2 for four weeks. What did the American hostages hear as they got off the plane from Iran after 444 days in captivity? This song, played over loudspeakers. What a moment.
“The Tide Is High” by Blondie
(#1 last week; 4th week at #1) Nationally, this stayed at #1 for one week. Locally? SIX weeks! Not only did Blondie bring new wave, reggae & rap to the masses, Debbie Harry also was influential in the fashion world, almost singlehandedly bringing the mini back into style. Thanks Debbie!