Don’s Top 10 From April 12, 1981
Back we go in “the Time Machine” to Sunday, April 12, 1981, with the local top 10 singles:
“Celebration” by Kool & The Gang
(#6 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.
“Just The Two Of Us” by Grover Washington Jr. & Bill Withers
(#23 last week) From Washington’s album “Winelight”, this song brought smooth jazz & R&B closer together. It won the Grammy for Best R&B Song for writers Withers, Ralph MacDonald & William Salter. If I were picking a, um…seduction mix tape, this’d be on it….
“The Tide Is High” by Blonide
(#3 last week) 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! Even though she’s associated with New York City, Debbie currently lives in Monmouth County.
“The Best Of Times” by Styx
(#12 last week) First single from the “Paradise Theater” album. In 1999, the song was featured in the Adam Sandler movie “Big Daddy”.
“Kiss On My List” by Daryl Hall & John Oates
(#11 last week) Wow, I thought “The Midnight Special” didn’t allow lipsynching. Guess I was wrong! Even though the previous single from the album “Voices”, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”, did well enough to return Daryl & John to the charts after a three-year absence, this single REALLY cemented them as top 40 radio regulars, the start of an incredible 7 year run.
“Woman” by John Lennon
(#7 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 miss John Lennon every day.
“Morning Train (Nine To Five)” by Sheena Easton
(#5 last week) Everywhere in the world except North America, this record is titled simply “Nine To Five”. But after Dolly Parton’s #1 success just a few months earlier here in the states, the decision was made to retitle the song for our market. It was actually a bigger hit here than in the u.k., where it peaked at #3.
“9 To 5″ by Dolly Parton
(#4 last week) Talk about weird: two songs with “Nine To five” in their titles, out at the same time, and this week back-to-back. In the I-did-not-know-that-department, Dolly’s uncle was Buck Owens, the co-host of “Hee Haw”. This was Dolly’s biggest pop crossover hit as a singer, but not as a songwriter. That would be “I Will Always Love You”. That song alone generates her a six-figure yearly income.
“Rapture” by Blondie
(#2 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.
“Keep On Loving You” by REO Speedwagon
(#1 last week; 2nd week at #1) I appreciate this craftsmanship of this smash more now than when it was on the charts. Truly a catchy little pop-rock gem. 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.