Don’s Top 10 From June 28, 1981
Our first weekend trip in time takes us to Sunday, June 28, 1981, with the local top 10 singles:
“Being With You” by Smokey Robinson
(#7 last week) Not many artists have had the longevity of Smokey Robinson. He first hit the charts in 1959! Smokey’s managed to stay relevant for three generations of music fans. This was the followup to “Cruisin'”, & an even bigger hit.
“Two Hearts” by Stephanie Mills featuring Teddy Pendergrass
(#11 last week) Yeah, I barely remember this, too. This was Stephanie’s first single after her big hit “Never Knew Love Like This Before”, but it didn’t even make the R&B chart, even with the inclusion of Love God Pendergrass. It DID do well locally, though.
“America” by Neil Diamond
(#13 last week) Produced by 4 Seasons immortal Bob Gaudio, this was the third straight smash from Diamond’s soundtrack to “The Jazz Singer”, critically reviled but a hit at the box office. For the record, although the single version was a studio recording, it sounds live because of crowd overdubs in the song.
“Just The Two Of Us” by Grover Washington Jr. with Bill Withers
(#3 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…..
“All Those Years Ago” by George Harrison
(#8 last week) George, in tribute to John. He first gave the song to Ringo Starr & recorded it just two weeks before John’s death. Ringo felt he wasn’t right for the vocals & gave the track back to George. After John’s passing, George rewrote sme of the lyrics to directly reflect John. Paul & Linda McCartney & Denny Laine came over to add backing vocals. It was the only time George, Ringo & Paul had recorded on one song since “I Me Mine” in 1969 & the last time until “Free As A Bird” in 1995. I was surprised when this stopped at #2. Thought for sure it’d be a charttopper.
“Morning Train (Nine To Five)” by Sheena Easton
(#6 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.
“This Little Girl” by Gary U.S. Bonds
(#5 last week) This is a Springsteen song in all but lead vocals from The Boss himself. Bruce was, of course, a longtime fan of early rocker Bonds, who made a comeback with this infectious tune exactly 20 years to the date of his #1 smash “Quarter To Three”, which went on to be the local #1 hit of the year in 1961.
“A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” by Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio
(#4 last week) Aah, the early 80s. Cheatin’s OK, as long as its in revenge! Ray got his start at Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus Records as a teenaged prodigy. You can hear his guitar on dozens of 70s hits, as far back as 1971’s “Want Ads” by the Honey Cone. This song was his last hit with Raydio before he went solo.
“Medley” by Stars On 45
(#2 last week) The record that kicked off the “medley” mini-craze of the early 80s. Dutch studio group fronted by Jaap Eggermont, formerly of Golden Earring (“Radar Love”). I always found it strange how a medley of mainly Beatles covers would start with the Archies & Shocking Blue, but apparently it was edited from a much longer 12-inch single, which had many other artists included. Because of legalities, every song used had to be listed as part of the title, making this the longest title ever to chart.
“Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes
(#1 last week; 5th week at #1) One of the biggest hits of the decade, this was co-written by 60s star Jackie DeShannon & first recorded by her in 1974. Bette Davis herself was said to have been thrilled to be name-checked in a popular song & approached Carnes & DeShannon to thank them for “making her a part of modern times”.