The one where our intrepid guest reviewer rewrites
the lyrics to an Olivia Newton-John hit.
Hello and welcome to volume seven of fifteen(!) of Radio Daze: Pop Hits of The '80s. This playlist features songs from November 1981 through February 1982 based on the Adult Contemporary charts, which was the primary connection between the first five volumes as issued by Rhino Records in 1995.
Here is HERC's brief history of Billboard's Adult Contemporary (AC) chart:
- 07/17/1961 The first Easy Listening Chart is published. First #1 song was Brook Benton's "The Boll Weevil Song"
- 11/03/1962 Barely a year later, the name of the chart was changed to Middle-Road Singles. The Number One at the time was "Only Love Can Break A Heart" by Gene Pitney
- 05/02/1964 Another chart name change: Pop-Standard Singles. Louis Armstrong's "Hello Dolly!" was in the sixth of nine weeks at the top of the chart
- 10/24/1964 Five months later, the chart reverted back to Middle-Road Singles. "We'll Sing In The Sunshine" by Gale Garnett was in the fifth week of a seven week run at the top
- 05/01/1965 Flip-flop back to Pop-Standard Singles. The Sounds Orchestral song "Cast Your Fate To The Wind" topped that chart
- 06/05/1965 The shortest period between name changes brought with it the Easy Listening name. Elvis Presley's cover of "Crying In The Chapel" was in the midst of a 7 week stay on top
- 04/07/1979 After more than a decade, the Easy Listening chart was re-christened Adult Contemporary. Poco's "Crazy Love" was the Number One song on that first AC chart
The beloved "soft rock kid" (Mark S. from The CD Project and his latest online venture, My Favorite Decade 1976-1985) returns to break this latest volume down track by track style, calling them like he hears them. Take it away, Mark!
- Trouble – Lindsey Buckingham, released November 1981, Pop #9, AC #14, Mainstream Rock #12. Despite the strange vocals in the intro, this is an enjoyable lo-fi song with a memorable chorus. I can always identify a Buckingham song (and I mean that as a compliment). A very underrated guitarist, Buckingham’s playing is always impeccable.
- Yesterday’s Songs – Neil Diamond, released November 1981, Pop #11, AC #1. Not much to this song, but I can’t resist Diamond’s voice. That female backing vocal line will be stuck in my mind for days.
- Leather and Lace – Stevie Nicks with Don Henley, released November 1981, Pop #6, AC #10, Mainstream Rock #26. Not a fan. Don’t like the choice of choosing Henley as a duet partner and the verse is too repetitive for my taste. A middle eight would have been nice, too.
- Someone Could Lose a Heart Tonight – Eddie Rabbitt, released November 1981, Pop #15, AC #10, Country #1. I’m generally not one for country music but this one doesn’t sound very country to me. Love the “kissin' and huggin' and heavy breathin'/Fallin' under the spell of the love you're weavin'” part.
- You Could Have Been With Me – Sheena Easton, released December 1981, Pop #15, AC #6. I remember and like this song, but didn’t know it was sung by Sheena Easton until this moment. One of those typical ‘80s ballads where the verse is mundane, but the chorus is so good you can easily dismiss the verse. Other than the song’s title, I can’t understand a word she’s singing and I don’t really care.
- Love In The First Degree – Alabama, released December 1981, Pop #15, AC #5, Country #1. I’m surprised to discover this peaked at #15, because it was a huge hit on pop radio in my area of Texas. I can appreciate the tight vocal harmonies, but I don’t really care for the arrangement. I’d love to hear a full-on soft rock cover of this one complete with sax solo.
- One Hundred Ways – Quincy Jones featuring James Ingram, released January 1982, Pop #14, AC #5, R&B #10. Now we’re talkin’! Q can do no wrong in my book. A great song performed by the top session musicians of the day (members of Toto and the fabulous Ernie Watts). Love the Greg Phillinganes synth solo. Taken from the top 10 album The Dude - I just went to my shelf and pulled out my copy of that album for listening today.
- Only One You – T.G. Sheppard, released February 1982, Pop #68, AC #20, Country #1. To me, it sounds exactly like the Terri Gibbs song "Somebody’s Knockin’" which was included on volume 5 of the Radio Daze series. My least favorite track on this playlist.
- Should I Do It – Pointer Sisters, released February 1982, Pop #13, AC #19. This ‘50s-sounding tune is harmless, but not very memorable. Nice sax solo, but that’s about it.
- That Girl – Stevie Wonder, released February 1982, Pop #4, AC #10, R&B #1. Stevie Freakin’ Wonder. ‘Nuff said.
- Sleepwalk – Larry Carlton, released February 1982, Pop #74, AC #13. I’ve always liked this song, dating back to the first time I heard the 1959 original by Santo & Johnny. Carlton is a great guitarist, but is playing it safe with this easy listening arrangement. I’m actually surprised it was released as a single; I don’t remember hearing it on the radio back in ‘82.
- Make A Move On Me – Olivia Newton-John, released February 1982, Pop #5, AC #6. The follow-up to "Physical", I may actually like this song better as it sounds like it could have been included on the Xanadu soundtrack. I’ve got an ONJ greatest hits CD and this catchy single is NOT included. That’s upsetting and an oversight I need to correct. I was a sophomore in high school when this song came out and I remember singing along with my own sophomoric lyrics: “I'm the one you want, that's all I wanna be/So come on baby take a chance on VD”