Radio Daze, Vol. Six [HERC's M!X]

The one where Mark calls HERC a "sly dog".

Radio Daze, Volume Six picks up where Volume Five left off and includes a dozen songs from July-October 1981.  As he has done with other volumes in the series, super guest reviewer Mark (aka "the soft rock kid") from The CD Project breaks it down song by song.
  • Cool Love – Pablo Cruise, released July 1981, Pop #13, AC #13. A non-descript power ballad from a band on its descent.  It’s a pity because I really like the band’s late ‘70s output.
  • Love On A Two Way Street – Stacy Lattisaw, released July 1981, Pop #26, AC #19, R&B #2. In spite of the overblown arrangement, I love this cover of a late ‘60s soul song. Lattisaw has a young, innocent voice and it sounds like she just lost her first love. I find myself singing along.
  • You Don’t Know Me – Mickey Gilley, released July 1981, Pop #55, AC #12, Country #1. This cover of a 1956 Eddy Arnold tune is a little too country for my tastes.  I’ll pass.
  • That Old Song – Ray Parker, Jr, & Raydio, released July 1981, Pop #21, AC #7, R&B #26.  Parker will forever remain famous for his Ghostbusters theme and that’s a real shame.  He wrote some smooth grooves and is a vastly underrated guitarist. This song isn’t Raydio’s best effort, but it’s still a pleasant listen with a catchy chorus and nice harmony vocals.  The rhythm section and verse chords remind me of two other soft rock classics: Joey Scarbury’s "Theme from The Greatest American Hero (Believe It or Not)" and Christopher Cross’s “Never Be The Same.”
  • Don’t Give It Up – Robbie Patton, released August 1981, Pop #26, AC #41.  I didn’t think I knew this one until I heard the chorus.  Actually, that’s a perfect description: the verse isn’t memorable, but the hook-filled chorus is.  The middle eight ain’t bad, either.  A perfect fit for this compilation.
  • The Voice – The Moody Blues, released August 1981, Pop #15, AC #16, Mainstream Rock #1. Love it.  I can’t tell you how many times I almost bought the Long Distance Voyager album.  I have no idea why I didn’t pull the trigger on that one.
  • (I’m Settin’) Fancy Free – The Oak Ridge Boys, released September 1981, Pop #104, AC #17, Country #1.  Again, too country for this soft rock kid. 
  • Just Once – Quincy Jones, released September 1981, Pop #17, AC #7, R&B, #11. Elegantly written by Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, beautifully sung by James Ingram, and then Q laid his magic hands on it.  A classic. I’m surprised at those chart numbers; they seem a little low, don’t they?  Now if only I could hear the song without it reminding me of the slap-you-in-the-face ending of the 1982 movie, The Last American Virgin.
  • Oh No – Commodores, released October 1981, Pop #4, AC #5, R&B #5. A typical Lionel Richie ballad in the style of the group’s earlier hit, "Still". I can take it or leave it. Richie would recycle most of this song’s music for his first solo hit, "Endless Love".
  • I Want You, I Need You – Chris Christian, released October 1981, Pop #37, AC #8. I vaguely remember this one. It’s got some interesting chord progressions, but ultimately this song sounds like a filler track from Air Supply or Manilow.
  • The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known) – Juice Newton, released October 1981, Pop #7, AC #1, Country #1.  A beautiful ballad.  I’ve always liked this one.  For some reason, it never seemed very country to me (although the charts seem to contradict my claim.) 
  • Turn Your Love Around – George Benson, released October 1981, Pop #5, AC #9, R&B #1.  Herc, you sly dog.  This playlist finishes with its strongest song and perhaps my favorite song of 1981. Produced and co-written by West Coast master Jay Graydon, it doesn’t get much better than this. I'll probably hit the replay button on this one a time or two (or five).

For even more music from the Seventies and Eighties, visit Mark's newest site:

1976-1985:  My Favorite Decade

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