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