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

The one where the soft rock kid crowns the Soft Rock King

Covering October 1982 through April 1983, these are the somewhat forgotten soft pop hits of the 80s, ideally suited for the soft rock kid's unique skill set that combines a vast musical knowledge of the Eighties with unbridled enthusiasm and a willingness to share his opinions, both positive and less positive.  To put the timeline into pop music perspective, here's a listing of the even dozen songs that topped the Hot 100 from October 1982 through April 1983:
  • Jack & Diane - John Cougar
  • Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work
  • Up Where We Belong - Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes
  • Truly - Lionel Richie
  • Mickey - Toni Basil
  • Maneater - Hall & Oates
  • Down Under - Men At Work
  • Africa - Toto
  • Baby, Come To Me - Patti Austin with James Ingram
  • Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
  • Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
  • Beat It - Michael Jackson
Now to muddy up the waters, here's the sixteen songs that reached Number One in the UK during the same seven month period:
  • The Bitterest Pill - The Jam
  • Pass The Dutchie - Musical Youth
  • Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? - Culture Club
  • I Don't Wanna Dance - Eddy Grant
  • Heartbreaker - Dionne Warwick
  • Mirror Man - Human League
  • Beat Surrender - The Jam
  • Time (Clock Of The Heart) - Culture Club
  • Save Your Love - Renee & Renato
  • You Can't Hurry Love - Phil Collins
  • Down Under - Men At Work
  • Too Shy - Kajagoogoo
  • Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
  • Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler
  • Is There Something I Should Know? - Duran Duran
  • Let's Dance - David Bowie
Now that we've reached maximum confusion levels, let's bring out the soft rock kid and have him run through today's playlist, which is Volume Ten in the series:
  • Missing You – Dan Fogelberg, released October 1982, Pop #23, AC #6, Mainstream Rock #30.  Fogelberg?  I could have sworn this was Loggins.  No matter, this playlist starts off with a solid soft rocker.  I’ll take this song over his ballads anytime.  I’m not sure if that’s Dan on the West Coast-ish guitar solo, but if it is, I’m impressed.
  • So Much In Love – Timothy B. Schmit, released October 1982, Pop #59, AC #27.  I’ll give it a pass because of its inclusion in that classic flick Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but I’d rather hear the 1963 doo-wop original by The Tymes.
  • It’s Raining Again – Supertramp, released November 1982, Pop #11, AC #5, Mainstream Rock #7. A great sing-along melody over traditional rock chord progression. Add a tasty sax lick and a wordless chorus and they’ve really got something good here.
  • Two Less Lonely People in the World – Air Supply, released November 1982, Pop #38, AC #4.  Though they successfully they took over the unofficial title of Soft Rock King from Barry Manilow around 1980, by the time this was released, I had had enough Air Supply.  I have to give the duo credit, they knew what their fans wanted and they continued to give it to them time after time after time.
  • I Gotta Try – Michael McDonald, released November 1982, Pop #44, AC #28. Oh yeah. Co-written by fellow yacht rock captain Kenny Loggins, this is quality blue eyed soul.  The piano riff is lifted from the Doobie’s "Real Love", but if McDonald wants to recycle his own material to create good stuff like this, he has my permission to do so.
  • Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye, released December 1982, Pop #3, AC #34, R&B #1.  I may be relieved of my duties as Radio Daze reviewer for writing this, but I’ve never cared much for this song.  Give me his earlier stuff any day.
  • It Might Be You – Stephen Bishop, released January 1983, Pop #25, AC #1.  Judging from the airplay it got on the radio stations I listened to, I would have bet this smooth ballad would have charted higher than #25.  From the movie Tootsie, this is right up my alley with lots of electric piano, synth pads, acoustic guitar, and a strong bridge.
  • I’ve Got a Rock N’ Roll Heart – Eric Clapton, released February 1983, Pop #18, AC #6, Mainstream Rock #24. Typical Clapton from his MOR period.  It’s not a favorite of mine, but I kinda dig the “I get off on ‘57 Chevys” chorus part.  Ironically titled, there’s really not much rock n’ roll in this one.
  • New Frontier – Donald Fagen, released February 1983, Pop #70, AC #34. The Nightfly is one of my all time favorite albums and I bought it based on the strength of this song. Yeah, I kinda like it a little bit. I would call this the clear winner of this playlist, but it has strong competition from...
  • Mornin’ – Al Jarreau, released March 1983, Pop #21, AC #1, R&B #6.  Man, this is one the best feel-good songs ever.  Songwriter/producer Jay Graydon deserves a lot of the credit, but it wouldn’t be the same song without Jarreau.  It’s so good I can even forgive the video.  I’ve written about this song before over at The CD Project.  Here’s what I wrote then: “In 1984, I dubbed a copy of this album from a teacher's LP and was immediately a Jarreau fan.  The tape got a lot of playing time in my car and my neighbors were often treated to my vocal stylings as I sang along (very loudly) with Jarreau.  On a good day, I'd attempt the A at the end of the bridge of "Mornin'".  When I saw Jarreau in concert in 1985, I couldn't wait for him to sing "Mornin'".  He did and I wasn't disappointed.”
  • Only You – Yaz, released March 1983, Pop #67, AC #38.  And New Wave makes its way to the AC charts, barely. This is a strong ballad and might have charted higher if the arrangement wasn’t so synth-based, but whaddaya expect from Vince Clarke?  Alison Moyet’s vocals are fantastic, as always.
  • You Can’t Run from Love – Eddie Rabbitt, released April 1983, Pop #55, AC #2, Country #1.  Don’t recall this one from Rabbitt’s heyday.  Or there isn’t anything memorable about this one.  Or both.

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