The one where the soft rock kid cops to
never having seen the movie Flashdance
Let's take a look at the somewhat alarming Adult Contemporary / Christmas / Holiday music phenomenon. Perhaps owing to the way the charts were tabulated, the Adult Contemporary Chart never had a Holiday/Christmas themed #1 for the week of Christmas until 2002. In the eleven years since, there have been eleven such "Christmas Music Miracles", most likely spurred by the growing number of AC radio stations that switch to Holiday/Christmas music exclusively between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The miraculous eleven:
- 2002 - "O Holy Night" - Josh Groban
- 2004 - "Believe" - Josh Groban
- 2005 - "Up On The Housetop" - Kimberly Locke
- 2006 - "Jingle Bells" - Kimberly Locke
- 2006 - "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" - Hall & Oates*
- 2007 - "Frosty The Snowman" - Kimberly Locke **
- 2007 - "I'll Be Home For Christmas" - Josh Groban
- 2008 - "A Baby Changes Everything" - Faith Hill
- 2010 - "Oh Santa" - Maruah Carey
- 2011 - "All I Want For Chritsmas Is You" - Michael Buble
- 2012 - "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" - Rod Stewart
- 2013 - "Underneath The Tree" - Kelly Clarkson
While perusing the year-end issue of Billboard (above), HERC happened to notice the predominance of Holiday/Christmas songs on the Adult Contemporary chart dated December 21, 2013. [LISTEN] Seven of the Top 10 and fully half of the Top 30 are of the Season, including "Wonderful Christmastime", Paul McCartney's offering from 1979 at #19, the figurative ghost of Christmases past. Billboard has four other singles charts devoted exclusively to Holiday music:
Adult Contemporary used to mean easy listening in the Sixties before evolving into the soft rock of the Seventies. The Soft Rock Kid, bless his heart, has been reviewing HERC's Radio Daze playlists, made up mostly of Adult Contemporary songs from the Eighties, for nearly two months now and hopefully he can see the light at the end of the tunnel (and this non-paying gig) - after today, there are but three volumes left. This is the kid's eighth visit to The Hideaway and based on his comments below, this appears to be one of his favorite playlists in the series thus far.
- Don’t You Get So Mad – Jeffrey Osborne, released July 1983, Pop #25, AC #29, R&B #3. A great way to start off any playlist. Sounds a lot like something Al Jarreau or George Benson would have been putting out about this time – and that’s a good thing. Should have charted much higher. Now I’m going to have to pause the playlist and go see if I have a copy of the Stay With Me Tonight LP stashed away somewhere.
- Tonight I Celebrate My Love – Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack, released July 1983, Pop #16, AC #4, R&B #5. One of the top ballads of ‘83, this thing is gorgeous. I love Roberta Flack’s voice. During school dances, I would softly sing this song into the ear of a girl while slow dancing. It was the only move I had at the time, but it always worked.
- Waiting For Your Love – Toto, released July 1983, Pop #73, AC #27. I’m always down for some West Coast/AOR. I’m also a big fan of IV so, in my book, any cut from that album is worth a listen. I dig the groovy shuffle feel on this one. I’m pausing again while I put the IV album in today’s listening queue behind the Osborne record.
- What’s New – Linda Ronstadt, released October 1983, Pop #53, AC #5. Oh, baby. Ronstadt’s collaborations with Nelson Riddle came out of left field and right into my wheelhouse. Loved those recordings of standards so much I actually performed "What’s New" in early 1984, but there’s no way I could keep up with Ronstadt’s remarkable voice. I can’t think of a time in my life when I wasn’t absolutely crazy about Linda.
- Lady, Lady, Lady – Joe “Bean” Esposito, released November 1983, Pop #86, AC #36. For this to have been written by Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey, it should be a lot better than it is. It’s just a boring ballad that tries to be propped up by busy synth arpeggios. If this song plays a part in a particularly poignant scene in Flashdance, I couldn’t tell ya. I’ve never seen that movie.
- The Curly Shuffle – Jump ‘N The Saddle, released December 1983, Pop #15, AC #29. Remember when novelty songs got radio airplay? This one is entertaining enough for the occasional listen. And by occasional, I mean once every 10 years or so. My sons have only a passing knowledge of the Three Stooges and that’s only because they’d watch it with me when they were little. Now they have no interest. Have I failed as a parent?
- So Bad – Paul McCartney, released January 1984, Pop #23, AC #3. I had the Pipes Of Peace LP and would often skip this track. I like the song a lot more these days as it reminds me of his mid-‘70s ballads with Wings. I haven’t thought of this one in years so I’m glad Herc included it on this playlist.
- Here Comes The Rain Again – Eurythmics, released February 1984, Pop #4, AC #6, Dance #4. I’m a big fan of Eurythmics singles, but not their albums. When Dave Stewart is on, he’s really on and Annie Lennox’s voice is beautifully edgy. I’m not much for the verse of this song, but love the chorus.
- Don’t Answer Me – Alan Parsons Project, released March 1984, Pop #15, AC #4, Mainstream Rock #15. I always liked this one because it sounded like Phil Spector producing ELO.
- To All The Girls I’ve Love Before – Julio Iglesias & Willie Nelson, released March 1984, Pop #5, AC #3, Country #1. Hearing this one just now made me literally laugh out loud. One of those inexplicable big hits that leaves me shaking my head. Neither of these guys had any business recording this. I’d rather hear "The Curly Shuffle" again.
- They Don’t Know – Tracey Ullman, released March 1984, Pop #8, AC #11. Bay-ay-bee-eee! I love this song and sing along with it every time (including now). I don’t karaoke, but if I did, this would be a staple of my repertoire. Pausing again so I can pull out this album, too.***
- Love Won’t Let Me Wait – Johnny Mathis with Deniece Williams, released March 1984, Pop #106, AC #14, R&B #32. Man, this is a great slow jam. I prefer the 1975 version by Major Harris, but a song this well-written is hard to mess up. This song works well as a duet; that was a good choice.
* - peaked the week after Christmas 2006
** - peaked the week before Christmas 2007
*** - this song has been removed from Spotify recently - it has been left in the playlist in the hopes that it will soon return