FLASHBACK: August 28, 1983

After a brief greeting and salutation, Casey gets right to the action on the Pop Singles chart, counting down each of the Top 10 records, one by one.  Then he hits the highlights on the Soul, Albums and Country charts.  Four charts, four Spotlight videos - no interviews, no music news, no special features though there is a Trivia Question and Answer. Probably one of the more efficient episodes of America's Top 10 I've ever seen.  Thanks as always to burtiscurtis09 for editing and uploading the episode.

COUNTRY SPOTLIGHT: "Hey Bartender" by Johnny Lee

End of August 1983.  I had been working my fast-food job for almost two months, had clothes on layaway at Chess King and just starting my Senior year of high school. Though I didn't own my own car yet and had only had my license for 4 months, my folks were pretty cool about letting me drive the Cordoba or the Datsun F10 when they didn't need them. On days when a car was unavailable, I happily rode public transportation with my Walkman.  An end of school yearbook confession had turned into red-hot summer romance and yet nearly every shift at work I was attracted more and more to the two sisters I worked with, one of whom I had fallen in love with at first glance when she slipped me my application and the other older one who was ending a messy relationship while beginning her second year at the University.  The former had made it uncategorically clear that she was not interested in romance as she began her freshman year of college while the latter began confiding in me more and more.  A college girl talking to a high school guy - of course, I was intoxicated.  Life was getting more complicated but the music made it all better.  

A James Bond theme ruled the Adult Contemporary chart that week though I would have to say I was more in like with the bottom half of the Top 10 featuring Billy Joel, The Police, Men At Work and Air Supply singing their last great hit.  But the song that soothes and calms me every time I hear it is Michael Jackson's "Human Nature", at number 3 on its way to a four week stint at the runner-up position.  Did you know that "Human Nature" was the last song recorded for Thriller and that it bumped "Carousel" from the final track listing?

Coming it at number 10 on the Dance/Disco chart is "I.O.U.", an early Arthur Baker electro production with often misheard lyrics.  At number 7, is a song new to me - "Out In The Night" by Serge Ponsar, a French artist who shares that week's New On The Charts feature in Billboard with Wham! and King Sunny Ade.  In a rarity among the post-Seventies Dance/Disco charts, an entire album is listed on the chart; this time out it's Speaking In Tongues from Talking Heads lodged at number 5.  My favorite disc on the list is that old Yaz double whammy "Nobody's Diary" b/w "State Farm" in their respective Extended Versions.  (Kindly disregard my album version placeholders in playlist above.)

You know how I like the Top Tracks chart - couldn't stop at just 10 or 20, I went all the way down to  the swaggering dis track at number 25 which unfortunately hasn't been licensed to Spotify yet so instead you get the Top 24 Top Tracks.  While I enjoy all of the tracks, I have to single out "Who's Behind The Door" by Zebra.  It remains the epitome of mid-Eighties AOR production, a prog rock orgasm remembered fondly more than thirty years later.

Got no qualms with the ten albums that rocked the Rock Albums chart that week.   I owned all but Asia's Alpha and though it never appealed to me, I knew several otherwise sane people who loved it. The only two albums that still get listenings from beginning to end are the ones from Bowie and The Police.  Though I was very disappointed with Jackson Browne's Lawyers In Love album upon its release, we've quashed our beef and I now see some fragile beauty lurking among otherwise unremarkable songs.

My affection for the Australia charts is on the record and this time out there is nothing but good stuff (except that "Shiny Shiny" track - blechh!)  Once again, I doubled down and pulled up the Top 20 and the bottom three speak volumes: Bob Marley, Sergio Mendes and New Order.  The country was obviously gripped in Flashdance fever as the top two songs were taken from the soundtrack but further down there's Eddy Grant, Human League, Wham! and New Edition.  So good.  

The Canadian Top 20 is probably my favorite chart this week.  It's not as diverse as the chart from Oz (though the two charts share more than a few songs) but it is stacked and packed with many of my favorite songs from 1983 including one each from Spotify no-shows Def Leppard and Prince.  The one song that took me back further faster was "Baby Jane" from Rod Stewart.  It's hellacatchy fur shure but as is often the case when remembering these older songs, it is the associated memory that places it leap and bounds above all others.

By my count, there are 18 British acts in the Top 20 from the UK for the week and I count 13 of them in the US Top 20.  The imports were dominating the charts in a major way but if you look at the top of the UK chart, who do you see sitting there at Number One?  It's KC and the Sunshine Band and their comeback hit "Give It Up" though here in the States, it was credited solely to KC and feature on both his 1982 album All In A Night's Work and KC Ten in 1983. 
Sometime in 1982, after all the major labels had introduced $5.98 MSRP catalog album campaigns with clever names like Price Busters, Super Savers and The Nice Price, Billboard launched a chart to track the sales of these older albums that oftentimes were no longer on the Top 200.  This week's Midline LPs chart has several of my favorite albums on it:  Elton John's Greatest Hits, Hits! by Boz Scaggs, two by The Who and Steely Dan's peerless Aja among them. But what surprises about this chart are the two albums sitting side by side at number five and six - Dan Fogelberg's Nether Lands and Joe Jackson's Look Sharp!  Back in 1983, Fogelberg was an anathema so his 1977 critically lauded concept album was nowhere on my radar though it is was selling by the discount truckload.  Jackson's debut album on the other hand was already an underrated classic to anyone who had heard it and getting it at a cheaper price was a no-brainer.  And sitting atop the chart was Bowie's infinitely influential The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

No comments:

Post a Comment