(Pictured: Rupert, get down off the damn mantel.)
After discussing the Top 40 from the week of September 9, 1978, on Friday, it is time now for us to look below to see what we can see, and hear.
41. “Who Are You”/The Who
70. “Beast of Burden”/Rolling Stones
75. “London Town”/Paul McCartney and Wings
On the AT40 show from 9/9/78, Casey made a big deal about the three major British Invasion-era groups on the survey in that week: the Moody Blues (“Steppin’ in a Slide Zone”), the Kinks (“A Rock and Roll Fantasy”), and the Rolling Stones (“Miss You”), but the Who nearly made it four. Plus the Stones and Wings were debuting on the Hot 100.
42. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”/Meat Loaf. When I was doing the all-request show on the classic rock station, this record was the bane of my existence. I could have played it twice a night every weekend. It’s a creative idea, but at eight minutes it goes beyond the limit of human tolerance.
55. “You”/The McCrarys. In the fall of 1978, my very first job at the campus radio station was as a member of the music department, which meant that I got to help select tunes for airplay. The audition for the staff involved the music director asking prospective members to identify certain songs by title and artist. “You” was the only one on his list that I couldn’t identify. The McCrarys were (and are) a gospel group from Los Angeles whose members also did a lot of session work on pop and rock records. “You” features Stevie Wonder on harmonica.
62. “It’s a Laugh”/Hall and Oates. I am not obligated to look back at the dark shit that happened in my life during my first semester in college, but sometimes it looks back at me.
81. “Let’s Get Crazy Tonight”/Rupert Holmes. There was a particular kind of young small-town dude you used to run into back in the day. (A few young women, too, but more often dudes.) He was wiry and weathered from spending mornings and nights milking cows and weekend days and summers in the fields. He always looked a little out of place dressed in anything other than work clothes. He drove a pickup truck—an actual working farm vehicle and not one of those suburban showpieces—and his beverage of choice was the cheapest beer on the bar. The thing about these dudes was that you expected their musical taste to run to A) country music or B) hard rock. Which is why Aaron, one of those guys I knew a little bit from the dorm, was so unusual: he was a Rupert Holmes fanatic. “Let’s Get Crazy Tonight” was Holmes’ first chart hit, a year before “Escape.”
89. “Prisoner of Your Love”/Player. Longtime readers will know that there are certain records about which I am completely irrational—I love ’em for reasons I either can’t articulate or that make no damn sense to anybody but me. “Prisoner of Your Love” is one. This thing is great. There was a short radio edit that doesn’t seem to be available at YouTube, but the long version, which runs 6:26, gives you more of what you came in the door for. Or what I came in the door for, anyhow.
92. “Surrender”/Cheap Trick
“Substitute” was a big hit in most of the western world except the United States (#67) and Canada (#86), and is actually a cover of a song by the Righteous Brothers. As for “Surrender,” America wasn’t quite ready for it yet. Couple of years later, it might have been a different story.
83. “You’re the One That I Want”/John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
95. “Mr. Blue Sky”/Electric Light Orchestra
96. “Runaway”/Jefferson Starship
97. “Dance With Me”/Peter Brown
98. “Runaway Love”/Linda Clifford
99. “He’s So Fine”/Kristy and Jimmy McNichol
100. “Still the Same”/Bob Seger
Travolta and ONJ were their 24th week on the chart, Starship in its 16th, ELO and Clifford in week 12, and the McNichols in week 8, and each record held the same position in this week as it did the previous week. “Dance With Me” by Peter Brown, the oldest record on the chart after 28 weeks, is down from #91 the previous week, and “Still the Same” by Bob Seger, in its 18th week on, had been at #97 the week before. All of that slow movement at the bottom of the chart strikes me weird, but it’ll take somebody smarter than me to explain it.