The Way Up

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(Pictured: Stevie Nicks in ’86.)

During the week of February 22, 1986, the Philippines’ People Power Revolution forced President Ferdinand Marcos from office in favor of Corazon Aquino. Also that week, future professional basketball player Rajan Rondo was born and hockey star Jacques Plante died. At the end of the week, Swedish prime minister Olof Palme was assassinated, a murder that remains unsolved today. Return with us now to that week to see what was happening below the Top 40 featured in a recent American Top 40 post.

43. “Goodbye Is Forever”/Arcadia. How many different Duran Duran spinoffs were there, anyway? And does anybody remember any of them now?

44. “No Easy Way Out”/Robert Tepper. The original cue sheet for the 2/22/86 AT40 show includes the text of promos Casey voiced to run the week before it aired. Two of the four promos mention potential new songs on the chart, name-checking Tepper and “No Easy Way Out,” a weird choice given that nobody outside of his family would have had the slightest idea who Robert Tepper was at that moment. “No Easy Way Out” was from the Rocky IV soundtrack, which had two singles on the chart already, “Burning Heart” by Survivor (at #9 in this week) and “Living in America” by James Brown (at #5). (The “No Easy Way Out” video wasn’t intended to be funny in 1986, but it’s hilarious now.)

51. “The Super Bowl Shuffle”/Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew. This is down from its chart peak of #41 the week before. There are only 11 listings for the song at ARSA, all but one from Chicago. WLS had the song at #1 for the week before the Super Bowl in January; their FM sister, Z95, listed it at #1 for four weeks in January and February and two more weeks in the Top 10 after that. My station’s programming syndicator never added it, but I seem to recall that we got a promo copy somehow—or maybe I went to the record store and bought it. We were in Illinois and a plurality of the students at the local state university were from the Chicago area, so we had to play it.

52. “Kiss”/Prince and the Revolution
60. “I Can’t Wait”/Stevie Nicks
These are the two highest debuts of the week. “Kiss” would hit #1. “I Can’t Wait” would eventually top out at #16, and its shiny 80s production makes it sound as dated as ragtime.

56. “Live Is Life”/Opus. “Live Is Life” is a triumph for catchy-but-brain-dead simplicity.

57. “Addicted to Love”/Robert Palmer
79. “Your Love”/The Outfield
80. “Something About You”/Level 42
95. “What Have You Done for Me Lately”/Janet Jackson
Some big, iconic hits, on the way up.

61. “Somewhere”/Barbra Streisand. On the 2/22/86 AT40, Casey took note of a new entry in the Book of Records. With The Broadway Album, Barbra had set a new record for longest time between #1 albums—22 years—breaking a mark Frank Sinatra had held since 1966.

67. “Caravan of Love”/Isley Jasper Isley
71. “Secret”/OMD
There’s a whole list of records that got on my station for only a few weeks but never entirely left my head. OMD released two of them in 1986: “Secret” and “Forever (Live and Die).” “Caravan of Love,” meanwhile, is completely in the pocket for 1986 but a nice throwback to the glory days of soul music at the same time.

75. “The Power of Love”/Jennifer Rush. A number of people have opened up the firehose on this song, including Celine Dion (who took it to #1 in 1994), Air Supply, and Laura Branigan. But this is the original, which was #1 in the UK and many other countries around the world in 1985. It would get to #57 on the Hot 100.

77. “Lying”/Peter Frampton. “Lying” was Frampton’s first Hot 100 hit since “I Can’t Stand It No More” in 1979, and would be his last one to date, although he would make what Billboard now calls its Mainstream Rock chart as late as 1994.

Thanks to social media, I have recently reconnected with my partner on the morning radio show I was doing in 1986. After I left the station at the end of the year, Mitch continued his career as a news reporter for a few years, but he eventually got out of radio and is now a teacher, author, and coach in his home state of Michigan. We were thrown into a partnership by circumstance, but we were both willing to make it work, and by the summer of 1986, we would develop some chemistry, which we did on our own, because we got no coaching or critique from anybody.

I don’t have any tapes of our show, which is almost certainly a good thing.

3 thoughts on “The Way Up

  1. TimMoore

    Lying by Frampton is such a great tune..he opened his concerts with it mid to late 90’s..such a shame what is happening to him now..The Outfield and Robert Palmer are about the only other songs/artists i recognize..always nice to reconnect with old friends..

  2. Wesley

    “Somewhere” failed to make Casey’s show, peaking at #43. In fact, Streisand wouldn’t make the top 40 again as a solo act after “The Way He Makes Me Feel” hit the bottom rung in 1983. She reached #25 with Don Johnson on “Till I Loved You” in 1988 and #8 with “I Finally Found Someone” with Bryan Adams in 1996 (not to be confused with Cher’s hit “I Found Someone”). Good luck finding any station that plays either song, much less anyone who can recall them. While The Broadway Album did give her another #1 LP, it probably hurt her in the public eye overall by casting her as no longer connected to the pop music scene as she had been intermittently during the 1970s and early 1980s.

    As for the Robert Tepper video, well, like you said about “Caravan of Love,” it is completely in the pocket for 1986.

  3. John Gallagher

    There was a brief period in the late 1990’s where “I Finally Found Someone” was chosen as the First Dance at several weddings I DJ’d at.

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