Don’t Run

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(Pictured: Men at Work celebrate their Grammy.)

After recapping an American Top 40 show, it’s our practice to look at the Bottom 60 from the same week, so here are a few tunes also popular in some place or another during the week of April 9, 1983.

41. “Take the Short Way Home”/Dionne Warwick. Dionne was incredibly prolific, with 55 Hot 100 hits between 1962 and 1987. The back-to-back singles she made with Barry Gibb, “Heartbreaker” and “Take the Short Way Home” (at its Hot 100 peak in this week), are very good.

42. “The Fanatic”/Felony. Based on their Wikipedia article, Felony is one of the pioneers of modern rock. What they actually appear to have been is a hard-working and photogenic Los Angeles band that got a break by appearing in the 1981 slasher movie Graduation Day, and that came along at the right time to capitalize on music video. “The Fanatic” was popular enough on the radio, especially in Los Angeles, to peak at #42 on the Hot 100 and get Felony a two-song spot on American Bandstand at the end of April 1983.

48. “So Wrong”/Patrick Simmons. Both of the Doobie Brothers’ lead singers from the pre-Michael McDonald era scored solo hits that won’t remind you much of the Doobies, and which both have a disco/dance vibe: Tom Johnston’s “Savannah Nights” in 1980 and “So Wrong,” which would eventually make #30.

50. “Stranger in My House”/Ronnie Milsap. In the spring of 1983, I was music director at KDTH in Dubuque, which was mostly a country station, although country hits and stars that crossed over to pop were our bread ‘n’ butter. In the early 80s, Ronnie Milsap was one of them: since 1974, he had hit the Billboard country chart 27 times, and 22 of those had gone to #1, including his last 10 singles in a row. Four of those last 10 had been pop Top 40 hits: “Smoky Mountain Rain,” “No Getting Over Me,” “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World,” and “Any Day Now.” “Stranger in My House,” which would peak at #5 country and #23 on the Hot 100, was quite unlike anything that had ever hit on country radio up til then. I described it then as “Ronnie Milsap meets Foreigner, and Foreigner wins,” and that’s still accurate.

53. “Baby Come to Me”/Patti Austin and James Ingram
60. “Never Give Up”/Sammy Hagar
70. “Every Home Should Have One”/Patti Austin

93. “Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy”/Sammy Hagar
Next month, I’m going to write about the May 1983 AT40 chart on which seven acts had two different singles in the Top 40. On this chart, Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Bob Seger, Lionel Richie, Billy Joel, and Men at Work each have two in the Hot 100, as do Patti Austin and Sammy Hagar, which I did not see coming.

54. “Down Under”/Men at Work. In my earlier post about the AT40 show from this week, we saw Men at Work’s “Overkill” make the highest Hot 100 debut since 1971, which indicates how popular that band was after two #1 hits, “Who Can It Be Now” and “Down Under,” plus the 1982 Best New Artist Grammy. But it was heat they couldn’t sustain. “Overkill” would make #3 and “It’s a Mistake” #6 later in the summer, but neither remained on radio playlists for very long afterward. “Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive” would peak at #28 in the fall, and they’d never return to the Top 40 again.

67. “Smiling Islands”/Robbie Patton. I have mentioned before how D93, the FM sister station of KDTH, invested a lot of time and effort trying to break hits. It meant that the station gave a lot of airtime to records the program director believed in, regardless of whether anybody was buying them, or even wanted to hear them. One of them was “Smiling Islands.” Robbie Patton, a collaborator with Fleetwood Mac, whose “Don’t Give It Up” had gone to #26 in the summer of 1981, welcomed Stevie Nicks to sing a verse. “Smiling Islands” is a perfectly pleasant pop song directly in the pocket for 1983 that peaked at #16 on the Billboard AC chart and #52 on the Hot 100. D93 played it like it was a #1 hit.

103. “Don’t Run”/KC and the Sunshine Band with Teri DeSario. “Yes I’m Ready” had been #2 hit for KC and Teri in 1980, but “Don’t Run” wouldn’t make the Hot 100 at all. This is its peak, although it went to #12 on the Billboard adult-contemporary chart. It’s the sort of pop cheese I am helpless to resist, and never mind that I’m a KC fanboy. Now that I’ve listened to it while writing this post, it’s gonna be playing in my head for the next several hours.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Run

  1. “Smiling Islands” is one of my favorite songs that nobody knows. WKXW-FM in Trenton/Princeton NJ (now NJ 101.5) played the song in heavy rotation in the spring of 1983. Robbie Patton sings the first two verses, then Stevie Nicks comes along in Verse 3 and steals the whole damn song.

  2. Alvaro Leos

    “Stranger In My House” rocked too hard for some stations, which is why it didn’t top the country charts. A Denver station refused to play it because it sounded to them like Led Zeppelin(!).
    If you’re a fan of hard rock solos in country songs, check out Razzy Bailey’s “Midnight Hauler” or “Too Many Lovers” by of all people Crystal Gayle.
    And if you’re surprised by Milsap rocking, you’ll be shocked by his disco effort, Well, it was 1979…

  3. Wesley

    I don’t know if what happened to Men at Work after 1983 was the curse of the Grammy for Best New Artist (consider what happened to The Starland Vocal Band, Debby Boone, A Taste of Honey and Christopher Cross after they won the statuette) or just overkill (sorry, couldn’t resist). But yeah, their collapse was striking in America at least. Just one more Hot 100 entry in 1985 after “Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive” (there’s a title that just screams “Trying too hard” to me), and then the band broke up. And even though I remember former Men at Work lead singer Colin Hay promoting his debut solo single “Hold Me” on Late Night With David Letterman in 1987 (and even sitting down to chat with Dave a bit), it only spent one week at #99 on the Hot 100. You won’t find that tidbit on Hay’s Wikipedia entry, by the way. Someone (a fan? an associate? maybe Hay himself?) noted more charitably that “The song peaked at number 40 on the Kent Music Report.”

  4. I just went and watched Felony on Bandstand and hee hee hee hee what dweebs.

    (sits back; waits for blistering comment from ex-Felony member who surfs the Net a lot, and/or his sister)

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