Category Archives: American Bottom 60

Hear What I’m Saying

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(Pictured: Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes on Soul Train.)

I have already written a little about the American Top 40 show from October 7, 1972, but I could say more. How the sequence of “Starting All Over Again,” “Listen to the Music,” “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues,” “Beautiful Sunday,” “Freddie’s Dead,” and “City of New Orleans” says a lot about who we were and what we cared about at that moment. Or about the thunderous train wreck created by James Brown’s “Get on the Good Foot” back-to-back with Donny Osmond’s cover of the Frankie Avalon song “Why.” How “You Wear It Well” back-to-back with “Tightrope” caused me to come unstuck in time. But you’ll find it more interesting to read about what was beneath the Top 40 in that bygone week.

42. “My Man, a Sweet Man”/Millie Jackson
87. “If You Can Beat Me Rockin’ (You Can Have My Chair)”/Laura Lee
98. “Man Sized Job”/Denise LaSalle
Somebody should write a book about the female soul singers of the late 60s and early 70s whose songs reflected the experience of black women in that time and place. I’m not the one to write it, but I’d read it.

44. “I’d Love You to Want Me”/Lobo. I wrote about this song a few years ago, and how it’s “about the frustration of having something important to say but being unable to conjure the words with which to say it.”

47. “A Piece of Paper”/Gladstone. Pop music’s desire to be “relevant” was never stronger than in the early 70s. “A Piece of Paper” is about how words on paper legitimate a marriage, encode a religious belief, send young men off to war, and most notably, three months before Roe v. Wade but at a moment when many states were liberalizing their abortion laws, make possible “a legal abortion so the family won’t know / A piece of paper says the problem won’t grow.” Head over to Bloggerhythms to read more about Gladstone and their record.

51. “Sweet Caroline”/Bobby Womack. Bobby Womack does it his way, and it works.

52. “Slaughter”/Billy Preston. This is the title song from a blaxploitation movie starring Jim Brown as a former Green Beret out to settle a score with the mob, which was backed, incongruously, with a song called “God Loves You.” “Slaughter” resurfaced a few years ago in the movie Inglorious Basterds.

59. “Summer Breeze”/Seals and Crofts
60. “All the Young Dudes”/Mott the Hoople
61. “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”/Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes
62. “Let It Rain”/Eric Clapton
“If You Don’t Know My by Now” is in its second week on the chart; the others are in their third, and all will be on the radio for a long time thereafter.

75. “Colorado”/Danny Holien. Danny Holien is so obscure that Allmusic.com misspells his name as “Hollen.” I can tell you that he was from Minnesota originally but moved to Colorado, where he made an album for Denver’s Tumbleweed label, which was owned by future Eagles producer Bill Szymczyk. “Colorado” is about the degradation of the environment, very on-brand for that time and place. Holien would likely have disagreed with the idea that his song came out of a desire to be relevant, however. He told an author that he considered himself a poet, not a philosopher: “I don’t want people to hear what I have to say, I want them to hear what I’m saying.”

84. “Best Thing”/Styx. Styx got its record deal in the spring of 1972 and released their debut album shortly thereafter. “Best Thing” is recognizably Styx-ish, with some progressive-rock flourishes, but doesn’t sound much like hit radio material.

86. “The Mosquito”/Doors. And speaking of not sounding much like hit radio material, we have “The Mosquito,” from the second post-Jim Morrison Doors album, Full Circle. Robbie Krieger said he borrowed it from a mariachi band he heard in Mexico. A particular sort of Doors fan is gonna dig it, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to think of it as anything other than a novelty song.

90. “Sunny Days”/Lighthouse. Everybody knows “One Fine Morning,” but Lighthouse charted several other singles. “Sunny Days” has a great late-summer vibe and a sense of humor, and it deserved better than to barely scrape into the Top 40.

In October 1972, the Swingin’ A’s were winning the first of three straight World Series, the Nixon campaign was barreling toward re-election despite the looming specter of Watergate, I was in the seventh grade, and the radio sounded pretty good.

I’ve got a backlog of AT40 shows again, so stand by for more Casey flavor over the next few weeks.

Get Crazy Tonight

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(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.

91. “Substitute”/Clout
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.

[jingle out]

Something That You’ve Never Seen Before

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(Pictured: Stephen Stills onstage with Manassas, 1971.)

There are a handful of 70s seasons that have become particular favorites of mine simply because the music on my radio was, in retrospect, extraordinary, like the late summer and fall of 1971. Here’s some of the Bottom 60 of the Top 40 I wrote about last week, the week of August 21, 1971.

41. “Where You Lead”/Barbra Streisand. At scattered moments in the early 70s, Barbra was a rock singer, and the results were pretty great. “Stoney End” made the Billboard Top 10, and Carole King’s “Where You Lead” is pretty good too. It made #40 on the Hot 100 but was #3 on Easy Listening. A live version in medley form with “Sweet Inspiration” is probably better known, but this is the one you want.

46. “Maggie May”-“Reason to Believe”/Rod Stewart. “Maggie May,” beyond its humorous younger-man/older-woman dynamic, is about deciding who you are and where you are meant to be. I did not grasp any of that when I was 11, but I was already on that who-and-where journey by the time Maggie hit my radio.

47. “The Wedding Song”/Paul Stookey. This song has been sung at literally a million weddings, I’ll bet, including my own. But few wedding singers do it justice compared to Stookey’s original. It’s so familiar that we can’t really hear it anymore, but it nevertheless scales a height of beauty that pop music no longer strives for. His delivery of the lines “do you believe in something that you’ve never seen before / ohhh there is love” wrecks me every time.

48. “Do You Know What I Mean”/Lee Michaels
49. “The Story in Your Eyes”/Moody Blues
55. “All Day Music”/War
60. “Take Me Girl, I’m Ready”/Jr. Walker and the All-Stars
63. “I Ain’t Got Time Anymore”/Glass Bottle
64. “Marianne”/Stephen Stills

68. “Sweet City Woman”/Stampeders
73. “Resurrection Shuffle”/Ashton Gardner and Dyke
76. “Summer Sand”/Dawn

I keep repeating the phrase “pure AM radio pleasure” at this website because it’s the truest thing I can think of to say. This music in that environment was magnificent.

72. “I’ve Found Someone of My Own”/Free Movement. This record debuted in May and went 100-97-95-91-91 before falling off the Hot 100 for two weeks. It returned in July and spent two more weeks at #91 before starting to climb up again. It would crack the Top 40 in mid-September and make #5 for the week of November 13 before falling completely out of the Hot 100 after two more weeks. Its 26-week chart run was the longest of any record in 1971.

74. “Stagger Lee”/Tommy Roe. I have said this several times before and here it is again because it blows my mind: “Stagger Lee” is a legendary murder ballad about which entire books have been written. Tommy Roe’s version is a straight-up bubblegum recording.

79. “Easy Loving”/Freddie Hart
80. “How Can I Unlove You”/Lynn Anderson
92. “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died”/Tom T. Hall
94. “I’m Just Me”/Charley Pride
97. “Good Enough to Be Your Wife”/Jeannie C. Riley
I’m a longtime fan of Freddie Hart and Tom T. Hall; you shouldn’t trust anyone who doesn’t like Charley Pride at least a little bit; and there was more to Jeannie C. Riley than just “Harper Valley P.T.A.” Anderson’s  “How Can I Unlove You” is “Rose Garden” turned sideways, but I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

84. “Top Forty (of the Lord)”/Sha Na Na. I caught a little bit of Sha Na Na’s more-enthusiastic-than-good Woodstock performance during WXPN’s rebroadcast of the show. Jimi Hendrix was a fan, and that helped them get the highly desirable spot right before he went on. (A spot that would have been more desirable at, say, 10:00 on Sunday night than it turned out to be at 7:00 Monday morning.) “Top Forty (of the Lord)” is a straight-up country joint that peaked at #84, and it doesn’t leave me any less perplexed about Sha Na Na’s appeal—a topic I plan to look into at some point soon.

87. “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll”/Long John Baldry. Many young British musicians growing up in the 60s idolized Long John Baldry. He played in bands that employed Rod Stewart and Elton John as sidemen, and each of them produced one side of his album It Ain’t Easy, for which he’s best known in the States. The single version of “Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie-Woogie” is fine, but you really need to hear the full-length version, featuring a three-minute prologue in which Baldry recounts the story of being busted in Soho for playing music in the street.

Playing With the Boys

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(Pictured: the Fixx, in ’86.)

Here’s some of what else was on the Hot 100 during the week of August 16, 1986, a week recently featured on American Top 40, and at this blog.

54. “Throwing It All Away”/Genesis
74. “Sweet Love”/Anita Baker
79. “I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On”/Robert Palmer
92. “Take Me Home Tonight”/Eddie Money
93. “Paranoimia”/Art of Noise with Max Headroom
These five Hot 100 debuts would go all the way into the Top 40. Even “Paranoimia,” with vocal interjections by the famous computer-generated celebrity pitchman.

65. “Twist and Shout”/Beatles. I didn’t mention it in either of the two posts I wrote about this week’s AT40, but my radio station didn’t play several of the big hits of the summer of 1986. Our music came from a service, so we had little control over what we played, or didn’t. We never played “Baby Love,” even though it was a Top-20 hit, or the Run-DMC version of “Walk This Way.” (That might be the reason I can’t remember Andy Taylor’s “Take It Easy.”) Same thing with “Twist and Shout” when it returned to the national chart thanks to its inclusion in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me” from the movie of the same name.

72. “Wrap It Up”/Fabulous Thunderbirds
82. “Tuff Enuff”/Fabulous Thunderbirds
A remarkable number of artists had two songs in the Hot 100 this week: Kenny Loggins, Genesis, Janet Jackson, Billy Ocean, Billy Joel, the Moody Blues, Robert Palmer, Simply Red, Patti Labelle, Michael McDonald, Van Halen, El DeBarge, the Jets, Level 42, and somebody else I have likely missed because I always miss somebody. But I wouldn’t miss the Fabulous Thunderbirds, whose blast to success in the middle of the 1980s was pretty unlikely. Their brand of R&B-infused roadhouse blues was not exactly top-of-the-mind with listeners on a steady diet of dance beats, English hairstyles, and high-concept music videos.

75. “Every Little Kiss”/Bruce Hornsby and the Range. This song made the Hot 100 first, but the #1 hit “The Way It Is” would be the band’s breakthrough later in 1986, resulting in the return of “Every Little Kiss” to the chart the next year.

77. “Secret Separation”/The Fixx. At some point in 1985 or 1986, the Fixx played the basketball arena at our local college. The night of the show, the opening act finished, the house lights came up, and people lit out for the concession stands. After 20 minutes or so, a guy came out and started fiddling with the drums in the way drum techs do. But after another minute, he started pounding out a beat, and the rest of the band strolled out from the wings. The show started while the house lights were still up. The Fixx was pretty good that night—and “Secret Separation” is the best thing they ever did.

85. “It’s You”/Bob Seger. Another Hot 100 debut, and a Seger single you probably don’t know. “It’s You” is from the Like a Rock album, and is lighter and less crunchy than most of Seger’s 80s singles. Nevertheless it’s pretty good, although it would peak only at #52.

86. “The Other Side of Life”/Moody Blues
96. “Playing With the Boys”/Kenny Loggins
98. “Walk Away Renee”/Southside Johnny and the Jukes
MTV was still a music-video channel in 1986, and the videos for each of these three Hot 100 debuts is a different exemplar of the form. “The Other Side of Life” puts literally thousands of record-company promotional dollars on the screen. It has the familiar what-the-hell-am-I-watching feel that MTV viewers of the 80s will remember, and it’s preceded by the obligatory 90-second playlet that opened so many videos back then. “Playing With the Boys” is a song from the Top Gun soundtrack, but it doesn’t use any clips from the film. Instead, it features a group of extremely pretty people playing volleyball, and I am guessing most of its budget went for spandex and hairspray. “Walk Away Renee,” a languid cover of the 60s hit, is shot in black and white and features a pretty girl sadly packing a suitcase while Southside Johnny sings in the street outside her window.

99. “Victory Line”/Limited Warranty. “Victory Line” is the kind of thing that crossed radio station music directors’ desks by the dozens in the middle of the 80s—melodic, jangly pop-rock that’s pleasant for three minutes but doesn’t stick with you much longer than that. Until I started researching this post, I had forgotten that Limited Warranty opened for Eddie Money in our town back in 1986. It’s the only show I’ve ever watched entirely from backstage, which was pretty cool.

Except I somehow lost the hat that I wore to the show. I miss that hat.

In the Air

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(Pictured: ELO performs “Mr. Blue Sky,” 1978.)

After the post earlier this week about the AT40 show from July 15, 1978, here’s the inevitable Bottom 60—songs on their way on to and off of Casey’s show, and plenty that never got there at all.

46. “Shame”/Evelyn “Champagne” King
52. “Boogie Oogie Oogie”/A Taste of Honey
56. “Macho Man”/Village People
76. “I Love the Nightlife”/Alicia Bridges
The disco train was rolling and some iconic records were aboard.

47. “I Need to Know”/Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. “Breakdown” had spent a single week at #40 in February; “I Need to Know” would eventually peak at #41. “Listen to Her Heart” would get to #59 in the fall. After all that scratching at the door of the big chart, Petty would finally kick the door down in December 1979 with “Don’t Do Me Like That.”

49. “Mr. Blue Sky”/Electric Light Orchestra. I have never thought of it as a favorite album, but whenever ELO’s Out of the Blue comes up on shuffle or in the car, I find myself thinking, “Damn, this is great.” Also great: the 45 edit of “Mr. Blue Sky,” which omits the long ending and works a lot better as a result. It was available, at least for a while, on blue vinyl.

62. “Hot Child in the City”/Nick Gilder
64. “Just What I Needed”/Cars
72. “Kiss You All Over”/Exile
I associate these records (and several others on this chart, to be sure) with my first semester in college. I didn’t know it in the summer, but in December, “Hot Child in the City” would be one of the first songs I would ever play on the radio.

73. “An Everlasting Love”/Andy Gibb. It seems absurd that Gibb’s “Shadow Dancing” kept “Baker Street” at #2 for six weeks, but taken on its own, “Shadow Dancing” is a pretty good radio record, and so is “An Everlasting Love.”

78. “Love Is in the Air”/John Paul Young
79. “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)”/Chris Rea
There has never been anything else that sounds quite like these two records. “Love Is in the Air” repeats the same couple of ideas for several minutes to good effect, and the Disco Purrfection remix goes to another plane of existence entirely. It’s a shame that Rea’s album Whatever Happened to Benny Santini, produced by Gus Dudgeon, is officially out of print, because it’s really good, and “Fool (If You Think It’s Over)” is a record I never get tired of.

80. “I Can’t Wait Any Longer”/Bill Anderson. I’m glad to have a reason to write a little appreciation of Bill Anderson, who is one of the most likeable performers ever to come out of Nashville. Starting in 1960, Anderson hit consistently for nearly 20 years. His biggest country hits came back-to-back in 1962 and 1963, “Mama Sang a Song” and “Still,” each of which spent seven weeks at #1. “Still” went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1963. Between 1966 and 1974 he hit #1 or #2 country 12 times with songs that emphasized his soft-spoken style and frequently, clever wordplay. The latter is the major appeal of “My Life (Throw It Away If I Want To),” a #1 hit from 1969; “Quits,” which went to #3 in 1971; and “Sometimes,” an adulterous duet with Mary Lou Turner that was his last #1 country hit in 1976. “I Can’t Wait Any Longer,” with its big proto-disco beat and lustful lyric, was his final major country hit and pop crossover. In the late 70s, Anderson became a ubiquitous TV personality, appearing on Match Game and doing a three-year run on One Life to Live. He also hosted TV game, talk, and variety shows in the 80s, 90s, and the new millennium, and he’s still working today, at the age of 81.

97. “Roll With the Changes”/REO Speedwagon
98. “He’s So Fine”/Jane Olivor
99. “Trans-Europe Express”/Kraftwerk
100. “Shaker Song”/Spyro Gyra
More music, better variety: a heartland rock rager that became a classic-rock standard, a New York cabaret singer covering the Chiffons, and a pair of instrumental pioneers, one in electronic music and the other in smooth jazz. All four were on their way out of the Hot 100 in this week.

Experiences with the music can color our perception of the music. We can’t always tell if we like it or dislike it on the basis of what’s in the grooves, or because of the associations we have with it: who we were with and what we were doing while it was on the radio. I have that problem—if it’s a problem—with 1976, and I wonder if 1978, or at least the summer of 1978, isn’t the same way.

Long Live Rock, or Not

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(Pictured: the Village People, 1979.)

It’s said that “data” is not the plural of “anecdote.” Nevertheless, we have already tried to make something out of a bunch of anecdotal information about the hits from the summer of 1979. In this post, about the Bottom 60 from the Billboard Hot 100 dated June 30, 1979, we will keep on keeping on.

42. “Is She Really Going Out With Him”/Joe Jackson
60. “Don’t Ever Wanna Lose Ya”/New England
63. “Heart of Glass”/Blondie
65. “(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman”/Kinks
68. “Hold On”/Triumph
70. “You Angel You”/Manfred Mann’s Earth Band
73. “Highway Song”/Blackfoot
76. “My Sharona”/The Knack
80. “Let’s Go”/Cars
81. “Last of the Singing Cowboys”/Marshall Tucker Band
85. “Long Live Rock”/The Who
106. “Dreams I’ll Never See”/Molly Hatchet
“My Sharona” was a very big deal when it hit the radio. (I still remember the first time I heard it.) It scratched some primal teenage itch, and not just in me—it entered the Top 40 at #34 on July 21, then went 18-6-4-2 before hitting #1 for the week of August 25, a position it would hold for six weeks. We were pleased to discover that Get the Knack contained more primal teenage itch-scratchers. The “backlash” against the song and the band was confined largely to the rock press. On the front lines of radio, it was the kind of smash that lights up request lines and makes people stay tuned in hopes of hearing it again. To 19-year-old white guys such as I, “My Sharona” (and the other new records on this part of the chart) represented victory and vindication. My tribe had felt for a year or better that our music was under attack by the forces of disco, a threat to all we held dear.

44. “Married Men”/Bette Midler
46. “Go West”/Village People

47. “The Main Event-Fight”/Barbra Streisand
50. “Good Times”/Chic
53. “Disco Nights”/GQ
56. “Do You Wanna Go Party”/KC and the Sunshine Band
62. “Hot Number”/Foxy
69. “Heaven Must Have Sent You”/Bonnie Pointer
74. “Light My Fire”/Amii Stewart
77. “You’re Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else”/Jones Girls
78. “Born to Be Alive”/Patrick Hernandez
88. “Motown Review”/Philly Cream
91. “In the Navy”/Village People
While there is plenty of stylistic variation among these records, 19-year-old white guys such as I would have lumped them together as disco records and called down a plague on all their houses. That, in our dislike, we did not differentiate between “In the Navy” and the infinitely superior “Good Times,” or between the faceless, monolithic 140 beats per minute of “Motown Review” and the far more interesting disco records at the top of the Hot 100, is further evidence that we cared more about labels than we did the music itself.

48. “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me”/Bellamy Brothers
57. “Suspicions”/Eddie Rabbitt
59. “Amanda”/Waylon Jennings
71. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”/Charlie Daniels Band
82. “You’re the Only One”/Dolly Parton
97. “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right”/Barbara Mandrell
104. “All I Ever Need Is You”/Kenny Rogers and Dottie West
108. “When I Dream”/Crystal Gayle
This is the music I was playing on the radio back then, the first summer of my radio career. Every one of them had been or would be #1 on Billboard‘s country chart, except for “When I Dream.” In addition, current Top 40 hit “She Believes in Me” by Kenny Rogers had already been #1 by the end of June, and Anne Murray’s “Shadows in the Moonlight” would make it in July.

52. “Vengeance”/Carly Simon. Somehow I missed “Vengeance” entirely, both in 1979 and in the 40 years since, even though it got nominated for a Grammy for Female Rock Vocal Performance in 1980.

55. “Kiss in the Dark”/Pink Lady. It is blog law that whether you write about music or television, you are not allowed to skip over Pink Lady if ever they come into your purview.

To say that rock was “under attack” in 1979 was a gross exaggeration. Yes, disco was popular but hardly a destroyer of worlds. “Heart of Glass” had been a #1 single, and the Doobie Brothers had both a #1 single and #1 album. Supertramp’s Breakfast in America was a #1 hit also, and the last three #1 albums of the year would be by the Knack, Led Zeppelin, and the Eagles. Cheap Trick made their commercial breakthrough. But our perception was our reality: 19-year-old white dudes such as I concluded that legitimate rock music was making a welcome, inevitable comeback, even though it didn’t really need to make one.

You can, of course, draw any damn conclusion you want depending on how you cherry-pick the charts. You could do it in 1979, and you can do it today with a chart from 1979.

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