Get Down to Your Rockin’ Soul

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(Pictured: Hues Corporation, on TV in 1974.)

Having listened to the American Top 40 show from October 19, 1974, let’s put on some of the other songs below the Top 40, which were on some of the other radio stations around the country as October turned to November in 1974.

42. “Love Don’t Love Nobody (Part 1)”/Spinners. This is just a magnificent thing. “Love Don’t Love Nobody” would get to #15, but the radio stations I listened to in 1974 didn’t play it. Their loss—and mine, since I didn’t hear it until years later, partly because Atlantic chose to leave it off the 1978 compilation The Best of the Spinners, which I owned and played endlessly. That album did include “How Could I Let You Get Away,” a #77 single, and “Ghetto Child,” which got to #28 (although both were substantial R&B hits, which “Love Don’t Love Nobody” was too.)

50. “Rockin’ Soul”/Hues Corporation. If you enjoyed “Rock the Boat,” here it is again. “Rockin’ Soul” is every bit as virulently catchy as its predecessor: “‘Cause we gotta have a chance to do our dance / And we’ll never go wrong when we’re singin’ our song.”

52. “I Can Help”/Billy Swan
54. “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)”/Three Dog Night

55. “Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)”/Al Green
56. “Wishing You Were Here”/Chicago
60. “Angie Baby”/Helen Reddy
62. “Cat’s in the Cradle”/Harry Chapin
79. “You Got the Love”/Rufus
80. “Kung Fu Fighting”/Carl Douglas
95. “Laughter in the Rain”/Neil Sedaka
Here’s your favorite AM station’s hot rotation from November to February, more or less. (Well, maybe not “Play Something Sweet,” but it’s in my hot rotation.) Five of them—Swan, Reddy, Chapin, Douglas, and Sedaka—would get to #1.

53. “I Love My Friend”/Charlie Rich
57. “She Called Me Baby”/Charlie Rich
Rich was straight money for a year-and-a-half: between the summer of 1973 and the end of 1974, he hit #1 on the country chart seven times, partly because people loved his stuff and partly because it was coming out on two labels. Epic was his main label at the time, while RCA reissued songs he’d cut for them in the mid 60s. (Mercury even got into the act with one single in the middle of the rush.) All seven of his #1s, regardless of label, crossed over to the Hot 100.

65. “After the Gold Rush”/Prelude. Prelude was an English trio, and there has never been anything else that sounds like their version of “After the Gold Rush,” not even the original by Neil Young. It would come on the radio and stop you in your tracks for the two minutes it takes to play.

73. “Fairytale”/Pointer Sisters. I remain an evangelist for “Fairytale” after all these years, a straight country joint that’s weird until you stop thinking about who’s singing it, then it’s just a great record.

74. “The Black-Eyed Boys”/Paper Lace. This bit of gourmet cheese, about the least-threatening motorcycle gang in the world, would eventually peak at #41, so “The Night Chicago Died” remains the band’s only Top 40 hit.

76. “Touch Me”/Fancy. After riding a big riff up the chart in the summer with “Wild Thing,” the group of studio musicians known as Fancy returned with “Touch Me,” another primal beat, and the story of a woman who is surprised in bed by her lover only to discover A) that it’s not her lover but a stranger and B) she’s OK with that.

78. “Pretzel Logic”/Steely Dan. This single has 12 listings at ARSA. It’s shown in the Top 10 at WVUD in Dayton, Ohio, part of an album-rock-leaning playlist that includes Traffic’s “Walking in the Wind,” “Bulbs” by Van Morrison, and “Country Side of Life” by Wet Willie alongside records by Barry White and Gladys Knight.

86. “James Dean”/Eagles. This single from On the Border stalled at #77. It’s the last time they would stiff. Nine of their next 11 singles would make the Top 10 (and the other two would make #11 and #18), and five would be #1.

83. “In the Bottle”/Brother to Brother
85. “Sugar Pie Guy”/The Joneses
88. “I Wash My Hands of the Whole Damn Deal (Part 1)”/New Birth

89. “Loose Booty”/Sly and the Family Stone
90. “Heavy Fallin’ Out”/Stylistics
93. “Up for the Down Stroke”/Parliament
Stuff down here be burnin’, y’all.

97. “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow”/Frank Zappa. I love that this made the Hot 100, even if it got only to #86.

This chart proves yet again that in any random week of the 1970s, the crazed variety of music on the Hot 100 will leave you almost woozy with delight. Or maybe that’s just me.

Continue reading “Get Down to Your Rockin’ Soul”

Fresh Air

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(Pictured: Willie and Waylon, 1978.)

I wrote recently about the American Top 40 show from the week of October 17, 1970. As we do, let us look at what charted on the Hot 100 out of Casey Kasem’s view in the same week.

41. “Gypsy Woman”/Brian Hyland
42. “Yellow River”/Christie
45. “Engine No. 9″/Wilson Pickett
46. “Cry Me a River”/Joe Cocker
68. “The Tears of a Clown”/Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

75. “After Midnight”/Eric Clapton
78. “Heaven Help Us All”/Stevie Wonder
101. “Share the Land”/Guess Who

111. “One Less Bell to Answer”/Fifth Dimension
Just as the Top 40 was in this week, the Bottom 60 and the Bubbling Under chart are loaded with records I find to be deeply evocative of their time.

48. “For the Good Times”/Ray Price
94. “The Taker”/Waylon Jennings
102. “Amos Moses”/Jerry Reed
119. “I Can’t Be Myself”-“Sidewalks of Chicago”/Merle Haggard
It took a while, but I finally finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary Country Music. It might be my favorite of all the major Burns projects, and I say that as somebody whose life as a music fan was quite literally changed by Jazz back in 2001. Country Music featured a remarkable lineup of commentators, including Haggard, filmed before his death in 2016, and Kris Kristofferson, who was quoted only briefly but discussed extensively, as befits the status of the writer of “For the Good Times,” “The Taker” (co-written with Shel Silverstein), “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” and other classics. Burns and his team also spent a lot of time discussing the fascinating transformation of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and other artists from standard-issue Nashville acts in the 60s to outlaws in the 70s. And while some reviews suggested Burns spent too much time on Johnny Cash, I didn’t find that to be true.

If you are not persuaded that you want to spend 16-and-a-half hours on a single documentary, you might consider watching the last three episodes, covering the period from 1968 to 1996. And if you want to watch only one part, make it the last one, which covers 1984 to 1996. It was one of the most moving things I’ve ever seen on TV and I’m not joking—the stories behind and the powerful performances of Kathy Mattea’s “Where’ve You Been” and Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High on That Mountain” left me in tears on my couch. I had just recovered when Rosanne Cash’s performance of “I Still Miss Someone” at her father’s 2003 memorial service knocked me sideways again. You may be able to stream the series at the PBS website; it’s also available at Amazon Prime. But see it, somehow.

50. “Mongoose”/Elephant’s Memory. “Mongoose” doesn’t sound commercial at all, but it’s a burner. It went to #1 in Pittsburgh and it made the Top 10 in Chicago, Milwaukee, Columbus, and Orlando.

59. “Fresh Air”/Quicksilver Messenger Service
93. “Empty Pages”/Traffic
Jam-band music, 1970-style.

60. “I Think I Love You”/Partridge Family. The anti-“Mongoose.”

100. “Listen Here”/Brian Auger and the Trinity. “Listen Here,” another burner, was the lone Hot 100 single for Brian Auger in any configuration I know of (how did “This Wheel’s on Fire” miss it?), and just barely: two weeks at #100 and then out.

109. “For Yasgur’s Farm”/Mountain
110. “Easy Rider (Let the Wind Pay the Way)”/Iron Butterfly
112. “Stop I Don’t Wanna Hear It Anymore”-“Peace Will Come”/Melanie
A couple of heavy-rockin’ hippie bands and one patchouli-drenched icon are bubbling under this week. “For Yasgur’s Farm” is a Woodstock reflection of a sort: “A crystal passing reflected in our eyes / Eclipsing all the jealousy and lies.” “Easy Rider” was inspired by the movie but isn’t part of it. “Peace Will Come” had made it to #32 earlier in the fall; the B-side was getting some action in October, but not enough to return to the Hot 100.

One Other Thing:  It must have been nearly a decade ago that I got Internet-acquainted with Gene “Bean” Baxter, Radio Hall of Famer and longtime cohost of Kevin and Bean on KROQ in Los Angeles. It’s been a few years since Bean was passing through Madison on vacation and we got together for a drink and a fine time. What I learned is that despite his success, he’s a regular guy, and a damn nice one at that. Bean’s last day on KROQ is Thursday. He plans on relocating to England, where he was born, maybe to continue his radio career there, and/or become an English country squire. Leaving a gig in one’s own time is a choice we radio types are not always permitted to make, so for a good guy to go out on his terms is a big win.

Congratulations, m’lord, and all the best to you and yours.

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 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.