Saturday, January 12, 2013

Super Hits 1982, Part 2

An occasional look back at the hits and misses of a memorable year for somebody.  Chart positions and dates are from Billboard.

Billy Squier, “My Kinda Lover,” 1/16/82, #45
Ugh.  I’m sorry, I mean, third single from his album Don’t Say No, which has sold over 3,000,000 copies.  Not terribly dissimilar to “The Stroke” and “In the Dark,” I suppose.

Balance, “Falling in Love,” 1/16/82, #58
Followup to the near-perfect pop single “Breaking Away” is a drippy ballad, and not surprisingly, didn’t do nearly as well.  No hits after that, either.  Interesting band membership, however – lead singer Peppy Castro was part of the Blues Magoos, guitarist Bob Kulick played with Kiss (his younger brother Bruce was a member of Kiss for years), and drummer Chuck Burgi is now with Billy Joel’s band.

Patti Austin, “Every Home Should Have One,” 1/16/82, #62
First and fourth single from the album of the same name, which was also her biggest.  Fortunately for her, the third single, “Baby, Come to Me,” with James Austin, hit #1 after its use in General Hospital  - which is why this was also the fourth single; Warner Brothers rereleased it after the duet became a hit. Produced by Quincy Jones.  Patti Austin’s still recording and touring today.

The Carpenters, “Those Good Old Dreams,” 1/16/82, #63
Third single from Made in America, notable because Richard Carpenter did a cowrite with John Bettis.  Not as rocking as The Carpenters early hits (I know, I know, but fans freaked out after the guitar solo in “Goodbye to Love”), and representative of their continuing struggle to hit the pop charts (they only broke top 20 once after 1976’s “There’s a Kind of Hush”).

“Southern Pacific,” Neil Young, 1/16/82, #70
From the album Re-ac-tor, with Crazy Horse.  Neil’s songs were never huge hits – his only solo Top 30 hits were “Heart of Gold” and a song from his album with Pearl Jam, “I Got [Id]” – but this one doesn’t even get much radio play nowadays.  Shame, since it’s a good rocker.

“Leather and Lace,” Stevie Nicks and Don Henley, 1/23/82, #6
Why did Stevie Nicks’ solo work do so much better on the charts than Lindsey Buckingham’s?  Was it because hers was so much more accessible (and his much, uh, weirder)?  Was it because she used lots of guest stars (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” Don Henley here, and an uncredited Prince on “Stand Back”), and he did almost all the instrumental work himself?  Or was it because of her looks and that most radio programmers in the early ‘80s were men?  Hmmm, let me think…

“Someone Could Lose a Heart Tonight,” Eddie Rabbitt, 1/23/82, #15
Second single from his album Step by Step, and this broke a short streak of three consecutive top 10 pop hits for Rabbitt (although this would be his 16th straight country top 10).  Less interesting to me than his 1980-81 hits “Drivin’ My Life Away” and “I Love a Rainy Night” – maybe somebody there told him to stick with the softer material.

“She’s Got a Way,” Billy Joel, 1/23/82, #23
Long story.  Billy Joel’s first album, “Cold Spring Harbor,” was mastered at the wrong speed, so Joel’s voice was much higher than it should have been.  As a result, it sounded lousy.  (And while there’s a version out today at the right speed, it’s also remixed and suffers horribly for it – I did have the original version on an eight-track tape slowed down to the correct speed, and it was far better.)  Anyway, Joel recorded two of the album’s songs on his live album, Songs From the Attic, which had nothing but music from his pre-The Stranger years.  The liner notes say “Written in 1970.  I still feel the same way.”  That refers to his wife, Elizabeth.  Of course, within a couple of years he would divorce Elizabeth, date Elle MacPherson, and then marry Christie Brinkley, so maybe not so much.

“More Than Just the Two of Us,” Sneaker,  1/23/82, #34
Not a reference to a ménage a trois.  String-slathered ballad from a California-based band; this was their biggest hit.  Produced by former Steely Dan and Doobie Brother guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, but this one doesn’t sound much like either of them. 


  1. This is such a great series because there's nothing remotely obvious or stale about it. And there are too many items here to mention that I never knew much about -- I was aware that COLD SPRING HARBOR was mixed at the wrong speed but was unaware that there has yet to be a decent version of it released. More, I say, more!

  2. I remember being so excited when it was released on LP in 1983 - I had taped the album off WDHA onto an eight-track in 1979 (which by that time had broken), and really liked it. When I played it, my reactiion was "What the...?" According to Wikipedia (not necessarily the best source, but whatever), the producer (who was Joel's first manager) still had the rights to do what he wanted with it, so he took off most of the strings, added some more current rhythm tracks, and edited down some of the songs (which is ridiculous, because the album barely clocked in at 30 minutes as it was). So, what was close to a James Taylor-type album in 1971 turned into a mishmash.