Sunday, January 20, 2013

Super Hits 1982, Part 3

Jennifer Warnes, “Could It Be Love,” #47, 1/23/82
Poor Jennifer Warnes.  She’s had a long and varied career (she was a regular on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour when she was just 21), but she’ll probably always be known for singing those duets on movie soundtracks.  (She’s been nominated for four Academy Awards for her movie themes, winning three times.)  This song, however, wasn’t on a movie soundtrack, or apparently even an album other than greatest hits sets – the label on the 45 doesn’t say anything about “From the forthcoming LP Blah Blah Blah,” so I’ve got to think it was a standalone that only would have made it onto an album if it was a bigger hit.  (And, no, I don't know why the only available video shows scenes from Gossip Girl.)

Bob Seger, “Feel Like a Number,” #48, 1/23/82
Second single from the live album Nine Tonight, which was Seger’s second live album (his first, the classic Live Bullet, came out five and a half years before).  Not sure why this was chosen as the next single after “Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You” became a top five hit, as it had gotten lots of AOR airplay as an album cut three years before when it had been on Stranger in Town, and the title track, to my knowledge, had never been on a studio album. (Sorry, but you're getting the studio version here - I refuse to post one of the bootleg live versions recorded from an iPhone.)

Sheila, “Little Darlin’,” #49, 1/23/82
First of all, her real name is Annie Chancel; she took the stage name “Sheila” in the early 1960s after the name in a song by Tommy Roe.  Second, she’s been a star in France for about a half century, but this is her one hit in the United States (an attempt to join the disco bandwagon in the late 1970s, under the name Sheila and B. Devotion, didn’t really take, despite one of her albums being produced by Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards).  She goes the straight pop-rock route here; after that, it was back to singing in French.  (Maybe they spent all the money she made on dry ice.)

Kiss, “A Word Without Heroes,” #56, 1/23/82
After the flop album Unmasked and single “Shandi” in 1980, Kiss decided to try something different – and so, the concept album Music From “The Elder” was born.  Produced by Bob Ezrin (who had just worked on Pink Floyd’s The Wall), the concept wasn’t embraced by the band (especially Ace Frehley, who was going through his own problems at the time), the label (Casablanca, which was struggling), or the fans.  As a result, the single flopped, and the album is the only Kiss release not to go gold.  After this, Kiss stuck for the most part with rockers.

Daryl Hall & John Oates, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” #1, 1/30/82

Huge hit for Hall and Oates, following up the equally huge “Private Eyes.”  This hit #1 on the pop and soul charts, which I believe was a first for a white act (it hit #1 in dance club play as well).  In his usual modest way, Hall wrote in his diary after this achievement, "I'm the head soul brother in the U.S. Where to now?"  But it has been sampled or remade plenty of times, so I suppose he’s entitled to a little braggadocio.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, “Hooked on Classics,” #10, 1/30/82
If you’re thinking this is the way to introduce your child to classical music, please think again.  Louis Clark, who had been doing arrangements for Electric Light Orchestra until Jeff Lynne decided to get rid of the violins and use a synthesizer instead, put together this track by having the Royal Philharmonic play just the most famous parts of the most famous classical pieces (“Flight of the Bumblebee,” the Hallelujah Chorus by Handel, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” etc.), splicing them together, and adding a drum track.  Cute a couple of times, but annoying when played every four hours on top 40 radio.  Clark has still been playing with the concept recently, touring in 2011 with the English Pops Orchestra.

Barbra Streisand, “Comin’ In and Out of Your Life,” #11, 1/30/82
One of three new songs from Streisand’s third greatest hits set (and second within three years), Memories.  Although the album was somewhat unnecessary and poorly selected (three songs were duplicated from the 1978 best-of Greatest Hits Vol. 2, while “The Love Inside” and “New York State of Mind” weren’t even singles), this pretty ballad (done without the help of Barry Gibb, who had produced 1980’s monster album Guilty for Streisand) would become her last top 20 hit for fifteen years.  

The Beach Boys, “Come Go With Me,” #18, 1/30/82
Remake of the old Del-Vikings hit from 1957, and originally included on the little-heard M.I.U. Album (that stands for Maharishi International University, by the way), this was plucked from the Boys’ 842nd greatest hits set Ten Years of Harmony (representing all the stuff they made after 1971, which includes almost none of their classic hits).  Surprising everyone, this song became their biggest original hit (excluding “The Beach Boys Medley” from 1981) since 1976’s #5 hit “Rock and Roll Music” – this was especially a surprise since Ten Years of Harmony didn’t scrape into the top 150 albums at any point.  The band was such a mess at that point – Brian Wilson was dysfunctional from drug use, Carl was trying and failing to launch a solo career, while Dennis Wilson and Mike Love were having issues as Dennis had gotten romantically involved with Love’s (alleged) daughter Shawn – that this cheery song (with lead vocal by Al Jardine) reflected only that the band’s output wasn’t anywhere near the reality. Also the shortest song to hit the Billboard chart in 1982, at two minutes and four seconds.

Al Jarreau, “Breakin’ Away,” #43, 1/30/82
Second single from the album of the same name, and Jarreau’s second of eight top 100 hits.  This album featured an astonishing array of LA-based studio musicians (Jay Graydon produced and played guitar; other players included George Duke, Michael Boddicker, David Foster, Steve Gadd, and Jeff Porcaro and Steve Lukather from Toto), and it would be Jarreau’s biggest hit, climbing to #9 pop and #1 soul and jazz.

Henry Paul Band, “Keeping Our Love Alive,” #50, 1/30/82
Paul was a singer and guitarist, originally with the country-rock band The Outlaws (and later with the country-rock band Blackhawk), but this band had more of a pop sound, as did this single, which would be their only one to make the pop charts. After minimal success under his own name, Paul would go back to the Outlaws a couple of years later.

Bill Champlin, “Tonight Tonight,” #55, 1/30/82
Champlin would spend eight years trying to establish his band, Sons of Champlin, but they never really caught on.  After a few years as a studio musician (and co-writing Earth, Wind and Fire’s 1979 hit “After the Love Has Gone” with David Foster and Jay Graydon, which would win them a Grammy), Champlin would chart twice solo in 1982, with this hit being the first. Champlin would join Chicago later in the year.

Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, “It’s My Party,” #72, 1/30/82
Okay, first of all this isn’t the Dave Stewart from Eurythmics; it’s a different guy.  Second, this was a huge hit in Great Britain (and precursor of the synthpop sound that would become a mainstay of top 40 radio on both sides of the Atlantic for the next few years), but it barely registered here in the States.  And when we think of this song today, we still think of Lesley Gore.  (Dig the countdown to the top song on the Beeb!)

Gidea Park, “Seasons of Gold,” #82, 1/30/82
I swear, if I hear one more medley of songs with a disco backbeat, I’m gonna puke.  British band led by Adrian Baker which strung together a bunch of old Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons songs and charted on both sides of the pond (he had also recorded a Beach Boys medley in 1981, but the Boys themselves srelease a version here that would beat him to Billboard).  In fairness, this was a real band, not somebody with a bunch of studio time and some soundalikes.  Baker would later tour with the actual Beach Boys and the actual Four Seasons, which should inspire musicians everywhere.

The J. Geils Band, “Centerfold,” #1, 2/6/82
The band’s first top 10 hit made it all the way to #1 with this risqué-at-the-time hit about a guy who discovers his high school crush is now a model in his favorite men’s magazine.  (Because that happens all the time.)  Fun song, fun video, and turned the band from a cult favorite to a huge concert draw – for awhile.

George Benson, “Turn Your Love Around,” #5, 2/6/82
One of two new songs recorded for Benson’s hits set The George Benson Collection, and this would be his second-biggest hit, topped only by 1980’s “Give Me the Night.”  Cowritten by (okay, stop me if you’ve heard this) Jay Graydon, Bill Champlin, and Steve Lukather, and it would win a Best R&B Grammy Award as well.

Paul Davis, “Cool Night,” #11, 2/6/82
First single from the album of the same name, and thirteenth top 100 hit for Davis, who had been charting since 1970.  Davis had been charting regularly for the previous few years since 1978 (“I Go Crazy,” “Sweet Life,” and “Do Right” had all hit top 30), but this ballad would be Davis’ biggest Adult Contemporary hit and still gets airplay today.

The Rolling Stones, “Waiting on a Friend,” #13, 2/6/82
This one had been in the can for nearly a decade, dating from the sessions for Goat’s Head Soup – but that’s not a shocker, as the parent album, Tattoo You, was filled with songs that were left over from other albums (“Start Me Up,” for example, had been sitting around for six years after being rejected for Black and Blue).  Featuring a sax solo by jazz vet Sonny Rollins, it’s a great song and should be heard more often on oldies stations than it is now.

Del Shannon, “Sea of Love,” #33, 2/6/82
Seventeenth and final chart hit for Shannon (although his first since 1966’s “The Big Hurt”).  It was a remake of the old Phil Phillips song (and would be remade yet again a few years later by Robert Plant’s band The Honeydrippers), and produced by Tom Petty.  Label issues would keep the album hard to find for awhile (it was originally scheduled to be released by the then-fading RSO Records, home of The Bee Gees, and would wind up released by Network Records, which would also fold a few years later).  Shannon would later record with Jeff Lynne, and his final album Rock On would be released posthumously two years after his 1990 suicide. 

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