Neil Diamond, “Yesterday’s Songs”, #11, 1/9/82
First single from On the Way to the Sky, Diamond’s first album following The Jazz Singer soundtrack. A trifle at best, Neil was using a lot of cowriters by this point (which he never did early in his career), indicating the songwriting well was running dry. (Obviously, this was made before the video age, but somehow this fits.)
Queen and David Bowie, “Under Pressure,” #29, 1/9/82
How did this song just barely scrape into the top 30? Have to wonder what the radio stations were thinking; it’s a great song (Vanilla Ice’s lift for “Ice Ice Baby” notwithstanding), and for a long time it was unavailable anywhere except a Queen greatest hits set. Maybe the fans were sick of Queen at that point.
Rush, “Closer to the Heart” (live) #69, 1/9/82
Well, they sure did try. Live version of a well-known album track released on A Farewell to Kings, and this charted only slightly higher than the original (Rush only had one top 40 hit in the states, although they made the Hot 100 ten times in all). I didn’t like the band in their heyday, not sure why now. And they’re still selling records – how many other bands on this list can say that?
Kano, “Can’t Hold Back (Your Loving),” #89, 1/9/82
Catchy, but America really wasn’t in a mood for what’s now referred to as “post-disco” music, unless it was really, really good. I like this video, though – it looks like a cheapie version of Solid Gold.
The Kinks, “Better Things,” #92, 1/9/82
Second single off the Give the People What They Want album (first single in the U.K., where it was a much bigger hit), and an unusually cheery song for Ray Davies. Named Favorite Breakup Song by American Songwriter, and got a remake a couple of years ago by Pearl Jam.
Lindsey Buckingham, “Trouble,” #9, 1/16/82
Odd that Lindsey Buckingham’s solo career would yield one top 20 hit while Stevie Nicks had eight, but that’s the way things works sometimes. A lot of other players on this video (the actual record was pretty much all Buckingham), including Walter Egan (“Magnet and Steel”), and what looks like Bob Welch, who Buckingham replaced in Fleetwood Mac (if it’s him, he was wearing a different rug than the brown thing he’d utilize later). Mick Fleetwood (who actually did play drums on the records) is there too.
Ronnie Milsap, “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World,” #20, 1/16/82
After Urban Cowboy happened, there were a lot of crossover hits from country to pop/AC, and Ronnie Milsap was one of the biggest beneficiaries. Having notched just one top 40 pop hit in his career up till that point, he racked up four in the space of 18 months (this was the third). I think he was still trying to bury the pseudo-disco embarrassment “Get It Up” from two years before.
Lulu, “If I Were You,” #44, 1/16/82
Followup to her last US Top 40 hit, “I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)” (although I doubt most people stateside remember any of her songs aside from “To Sir With Love”). Continued to chart in the UK for years after that, and still tours today. (Note to the person who made this video - you might want to find some slightly better JPGs.)