Diana Ross, “Mirror Mirror,” #8, 3/6/82
Second top 10 hit from Ross’ first RCA album Why Do Fools Fall in Love, and part of a Ross renaissance – this would be sixth of seven top 10 hits for her over a two and a half year period (starting with “Upside Down” and ending with “Muscles”). This may not seem like a big deal, but Ross had only scored four top 10 hits in her 10 years after leaving the Supremes (granted, all of them went to number one). This was also proof that Berry Gordy wasn’t the sole force behind her stardom.
Dan Fogelberg, “Leader of the Band,” #9, 3/6/82
Third top 10 hit from his double LP The Innocent Age, and autobiographical – the “Leader” is his father Lawrence. According to Wesley Hyatt’s The Billboard Book of Number One Adult Contemporary Hits, father Lawrence, himself a former big band leader, wanted Dan to stay at U. of Illinois, but gave him a year to try his luck as a musician in Los Angeles, with the proviso that he had to come back to college if things didn’t work out. This song was Fogelberg’s way of expressing his appreciation. Ill at the time it was recorded, Lawrence did live to see it performed in concert, but would pass away in August of 1982.
Little River Band, “Take It Easy on Me,” #10, 3/6/82
Sixth and final top 10 hit for the Australian band who got on my nerves less than Air Supply, got on AM radio more than AC/DC, and – well, I don’t have a Men at Work analogy, but they hadn’t recorded their first album yet anyway. They’d continue charting until 1985, but after lead singer Glenn Shorrock left, they’d move in a harder rock direction (not that much harder, mind you). This one was a heartbreak song, portraying the desperate guy after the breakup (I interpreted it as "Yeah, fine, you're dating someone else, I just don't want to see it," but to each his own opinion).
Kenny Rogers, “Through the Years,” #14, 3/6/82
Fourth single from Rogers’ 1981 album Share Your Love, which was a rebound after the more country-tinged “Blaze of Glory” failed to break top 40. This is pure MOR, written by Steve Dorff (no, not the actor; this is his father, who wrote theme songs for Spenser: For Hire and Growing Pains, among others), and Marty Panzer (who wrote the lyrics for several Barry Manilow hits, including “New York City Rhythm” and “It’s a Miracle”). Which makes sense, because by this time Rogers was moving in on Manilow’s turf as the king of Adult Contemporary. And if anyone can explain why this song has about six choruses at the end, stringing it out to four minutes and 22 seconds (4:48 in the album version; they must have lopped off another chorus), I’d be glad to hear it.
Alabama, “Love in the First Degree,” #15, 3/6/82
This would be Alabama’s biggest hit overall, hitting #1 on the US and Canadian country charts, #1 on the Canadian adult contemporary chart, and #5 on the US AC chart. No longer touring (and the drummer apparently is persona non grata, since the other three filed a lawsuit against him), they’re still getting together occasionally. This clip is from Barbara Mandrell’s old variety show.
Skyy, “Call Me,” #26, 3/6/82
Funk and disco band that had been around for a few years, but this would be their only hit to break into the pop charts (they would have 15 top 40 r&b hits through 1992). The early part of their career would be on Salsoul Records (remember the Salsoul Orchestra, a.k.a. Albums Covers for Guys Who Aren’t Old Enough to Buy Playboy?). After that label closed down operations, they would record on Capitol and Atlantic.
Chilliwack, “I Believe,” #33, 3/6/82
Chilliwack had one big hit in the United States, “My Girl,” popularly known as “The Gone Gone Song” for its background chorus (“Gone gone gone/she been gone so long/she been gone gone gone so long”). This is the followup, and the only other top 40 hit for this Canadian band, which had been hitting the Canadian charts since 1970. They broke up three years later, but lead guitarist and singer Bill Henderson still occasionally tours (I don’t know how occasionally, since his website was last updated two years ago). This is a nothing video, for a much better one check this out, which features the band doing both their hits on American Bandstand.
Petula Clark, “Natural Love,” #66, 3/6/82
I guess somebody must have figured if Lulu could start having chart hits again nearly 20 years after the British Invasion, so could Petula Clark. This song actually did a lot better on the country chart, hitting #20. Clark has been around approximately forever (she had her first performance on the BBC in 1942, as a nine-year-old), and charted fifteen top 40 singles in the United States from 1964 to 1968, but this was her first hit since 1972 – and her last in the US. She turns 80 this year, and is still performing – she was on Jools’ Holland’s 2013 New Year’s Eve special on British television.
T. G. Sheppard, “Only One You,” #68, 3/6/82
And here’s another guy who’s been around awhile, releasing his first album in 1974. He’s had 16 country #1 hits over his career, but “Only One You” was his fourth song to cross over into pop, the biggest of which being 1981’s “I Loved ‘Em Every One.” Still touring – he’s playing in Biloxi, Mississippi this Friday night, as a matter of fact.
The Spinners, “Never Thought I’d Fall in Love,” #95, 3/6/82
Another veteran group, The Spinners first hit the R&B charts in 1961, with “That’s What Girls Are Made For” on Tri-Phi Records (owned by Harvey Fuqua of The Moonglows, and featuring his brother-in-law, Marvin Gaye, on drums). Over twenty years later, and they were on the downslope of an amazing career (they’d had two huge medley hits, “Working My Way Back to You/Forgive Me, Girl” and “Cupid/I’ve Loved You for a Long Time” in 1980). This one is so obscure I can’t even find a video, although the song itself is available for download.
The Police, “Spirits in the Material World,” #11, 3/13/82
Second single off their album “Ghost in the Machine,” and one that sounded fairly similar to “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” from the year before, even though the subject matter was completely different. Lots more keyboard parts than on the former hit, however, as their sound was in the middle of a transformation from the reggae-based new wave of Outlandos d’Amour and Regatta de Blanc to the pure pop of Synchronicity.
Abba, “When All Is Said and Done,” #27, 3/13/82
Okay, those of you who have only heard this song from the Mamma Mia! soundtrack should probably download the original version, because the lyrics were completely rewritten when it was included in the movie. (It wasn’t in the Broadway show.) By the time the parent album, The Visitors, came out, both of the couples in Abba were either finally divorced or getting one, and Benny and Bjorn had no problem putting that empty feeling in their music. As a result, The Visitors was one of their lowest-selling albums in almost every country in the world, and also their last studio album. (In most countries, “When All Is Said and Done” was passed up as the single release for the only-slightly-less-of-a-downer “One of Us.”)