No. 40 Forty Years Ago

We’ll dabble in 1980 today, a year we don’t often visit. (The search function at the right side of the page tells me we’ve featured the year just twenty-eight time since we set up our own site on the ’Net nearly 1,600 posts ago.)

Why so few? Well, it was about that time, as I’ve noted here before, that Top 40 music began to speak less and less to me, and I certainly had less time to listen, anyway, being busy with reporting and husbanding.

So, let’s take a look at the Billboard Hot 100 from August 9, 1980. I’m relatively sure most of the records in its Top Ten will be familiar, but I’m not at all certain how favorably they will be remembered. Then we’ll play Symmetry and see what was sitting at No. 40 forty years ago this week.

Here’s the Top Ten from August 9, 1980:

“Magic” by Olivia Newton-John
“It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me” by Billy Joel
“Little Jeannie” by Elton John
“Take Your Time (Do It Right) (Part 1)” by the S.O.S. Band
“Sailing” by Christopher Cross
“Shining Star” by the Manhattans
“Emotional Rescue” by the Rolling Stones
“Cupid/I’ve Loved You For A Long Time (Medley)” by the Spinners
“Coming Up (Live At Glasgow)” by Paul McCartney
“Upside Down” by Diana Ross

Well, they’re all familiar, though I had to head to YouTube for a reminder of the S.O.S. Band’s single and, oddly, the Stones’ record.

Did I like any of those records forty years ago? The Elton John single was all right, as was the Christopher Cross, and I kind of like the Newton-John and Manhattans records, too. I thought “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me” was wooden and silly, and the Spinners’ medley was a long distance from their greatness only a half-decade before. The McCartney/Wings record didn’t matter, and although I wasn’t fond of “Upside Down,” it turns out today to be an earworm of great power.

Do any of them matter today? Only one. “Sailing” is the only one of those ten records among the 2,700-some in the iPod. Having been reminded of “Little Jeannie” and “Magic,” I might drop them into the device.

Now, on to our other task, checking out the record that was at No. 40 forty years ago.

Well, it’s a record that I recall hearing back then, though I haven’t thought about it for years: “Someone That I Used To Love” by Natalie Cole. The record was in its eighth week on the chart, and would hang around for another thirteen weeks, peaking at No. 21. That was also where it peaked on the magazine’s R&B chart. It did much better on the magazine’s Adult Contemporary chart, peaking at No. 3.

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