Posts Tagged ‘Natalie Cole’

No. 40 Forty Years Ago

Friday, August 7th, 2020

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.

What Was At No. 81?

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

It’s August 1, but I’m not going to go to Wikipedia to find out what happened on August 1 through the years. It’s not that I’m not interested; it’s just that I’ll likely not find the day owning a pairing of events as nifty as the First Defenestration of Prague and the birthday of Edd “Kookie” Byrnes that showed up Tuesday.

So we going to play with the numbers as we often do. We’ll turn 8/1 into No. 81 and see what we find in six editions of the Billboard Hot 100. Just for grins, we’ll start in an appropriate year that I don’t often visit – 1981 – and go back four years at a time from there. We’ll also note which records were No. 1 at the time.

And as we land on August 1, 1981, we run into a record I don’t know. I evidently did not hear “Summer ’81 Medley” during that season of newspaper work. The medley is a reasonably good rendition of (by my count) nine Beach Boys tunes credited to the Cantina Band. The record was in its second week on the chart; it would last one more week and go no higher. Though it doesn’t say so on the record label in the video, Lou Christie joined in, and in Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles, the record is credited twice, to Lou Christie and to Meco recording as the Cantina Band. (That moniker is a reference to Meco’s No. 1 hit from 1977, “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band,” the first of eleven records that Domenico Monardo and his friends put on the chart). As for Christie, “Summer ’81 Medley” was the last of eighteen records that he placed in or near the Hot 100 between January 1963 and August 1981. During that same week, sitting at No. 1 for the first of two weeks was Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl.”

Natalie Cole holds down the No. 81 spot as we move back to the first week of August in 1977. “Party Lights” boogies nicely but it didn’t do much more than that and it didn’t get much attention, moving up the chart only two more spots during its four-week stay in the Hot 100. (It went to No. 9 on the R&B chart.) Cole was, of course, a reliable chart presence for a decent length of time, notching twenty-two records in or near the Hot 100 between 1975 and 1998. As Cole was heading for the party lights, the No. 1 record was the late Andy Gibb’s “I Just Want To Be Your Everything,” in its second of four weeks on top of the chart (and the first of three straight No. 1 records for the youngest of the Brothers Gibb).

The Eagles don’t often show up here – I’m not entirely sure why that is – but it’s nice when they do. As August began in 1973, “Tequila Sunrise” was making a relatively brief and undistinguished appearance in the Hot 100. Forty years ago this week, the record was at No. 81, retreating from its peak rank of No. 64 (No. 26 on the Adult Contemporary chart). That’s not nearly as high as I would have guessed, given the record’s iconic stature. The Eagles, of course, have been a chart presence for more than forty years, with twenty-four records in or near the Hot 100 between 1972 and 2007. As “Tequila Sunrise” was holding at No. 81, Maureen McGovern’s “The Morning After” was in the first week of its two-week stay at No. 1.

Heading back four more years, we find ourselves in 1969, and sitting at No. 81 during the first days of August was “Simple Song of Freedom” by the late Tim Hardin. The anti-war anthem brought folk singer Hardin his only singles chart presence in a career that lasted from the mid-1960s until his death from a drug overdose in 1980. He’s better known, certainly, as the writer of numerous folk classics, including “If I Were A Carpenter,” “Reason To Believe” and “Lady Came From Baltimore.” The No. 1 record during the first days of August 1969 was Zager & Evans’ “In The Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus).”

Our next stop is August 1965, and the No. 81 record during that month’s first week is another record I’m not sure I’ve heard before: “He’s Got No Love”by the Searchers. The eleventh of fourteen records the Liverpool group would place in or near the pop chart, “He’s Got No Love” sounds good to these ears almost fifty years on. The record was in its second week on the chart; it would last only one more, rising to No. 79 before falling off. The No. 1 record during the first week of August 1965 was one of the major earworms of its time, Herman’s Hermits’ “I’m Henry VIII, I Am.” (“Second verse, same as the first . . .”)

And in the first days of August 1961, twenty years back from where we started, the No. 81 spot in the Hot 100 belonged to Ronny Douglas, whose “Run, Run, Run” was in the second week of what would be a three-week visit to the chart. A decent enough record, it was the only appearance ever on the pop chart for New York singer-songwriter. Sitting at No. 1 during the first week of August 1961 was Bobby Lewis’ “Tossin’ and Turnin’,” in the fifth of seven weeks on top of the chart. (Lewis’ record spent ten weeks at No. 1 on the R&B chart.)