Scads of July and August Charts

Catching up on the shows recently played on Premiere for which I have charts…

7/25/81
They last played this show three years ago, right after I started blogging (#37 was the song I featured, both praising and lamenting Steinman’s craft). Hadn’t started posting charts yet, though, so I get to right that wrong. Don’t know how quickly after I wrote this up that the grease stain appeared.

Hello/Goodbye: Even with just two debuts, there’s a newbie: it’s the first time on for Alabama. Eight songs fell off after this week, and half of the acts on the way out never appeared again: Carole Bayer Sager, A Taste of Honey, Climax Blues Band, and Rosanne Cash.

My sun-faded chart:

The Moodies start a four-week run at the top. “Bette Davis Eyes” is in the last of an eight-week stretch in the top three (only one of those had been at #1). Wish I’d ranked “Seven Year Ache” higher (it would peak at #16); it’s one of my absolute faves on this chart now.

7/29/78
Half of the sixteen songs that debuted on either 7/1 or 7/8 have moved into the top 20. Two of ’em are already top 10, but only three more would eventually join the Commodores and Pablo Cruise.

Hello/Goodbye: Last time I did a charts post, we bid adieu to the Village People. This time, it’s bon jour; we’re also seeing Chris Rea for the first time. On the flip side, that’s all for Love & Kisses.

8/6/77
How long did I try to draw an outline of the lower 48 at the top of the first page? I’d started the week prior. It lasted through the end of October; I guess my broken wrist on 11/5 is what sank the practice.

Hello/Goodbye: Both of the debuts come from cagey veterans. On the farewell side of things, we have Cat Stevens, Dean Friedman, and Hot.

Continue reading “Scads of July and August Charts”

Courtesy of Disk Jockey Records…

I’ve written before that our trips to the record store to buy vinyl for the music library at WTLX often netted us a few free promo albums that the manager at Disk Jockey Records decided he didn’t want to play in-store, particularly during the 1983-84 school year. We lucked out on a couple that proved to be hits, most notably Cyndi Lauper’s She So Unusual. The vast majority wound up being stiffs commercially, but since our library was pretty out-of-date (probably due to a combination of neglect and raids by graduating seniors of years past), it was good to have some new-ish releases on hand. I can still see several of the LP jackets in my head, even if I didn’t always give them a try (I hope other jocks did).

Let’s take a look at five disks among those that wound up in our mitts. Friends of the time–you’re welcome to remind me of others.

The Rubinoos, Party of Two
Let’s start with one I should have definitely paid more mind. I missed out on their cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” which peaked at #45 in May of 1977. Six years later, the original foursome had winnowed down to a duo, Jon Rubin and Tommy Dunbar. They tried to jump start their career with this Rundgren/Utopia-produced EP. I’m pretty sure I listened to “If I Had You Back” a time or two while the station was off the air; how I didn’t dig it enough to play it during one of my shows is a big mystery.

Bill Nelson, Vistamix
I believe I knew of (by name only) Be-Bop Deluxe by the time I was in college. Former leader Bill Nelson was well into pursuing a solo career by 1984, when this compilation came out. Another one I spun a couple of times out of curiosity only–“Flaming Desire,” from a couple of years before, was the one that caught my ear.

The Circle Jerks, Golden Shower of Hits
This is the LP that broke through among me and my friends. Off-color band and album name? Urinal on the cover? Amber liquid of unknown provenance arriving from the left? Check, check, and check. Hardcore punk, with song titles like “Parade of the Horribles.” “Coup d’Etat,” and “When the Shit Hits the Fan” (an unplugged version of that last one appears on the Repo Man soundtrack–James bought that a year or so later). Not particularly my style, but it did hold quite a bit of entertainment value for several 18- and 19-year olds. I can see why a record store might not feature this during business hours.

Our favorite, and one which I’m sure I played on my show at least a couple of times, was the title track, subtitled “Jerks on 45.” It’s exactly what you think it is and if you’ve never heard it, definitely give it a listen. I won’t spoil the fun by revealing any of the songs they include, but I will say that it’s actually coherent (as opposed to, say, one of Weird Al’s polka medleys): somewhere in the last few years I read it tracks the life cycle of a relationship.

Kissing the Pink, S/T
This British group (later known simply as KTP) appears to have released this EP and their debut album, Naked, almost simultaneously. Kinda odd, since they share three cuts. One of them, “Maybe This Day,” is the only song on any of these albums to have hit the U.S pop charts, peaking at #87 in late August. If I ever threw this on the turntable, I sure don’t remember it.

Fun Boy Three, Waiting
If I’d known about the Specials back then, perhaps I would have given this album by three of their alums more of a chance. As it was, I probably couldn’t process the juxtaposition of a band with “Fun” in their names and the dour looks I saw on the cover. No doubt I gave the cover of “Our Lips Are Sealed” a shot (vocalist Terry Hall co-wrote it with Jane Wiedlin), but I wasn’t ready for such a somber take. I do wish I’d paid attention to “Tunnel of Love,” though (a Top 10 hit in the UK).

If I could be a sophomore in college all over again, I hope I’d choose to have wider musical horizons.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 9/5/81: REO Speedwagon, “In Your Letter”

Even at the beginning of my senior year in HS, I was buying only the occasional LP—maybe I had around a dozen by then. One, likely purchased sometime early in the summer of 1981, was REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity. I liked it pretty well; it definitely got quite a few spins on my dad’s turntable in our basement back then. While in college, I picked up You Can Tune a Piano, But You Can’t Tuna Fish and Wheels Are Turnin’, but it’s fair to say that Hi Infidelity is still the REO album I know best overall.

A quick check at setlist.fm tells me that the Speedwagon played Champaign once while I was at UIUC, in November 1987. I didn’t go, and I don’t really recall any swelling sense of love for the hometown heroes during my time there, either. Nonetheless, I tip my hat to them for working hard and making good.

As I’ve done with other albums from my teen years that I owned, I’m taking a crack at ranking Hi Infidelity’s tracks.

10. “I Wish You Were There”
I get that rock bands need to do the ballad thing (though that’s frequently not my thing), and I guess this one isn’t terrible? It didn’t do much for me back in 1981, either, though.

9. “Don’t Let Him Go”
Third single, got to #24 the first two weeks of August. I seem to remember a school dance early that fall (DJ’ed by students) where this one got played—it cleared the floor. I’m just hoping I wasn’t the one responsible for that…

8. “Shakin’ It Loose”
How many times did I listen to this album after I graduated from HS, though? Very, very few. I’ll confess now that the names of the last three songs on side two didn’t trigger any music in my head prior to playing them earlier today. That said, I like this one fine—nice piano solo from Neal Doughty, for sure—but it’s still pretty close to filler.

7. “Someone Tonight”
Bassist Bruce Hall wrote it and sang lead. The sentiment behind the lyric is, um, uninspiring. Nonetheless, it’s a decent little rocker with good harmonies.

6. “In Your Letter”
This week’s #28 song, heading toward a peak of #20. I’m surprising myself a little by placing it as high as this, given that it didn’t exactly groove me in real time; I’m coming around to admiring it for channeling the pop of years past.

5. “Keep on Loving You”
On the other hand, maybe this one’s the victim of hearing it too much over the decades. It made #1 on my own chart for two weeks at the end of February (see, I can like rock ballads). Full credit for the “missin’/listen/hissin’” rhyme in verse one.

4. “Take It on the Run”
One of three songs—along with “I Love You” and “Sweetheart”—that became instant favorites in April and dominated my charts in May (got to #5 on the Hot 100, three weeks at #2 for me). This one may be the reason I bought the album. I remember it getting played over PAs at track meets that spring.

3. “Tough Guys”
Does Gary Richrath’s screaming guitar sound add to the song or not? I’m torn. This one has more fun writing (great second verse, and I’m a fan of “she’s gonna call your bluff, guys”). I’ll also cop to approval of the Little Rascals intro.

2. “Out of Season”
Another pop-rock gem. I was listening to WEBN, the AOR station in Cincinnati, quite a bit at this point, and I have to believe they were playing all of the top 3 in this list that summer. Classic song structure, but so well-executed.

1. “Follow My Heart”
First heard this by flipping over my “Keep On Loving You” 45, and liked it immediately. The urgency was palpable to a 17-year-old, not that I had any reason to relate to Kevin Cronin’s dilemma. It’s the cut from Hi Infidelity I would pick to take with me if made to choose just one, so that puts it at the top of the list. (It was the third song in the mixtape series that kicked off this blog, too.)

Forgotten Albums: The Connells, Ring

When I learned I was moving back to Kentucky from Illinois to start the small-college academic life, a top priority was figuring out where to live. Lexington had many more options for apartment living, so it made sense to concentrate my efforts there. I wound up choosing a complex called Raintree, on the southeastern side of town. Not for the indoor pool, which I never used, but for its fairly easy access to the interstate, and hence work: turn left at a stop light, go two-point-five miles until you hit I-75 North, whereupon after another fifteen minutes you’ve reached Georgetown. I lived in apartment #2602 for not quite a year-and-a-half.

There was a strip mall within easy walking distance of Raintree. Among its offerings was a TCBY, a couple of restaurants (locally-owned Cajun and Italian), a gaming store, and an independent CD shop. I imagine I was in the last of these around twice a week, scoping out both new releases and the used bins. Their prices were only okay–I got more stuff at a couple other places in town–but you couldn’t beat the convenience factor.

In those final months at the apartment, maybe one mid-fall, late Friday afternoon on my way home, I swung by this store (alas, the name’s long forgotten to me now) and picked up Ring, the new album from Raleigh’s Connells. I’d known of the band for a few years by that point, though I wouldn’t be shocked if in-store play factored in my decision to buy it.

I wouldn’t say that Ring ever slotted in as one of my go-to CDs, with repeated listens over several weeks. It does, however, possess a top-drawer first four songs, along with a few other charmers among its thirteen cuts. Let’s take a dip into it.

Leading off was the Connells’ third and final Modern Rock Tracks top 10 song, “Slackjawed.” This would definitely have caught my attention if they played it over the store’s system. Could have been a pop hit in another universe…

Next is “Carry My Picture.” One of a couple of songs here about a romantic relationship gone sideways in one form or another. Nice, driving track.

“’74-’75” was a top 10 hit all over Europe in 1995. I heard it on the radio occasionally here, probably on WRFL, but it somehow never dented a chart in the U.S. “I was your sorry ever after”–this is the one that truly never left my head.

I came across the song’s video a few years ago and was fascinated by the then (as of 1993)-and-now shots of sixteen members of the Class of ’75 from Broughton HS in Raleigh. It was only in writing this up that I learned the director updated the clip in 2015 for their 40th reunion. As you’ll see, one of the 16 had passed in the intervening years. It’s almost as affecting as the song.

“Doin’ You” wraps up Ring‘s incredible start. It’s got quite the load of vitriol, but I way dig it.

We’ll wrap with a couple of the songs from later in the disk. “New Boy” was the B-side to “’74-’75.”

And the closer, “Running Mary,” lopes along nicely, throwing in a time signature wrinkle here and there.

After Ring, things got a little tougher commercially for the Connells (not that success really ever found them). Three more albums followed, the last in 2001. There are hints on their Wikipedia page that there may be another one forthcoming in the near future.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 8/28/76: Red Sovine, “Teddy Bear”

In the Classic Casey era between July 1970 and August 1988, there were only five (as best as I can tell) occasions when there was a single new entry on the show. Casey notes at the beginning of the 8/28/76 show that he can’t recall a time where this had occurred before, and with good reason: it hadn’t while he’d been hosting. Here are the five, along with some miscellanea. With one exception, these were not heavy chart hitters.

8/28/76
Song: Red Sovine, “Teddy Bear”
Debut Position: #40
Peak: #40
Number of weeks on AT40: 1
Replaced: Queen, “You’re My Best Friend”

5/20/78
Song: Linda Ronstadt, “Tumbling Dice”
Debut Position: #37
Peak: #32
Number of weeks on AT40: 3
Replaced: Parliament, “Flash Light”

9/20/80
Song: Elton John, “(Sartorial Eloquence) Don’t Ya Wanna Play This Game No More?”
Debut Position: #40
Peak: #39
Number of weeks on AT40: 2
Replaced: Robert John, “Hey There Lonely Girl”

10/19/85
Song: Mr. Mister, “Broken Wings”
Debut Position: #35
Peak: #1
Number of weeks on AT40: 15 (including the frozen chart of 1/5/86)
Replaced: Huey Lewis and the News, “The Power of Love”

1/9/88
Song: The Cure, “Just Like Heaven”
Debut Position: #40
Peak: #40
Number of weeks on AT40: 1
Replaced: The Kane Gang, “Motortown”

The sample is way too small to draw any meaningful conclusion, but I do find it curious that four of the five had little-to-no traction after making the show. Maybe a slow Hot 100 week made it more likely that such a song was already losing momentum?

“Teddy Bear,” in addition to being maudlin, isn’t decent poetry–too frequently meter is wrecked in order to cram in a rhyme. That said, Casey does have a genuinely sad story to share as he leads off the show: Norma Sovine, Red’s wife, died suddenly the day after Red recorded “Teddy Bear.”

My friend Warren spent his early years in Nashville. His parents are now buried there, and, as it happens, their plot is only about 150 yards from that of Woodrow Wilson “Red” and Norma Sovine. Warren and I occasionally have extended messaging sessions over Facebook, a mix of catching up and chatting about music. Sovine’s work has come up a couple of times, and he’s done me the favor (?) of pointing out other classics such as “Billy’s Christmas Wish” and “Little Joe.” (Let me be clear: he didn’t share them because he thought they were good.) I know that many folks appreciate spoken-word pieces of this ilk, but I confess I find these just a little over the top.

Stereo Review In Review: August 1985

I was about to begin my senior year of college, but I know I took time on my occasional trips home to check out the latest issue of SR. The Prince review is the one I distinctly remember reading; however, I’ll bet I made note of Simels’s Best of the Month feature, too–that one became a favorite two or so years later.

Articles
Alanna Nash interviews Reba McEntire
McEntire’s career was still in its ascendancy at this point. The previous year, My Kind of Country had her finding her “true country” voice, and she was beginning to win CMA awards. Nash met with McEntire in Nashville right around the time the follow-up, Have I Got a Deal for You, was being released, and much of the interview centers on Reba being Reba: “All I can say is I’ll sure be goin’ more traditional, and it’s not because I’m the next Waylon Jennings, or that I’m trying to be a renegade or anything, really other than the fact it’s what I feel the best with.”

Our reviewers this month are Chris Albertson, Phyl Garland, Alanna Nash, Mark Peel, Peter Reilly, and Steve Simels.

Best of the Month
–Lone Justice, S/T (SS) “There’s more than a suggestion here that McKee may turn out to be a major songwriter as well as the possessor of truly spectacular pipes.”
–Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Highwayman (AN) “…a rare treat in country music—four consummate country voices blending in friendship and harmony over dignified, quality material, stamping their marks of individuality on even the most familiar songs.”

There was only one “featured” album in the Popular section this month (the Braxton); I elected to merge it with the rest.

Selected Other LPs Reviewed
Rock/Pop/Country/Soul:
–Merle Haggard, Kern River (AN) “The Man from Bakersfield has certainly done better albums…but Kern River has an undeniably moody charm about it…”
–Whitney Houston, S/T (PG) “Seldom has a young artist been so well equipped for the success that is bound to come her way.”
–Howard Jones, Dream Into Action (MP) “Dream Into Action may fail as often as it succeeds, but even Jones’s failures are more challenging and interesting that most pop musicians’ successes.” Peel had been all about Human’s Lib the year before.
–Katrina and the Waves, S/T (MP) “…prototypical garage-band pop, an affectionate medley of styles from Motown to Mersey to Tex-Mex.”
–Edith Piaf, Live at Carnegie Hall—January 13, 1957 (PR) “At the time of this concert she was already a legend. Almost thirty years later it’s easy to hear why.”
–The Power Station, 33 1/3 (MP) “The supergroup to end all supergroups? One can only hope.”
–Prince and the Revolution, Around the World in a Day (SS) “Overall, you have to give the Kid credit for trying something a little different, even if it doesn’t quite come off.”
–David Sanborn, Straight to the Heart (AN) “Still, it is a better-than-average pop-jazz effort, and maybe next time Sanborn will even blow a little heavier on the blues end of the horn.”

Jazz:
–Anthony Braxton, Seven Standards 1985, Volume 1 (CA) “That Braxton is capable of reaching back so eloquently should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed his career, listened to his music, and read his liner notes.”
–Claude Bolling, Live at the Méridien, Paris (CA) “…has a sound that reflects big bands past…I certainly prefer this Bolling to the pastry chef two turns out all those suites.”
–Dave Grusin, One of a Kind (CA) “’Playera’ is a miniature masterpiece that by itself justifies the reissue of this album.”

American Top 40 PastBlast, 8/19/72: The Detroit Emeralds, “Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)”

I know I’ve said it before, but the single most enjoyable aspect of listening to these old shows has been learning about all the early 70s hits I somehow missed growing up, particularly songs from the R&B side of the spectrum. I’m hoping one day to compile a list of the great soul tunes I now know, but for today, we’ll settle for presenting a prime example, this show’s #27 tune. I don’t know that I’ve yet heard “Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)” outside of the rebroadcasts from those few weeks it was striving toward a #24 peak. But boy, is it a sweet cut.

Casey names the three Emeralds as he introduces the song this week: brothers Ivory and Abrim Tilmon, along with James Mitchell. In putting this together I learned that Mitchell has a co-writing credit on “Float On,” the Floaters’ big #2 hit from 1977, and that “Leo, and my name is Paul” is Mitchell’s brother.

With the playing of 8/19/72 this weekend, there are now only two Casey-hosted regular AT40s from the 70s that have not be rebroadcast by Premiere, and oddly, they’re back-to-back shows: 11/24 and 12/1/79. I’m not quite sure how they managed that, but it looks like it’ll be late 2021 before the series finally gets completed.

I’ll Meet You On The Vast Plains

As I write this, I’ve got one class and a department meeting to go before the second week of the semester is done. It’s fair to say that I’m worn down (and not exactly pumped for that weekly 4pm meeting). Some of it’s normal–being “on” in the classroom takes its toll on an introvert–but I imagine a good bit of it is the stress of being in a room with folks for 75 minutes at a time, one or more of whom might be an asymptomatic COVID carrier. I might feel a little more at ease if a few students wore their masks just a little more carefully.

Four days a week, my routine has often been something like this: 1) arrive and do final prep for first class; 2) teach first class; 3) close myself up in the office for three hours (eat the lunch I’ve brought, final prep for second class, grade/advance prep, look at Twitter feed a bit); 4) teach second class; 5) Zoom with a couple of students, a little more prep; 6) go home, maybe grade/prep some more after dinner. Due to the alternative schedule we’ve implemented, Wednesday gets to be a bit of a catch-up day for me. But I’m missing that ability to go down the hall to talk with a colleague, help a student out in the lobby, actually see people.

I do understand I’ve got it better than so many, and there are plenty of people who’d be happy to do what I’m doing. Still, I’m likely not functioning at full capacity. If I feel this tired now, after just two weeks, I’m wondering how it’ll be after six.

A couple of nights ago I was in need of a musical pick-me-up, a happy song from happier times. Scanning my CD shelves, I landed on a disk with a minor AOR hit from my second year in grad school. A little research revealed that the song ascended to a #23 peak on Billboard‘s Album Rock Tracks chart dated 11/21/87. Before we get to it, though, there was enough interesting stuff in that chart’s top 10 to stop along the way and note most of them…

#1: Bruce Springsteen, “Tunnel of Love”
#2: John Cougar Mellencamp, “Cherry Bomb”
#3: Robbie Robertson, “Showdown at Big Sky”
#4: George Harrison, “Got My Mind Set on You”

The Mellencamp was a song that played a role one time I was an on-air contestant, written up here. There are three more songs from Cloud Nine and two others from the Boss on this chart, too.

#6: Yes, “Rhythm of Love”
#9: Yes, “Love Will Find a Way”

A third song from Big Generator is farther down the list. This album was overall a Big Disappointment after the delightful 90125. While I’ve always liked the sound of “Love Will Find a Way” in spite of its dopey lyrics (“I eat at chez nous” is terrible grammar, besides), “Rhythm of Love” just never did anything for me.

#7: Rush, “Time Stand Still”
I’d definitely read an article telling the story of how Aimee Mann got to join in on this.

#10. Bourgeois Tagg, “I Don’t Mind at All”
Completely underrated Beatles-flavored tune. Made it to just #38 on the Hot 100.

The other songs in the Top 10 are tracks from Floyd and Tull that I don’t remember. There are multiple cuts from Document, Kick, …Nothing Like the Sun, and Permanent Vacation to be found on the chart, too.

But back to the reason for the post. The Radiators were a New Orleans bar/club band that worked their way up to a major-label deal in the late 80s. None of their three albums for Epic exactly broke through, but back in that fall of 1987, WPGU played “Like Dreamers Do,” from Law of the Fish, often enough for me to realize it was quite the mood-brightener. After hearing it again this week for the first time in a good while, I’ll be sure to add “mad molecule” to my repertoire of offbeat terms of endearment.

Like everyone else, I’m ready to be out and about, doing some honest, face-to-face interaction with folks. With extended family, friends from high school, college, grad school, work, church, and fellow bloggers I’ve never met in real life. A big party, somewhere out on a vast plain.

A guy can dream, right?

Dad’s 45s, Part 3: 1968

I was too young in 1968–four years old–to be aware of the King and Kennedy assassinations, the Chicago Democratic National Convention, Nixon’s election, the unrest over the Vietnam War, or any of the other events from that tumultuous year. (I suspect my parents did what they could to shield my young ears from the news on the television.) The major thing that happened in my own life was our family’s move from La Grange to Stanford, as Dad had found a new pastorate there; September 4, a Wednesday, is the date that stuck in my head long ago for when that occurred.

Even if I haven’t taken many deep dives into the music of 1968, my impression of its pop scene is pretty positive. A few of the singles my father bought back then are amazing, while there’s one that doesn’t exactly strike me as one of the year’s best. I wish I could talk with him now to argue over (erm, I mean discuss) that selection.

Roger Miller, “Little Green Apples” (#39, April)

It’s funny. I’ve known the line, “It don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime,” for seemingly forever, but there isn’t a recording of this song that I recognize as being something I heard growing up. Miller’s version, in which he manages to sound both sleepy and lecherous, made the charts first, with a run that included three weeks at #40 and then three weeks at #39. O.C. Smith would reach #2 six months later. Martha says the take by the guy with the next song in this post is the one familiar to her. Bobby Russell won a Song of the Year Grammy for it.

But what’s up with that second verse? Guy begs for a lunch date with his wife, “knowin’ she’s busy,” and then makes her wait for him? Big power play there, but I guess maybe small potatoes compared to what Russell came up with in…

Bobby Goldsboro, “Honey” (#1, April)

Goldsboro had a syndicated television variety show for a couple of years starting in 1973. It was on for a while in the Cincinnati market–I believe it ran on the NBC affiliate between 7 and 8pm one night a week–and that may well be how I first encountered him. These years I think about him only when a rebroadcast is playing either “Watching Scotty Grow” (I confess that one can make me tear up a little) or “Summer (The First Time)” (ugh).

According to Wikipedia, “Honey” was the top-selling single worldwide in 1968; looks like the Harris household contributed to that ignominious result. I know mores and norms change, but there’s WAY too much laughing at, ignoring of, and crying by Honey–am I the only one who’s thinking she must have committed suicide?

Russell’s other big songwriting success was the highly illogical “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” (he was married to Vicki Lawrence at the time it was a hit). He died in late 1992, in Nicholasville, KY, which is about as far south of Lexington as Georgetown is north.

Percy Sledge, “Take Time To Know Her” (#11, May)

This was Sledge’s second biggest hit on the pop charts, though it’s not familiar to me at all. Our narrator’s mother and even the minister at the wedding could see trouble coming, but he didn’t suss it out until it was too late. Another one that doesn’t quite match what I thought was my father’s style, but I’m learning…

Mason Williams, “Classical Gas” (#2, August)

Nice piece. Might have been in college before I really gave it much mind. The flip side is the #96-peaking “Baroque-a-Nova,” which sounds at least a little like Williams’s big hit.

Jeannie C. Riley, “Harper Valley P.T.A.” (#1, September)

Jim Bartlett has written before (I’m paraphrasing) about songs that have just always been there in your life. “Harper Valley P.T.A.” is one of those for me (we may meet a few others along the way in future installments). This could well be because of Dad playing this 45 multiple times on our console hi-fi, but whatever the reason, hearing it still transports me to times and sensations of long, long ago. I 100% adore it: Riley’s twang and righteous anger, the details behind each board member’s waywardness, the multiple modulations. Phrases like “little nip of gin” and “the day my mama socked it to…” have never not been a part of my consciousness.

I won’t be able to keep up semi-themed posts in this series forever, but I think I have still got a few more to go before we get to the hodgepodge entries.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 8/6/83: Charlie, “It’s Inevitable”

I spent Friday afternoon working on Canvas, the “learning management system” we use at my institution. An LMS functions as a clearinghouse of sorts for courses–one can post the syllabus, link to video presentations and slide shows, make assignments (which allows students to upload their work and profs to grade it without printing it),etc. I, and many of my colleagues, will be making greater use of Canvas this semester than previously (I’ve also been given pointers on good LMS practices from those on campus who are more tech-savvy–I can only hope I’m implementing their ideas reasonably). My musical companion for those four hours was the 8/6/83 show, broadcast by an AM station out of Black River Falls, WI.

I go back to the classroom tomorrow, in-person for the first time since March 6. My school is going to attempt face-to-face instruction for the most part (folks with good reason to do so are opting to teach online). The powers that be have taken about as thoughtful an approach as possible given the choice to bring students back. We’re starting a week earlier than originally planned and have eliminated breaks, so that fall classes will be done before Thanksgiving. They divided the semester into two seven-week-plus terms (I’ll have two classes each term). There’s been a lot of work done on improving ventilation, air flow and air quality, as well as re-thinking traffic flow, in a number of buildings. They’ve created a number of outdoor meeting spaces for classes, though I’m not likely to be able to leverage those much. Everyone is required to wear a face covering in public spaces, including classes of course, and there’s what seems to be a good plan for contact tracing. Due to distancing requirements, I’m splitting most of my classes into two groups, meeting with each every other class period (which means I’m creating and posting lots of videos filled with course content that students ostensibly watch ahead of time). Even with all this, I can’t say I’m particularly optimistic about success. I’m plenty nervous and figure that the realities on the ground are eventually going to drive us back to fully online instruction. I suppose one can wish for the moment that there will be some good arising from being together for a while. I know I’ll be as cautious as I can.

I’ll be in this classroom at 2:00 four days per week through the end of September. Martha made the mask for me out of a beloved shirt that had worn out.

My son’s college is going to be trying out what sounds like a similar plan, with some added bells and whistles like periodic random testing. He won’t be leaving until the end of the month and will be sharing a suite with three good friends. If they can just all stay clean… Once we drop him off, we don’t expect to see him again until Thanksgiving, assuming all goes well.

Ben is about to start his sophomore year. That’s where I was when the show I heard on Friday was originally broadcast. It was the middle of a summer full of self-inflicted angst, a precursor to a fairly unsettled fall semester. For entirely different reasons, I worry that my son’s second college autumn will also be sub-optimal.

Sitting at #40 is the one song by the British band Charlie that ever made the show. While it rose to #38 the following week before falling off, “It’s Inevitable” didn’t get played on that Keri Tombazian guest-hosted 8/13 show, due to a bizarre charting accident. Thus, 8/6 was the only time AT40 listeners got to hear it.

I was already a little familiar with the band. WKRQ had played the #54-peaking “She Loves To Be in Love” quite a bit five years earlier (we’ll see evidence of that in my next Charts post). As best as I can read Charlie’s Wiki page, there’d been a decent amount of turnover in personnel after 1978, even a new lead singer. Their earlier sound was certainly poppier; “It’s Inevitable” feels more like a cross between Def Leppard and the Sherbs (the vocalist reminds me of Daryl Braithwaite, for certain).

Can’t imagine Joe Elliott and the boys going for the slapstick thing, though.