American Top 40 PastBlast, 7/9/83: Human League, “(Keep Feeling) Fascination”

This is one of the few videos I remember encountering prior to my parents getting MTV, when they moved to Florence in September 83.  I’m betting I saw it over the summer at my grandparents’ house in Erlanger.

The second of four Human League AT40 appearances during the 80s, “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” reached #8; this week it’s stopping off at #28.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 7/14/79: Joe Jackson, “Is She Really Going Out with Him?”

I really, really loved this song during its run on the chart (and I still do). Don’t think Q102 gave it the time of day, but I know I heard it on WEBN. I very much consider this to be a harbinger of where my music tastes would trend over time . It’s at #35, steaming toward a peak of #21.

Joe Jackson scored three more Top 40 hits; “Steppin’ Out,” from the fall of my freshman year in college, is another stunner, and the others are plenty good.

American Top 40 PastBlast Redux, 1/25/86: Pete Townshend, “Face the Face”

Before I started this blog, I posted about songs from old AT40s on Facebook, January-July 2017. I’ll be moving them here over time. This entry has been edited somewhat from the original.

At #27, coming off its peak one position higher, is Pete Townshend’s second, and last, solo hit.  My recollection is that James was a big fan of this one.  I couldn’t find a complete copy of the version I remember being played on MTV, so you get one that’s truncated.  It’s missing maybe about the first minute, but we do get to see Pete’s daughter Emma take her turn at the mic.  That instrumental section in the middle is mighty sweet. I’ll include a copy of the whole thing, too.

This countdown came just before the Challenger explosion. I’ll write about that another time (maybe whenever they next play the 2/1/86 show), but I did see this touching article on a couple of weeks ago about an artifact that survived the tragedy.


6/26/76, 7/3/82, and 7/9/77 Charts

The 6/26/76 chart is the third one I wrote up (I didn’t do one for 6/12 until a few years later; I’m anticipating that show will be rebroadcast next year, so I’m holding off on the explanation for now). I was still settling in on the project, but some conventions were already beginning to take hold.

I conveniently included a legend for posterity’s sake. A star was used for songs ascending, an underscore for those on their way down, and an overscore indicated a holding pattern. I circled the numbers of the debut songs. Predictions are there, as well as whether or not I’d gotten them right (I’m not sure now how I knew the results, as the next week AT40 played a special countdown). However, there’s all sorts of craziness going on:
–I got the year wrong (that’d happened the previous week, too);
–I Was following Very Arbitrary capitalization Rules from song to Song;
–Plenty of misspellings of artists’ names. My favorite is “Fin Lizzie.” That wouldn’t get corrected until the 7/18 chart. In my defense, please listen to the 6/5 show sometime–the way Casey pronounces the first word of their name the week “The Boys Are Back in Town” debuts sure sounds like “fin” to me.

These summer 76 charts are some of the very dearest in my collection; the 82 and 77 charts presented below are really dull by comparison. But before we get to them, though, let’s see what’s at the top of the Harris charts in July 82:


Toto was in week two of a four-week run at the top. “Africa” was at #4 when I stopped doing these at the end of 82; I’m guessing it would have reached the summit had I continued. Tommy Tutone was the only former #1 here, while .38 Special, Soft Cell, and the Motels had the future chart toppers.  Paul and Stevie were at their highest position. I’m a little surprised to see Willie match his real-life peak.  Apparently I was a big supporter of the J. Geils song–it got to #11.

Now for those less-exciting charts.

Just the facts.  I’d accidentally written in “Personally” at #26 originally and must have decided that trying to simply overpower it with “Break It Up” wasn’t going to work.

We’d just gotten home from our Western trip; I guess I was still in recovery mode, at least in part.  My game stepped up again the following week.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 7/3/82: Kansas, “Play the Game Tonight”

Ten days before this countdown, I had all of my wisdom teeth extracted. My dentist recommended they be removed under general anesthesia at a local hospital (they were getting ready to grow in at a fearsome angle). The surgery went fine, but I experienced incredible swelling; I was reduced to a liquid diet for quite a number of days, the only upside of which was getting to enjoy many more milkshakes than normal.

One of the songs I almost certainly heard on the radio while I languished on the living room couch that week following my procedure was Kansas’s first (and only) hit with then-new vocalist John Elefante. “Play the Game Tonight” is at #17, its highest position. As large as “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind” loom over the 70s and classic rock landscapes, you’d think that Kansas had other major hits, but this is actually their third-biggest if you rank by Hot 100 peak (I like “Game” plenty, but I’d take “Point of Know Return” over it).  Doesn’t seem to get much airplay these days, though.

There’ll be much more about the summer of 82 in the last week of this month.

Speaking of the future:  Weekend blogging will be lighter, with very brief entries, over the next fortnight.  I’ve got several posts queued up in the coming days, so while it might not look like it, I’m going to be taking a little time off.

American Top 40 PastBlast, 7/9/77: Supertramp, “Give a Little Bit”

Toward the end of June in 77 our family packed up Dad’s 75 Chrysler Newport (at that point a rare foray away from the Ford family of vehicles) and headed out West for a vacation. I seem to remember quite a bit about it.

–First to St. Louis, where we rode up in those little cars to the top of the Gateway Arch;

–A visit to the Harry S. Truman Library/Museum in Independence, MO;

–A stop outside Lubbock, TX, where my father had partial ownership of a piece of land his great-grandfather had bought way back in the 19th century;

–Maybe a quick jaunt through Hobbs, NM, where one of Dad’s distant cousins lived;

–An overheated car in Albuquerque (I’m sure this didn’t endear Dad to Chryslers–he had a Mercury Marquis by the following spring); I believe we were without AC for the duration of the trip;

–A rock formation outside of Santa Fe known as Camel Rock. Actually, I don’t remember visiting this, but we have hard pictorial evidence of a sighting;


–Seeing Taos Pueblo. That’s its chapel that Mom, Amy, and I are standing outside of in the picture at the top of the post. Martha, Ben, and I were there a couple of years ago, and it looked remarkably the same;

Continue reading “American Top 40 PastBlast, 7/9/77: Supertramp, “Give a Little Bit””

Richard and Caroline Through The Years

Today would have been my parents’ 56th wedding anniversary. To mark the occasion, here are a few pix of them together over the years.

This looks like our place in Stanford, which would put it at 1970 +/-. My best guess is that they were hosting an open house for the congregation of Stanford Christian Church. I have no recollection of this; I wonder if Amy and I were even on site!


Continue reading “Richard and Caroline Through The Years”

Songs Casey Never Played, 7/3/82

This weekend’s 80s rebroadcast comes from the heart of the summer between my high school and college years. Plenty of mighty good tunes were boxed out of the Top 40 then; here are four of them.

#90: April Wine, “Enough Is Enough”

I was a big fan of “Just Between You and Me,” their #21 hit from spring 81, and I enjoyed this one quite a bit as well. It didn’t break through to the pop stations in Cincinnati or Lexington, but WEBN played it regularly that summer. It’s also the last song on side 1 of the Canadian version of Hit Explosion, a K-Tel album I picked up from a cutout bin sometime while I was in college. Don’t think I’d ever seen a video for it until this week. Reached #50.


#62: Bow Wow Wow, “I Want Candy”

Short version: Former manager of the Sex Pistols cleaves the first incarnation of the Ants away from Adam and installs a 13-year-old as their vocalist. Annabella Lwin is 15 by the time this remake of a #11 hit from 65 reaches our shores. The Strangeloves, the band who originally scored with “I Want Candy,” deserve more space than I’m going to give them today, but I will mention that one of their members, Richard Gottehrer, became a boss producer (among others, he gave us Beauty and the Beat and Marshall Crenshaw’s debut disk).  The cover, which has insinuated itself into our culture pretty well, is at its peak position.


#59: Monroes, “What Do All the People Know”

I don’t think I heard this until I bought Volume 3 of Living in Oblivion, a series of 80s new-wavey compilations, in 94. It’s absolutely dynamite, the song you should listen to today if you don’t already know it. Whatever momentum the Monroes had stalled completely out when their record company, an American subsidiary of Alfa Records, ceased operations right at this point in time. “What Do All the People Know” climbed no higher.  Here’s the Merv Griffin fix you didn’t know you needed.


#53: Cheap Trick, “If You Want My Love”

I completely missed at the time how Beatles-influenced this song is, from the “whoo” at the end of the chorus, through Zander’s Lennon-esque crooning of “Yes, I thought you were a mystery girl,” to the chord progressions straight out of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Should have done much, much better. Nothing beats “Dream Police” or “Surrender,” but this is in the battle with “Tonight It’s You” for third place. It reached #45.


On Monday we’ll hear one that did get played on that 7/3/82 show, though chances are good it won’t rock as hard as any of these.

American Top 40 PastBlast Redux, 2/24/79: Al Stewart, “Song on the Radio”

Before I started this blog, I posted about songs from old AT40s on Facebook, January-July 2017. I’ll be moving them here over time. This entry has been edited somewhat from the original.

Last year I mentioned my affinity for Al Stewart, particularly his two late 70s albums.  This one was the follow-up single to “Time Passages.”  At #33 here, on its way to only #29 (criminal!).  The saxophone work on AS’s singles is uniformly incredible.

Which brings up: a few weeks ago I came across a post at My Favorite Decade, a music blog devoted to the years 1976-1985, pretty much my sweet spot. It quotes Stewart on how “Song on the Radio” came to be; I had no idea it was essentially a toss-off.

If you enjoy music of all sorts from those years, MFD is very much worth adding to your rotation.