I generally took special notice of the first chart of the calendar year–perhaps not too surprisingly, it became the time when I made significant changes in layout/presentation. For 81, I abandoned the yellow legal pad I’d used throughout 80 and went sort-of “old school,” putting #40 at the top of the front page like I had in 76 and most of 77. It’s also the first time I numbered countdowns throughout the year (“Week 1”).
Here’s what I was digging early that January.
Last month we saw the first week of Benatar’s run at the top with “Hit Me with Your Best Shot;” now we’ve got its sixth and final week. “Suddenly” would be on top the next time. How is “Lady” still in the top 10, five weeks later? I was appalled to see it there in the previous Charts post. Cool to see Randy Meisner still chillin’ here, weeks after peaking on Billboard.
I’ve extended this by one more song than I usually do, to show what was hanging out at #26. I was a big fan of “Couldn’t Get It Right” back in the spring of 77, so I definitely took notice when the Climax Blues Band started getting airplay again toward the end of 80. “Gotta Have More Love” had stalled out at #47 on the Hot 100 at the end of December, and was peaking on my own chart right here. You never hear it any more–it’d be cool with me if someone decided to give it some airplay love.
One other non-Top 40 tune was nestled on my chart this week: “Stop This Game,” by Cheap Trick, sitting at #38. That’s another under-appreciated song…
Here’s what Q102 was playing a week later.
Let’s talk about that song at #35. McGuffey Lane was (is?) an Ohio country-flavored band who by the early 80s had acquired a sizable devoted local following. Q102 played “Long Time Lovin’ You” a ton at the beginning of 81, so much that I could sing along with the chorus when I played it while writing this up, even though I’m sure I haven’t heard it since at least the mid-80s. It actually broke nationally a bit, Bubbling Under at #102 on 1/10/81 and making the Hot 100 on a week later (it would end up peaking at #85). McGuffey Lane had another small hit a year later. Anyone else remember this?
Finally, moving on to/back to late January 77:
Several oddities here. I love the massive 1977. I didn’t know Gene Cotton’s last name yet, or how to spell Smokie (I got them both right the following week). Apparently I thought Thelma Houston’s first
day name (good grief–where’s an editor when you need one?) was Velma (too much Scooby-Doo earlier in the decade, I guess). And there’s the bizarre switch to cursive for the top three.
I wasn’t wrong that there’d be a new #1 the next week, but would never have guessed it’d be Mary MacGregor ascending.