American Top 40 PastBlast, 2/11/78: Wet Willie, “Street Corner Serenade”

At first glance, there’s nothing too remarkable about “Street Corner Serenade.” The single has a pretty standard song structure—two rounds of verse & chorus, bridge/sax solo modulating into a keyboard riff before heading into a final verse & chorus. And there’s not a lot of substance in the lyrics:
Verse 1: I sang on the corner with my friends when I was younger;
Verse 2: Let me tell you who was in the group;
Verse 3: I sure miss it!

But yet—it’s such a happy piece of music, from its big intro on through to the final “do-do-do-doot, whoah-whoa.” It’s one that I really liked when it was on the show (and that’s about the only place I heard it back then). I don’t know if any of the members of Wet Willie did any doo-wop street singing in their formative years—they might be a little young for that—but it feels like they’re nostalgic about something(and I’m certainly all about the nostalgia).

This is the second of three times Wet Willie would visit The 40 (lead singer Jimmy Hall also had one solo hit on the show in the fall of 80). “Street Corner Serenade” is one spot shy of its #30 peak this week.  Like a number of the bands from the era, they still get together and play shows from time to time.

2 thoughts on “American Top 40 PastBlast, 2/11/78: Wet Willie, “Street Corner Serenade””

  1. Jimmy Hall also sings lead on four tracks from Jeff Beck’s Flash from 1985, including the album’s first two tracks “Ambitious” (written and produced by Nile Rodgers) and “Gets Us All In The End” (written and produced by Arthur Baker). The latter song went Top 20 on Billboard’s Top Rock Tracks chart and is a musical cousin to Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out” from the album of the same name as well as the Rocky IV soundtrack album, also from 1985. Tepper’s track made it to #12 on the Top Rock Tracks chart and it may have very well garnered airplay on WKQQ.

    Both “Gets Us All In The End” and “No Easy Way Out” are very 80’s sounding rock tracks in a Jan Hammer Miami Vice-ish way — all drum machines, beeping synths, and squealing guitars. For a fan like myself, it’s not that much of a leap to also mix in Don Johnson’s “Heartbeat” (#26), Ted Nugent’s “Little Miss Dangerous” (#22) or John Parr’s “Naughty Naughty” (#6) from the same moment in time.


    1. I’m familiar with “No Easy Way Out,” but the Beck tracks sound new to me, but I like them (I did hear the collaboration with Rod Stewart “People Get Ready” a fair amount). I wouldn’t have known that’s Hall singing without you telling me.

      I’m not a fan of “Heartbeat,” sorry to say, though “Naughty Naughty” is fairly fun.


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