What wasn’t Casey playing six-plus weeks out from my HS graduation? Here are a half-dozen songs on the 4/17/82 Hot 100 that fell short of AT40 glory:
#87. Shooting Star, “Hollywood”
One of the central songs on my soundtrack from the summer of 81 is the Kansas City band Shooting Star’s “Last Chance.” I was listening to WEBN, the AOR station in Cincy, a-plenty then, and it seems like they played it at quarter-past the hour every four hours throughout July and August. It’s somewhat ostentatious, but I still love it; it was one of my earlier purchases on iTunes.
For some reason I heard the title song of their followup album Hang on to Your Life more than the single “Hollywood” the following year, but “Hollywood” is much better, close to as good as “Last Chance.” It’s on its way down after peaking at #70. Props to the UnCola for playing it on his show about a month ago. It reminded me how much I like it.
#80. Police, “Secret Journey”
The secondary tracks from Ghost in the Machine were making their appearances on the radio by this time. WEBN was featuring the mighty fine “Invisible Sun,” while “Secret Journey” was released as a US single and made WLAP-FM’s automated playlist. I can see why “Secret Journey” didn’t climb higher than #46, but it’s got quite the striking intro.
#63. Gordon Lightfoot, “Baby Step Back”
Here’s Lightfoot’s last trip to the Hot 100. It’d been four years since he’d hit #33 with the awesome “The Circle Is Small,” but he still had one more go at the pop charts in him. Alas, “Baby Step Back” would fall ten spots shy of getting on AT40. It has a decent amount of another favorite, “Sundown,” in it. You know, it’s never the wrong day to play some Gordon.
#62. O’Bryan, “The Gigolo”
I strongly suspect “The Gigolo” got played at my senior prom. I do know for certain that, at the time, some of the folks at my high school were digging on this funky thing by 20-year-old O’Bryan Burnette II. He wound up with several hits, including a couple of Top 10s, on the R&B chart (one of which was “The Gigolo”), but he never cracked the crossover code to the pop scene. This got to #57 and was the only time he made the Hot 100.
#53. Sugar Hill Gang, “Apache”
In terms of funk & rap, “Apache” was much more my scene in 82 than “The Gigolo.” This second-most well-known song from the Sugar Hill Gang is all kinds of problematic in a variety of ways, yet hearing it still brings back fond memories of hanging out with a couple of high school friends. During my first year in college, there was a guy somewhere in the dorm who liked to blast it on the weekends, too. This was its peak position.
#50. Glass Moon, “On a Carousel”
Another one that’s as high as it got, and another I learned about from WLAP-FM. This Hollies cover is now one of the few songs to be featured twice here on the blog (it was Song of the Day on the occasion of the August 2017 solar eclipse) but I only recently discovered an actual video for “On a Carousel.” Glass Moon was from Raleigh, NC, and one of the commenters on this clip seems to indicate that some of the footage was shot at a park there (and that the carousel still exists). The production screams early 80s, with obvious superimposition of images (including a scene where the lead singer is made to appear going round-and-round when he’s really just sitting on a jungle gym). Nonetheless, the fashion, the hair style, the people–the feel of the piece–all conjure up for me the sensation of being 18 again, about to strike out and change my world. So I’m sticking it here another time and letting those moments seep back in for a bit.