American Top 40 PastBlast, 5/7/83: Duran Duran, “Rio”

Sundry notes and oddities from the chart featured in this past weekend’s 80s rebroadcast:

–This was the second issue of Billboard following the departure of Bill Wardlow as Director of Charts, and changes are already beginning to appear. Gone are the lengthy stays at relatively low peak positions (e.g., six weeks at #8 for “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” six weeks at #17 for “Allentown”); in are drops without even a second week at their apex. Songs on this show that moved up this week but will drop the next are “So Wrong” (#30), “It Might Be You” (#25), “Even Now” (#12), “I Won’t Hold You Back” (#10), and—definitely demonstrating there’s a new boss in town—“Jeopardy” (#2).

–I pointed out on Twitter this past week that the four songs departing from the show had occupied positions #37-40 on 4/30/83. Without doing a lick of research, I’m guessing it’d been a long time, if ever, since that had happened. And it wasn’t like they fell a long way: Billboard had them in spots #41 and #43-45 this time.

–The other notable thing about this show is the seven acts that appear with two songs each. Don’t know how to even begin determining if this is a record, but it feels like it could be. The seven, in order of first appearance on the show: Lionel Richie, Culture Club, Duran Duran, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Styx, Journey, and Michael Jackson. The two Hall & Oates songs appear back-to-back (the Journey tracks have only one song between them). How likely is it that we’d have at least one pair of songs by the same artist appear consecutively in a situation like this? My intuition is more likely than one would first think, at least in the 5-10% range. I’m going to put my day job hat on and get to work on it; I’ll let you know the results.

Three weeks later, only Styx would be represented multiply (though MJ had both #41 and #42).

–This is another AT40 for which I constructed an iPod playlist more than a decade ago. While it’s not quite up there with 1/29/77 or 4/21/84, it might be sitting at #3 in terms of most-played and most-enjoyed.

If I had to pick my ten favorites on the show (I won’t take the time to rank them), I guess I’d go with “Whirly Girl,” “I Couldn’t Say No,” “Welcome to Heartlight,” “Time (Clock of the Heart),” “Rio,” “She Blinded Me with Science,” “Overkill,” “Der Kommissar,” “Come On Eileen,” and “Let’s Dance.” Laura Branigan, Styx (both), and Greg Kihn wouldn’t be too far behind.

I’ve found that Spring 83 is one of my favorite periods of popular music. You can take a look at the whole Hot 100 here and see all the amazing stuff that never sniffed the Top 40.

Next week’s 80s show is yet another good one that I assembled for my own listening back in the day.

I’m sorely tempted to call “Rio” Duran Duran’s single best song. Yes, it’s one more piece of evidence that Simon LeBon can’t carry a tune, but it sure seems the boys are having fun and aren’t taking themselves too seriously. I guess it’s a combination of the driving beat, melody, that bass and sax instrumental interlude three minutes in, and ebullient ending that push it so high for me. It’s #16 on this show, two spots shy of its peak—how was this not a Top 5 tune?

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