Back today with songs from the 6/18/83 chart that couldn’t crack the Top 40. I’m finding 83 to be a total treasure trove of minor hits, maybe the single best year for this sort of post–I could have picked several others today. Saving them for another day!
#104: Roxy Music, “More Than This”
We kick things off with two simply amazing songs that somehow couldn’t escape the Bubbling Under section of the chart. I first wrote a little on “More Than This” almost three years ago, as part of my original FB series about a couple of mix tapes I’d recorded in 85. I’m willing to believe Ferry and company never did anything more fine than this. It’s in its final week on, having reached #102 on the previous chart.
#103: Marshall Crenshaw, “Whenever You’re on My Mind”
Probably my favorite of Crenshaw’s outside of “Someday, Someway” and maybe “Cynical Girl.” I saw this video on MTV a few times way back when; while Marshall is not displaying acting chops at all here, I still find the clip charming. Field Day is a good album, though I’d rate it below Downtown, and well below Marshall Crenshaw.
It almost defies belief that this was the only week “Whenever You’re on My Mind” received pop chart love; somewhere I’d gotten it in my head that it had at least crawled into the 70s. I can’t find five songs out of the 110 listed here better than it, and there are a lot of really good tunes hanging around.
#83: Goanna, “Solid Rock”
I first heard “Solid Rock” about a decade ago when I bought Cool World, an awesome double-CD collection of Australian singles released between 76 and 86. It’s wicked good; I’d like to think I’d have been a big fan had I heard it in 83. It’s a precursor of sorts to Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning,” examining the arrival of the British from the perspective of the Aboriginal people. Reached #71.
#81: Thomas Dolby, “Europa and the Pirate Twins”
“She Blinded Me with Science” was a big, big favorite of mine in the spring of 83. I wasn’t alone in my dorm–there was a guy down the hall who blasted the extended version from his room well more than once. Dolby’s follow-up from The Golden Age of Wireless debuts on the Hot 100 this week, but the magic wasn’t there a second time, as it climbed only to #67. It’s a fine track, but I honestly don’t hear a big hit single.
#74: Sheriff, “When I’m with You”
Psych! Maybe I should have called this post “Songs Casey Never Played On AT40?” “When I’m with You” was on the front wave of singles that got re-released in the late 80s, and was among the first #1 songs of 89. By that time, Casey’s Top 40 had launched. Back in 83, though, this was already coming off its peak of #61. I don’t think I heard it then, but it’s not really my cup of tea, anyway.
Sheriff was long a thing of the past when this re-charted; Freddy Curci, the vocalist, and another former Sheriff soon were part of Alias, who scored a #2 hit in late 90 with “More Than Words Can Say”–I’m pleased to report I don’t remember that one at all.
#68: Thompson Twins, “Love on Your Side”
This got on the automated playlist of WLAP-FM for a couple of cycles right at the end of the school year. I don’t think it’s as good as “Lies,” so it’s not surprising to me it had already topped out at #45. Much bigger things were about to happen to Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie, and Joe Leeway.
#49: Sparks and Jane Wiedlin, “Cool Places”
The Mael Brothers had already been recording together for fifteen years at this point (and they still seem to be active, now both over 70). They had some commercial success after moving to Britain early on, but couldn’t do better than critical acclaim stateside (pretty sure I read about them from time to time in Stereo Review in the late 70s). The closest they got to tasting the Top 40 was this collaboration with Wiedlin. This is as high as it got.
#43: George Benson, “Inside Love (So Personal)”
Another one that got played for just a while on WLAP-FM; I sure recall that distinctive opening vocal/flute combo. Not sure I’d heard it since, I’m ashamed to say. I didn’t expect this to pull up short–it stalled here–I just assumed new Benson was still an automatic big hit. It was in some ways the beginning of the end, though: “Lady Love Me,” the second release from In Your Eyes, was his last time in the Top 40. (This is the second time Benson has been featured in SCNP this year.)