American Top 40 PastBlast, 9/19/81: Silver Condor, “You Could Take My Heart Away”

Lots of folks in the music blogosphere are writing awesome stuff about the lives and work of Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek, who both passed away this past weekend (Money on Saturday at age 70, Ocasek on Sunday at age 75). I expect I’ll chime in a bit about them later in the week (for one thing, Money will be appearing on this coming weekend’s 80s show), but in the meantime, more regular programming…

When WTLX began broadcasting in March of 83, toward the end of my first year at college, the other jocks and I finally got our chance to comb through the station’s vinyl collection. There was a whole closetful of LPs, though there weren’t all that many I wanted to pull out and slap on the turntable too often (part of that was limited knowledge on my part–Warren uncovered a number of small treasures when he arrived the following fall). Selection might have been even sparser on the 45 side of things. I have no idea what kind of budget there was for acquisitions, but my recollection is we had maybe a dozen or so current-ish singles, along with a couple of small stacks from a year or three before. (I imagine I had brought my own 45s to campus by this point to supplement.)

Who knows why I remember what I do, but there were two now-obscure singles from the first quarter of the 9/19/81 show in the WTLX collection: Elton John’s “Chloe” and Silver Condor’s “You Could Take My Heart Away.” They’re both peaking and in their last week on the countdown (#34 and #32, respectively). I’d liked them at the time of their modest hit-dom (the Silver Condor was a particular fave) and probably hadn’t heard either in the almost eighteen months between this show and my discovery of them at the station. Needless to say, they both got play from me that spring.

The two best-known participants on “You Could Take My Heart Away” were vocalist Joe Cerisano and guitarist Earl Slick .  The self-titled debut album didn’t do all that well, and a follow-up album by Cerisano and a whole new crew did even worse. Digging around this morning, I found Cerisano’s website, complete with bio. Maybe you already know this, but here are three nuggets about Joe and his career:
–he grew up in West Virginia but cut his musical teeth in New Jersey with a group called the R-Band, whose lineup included future Bon Jovi drummer Tico Torres;
–he is the vocalist on “Hands Across America,” the #65-peaking theme song for the May 86 event of the same name;
–he also contributed vox to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s second album and toured with them for a few years at the beginning of this century.

I listened to Silver Condor earlier today. Cerisano laments on his website that there were better choices to release as singles (“You Could Take My Breath Away” is the only song on the album he didn’t have a hand in writing). I don’t currently agree, though maybe subsequent listens will change my mind. It’s not a bad disk–it feels very much of the mid-81 album rock scene–but I’d score one up for the suits this time.


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