American Top 40 PastBlast, 10/4/80: Eddie Rabbitt, “Drivin’ My Life Away”

When the late 70s/early 80s country music wave smashed onto the shores of the pop music charts, a few artists benefitted decidedly more than others. For Kenny Rogers and Anne Murray, it was a second go-round of pop chart success. Dolly Parton and Ronnie Milsap were well-established country stars when they began crossing over in 77. Only Eddie Rabbitt was a relative newcomer at the time he started showing up on AT40.

That’s not to say Rabbitt was a youngster. He’d long paid his dues as a songwriter in Nashville—I sure love “Kentucky Rain”—and was getting close to forty when “Every Which Way But Loose” hit #30 in the spring of 79. (In fact, every one mentioned above was in their 30s by 1977. Don Williams and Mickey Gilley were over 40 when they each had their one crossover hit in 1980. It wasn’t a moment for young country stars to break through.) All told, Rabbitt made the Top 40 eight times, four going Top 10. It’s pretty easy to pick three favorites from among them: #3: “Someone Could Lose a Heart Tonight” #2: “Suspicions,” and #1: this week’s #5 tune, “Drivin’ My Life Away.” The driving (pun intended) number was one of several songs I instantly enjoyed when it began getting play toward the beginning of August—you’ll see them all hanging out at the top of my personal 10/4/80 chart later this week.

Rabbitt has been gone now more than twenty years, dying from lung cancer at the now very young-sounding age of 56. 

A couple of notes: 1) If you’re here, you’ve no doubt noticed that I’ve changed the look of the site. In the process of doing so, I finally figured out how to access my WordPress dashboard, so I was able to add some new widgets, give my blogroll some much needed attention, etc. There may still be some tweaks to come, but I’m hoping that I’ve improved things. 2) I’ve also gotten a new domain: If you use the old URL, obviously you’re being forwarded to the new one, but you’re welcome to update if you have this bookmarked! My understanding is that you should no longer be seeing some of the annoying ads that were present before, as well.

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