Songs Casey Never Played, 10/30/82

Lots of nice options here, part of a long stretch of tunage that wound up falling short of getting featured on AT40. Here are six that were in various stages of failure at the end of October 82.

#100. The Motels, “Take the L”
In which we get a spelling lesson from Martha Davis. Was vaguely aware of it at the time; while not as good as other singles of theirs, it’s more than worthy of a listen. In its last week on the Hot 100, down from a peak of #52.

#77. Talk Talk, “Talk Talk”
One of two songs featured today I’m kicking myself over having failed to discover in real time. IMO it crushes about 90% of the songs on this chart. I featured this back in the first six weeks of blogging, but happy to wheel it out again.

Talk Talk couldn’t match Yellow Balloon’s #25 peak with a self-titled song; this got only two spots higher.

#76. Charlene and Stevie Wonder, “Used to Be”
In general, I try to avoid taking the time to write about dreck–life is just too short. I’m making an exception this time, however–this has to be the worst song I’ve blogged in my two-plus years. I’m simply grateful that I managed to avoid it until now.

“I’ve Never Been to Me” is way overdramatic and pretty bad, but I can at least understand it resonating somewhat with the public, even if not as much as it did. Its surprising re-emergence in the spring of 82 after stiffing four-plus years earlier got Charlene a new contract and a duet with Mr. Wonder. It’s terrible. The first stanza goes, “Superman was killed in Dallas/There’s no love left in the palace/Someone took the Beatles’ lead guitar.” These are Kennedy and Lennon assassination references, I guess. It only goes downhill from there. Trust me. Or not. Stunningly, it reached #46.

#69. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, “The Message”
I’ve got to cleanse the palate after that, so we’ll finish with three very fine cuts. First, how about a classic old-school track? “The Message” went Top 10 in several countries, but apparently the folks in the US weren’t ready to hear it yet–it would reach only #62.

#57. Missing Persons, “Destination Unknown”
I don’t know how it took almost ten years for me to really catch on to this most excellent cut–I’d been well aware of “Words” back in the summer when it was receiving attention. Like “Words,” this topped out at #42. I think it’s the song that least deserves to be in this post.

#53. Paul McCartney, “Tug of War”
This was the first Macca single to miss the Top 40, not counting “Seaside Woman,” a #59-peaker in the summer of 77 by Suzy and the Red Stripes–aka Linda McCartney and Wings. It’s stalling out here; fantastic piece, though.

“In a time to come we will be dancing to the beat played on a different drum.” If only.

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