Here’s a look at six singles from early-ish 1979 that ran into a serious headwind as they tried to get on AT40. Think I may have known about only one of them in real time, but most are worth giving more than a few spins even today.
#95. Sad Café, “Run Home Girl”
English band with Paul Young (the one who later sang “All I Need Is a Miracle,” not “Come Back and Stay”) on vocals. This is the first of their two Hot 100 appearances, already on the way down from a #71 peak. I’m definitely glad to make its acquaintance–it’s a cool, smooth ride.
#94. Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Stevie Wonder, “Pops We Love You (A Tribute to Father)”
Sometimes mega-star power isn’t nearly enough. Berry Gordy, Sr., father of the founder of Motown Records, passed away in November of 1978. This homage to him is pleasant enough, and no doubt heartfelt, but even arguably the four single most important artists in Motown’s history couldn’t propel it past #59.
A couple of years ago I remember hearing Casey tell a story about this song on an 80s rebroadcast–I have a feeling I’m going to spend too much later today trying to research which one it was…
#89. Parliament, “Aqua Boogie”
This George Clinton joint also has a parenthetic element to its title: “A Pyschoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop.” It was the third of four #1 songs on the R&B chart for the Parliament/Funkadelic mothership. I wasn’t the only one who didn’t quite feel the jam as with “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker,” “Flash Light,” or “One Nation Under a Groove.” This was its peak, and its last week on the chart.
#85. Kate Bush, “The Man with the Child in His Eyes”
Imagine being able to write like this by the time you’re 17. Bush’s first album, The Kick Inside, had been a big hit in England for some time already when “Man” gave her her first appearance on the US charts (“Wuthering Heights” had Bubbled Under for one week the previous November). This astonishingly beautiful song would climb no higher here, though it did go Top 10 in the UK. I wish it hadn’t taken me eight more years to first hear it.
#69. Kim Carnes, “It Hurts So Bad”
Carnes had finally received a taste of success the previous summer when she and Gene Cotton recorded a duet of her song “You’re a Part of Me.” Then, her fourth album St. Vincent’s Court provided her with her first solo charting single. It would reach #56 in short order before falling off. As with “Run Home Girl” above, this is a pretty awesome song I’m sorry for not discovering sooner than 41 years after the fact…
#62. Desmond Child and Rouge, “Our Love Is Insane”
…but I can’t quite say the same for this. Maybe it shouldn’t surprise me, but I do wonder about the dynamics that resulted in Child getting top billing. I guess this track is okay, but the thing that stands out most to me are a couple of good, blart-y bass riffs. It would reach only #51, but please don’t cry for Child; songwriting nirvana would be on its way for him soon enough.