American Top 40 PastBlast, 10/20/79: Ian Gomm, “Hold On”

A few observations from the weekend in music 41 years ago:

–Several songs from this period had incredible helium. The previous week, “Heartache Tonight” jumped from #52 to #15. On this show, “Tusk” and “Still” made enormous advances (40-15 and 38-10, respectively). Over the next two weeks, “Babe” would go 26-14-7, and “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” would hopscotch 59-33-10. On the 11/3 chart, these five made up half of the top 10, all getting there by no later than their third week in the 40. I don’t think I encountered this sort of mass forward movement any other time while I was watching closely.

(A quick trip to the odd coincidence department: Premiere’s 80s show this weekend is 10/17/81. The Commodores have two songs on both countdowns, and just as with “Still,” they have the biggest mover within the show–“Oh No”–on the 81 countdown. Additionally, no matter which one you listen to, Barry Manilow debuts, and Foreigner and the Little River Band go back-to-back.)

–A few weeks ago, we heard “Fallin’ in Love,” by the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, on the 9/21/74 show. Five years later, those three made separate appearances on AT40. Chris Hillman had gotten back together with fellow former Byrds Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark and hit #33 with “Don’t Write Her Off” back in May. Richie Furay would have a solo hit in the #39-peaking “I Still Have Dreams” in December. And J. D. Souther is making his mark this week, as the future top 10 song “You’re Only Lonely” bows in at #37.

–More temporal shenanigans: Pop music lovers of a certain age may recall that Genesis and former lead vocalist Peter Gabriel hit #1 in consecutive weeks in the summer of 1986. A not nearly-so-notable confluence of a similar type is happening on this show. Nick Lowe and Ian Gomm were mates in the British pub band Brinsley Schwarz in the early 70s, and they each managed to have their one and only hit on the American charts virtually simultaneously. Lowe’s “Cruel to Be Kind” is just about to drop off after peaking at #12. Gomm, in his third week with “Hold On,” seems to be advancing nicely, having gone 34-26-20 so far. I recall being a little surprised back then at how quickly things fell apart; the next two weeks “Hold On” was at #18, and then it dropped off to #65, gone from the Hot 100 after one more week. It’s no classic, but it deserved a somewhat better fate. The crisp production and that gorgeous sax work keep it sounding fresh even today.

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