Disco, alas, had been in retreat for several months by this time, with me nearing the end of my sophomore year in HS and in possession of a driver’s license for about a month. With softer rock largely ascending to take its place, perhaps it’s not too surprising there were several rockers that had the AT40 door slammed in their faces. Let’s take a quick tour through six of them.
96. The Cretones, “Real Love”
The first half of 1980 was this L.A. band’s moment in the sun, such as it was. Debut LP Thin Red Line came out, including their only charting single (it would soon reach #79), and Linda Ronstadt covered three of their songs on Mad Love. It’s feeling like I need to give this album a solid listen or two. Leader Mark Goldenberg went on to write or co-write 80s hits “Automatic,” “Along Comes a Woman,” and “Soul Kiss.”
83. The Knack, “Can’t Put a Price on Love”
Top 40 days for Doug Feiger and the boys had ended two months earlier, when “Baby Talks Dirty” stalled out at #38. This bluesy number from ...But the Little Girls Understand was a reasonable enough choice for second single, but we were already moving on. “Can’t Put a Price on Love” had already fallen from a #62 peak.
76. The Babys, “Midnight Rendezvous”
If “Midnight Rendezvous” had a bridge and a third verse, it might have been the Babys’ second-best song, behind only “Isn’t It Time.” As it is, I kinda get how it didn’t climb above #72.
74. The Little River Band, “It’s Not a Wonder”
I honestly can’t tell you why I know this song as well as I do–I’m certain I heard it more often in record stores (twice at most?) than I did on the radio. That chorus, that guitar lick toward the end, though…they just lodged in my brain instantly. This live version of a song originally on First Under the Wire would soon top out at #51.
61. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Here Comes My Girl”
I have nothing new to write about “Here Comes My Girl” that hasn’t already been put in print or pixels. Just a damn fine song that unjustifiably peaked only two spots higher; I suppose most folks who would have purchased a 45 already had the LP.
48. Red Rider, “White Hot”
Not sure how “White Hot” escaped my notice back then–“Lunatic Fringe” sure didn’t 18 months later. I guess this was a little before I veered more toward the AOR side of the dial. Pretty sure I could have identified the year it came out just by listening–sounds very much of its time. It wouldn’t climb any higher than this.