Today it’s a few AC and AOR nuggets that were living on the Hot 100 as 1981 became 1982. Alas, they all fell short of making AT40, to varying degrees.
#92. The Kinks, “Better Things”
Second single from Give the People What They Want; it didn’t fare any better than “Destroyer,” which peaked at #85 in November. “Better Things” spent eight weeks on the chart (including the frozen 1/2/82), managing to climb all the way from #98 to this spot over that span. James bought the album during our college years, and I know many of the songs on it, but this one–the closer– slipped by me then.
#88. Rush, “Closer to the Heart”
Rush went through four cycles of four-studio-LPs-then-a-massive-live-album between 1974 and 1996. Exit…Stage Left came at the end of the second of those, between Moving Pictures and Signals. The studio version of “Closer to the Heart” was their first time on the singles charts, making #76 at the very end of 1977. The live take from E…SL fared a tiny bit better; it’s coming down from a #69 high. It’s plenty true to the original–I don’t mind it at all.
#67. John Hall Band, “Crazy (Keep on Falling)”
Hall was a founder of Orleans, but bailed after their first two hits for what turned out to be a marginally successful solo career. His new band made the charts twice, and this one came mighty close to the promised land, reaching #42 (he went back to Orleans in the mid-80s). Hall was elected to the U.S. House from New York in the Democratic wave of 2007, but was swept back out four years later.
#65. Steve Carlisle, “WKRP in Cincinnati”
Is it possible to have charted in the 1980s and still have virtually no internet evidence of your musical existence? Steve Carlisle is attempting to answer this question in the affirmative. Can’t find any biographical data on Allmusic, though Discogs does have a track listing for one LP. I see a couple of promo singles available via Amazon, too. He appears to have run with the Jerry Buckner/Gary Garcia crowd, even singing backup on “Pac Man Fever.”
On the other hand, we all remember his voice. Even though WKRP in Cincinnati debuted in 1978, its opening theme didn’t chart until now. This is as high as it would climb.
#63. The Carpenters, “Those Good Old Dreams”
Karen and Richard’s Top 40 career turns out to have ended the previous summer with “Touch Me When We’re Dancing,” though they tried three more times to get another hit from Made in America. “Those Good Old Dreams” was the third single released; it got stuck in this spot. I don’t remember hearing it back in high school, but it’s a delight (and the family pix in the video are neat).
#53. Henry Paul Band, “Keeping Our Love Alive”
Henry Paul, like John Hall, had left a band whose name was filed under ‘O’ in record stores and who had their first hit in 1975 (the Outlaws). “Keeping Our Love Alive” was the HPB’s only trip to the Hot 100–it topped out at the halfway point–but they Bubbled Under three other times. Paul also eventually returned to his former bandmates. I must have been starting to tune in more regularly to WLAP-FM in Lexington around this time–I know I heard this a few times as part of their automated playlist.