Songs Casey Never Played, 6/18/83

Back today with songs from the 6/18/83 chart that couldn’t crack the Top 40. I’m finding 83 to be a total treasure trove of minor hits, maybe the single best year for this sort of post–I could have picked several others today. Saving them for another day!

#104: Roxy Music, “More Than This”
We kick things off with two simply amazing songs that somehow couldn’t escape the Bubbling Under section of the chart. I first wrote a little on “More Than This” almost three years ago, as part of my original FB series about a couple of mix tapes I’d recorded in 85. I’m willing to believe Ferry and company never did anything more fine than this. It’s in its final week on, having reached #102 on the previous chart.


#103: Marshall Crenshaw, “Whenever You’re on My Mind”
Probably my favorite of Crenshaw’s outside of “Someday, Someway” and maybe “Cynical Girl.” I saw this video on MTV a few times way back when; while Marshall is not displaying acting chops at all here, I still find the clip charming.  Field Day is a good album, though I’d rate it below Downtown, and well below Marshall Crenshaw.

It almost defies belief that this was the only week “Whenever You’re on My Mind” received pop chart love; somewhere I’d gotten it in my head that it had at least crawled into the 70s. I can’t find five songs out of the 110 listed here better than it, and there are a lot of really good tunes hanging around.


#83: Goanna, “Solid Rock”
I first heard “Solid Rock” about a decade ago when I bought Cool World, an awesome double-CD collection of Australian singles released between 76 and 86. It’s wicked good; I’d like to think I’d have been a big fan had I heard it in 83. It’s a precursor of sorts to Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning,” examining the arrival of the British from the perspective of the Aboriginal people. Reached #71.


#81: Thomas Dolby, “Europa and the Pirate Twins”
“She Blinded Me with Science” was a big, big favorite of mine in the spring of 83. I wasn’t alone in my dorm–there was a guy down the hall who blasted the extended version from his room well more than once. Dolby’s follow-up from The Golden Age of Wireless debuts on the Hot 100 this week, but the magic wasn’t there a second time, as it climbed only to #67. It’s a fine track, but I honestly don’t hear a big hit single.


#74: Sheriff, “When I’m with You”
Psych! Maybe I should have called this post “Songs Casey Never Played On AT40?” “When I’m with You” was on the front wave of singles that got re-released in the late 80s, and was among the first #1 songs of 89. By that time, Casey’s Top 40 had launched. Back in 83, though, this was already coming off its peak of #61. I don’t think I heard it then, but it’s not really my cup of tea, anyway.

Sheriff was long a thing of the past when this re-charted; Freddy Curci, the vocalist, and another former Sheriff soon were part of Alias, who scored a #2 hit in late 90 with “More Than Words Can Say”–I’m pleased to report I don’t remember that one at all.


#68: Thompson Twins, “Love on Your Side”
This got on the automated playlist of WLAP-FM for a couple of cycles right at the end of the school year. I don’t think it’s as good as “Lies,” so it’s not surprising to me it had already topped out at #45. Much bigger things were about to happen to Tom Bailey, Alannah Currie, and Joe Leeway.


#49: Sparks and Jane Wiedlin, “Cool Places”
The Mael Brothers had already been recording together for fifteen years at this point (and they still seem to be active, now both over 70). They had some commercial success after moving to Britain early on, but couldn’t do better than critical acclaim stateside (pretty sure I read about them from time to time in Stereo Review in the late 70s). The closest they got to tasting the Top 40 was this collaboration with Wiedlin. This is as high as it got.


#43: George Benson, “Inside Love (So Personal)”
Another one that got played for just a while on WLAP-FM; I sure recall that distinctive opening vocal/flute combo. Not sure I’d heard it since, I’m ashamed to say. I didn’t expect this to pull up short–it stalled here–I just assumed new Benson was still an automatic big hit. It was in some ways the beginning of the end, though: “Lady Love Me,” the second release from In Your Eyes, was his last time in the Top 40. (This is the second time Benson has been featured in SCNP this year.)



Songs Casey Never Played, 6/17/78

Over the next couple of days we’re checking in on some tunes that ultimately fell short of making American Top 40 on the charts at the times of this past weekend’s countdowns. First up, let’s take a deeper dive on 6/17/78.

#101: Linda Clifford, “Runaway Love”
A couple of the songs featured aren’t ones that I knew much about before getting ready to assemble this post. Bubbling Under at #101 for the third week in a row is one of them, a sweet, silky jam from R&B singer Linda Clifford. She was more than a bit unlucky, as the two biggest of her four Hot 100 hits both peaked at #41 (one was a disco-fied version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”). “Runaway Love” eventually made it to #76. However, Clifford did get played on AT40 once: her #54 cover of “If My Friends Could See Me Now” was a Long Distance Dedication on the 9/22/79 show. She turned 71 just last week.


#97: Samantha Sang, “You Keep Me Dancing”
Samantha’s U.S. chart magic ran dry as soon as Barry Gibb walked out of the studio. This follow-up to “Emotion” is in its last week on the chart, down from a #56 peak. I definitely heard it on the radio in 78; the 70s on 7 would do well to swap it in 10% of the time they want to play her big hit.  It’s not bad at all.


#89: REO Speedwagon, “Roll with the Changes”
You gotta wonder what kind of chart noise this and “Time for Me to Fly” would have made had they been originally released after Hi Infidelity. Might be the most rockin’ thing REO ever did, and certainly a certified member of the Great-AOR-Songs-of-the-Late 70s/Early 80s Club. Absolutely one of my fave pieces of theirs, it had topped out at #58 the week before.


#86: Andrew Gold, “Never Let Her Slip Away”
The follow-up to “Thank You for Being a Friend” is debuting this week. Reached only #67. I don’t know that I was previously familiar with this one, but it’s a real charmer. Rumor has it that J. D. Souther and Timothy B. Schmitt are doing backup.


#85: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “I Need to Know”
This one’s also in its first week on the chart. “Breakdown” had noodled its way to a one-week stop at #40 back in February; “I Need to Know” peaked one spot shy of that in the first week of August. Deserved a much better fate.


#74: Kansas, “Portrait (He Knew)”
Yet another follow-up to a hit single from a couple of months earlier. This prog tune received a little airplay in Cincinnati; only climbed ten spots higher than what we see here. TIL it was written about Einstein.


#47: Plastic Bertrand, “Ça plane pour moi”
Plastic Bertrand was the stage name for Roger Jouret, who hailed from Belgium. Wikipedia tells me, however, that Jouret is not actually the vocalist on “Ça plane pour moi” –instead, we’re hearing another Belgian, Lou Deprijck, the writer of this flatly-delivered marvel with a dash of “Fun, Fun, Fun” tossed in. Regardless, it’s another one of those songs I’d have loved to have announced by Casey, even for just one week (certainly I’d pick it over K.C. and the Sunshine Band’s tepid cover of “It’s the Same Old Song”). Alas, this was as high as it climbed.


Come back tomorrow if you so desire for some additional low-peaking fun from 83.

Songs Casey Never Played, 4/17/82

What wasn’t Casey playing six-plus weeks out from my HS graduation? Here are a half-dozen songs on the 4/17/82 Hot 100 that fell short of AT40 glory:

#87. Shooting Star, “Hollywood”
One of the central songs on my soundtrack from the summer of 81 is the Kansas City band Shooting Star’s “Last Chance.” I was listening to WEBN, the AOR station in Cincy, a-plenty then, and it seems like they played it at quarter-past the hour every four hours throughout July and August. It’s somewhat ostentatious, but I still love it; it was one of my earlier purchases on iTunes.

For some reason I heard the title song of their followup album Hang on to Your Life more than the single “Hollywood” the following year, but “Hollywood” is much better, close to as good as “Last Chance.” It’s on its way down after peaking at #70. Props to the UnCola for playing it on his show about a month ago. It reminded me how much I like it.


#80. Police, “Secret Journey”
The secondary tracks from Ghost in the Machine were making their appearances on the radio by this time. WEBN was featuring the mighty fine “Invisible Sun,” while “Secret Journey” was released as a US single and made WLAP-FM’s automated playlist. I can see why “Secret Journey” didn’t climb higher than #46, but it’s got quite the striking intro.


#63. Gordon Lightfoot, “Baby Step Back”
Here’s Lightfoot’s last trip to the Hot 100. It’d been four years since he’d hit #33 with the awesome “The Circle Is Small,” but he still had one more go at the pop charts in him. Alas, “Baby Step Back” would fall ten spots shy of getting on AT40. It has a decent amount of another favorite, “Sundown,” in it. You know, it’s never the wrong day to play some Gordon.


#62. O’Bryan, “The Gigolo”
I strongly suspect “The Gigolo” got played at my senior prom. I do know for certain that, at the time, some of the folks at my high school were digging on this funky thing by 20-year-old O’Bryan Burnette II. He wound up with several hits, including a couple of Top 10s, on the R&B chart (one of which was “The Gigolo”), but he never cracked the crossover code to the pop scene. This got to #57 and was the only time he made the Hot 100.


#53. Sugar Hill Gang, “Apache”
In terms of funk & rap, “Apache” was much more my scene in 82 than “The Gigolo.” This second-most well-known song from the Sugar Hill Gang is all kinds of problematic in a variety of ways, yet hearing it still brings back fond memories of hanging out with a couple of high school friends.  During my first year in college, there was a guy somewhere in the dorm who liked to blast it on the weekends, too. This was its peak position.


#50. Glass Moon, “On a Carousel”
Another one that’s as high as it got, and another I learned about from WLAP-FM. This Hollies cover is now one of the few songs to be featured twice here on the blog (it was Song of the Day on the occasion of the August 2017 solar eclipse) but I only recently discovered an actual video for “On a Carousel.” Glass Moon was from Raleigh, NC, and one of the commenters on this clip seems to indicate that some of the footage was shot at a park there (and that the carousel still exists). The production screams early 80s, with obvious superimposition of images (including a scene where the lead singer is made to appear going round-and-round when he’s really just sitting on a jungle gym). Nonetheless, the fashion, the hair style, the people–the feel of the piece–all conjure up for me the sensation of being 18 again, about to strike out and change my world. So I’m sticking it here another time and letting those moments seep back in for a bit.

Songs Casey Never Played, 2/9/85

Let’s look at five songs that didn’t make it to at least #40 (and also weren’t much longer for the Hot 100) from the week of the recently played 85 countdown. Shaking things up today by starting with the smaller numbers and moving toward #100. I know how to live it up!

#62: Kinks, “Do It Again”
We’ve got two cuts from LPs that James had bought around this time. Word of Mouth got into heavy rotation in our dorm room for several weeks; it’s got a few nice tracks, particularly “Living on a Thin Line.”

“Do It Again” is one of the all-time great #41 songs, and the video contains a number of striking images: the cleaning women dancing in the dark while waiting for the Tube, Davies-as-Harlequin banging the drum, Davies-as-one-man-band encountering his greasy alter ego from “Come Dancing.” I could still listen to it several times a day.

#70: George Benson, “20/20”
Benson’s last trip to the pop charts. This is heading down after climbing as high as #48. Not sure how much I heard it at the time, but it’s pretty sweet–might even be MFD-approved! Cute video, too, but I just realized: those charming kids are now in their 40s; I wonder if either wound up with some sort of show biz career.

#82: Deep Purple, “Knocking at Your Back Door”
The lineup that gave the world “Smoke on the Water” reassembled in 84, eight years after Deep Purple had disintegrated (though a couple of them had left/been fired three years before that) and found fans still interested in what they had to offer. Perfect Strangers was another of James’s purchases and he was known to fire it up on occasion. I find the lyrics to its best-known song more than a trifle silly, but it’s not a terrible jam. “Knocking at Your Back Door” was fresh off a #61 peak. I heard it a bunch on Double Q.

#89: Bruce Cockburn, “If I Had a Rocket Launcher”
This would spend only three weeks on the chart and climbed just one position higher. Another one that got played a decent amount on WKQQ during that winter of 85. It’s a moving, heartfelt piece–I wasn’t mature enough at the time to pay close enough attention and recognize what Cockburn was (justifiably) angry about.

In a bit of a coincidence, HERC mentioned this song in a Mixtape Monday post just yesterday (I’d already planned to include it here–honest!).

#95: Tommy Shaw, “Lonely School”
The follow-up to “Girls with Guns” only made it to #60 and is about to fall off. I believe this is also one of HERC’s favorites!

I know I heard “Lonely School” some around this time, but I wound up much more familiar with “Remo’s Theme (What If)” from later in the year–that catchy thing should have been a big hit.



Songs Casey Never Played, 1/10/81

Digging around the lower regions of the 1/10/81 Hot 100 (and below) yields some nuggets worth revisiting.

#106: Robert Palmer, “Looking for Clues”
Looking at the Bubbling Under section, I see this gem from Bobby P (as John and I referred to him during his late 80s heyday). He’d had two Top 40 hits to this point, but his efforts at new wave went largely unappreciated in the U.S. (“Johnny and Mary” is another fabulous song from Clues.) This spent eight weeks in Hot 100 purgatory, peaking at #105; this is the next-to last of those.

It’s a bit unsettling to notice that I’ve now lived longer than Palmer did. This Saturday will be the 70th anniversary of his birth.


#72: Dire Straits, “Skateaway”
I’m double-dipping here, as I’ve touched on this song before, but here’s something else that it brings to mind. When I was growing up, there was a drive-in theater alongside I-75 in Fort Wright, KY, just up the hill from Cincinnati.  The screen faced out toward the interstate, and many was the time we’d be driving back from a Reds game at night and catch twenty seconds of whatever was currently playing (I went to watch movies there a few times after I started driving, too). Next to the drive-in was an ice rink. I skated there just once, on a Saturday in early 81, with my church youth group. I’m kinda thinking they played “Skateaway” (even if it’s a roller-skating song) over the PA that afternoon; at the very least, it was in my head from hearing it on the radio at the time.  It reached #58 soon after this.


#70: David Bowie, “Fashion”
Bowie flew under my radar between “Golden Years” and “Under Pressure.” It was probably in my mid-80s MTV-watching days that I became aware of some of his important work from between those hits. I’d rate “Ashes To Ashes,” also from Scary Monsters, somewhat higher than this one, but this is still good stuff. It’s at its peak position.


#57: Earth, Wind and Fire, “You”
Here’s a song that had completely dropped from my memory until about a year ago, when I started looking at the Harris Top 50 charts again in earnest. “You” first appears on Valentine’s Day weekend and stays five weeks, reaching #32. What’s kinda odd is that’s right when it’s falling off the Hot 100, after a twelve-week stay.  And I can’t even remember which Cincy radio station might have been playing it. Weird. It’s a nice ballad, one that deserved a better fate than its #48 peak, which had occurred on the previous chart.


#51: Rockpile, “Teacher Teacher”
Pretty sure the name Rockpile reached my ears at some point in the early 80s, and I might have even been known that Dave Edmunds was a part of it (not so sure that’s true about Nick Lowe’s involvement, though). Regardless, this fine slice of pop slipped by me back in the day. This is as high as it got.


#47: Teddy Pendergrass, “Love T.K.O.”
Pendergrass hit the Top 40 only once as a solo artist after leaving Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, with “Close the Door” in the summer of 78  (he did score two weeks at #40 later in 81 on a duet with Stephanie Mills). It’s a little hard to believe this didn’t get any higher than #44. On the other hand, it’s another one that I’m not quite sure how I came to know.


#44: Queen, “Need Your Loving Tonight”
The pattern of chart performance of the singles from The Game was a bit strange: first and third releases were monster #1 hits, while the second and fourth both fell just short of the 40: “Play the Game” reached #42 in between “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Another One Bites the Dust,” while this one is stalling out right here. It’s possible that “Need Your Loving Tonight” got undercut by the release of Queen’s single of the theme from Flash Gordon. I definitely remember hearing this on the radio at the time, but it feels like it’s taken all of the thirty-eight years since to encounter it again.


There are a couple other songs that would have been appropriate to include here which will instead get some love in the next Charts post.

Songs Casey Never Played, 10/27/79

I really enjoyed this past weekend’s 79 show–there were so many songs among the first two dozen played I still absolutely love. When I took a look at the rest of the 10/27/79 Hot 100, though, I noted several gems that didn’t quite gain enough momentum to make AT40.  Why don’t we take a look at six of them?

#80: Neil Young and Crazy Horse, “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)”

Not to be confused with “My My, Hey Hey (Into the Blue),” which I seem to hear much more on the radio these days. Casey didn’t play Young again after “Old Man” hit in the late spring of 72. This is in the middle of a five-week run on the charts and would climb just one position higher.


#62: Cars, “It’s All I Can Do”

One of three, count ’em, three songs by the Cars to stall out at #41–there’s just no justice sometimes. All are great (the others are “Good Times Roll” and “Since You’re Gone”), but this one is the best of them. Earlier this year, jb went back and ranked the tracks on Candy-O.  “It’s All I Can Do” came in at #2, which is where I’d put it, too (I’m definitely on board with his top 3).


#60: Steve Dahl, “Do You Think I’m Disco”

Okay, this is not a gem; in fact, I’d never heard it until I started researching this post. I know about Dahl and some of his antics from my grad school roommate John, who grew up listening to Steve and Garry on WLUP in Chicago. Dahl gained broad notoriety when he organized Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Field in July 79. I’m assuming that exposure led to “Do You Think I’m Disco” hitting the national charts for seven weeks in the fall. I’m already on the record that the song being lampooned is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I confess that I’m finding this parody pretty funny.  It no doubt helps that I’m pretty much the right age to appreciate it fully. It had peaked at #58 the previous week.

Oh, and is it just me, or did Dahl nail Valspeak three years ahead of its time?


#56: Records, “Starry Eyes”

Power pop classic from Britain. Greg turned me on to this one when we roomed together my last year at Illinois. I missed out on so much great stuff coming out of the UK back then; I guess/hope I’ve caught up a little bit.  “Starry Eyes” is at its peak position.

I learned through the comments in this video that John Wicks, the leader/singer of the Records, died at age 65 earlier this month.


#54: Sports, “Who Listens to the Radio”

Another amazing power pop tune, this time from Australia. More than a little Elvis Costello and Van Morrison influence going on here. This video takes film from a pretty cool demo version of “Who Listens to the Radio” (found here) and lays the final studio take over the visuals. It reached #45; if only it’d gotten five slots higher, just for one week…


#46: Who, “5:15”

Quadrophenia was originally released in 73, but a film of the same name, based on Townshend’s work, came out in 79, leading to a renewed interest in the album. “5:15” would also get to #45. It’s one of many classic tracks on the double LP; I’d probably pick “Love, Reign O’er Me” as my favorite.

Songs Casey Never Played, 7/25/87

Time to play a little catch-up from a couple of weekends ago.

This is pretty far along in time for me to be playing this game, but summer 87 had a number of pop hits that I fancied. Here are five songs I heard/saw then that didn’t make AT40.

#90: Whitesnake, “Heat of the Night”

Okay, well, this is NOT a song I particularly fancied. Plays pretty much like third-rate Zeppelin, mainly because of Coverdale trying to do the Plant thing (though I actually don’t mind one of the versions of “Here I Go Again”). The first of their videos to feature Tawny Kitaen. On the way down from a #79 peak.

#83: Jon Astley, “Jane’s Getting Serious”

On the other hand, I rather liked this quirky thing from British producer Astley (who’s no relation to the Rickroller). Actually have the 45 for this (that’s true of a couple other songs appearing here—maybe one of my last spasms of single-buying of hits in real time).  Made it as high as #77.

#73: Kim Wilde, “Say You Really Want Me”

“Kids in America” is one of my very favorite 80s songs, though I didn’t include it in my semi-official “Top 10 80s Tunes” list a couple of years ago. That might have been an error.  This one followed Wilde’s #1 remake of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” which turned out to be her second and final US Top 40 hit. I mainly remember this one because of everyone watching Kim stroll down the street at the beginning of the video. Peaked at #44.

#71: Tom Kimmel, “That’s Freedom”

Earlier in the year, I’d written a couple of letters to a college friend about “Don’t Dream It’s Over” and “Luka,” accurately predicting chart success for both well before it happened.  I went to that well once too often, though, as I’d tried to make it three in a row with this heartland rocker. It’s coming off a high of #64, but I still think it’s pretty good.

#58: John Waite, “These Times Are Hard for Lovers”

It’s a true mystery to me why this didn’t get considerably higher on the Hot 100.  It totally rocks and is clearly (to me, anyway) the best thing he did after “Missing You,” (especially) including the Bad English stuff. Got only as high as #53.