Ranking #18 singles, U.S. edition: 1979-1983

The morning I listened to Tierra’s “Together” I learned their leader Rudy Salas died a couple days ago. In a spirit of generosity, I played it three times, unmovable: a not bad tune at best, a mélange of R&B and variety show A/C in which the late ’70s pop scene specialized.

Two years late for the new wave robot party, Rick Springfield released “Human Touch,” another MTV staple gone from the airwaves. Every time I get to the section where Rick cedes the power chord riffage to the clinkety-clank of the synthesizers and drum machines he bought at the Gary Numan rummage sale I grin like an idiot. Sheena Easton’s producer added circuitry to another #18, “Modern Girl,” in which Easton recasts Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Another Day” for the Tootsie era.

A big hand for the finalists, an array of love songs for every occasion. All I can write about “The Look of Love” is its inspiring my first public karaoke performance (sober!). Supermarket standard “Breaking Us in Two” deploys the never-fails George Harrison slide guitar melody from Badfinger’s “Day After Day” with a pro’s ruthlessness. Jermaine’s teaming up with jocko homos Devo produced cybersoul with more heat than “Human Touch.” And Daryl Hall created a tune and gave a performance worthy of his forebears in “Wait for Me,” one of the chart runts from their interzone period.

Finally, The Hague candidates take their cue from Mr. Eric Clapton. He may have a rock ‘n’ roll heart, but he has lead in his veins.

The Hague

The Who – You Better You Bet
Nigel Olsson – Dancin’ Shoes
Fred Knoblock – Why Not Me
Chuck Mangione – Give It All You Got
Eric Clapton – I’ve Got a Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart
The Korgis – Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime


Dan Fogelberg – Run for the Roses
Isaac Hayes – Don’t Let Go
Maureen McGovern – Different Worlds
Eagles – Please Come Home for Christmas
Tierra – Together
LeRoux – Nobody Said It Was Easy
Alabama – Take Me Down
The Blues Brothers – Gimme Some Lovin’
Meco – Empire Strikes Back (Medley)
George Benson – Love Ballad
Beach Boys – Come and Go With Me

Sound, Solid

Ian Gomm – Hold On
Rick Springfield – Human Touch
Crosby, Stills and Nash – Southern Cross
Night – Hot Summer Nights
Sheena Easton – Modern Girl
Lulu – I Could Never Miss You More Than I Do

Good to Great

ABC – The Look of Love (Pt. 1)
Joe Jackson – Breaking Us in Two
Daryl Hall and John Oates – Wait for Me
Pat Benatar – Treat Me Right
Jermaine Jackson – Let Me Tickle Your Fancy

One thought on “Ranking #18 singles, U.S. edition: 1979-1983

  1. My fav. Benatar performance and song because she’s so under-produced in every sense (she even sings un-operatic there, which I love) It feels right. Short, terrific guitar part, no frills, just BONE.
    Love the live version of “Wait for Me”; so ebullient. Of Jackson you have just said; about the top song here nothing to add. Fry’s masterpice and in my top ten of both dance records and sophisti-pop records of the 80s. Lexicon of Love is a classic.

    I wonder what you think of Beck’s re-version of that song in the Hague. The only time it caught my attention. It felt so perfect for “Eternal Sunshine”‘s melancholy tone. And I don’t even like Kaufman. Or pehaps, it just fit the film.

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