If someone mentions yacht rock, undoubtedly one of the first people to come to mind for lovers of that subgenre would be Christopher Cross. I would argue that it was in 1980, when his debut album hit the top 10, that yacht rock hit its peak. And why not? Not everyone had signed on to the waning disco fad, and certainly not everyone was listening to new wave music. Yacht rock filled a void, and Christopher Cross was there to help fill it.
Yet now, almost four decades later, while other music from that time still gets radio airplay, Mr. Cross’s music has seemingly disappeared. When, for example, was the last time you heard his #1 AC hit “Never Be the Same”?
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Like many groups in the early 90s, Boy Krazy came and went rather quickly. A girl group in which all the members shared lead vocal duties, Boy Krazy had one big hit. Unfortunately, that big hit didn’t chart until well over a year after its release, and by that time, one of the members of the band was already gone. But such was the story of “That’s What Love Can Do”.
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A lot of family groups have hit the charts over the years. You can undoubtedly name several, as a good number of those families hit the charts multiple times. But do you remember the Burke family, who hit the charts as part of two different groups? A lot of people will remember the first group, but how many of you remember The Invisible Man’s Band?
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If Madonna was the pop charts’ “It girl” of the mid-80s, then Olivia Newton-John had to have had that role in the late 70s and early 80s.* With the release of Grease, Olivia Newton-John’s fame vaulted into the stratosphere. During that period, her music was found on pretty much every top 40 station and almost every adult contemporary station as well. Some of those hits still get some airplay (particularly the songs from Grease), but others are long forgotten. For example, Ms. Newton-John’s top 20 hit “Deeper Than the Night” hasn’t been heard in terrestrial radio in some time.
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As has been said on this page more than once, the late 80s and early 90s were replete with songs which have been left behind by radio. The entire library of songs for some artists are now forgotten, when once they ruled the airwaves on top 40 stations. While that hasn’t quite happened to the artist who went by the stage name Pebbles, some of her hits have hardly been heard on American radio since the 90s. For example, when was the last time you heard a station play “Giving You the Benefit”?
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It’s not unheard of for a song to chart for multiple artists at the same time. It happened quite a bit in the early days of rock and roll. By the mid-70s, though, it was not nearly as common. There was one song, though, that charted for two different acts at the same time in 1976. Neither version gets much airplay now, of course, or this song wouldn’t be on this page, but I would imagine many people still remember Diana Ross’s version. But who remembers the 5th Dimension’s version of “Love Hangover”?
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It’s not at all uncommon for an artist who is already part of a successful band to start a side project. This page covered one of those fairly recently. Heck, Duran Duran’s members split up between two successful side projects at the same time in 1985. Now, some of these side projects (though probably not Duran Duran’s two) are easily forgotten. Possibly one of the most successful bands formed as a side project, though, was Mike Rutherford’s side project Mike + The Mechanics.
Mike + The Mechanics was so successful that while the band, and several of its songs, are still remembered, other songs which got a fair amount of airplay originally have fallen by the wayside. One of those was the band’s 1986 top 40 hit “Taken In”.
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Let’s be honest: 1982 was a weird year for top 40 music. Disco was dead, punk rock was waning, and no one genre dominated the music scene. To add to the constant flux in the top 40 sound, dozens of one-hit wonders appeared on the charts that year, seemingly more than in a usual year. One of the least likely one-hit wonders to chart that year was an act which came out of a recurring skit on a comedy show. But that’s how begins the story of Bob and Doug McKenzie.
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When you think of an artist like Natalie Cole, you might think of all sorts of things. You might think of her very famous father or her famous duet with him. Or, perhaps, some of her big hits from the 1970s (“This Will Be” or “I’ve Got Love On My Mind”, for starters) come to mind. Sandwiched between the 70s hits and her duet with her father, though, Natalie Cole had some lean years, but she also had one huge comeback album, which featured one of her biggest hits ever. Remember “Pink Cadillac”?
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One of the most prominent, and certainly one of the most recognizable, bands in the 1970s was Kiss. With their onstage makeup, even those who didn’t follow much rock music of the time knew who Kiss was. But who remembers the period when each of the four band members released his own solo album, all at the same time? And who further remembers which of the band members had the biggest hit of the four? Why, Ace Frehley, that’s who.
Continue reading “New York Groove by Ace Frehley”