Talk about the group Pablo Cruise, and one of two things will typically happen: either someone who listened to top 40 radio in the late 70s will remember about two songs; or someone will ask who you’re talking about. If you’re reading this blog, you’ll probably remember the two biggest hits from Pablo Cruise. However, that group had a few more hits besides that. One of them was not a big hit, but “Don’t Want to Live Without It” did crack the top 30.
If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember hearing Gerry Rafferty on the radio a lot. And I mean a whole lot. His biggest hit was all over the radio during the summer of 1978, and the follow-up got lots of airplay that fall. But Mr. Rafferty had more hits than just those two. Do you remember 1979’s “Get It Right Next Time”?
Sometimes memory plays tricks on you. For instance, one might hear a song played on the radio enough times that, 25 years later, one would think it had to have been a big hit back then…only to find out that it wasn’t. And that is exactly the case with my faulty memory of the Los Umbrellos song “No Tengo Dinero”.
In addition to massive success on the pop charts in the late 70s/early 80s, Olivia Newton-John had some amount of success in acting as well. Some of her greatest hits, of course, came from soundtracks. (Grease, anyone?) It was from her last big-budget movie that some of Ms. Newton-John’s final charting hits came, including her 1984 hit “Livin’ in Desperate Times.”
If you listened to top 40 or MOR radio in 1977 and 1978, it wouldn’t be long before you found an artist who had some amount of success thanks to the Bee Gees. One of the most fortunate recipients of the Gibb brothers’ largesse was Australian singer Samantha Sang, who had a platinum hit single thanks to them. Her follow-up to that song, though, didn’t have the same traction on the charts. I guess that’s why I’m writing today about “You Keep Me Dancing” on this page.
Occasionally, a recording artist from overseas will finally break into the US market with one huge hit, and then they will become a fixture on the US charts for years to come. (ABBA comes to mind almost immediately.) However, there are other artists who have that one breakthrough hit on the US charts…which turns out to be their only one. Such was the case for Tina Arena and her power ballad, “Chains”.
Ask most music fans to associate Foreigner with a particular era, and you’ll likely hear them direct you to the late 70s/early 80s. To be sure, that era was Foreigner’s heyday, but the band did place one hit onto the Hot 100 well into the 90s. That one hit was a power ballad called “Until the End of Time”.
The Tubes are yet another group that most people would consider to be a one-hit wonder. “She’s a Beauty” was their only hit, right? Well, actually it wasn’t; the Tubes had several singles which charted, including a second top 40 hit. It’s that other hit we’ll look at today, a single entitled “Don’t Want To Wait Anymore”.
Ask most rock/pop music historians about southern rock, and they will likely point you to the early 1970s. They won’t, by and large, have much to say about the early 80s, as the genre was waning by then. That didn’t stop the group Point Blank from barely hitting the top 40, for the first and only time, with a forgotten 1981 rocker named “Nicole”.
The 1990s brought what might be a perfect combination of events to produce forgotten songs. There were a fair number of movie remakes of classic TV around that time. A lot of those movies produced hits that have, honestly, disappeared from radio. (I’d list some of them, but I realized a lot of the songs from these movies are, in fact, forgotten, so you’ll probably read about them on this page at some point.) One of them in particular produced what would be the last top 40 hit for the B-52s. Do you remember their take on “(Meet) The Flintstones”?