The Friday 5×2: KFI from August 3, 1981

Let’s move into the ’80’s this week and visit our friends at KFI, 640 AM, Burbank, California to see what was on their Top 10 on this day in 1981. Like so many AM stations these days, they now sport a news-talk format, but in 1981 they were doing an adult-contemporary format featuring comedy acts such as Hudson and Landry (of “Ajax Liquor Store” fame) as the on-air personalities.

  1. The Greg Kihn Band, “The Breakup Song” I didn’t know the name of this one until now. I knew the song, but wouldn’t have been able to walk into a record store (remember those?) and buy it. DJ’s in the ’70’s and ’80’s didn’t do a good job of announcing the songs, or maybe I just didn’t do a good job of listening.
  2. Manhattan Transfer, “Boy From New York City” I keep meaning to get John Dos Passos’s 1925 novel after which Manhattan Transfer named itself. Lieber & Stoller wrote this for the Ad Libs, who had a hit with it in 1964, but I like MT’s version better.
  3. Marty Balin, “Hearts” The former member of Jefferson Airplane recorded this on his 1981 album and took it to #5 nationally. Shortly after this, he reunited with former Jefferson Airplane members and created Jefferson Starship.
  4. The Moody Blues, “Gemini Dream” From their 1981 Long Distance Voyager LP, this reached #1 in Canada and was the 28th best-selling single for the year.
  5. The Pointer Sisters, “Slow Hand” Not named after Eric Clapton, as far as I know. This reached #2 on the Hot 100 and the Cash Box Top 100.
  6. Frankie Smith, “Double Dutch Bus” It’s new to me, too. Frankie named this after two institutions in Philadelphia: the jumprope game Double Dutch, which is demonstrated in the video, and the SEPTA bus system. Wikipedia calls this “old school hip hop.”
  7. Rick James, “Give It To Me Baby” MTV went on the air (okay, on cable TV) two days earlier, and this video got some pretty heavy play, as I recall.
  8. Kenny Rogers, “I Don’t Need You” From his 1981 album Share Your Love, this reached #2 nationally.
  9. Joey Scarbury, “Theme Fom The Greatest American Hero (Believe It Or Not)” I never watched the TV show and was surprised to learn it was on the air for two seasons. The appeal of the song seems to have lasted much longer.
  10. Air Supply, “The One That You Love” A little “lite rawk,” Australian style. Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock (love how those names fit together, don’t you?) are still active with whoever they can manage to get to play with them.

And that’s The Friday 5×2 for August 3, 2018.

8 thoughts on “The Friday 5×2: KFI from August 3, 1981

  1. My favorites in 1981 (a sophomore in high school – driving in my car, singing along…yeah, that’s right) #1 and #6 – AND that The Breakup Song!! Happy memories, thanks for the smiles today!


  2. “Ooh wah, ooh wah cool, cool kitty
    Tell us about the boy from New York City
    Ooh wah, ooh wah c’mon kitty
    Tell us about the boy from New York City”

    Love this song. What a great blast from the past!


  3. Oh wow, so many I had forgotten but I know these songs so well. So many can’t stand Air Supply but I always liked them even if they are schmaltzy. I always love The Moody Blues even though I don’t consider this song one of their best. You know, I realize some of these people are gone now which is sad like Ray Thomas from The Moody Blue who played the flute so well, had a good voice and always knew how to play that tambourine. Rick James always made me shiver even thoug( I don’t mind his songs. The one pointer sister is also gone but 8 can’t recall which one. Great songs from 1981 especially The Greatest American Hero which was such a fun show


    1. I have a certain fondness for late ’70’s-early ’80’s lite rock, so I like Air Supply, schmaltz and all. (I never understood why they use the Yiddish word for chicken fat for that type of music.)

      The Pointer Sisters appeared on “Chicago VII,” backing Robert Lamm on his “Skinny Boy” (also the name and title track of his first solo album). I guess they were kind of like Manhattan Transfer, doing music in the style of the ’30’s and ’40’s before updating their sound.

      I can’t remember watching “The Greatest American Hero”; I don’t think we did, probably because we had alternatives, though I can’t remember what they were, either. The song is great, though…


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