We are up to 1980 in our countdown of hit songs #11-20 on the Billboard Hot 100. We have a real mixed bag this week.
20 – Styx, "Babe": "Babe" was the lead single from Styx’s 1979 album Cornerstone. It spent two weeks at #1 in December 1979, their only single to reach the top of the chart. It’s Billboard‘s policy to determine the year-end Hot 100 from November to November, so it makes all the sense it can.
19 – KC and The Sunshine Band, "Please Don’t Go": The first love ballad for this otherwise disco band, it reached #1 in the US, Canada, Australia, and South Africa. Shortly after it reached #1 in the US, the band broke up and Harry Wayne Casey went solo.
18 – Diana Ross, "Upside Down": Soul diva Diana Ross tried disco on for size, and it worked well: this song spent four weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and also topped the Disco and R&B charts, went to #5 on the Canadian Top 100, and reached #1 in Sweden, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland.
17 – Christopher Cross, "Ride Like The Wind": His first single, from his 1979 eponymous debut album. It spent four weeks at #2 on the Hot 100, behind Blondie’s "Call Me." If you couldn’t tell, that’s Michael McDonald on background vocals, and the guitar solo is by Christopher himself. He wrote the song and dedicated it to Lowell George of the band Little Feat, who died earlier.
16 – Elton John, "Little Jeannie": From Sir Elton’s 1980 album 21 At 33, it was written by Elton and Gary Osborne. It peaked at #3, the highest any of his songs reached since "Don’t Go Breaking My Heart" in 1976 (a duet with Kiki Dee) and highest-charting solo hit since "Blue Eyes" in 1975.
15 – Air Supply, "Lost In Love": I had the hardest time finding a version of this song that would play in Canada, the UK, and Australia as well as the US until I found this one, which is actually the version that appeared on their 1978 album Life Support. A re-recorded version, which was the title track for their 1980 album, reached #3 on the Hot 100. If you can find one that’ll play in your country, more power to you. (Of course, if you have a VPN, you can always tell it that you’re here…)
14 – The Spinners, "Working My Way Back To You": A cover of the 1966 Four Seasons hit, from The Spinners’ 1979 album Dancin’ And Lovin’. They did it as a medley with Michael Zager’s "Forgive Me Girl" (which I can’t find. Sorry.) It peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 for two weeks, behind Pink Floyd’s "Another Brick In The Wall."
13 – Smokey Robinson, "Cruisin’": This was another 1979 hit that bled over on to the 1980 chart. It reached #1 on the Cash Box Top 100 and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
12 – Gary Numan, "Cars": From Gary’s debut solo album The Pleasure Principle, it reached the top of the charts in several countries and is considered a staple of the New Wave genre (to quote Wikipedia). In the US it reached #9 on the Hot 100.
11 – Rupert Holmes, "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)": Another song from 1979, it holds the distinction of being the last #1 song of the ’70’s. From Rupert’s album Partners In Crime.
Next week, 1981. That’s Top Ten Tuesday for September 14, 2021.