Several months ago, I blogged about the final Top 40 hits for 20 established musicians and groups. It was a fun journey of re-exploring and hearing some of the fantastic songs of yesteryear. Of course, I couldn’t be satisfied with a single musical journey back in time, so here’s a second helping of the final Top 40 charting songs on the Billboard Hot 100 of 20 more musical artists and groups. During this time of the pandemic, music is often a significant comforter, and these songs will provide you with some much needed comfort and nostalgia...just what the doctor ordered! Let’s begin the journey now...working in chronological order, from oldest to newest song. The chart numbers are from the Billboard Hot 100, with the year indicated in which the song peaked at that position.
Bowling Green by The Everly Brothers: #40, 1967. The final Top 40 from this classic duo peaked at exactly Number 40! Pop, folk, and rock combine to create this perfect little gem. The Everly Brothers would go on to have a few more minor hits on the Adult Contemporary chart in the 1980's. And, Simon and Garfunkel would also "wake up" one of their songs in the early '80's as well, which will be discussed later in this blog.
You’re My World by Helen Reddy: #18, 1977. Classic mid-tempo ballad by the very talented Ms. Reddy; Yet another song that demonstrates why Helen was so popular in the 1970's, her vocals are so clear, she articulates so well, and her emotions come through loud and clear! Much like the late great Karen Carpenter, Helen Reddy has a real warmth to her voice
When All Is Said And Done by ABBA: #27, 1982. The title of this song was rather prophetic! I guess all was really said and done after this tune! Yet another fabulous tune from the group that brought us Dancing Queen and so many other wonderful hits. There have been rumors about them recording new music, and getting back together again. But it seems like the information keeps changing. It would be wonderful to hear new music from them again, as we need more fun pop music on the airwaves...especially these days!
The Border by America: #33, 1983. I simply love this early '80's easy listening music! Radio and the overall music landscape were changing so rapidly at this time, so songs like this were definitely losing popularity, even though they still featured wonderful production, lyric, and vocal quality. I guess America we’re on the wrong side of the chart border after this song, as they never hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 again! Look for more "America" further in this blog...
Read ‘Em And Weep by Barry Manilow: #18, 1983. This final Top 40 for Barry Manilow was also his biggest hit on the Adult Contemporary chart, spending six weeks at Number One! This song features that classic Jim Steinman production quality, where the song starts off softly and builds to a highly theatrical and dramatic climax at the end. It's a rather fun song with which to sing along, as the lyrical content and feeling is rather cathartic.
Wake Up Little Susie by Simon and Garfunkel: #27, 1982. It seems kind of ironic that the last Top 40 hit by this classic rock duo was a remake of a hit by another classic rock duo, The Everly Brothers. This song was recorded live in Central Park in 1981 in New York City, and was the brief comeback for the group. This song didn’t really sound like anything else on the radio at the time, but fans were happy to hear anything “new” from the group, even if the new wasn’t really “new” at all!
Crazy in the Night (Barking At Airplanes) by Kim Carnes: #15, 1985. This is an odd little tune, lyrically and production-wise. I’ve never been able to quite figure it out, and maybe I am not alone, as she hadn’t had a Top 40 hit since then. Maybe Kim needs to release the Cliffs Notes version of the song now? But for what it’s worth, I like the song, and her trademark raspy voice sounds good...even if I still don’t understand the story of the song!
Nightshift by Commodores: #3; 1985. This is the ultimate tribute song to the late great R&B legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson. This song is a real classic even without Lionel Richie on this one. The word play and inclusion of some of the late artists' song lyrics is simply superb. This song is true class all the way!
Living In America by James Brown: #4, 1986. It’s so ironic that one of James Brown’s biggest hits came at the end of his pop music career! Believe it or not this is his second biggest pop hit after I Got You (I Feel Good). But of course, we’re living in America, where anything is possible! This song still gets a lot of radio airplay around the Fourth of July every year. It's a great song with which to sing along and dance to! I was fortunate enough to see him in concert with my good friend Cynthia at San Francisco's famed Fairmont Hotel in 1996!
Calling America by Electric Light Orchestra: #18: 1986. The mid-'80's production quality on this one shines like a brightly polished diamond! Like so many other ELO songs, this one is fun and bouncy and great to sing along to. These days, it feels like we need to call America again, as too many of us have been getting a busy signal lately!
All I Wanted by Kansas: #18, 1987. It’s another straight-ahead rock song with pop leanings about relationships and love and sharing your true feelings. It’s a song theme that was widely produced in the 1980’s, but this song was a little more “pop” and a little less “rock” than most of the other songs released by Kansas; its sound was more “contemporary” for 1987, which exposed Kansas to a new group of younger and contemporary music fans, while also energizing many vintage Kansas fans.
Can’tcha Say (You Believe In Me)/Still In Love by Boston: #20; 1987. More of that classic rock sound is featured on this rock tune by Boston! This song is just made for driving down an open highway, perhaps in the desert, with the windows open, while singing along loudly to the radio. Good vibes are guaranteed on this one!
Love Power by Dionne Warwick featuring Jefferey Osborne: #12, 1987. Dionne’s songs about love are always so very romantic and soulful, and this song is no exception! This song fit well in the "quiet storm" format of many radio stations in the late 1980's. It's one of those songs that is understated, yet powerful.
Here With Me by REO Speedwagon: #20, 1988. Tender, sensitive love ballads by rock bands were all the rage in the 1980's...I miss them so much! This was another song with emotion, great lyrical content, and strong vocals. Unfortunately, Boston was a group whose sound would soon not resonate with listeners of contemporary radio
Nothin’ To Hide by Poco: #39, 1990. This song has no reason to hide! It’s got the “classic” Poco sound, which blends Adult Contemporary sounds with a country influence. This was the second release from the Poco "comeback” that started in 1989. The song was co-written by Richard Marx. This is another song that I love to sing along to...although maybe I should keep that “hidden?”
Across The River by Bruce Hornsby and the Range: #18, 1990. In these days of sheltering in place, many of us may be longing for doing things we once did, like traveling, or going out for dinner, or even giving someone a big old hug! This song is about longing, and I think it hits the perfect chord in these challenging times. Even though it’s not a song about the pandemic, it’s still quite relatable. Bruce went solo after this album, and has continued to produce great music, including more jazz-influenced songs, such as Harbor Lights, and additional songs about social issues, including Walk In The Sun.
Love At First Sight by Styx: #25, 1991. The early '90's were not kind to artists that had hits in the '70's and '80's, and this last Top 40 song by Styx is another example of this trend. This song is classic Styx, featuring the beautiful voice and melodies of lead singer Dennis DeYoung; it also happens to one of my personal favorites from the group. It's about the feelings that come up with an instant attraction to someone; I bet all of us can relate to the feelings described in the song! But at this point, shifts in the radio landscape were afoot, and tender sensitive songs like this would soon no longer resonate with many radio programmers.
Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough by Patty Smyth featuring Don Henley: #2, 1992. You know you’re in trouble when even love isn’t enough! Don makes his final Top 40 chart appearance in this song where he is only “featured," but his vocal inclusion really drives home the message of the song. This was a massive Hot 100 hit right before these types of Adult Contemporary ballads were no longer featured on contemporary radio. The song stalled at Number Two for 6 weeks behind the massive Number 1 hit End Of The Road by Boyz II Men, which eventually spent an incredible 13 weeks at Number One!
Alone by Bee Gees: #28, 1997. I previously posted about this tune in a blog about songs to accompany us during these socially-distanced pandemic times. Many of us are still having to spend a lot of time alone, so this song, with its accompanying bagpipes, can make being alone downright enjoyable, at least for the 4 and a half minutes the song plays!
Pretty Vegas by INXS: #37, 2005. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, so I guess that’s why INXS hasn’t had a Top 40 hit since this one? In all seriousness, this is a great song. It features that classic INXS production quality with then-new singer Jason Dean Dennison taking the reins from previous lead singer Michael Hutchence, who passed away in 1997. Maybe Jason thought that having more than one Top 40 with the band would be "in excess" of what he should be doing?
Here's hoping you have enjoyed this look back at the Final Top 40 hits for 20 more musicians and groups . Of course, any of them could eventually hit the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 again someday, in which case I would more than happily update this blog. Happy music listening to you all!