Saturday, August 22, 1981

Foreigner 4 spends 1st of 10 weeks at #1

First posted 6/27/2012; last updated 11/24/2020.

Foreigner 4


Released: July 2, 1981

Peak: 110 US, 5 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.1 UK, 11.6 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock


Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Night Life (8/1/81, 14 AR)
  2. Juke Box Hero (7/25/81, 26 US, 3 AR, 48 UK, 39 CN, 53 AU)
  3. Break It Up (5/15/82, 26 US, 30 CL)
  4. Waiting for a Girl Like You (10/10/81, 2 US, 1 AR, 5 AC, 8 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU, sales: ½ million)
  5. Luanne (7/31/82, 75 US, 44 CL)
  6. Urgent (7/4/81, 4 US, 1 AR, 45 UK, 1 CN, 24 AU)
  7. I’m Gonna Win
  8. Woman in Black
  9. Girl on the Moon
  10. Don’t Let Go

Total Running Time: 42:10

The Players:

  • Lou Gramm (vocals, percussion)
  • Mick Jones (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
  • Dennis Elliott (drums)
  • Rick Wills (bass)


4.004 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


About the Album:

“Over the course of their first three late-‘70s albums, Foreigner had firmly established themselves (along with Journey and Styx) as one of the top AOR bands of the era. But the band was still looking for that grand slam of a record which would push them to the very top of the heap. 1981’s 4 would be that album.” AMG To this day, it “remains Foreigner’s career peak.” AMG

“Guitarist and all-around mastermind Mick Jones found both the catalyst to achieve this and his perfect musical soul mate” AMG “in producer Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange — fresh off his massive success with AC/DC’s Back in Black.” AMG “Lange’s legendary, obsessive attention to detail and Jones’ highly disciplined guitar heroics (which he never allowed to get in the way of a great song) resulted in a collaboration of unprecedented, sparkling efficiency where not a single note is wasted.” AMG

“Vocalist Lou Gramm does his part, delivering a dazzling performance which confirmed his status as one of the finest voices of his generation.” AMG “With the departures of second guitarist Ian McDonald and keyboardist Al Greenwood, Foreigner became a quartet for the first time” CDU and all the album’s songs were written by Jones and/or Gramm. WK Session musicians were also brought in, among them Thomas Dolby, WK who went on to have a top 5 hit with “She Blinded Me with Science,” and Junior Walker. He played the “signature saxophone solo” AMG on “the surprisingly funky Urgent [which] proved to be one of the band's most memorable and uncharacteristic smash hits.” AMG

Nightlife, Woman in Black, Don’t Let Go, and “the 50’s-tinged LuanneAMG are all “energetic, nearly flawless melodic rockers.” AMG “With Juke Box Hero, the band somehow managed to create both a mainstream hit single and a highly unique-sounding track, alternating heavy metal guitar riffing, chorused vocals, and one of the ultimate ‘wanna be a rock star’ lyrics.” AMG

“As for the mandatory power ballad, the band also reached unparalleled heights with Waiting for a Girl Like You. One of the decade’s most successful cross-genre tear-jerkers, it has since become a staple of soft rock radio and completely eclipsed the album’s other very lovely ballad, Girl on the Moon, in the process.” AMG

Also of note – the original album title and cover. The originally titled Silent Partners was to sport a cover from “renowned art studio Hipgnosis.” WK The band rejected “a black & white image of a young man in bed with a pair of binoculars looming overhead,” WK deeming it “too homosexual.” WK Bob Defrin designed the new cover, “modeled after an old fashioned film leader.” WK

Notes: A 2002 reissue added two “nearly unplugged” versions of “Juke Box Hero” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You” recorded in 1999.

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Saturday, August 15, 1981

Lionel Richie and Diana Ross hit #1 with “Endless Love” for first of 9 weeks

First posted 7/4/2012; updated 4/20/2020.

Endless Love

Lionel Richie and Diana Ross

Writer(s): Lionel Richie (see lyrics here)

First Charted: July 4, 1981

Peak: 19 US, 19 CB, 19 HR, 15 RR, 13 AC, 17 RB, 7 UK, 16 CN, 14 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.25 UK, 3.25 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 66.8 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

In 2002, Richie told Billboard magazine, “When I put out ‘Endless Love’…during the days of disco, the reaction was, ‘Are you nuts?’” BB100 However, this unforgettable ballad from the completely forgettable Brooke Shields and Tom Cruise movie of the same name was the biggest hit Motown had up to that time, not to mention the biggest soundtrack single and most successful duet. BR1

It was also the most successful song of both their careers. This was no small task – between them, they contributed to 54 #1 songs on Billboard magazine’s pop, R&B, and adult contemporary (AC) charts. However, this song found the pair at very different stages of their careers. Ross spent the ‘60s fronting the Supremes, racking up 12 #1 pop hits and 8 #1’s on the R&B chart. When she went solo in the ‘70s, she hit the top of the R&B and AC charts five and three times respectively. However, “Endless Love” was her final Motown single WK and her last of six #1 pop hits.

Richie was also a Motown stalwart, but just launching his solo career. With the Commodores, he landed atop the pop charts twice, the R&B charts six times, and the adult contemporary chart once. “Endless Love” was Richie’s first time atop the pop, R&B, and AC charts – charts he’d top five, five, and eleven times respectively. As a songwriter, he had the top song of 1980 with Kenny Rogers’ “Lady.” WHC

Recording was no easy task. Richie hadn’t written the song as a duet, but there was a push to get Diana on the song. Since Richie couldn’t sing in her key, he had to make up her part in the studio. SF Their busy schedules meant they finally met up in Reno, Nevada at 3:30 in the morning after Ross had performed at Lake Tahoe. An hour and a half later, they had the song on tape. BR1 Good thing – it was due to go out the next day for use in the movie. SF

Ross also recorded a solo version on her Who Do Fools Fall in Love? album WK and in 1994, it became Luther Vandross’ biggest hit when he and Mariah Carey reached #2 on the pop charts in the U.S. and top 5 in the U.K.

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Saturday, August 1, 1981

Rick Springfield hit #1 with "Jessie's Girl"

First posted 10/23/2020.

Jessie’s Girl

Rick Springfield

Writer(s): Rick Springfield (see lyrics here)

First Charted: March 21, 1981

Peak: 12 US, 11 CB, 12 HR, 8 RR, 7 CL, 10 AR, 15 CO, 43 UK, 6 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.2 UK, 1.28 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 44.76 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

August 1, 1981 will always be considered one of the most important dates in music history because of the debut of MTV. For Rick Springfield, the date had different significance. It was when his song, “Jessie’s Girl,” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The hit was a long time coming. He’d released four previous solo albums before, but to minimal success. It had been a full decade since his first single, “Speak to the Sky,” hit #14. He hadn’t touched the top 40 since.

With his music career stalling, his then-girlfriend, actress Linda Blair, suggested he try acting. SF He made his debut on a TV episode of The Six Million Dollar Man in 1977. Guest spots on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Wonder Woman, The Rockford Files, and The Incredible Hulk followed. In the spring of 1981, he became a soap opera star, starring as Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital. He had already recorded another album, Working Class Dog, but signed the TV deal because he assumed the album would go nowhere. WK

However, the album finally made Springfield a superstar, reaching the top 10 and selling three million copies, thanks to “Jessie’s Girl,” “I’ve Done Everything for You” (#8), and “Love Is Alright Tonite” (#20). “Jessie’s Girl” wasn’t an immediate hit, though. It had one of the slowest climbs to #1 at the time, taking 19 weeks from its debut on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 28, 1981 to the time it finally reached the pinnacle in August. The song also earned a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

Springfield wrote the song from the perspective of a guy pining after his friend’s girlfriend. It was inspired by a real-life situation in which Springfield was taking a stained glass class in Pasadena. He met a guy named Gary and his girlfriend, who completely turned him on SF but, he said “I was never really introduced to her. It was always just, like, panting from afar.” WK He doubts she even knows she was the inspiration for the song. WK

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MTV went on the air: August 1, 1981

Originally posted August 1, 2012.

image from

MTV, or Music Television, launched on cable television on August 1, 1981. While today the station has become known for a slew of reality-based programming targeted toward teens, the “M” in “MTV” truly stood for music in the beginning. The station became required viewing for teens wanting to be up on the latest videos and music news.

That first broadcast was only available to parts of New Jersey. The initial format consisted of crude promotional videos and concert footage with music similar to a Top 40 radio format. Thanks to a need for lots of content, the early years of MTV broke lots of new artists and made for fertile creative ground for pioneers of music video.

Here were the first 10 videos, along with the VJ (video jockey) chatter and commercials, as aired on MTV:

The Launch of MTV

1. Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star”

2. Pat Benatar “You Better Run”
3. Rod Stewart “She Won’t Dance with Me”

4. The Who “You Better You Bet”

5. Ph.D “Little Susie’s on the Up”
6. Cliff Richard “We Don’t Talk Anymore”

7. Pretenders “Brass in Pocket”
8. Todd Rundgren “Time Heals”
9. REO Speedwagon “Take It on the Run” (with original technical difficulties included)

10. Styx “Rockin’ the Paradise”
11. Robin Lane & the Chartbusters “When Things Go Wrong”

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