Friday, October 26, 1979

Pat Benatar “Heartbreaker” released


Pat Benatar

Writer(s): Geoff Gill, Cliff Wade (see lyrics here)

Released: October 26, 1979

First Charted: December 15, 1979

Peak: 23 BB, 19 CB, 16 GR, 19 HR, 20 RR, 3 CL, 30 MR, 16 CN, 34 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 20.3 video, 92.03 streaming


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About the Song:

Rock singer Pat Benatar was born Patricia Mae Andrzejewski in 1953 in New York, New York. She became interested in theater and singing in elementary school. She became a trained opera intending to attend Julliard, but she went to Stony Brook University instead. At 19, she dropped out to marry Dennis Benatar, her high school sweetheart. He served in the Army from 1973-75. During that time, she recorded “Day Gig,” her debut single. After he was discharged from the Army, the couple moved to New York so she could pursue a singing career.

They didn’t work out as a couple, divorcing in 1978, but her career was just beginning. Her debut album, In the Heat of the Night, was released in August 1979. The lead single was a cover of John Mellencamp’s “I Need a Lover,” followed by “If You Think You Know How to Love Me,” originally a #3 UK for the British rock band Smokie.

Neither single dented the Billboard Hot 100, but the album’s third single, “Heartbreaker,” proved to be Benatar’s breakthrough reaching #23. The song was first recorded in 1978 by an English singer named Jenny Darren. Benatar adjusted some of the lyrics which originally contained “English expressions and colloquialisms that would be foreign to the American ear.” SF Benatar’s version became a staple on classic rock radio.


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First posted 2/14/2024.

Saturday, October 20, 1979

Little River Band charted with “Cool Change”

Cool Change

Little River Band

Writer(s): Glenn Shorrock (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 20, 1979

Peak: 10 US, 13 CB, 3 GR, 12 HR, 5 RR, 8 AC, 15 CL, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 22.0 video, 44.74 streaming


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About the Song:

Formed in 1975, the rock group Little River Band found success right away, scoring a top-40 hit in the U.S. with “It’s a Long Way There” from their self-titled debut album. Over three subsequent albums, they racked up four more top-40 hits, including the #3 “Reminiscing” and #10 “Lady.” 1979’s First Under the Wire, their fifth album, became their most successful yet, reaching #10 and going platinum.

Like its predecessor, it was supported by two top-10 U.S. hits. The first single, “Lonesome Loser,” reached #6 and the follow-up, “Cool Change,” peaked at #10. Ironically, the song failed to chart in the band’s native Australia, but in May 2001, it was named by the Australasian Performing Right Association oas one of the top 30 Australian songs of all time. WK In 2018, Australian radio network Triple M named it one of the top 100 “most Australian” songs of all time. WK However, the band “could’ve come from anywhere.” SS Like “easy-listening peers Pablo Cruise and Ambrosia, they existed in a gauzy, purgatory free of musical, cultural, and geographic identity.” SS

“Cool Change” is a “piece of pleasant and competent soft-rock that goes down easy,” SS but things weren’t so easy-going with the band at the time. The band featured three songwriters who wrote and even recorded separately. They even toured in different buses. SS Glenn Shorrock wrote “Cool Change” amidst squabbles with Graeham Goble and essentially recorded it as a solo track, supported by session players Peter Jones on piano and Bill Harrower on saxophone. SS

The song used sailing as a means of embracing the need for time alone, referencing the tranquility of being on the “cool and bright clear water.” Shorrock later admitted the song was “a cry for help.” SF Amusingly, he wasn’t much of a seafarer when he wrote the song, but he took up sailing after the song’s success. SF


First posted 10/20/2020; last updated 12/6/2022.

Monday, October 15, 1979

50 years ago: “Tip Toe Through the Tulips” hit #1

Tip Toe Through the Tulips

Nick Lucas

Writer(s): Joe Burke (music), Al Dubin (words) (see lyrics here)

First Charted: September 28, 1929

Peak: 110 US, 18 GA, 112 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 (sheet music)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.31 video, 0.54 streaming


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About the Song:

Nick Lucas and Winnie Lightner starred in the 1929 movie musical Gold Diggers of Broadway, which featured five songs written by Joe Burke and Al Dubin and performed by Lucas. One was “Tip Toe Through the Tulips.” He was outside of a house singing to a girl inside, asking “for her pardon if he kisses her in the moonlit garden.” TY2 Lucas reprised the song later in the show as a dance routine with girls dressed as tulips. SM

Lucas was formerly a banjo player with the Russo-Rio Rito band. Nicknamed “The Singing Troubador,” he became “a national favorite in the late 20s” PM because of his “easygoing vocal and guitar style.” PM He charted 26 songs from 1925 to 1931, reaching the top 10 nineteen times. His only chart-topper, however, was his recorded version of “Tulips” in 1929. PM

That same year, Jean Goldkette (#5), Johnny Marvin (#11), and Roy Fox (#18) all released charting versions. PM In 1930, the song was used in “Sinkin’ in the Bathtub,” the first Looney Tunes cartoon short. WK The song also showed up in the movies Confidential Agent (1945), Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), and Insidious (2010). It is also mentioned in the 1997 book Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

One of the more unusual versions surfaced in 1968. Singer and ukulele player Tiny Tim performed the song on the sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In WK in a “high-pitched falsetto rendition.” SF It was released as a single and became a #17 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.


First posted 3/16/2023.

Saturday, October 13, 1979

Michael Jackson “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” hit #1

Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough

Michael Jackson

Writer(s): Michael Jackson (see lyrics here)

Released: July 10, 1979

First Charted: July 28, 1979

Peak: 11 US, 11 CB, 2 GR, 11 HR, 5 RR, 15 RB, 3 UK, 3 CN, 13 AU, 7 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 1.81 UK, 6.88 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 413.43 video, 368.37 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Michael Jackson became a star fronting his brothers in the Jackson 5 before he’d even hit puberty. The group sent four songs to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969 and ’70. While still generating hits with his brothers, Michael also launched a solo career in 1971 and hit #1 on his own the next year with “Ben,” “a lovely ballad about a killer rat from a B-movie.” SG It would be seven years before he topped the chart again.

In 1975, Michael and his brothers bolted from Motown and signed with Epic Records. They weren’t as big as before, but still managed top-10 hits with 1976’s “Enjoy Yourself” and 1979’s “Shake Your Body Down to the Ground.” In 1979, Michael would also release Off the Wall, his first post-Motown solo effort. It showcased him “as a young man liberated” SG by getting some say for the first time over the songs and arrangements. The album “introduced the chic, Quincy Jones-produced sound that would soon see him dubbed the King of Pop.” TB

The album’s lead single, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” was “a perfect song,” SG “an absolute miracle of pop music.” SG Jackson recorded a demo with his brother Randy playing piano. It “shows that he knew exactly what he wanted from the song. The jangling, cowbell-laden rhythm, distinctive bass and guitar licks, and Jackson’s newly developed falsetto are all there; the only extra ingredient he needed was Jones’ polished, spacious, production sheen.” TB

The song is “about the ecstasy of losing yourself in something greater than you, of giving yourself over” SG – maybe that’s dancing, maybe that’s sex, maybe it’s something else. Jackson said “It’s about forces and the power of love.” FB

Not yet 21, Michael is “still the same little joy-bursting kid from ‘I Want You Back,’ finding new textures in his own voice and discovering new wonders.” SG He was still a few years from becoming the most famous person on the planet, at which point “even on his most ebullient songs, he sounded paranoid and trapped.” SG Here Jackson sings “in an airy falsetto, letting the music push his voice all around.” SG “The instruments all seem to be dancing with each other: the rolling and pulsing bass, the euphoric bursts of horn, the diving strings, the layers upon layers of percussion.” SG “He understands the beat.” SG “It says a whole lot that Michael Jackson was able to use disco as a springboard into planet-dominating stardom even at the moment when the planet was getting sick of disco.” SG


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First posted 4/20/2023.