Monday, December 15, 1980

Eagles “Seven Bridges Road” released

Seven Bridges Road (live)

Eagles

Writer(s): Steve Young (see lyrics here)


Released: December 15, 1980


First Charted: December 20, 1980


Peak: 21 US, 27 CB, 31 HR, 18 RR, 17 AC, 55 CW, 7 CL (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 7.7 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

American musician Steve Young wrote and recorded “Seven Bridges Road” in 1969 for his Rock Salt & Nails album. It refers to Woodley Road, a rural two-lane road in Montgomery, Alabama. The road features three pairs of wooden bridges and a seventh about a mile south. Young described the area as almost like an old Disney scene or something, with these high bank dirt roads and trees hanging down, old cemeteries, and so on.” WK His friend, Jimmy Evans, said, “I thought it was the most beautiful place around Montgomery that I’d ever seen.” WK

Evans also shared that Young wrote the song one night when there was a full moon and they were driving around in Evans’ Oldsmobile. They got out and sat there a while and Young started writing down the words. WK

Young said, “I still don’t understand why it was so successful…I [just] wrote a song about a girl and a road in south Alabama” WK where he and his friends used to go “carousing around.” WK

British singer Iain Matthews recorded “Road” as a multi-part harmony song for his August 1973 album Valley Hi. Producer Michael Nesmith says the Eagles lifted their “arrangement absolutely note for note for vocal harmony” WK when they recorded it for their 1980 Eagles Live concert album. The Eagles’ Don Felder says the group would warm up before concerts by singing the song in the locker room. Then they started opening concerts with it and, as he says, the five members singing a capella into one microphone blew audiences away. WK


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First posted 6/10/2022.

Saturday, December 13, 1980

AC/DC chart with “Back in Black” single

Back in Black

AC/DC

Writer(s): Brian Johnson, Angus Young, Malcolm Young (see lyrics here)


First Charted: December 13, 1980


Peak: 37 US, 39 CB, 54 HR, 1 CL, 51 AR, 27 UK, 65 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.6 UK, 4.05 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 612.0 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

After five successful albums in their native Australia, AC/DC were finally being embraced by an international market with 1979’s Highway to Hell, an album which went top 10 in the UK and top 20 in the U.S. Then tragedy struck. Rock singer Bon Scott died on February 19, 1980. On his death certificate, the official cause was listed as acute alcohol poisoning.

The group considered disbanding, but on the advice of their producer, Mutt Lange, brought in Brian Johnson for an audition. Scott himself had seen him perform with his former band Geordie back in 1973 and talked up the singer to the rest of the band. SF By the end of March, he had the job as the new singer for AC/DC.

Among the new songs recorded by the group was a song called “Back in Black,” which was a tribute to Scott. Guitarist Malcolm Young already had the main guitar riff down and the group already had the idea for the title before it had any words. SF Johnson recalled that the band asked him to write the lyrics, saying “it can’t be morbid – it has to be for Bon and it has to be a celebration.” WK Johnson responded with words such as “Forget the hearse, ‘cause I never die” and what he considered “mumbo jumbo” lines like “Nine lives. Cats’ eyes. Abusing every one of them and running wild.” The band, however, told Johnson “they saw Bon’s life in that lyric.” WK

While the song wasn’t a big hit from a chart standpoint, its iconic opening guitar riff made it into what The Guardian called “a classic metal anthem.” WK Metal Hammer magazine said, “There are rock songs that appeal to metal fans. And there are metal songs that appeal to rock fans. Then there is ‘Back in Black’ – a rock song and metal song that appeals to everyone…and it all hangs on that monumental, no-nonsense, three-chord monster of a riff.” WK


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First posted 10/24/2020; last updated 8/3/2022.

Wednesday, December 10, 1980

Journey’s Dream after Dream released

First posted 10/12/2008; updated 9/11/2020.

Dream After Dream

Journey


Released: December 10, 1980


Recorded: date


Charted: date


Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Destiny
  2. Snow Theme
  3. Sand Castles
  4. A Few Coins
  5. Moon Theme
  6. When the Love Has Gone
  7. Festival Dance
  8. The Rape
  9. Little Girl


Total Running Time: 35:22


The Players:

  • Steve Perry (vocals)
  • Neal Schon (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Gregg Rolie (keyboards, backing vocals)
  • Ross Valory (bass, backing vocals)
  • Steve Smith (drums)

Rating:

3.976 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

About the Album:

Dream after Dream was a soundtrack album for the Japanese fantasy film Yume, Yume No Ato. Because the music was by Journey, who’d become a well-known rock band thanks to their three previous Steve Perry-led affairs, the soundtrack received much more attention than the movie. Still, the music was a departure from Journey’s more current sound. Instead, it was a throwback to the more progressive rock beginnings of their first three albums before Perry joined.

Most of the soundtrack consists of instrumentals, meaning Steve Perry makes minimal contributions to the album. Two songs have sparse vocals – Destiny and Sand Castles. JM The only “true vocal track” JM is on “the lovelorn ballad Little Girl, easily making it the highlight of the album.” AMG It resurfaced later as the B-side to 1982’s “Open Arms” and was featured on Journey’s box set, Time 3.

These components made this “one of the most overlooked albums in Journey’s catalog.” AMG While it certainly didn’t fit the tastes of the arena-rock fanbase the group had developed over the last three albums, it “is a fine example of Journey’s underrated musicianship, and recommended to devoted fans.” AMG The album is also noteworthy for featuring Gregg Rolie’s final work with the band.

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Saturday, December 6, 1980

Alan Parsons Project “Games People Play” charted

Games People Play

The Alan Parsons Project

Writer(s): Alan Parsons, Eric Woolfson (see lyrics here)


First Charted: December 6, 1980


Peak: 16 US, 18 CB, 13 HR, 12 RR, 8 CL, 9 CN, 95 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): --


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 5.3 video, 20.98 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Turn of a Friendly Card came at roughly the mid-point of the Alan Parsons Project’s career. It was their fifth of ten albums released between 1976 and 1987. An argument could be made that it was also their peak. They did have a couple of other albums which were bigger chart successes; 1977’s I, Robot and 1982’s Eye in the Sky hit the top 10 while Card peaked at #13, but all three achieved platinum status.

However, the real kicker was that Card was the only album of the Project’s career to produce two top-20 hits. In fact, the only other album to generate even two top-40 hits was 1984’s Vulture Culture. The only bigger singles for the Project were 1984’s “Don’t Answer Me” (#15) and “Eye in the Sky” (#3). As the lead single from Card, “Games People Play” their fourth top-40 hit and, more importantly, a song which has become a staple on album-rock radio. It is what Songfacts.com calls “one of the most high tempo, rock-style songs that this progressive group recorded.” SF

The song also arguably does a better job of conveying its album’s theme than any other Project song. Each of the group’s ten albums was wrapped around a concept, but the message wasn’t always clear. However, the themes behind Card about gambling and playing with others’ emotions were readily apparent on “Games.” Parsons explained that they were living in Monte Carlo at the time and that “it’s very linked to the content of the album…which was all about gambling, gamblers, the problems of gamblers, and games people play.” SF

The song features Lenny Zakatek on vocals. He also stepped up to the mike on two of the band’s previous top-40 hits – 1977’s “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You” and 1979’s “Damned if I Do.”


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First posted 7/7/2022.

Friday, November 21, 1980

REO Speedwagon’s Hi Infidelity was released: November 21, 1980

Originally posted November 21, 2011.



“If you need proof why arena rock was giant, this is it.” STE REO Speedwagon could arguably be credited with bringing arena rock to its pinnacle. They “had been slogging it out in the arenas of the U.S.” STE for nearly a decade, “building up a sizeable audience because they could deliver live.” STE This was much the same story for the band’s peers like Styx, Journey, and Foreigner. The difference is that all those bands had landed a couple top ten albums. The highest REO ever previously reached was #29.

Then, in 1981, all four bands topped the album charts. However, REO got their first “with this incredibly mainstream collection of power ballads and economic hard rock.” RO They did it with a fifteen-week chart-topper which sold more than 9 million copies in the U.S. This was “a record that not just summarized their strengths, but captured everything that was good about arena rock. This is the sound of the stadiums in that netherworld between giants like Zeppelin and MTV’s slick, video-ready anthems.” STE

“The band’s strongest attribute is its inconspicuous nature. You never see it coming. Kevin Cronin has a serviceable voice and Gary Richrath is a solid if unspectacular lead player” RO “but there’s a real urgency to the songs and the performances.” STE Keep on Loving You set “the pattern for the power ballads that would take many a hard rock band to the top of the charts throughout the ‘80s.” RO That song “and the surging Take It on the Run…define their era.” STE There’s also “the Bo Diddley-inspired opener, Don’t Let Him GoSTE and other radio-friendly songs like “the sun-kissed ‘60s homage In Your Letter, and Tough Guys.” STE

“What’s really great about these songs is not just the sheen of professionalism that makes them addictive to listen to, but there’s a real strain of pathos that runs through these songs – the album’s title isn't just a clever pun, but a description of the tortured romantic relationships that populate this record’s songs. This is really arena rock’s Blood on the Tracks, albeit by a group of guys instead of a singular vision, but that makes it more affecting, as well as a killer slice of ear candy.” STE




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Saturday, November 15, 1980

Kenny Rogers topped the pop charts with “Lady”

Lady

Kenny Rogers

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


Released: September 29, 1980


First Charted: September 26, 1980


Peak: 16 US, 14 CB, 15 HR, 15 RR, 14 AC, 11 CW, 12 UK, 2 CN, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 16.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 93.1 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In 1980, Kenny Rogers was the biggest draw in country music. To capitalize on his status – and a year which had already seen three top five hits on the country charts – his record label wanted a Greatest Hits package to ring in the Christmas season. Rogers had just ended his five-year relationship with producer Larry Butler and was seeking new blood to spark his creativity.

He turned to Lionel Richie, who wasn’t yet the solo superstar he was to become within a few years. At the time, he still fronted the Motown group The Commodores. Like Rogers, Richie had experienced major crossover success. The 1978 hit “Three Times a Lady” had topped the pop, R&B, adult contemporary, and UK charts. The country-tinged “Easy” (1977) was a hit on all four formats as well.

The pair of songs caught Rogers’ attention. Rogers contacted Motown founder Berry Gordy about working with the Commodores. Because of a motorcycle accident to drummer Walter Orange, the group had delayed a concert tour and Richie and Co. had time on their hands. Lionel flew to Las Vegas to meet with Rogers. Richie played demos of “Lady” and “Goin’ Back to Alabama”, songs he’d written two years earlier. FB Rogers cut both in an 8 ½ hour session; the former included some lyrical tweaking to reference Rogers’ relationship with his wife. TR As Rogers said, “The idea was that Lionel would come from R&B and I’d come from country, and we’d meet somewhere in the middle.” FB

The song became Rogers’ fourth million-selling single and his first #1 on the pop charts. BB It was also the biggest pop song of 1980 WHC and the first song of the decade to hit all four of the major Billboard charts (pop, country, adult contemporary, R&B). FB It hit #1 on the first three of those.


Resources:

  • BB Billboard (9/08). “All-Time Hot 100
  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 533.
  • TR Tom Roland (1991). The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 272.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 109.


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First posted 11/15/2011; last updated 11/3/2021.