Saturday, February 28, 1981

Rush released “Tom Sawyer”

Tom Sawyer


Writer(s): Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson, Pye Dubois (see lyrics here)

Released: February 28, 1981

First Charted: March 21, 1981

Peak: 44 US, 47 CB, 57 HR, 1 CL, 8 AR, 25 UK, 24 CN, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 59.4 video, 199.22 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Rush established themselves as one of the most significant acts of the 1970s with album-rock staples like “Fly by Night,” “Closer to the Heart,” and “The Trees” and a run of six studio albums which went gold or platinum. However, their highest peak on the album chart was #33. That changed in 1980 with Permanent Waves, a #4 album supported by “The Spirit of Radio” and “Freewill.” 1981’s Moving Pictures did even better, going to #3 and becoming the best-selling album of Rush’s career with sales of more than four million in the United States.

The album was fueled by some of its most popular songs, including “Limelight,” “Red Barchetta,” and “Tom Sawyer.” Rush’s Geddy Lee called the latter song “the quintessential Rush song” and “the one song that we have to play for the rest of our lives.” SF Indeed, it has become a staple of classic rock radio and the band’s live shows, played on every concert tour since its release. WK

Drummer Neil Peart wrote the lyrics with Pye Dubois of the band Max Webster based on a poem by Dubois called “Louis the Lawyer.” Peart explained that the original lyrics were “a portrait of a modern day rebel, a free-spirited individualist striding through the world wide-eyed and purposeful.” WK Peart loosely tied it to Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer SF and added the dimension of “reconciling the boy and man in myself, and the difference between what people are and what others perceive them to be.” WK

The music was crafted by Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson. The song’s “sci-fi mein is established through keen synthesizer dabbling as well as some mild background effects, while the heavy rock sound is garnered by Alex Lifeson’s guitar work and Neil Peart’s explosive drum rolls.” AMG The band’s “progressive roots may be showing to a slight degree, but these elements are cubed, maintained, then added to an amiable three-minute formula.” AMG Note: the song actually runs four and a half minutes.


Related Links:

First posted 2/5/2021; last updated 7/28/2022.

Classic Rock #1 Songs

Classic Rock:

#1 Songs, 1962-1981

First of all, what is classic rock? As with any genre, it’s impossible to develop a bulletproof definition on which everyone will agree, but “classic rock” is generally considered to be music from the 1960s through ‘80s which would play on album-oriented rock stations in the 1980s. As for the years I chose to represent the genre, I chose 1962 because it marked the debut of the first Beatles’ single (“Love Me Do”) and 1981 as the end of the era because it was in that year that Billboard officially launched its AOR chart.

As for an actual chart tracking these songs, there isn’t one that I’m aware of. Instead, I used more than 70 best-of-lists focused on the genre to assemble a database of more than 5000 classic rock songs. I then ranked these from 1 to 50, with those rankings corresponding to how the song might have charted back in the day. I published the results in the Dave’s Music Database book Charting the Classic Rock Hits 1962-1981, available at Amazon.

I concede that this is certainly not a fullproof system as some songs have grown in stature over the years while others might have been huge out of the gate but their status has diminished over the years. It isn’t a flawless system, but it does offer some idea where these songs stand. In any event, these are the songs which might have been #1 on a classic rock chart from 1962-1981, had such a chart existed. Dates reflect when the song was released or first appeared on another song chart or album. The latter are marked with asterisks (*).

Check other lists based on charts, sales, and airplay here.


  1. 10/5/1962: The Beatles “Love Me Do”


  1. 3/22/1963: The Beach Boys “Surfin’ U.S.A.”
  2. 5/27/1963 *: Bob Dylan “Blowin’ in the Wind”
  3. 8/8/1963: The Kingsmen “Louie Louie”
  4. 8/23/1963: The Beatles “She Loves You”
  5. 11/29/1963: The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand”


  1. 3/2: The Beatles “Twist and Shout”
  2. 3/16: The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love”
  3. 3/28: The Beatles “Do You Want to Know a Secret?”
  4. 6/19: The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun”
  5. 7/3: The Beatles “A Hard Day’s Night”
  6. 7/18: Manfred Mann “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”
  7. 7/31: The Zombies “She’s Not There”
  8. 8/4: The Kinks “You Really Got Me”
  9. 7/15: Roy Orbison “Oh Pretty Woman”
  10. 11/20: The Beatles “I Feel Fine”


  1. 2/12: The Beatles “Eight Days a Week”
  2. 4/9: The Beatles “Ticket to Ride”
  3. 4/12: The Byrds “Mr. Tambourine Man”
  4. 6/4: The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”
  5. 7/12: The Beach Boys “California Girls”
  6. 7/19: The Beatles “Help!”
  7. 7/20: Bob Dylan “Like a Rolling Stone”
  8. 8/6: Barry McGuire “Eve of Destruction”
  9. 9/10: The Beatles “Yesterday”
  10. 9/25: The Rolling Stones “Get Off of My Cloud”
  11. 10/1: The Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
  12. 10/29: The Who “My Generation”
  13. 11/12: Simon & Garfunkel “The Sound of Silence”
  14. 12/3: The Beatles “We Can Work It Out”
  15. 12/3: The Beatles “In My Life”
  16. 12/8: The Mamas & the Papas “California Dreamin’”


  1. 1/1: The Beach Boys “Barbara Ann”
  2. 2/4: The Rolling Stones “19th Nervous Breakdown”
  3. 2/21: The Beatles “Nowhere Man”
  4. 2/21: The Young Rascals “Good Lovin’”
  5. 4/22: The Troggs “Wild Thing”
  6. 5/6: The Rolling Stones “Paint It Black”
  7. 5/27: The Beatles “Paperback Writer”
  8. 5/28: Ike & Tina Turner “River Deep Mountain High”
  9. 7/14: The Lovin’ Spoonful “Summer in the City”
  10. 7/18: The Beach Boys “God Only Knows”
  11. 7/29: Donovan “Sunshine Superman”
  12. 8/5: The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby”
  13. 8/5: The Beatles “Yellow Submarine”
  14. 8/26: ? & the Mysterians “96 Tears”
  15. 9/2: The Monkees “Last Train to Clarksville”
  16. 10/10: The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”
  17. 11/4: Donovan “Mellow Yellow”
  18. 12/16: The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Hey Joe”
  19. 12/23: Buffalo Springfield “For What It’s Worth”


  1. 1/1: The Doors “Break on Through”
  2. 1/13: The Rolling Stones “Ruby Tuesday”
  3. 2/3: The Turtles “Happy Together”
  4. 2/13: The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever”
  5. 2/13: The Beatles “Penny Lane”
  6. 3/17: The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Purple Haze”
  7. 4/1: Jefferson Airplane “Somebody to Love”
  8. 4/21: The Young Rascals “Groovin’”
  9. 4/30: The Doors “Light My Fire”
  10. 5/5: The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset”
  11. 5/12 *: The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Fire”
  12. 5/25: Procol Harum “A Whiter Shade of Pale”
  13. 6/2 *: The Beatles “A Day in the Life”
  14. 6/23: Jefferson Airplane “White Rabbit”
  15. 6/24: Van Morrison “Brown-Eyed Girl”
  16. 7/7: The Beatles “All You Need Is Love”
  17. 8/4: The Box Tops “The Letter”
  18. 9/29: Strawberry Alarm Clock “Incense and Peppermints”
  19. 11/10: The Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin”
  20. 11/17: The Beatles “Hello Goodbye”
  21. 12/13: The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Foxey Lady”
  22. 12/22: Cream “Sunshine of Your Love”


  1. 4/5: Simon & Garfunkel “Mrs. Robinson”
  2. 5/24: The Rolling Stones “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
  3. 6/21: Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild”
  4. 6/21: The Doors “Hello I Love You”
  5. 7/13: The Rascals “People Got to Be Free”
  6. 8/26: The Beatles “Hey Jude”
  7. 8/26: The Beatles “Revolution”
  8. 8/30: Big Brother & the Holding Company “Piece of My Heart”
  9. 9/2: The Jimi Hendrix Experience “All Along the Watchtower”
  10. 9/28: Cream “White Room”
  11. 10/5: Steppenwolf “Magic Carpet Ride”
  12. 10/16 *: The Jimi Hendrix Experience “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”
  13. 11/30: Sly & the Family Stone “Everyday People”
  14. 12/6: The Rolling Stones “Sympathy for the Devil”
  15. 12/13: Tommy James & the Shondells “Crimson and Clover”
  16. 12/28: The Doors “Touch Me”


  1. 1/17 *: Led Zeppelin “Dazed and Confused”
  2. 1/18: Creedence Clearwater Revival “Proud Mary”
  3. 2/8: The Zombies “Time of the Season”
  4. 3/7: The Who “Pinball Wizard”
  5. 3/8: The Beatles “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
  6. 4/11: The Beatles with Billy Preston “Get Back”
  7. 4/20: Neil Young “Cinnamon Girl”
  8. 4/26: Three Dog Night “One”
  9. 5/2: Creedence Clearwater Revival “Bad Moon Rising”
  10. 7/4: The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Women”
  11. 7/4: The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
  12. 7/11: David Bowie “Space Oddity”
  13. 8/2: Three Dog Night “Easy to Be Hard”
  14. 10/4: Crosby, Stills & Nash “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”
  15. 10/6: The Beatles “Come Together”
  16. 10/6: The Beatles “Something”
  17. 10/17: Blood, Sweat & Tears “And When I Die”
  18. 10/22 *: Led Zeppelin “Ramble On”
  19. 10/24: Creedence Clearwater Revival “Fortunate Son”
  20. 11/7: Led Zeppelin “Whole Lotta Love”
  21. 11/28 *: The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter”


  1. 1/3: Sly & the Family Stone “Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin”
  2. 1/26: Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Trouble Water”
  3. 2/6: Norman Greenbaum “Spirit in the Sky”
  4. 2/21: John Lennon “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)”
  5. 3/6: The Beatles Let It Be”
  6. 3/13: The Guess Who “American Woman”
  7. 3/13: The Guess Who “No Sugar Tonight”
  8. 3/14: Led Zeppelin “Heartbreaker” / “Living Loving (She’s Just a Woman)”
  9. 4/4: Mountain “Mississippi Queen”
  10. 4/10: Simon & Garfunkel “Cecilia”
  11. 4/11: The Doors “Roadhouse Blues”
  12. 4/17: Paul McCartney “Maybe I’m Amazed”
  13. 5/11: The Beatles “The Long and Winding Road”
  14. 5/15: Free “All Right Now”
  15. 5/22: Three Dog Night “Mama Told Me Not to Come”
  16. 5/23: War with Eric Burdon “Spill the Wine”
  17. 6/6: Mungo Jerry “In the Summertime”
  18. 6/10: Edwin Starr “War”
  19. 6/12: The Kinks “Lola”
  20. 8/7: Black Sabbath “Paranoid”
  21. 8/7: Creedence Clearwater Revival “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”
  22. 8/8: Creedence Clearwater Revival “Long As I Can See the Light”
  23. 9/11: James Taylor “Fire and Rain”
  24. 9/18 *: Black Sabbath “Iron Man”
  25. 10/26: Elton John “Your Song”
  26. 11/1: The Grateful Dead “Truckin’”
  27. 11/6: Santana “Black Magic Woman”
  28. 11/14: Led Zeppelin “Immigrant Song”
  29. 11/20: George Harrison “My Sweet Lord”


  1. 1/29: Creedence Clearwater Revival “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?”
  2. 1/29: Janis Joplin “Me and Bobby McGee”
  3. 3/5: Three Dog Night “Joy to the World”
  4. 3/5: Yes “I’ve Seen All Good People”
  5. 3/19 *: Jethro Tull “Aqualung”
  6. 3/19 *: Jethro Tull “Locomotive Breath”
  7. 3/20: Derek & the Dominos “Layla”
  8. 4/3: The Doors “Love Her Madly”
  9. 4/16: The Rolling Stones “Brown Sugar”
  10. 4/17: Ringo Starr “It Don’t Come Easy”
  11. 4/19 *: The Doors “L.A. Woman”
  12. 5/7: Carole King “It’s Too Late”
  13. 5/15: Carole King “I Feel the Earth Move”
  14. 5/29: James Taylor “You’ve Got a Friend”
  15. 6/25: The Who “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
  16. 7/2: The Doors “Riders on the Storm”
  17. 7/2: T-Rex “Bang a Gong (Get It On)”
  18. 7/17: Rod Stewart “Maggie May”
  19. 7/30: Paul & Linda McCartney “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”
  20. 9/24: John Lennon “Imagine”
  21. 9/24: Isaac Hayes “Theme from Shaft
  22. 10/15: The Who “Baba O’Riley”
  23. 10/30: The Who “Behind Blue Eyes”
  24. 11/8 *: Led Zeppelin “Going to California”
  25. 11/10: Badfinger “Day After Day”
  26. 11/12: America “A Horse with No Name”
  27. 11/19: Don McLean “American Pie”
  28. 12/2: Led Zeppelin “Black Dog”


  1. 1/4: Yes “Roundabout”
  2. 1/7: David Bowie “Changes”
  3. 1/28: Neil Young “Heart of Gold”
  4. 2/7: Elton John “Tiny Dancer”
  5. 2/21: Led Zeppelin “Rock and Roll”
  6. 4/14: Elton John “Rocket Man”
  7. 4/26: Alice Cooper “School’s Out”
  8. 5/19: Eagles “Take It Easy”
  9. 6/2: Looking Glass “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)”
  10. 6/9: The Hollies “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress”
  11. 6/24: Johnny Nash “I Can See Clearly Now”
  12. 8/4: Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven”
  13. 8/4: Three Dog Night “Black and White”
  14. 10/27: Elton John “Crocodile Rock”
  15. 11/8: Lou Reed “Walk on the Wild Side”
  16. 11/8: Carly Simon “You’re So Vain”
  17. 11/18: Steely Dan “Do It Again”


  1. 1/20: Elton John “Daniel”
  2. 3/1 *: Pink Floyd “Brain Damage” / “Eclipse”
  3. 3/3: War “The Cisco Kid”
  4. 3/10: Steely Dan “Reeling in the Years”
  5. 3/10: Edgar Winter Group “Frankenstein”
  6. 3/23: Paul McCartney & Wings “My Love”
  7. 4/14: Jim Croce “Bad Bad Leroy Brown”
  8. 5/7: Pink Floyd “Money”
  9. 5/11: George Harrison “Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth”
  10. 5/12: Three Dog Night “Shambala”
  11. 5/18: Paul Simon “Kodachrome”
  12. 5/25: Deep Purple “Smoke on the Water”
  13. 6/1: Paul McCartney & Wings “Live and Let Die”
  14. 6/9: Led Zeppelin “Over the Hills and Far Away”
  15. 6/27: Aerosmith “Dream On”
  16. 7/21: Grand Funk Railroad “We’re an American Band”
  17. 7/27: Paul Simon & the Dixie Hummingbirds “Loves Me Like a Rock”
  18. 8/4: Joe Walsh “Rocky Mountain Way”
  19. 8/4: Golden Earring “Radar Love”
  20. 8/13 *: Lynyrd Skynyrd “Simple Man”
  21. 8/17: Allman Brothers Band “Ramblin’ Man”
  22. 8/18: David Essex “Rock On”
  23. 8/20: The Rolling Stones “Angie”
  24. 9/7: Elton John “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”
  25. 9/28: Chicago “Just You ‘N’ Me”
  26. 10/5: Ringo Starr “Photograph”
  27. 10/13: Led Zeppelin “D’yer Maker”
  28. 10/20: Steve Miller Band “The Joker”
  29. 11/2: Jim Croce “Time in a Bottle”
  30. 12/7: Ringo Starr “You’re Sixteen”


  1. 2/4: Pink Floyd “Time”
  2. 2/4: Elton John “Bennie and the Jets”
  3. 2/9: Billy Joel “Piano Man”
  4. 3/9: Grand Funk Railroad “The Loco-Motion”
  5. 3/15: Three Dog Night “The Show Must Go On”
  6. 3/29: Gordon Lightfoot “Sundown”
  7. 3/30: ZZ Top “La Grange”
  8. 4/8: Paul McCartney & Wings “Band on the Run”
  9. 5/18: Bachman-Turner Overdrive “Takin’ Care of Business”
  10. 5/20: Elton John “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
  11. 6/1: Bad Company “Can’t Get Enough”
  12. 6/24: Lynyrd Skynyrd “Sweet Home Alabama”
  13. 6/26 *: Bad Company “Bad Company”
  14. 7/13: Eric Clapton “I Shot the Sheriff”
  15. 7/26: The Rolling Stones “It’s Only Rock and Roll But I Like It”
  16. 9/13: Bachman-Turner Overdrive “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”
  17. 9/23: John Lennon “Whatever Gets You Through the Night”
  18. 9/28: Harry Chapin “Cat’s in the Cradle”
  19. 11/9: Ace “How Long”
  20. 11/15: The Doobie Brothers “Black Water”
  21. 11/16: Lynyrd Skynyrd “Free Bird”
  22. 11/18: Elton John “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
  23. 11/19: Linda Ronstadt “You’re No Good”
  24. 11/23: Average White Band “Pick Up the Pieces”
  25. 11/30: Eagles “Best of My Love”


  1. 2/7: Ringo Star “No No Song”
  2. 2/8: Ozark Mountain Daredevils “Jackie Blue”
  3. 2/24: Elton John “Philadelphia Freedom”
  4. 2/24 *: Led Zeppelin “Kashmir”
  5. 4/2: Kiss “Rock and Roll All Nite”
  6. 4/4: America “Sister Golden Hair”
  7. 4/12: Linda Ronstadt “When Will I Be Loved”
  8. 5/10: 10cc “I’m Not in Love”
  9. 4/16: Paul McCartney & Wings “Listen to What the Man Said”
  10. 5/19: Aerosmith “Sweet Emotion”
  11. 5/30: Eagles “One of These Nights”
  12. 6/6: Elton John “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”
  13. 6/21: Bad Company “Feel Like Making Love”
  14. 6/28: David Bowie “Fame”
  15. 7/12: Peter Frampton “Show Me the Way”
  16. 7/19: ZZ Top “Tush”
  17. 8/25: Bruce Springsteen “Born to Run”
  18. 8/25 *: Bruce Springsteen Thunder Road”
  19. 8/28: Aerosmith “Walk This Way”
  20. 9/27: Bob Marley & the Wailers “No Woman, No Cry” (live)
  21. 9/29: Elton John “Island Girl”
  22. 10/31: Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody”
  23. 11/20: Pink Floyd “Wish You Were Here”
  24. 12/6: Foghat “Slow Ride”
  25. 12/12: Paul Simon “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”


  1. 1/3: Gary Wright “Dream Weaver”
  2. 3/5: Fleetwood Mac “Rhiannon (Will You Ever Win)”
  3. 4/1: Paul McCartney & Wings “Silly Love Songs”
  4. 4/10: Heart “Crazy on You”
  5. 4/12 *: Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band “Turn the Page” (live)
  6. 5/15: Thin Lizzy “The Boys Are Back in Town”
  7. 6/5: Rod Stewart “Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright)”
  8. 6/12: England Dan & John Ford Coley “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight”
  9. 6/19: Wild Cherry “Play That Funky Music”
  10. 6/25: Paul McCartney & Wings “Let ‘Em In”
  11. 7/3: Boz Scaggs “Lowdown”
  12. 7/17: Heart “Magic Man”
  13. 7/30: Chicago “If You Leave Me Now”
  14. 7/31: Blue Oyster Cult “Don’t Fear the Reaper”
  15. 8/6: Manfred Mann’s Earth Band “Blinded by the Light”
  16. 8/14: Steve Miller Band “Rock N’ Me”
  17. 8/26: Gordon Lightfoot “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”
  18. 9/4 *: Ted Nugent “Stranglehold”
  19. 9/11: Boston “More Than a Feeling”
  20. 9/17: Peter Frampton “Do You Feel Like We Do”
  21. 11/23: Kansas “Carry on Wayward Son”
  22. 11/27: Sex Pistols “Anarchy in the U.K.”
  23. 12/4: Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band “Night Moves”
  24. 12/10: Eagles “New Kid in Town”
  25. 12/11: Steve Miller Band “Fly Like an Eagle”
  26. 12/11: 10cc “The Things We Do for Love”


  1. 1/1: Fleetwood Mac “Go Your Own Way”
  2. 1/14: Hall & Oates “Rich Girl”
  3. 1/22: Boston “Foreplay/Longtime”
  4. 2/4 *: Fleetwood Mac “The Chain”
  5. 2/18: Eagles “Hotel California”
  6. 3/24: Fleetwood Mac “Dreams”
  7. 4/1: Fleetwood Mac “Don’t Stop”
  8. 5/7: Boston “Peace of Mind”
  9. 5/13: Eagles “Life in the Fast Lane”
  10. 5/27: Peter Frampton “I’m in You”
  11. 5/27: Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen”
  12. 5/28: Heart “Barracuda”
  13. 7/25: Foreigner “Cold As Ice”
  14. 8/13: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers “American Girl”
  15. 9/10: Styx “Come Sail Away”
  16. 9/23: David Bowie “Heroes”
  17. 10/7: Queen “We Will Rock You” / “We Are the Champions”
  18. 10/15: Rod Stewart “You’re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)”
  19. 11/12: Billy Joel “Just the Way You Are”
  20. 11/12: Randy Newman “Short People”
  21. 11/25 *: Eric Clapton “Cocaine”


  1. 1/16: Kansas “Dust in the Wind”
  2. 1/21: Van Halen “You Really Got Me”
  3. 2/3: Gerry Rafferty “Baker Street”
  4. 3/20: Paul McCartney & Wings “With a Little Luck”
  5. 4/7: The Police “Roxanne”
  6. 5/6: Van Halen “Runnin’ with the Devil”
  7. 5/10: The Rolling Stones “Miss You”
  8. 5/19: Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing”
  9. 6/3: Joe Walsh “Life’s Been Good”
  10. 6/10: Nick Gilder “Hot Child in the City”
  11. 6/17: The Cars “Just What I Needed”
  12. 7/14: The Who “Who Are You?”
  13. 8/12: Meat Loaf “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”
  14. 9/9: The Rolling Stones “Beast of Burden”
  15. 11/10: Rod Stewart “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”


  1. 1/3: Blondie “Heart of Glass”
  2. 1/9: Styx “Renegade”
  3. 1/20: The Doobie Brothers “What a Fool Believes”
  4. 3/24: Supertramp “The Logical Song”
  5. 4/7: Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band “Old Time Rock and Roll”
  6. 4/20: Rickie Lee Jones “Chuck E.’s in Love”
  7. 4/21: Cheap Trick “I Want You to Want Me” (live)
  8. 4/28: Van Halen “Dance the Night Away”
  9. 5/18: John Stewart with Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham “Gold”
  10. 5/18: Electric Light Orchestra “Shine a Little Love”
  11. 5/21: The Charlie Daniels Band “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
  12. 6/23: The Knack “My Sharona”
  13. 7/27: AC/DC: Highway to Hell”
  14. 9/18: Eagles “Heartache Tonight”
  15. 9/21: Led Zeppelin “All My Love”
  16. 9/28: Styx “Babe”
  17. 10/5: Queen “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
  18. 11/17: Pretenders “Brass in Pocket (I’m Special)”
  19. 11/23: Eagles “The Long Run”
  20. 11/23: Pink Floyd “Another Brick in the Wall Part II”
  21. 11/30: Fleetwood Mac “Sara”
  22. 11/30 *: Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb”
  23. 12/7: The Clash “London Calling”


  1. 1/11: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers “Refugee”
  2. 2/1: Blondie “Call Me”
  3. 2/9: Rush “The Spirit of Radio”
  4. 4/11: Paul McCartney & Wings “Coming Up” (live at Glasgow)
  5. 5/13: Billy Joel “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”
  6. 6/23: Pink Floyd “Hey You”
  7. 8/1: Paul Simon “Late in the Evening”
  8. 8/8: Queen “Another One Bites the Dust”
  9. 8/19: AC/DC: “You Shook Me All Night Long”
  10. 8/29: The Doobie Brothers “Real Love”
  11. 9/13: Ozzy Osbourne “Crazy Train”
  12. 10/20: John Lennon “Just Like Starting Over”
  13. 11/4: REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You”
  14. 12/13: AC/DC: “Back in Black”


  1. 1/5: Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight”
  2. 1/9: John Lennon “Woman”
  3. 1/16: Styx “The Best of Times”
  4. 1/17: Steve Winwood “While You See a Chance”
  5. 2/2: Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime”
  6. 2/28: Rush “Tom Sawyer”

Resources/Related Links:

First posted 9/11/2023.

Saturday, February 14, 1981

50 years ago: Duke Ellington charted with “Mood Indigo”

Mood Indigo

Duke Ellington

Writer(s): Duke Ellington, Barney Bigard, Irving Mills (see lyrics here)

First Charted: February 14, 1931

Peak: 3 US, 16 GA (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 3.25 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

A New Orleans jazz musician named Lorenzo Tio, Jr. was visiting his former student, Barney Bigard, in New York. Tio shared a melody called “Dreamy Blues” which he’d written as the theme song for his group back home. Bigard asked to borrow it and worked up what would become the clarinet solo for Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” DH

Ellington is credited with “composing a song of his own on top of it” DH and turning the structure upside down. Typically jazz songs were arranged with the clarinet, trumpet, and trombone from highest to lowest pitch, but Ellington flipped it around the other way. DH The approach played on his talents of “subtle sophistication” NPR and “creating an element of surprise in his compositions.” NPR Ellington worked up a recording for an October 1930 broadcast, saying, “It was the first tune I ever wrote specially for microphone transmission.” WK He said, “wads of mail came in raving about the new tune.” WK

In 1931, lyrics were added. They were credited to Irving Mills, Ellington’s manager, DH but Mitchell Parish, who also wrote words for the classic “Star Dust,” claimed in a 1987 New York Times interview that he was really the one responsible. SB He also is supposedly the one who gave the song its new title, MM which “suggests the deep violet-blue of indigo.” TY1

The song was first recorded by Ellington’s Jungle Band and later under the name The Harlem Footwarmers. SB The 1931 recording became a jazz standard and “one of the most beloved recordings of all time.” DJ It was revived in 1934 with a top 20 version by Jimmie Lunceford and resurfaced again in 1954 with versions by the Norman Petty Trio (#14) and the Four Freshmen (#24). PM Over the years, the song has been recorded many times as both an instrumental and vocal piece. Among those recording it are Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Cab Calloway, Nat “King” Cole, Dr. John, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, and Dinah Washington.


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First posted 2/14/2013; last updated 9/5/2023.

Climax Blues Band “I Love You” charted

I Love You

Climax Blues Band

Writer(s): Derek Holt (see lyrics here)

First Charted: February 14, 1981

Peak: 12 US, 9 CB, 10 HR, 7 RR, 20 AC, 21 CL, 14 CN, 59 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 14.47 video, 12.06 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Climax Blues Band formed in 1967 in Stafford, England. They found their first chart success in 1976 with “Couldn’t Get It Right,” a top-10 hit in the United States and the United Kingdom. Their only other top-40 hit was “I Love You,” which didn’t chart in the UK but reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

On a personal note, the song was at #2 on my first personal chart. As a response to a local radio station’s countdown of the best songs of all time, I compiled my own list. I intended to make it a one-time list of favorites, but it turned into a weekly personal chart which I maintained for a little more than a decade.

The song is “a pure love song about a woman who enters a man’s life and changes his world for the better. The message of love and friendship, along with the line, ‘You got what it takes so I made you my wife,’ made the song very popular at weddings.” SF The band’s guitarist, Derek Holt, wrote the song and said, “You could say it’s for one person, but it’s quite generic….Usually songs appear from nowhere, and that one appeared in a couple of hours.” SF

He explained, “It was about meeting my first wife, meeting the lady that’s going to encourage me to do what I did best, and that was be a musician, with no qualms about it. I used to go away from home, used to leave her behind, and used to come back. I was a hippie, a drinking hippie with really long hair. We had a great time – I’m meeting my wife, since then I’ve never looked back. You know, pretty much out living a dream..” SF

The band didn’t respond to the song initially, saying it “was a little bit too lovey.” SF However, while working with producer John Ryan for the eventual Flying the Flag album, he was going through the group’s tracks and asked if they had any more. Holt played “I Love You” and Ryan said, “That’s a hit.” SF Holt said, “Everybody just sort of looked at each other and said, “Oh, bloody hell.” SF The song was recorded with legendary keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, who worked with the Rolling Stones. SF


First posted 9/7/2022.

Friday, February 13, 1981

Phil Collins’ Face Value released

First posted 3/26/2008; updated 9/15/2020.

Face Value

Phil Collins

Released: February 13, 1981

Peak: 7 US, 13 UK, 13 CN, 2 AU

Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 1.5 UK, 17.6 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: mainstream pop-rock

Tracks: Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. In the Air Tonight (1/17/81, 19 US, 19 CB, 2 AR, 2 UK, 3 AU, 2 CN, sales: 3 million)
  2. This Must Be Love
  3. Behind the Lines (4/4/81, 58 AR)
  4. The Roof Is Leaking
  5. Droned
  6. Hand in Hand
  7. I Missed Again (3/7/81, 19 US, 19 CB, 8 AR, 14 UK, 88 CN, 6 CN)
  8. You Know What I Mean
  9. Thunder and Lightning
  10. I’m Not Moving
  11. If Leaving Me Is Easy (5/30/81, 17 UK)
  12. Tomorrow Never Knows


3.918 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)

Quotable: Collins’ “masterpiece and one of the finest moments of the ‘80s musical landscape” – Tim Sendra, All Music Guide


About the Album:

Phil Collins spent a decade with the rock group Genesis, first as their drummer and then their singer, before launching a solo career. “He’d been wrestling with the idea of doing a solo record for years, finding great inspiration in the pain caused by an impending divorce and craving artistic independence after years of collaboration. Many of the songs ended up on Genesis’ 1980 album Duke – and ‘Against All Odds’ was pocketed for later use – but he kept enough to make an album that stands as a classic moment of ‘80s pop/rock.” AMG

“Collins produced the album himself and played keyboards and drums, calling in friends and the Earth, Wind & Fire horns to fill out the songs.” AMG The “thundering drums and punchy horn arrangements…clicked with the public…launching Collins’ career as one of the biggest and most unlikely stars of the ‘80s.” AZ

The album kicks off “with the bitter anthem In the Air TonightAMG “where Collins dryly comments, ‘If you told me you were drowning / I would not lend a hand’).” AZ It is “rightly considered one of the great heartbreak songs of all time.” AMG

The album offers “a compelling churn of emotions” AZ alternating “between moody ballads and bouncily soulful tracks that try to put a smile on the pain.” AMG “His everyman style of singing translates to both types of songs; he’s just as good at wringing every drop of emotion out of the ballads as he is at sailing through the deceptive breezy tunes.” AMG

“The gently sung, sweet-as-punch This Must Be LoveAMG showcases “the delight he feels in exploring a new relationship.” AZ It “gives an early respite after the lurching, bruising ‘In the Air Tonight.’” AMG “The poppier tracks, like the snappy Behind the Lines and the impossibly hooky I Missed Again, show off his skills as a hitmaker and vocalist.” AMG “The pulsing I’m Not Movin’ marries one of Collins’ catchiest melodies and airiest productions with the most forceful lyrics on the record.” AMG

“On the quieter songs like If Leaving Me Is Easy, Collins’ wracked vocals leave no doubt that he’s not sugarcoating his emotional devastation as he sorts through the wreckage of his life.” AMG “The new agey Droned and the swinging Hand in Hand give the album some instrumental texture and allow a break from all the desperate emotion on display.” AMG

“This range of sound and emotion is part of what helps the album succeed as much as it does; so does the feeling that Collins felt driven to make this album to help him heal. It’s not a career move or a cash grab; it’s a transmission from a wounded soul delivered with a soft touch and sensitivity. As such, it’s Collins’ most honest, most compelling work. He went on to become a huge star, with loads more hits, but Face Value stands as his masterpiece and one of the finest moments of the ‘80s musical landscape.” AMG

Notes: In 2016, a deluxe edition of the album was released with eight live songs from various years and four demos from 1980 for “This Must Be Love,” “Please Don’t Ask,” “Misunderstanding,” and “Against All Odds.”

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