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

Foreigner


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


Tracks:

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)

Rating:

4.004 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


Awards:

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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Friday, August 21, 1981

The Rolling Stones charted with “Start Me Up”

First posted 2/7/2021.

Start Me Up

The Rolling Stones

Writer(s): Mick Jagger, Keith Richards (see lyrics here)


Released: August 14, 1981


First Charted: August 21, 1981


Peak: 2 US, 4 CB, 5 HR, 9 RR, 113 AR, 7 UK, 2 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, 0.4 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 98.0 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

A band that’s been around nearly 20 years isn’t supposed to still be such a presence on the pop charts, but no one told the Rolling Stones. 1981’s Tattoo You was the band’s eight consecutive #1 album in the United States. Its nine weeks atop the chart was more than any other Stones’ album. It also sold eight million copies worldwide; 1978’s Some Girls was their only studio album which did better.

The lead single, “Start Me Up,” had a lot to do with the album’s success. One could practically hear lead singer Mick Jagger strutting his way through the stadium-rocking anthem which the band has frequently used since to open their shows. A video in which he did, in fact, do plenty of strutting, proved that the Rolling Stones could keep up with any of the newer acts when it came to getting played on the fledging MTV. Jagger consciously wanted to emulate the style of videos being showcased on the music network, saying it was “the future.” WK

“Start Me Up” also found a home at album rock radio, and spent 13 weeks atop the album rock chart which Billboard launched that year. The song held the record for most weeks at #1 until 1994 when Stone Temple Pilots spent 15 weeks on top with “Interstate Love Song.” WK All Music Guide’s Stewart Mason called it “the last great Rolling Stones song.” AMG

The song originated in 1978 during the sessions for Some Girls. It was originally a reggae-rock song called “Never Stop,” but they put it aside when it wasn’t coming together. When the group was prepping for a tour in 1981, they dug through the vaults for some “new” songs. The band’s engineer, Chris Kimsey, found a more rock version of the song in the midst of dozens of reggae versions of the song and the band added overdubs. WK The result was the song we now know as “a tough little rock & roll song powered by one of Keith Richards’ trademark riffs and a solid Charlie Watts backbeat.” AMG


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Saturday, August 15, 1981

Journey charted with “Don’t Stop Believin’”

First posted 1/24/2021.

Don’t Stop Believin’

Journey

Writer(s): Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain, Neal Schon (see lyrics here)


Released: October 31, 1981


First Charted: August 15, 1981


Peak: 9 US, 8 CB, 9 HR, 9 RR, 1 CL, 8 AR, 6 UK, 9 CN, 100 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 1.2 UK, 10.2 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 308.0 video, 728.0 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Journey was at their peak with 1981’s Escape, their sole #1 album. The lead-off single, “Who’s Crying Now,” went to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the power ballad “Open Arms” was a #2 hit. It was “Don’t Stop Believin’,” however, which became the biggest hit of Journey’s career. Chartwise, it only peaked at #9, but it demonstrated a longevity no one could have imagined.

In 2003, the song was used – and even discussed – in a scene from the movie Monster, for which Charlize Theron won an Oscar. That sparked requests for the song in other movies and TV shows. In 2007, the song was used in the memorable final scene of the last episode of The Sopranos. It showed up again in the musical Rock of Ages, which ran on Broadway from 2009-2015.

Perhaps most significant, however, was the song’s use in the TV show Glee in 2009. The Glee Cast landed an overwhelming 200+ chart hits on the Billboard Hot 100, but “Don’t Stop Believin’” was the first and the most successful, reaching #4 and selling a million copies. Journey’s version was propelled to millions more in sales, making it the best-selling digital track of the 20th century. WK

The song is marked by Steve “Perry’s stern yet romantic vocals” AMG and “cutting guitar work from Neil Schon.” AMG It was “more than just an escalating guitar rock song;” AMG it became “an anthem for the young who wanted to feel free and unrestricted.” AMG

One of the song’s unique features is that it doesn’t have a repeated chorus. The title isn’t sung until almost three and a half minutes into the song after verses. SF The inspiration for the title came from keyboardist Jonathan Cain’s father. When Cain was struggling to make it, he asked his father if he should give up on his dream. Dad told him, “Don’t stop believin’.” SF


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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

Awards:

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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