Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Top 100 R&B Songs of the 80's*: #10-1

Inside The Rock Era ran all of the songs from the 1980's under the microscope, and these are the 100 songs that emerged as the strongest on the R&B chart.  We have arrived at The Top 10 for the 80's*


"All Night Long (All Night)"
Lionel Richie
Richie's party song mentions joyful words in different languages. "Karamu" is a Swahili word for a party accompanied by a feast; "Liming" is a Caribbean term for getting together, and "Fiesta" is Spanish for party.  "All Night Long" competed with Rick James's hit "Cold Blooded", and fought off songs such as "Time Will Reveal" by DeBarge to score seven weeks at #1 on the R& B chart.  Richard Marx, who in a few short years would become a major star of his own, sang backing vocals for Richie. 

Kool and the Gang
You've heard it said often that Kool and the Gang were one of the most successful R&B artists of the 80's.  They were one of The Top R&B Artists of All-Time*, churning out 25 Top 10 songs in the genre and selling over 75 million records.  This song not only achieved six weeks at #1 on the R&B chart against competition from "Master Blaster", Lakeside's "Fantastic Voyage" and "Burn Rubber" from the Gap Band, it went Platinum. 

"Juicy Fruit"

Mtume (pronounced:  Em-too-may) was led by James Mtume, a percussionist with Miles Davis early in the '70s.  He formed the progressive-funk band that bears his name, and Mtume released their first single in 1978.  Five years later, they scored a monster hit with this one, eight weeks at #1 on the R&B chart. 


"That Girl"
Stevie Wonder

Here's a song that was far more popular on the R&B chart than with the masses.  It spent nine weeks at #1 in 1982.  It's competition wasn't near as strong as others in this range, limiting it from being ranked higher.
"When Doves Cry"

This great song prevailed at #1 on the R&B chart for eight weeks, competing against "Let's Hear It For The Boy", "Ghostbusters" and "Caribbean Queen".


"Let's Groove
Earth, Wind & Fire

This dance number from one of America's greatest groups ended the year 1981 with a bang, dominating the R&B chart for eight weeks.  It was so strong that it made releases from two heavyweights (Kool & the Gang's "Take My Heart" and George Benson's "Turn Your Love Around") look average.


"Let's Get Serious"
Jermaine Jackson

Jermaine's biggest R&B hit landed at #1 for six weeks amidst competition from "Don't Say Goodnight" by the Isley Brothers and "Take Your Time" from the S.O.S. Band.


"Billie Jean"
Michael Jackson

This monster hit achieved nine weeks at #1 and sold well over two million copies.  It's toughest competition came from a Jackson duet with Paul McCartney ("The Girl Is Mine") and George Clinton's "Atomic Dog".


"Sexual Healing"
Marvin Gaye
This smash spent ten weeks at #1; it may have achieved more if not for Evelyn King's great song "Love Come Down". 


"Master Blaster"
Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder's biggest R&B hit of the decade scored seven weeks at #1 in 1980, not as much as some behind it.  Here's why:  It took over at #1 from Tom Browne's "Funkin' For Jamaica", and was replaced by "Celebration" from Kool and the Gang.  When a song is sandwiched between the #14 and #9 songs of the decade, and still lands at #1 for seven weeks, its achievement is greater than a song which may have accumulated more weeks at #1 against lesser competition. 

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