Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Top 100 R&B Songs of the 80's*: #20-11

We're featuring the top R&B hits of the decade, which is a different production than the overall best songs from the 80's.  This one only considers how songs performed on the R&B chart.  So you'll see some songs here that were much more popular in the R&B genre than the Popular chart, and vice versa. 
We have produced ten songs per day since we began on August 1, and we are up to #20*.


"Double Dutch Bus"
Frankie Smith

Frankie Smith wrote songs for artists such as the Spinners and the O'Jays before releasing this solo song.  Going against "Give It To Me Baby" by Rick James and "Endless Love", Smith still topped the R&B chart for four weeks in the summer of '81. 


"Rock With You"
Michael Jackson

Rod Temperton, formerly with the group Heatwave ("Boogie Nights" and "Always And Forever") wrote this song for Michael Jackson.  It became the first #1 R&B song of the decade.  MJ remained there for six weeks.

"Give It To Me Baby"
Rick James

This artist was once in a group called the Mynah Birds with two former members of Buffalo Springfield--Neil Young and Bruce Palmer.  We mentioned this song above as being a top competitor for "Double Dutch Bus".  Now here it is.  James scored one of his biggest R&B hits with "Give It To Me Baby", #1 for five weeks.

"Being With You"
Smokey Robinson

This song holds up 33 years later as good as it did when it was released.  Smokey spent five weeks at #1, taking over from another five-week #1, "Don't Stop The Music" by Yarbrough & Peoples.  Robert John, who had the 1979 hit "Sad Eyes", was among the backup singers on the record.

"Don't Stop The Music"
Yarbrough & Peoples

Cavin Yarbrough and Alisa Peoples met while both were taking piano lessons, and they became friends, eventually starting a duo in 1977.   This song won the dual with "Being With You" by virtue of stronger competition--it also had to go against "Burn Rubber" and Lakeside's "Fantastic Voyage" prior to the release of "Being With You".


"Time Will Reveal"

DeBarge had a great decade, and released this song on the heels of the hits "All This Love" and "I Like It"--this one fought it out for positioning with Lionel Richie's "All Night Long", "Joanna", and "If Only You Knew" by Patti LaBelle to score five weeks at #1.


"Funkin' For Jamaica"
Tom Browne

Against arguably the toughest R&B competition of the decade, this song by jazz trumpeter Tom Browne still emerged as a #1 song for four weeks.  It had to rise up through Diana Ross's "Upside Down", "Give Me The Night" by George Benson and Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster", among others to get there.   


"Endless Love"
Diana Ross & Lionel Richie

Here'a  superstar combination that paid off.  Diana Ross had left Motown two months before to ink a $20 million deal with RCA Records.  Lionel Richie had just left his group the Commodores, so it was perfect timing.  Ross & Richie topped "Double Dutch Bus" and "When She Was My Girl" to score a #1 smash of seven weeks.


"Love Came Down"
Evelyn King

The lady who gave us "Shame" in 1978 continued right on making solid R&B music.  Her 1982 smash was out the same time as releases by two giants--"Jump To It" by Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing".  Yet King still jumped to #1 for five weeks.


"Take Your Time (Do It Right)
S.O.S. Band

The seven-member S.O.S. Band came to the rescue with this smash from 1980.  Their first release sold over two million copies.  It took over from Jermaine Jackson's "Let's Get Serious", and also fended off "One In A Million You" and "Upside Down".
Thus, we have climbed to the verge of the Top 10, and you'll get to hear that tomorrow on Inside The Rock Era!

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