Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Top 100 R&B Songs of the 80's*: #40-31

Inside The Rock Era is celebrating the top R&B songs of the 80's this summer with the cream of the crop in this music special.  We have counted our way down to #40:


"Jump To It"
Aretha Franklin



Aretha called on Luther Vandross to produce this album, which gave Franklin her first Gold record in six years.  Both the song and album were nominated for Grammy Awards.  "Jump To It" took over at #1 on the R&B chart from "Dance Floor" by Zapp, and also competed with Jennifer Holliday's great song "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "Love Come Down" from Evelyn King. 


"Love T.K.O."
Teddy Pendergrass

At #39*, one of the early songs from the 80's.  Teddy Pendergrass was the lead singer for Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 70's--they placed "Wake Up Everybody", "The Love I Lost", and "If You Don't Know Me By Now" in The Top 100 R&B Songs of the 70's*.  Teddy went solo in 1977, and enjoyed one of his biggest solo hits in 1980.  It stopped at # 2 for six weeks behind Michael Jackson's "Rock With You".



"She's A Bad Mama Jama"
Carl Carlton

Most music fans know Carl Carlton from his song "Everlasting Love", which was his biggest hit.  R&B fans also know him for this smash from 1981 that spent eight weeks at #2
behind "Give It To Me Baby" by Rick James and "Double Dutch Bus" from Frankie Smith.


"The Way You Make Me Feel"
Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson closed out the year 1987 in style with this song, #1 for four weeks on the R&B chart.  The competition wasn't as strong as some others, but "The Way You Make Me Feel" did go Platinum.  Its sales, however, have dropped off significantly because of limited exposure on YouTube.



"If Only You Knew"
Patti LaBelle

Here's one of the early R&B killers of 1984, competing against "Time Will Reveal", "Joanna", and "Somebody's Watching Me".  It is by the woman with the dynamic voice, Patti LaBelle, who achieved a grand slam by being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, the Apollo Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


"She Works Hard For The Money"
Donna Summer

Donna Summer was of course one of the heavyweights of the 70's, but when the new decade rolled around, she proved she still had it with this song.  "She Works Hard For The Money" hit #1 for three weeks, wrestling the crown away from Mtume's "Juicy Fruit", and also competing against "Cold Blooded".



"Rock Me Tonight (For Old Times Sake)"
Freddie Jackson

This smooth talker burst onto the scene with this great soul record.  If you're not a regular follower of the R&B scene, this should let you know how big this song was in the genre in 1985:  it took over at #1 from "You Give Good Love", forcing superstar Whitney Houston to relinquish the spot after just one week.  Freddie Jackson was in no mood to quit, either, and "Rock Me Tonight" stayed at the top for six weeks.


"Somebody's Watching Me"

The son of Motown Records CEO Berry Gordy had his one big hit with this one, assisted by Michael Jackson.  This R&B smash spent five weeks at #1, competing against Patti LaBelle's "If Only You Knew", "She's Strange" by Cameo, and "Hello".


Lionel Richie

This multi-format smash did not reach #1 on the R&B chart, but it logged nine weeks at #2, kept out by Evelyn King's "Love Came Down" and by "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye.


"One In A Million You"
Larry Graham

Larry Graham was a member of Sly & the Family Stone, but I don't think most music fans realized the amazing caliber of his voice until he released this solo record in 1980.  This was #1 for two weeks, fighting "Take Your Time" and "Upside Down" for position.

So there you are; you're up to date with the newest installment of The Top 100 R&B Songs of the 80's* with ten incredible songs.  Join us tomorrow as we continue with Songs #30-21*!

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