…and now, for something a little different.
Thomas Inskeep and I have spent the last six Jheri Curl Chronicles episodes discussing the #1 R&B songs of the 1980s in chronological order. Episode 6 closed out 1981 with an Earth, Wind & Fire-sized bang.
Before we get into 1982, however, Thomas and I wanted to take an episode to chat about the runners-up, the songs that didn’t quite lift into the top spot. So, we devoted an episode-this episode specifically-to all of the #2 R&B songs of 1980 and 1981. We don’t discuss them in order, and some songs get a passing mention while others get discussed more in depth. This podcast has a bit more of a loosey-goosey feel than our regular episodes, and we hope you enjoy it just as much as you have the others.
And now, here are some show notes for you:
-First song up is “Funkytown” by Lipps, Inc. Believe it or not, this was the first big hit record by a Minneapolis musician in the 1980s. And, yes: Lipps, Inc’s Cynthia Johnson does have a Prince connection. We also dredge up memories of this awful cover, which hit the pop top 10 barely 7 years after the original.
-Leon Haywood figures twice in this episode; as the performer of “Don’t Push It, Don’t Force It” and as the writer of Carl Carlton’s monster smash “She’s A Bad Mama Jama (She’s Built, She’s Stacked)”. You can say Mr. Haywood, who was just one of 2016’s many musical departures (so far), had a way with song titles.
-How did the guys that made “Bohemian Rhapsody” score a #2 hit on the soul charts? Well, take a lot of Chic, a suggestion from Michael Jackson, and voila. History made. Did you know that Wyclef Jean remade “Another One Bites The Dust” with a little help from a future BET VJ?
-Speaking of MJ, he and his brothers had a pair of #2s during this period, including the immortal “Heartbreak/This Place Hotel”. Despite not having a #1 from either of their most highly regarded albums (Destiny and Triumph), The Jacksons more than made up for it by virtue of near-constant play on dance floors. This trend continues today.
-Teddy P. is in the house! He scored a #1 towards the end of the decade, but “Love T.K.O.” was arguably his most smokin’ 80s jam. It was so good even Bette Midler couldn’t ruin it. We also talk about T.P.’s chemistry with frequent duet partner Stephanie Mills, and the convoluted family tree of the Cooke/Womacks, two of whom wrote “Love T.K.O.”
-Teenager Stacy Lattisaw found love on a two-way street, and found her biggest hit of the decade in the Moments’ catalog.
We’ll be back to our “regularly scheduled program” in the next episode, but we certainly hope you enjoyed this little diversion through some songs that were almost as big (and in some cases, more fondly remembered) than the tracks we normally cover.
We are taking questions from the audience!! If you have a request or a question for me or Thomas, drop one of us a DM on Twitter and we’ll answer it. Chart geeks like our friend Chris Molanphy are welcome to ask as many questions as they’d like!
There are a variety of ways you can enjoy this podcast. You can listen in the player below, download the mp3 file directly to your computer or device, stream the show on Liberated Syndication, or you can subscribe to the Blerd Radio family of podcasts on ye olde iTunes. Enjoy!