An entire letter in a week. You gotta love that, considering R, S, and T will take a few months. Here’s the entire letter Q for you, as we look at songs that charted no higher than #41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the ’80s.
P.S. Thanks to those that recommended I purchase Pet Shop Boys’Â Yes. I’m glad I did, as it’s a pretty awesome record. I’ve finally been able to cross that and Loz Netto’s Bzar off my list. I didn’t quite like Loz as much, but thanks to the reader who sent that to me as well.
It seems impossible that Stacey Q would have had four hits in the decade, but itâ€™s true. Ms. Q had two dance hits with her group SSQ in 1983 before they decided to just go with the name of their singer and release â€œsoloâ€ material. She had two top 40 hits in 1986 with â€œTwo of Heartsâ€ and â€œWe Connect.â€ â€œShy Girlâ€ was actually on her debut EP in 1985 but released after she had her two big hits. â€œDonâ€™t Make a Fool of Yourselfâ€ is from her third album, Hard Machine.
â€œDancing in Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)â€ — 1989, #75 (download)
Checking in at #4 on my Top 80 Songs of the â€˜80s list, Q-Feelâ€™s â€œDancing in Heavenâ€ to me is the definition of a lost gem. This track was actually way ahead of curve when it was released in 1982 and probably a bit dated when re-released in 1989. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t and still is, totally awesome. It appeared in the movie Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, (1985) but despite this fitting in great during that timeframe, it wasnâ€™t a single then. The voice you hear here popped back up in 1994 with Top 20 single â€œIn the House of Stone and Light,” none other than Martin Page. You gotta love the video here. He’s dressed up like a third string linebacker with a look and mannerism somewhere between Mark Mothersbaugh and Weird Al Yankovic. Seeing this, it’s not surprising they were never a hit.
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Can you believe that Quarterflash had seven Hot 100 hits in the decade? I probably could only sing â€œHarden My Heartâ€ — the rest have faded into obscurity. The early recordings from the group all had pretty much the same saxophone sound to them so they are very easy to pinpoint at Quarterflash songs. Later songs like â€œTalk to Meâ€ still featured the saxophone, but seemed to have much more of a rock edge.
Quatro had been releasing music since 1973, but her peak was between â€™79 and â€™81. Both of these songs sound very â€˜70s but are pretty damn catchy.
â€œPlay the Gameâ€ — 1980, #42 (download)
â€œNeed Your Loving Tonightâ€ — 1980, #44 (download)
â€œFlashâ€ — 1981, #42 (download)
â€œCalling All Girlsâ€ — 1982, #60 (download)
â€œI Want to Break Freeâ€ — 1984, #45 (download)
â€œItâ€™s a Hard Lifeâ€ — 1984, #72 (download)
â€œOne Visionâ€ — 1985, #61 (download)
â€œA Kind of Magicâ€ — 1986, #42 (download)
â€œI Want It Allâ€ — 1989, #50 (download)
The almighty Queen check in with nine of their 14 charting tracks in the decade not making the Top 40. Their nine songs makes them just one away from the Bottom Feeders record of 10 songs, still to come.
â€œPlay the Gameâ€ was somehow released between â€œCrazy Little Thing Called Loveâ€ and â€œAnother One Bites the Dustâ€ and wasnâ€™t a real hit. And the awesome â€œNeed Your Loving Tonightâ€ was the follow up to â€œDustâ€ and also didnâ€™t make it past #44.
â€œFlashâ€ is actually not the version called â€œFlashâ€™s Themeâ€ on the Flash Gordon soundtrack. That version has the dialogue from the opening scene only, while the single version here has dialogue from various points in the movie.
I love Queen, so Iâ€™d like to say otherwise, but 1980â€™s The Game was pretty much the last good record from the group. Hot Space (1982), The Works (1984), A Kind of Magic (1986), and The Miracle (1989) all had brief shining moments, but even the bigger hits like â€œBody Languageâ€ and â€œRadio Ga-Gaâ€ werenâ€™t all that great. A song like â€œOne Visionâ€ tries to rock out but ends up missing the mark by a long shot. â€œI Want It All” really is one of the few Queen singles from the latter half of the decade that really doesnâ€™t try any gimmicks in turning out a straight rock song; in so doing, it ends up being the best single of that era.
â€œMama Weer All Crazee Nowâ€ — 1984, #51 (download)
Quiet Riot flat out sucked. I would definitely like to hear their first two Japanese releases in the late â€˜70s with Randy Rhodes on guitar to see what they sounded like with him. But once QR starting releasing albums in the U.S., they progressively got worse as a band. 1983â€™s Metal Health is passable at best. Past that, the next three (Condition Critical (1984), QRIII (1986) and Quiet Riot (1988) are almost unlistenable. Somehow they kept releasing albums though right up until singer Kevin DuBrow died of a cocaine overdose in 2007.
Best song: Q-Feel, â€œDancing in Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)”
Worst song: Quiet Riot, â€œMama Weer All Crazee Nowâ€
TOP 40 ONLY
Next week, another new letter — R!