Andy Sullivan: Against the Grain
Every weekend, the ‘60’s, ‘70’s, ‘80’s and ‘90’s channels on Sirius XM re-air the Top 40 Countdown for the corresponding week. Saturday August 24, I was listening to the ‘80’s on 8 replay of the 1981 countdown for that week. It didn’t take me long to notice that there were a lot of country songs mixed in the countdown. MTV was just a few weeks old and hadn’t gotten yet gotten their hooks into the music industry. It was common to see pop songs and country songs side-by-side on the charts.
On the countdown this particular week were Ronnie Milsap’s “There Aint No Getting Over Me”, Juice Newton’s “Queen Of Hearts”, and the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira”. Also on this countdown was “Slow Hand” by the Pointer Sisters. “Wait a minute, the Conway Twitty song”. You ask? Nope. Twitty’s version. Released in 1982, was a cover of the Pointer Sisters’ 1981 hit. On the countdown as well was the Carpenters’ final chart hit, “Touch Me While We’re Dancin’”. You might be asking “wasn’t that an Alabama song”? Yes, but they weren’t the first to record the song. Neither were the Carpenters. Session group Bama(not Alabama) first recorded the song. They never released the track as a single. The Carpenters’ version peaked at #10. Alabama took the song to #1 in 1986.
Here’s a few bits of trivia for you. Do you know what the #1 pop song was when MTV debuted? “Jesse’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. Here’s a little bit about Rick you might not know: he’s also an actor. He was on Six Million Dollar Man, Battlestar Galactica as well as other bit parts. His biggest role, however, was Dr Noah Drake from ’81-’83 on General Hospital. He would reprise the role decades later.
You can learn a lot from listening to the radio.