In late November 2012 I wrote a lengthy post listing all the songs that reached #1 on my personal Top 10 Singles Charts from 1983 to 2001. Reaching the top spot, or any position in between, was the sign of a hit song as far as I was concerned. Musical immortality was earned by hitting #1 on my own chart, not on anyone else’s.
Hundreds upon hundreds of songs hit my chart over the course of eighteen years. Many of the greats, however, never saw a single chart week. The following is a list of songs that I consider classics, but I am sad to say that none of them hit #1 on my chart. In fact, the purpose of this post is to share with you songs that never even cracked my top ten. These are songs that I think about all the time, way more often than many past #1’s. Yet for some reason, they never hit my chart. I am a night owl and one can often find me bouncing along to these songs’ videos on YouTube. Why do I always seem to get my musical kicks at two in the morning?
While there are certainly many songs that could have made this list, they do not have the lasting impact of the ones I decided to write about. I share with you my uncharted classics, in a rough chronological order of release date:
“10-9-8” by Face to Face (1984)
I don’t believe this single was even released in Canada, but it was featured almost on a weekly basis on an American video show called “Hot”. This show was hosted by Claud Mann and I believe aired only during the summer of 1984. The actual video for this song has been pulled from YouTube but it will likely be uploaded again, before the lawyers get word about it. I found the 12″ single and full-length album by Face to Face at a second-hand record store in Boston, the band’s hometown.
“We Close Our Eyes” by Go West (1985)
“Call Me” by Go West (1985)
Yes, both songs, which got constant airplay on the radio stations I listened to. The debut album by Go West is fantastic; so why didn’t I chart either of its first two singles? I even bought the 12″ of “Call Me”. Who knows why I never charted either song, but particularly eventful chart weeks might see some songs struggle to scrape into the top ten if stronger songs don’t want to leave just yet. I recall that I charted the album Go West at an unofficial #11, a testament to how strong it is.
“The Captain of Her Heart” by Double (1985)
A sad, slow song, heavy on the piano. In Canada our video shows played only the studio version (above), not the video shot with all the beautiful women, re-shot for American audiences. I am still in love with the woman in that video with the long grey hair:
I can transport myself to instant sadness and solemn regretful reminiscences as I hear singer Kurt Maloo’s voice, and the short piano solo. What makes me even sadder is recalling that Felix Haug, the pianist, died of a heart attack in 2004. I own the 12″ EP, yet never charted it, but think about it all the time.
“Never as Good as the First Time” by Sade (1986)
The rare male voice that starts this Sade song, and stays throughout the song, plus the pulsating beat in synch with the horse Sade is riding in the music video combine to make an infectious hit. This is my favourite Sade song of all. Three of their songs hit my charts (“The Sweetest Taboo” reached #2; “Paradise” hit #8 and “Smooth Operator” hit #9) yet the song I constantly think about was a no-show.
“Never Can Say Goodbye” by the Communards (1987)
Soaring vocals and a dance beat that will lift you off your seat to the dance floor. I have the 12″ of this yet never charted it. You gotta hear the extended dance mix!
“Overnight Success” by Anita Pointer (1987)
I am a huge Pointer Sisters fan and there was a lot of press and publicity when Anita branched out and recorded her first solo album. I most certainly bought it, yet for whatever reasons never charted her debut single. As I compiled my chart week after week, I always maintained a list of “possible top tens”, songs that were gaining which might displace those that were currently on the chart. “Overnight Success” was a possible top ten for weeks on end, yet never made it. I did rank it at an unofficial #11, though.
“Fire” [live] by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band (1987)
The Pointer Sisters connection continues. Springsteen wrote this song which the Pointers recorded, and took to #2 on Billboard in 1978. He and the E Street Band released their own version as the second single from Live/1975-85 (itself a #1 album on my own chart) yet I never charted it as a top ten. Like “Overnight Success”, I recall the many weeks “Fire” remained as a possible top ten, and it too was given an unofficial #11 ranking. Springsteen has had numerous top tens on my chart, including a #1, a feat that has eluded him in the US. His sole #1 on my chart was “Brilliant Disguise”.
“Tell Me When” by the Human League (1994)
One of the Human League’s best songs; thankfully it scraped into the top forty on the US Billboard chart. Fast lyrics and gorgeous fashions in the video, shot in Prague. The song comes from the album Octopus, which I own, and is a highlight of Human League’s oeuvre.
“don’t make me wait” by loveland featuring the voice of Rachel McFarlane (1995)
In all my years of nightclubbing, no song would get me onto the dance floor with such an exuberant rush as this. I always heard a special club remix–one that I have never found in the stores or on-line. The video version of the song has been edited to radio length, and the pace is a lot slower than the dance mix I like. Perhaps I never charted it because the versions on the CD EP were not the versions I heard in the club? Sadly, loveland member Paul Waterman has also passed away.