Rest in peace, James Ingram: “Just Once” (1981)

Word circulated this afternoon that Grammy-award winning singer James Ingram passed away today at the age of 66. In total Ingram put 21 records on the Billboard R&B chart and crossed over to the Pop chart 11 times. All but three of those songs made the Top 40, and two of them - "Baby Come … Continue reading Rest in peace, James Ingram: “Just Once” (1981)

A letter from camp: WLS Top Forty-Fives, June 27, 1981

(Above: The author at Student Council camp, June 1981. This does not look like camping.) "Is the baseball strike over?" That was the first question I had for my parents when I saw them on June 27, 1981.  They had come to pick me up from a week away at camp - the only such … Continue reading A letter from camp: WLS Top Forty-Fives, June 27, 1981

Congratulations to Johnny B! Johnny and the Leisure Suits, “Just Havin’ Fun” (1981)

(Above: In the early 90s, in Chicago, you had this CD. It was the law.) The Hyper Rooster is in the Hall. For the second year in a row a local Chicago radio legend has gotten the call for the Radio Hall of Fame.  Jonathon Brandmeier, who held down mornings at WLUP in Chicago through … Continue reading Congratulations to Johnny B! Johnny and the Leisure Suits, “Just Havin’ Fun” (1981)

Great lost hit: Billy and the Beaters, “I Can Take Care Of Myself” (1981)

(Above: The Rhino re-release had a picture sleeve. I don't think the original did.) Early summer of 1981 wasn't a whole lot of fun for me. I was in-between seventh and eighth grades, and - I keep threatening to write about this - junior high school was probably my least favorite time in life. Major … Continue reading Great lost hit: Billy and the Beaters, “I Can Take Care Of Myself” (1981)

Who Did It First? PhD, “Little Suzi’s On The Up” (1981)

Today marks the first in a new series of posts that I hope to continue: Who Did It First? Many of the songs we enjoy had lives before they were hits.  Sometimes, it's simply a case of the wrong song at the wrong time.  Sometimes, it's sheer luck that something becomes a hit in the … Continue reading Who Did It First? PhD, “Little Suzi’s On The Up” (1981)

Glittering prizes and endless compromises: Rush, “The Spirit of Radio” (1981)

Sometimes a song has two distinct memories, and it's hard to decide which one is more powerful.  Today is your lucky day, for you get both of them. In 1982 I was a freshman at Victor J. Andrew High School in Tinley Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. My formative years were spent between Tinley … Continue reading Glittering prizes and endless compromises: Rush, “The Spirit of Radio” (1981)