May 8
Music Party #13's

The Party #13’s starts with the iconic “Safety Dance” from Men Without Hats. It was written by the lead singer in response to being kicked out of a club for pogo dancing, a form of dancing that was becoming popular with new wavers. The following year “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” by Yes landed at #13 and was their only Hot 100 #1 song. 1985 saw another Hot 100 #1, “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister take the unlucky number.

In the ‘90s the ladies dominated the #13 position. Bonnie Raitt’s Something To Talk About” in 1991. The fabulous “Sleeping Satellite” by Tasmin Archer in 1994 followed by Sheryl Crow’s debut hit “All I Wanna Do” in ’94, and then by Natalie Merchant’s solo debut “Carnival in ’95. The unbroken heart of Toni Braxton was at the position in 1996 and the end of the decade saw back-to-back Madonna songs, “The Power Of Goodbye” and “Beautiful Stranger” in 98/99. Overall I really lost interest in her as the decade progressed.

In 2003 the Russian duo T.A.T.U. scored with “All The Things She Said”, their only hit in the States. In 2005 it was “Take Me Out” by Scottish band Franz Ferdinand. A #3 UK and alternative hit, it was chosen as the #1 song of the year on the Village Voice’s Pazz and Jop poll and also on the Australian influential alt station Triple J. The Welsh singer Duffy came in at 13 in 2009 with the very Amy Winehouse-ish “Mercy”.

Shinedown’s “If You Only Knew” is one of 4 songs that made the party top 50 from the album “The Sound of Madness”. This one was a pop and rock hit and still sounds great. The other entries from the album were “Sound of Madness (#26), “The Crown and The Butterfly (#20 and talked about on the next episode of the Beyond Radio presents podcast), and their biggest pop hit “Second Chance (#4).

More rock showed up at #13 in 2012 (“Gold On The Ceiling” by the Black Keys), Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” in 2015, the cover of the Cranberries “Zombie” by Bad Wolves in 2018, and the unlikely combo of Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapleton, and Bruno Mars on the blistering “Blow” in 2020. If you haven’t heard that one, I highly recommend.

May 8
Music Party #13's

The Party #13’s starts with the iconic “Safety Dance” from Men Without Hats. It was written by the lead singer in response to being kicked out of a club for pogo dancing, a form of dancing that was becoming popular with new wavers. The following year “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” by Yes landed at #13 and was their only Hot 100 #1 song. 1985 saw another Hot 100 #1, “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister take the unlucky number.

In the ‘90s the ladies dominated the #13 position. Bonnie Raitt’s Something To Talk About” in 1991. The fabulous “Sleeping Satellite” by Tasmin Archer in 1994 followed by Sheryl Crow’s debut hit “All I Wanna Do” in ’94, and then by Natalie Merchant’s solo debut “Carnival in ’95. The unbroken heart of Toni Braxton was at the position in 1996 and the end of the decade saw back-to-back Madonna songs, “The Power Of Goodbye” and “Beautiful Stranger” in 98/99. Overall I really lost interest in her as the decade progressed.

In 2003 the Russian duo T.A.T.U. scored with “All The Things She Said”, their only hit in the States. In 2005 it was “Take Me Out” by Scottish band Franz Ferdinand. A #3 UK and alternative hit, it was chosen as the #1 song of the year on the Village Voice’s Pazz and Jop poll and also on the Australian influential alt station Triple J. The Welsh singer Duffy came in at 13 in 2009 with the very Amy Winehouse-ish “Mercy”.

Shinedown’s “If You Only Knew” is one of 4 songs that made the party top 50 from the album “The Sound of Madness”. This one was a pop and rock hit and still sounds great. The other entries from the album were “Sound of Madness (#26), “The Crown and The Butterfly (#20 and talked about on the next episode of the Beyond Radio presents podcast), and their biggest pop hit “Second Chance (#4).

More rock showed up at #13 in 2012 (“Gold On The Ceiling” by the Black Keys), Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” in 2015, the cover of the Cranberries “Zombie” by Bad Wolves in 2018, and the unlikely combo of Ed Sheeran, Chris Stapleton, and Bruno Mars on the blistering “Blow” in 2020. If you haven’t heard that one, I highly recommend.

Apr 23
Music Party #17's

The first #17 was one of my sister's favorites of 1983 (possibly her #1), Adam Ant's "Goody Two Shoes". His debut solo single, it only reached #12 on the Hot 100 but I think it would have possibly made the top if MTV airplay was included in that chart.

I was listening to the playlist the other day in Uber when this next song came on. My passenger was so excited to be hearing a Backstreet Boys song (her favorite artist). We had a lively discussion about music and she shared that she has had a number of bad Uber rides and it became a thing she often shared with her friends and co-workers. She said this was her best Uber ride ever and a positive way to start the day. I love when those things happen. Other than my connection to music and the joy that the podcast brings me, Uber is the most gratifying job I have ever had. One-on-one connections that lift the spirit.

Imagine Dragons had back-to-back #17's and Pink had 2 with Bandi Carlile's "The Joke" separating them.

My least favorite #17 came in 2021 and perhaps is in my top 5 worst songs of all-time is "WAP" by Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion. Nuff said about that. It sits between 2 cool entries, Lizzo's "Boys" in 2020 (and should have been a hit) and last year's "How Not To Drown" by Chvrches & Robert Smith of the Cure. This is by far my favorite Chvrches song, spending 2 weeks at #1 on my weekly chart and a welcome return to the airwaves for Smith.

The most interesting song to grace the #17's is Just Jack's "Starz In Their Eyes" in 2008. It was a #2 hit in the UK in 2007. It only reached #63 on my weekly chart and I know it clicked with a small circle of participants.

Apr 16
Music Party Playlist, the 19's

Just listened to the "Music Party #19's" playlist. Starts with "Synchronicity II" by The Police and features some big songs like "I Will Always Love You", "One Sweet Day", and "Hey Ya".

But my 2 favorites are from back-to-back years 2001 and 2002. In 2001 "Rockin' The Suburbs" by Ben Folds is a tongue-in-cheek parody of angsty young rock artists "y'all don't know what it's like, being male, middle-class and white". And the album is one of my all-time favorites. In 2002 it was Raul Malo's Spanish-influenced "I Said I Love You" which clicked with our inner circle. From another superior album, "Today".

Another highlight is "Breathe Me" by Sia which was featured in the closing sequence of the series "Six Feet Under", a brilliant piece of art.

Apr 12
Manic Bloom Interview

This was the most gorgeous conversation with one of my favorite bands. If you haven't listened to the 2 part episode featuring the band ( episodes 5 and 6 of Castlist 009) this is a great introduction. It is a wonderful music therapy session filled with talk of the struggles bands go through, the triumph of brotherhood, and how spirituality and humanity bond us together. A truly special Moment and perfect for release when Easter, Passover, and Ramadan intersect. And it won't be the last time you hear from the band.

Mar 21
Beyond Radio Presents 2-Part Episode

In these episodes an overarching theme about searching for a higher plane/higher power became an unexpected narrative. The conversation revolves around one of my favorite little-known bands and connections are made to Queen, Live, Muse, U2 and Radiohead.

We start with a brand-new song from the lead singer of a long running Adult Alternative leaning band and segueing to a huge '90s song from a one-hit wonder. That band becomes the catalyst for the narrative, and it goes to wonderful places.

The central figure band deserves to be heard by the masses. Hailing from Nashville, a music city where anything goes, they describe themselves, Epic Melodic Rock. I hope you'll listen, give feedback, and delve deeper into their music.

The next episode after these 2 will be an interview with the band, which will lead to a new podcast project in the Beyond Radio presents universe.

Mar 3
Beyond Radio Presents - Castlist 009 - Ep 4 - Retro Song Trilogy

This is a long episode but has 3 sections so easy to take a break between sections. The first section is a followup to our Hopeful Boy Pop episode where we re-visit previous artists and songs discussed while bringing in some new stuff as well. Through it we stumble upon a new trend, the sped up or slowed down versions of songs.


Section 2 highlights a number of songs from 1972 that have had greater impact on me now, 50 years later. This is part of a yearly project that I prompted myself to do a bit after the podcast started in 2018. This leads into a look at, IMO, some of the worst songs of the '70s and a couple of bands from the era that I want to dive deeper into.


Section 3 jumps to 1992, which saw a mix up in my top 6 songs of the year, with the new #1 of 1992 now possibly in my top 10 of all-time.


The Beyond Radio 250 comes back this week but in an entirely different form. It is currently my weekly personal chart. It may morph into somewhat of a mix with some other factors. I had stopped compiling the chart back in December 2021 as it was just too time consuming to process even monthly. My focus for a long time now has been the podcast, which is the true joy of my music life. It is a unique bridge between music nostalgia and music discovery and a great vehicle for learning background information and connections of artists from the past, while connecting them to current music. It has also led to the discovery of more music from the past for me. All the songs that Jeff and I discuss can be found on the Spotify playlists that correspond to each season of the podcast (lovingly called the Pod-Castlist). Here are the playlists for the current season and my personal chart, which I update every 2 months.


If you Follow me on Spotify you will also find playlists associated with my annual music party, the 40th annual will be held this June. I am making playlists for each chart position in the top 50 of the year. A chronological playlist starting with the songs of 1983. I have completed the playlists for positions 31-50 and playlists for positions 21-30 will appear during March. In Spotify type beyondradio (as one word) in the search box, click on profiles and you'll see my face and name (Tim Harris). Or go directly to it here:

Dec 29
Beyond Radio Presents: Number One Contenders

You can follow all the podcasts on Spotify and you can also access them through the podcast tab above. In this episode, I compare 2 versions of the same song, one that did not excite me and the other spent 8 weeks atop my personal chart. With that 2 month stay at the top in mind, I talk about potential #1 contenders, songs that missed the mark because of it, and some of its predecessors this year.


This has happened in the past with the song "Meet On The Ledge" by Fairport Convention. I was no fan of that song, easily on a hated list but when Counting Crows covered it, the song spent 4 weeks at #1 on my personal chart.

Dec 22
The Music Party 49's, Year-End looking backwards

The original #49 was ironically the song that topped the 1982 list that was compiled for this past summer’s party.”1999” by Prince was released in September 82 and peaked at #44 on the Hot 100 but saw the bulk of its success in 1983 after “Little Red Corvette” became a top 5 hit in the spring.



Over the course of the parties the 49’s saw food (Edamame, candy and cherries), along with “Something In Your Mouth” and “Something Just Like This”. There were also songs about sunshine, lightning and the night.


In back-to-back years (2015-16) there was “Same Damn Life” and Déjà Vu”. In 20011 & 2012 “S&M” led to a “Good Feeling” (oh there are Pornographers in the mix too, well new ones). 2 remakes of 70’s tunes also made the grade in 2001 and 2003.


In 2017 Chris Cornell pondered “Our Time In The Universe” from the 2015 album “Higher Truth”, the same year he left our planet. In 2006 the title tune from the movie version of “Rent” showed up on the list. Its creator Jonathan Larson lost his life the day of the first Off-Broadway preview of the musical in 1996. The 2021 film “Tick Tick…Boom” was based on events in Larson’s life as a struggling composer and playwright. Andrew Garfield won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Larson.


By far my favorite song at #49 through the years is the Jellyfish tune “Joining A Fan Club” from the 1993 album “Spilt Milk”. This song was a favorite among our circle of friends at the time and is an important part of our personal soundtrack and probably in my top 100 songs of all time. It is an epic, satirical look at Fanclub-dom, from the traditional

(“Joining a fan club with my friends Filling our bathtubs with T-shirts and 8 x 10's.”)

to the holy

(“Mom's writing checks to the minister in the corner singing "dig down deep" Cause if you wanna go to heaven all you gotta do is pay to pray.”)

This is Power-Pop at its finest. The instrumental bridge from 2:08 to 3:08 is blistering yet melodic with many layers. The short-lived band (only 2 early ‘90s albums) certainly maintains a cult following and a few of the members are now the Lickerish Quartet. In the past 2 years they have released 3 EP’s (Threesome Vol.1, 2, and 3) and have reached my top 10 4 times with 2 #1’s.


Before the website debuted in 1995 I had a newsletter called Musicscape. In it I compiled a chart based on friends doing their own weekly personal chart along with information on new releases. It was a small group of people and it started before I discovered hundreds of people on the internet who posted their own personal charts. During the life of the newsletter (mid-1993 to early spring 1994) “Joining A Fan Club” reached #11 and spent over half a year on the chart. I still have some of the newsletters I produced and looking back it seems so quaint. This was still a time when personal computers were a relatively new thing, and I was still putting the countdown for the party on cassette tapes. I still have most of those as well. Oh, the olden days.


Speaking of the olden days, this time of year has me reflecting on past decades and assessing how I feel about the music in current day. This year I look back at 1972, 82, etc. The new1972 list saw some major differences from the past. I did not do a personal chart in 1972. It was 1974 when I commenced my weekly list. Going back a little over 20 years ago I compiled my first top 25 of 72 but clearly, I did not give it a lot of thought.


The current top 25 is completely reflective of how I feel about these songs now. “Conquistador” has always been a potent entry for me but “American Pie” took a big dip, going from #1 to #21. The biggest drop was “Layla” which fell from #16 to #122. “Conquistador” transports me right back to my 11-year-old self and was an early indicator of my love for a rock/orchestra mix. The Electric Light Orchestra was a favorite band of the late ‘70s and show up for the first time here at #11 with “10538 Overture”.



The big winners in my top 250 of 1972 were the Partridge Family (23 entries-4 in the top 25) and Elton John (12 entries-2 in the top 25). It was an absolute pleasure to re-discover “Never Been To Spain” by Three Dog Night. I feel like I’ve listened to this song like it’s a new one this year, though I have vivid memories of this from childhood. A great build on this song, it’s my favorite by the band now. They were a solid band for me in the early ‘70s.



Unfortunately, The Honey Cone’s “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” is not available on Spotify. The Motown-esque girl group is best known for their #1 song “Want Ads” from 1971. This single reached #15 on the Hot 100. It was a bright spot in R&B at time as so much of that genre had a heaviness over it. Even many of the love songs had a gloom over them (i.e. Al Green, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”-one of the creepiest songs I know).



The Carpenters manage 3 songs in the top 25, one of those being the album cut “Road Ode” (#25), a great song showing the dynamic between quiet verses and lush and expansive chorus. A song I had completely forgotten about shows up at #13. Chi Coltrane’s “Thunder And Lightning”, a rollicking blues-pop jam. The song hit #17 on the Hot 100 and according to Wikipedia it was a #1 record in New York City. That makes sense since I grew up in North Jersey. I can see how this song would lead to my appreciation of Bonnie Raitt. Sadly Coltrane ended up as a one-hit-wonder.





2        1        PROCOL HARUM        Conquistador

x        2        THREE DOG NIGHT    Never Been To Spain

8        3        THE HONEY CONE     One Monkey Don't Stop No Show

x        4        PARTRIDGE FAMILY If You Ever Go

x        5        THE OSMONDS  Down By The Lazy River

x        6        PARTRIDGE FAMILY Maybe Someday

x        7        BOZ SCAGGS     Dinah Flo

12      8        RASPBERRIES    Go All The Way

13      9        THE CARPENTERS     Goodbye To Love

10      10      CLIMAX    Precious And Few

x        11      ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA  10538 Overture

6        12      BEE GEES Run To Me

x        13      CHI COLTRANE Thunder And Lightning

x        14      PARTRIDGE FAMILY Last Night

11      15      THE CARPENTERS     Hurting Each Other

14      16      ELTON JOHN     Tiny Dancer

x        17      PARTRIDGE FAMILY Love Must Be The Answer

22      18      THREE DOG NIGHT    Black & White

5        19      AMERICA  I Need You

24      20      ELTON JOHN     Rocket Man (I Think It's Gonna Be A Long, Long Time)

1        21      DON MCLEAN    American Pie

x        22      JOHN LENNON  Happy Xmas (The War Is Over)

x        23      DANIEL BOONE Beautiful Sunday

20      24      NILSSON   Without You

x        25      THE CARPENTERS     Road Ode

Dec 15
Countdown to the Annual Music Party

This coming June with be my 40th annual music party. We go in-depth about the music party on the 5 episodes from Castlist 002 of the Beyond Radio Presents podcast. For those not in the know, the first party was in January 1984 and counted down the top 125 of the year based on a group of my friends' top 50's of 1983 (David Bowie's "Modern Love" was the first #1). By the mid-90's the party had morphed into a summer party and soon became a weekend event and really an annual reunion of friends and family. I did not know when I had the initial idea that it would go on for this long but I am blessed that it has. 

My life has been one immersed in music, starting with The Partridge Family (the bulk of episodes from Castlist 001 relate PFam songs to some of the genres that I have gravitated towards), leading into my weekly personal chart, the music party, and then this website. During the first 20 years of the website it was mainly focused on the charts I compiled from personal charts from across the globe. All of these things fueled my insatiable search for new music.

Once I started the podcast in 2018 that has become my main focus and it has been a true joy to produce. The premise of the podcast, where music nostalgia and music discovery collide, made me look backward as well as forwards. What a gift it is to sift through my history with music and create a way for people to discover music through my lens (and of course my podcast partner Jeff Morris' as well). It was his suggestion that I do a podcast so the gift really came from him.

The 40th annual music party is scheduled for June 24, 2023. In leading up to that I decided to make a series of playlists that feature the songs that attained each position in the top 50 each year. The first playlist is all the #50's from the last 39 years. The playlists won't always have 39 songs as some songs ended up performing better the following year they hit a certain position.

The songs are in chronological order and are a mix of well-known and obscure songs. Typically the participation of submissions would be anywhere from 20 to 50 people so in the years where there were fewer it was easier for songs that were not big hits to reach the top 50. This past summer there was substantially less participation which allowed "Coconuts" by Kim Petras reach #4 and the remake of Reba McEntire's "Does He Love Me" with Dolly Parton come in at #6. I personally love the eclectic mix that the party countdown provides.

The first #50 was the Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Seen The Rain" as done by Bonnie Tyler (maybe a travesty to some but it turned the song into a grandiose upbeat anthem). The signature production by Jim Steinman is evident. Ironically Steinman's muse Meat Loaf showed up at #50 11 years later  with "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)". In 2020 the song "Die To Live" by the Danish metal band Volbeat was #50 and with it's mix of metal and boogie-woogie horns it is very reminiscent of Meat Loaf's addition to the Rocky Horror movie "Hot Patootie-Bless My Soul". We discussed this in an episode of the podcast but with 65 episodes I'm not sure which one (we've easily discussed over 1000 songs thus far).

To show the diversity of the countdown, #50 in the last 4 years has been by Barbra Streisand, Volbeat, Blake Shelton, and Jack White. Shelton shows up another time with a largely overlooked duet that went to #4 in Iceland in 2013. There's also a punk band with a transgender lead singer, a poignant song about a father and son by a British singer-songwriter, a Canadian 2-hit wonder from 1993, and a lip-syncing duo.

Dec 6
Beyond Radio Presents - Castlist 009, Episodes 1 and 2

Oh My! I've updated my personal chart on the right. It's the first time since February. I will be making a concerted effort add more content here.

Below are the 2 latest episodes of the podcast and some current playlists I have. At the end of the year I look back 10, 20 years etc. and reassess my favorites. I have 2 of those playlists ready, 1972 and 1992. I will be posting my year end chart and playlist soon, along with the 1982, 2002 and 2012 playlists. You can follow me on Spotify by typing beyondradio in the search box and going down to profiles. You'll see Tim Harris, that's me.

Episode 1 - Super Quirky Cordiale

Artists discussed:



The Go! Team


Lime Cordiale


Blood Cultures

Henry Gross

Bright Light Bright Light


Episode 2 - New For Jeff 2022

Artists discussed:


Echo and the Bunnymen


Cabaret Voltaire


Rui Da Silva

LCD Soundsystem

July Talk

Nine Inch Nails

Oct 10
Beyond Radio Presents - Castlist 008 - Ep 12 - Music Party Recap 2022

The latest Beyond Radio Presents episode is available for your listening pleasure.

In this episode, we look back at my 39th Annual Music Party that happened at the end of June. It had been a long time since Jeff & his wife Jen were both at the party. We look back at the best songs of 21/22 and 1982 according to the participants. They did choose songs for the 1982 list but not the current year so I let Jeff know how the songs I know he liked from the past year might have affected the outcome if he submitted a list.

We end the episode with a fun band that Jeff and Jen were going to see live. In the end that band figures in nicely with the time of year.

Sep 21


This was such a fun episode. It was supposed to be the beginning of an episode that recaps this summer's music party but it became an entity unto itself.

I present a number of songs that have impacted Pop radio in the States in recent months to Jeff, exploring a trend that I am seeing develop. Inadvertently, as is often the case, I am led to an artist that I did not know would fit the narrative, and in the end, I interview him and his production partner; the first artist interview since beginning the podcast in 2018.

There is a magical moment that happens with his music, perhaps one of my favorite moments ever (certainly in the top 10). Snippets of the interview are included and the full interview is its own episode.

Towards the end of the episode, I bring up an episode of Switched On Pop (a great podcast) and explore a number of spoken word songs over music. Jeff's comments often can lead to the opening or closing song to the episode and this time both.

Opening Song - "Empty Nesters" by Toro Y Moi

Closing Song - "Find My Way" by Gabe Dixon

On Spotify Through the website

EP 11 - Daniel Blair Interview

This episode is the full interview I had with Daniel Blair and his production partner Jackson Harbour. We had a blast.

On Spotify Through the Website

Aug 30
Beyond Radio Presents - Castlist 008 - Ep 9 - Gang Of Youths
This is an artist-centric episode though as has been typical lately, I have a song for Jeff to hear for the first time before we get into things, Stories about my Mom and my Dad fit nicely into the narrative. A couple of perennial favorites from past episodes show up in the discussion and we get an idea of 2 artists Jeff is not quite fond of.
Aug 2
New Podcast episodes are now available

Castlist 008 - Ep 7 - The Boys of the 2010s Part 1

After a 2 month hiatus, the cliffhanger is finally revealed. We really only focus on 2 bands in this episode but talk about influences, paying homage, and sampling.

We try to pinpoint the origin of something Jeff can't get out of his head, talk about college, and in the end have to push off the continuation of the discussion to the next episode. This time, however, the follow-up episode will come out hours later instead of 2 months from now.

Castlist 008 - Ep 8 - The Boys of the 2010s Part 2

In the final discussion of our boy band arc of episodes, there is actually a lot to unpack. New music from 5 Seconds of Summer and Harry Styles. How All Time Low found their biggest success 15 years into their career (and a wonderful coincidence that follows it). A boy band that has a connection to Kanye West and finally how the Jonas Brothers tie into a lot of nostalgia about Billboard's Hot 100. There's also a #2 Pop hit from this year that I had never heard and a podcast fav artist sees their first top 40 hit.

May 27
Beyond Radio Presents - Castlist 008 - Ep 6 - Pop Punk and Big Hooks

As the boy band discussion continues we talk about a popular pop punk band of the aughts, an obscure band from Southern California and Boys who like Girls from Massachusetts.

The mood shifts towards the end of the episode and we get a little '80s nostalgia thrown in.

Apr 26
Beyond Radio Presents -Castlist 008 - Ep 5 - The Boys of the '80s and '90s

In this episode, we explore 2 bands of the second British Invasion, Duran Duran and Wham which leads into a great story about "I'm Too Sexy".

I torture Jeff with a Pop-Gospel-ish song that segues into a discussion about svengali boy band producers (well at least one of them was) and the R&B style of the late '80s and early '90s, New Jack Swing.

The episode ends with a call and an unlikely source of music inspiration.

Link to Spotify

Mar 11
Beyond Radio Presents Castlist 008 Ep 4 - Wild Secrets and Retro Aesthetic

In this episode we do a slight recap of the previous episode which was so much fun, I present 2 new songs to Jeff cold, and we discuss some shifting of priorities in the Beyond Radio universe; introducing the new playlist series Retro Aesthetic.

Recently added to Retro Aesthetic March 2022

Mai Tai "Female Intuition"

Giant Rooks "Watershed"

Spencer Albee "I'm Still Here"

5 Seconds Of Summer "Complete Mess"


Griff f/ Sigrid "Head on Fire"


The latest playlist in the Positively Happy series


A handful of selections from Positively Happy 3

Betty Boo "Get Me To The Weekend"

Party song that uses the music from Human League's "Love Action" to great effect.

Lo Moon "Dream Never Dies"

Gorgeously plaintive song reminding us to hold on to the memories of youth and never give up on hope.

Triumph "Magic Power"

We may not all have the magic power of music in us but we can all use the power of music to create magic.

Harry Styles "Treat People With Kindness"

This '70s inspired 2019 track became my favorite song of 2020 and the video certainly helped solidify its happiness quotient. It exudes joy.

The Wonder Stuff "The Size Of a Cow"

This toe-tapper was a UK top 5 single in 1991

Feb 15
New Playlist Series "Retro Aesthetic" and My Personal Chart for Feb. 13, 2022

Beyond Radio's new playlist series "Retro Aesthetic" brings back the style of Top 40 radio from the past.

Some R&B and Dance, a little Country, plus a lot of melodic Rock & Pop. A mostly upbeat mix: the way Top 40 radio used to be. New music-centric with gems from the past. Some you may remember and some that'll be new to you. There is great music out there to be heard.

New versions will be updated periodically.

Also another playlist series "Positively Happy" has its second version. There will be more to come on the development of these two series.


Beyond Radio Tim's Top 30, Feb, 13, 2022

And here's the playlist for my current overall favorites of the last 2 months

11           1              SPOON Wild       1              4

Brand new album “Lucifer On The Sofa” came out this past Friday. This preview into the album is their most infectious song yet. Co-written by Jack Antonoff with a piano line that nods to “Sympathy For The Devil”.

3              2              ELECTRIC ENEMY              Save Me (I'm Not Crazy) 2              17

Second time in my top 5 for the UK foursome. They have released a handful of singles since 2020.

2              3              MEAT LOAF        Couldn't Have Said It Better         1(2)        21

Re-discovery after his passing. He was larger than life.

4              4              THE RECORD COMPANY Never Leave You              4(2)        11

L.A.’s Record Company have a classic rock style and have reached the Adult Alternative top 3 three times since 2016. The lead cut from their latest album “Play Loud” has a light groove and pop sheen while still retaining its rock vibe.

1              5              MAGDALENA BAY            Secrets (Your Fire)           1              13

Love this quote from the Pitchfork review of their album “Mercurial World”. “Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin’s fuzzy, rococo synthpop confections have a magic power: They sound like whatever you grew up with, whenever that was.” This one has a little Snoop and a lot of ‘80s going on. At times she sounds like the vocalist from Altered Images.

5              6              BBNO$ f/ RICH BRIAN     Edamame            1(2)        13

Fun and fast paced, Hip Hop rarely makes it to #1 on my chart but this is undeniable. Cling Clang.

6              7              MAMMOMTH WVH        Epiphany             6              10

Eddie Van Halen’s son is putting out the best melodic hard rock (without emo trappings) these days. At #77, “Think It Over” should bring a third song to my top 10.

14           8              JOYWAVE            Cyn City 2000     8              11

This is the fifth song from the Rochester, NY outfit to reach my top 10 yet they have still been unable to hit #1. “Obsession” spent 2 weeks at #2 in 2019.

10           9              BOSTON MANOR             Algorithm            9              12

3 songs from this UK Emo-Pink bands 20202 album “Glue” made my top 10.

8              10           SANTANA f/ ROB THOMAS & AMERICAN AUTHORS           Move    8              19

Over 20 years after “Smooth” ruled radio Carlos Santana teams up again with Rob Thomas and score again. Not as big though, only reaching the top 25 on Hot AC. It has been 53 years since Santana first hit the Hot 100 with “Jingo”.

15           11           KANE BROWN    One Mississippi 11           12

Currently #4 on the Country airplay chart this is his best performance on my chart thus far.

7              12           YUNGBLUD         Fleabag 5              21

It’s not often anymore than a distinctively British sounding voice makes an impact in the States. This song is in the Alternative top 10 and it’s the second time he has reached #5 on my chart. “Loner” peaked there in 2019.

12           13           COIN     Chapstick             1(2)        13

This electro-pop nugget is top 15 on the Alternative chart but surprisingly moves up to #1 on the Adult Alternative chart this week. I wonder if it will cross to Pop.

9              14           THE SHERLOCKS World I Understand        7              14

This Yorkshire band has scored 2 #7 songs in a row on my chart with this and “City Lights”. In early 2017 they reached #8 (and #40 of the year) with “Will You Be There”. That one has risen in stature since then.

20           15           TIM MCGRAW   Free Man             15           6

I just recently discovered this track that was included on 2016’s “McGraw(The Ultimate Collection)”. It is a remake of an Angie Aparo song from 1999. Aparo had 2 #1’s and a #3 from that album on my chart. One of those, “Cry”, was later popularized by McGraw’s wife Faith Hill in 2002.

18           16           ROYAL BLOOD   Hold On                16           13

This is the seventh song from the UK bands album “Typhoons” to make my top 150 and fourth to reach the top 20. The title track reached #4 last March.

26           17           OLE BORUD        Backyard Party  17           6

I believe this 2008 song showed up on Spotify in December after I was listening to a particular playlist. The Norwegian artist has been tooling around for decades and his Wikipedia page said his genres consist of everything from Christian Metal to Jazz Pop, Hardcore Punk, and Yacht Rock. Now that’s some diversity. His latest album from this year is called “Soul Letters”.

13           18           INHALER              Totally   11(2)      20

The Irish band led by Bono’s son Elijah Hewson has slowly crafter a career in Europe over the last 4 years with a string of single releases. 6 of those have made my personal chart with their current U.S. release “Cheer Up Baby” poised to make it 7. Their debut album “It Won’t Always Be Like This” reached #1 in Ireland and the UK last July, the title track peaked at #8 on my chart.

19           19           TWIN ATLANTIC Bang On The Gong           19(2)      16

21           20           SIXX: A.M.           Waiting All My Life          20           11

17           21           ARKELLS               Pub Crawl            1(3)        12

A Christmas song from 2020 I discovered this in the fall and for a holiday song it has had real staying power. It’s mix of the heartfelt, humor, and upbeat swagger makes it stand as a universal song for me.

25           22           THE OSMONDS Crazy Horses      22           5

One of the highlights from the most recent podcast, this 1972 is absolutely crazy. I was jarred at first and then it started to grow on me. Wacky stuff.

34           23           GABE DIXON BAND          Find My Way      23           6

A piano banger from 2008 discovered because his 2021 song “Something Good” went to #3 on my chart. My friend Michael remembered the song from back then when he heard it in my car the other day.

24           24           ALEXANDRA SHIPP & VANESSA HUDGENS             Come To Your Senses     24           10

Center ballad from the Netflix movie “Tick, Tick…Boom!” starring Andrew Garfield who just received an Oscar nod for his performance as “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson. Garfield has songs at #59 (“30/90”) and #69 (“Why”). That song is also discussed on the latest podcast and had an extremely emotional response from me.

16           25           BASTILLE              Give Me The Future        12           18

39           26           PARQUET COURTS           Walking At A Downtown Pace    26           6

This is the first song by the NYC indie rockers to impact me. Their punk-ish style is very ‘80s/’90s college radio. This song has a bass driven groove that really made me pay attention.

28           27           ED SHEERAN       Overpass Graffiti              27           10

29           28           FOALS   Wake Me Up      28           11

60           29           BRKN LOVE         Dead Weight      29           4

Reminds me of Nothing But Thieves and that is a good thing.

33           30           JON MCLAUGHLIN           Why It Hurts       30           7

Feb 5
Beyond Radio Presents Castlist 008

We are already 3 episodes into the latest Pod-Castlist. The first series of episodes are all Boy-Band-centric. This latest episode is my favorite out of the 54 episodes we have put together so far. The fun quotient is high, the unexpected connections and moments are vast, and one of the most pivotal moments in my life is unveiled. You'll laugh and maybe cry but soon be laughing again. Too Much Fun!!!!

Here's the Spotify playlist with all the songs we'll be discussing over this season, already almost 200 songs deep.

Jan 12
Years in Review, the 1’s, 1981: Pop, Rock and Musical Theater

The upper reaches of my re-vamped 1981 chart are decidedly Pop-Rock though #1 is a bit different. The finale of the 1980 movie “Fame” still stands out as one of my favorite movie moments. At the time the movie was my favorite, it connected to my time in musical theater in high school, something I did not pursue once I went to Boston and attended Boston University. The song incorporates everything you would expect from a musical about the High School of the Performing Arts in NYC. There were rock textures, but also standard pop balladry, a choral section, and symphonic grandeur.

This song cemented by love of orchestral rock though you could say “Jesus Christ Superstar” took care of that previously. I have never been a big fan of straight-ahead classical music but when incorporated into music styles I love it can be breathtaking. Most recently that happened with an updated version of the song “Where’s The Love” by Hanson. On the 2018 album “String Theory” the brothers worked with the Prague Symphony Orchestra, creating a story arc using their catalog over the previous 25 years. This version may have eclipsed the original 1997 song (I have written about this before).

The soundtrack to “Fame” features 6 songs that made my personal chart. “Fame” and “Out Here On My Own” ended up on my re-vamped 1980 year-end list at numbers 34 and 159 respectively. Linda Clifford’s dance stomper “Red Light” was #83 that year. On this list, Irene Cara shows up again with “Hot Lunch Jam” (#29) and Paul McCrane’s ballad “Dogs In The Yard” at #22. The actor spent 11 years as the caustic Dr. Robert Romano on the TV series “ER”. Ironically we watched the movie last weekend (at least most of it) and alas, it felt dated.

Numbers 2 and 3 on the list are also ballads, “Time” by Alan Parsons Project and “You Could’ve Been With Me” by Sheena Easton. “Time” comes from my favorite album of 1981 “Turn Of A Friendly Card” (though released in November 1980). The melancholy of this song is quite powerful, but the delivery is understated and graceful. The lyric “Goodbye my love, maybe for forever” exemplifies the force of this song. 7 songs from the album show up in my top 100 of the year.

Here was a band that also incorporated orchestral tones to their music. The instrumental “The Ace Of Swords” (#26) is certainly one of those songs though the entire album is orchestral in nature. “May Be A Price To Pay” (#57) opens the concept album about gambling and its addictive quality. “Games People Play” (#36) gave the ensemble their first top 15 Pop hit, reaching number 12. “Time” was the follow-up single and reached number 7. Side two featured the “Turn Of A Friendly Card Suite” which was actually 5 separate tracks. Along with ‘Swords’ “Snake Eyes (#71) and ”The Turn Of a Friendly Card” Parts 1 & 2 come in at #93 and #94.

Parsons was a producer and engineer who worked on albums like “Abbey Road” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” and with Pop bands like Pilot whose major stateside hit was “Magic” in 1975, the basis for the “Oh Oh Oh Ozempic” commercials. David Paton. the lead singer of Pilot was a vocalist on the first 4 albums by the project whose core was Parsons and Eric Woolfson, The rest were a revolving stable of musicians. Their first album from 1976, “Tales Of Mystery and Imagination” features all the members of both Pilot and Ambrosia and is based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

The young British vocalist Sheena Easton had arrived in the States in early 1981 with the Hot 100 number one song “Morning Train (9 to 5)” (#119). The title of that song was originally just “9 To 5” in the UK but was changed for the American market because Dolly Parton’s song of the same name (#35) was out concurrently. The Easton song feels dated and suffers on my year-end list because of that while Dolly’s song seems timeless. Easton had quite a year, by the end of 1981 she had 4 songs make the Pop top 15 including the James Bond theme “For Your Eyes Only” and the gorgeous “You Could Have Been With Me”. I feel this single was the first one to show the dynamics of her voice. The vocal soars on the chorus. Both “Time” and “You Could Have Been With Me” stand up as classics to me, untouched by the ravages of time. Ironically, they both reached #7 on the Pop chart and #15 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

By the time the Moody Blues song “Gemini Dream” (#4) came out as the lead single from their number 1 and tenth album “Long Distance Voyager” it seemed it was never clear what type of song they would click with. The progressive rock band from the UK were another group to heavily use orchestration in their music, most famously on “Nights In White Satin” a song from 1967 that became a bonafide hit in 1972 with a re-release. That happened because a Washington D.C. DJ used the song as his sign-off. Listeners wanted to know what it was and started requesting it and a hit was born. Kind of an early version of a song going viral. The album it came from, “Days Of Future Passed”, saw a resurrection as well and the next Moody Blues release “Seventh Sojourn” was also a number 1 album in the States.

The lead single from that album, the rocker “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band)” hit number 12 on the Hot 100, as did “Gemini Dream”. ‘Dream’ seemed an anomaly for the band, a throbbing, infectious and almost danceable Pop-Rock song (at actually peaked at #36 on the Billboard Dance Chart). The song was followed by the seemingly more popular “The Voice” (#155). In looking at my chart reference books “The Voice” was number 1 for 4 weeks on the newly created Rock Tracks Chart in Billboard while ‘Dream’ only reached #13. ‘Dream’ performed better on the Hot 100 where “The Voice” peaked at number 15. On the Radio & Records Pop chart, both songs peaked at number 6.

The orchestral theme plays out again (weird) on my #5 of the year, “Joan Crawford” by Blue Oyster Cult. The first 40 seconds of that song sound like a piece from a piano concerto. The song inspired by “Mommie Dearest” then turns into a straightforward rock song, but definitely a fun one. It received moderate Rock radio airplay, but the video was banned by MTV because of a sexually-explicit scene. You can find it on YouTube. The lead single from the album “Fire Of Unknown Origin”, “Burnin’ For You” (#51), reached number 1 on the Rock chart and number 40 on the Hot 100. Lead singer Eric Bloom is Howard Stern’s cousin.

The group was considered a Hard Rock band bordering on Heavy Metal though these songs are less heavy and they did score a Pop top 10 song in 1976 with “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”. The more metal AC/DC were coming off their breakthrough year in 1980 and the title track from the album “Back In Black” (#65) was a holdover from the previous year. Because of that success, their 1976 album “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” saw a re-release in March 1981, the title track (#186) saw top 5 placement on the Rock Tracks Chart but the tongue-in-cheek and clever “Big Balls” (#27) was an album fav as well. The album featured the original lead singer Bon Scott, who passed away in early 1980 from a drug overdose.

AC/DC were on the verge of stardom with the 1979 album “Highway to Hell” and considered disbanding following his death but instead recruited vocalist Brian Johnston as his replacement. “Back In Black” was released during the summer, less than 6 months after Scott’s death, and kept their momentum going. The resurgence of ‘Dirty Deeds’ however, was felt to hamper the follow-up to ‘Black’, “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”. Though it reached number one on the Billboard 200, ‘Dirty Deeds’ which reached number 3 outsold it. Nothing to worry about in the end, AC/DC are one of the most successful rock bands of the last 50 years.

Another band in the Hard Rock realm at the time was Canada’s Triumph. Fueled by the vocal dynamics of Rik Emmet, they had a strong run on the Billboard’s Rock Tracks Chart from 1979-1986 with 1981’s album “Allied Forces” their most successful. “Magic Power” (#31) was arguably their most popular song (number 8 Rock, Hot 100 number 51, and in Canada number 14). I certainly liked it at the time, but the song has a more powerful grip on me now with the lyric “I’ve got the magic power of music in me”. It resonates as a mantra in my life. Though I am not a performer, I have expressed that power in my own way through my 60 years. In 1982 the song “Say Anything” from “Allied Forces” would reach #1 on my personal chart and was #17 of the year back then. A funny anecdote that I came across on Wikipedia is that the first live performance Triumph did in the NYC area was at the Capitol Theater in my hometown of Passaic, NJ in 1980.

“The Night Owls” (#6) was a top 5 Pop song in late 1981 for Little River Band but I have a feeling a lot of people don’t remember it. Between 1978-1983 they scored 8 top 10 Pop hits in the States. While the Australian band’s albums performed better in their homeland as their career progressed the singles did infinitely better in the U.S. The album “Time Exposure” was produced by George Martin, famous for his work with the Beatles. They are definitely one of the most successful bands on my personal chart during that era. The 2 other singles from the album “Take It Easy On Me” and “Man On Your Mind” will do well on my re-vamped 1982 chart.

Another Australian band comes in at #10 on my re-vamped 1981 chart. “Welcome To The Universe” by Flash and the Pan has grown in stature over the years. The duo of Harry Vanda and George Young were in a mid-60’s band the Easybeats. They had one U.S. hit with “Friday On My Mind”, peaking at #16 in 1966. I remember this song more than that chart position would indicate. Wikipedia says Blue Oyster Cult did a cover of it, but I can’t find that. David Bowie also covered it on his 1973 album “Pinups” but I don’t recall that version.

Flash and the Pan are best known for the song “Hey St. Peter” which debuted on the Hot 100 on my birthday, July 28, in 1979. The last time I re-did that year’s chart it came in at #12. The 8:23 long ‘Universe’ has an atmospheric intro and outro but it’s the meat of the song that I love. It has a rolling piano line that is quite infectious. George Young is the older brother of Angus and Malcolm Young of AC/DC. George and Malcolm died less than a month apart in late 2017.

Boston was an early market for the song “Ah! Leah! (#7) by Donnie Iris. Cleveland and Pittsburgh were also early on the song. Its success in these cities helped Iris cement a 5-album deal with MCA Records who re-released the album in October 1980. The song would go on to hit number 29 on the Hot 100. On the inaugural Rock Tracks Chart dated March 21, 1981, it was number 19 but I suspect if the chart had debuted earlier, it would have been top 10, maybe even top 5. The song started out as an anti-war song(?!) and Iris and his songwriting partner were trying to come up with a Gregorian style chant for the song. They came up with ah Leah which led to the song becoming about a girl. In 1970 Iris was a member of the Jaggerz who had a Hot 100 number 2 with “The Rapper”, a song written by him. He also has my #32 song of 1981 with “That’s The Way Love Ought To Be”.

The San Francisco band The Tubes achieved their most commercial success to date in 9181 with the album “The Completion Backwards Principle”, garnering their first top 40 hit “Don’t Want To Wait Anymore” (#8) and the Rock Tracks top 10 “Talk To Ya Later” (#21). Before this, they were largely known for the 1975 song “White Punks On Dope” and their elaborate stage shows. In 1980, after their turn in the movie “Xanadu” on the rock/big band hybrid “Dancin’” (which I love), their label A&M dropped them. They were able to secure a contract with Capitol Records and aided by legendary producer David Foster, they made their mark on the radio in the early ‘80s.

To me at the time, the ballad “Don’t Want To Wait Anymore” seemed out of character. Now knowing Foster co-wrote and produced it makes complete sense. I can hear elements of 1980’s era Chicago in this song. ‘Later’ had virtually no involvement from band members other than vocalist Fee Waybill. Foster didn’t feel the album had an upbeat single and he enlisted Steve Lukather of Toto to help write a song with he and Waybill. ‘Later’, though just missing the Hot 100 at number 101, was a big hit largely because of MTV. A new musical force at the time, airplay on the cable music channel was never factored into the Hot 100, a big misstep in retrospect. Another fun ditty from the album, “Sushi Girl” (#81), was a favorite of mine at the time but I can’t recall if got any airplay. Fee Waybill has my #10 song of 2021 with the crunchy “Faker” from his 2020 release “Fee Waybill Rides Again”. He still sounds great at 71, at least on record.

Southern rockers 38 Special had a big year in 1981, finally breaking into the mainstream with “Hold on Loosely” (#9) and “Fantasy Girl” (#11). By this time, while not abandoning their roots, their sound evolved into a radio-ready sound that melded the sound of Foreigner and the like, with their southern style. Part of that was aided by the songwriting of Jim Peterik who helmed the ‘80s band Survivor. He co-wrote those 2 songs, plus 2 others on the album “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys”.

Donnie Van Zant was a co-founder of the band, the younger brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Ronnie Van Zant. The lead vocalist on those 2 songs, Don Barnes, recorded a solo album “Ride The Storm” in 1989. It was not released because the label A&M was being sold. It finally surfaced in 2017. Going back to the Chicago reference, that album features a cover of one of my favorite songs by the band “Feelin’ Stronger Everyday”. This is a new find for me in 2022 and it sounds like 38 Special never left. Another Southern rock band from Florida (38 Special hails from Jacksonville), Tampa’s The Outlaws, brought their blistering car song “Devil’s Road” to #30 for the year, and the song “I Can’t Stop Loving You” just missed the top 200 at #202.

Though only a minor 2002 hit, Phil Collins’ version ‘Can’t Stop Loving You” hit number 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #8 on my weekly personal chart. In another instance of a song attaining greater heights than its Hot 100 peak would indicate, the Genesis front man’s first solo single “In The Air Tonight” (#40) only peaked at #19. It was huge on MTV and Rock radio and an international mega-hit. VH1 selected it as the number 35 song of the ‘80s. The production of the song owes a lot to the former leader of Genesis, Peter Gabriel, with its moody otherworldly feel. Gabriel shows up at #207 with “I Don’t Remember” and two other songs from Collins’ debut album “Face Value” made my top 200, “I Missed Again” (#107), and “Behind The Lines” (#163).

Foreigner, who were at the forefront of what was called arena rock at the time, absolutely has its place on my list. The song “Urgent” (#18) is the 1st to show up. They call the song a rock and soul hybrid, and I agree. The immediately recognizable intro was just a lick Mick Jones was toying with and Mutt Lange the producer (of AC/DC, Def Leppard and Shania Twain fame) helped him build a song around the riff. The album “4” was a pinnacle for the band, spending 10 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard 200. The title of the song came from the person who was the synthesizer programmer for the album, a lad named Thomas Dolby. He had a demo for a song where he sang ‘urges, urges” and Lange asked him if he could incorporate that into a song they were working on. The sax solo on the song was performed by Junior Walker. He with his band the All-Stars had a string of Pop and R&B hits from the mid-60s through the early ‘70s. The Motown artist’s 1st hit was “Shotgun” in 1965. Dolby wrote another song in my top 100 of 1981. “New Toy” (#76) was written specifically for Lene Lovich by Dolby after seeing her perform live.

“Waiting For A Girl Like You” (#144) had the distinction of spending 10 weeks at number 2 on the Hot 100 without ever hitting the top spot. It was held off by 9 weeks of Olivia Newton-John’s 10-week stay at the top with “Physical” (#83) and then Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go For That” in early 1982. On the list of top 100 songs from the 50th anniversary of the Hot 100, it placed at #80. “Jukebox Hero” (#128), the 3rd single from the album reached number 3 on the Rock Tracks chart in the summer of ’81, long before its single release in January 1982. The story song about a fan buying a guitar and wanting to become a star was a live highlight of the band and one of Lou Gramm’s favorite songs to do. In 2018 the band launched a show in Canadian theaters with the hopes of reaching Broadway titled “Juke Box Hero” featuring 16 of their songs. The connection between Pop music and musical theater has ramped up in the last 25 years but they all can’t be a win.

1981 was a benchmark year for arena rock with 4 bands seeing their most successful albums. Along with Foreigner, REO Speedwagon had the #1 selling album of 1981 with “Hi Infidelity” (their 9th album), while Styx’ “Paradise Theatre” (their 10th album) and Journey’s “Escape” (their 8th album) both hit number one on the Billboard 200. The REO and Journey albums both sold in excess of 10 million copies in the U.S. These 4 albums held the top spot on the Billboard 200 topped for 23 weeks of the calendar year.

7 songs from “Hi Infidelity” made my top 300 of the year, “Don’t Let Him Go” (#58), “Take It On The Run” (#64), and the Pop number 1 “Keep On Loving You” (#92) in the top 100. The Illinois band Styx used the famed Paradise Theatre in Chicago as the backdrop to a fictional concept album about its rise and fall. This one brought 6 songs to my top 250, another album with 3 in the top 100; “Rockin’ The Paradise (#28), “The Best Of Times (#66), and “Too Much Time On My Hands” (#82). That song was Tommy Shaw’s only lead vocal on a Pop top 10 song.

Journey’s now ubiquitous song “Don’t Stop Believin’ (#25) has now become an empowerment anthem of sorts and the best-selling digital track of the 20th century in the U.S. with over 7 million sold. Sports teams have regularly used it but its use in the final scene of “The Sopranos” and the initial episode of “Glee” are certainly huge factors. It was also used as the closing number in the musical “Rock Of Ages”. Elsewhere in my top 200 of 1981 are radio songs “Stone In Love” (#39), “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly In Love” (#52), “Who’s Crying Now” (#113), and album cuts “Keep On Runnin’” (145) and “Escape” (#158)

More musical theater connection here. Meat Loaf songwriter Jim Steinman got his start in that realm in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. “Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through” (#12) and the album it came from, “Bad For Good”, were intended to be the follow-up to the juggernaut “Bat Out Of Hell”. That album was developed from a musical Steinman had written in 1974 called “Neverland”, described as a “futuristic rock Version of Peter Pan”. Meat Loaf was having vocal problems and Steinman decided to release the follow-up it on his own. He sang on most of the tracks, though his voice was no match for the music. Rory Dodd sang lead on 3 tracks, including ‘Dreams’. Meat Loaf eventually recorded his version of the song in 1993 on “Bat Out Of Hell II”. The original (my preferred version) reached #14 on the Rock Tracks chart and went top 25 on the Radio & Records Pop chart. Meat Loaf’s peaked at #9 on the Pop chart in 1994. I don’t remember this at all. Steinman sadly died this year on my mom’s birthday, April 19.

Musical theater requires acting and singing (at least for most of the cast). Rick Springfield does both, but seemingly separately. On the acting side, he is best known for portraying Dr. Noah Drake on “General Hospital”. He debuted in that role in 1981 and attacked the Pop chart at the same with “Jessie’s Girl” (#13). This was a musical comeback for him. 9 years earlier the Australian reached number 14 on the Hot 100 with “Speak To The Sky”. They definitely did not play that on NYC radio from what I recall. “Jessie’s Girl” was number 1 on the Hot 100 when MTV launched on August 1, 1981. It took almost 5 months to reach the summit, a lengthy climb in the day. I was a big fan of the song and the other hits from his album “Working Class Dog”. The Sammy Hagar penned “I’ve Done Everything For You” (#70) and “Love Is Alright Tonite” my #25 of 1982. His brand of Pop-Rock even saw exposure at Rock radio, ‘Jessie’ reaching number 10. To say this song is iconic, well yes, is correct. On the creepy side of things, he dated Linda Blair in the ‘70s when he was 25 and she was 15 though they have remained friends.

Iconic applies to the duo of Daryl Hall & John Oates who had a comeback year in 1980-81 which led to them being the number 4 artist of the ‘80s and 39th overall artist of the Hot 100 era. The 1980 album “Voices” started off in a similar vein to the previous album “X-Static”; the lead single “How Does It Feel To Be Back”, with Oates as lead vocalist, peaked at #30 on the Hot 100, a downward trend from the lead single of the former album “Wait For Me” reaching number 18. The turnaround came with the next release, a cover of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. That brought the duo back to the Pop top 5.

An atypical thing happened with the third single from “Voices”. “Kiss On My List” (#18) would surpass ‘Feeling’ and go to the top of the Hot 100. They were recording their 10th album when it reached the summit. It is so much harder for an artist to amass that many albums in a decade now or even hold a contract for that long. That album’s title track, “Private Eyes” (#14) brought them to the top of the Hot 100 a second time in 1981. In-between the single “You Make My Dreams” (#38) was another top 5 hit. All three certainly are still in the zeitgeist and not forgotten. They have had myriad uses in media, television, and movies throughout the last 40 years.

Another song from “Voices” went to number 1 on the Hot 100, but by another artist. In 1985 Paul Young covered “Everytime You Go Away” reaching the top in May of that year. A track from “Private Eyes”, “Looking For A Good Time” (#98) made my top 100 for ’81 and 5 more in my top 300 from the 2 albums. More tracks would follow in 1982 like the earlier mentioned “I Can’t Go For That”.

Rounding out the Pop and Rock side of my top 25 was a Hot 100 anomaly and a legendary group. Delbert McClinton scored his sole Pop top 10 in early 1981 with “Giving It Up For Your Love” (#15). The 81-year-old Texas Blues Rock guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter has had a lengthy musical career, spanning 7 decades. ‘Love’ was a jangly, upbeat, horn-laden song that stood apart from other songs at the time. The b-side was the effervescent “My Sweet Baby” (#37) featuring some great blues guitar licks. It seems to me that would have been a great radio follow-up. The actual follow-up was “Shotgun Rider” a more conventional Country-Pop song, which stalled at number 70 on the Hot 100. Neither of those songs are available on Spotify but you can find them on YouTube.

The best performing artist on the Pop/R&B side of things was the Jacksons. Michael Jackson was having a banner year in 1980 with the album “Off The Wall” and even though he was the lead vocalist on the singles from the late 1980 album “Triumph” none of them reached the Pop top 10. “Lovely One” reached number 12 and “Heartbreak Hotel” (#16) peaked at number 22. At some point, the name of the song was changed to the ridiculous “This Place Hotel” to avoid confusion with Elvis Presley’s song of the same name from 25 years earlier. Again, ridiculous and Michael Jackson was actually unaware of the Presley song and did not even know the song’s name was changed. In addition to ‘Hotel’, “Can You Feel it” (#42) and “Walk Right Now” (#125) were all great dance floor fillers. “Can You Feel It” is another song (and kind of sports anthem) that I believe is more well-known and appreciated now than at the time.

Next up, the alternative side of 1981