Top 10 Flashback: April 9, 1980 – KBEQ-FM Kansas City

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Originally written April 4, 2014.

Greetings and salutations, and welcome to baseball season!  Yep, MLB is back, which, of course, includes my beloved Detroit Tigers, who have completely mastered the art of cock-teasing their fans since 2006.  They’ve given us exciting, competitive baseball and have gotten in the World Series twice in the past decade, but, well, we’d rather forget that last time against the Giants.  Oh well, maybe you won’t win a World Series, but you can feel like a champion with a Top 10 flashback!

The Tigers’ first games this season under new manager Brad Ausmus were against the Kansas City Royals, a team a lot of people are picking to click this year.  The Tigers won both games with a walkoff hit at the end; yesterday was rained out.  So as a consolation to our friends in KC, let’s listen to 104.3 KBEQ, a/k/a Q104, this week.  Q104 did Top 40/CHR for almost 20 years before flipping to country in 1993, and they’re still playing country today.  If you have an HD radio, you can relive the 80’s on their HD2 channel.  We’ll visit them in their heyday at the beginning of April 1980, a year that the Royals would make it to the World Series.

So put me in, Coach!  I’m ready to play today!  Survey dated April 9, 1980.

#10:
Billy Joel – You May Be Right

This was about as hard as Billy Joel ever rocked.  In fact, the entire “Glass Houses” album was made to prove he was more than just the Piano Man.  I like this OK, but it’s sort of like putting mag wheels, white letter tires, and glasspacks on Dad’s Buick Estate Wagon:

Yeah, it’s kind of cool, but it just doesn’t fit.

#9:
Air Supply – Lost In Love

I swear to God, for years I thought this was a chick singing.  The two biggest Aussie acts stateside in 1980 were Air Supply and AC/DC – now that’s bipolar.  AS made absolutely nothing I ever want to listen to under any circumstances, and you can’t make me like it!

#8:
Michael Jackson – Off The Wall

I’ve said it before – THIS was Michael’s best album.  The song practically defines Quincy Jones’s trademark funky-yet-smooth production, and Q, in turn, practically defined the sound of early 80’s R&B.  No apologies necessary for having this in your collection.

#7:
Billy Preston & Syreeta – With You I’m Born Again

Billy Preston’s relationship with the Beatles went back a lot further than “Get Back” – he was actually around in the early days in Liverpool when he was in Little Richard’s band and the Beatles opened for him. (Imagine that.) He had some fun, funky hits in the 70’s, both instrumental and vocal, then he did…this.  Ehh, at least I’m willing to listen to this all the way through, something I couldn’t do with Air Supply.

#6:
Linda Ronstadt – How Do I Make You

Like Billy Joel above, this was an attempt to reinvent Linda Ronstadt as a New Wave rocker.  Also like Billy Joel above, it doesn’t quite work.  But look at the image in the video and tell me you wouldn’t have loved to fuck the living daylights out of her in those days.

#5:
Christopher Cross – Ride Like The Wind

This is a great song, perfect on a warm, bright spring or summer afternoon.  Of course there was a little help from Michael McDonald:

Classic SCTV bit.  Nice ’64 Ford convertible there, too.

We’ll skip the “oh, no” song this week.  There are definitely a few clinkers down the list, but nothing that really stands out enough to write about.  So we’ll just go to…

#4:
Willie Nelson – My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

KC was always a good market for country music, and nobody did it like Willie.  Add the fact that country crossovers were hot stuff in 1980, and it’s no wonder this song placed so high.  This was as far as it would go on Q104, however – it dropped to #14 the following week.

#3:
Blondie – Call Me

Deborah Harry is another singer of the era I would have gladly banged:

Picture’s from 1977, so she would have been 32.  Is that a camel toe I see?

#2:
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Fire Lake

Bob Seger is, of course, a legend in these here parts, but the rest of the country tends to lump him in with other “heartland” rockers such as John Mellencamp.  That’s OK, we’ll keep him for ourselves.  The man has genuine soul and truly loves what he’s done for nearly 50 years; anyone should be able to appreciate that.

All right, time for the “oh, wow” song, rescued from the graveyard of forgotten hits.  Chuck Mangione played not the trumpet, but the flugelhorn and electric piano.  His classic 1977 album “Feels So Good,” while not a pure jazz album, was a superb bit of instrumental pop with a strong jazz flavor, and the title song is one of my all-time favorites.  Roone Arledge, then president of ABC Sports, commissioned Mangione to write the theme song for the 1980 Winter Olympics, and he responded with this.  At #16 this week, here’s “Give It All You Got.”

The audio sucks, but this was the only one I could find.

So, what did KC’s Q104 play more than any other song 34 years ago this week?  All in all, it’s just another…

Hey!  Asshole!  Leave those kids alone!
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You talkin’ to me?
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Yeah!  The Tigers (3-0) smoked the Orioles today, 10-4, and it’s two more against Baltimore this weekend at Comerica Park.  Go Tigers!

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