Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, August 15th

On this day in 1981: Diana Ross and Lionel Richie started a nine week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Endless Love’, a #7 hit in the U.K. The song was the title from a film starring Brooke Shields.

Ross and Richie recorded the song for Motown, and it was used as the theme for Franco Zeffirelli’s film adaptation of Scott Spencer’s novel Endless Love. (Jamie Bernstein, as the character Susan, sings the song during the course of the movie.) Produced by Richie and arranged by Gene Page, it was released as a single from the film’s soundtrack in 1981. While the film Endless Love was a modest box-office success, the song became the second biggest-selling single of the year (first was “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes) in the United States and reached #1 on the Hot 100, where it stayed for nine weeks from August 15 to October 10, 1981. It also topped the Billboard R&B chart and the Adult Contemporary chart, and reached #7 in the United Kingdom. It also became the most successful duet of the rock era, surpassing The Everly Brothers’ 1957 hit “Wake Up Little Susie” which spent four weeks at #1. Both songs spent six months on the chart, with “Endless Love” eclipsing the Everlys’ hit by one week.

The soulful composition became the biggest-selling single of Ross’ career, and her 18th and final career number-one single (including her work with The Supremes). It was also Richie’s biggest charting single, and the first of several hits for Richie during the 1980s. Ross recorded a solo version of the song for her first RCA Records album, ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’, the duet version being her last hit on Motown. Richie’s solo version was released as track ten on the ‘2003 remaster bonus’ edition of Richie’s 1982 Album. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for Richie, and was the second song with which Ross was involved that was nominated for an Oscar. It also won a 1982 American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single.

Here’s a look at the entire Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day in 1981:

1 2 ENDLESS LOVE Diana Ross and Lionel Richie (Motown)-6 (1 week at #1)
2 3 THEME FROM “GREATEST AMERICAN HERO” (Believe It Or Not) –•– Joey Scarbury (Elektra)-15 (2)
3 4 I DON’T NEED YOU –•– Kenny Rogers (Liberty)-10 (3)
4 1 JESSIE’S GIRL –•– Rick Springfield (RCA)-21 (1)
5 5 ELVIRA –•– The Oak Ridge Boys (MCA)-14 (5)
6 6 SLOW HAND –•– The Pointer Sisters (Planet)-12 (6)
7 7 BOY FROM NEW YORK CITY –•– The Manhattan Transfer (Atlantic)-13 (7)
8 8 HEARTS –•– Marty Balin (EMI-America)-13 (8)
9 9 QUEEN OF HEARTS –•– Juice Newton (Capitol)-12 (9)
10 11 (There’s) NO GETTIN’ OVER ME –•– Ronnie Milsap (RCA)-8 (10)

11 14 LADY (You Bring Me Up) –•– The Commodores (Motown)-9 (11)
12 10 THE ONE THAT YOU LOVE –•– Air Supply (Arista)-14 (1)
13 22 WHO’S CRYING NOW –•– Journey (Columbia)-5 (13)
14 17 IT’S NOW OR NEVER –•– John Schneider (Scotti Brothers)-12 (14)
15 15 TIME –•– The Alan Parsons Project (Arista)-18 (15)
16 16 TOUCH ME WHEN WE’RE DANCING –•– The Carpenters (A&M)-9 (16)
17 18 THE STROKE –•– Billy Squier (Capitol)-14 (17)
18 20 URGENT –•– Foreigner (Atlantic)-7 (18)
19 21 IN THE AIR TONIGHT –•– Phil Collins (Atlantic)-12 (19)
20 23 COOL LOVE –•– Pablo Cruise (A&M)-7 (20)


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