Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, November 1st

On this day in 1980: Bruce Springsteen went to #1 on the U.S. album chart with ‘The River’ his first #1 album. ‘The River’ was Bruce’s 5th studio album and was released on October 17, 1980.

Originally, Springsteen intended The River to be a single album, entitled ‘The Ties That Bind.’ The single album version was eventually released as one of the discs in the 2015 box set release ‘The Ties That Bind: The River Collection.’ Springsteen had been working with the E Street Band at his home studio, Telegraph Hill Studios, which was actually a barn at his Holmdel, New Jersey property. By early August, there was an initial cut of 10 songs (recorded at the Power Station in New York City) and Columbia began to believe they might have a new Springsteen record in time for Christmas 1979. Bruce decided on a track sequence, and in September, Bob Clearmountain was brought in to mix twelve tracks. Springsteen signed off on The Ties That Bind, and the tapes were sent off for mastering on October 15. But when they came back, he suddenly cancelled the release, and went back to recording. He later said, “The songs lacked the kind of unity and conceptual intensity I liked my music to have.” His manager and co-producer, Jon Landau, suggested that maybe this record needed to be a double album, in order to encompass everything Springsteen was trying to achieve. After another seven months at the Power Station, the sessions came to an end. ‘The River‘ was released on October 17, 1980, with 20 of the 50 songs that had been recorded. Springsteen added darker material after he’d written the title track. Indeed, ‘The River‘ became noted for its mix of the frivolous next to the solemn. This was intentional, and in contrast to Darkness, for as Springsteen said during an interview, “Rock and roll has always been this joy, this certain happiness that is in its way the most beautiful thing in life. But rock is also about hardness and coldness and being alone … I finally got to the place where I realized life had paradoxes, a lot of them, and you’ve got to live with them.

‘Hungry Heart’ was his first U.S. Billboard Hot 100 top ten hit single, reaching #5 (Springsteen had not intended the song to be for himself, having initially written it for The Ramones, but manager/producer/friend Jon Landau convinced him to keep it.) The album hit #1 on the U.S. album chart, a first for Springsteen, and sold 1.6 million copies in the U.S. between its release on November 1st and Christmas Day 1980. The song ‘Fade Away’ also made the Top 20, peaking at #20 in 1981.

Here’s what was happening on the U.S. singles chart on this day back in 1980:

1 1 WOMAN IN LOVE –•– Barbra Streisand (Columbia)-9 (2 weeks at #1) (1)
2 2 ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST –•– Queen (Elektra)-12 (1)
3 3 HE’S SO SHY –•– The Pointer Sisters (Planet)-15 (3)
4 6 LADY –•– Kenny Rogers (Liberty)-5 (4)
5 5 REAL LOVE –•– The Doobie Brothers (Warner Brothers)-9 (5)
6 7 THE WANDERER –•– Donna Summer (Geffen)-7 (6)
7 4 UPSIDE DOWN –•– Diana Ross (Motown)-17 (1)
8 10 NEVER KNEW LOVE LIKE THIS BEFORE –•– Stephanie Mills (20th Century)-13 (8)
9 11 I’M COMING OUT –•– Diana Ross (Motown)-9 (9)
10 15 MASTER BLASTER (Jammin’) –•– Stevie Wonder (Tamla)-7 (10)

11 12 JESSE –•– Carly Simon (Warner Brothers)-14 (11)
12 8 ALL OUT OF LOVE –•– Air Supply (Arista)-21 (2)
13 16 DREAMING –•– Cliff Richard (EMI-America)-8 (13)
14 14 LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO ME –•– Boz Scaggs (Columbia)-11 (14)
15 19 LOVELY ONE –•– The Jacksons (Epic)-6 (15)
16 9 I’M ALRIGHT –•– Kenny Loggins (Columbia)-17 (7)
17 20 DREAMER –•– Supertramp (A&M)-7 (17)
18 13 DRIVIN’ MY LIFE AWAY –•– Eddie Rabbitt (Elektra)-20 (5)
19 21 WHIP IT –•– Devo (Warner Brothers)-10 (19)
20 26 MORE THAN I CAN SAY –•– Leo Sayer (Warner Brothers)-6 (20)

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