Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, March 21st

On this day in 1981: REO Speedwagon went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Keep On Loving You’, the group’s first top 40 hit and first #1 in the U.S. It would spend one week in the top spot.

Kevin Cronin stated that he wrote “Keep On Loving You” as a more traditional love ballad, and the band as a whole developed it into its final arrangement as a power ballad. He recounted:

I walked into rehearsal and sat down at the piano, which I rarely do because I’m a guitar player, and started playing “Keep on Loving You.” … And the guys in the band looked at me like I was from another planet. They were like, “What are you…?” because we were all bringing in songs for this record we were going to make and they looked at me like I was crazy. And I’m like, “Dude, this song really means a lot to me.” [And they said] “So, dude, that’s not an REO Speedwagon song.” And I kind of was like, “You know what? I’m the main songwriter for REO Speedwagon, so if I write a song, it’s an REO Speedwagon song. It’s the band’s job to turn it into an REO Speedwagon song.” I was so passionate about this song. Everyone kind of got it and sure enough, Gary [Richrath] went over, plugged in his guitar and started playing power chords to this little love song I wrote. The next thing we knew, it was a number one record and everyone was calling it a power ballad and acted like we had this strategy for success that made this song happen when really it was just an accident.

The music video of the song was the 17th played on the first day of broadcast of MTV on August 1, 1981. It was framed by a scene of Kevin Cronin talking about his relationship troubles with a female psychiatrist and contained a shot where a woman picked up a telephone connected to Gary Richrath’s guitar.

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

1 2 KEEP ON LOVING YOU –•– REO Speedwagon (Epic)-17 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 3 WOMAN –•– John Lennon (Geffen)-10 (2)
3 4 THE BEST OF TIMES –•– Styx (A&M)-9 (3)
4 1 9 TO 5 –•– Dolly Parton (RCA)-17 (1)
5 6 CRYING –•– Don McLean (Millennium)-9 (5)
6 7 RAPTURE –•– Blondie (Chrysalis)-8 (6)
7 9 HELLO AGAIN –•– Neil Diamond (Capitol)-8 (7)
8 8 THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL –•– Abba (Atlantic)-18 (8)
9 5 I LOVE A RAINY NIGHT –•– Eddie Rabbitt (Elektra)-20 (1)
10 12 WHAT KIND OF FOOL –•– Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb (Columbia)-8 (10)

11 11 I AIN’T GONNA STAND FOR IT –•– Stevie Wonder (Tamla)-15 (11)
12 14 KISS ON MY LIST –•– Daryl Hall and John Oates (RCA)-9 (12)
13 10 CELEBRATION –•– Kool and the Gang (De-Lite)-22 (1)
14 21 WHILE YOU SEE A CHANCE –•– Steve Winwood (Island)-7 (14)
15 22 DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME –•– The Police (A&M)-7 (15)
16 16 GAMES PEOPLE PLAY –•– The Alan Parsons Project (Arista)-16 (16)
17 17 A LITTLE IN LOVE –•– Cliff Richard (EMI-America)-15 (17)
18 18 TREAT ME RIGHT –•– Pat Benatar (Chrysalis)-10 (18)
19 19 HEARTS ON FIRE –•– Randy Meisner (Epic)-9 (19)
20 20 FADE AWAY –•– Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)-7 (20)

On this day in 1987: Club Nouveau started a two week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with “Lean On Me.”

“Lean on Me” is a song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bill Withers. It was released in April 1972 as the first single from his second album, ‘Still Bill.’ It was a #1 single on both the soul singles and the Billboard Hot 100; the Hot 100 for three weeks in July 1972. Billboard ranked it as the #7 song of 1972. It is ranked #208 on Rolling Stone’s’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” Numerous other versions have been recorded, and it is one of only nine songs to have reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with versions recorded by two different artists.

The R&B group Club Nouveau covered the song with go-go beat and took it to #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot chart in March 1987.  It also reached #1 on the dance chart, and #2 on the R&B chart. It won a Grammy award in 1987 for Bill Withers, as the writer, for Best R&B Song. This version of “Lean on Me” is known for the addition of the faux-reggae refrain “We be jammin’! We be jammin’!”

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1987:

1 5 LEAN ON ME –•– Club Nouveau (King Jay / Warner Brothers)-6 (1) (1 Week at #1)
2 3 LET’S WAIT AWHILE –•– Janet Jackson (A&M)-10 (2)
3 10 NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW –•– Starship (Grunt)-8 (3)
4 6 MANDOLIN RAIN –•– Bruce Hornsby & The Range (RCA)-10 (4)
5 2 SOMEWHERE OUT THERE Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram (MCA)-14 (2)
6 12 TONIGHT, TONIGHT, TONIGHT –•– Genesis (Atlantic)-6 (6)
7 1 JACOB’S LADDER –•– Huey Lewis & The News (Chrysalis)-10 (1)
8 7 RESPECT YOURSELF –•– Bruce Willis (Motown)-10 (5)
9 13 COME GO WITH ME –•– Expose (Arista)-9 (9)
10 8 BIG TIME –•– Peter Gabriel (Geffen)-17 (8)

11 17 THE FINAL COUNTDOWN –•– Europe (Epic)-9 (11)
12 4 LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER –•– Bon Jovi (Mercury)-15 (1)
13 9 YOU GOT IT ALL –•– The Jets (MCA)-19 (3)
14 20 DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER –•– Crowded House (Capitol)-10 (14)
15 11 (You Gotta) FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT (To Party!) –•– Beastie Boys (Def Jam)-14 (7)
16 21 LET’S GO –•– Wang Chung (Geffen)-9 (16)
17 23 I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING FOR ME –•– Aretha Franklin & George Michael (Arista)-5 (17)
18 15 BRAND NEW LOVER –•– Dead Or Alive (Epic)-17 (15)
19 24 MIDNIGHT BLUE –•– Lou Gramm (Atlantic)-8 (19)
20 14 I WANNA GO BACK –•– Eddie Money (Columbia)-14 (14)


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