Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, April 19th

On this day in 1980: R.E.M. played their first gig as R.E.M. at the 11:11 Koffee Club, Athens, Georgia to 150 people. The show ended at 2am when police closed it down due to the venue being unlicensed. Here’s a concert clip from R.E.M. from early 1981:

Also on this day in 1980: For the first time ever, the Top five artists on the U.S. country chart were all female, Crystal Gayle was at #1, with Dottie West, Debbie Boone, Emmylou Harris and Tammy Wynette  rounding out the rest of the Top 5.

Also on this day in 1980: 32 year old English singer Brian Johnson joined Australian group AC/DC, replacing Bon Scott as lead singer who had died after a drinking binge in February 1980.

Also on this day in 1980: Blondie started a six week run #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Call Me.’

“Call Me” was the main theme song of the 1980 film ‘American Gigolo.’ Italian disco producer Giorgio Moroder originally asked Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac to help compose and perform a song for the soundtrack, but she declined as a recently signed contract with Modern Records prevented her from working with Moroder. It was at this time that Moroder turned to Debby Harry and Blondie. Moroder presented Harry with a rough instrumental track called “Man Machine”. Harry was asked to write the lyrics and melody, a process that Harry states took a mere few hours. The lyrics were written from the perspective of the main character in the film, a male prostitute. Harry said the lyrics were inspired by her visual impressions from watching the film and that “When I was writing it, I pictured the opening scene, driving on the coast of California.”

The single was released in the United States on February 1, 1980. It spent six consecutive weeks at number one and was certified Gold (for one million copies sold) by the RIAA. It also spent four weeks at #2 on the U.S. dance chart. The single was also #1 on Billboard magazine’s 1980 year-end chart. The song lists at #57 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100.  “Call Me” was ranked at #283 on the list of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 1981, the song was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, as well as for a Golden Globe for Best Original Song.

Here’s a look at the Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1980:

1 2 CALL ME –•– Blondie (Chrysalis)-10 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 1 ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (Part 2) –•– Pink Floyd (Columbia)-14 (1)
3 4 RIDE LIKE THE WIND –•– Christopher Cross (Warner Brothers)-10 (3)
4 7 WITH YOU I’M BORN AGAIN –•– Billy Preston and Syreeta (Motown)-20 (4)
5 6 SPECIAL LADY –•– Ray, Goodman and Brown (Polydor)-13 (5)
6 12 LOST IN LOVE –•– Air Supply (Arista)-11 (6)
7 11 FIRE LAKE –•– Bob Seger (Capitol)-9 (7)
8 9 I CAN’T TELL YOU WHY –•– Eagles (Asylum)-9 (8)
9 3 WORKING MY WAY BACK TO YOU / FORGIVE ME GIRL (Medley) –•– The Spinners (Atlantic)-19 (2)
10 10 OFF THE WALL –•– Michael Jackson (Epic)-10 (10)

11 5 TOO HOT –•– Kool and the Gang (De-Lite)-14 (5)
12 14 YOU MAY BE RIGHT –•– Billy Joel (Columbia)-6 (12)
13 15 SEXY EYES –•– Dr. Hook (Capitol)-10 (13)
14 18 HOLD ON TO MY LOVE –•– Jimmy Ruffin (RSO)-8 (14)
15 8 CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVE –•– Queen (Elektra)-18 (1)
16 26 DON’T FALL IN LOVE WITH A DREAMER –•– Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes (United Artists)-4 (16)
17 23 PILOT OF THE AIRWAVES –•– Charlie Dore (Island)-9 (17)
18 17 HOW DO I MAKE YOU –•– Linda Ronstadt (Asylum)-12 (10)
19 19 AND THE BEAT GOES ON –•– The Whispers (Solar)-11 (19)
20 22 I PLEDGE MY LOVE –•– Peaches and Herb (Polydor)-14 (20)

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