Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, August 30th

On this day in 1980: Christopher Cross went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart with “Sailing.” It would spend one week in the top spot.

It was released in June 1980 as the second single from his self-titled debut album. The song was a huge success in the United States, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on August 30, 1980, where it stayed for one week. The song also won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Arrangement of the Year, and helped Cross win the Best New Artist award. VH1 named “Sailing” the most “softsational soft rock” song of all time.

The song was recorded in 1979, utilizing the 3M Digital Recording System, making it one of the first digitally recorded songs to chart. In his Grammy acceptance speech, Cross acknowledged “Sailing” as his favorite song on the album and that originally it was not meant to be a single.  The song was later identified as an archetype of the style that later became known as yacht rock. (Cross and similar artists referred to the style as the West Coast sound at the time).

Cross has said in interviews that the song’s inspiration was his friendship with an older friend from his high school, Al Glasscock, who would take him sailing as a teenager, just to get away from the trials and tribulations of being a teenager. Glasscock functioned as a surrogate older brother during a tough time for Cross emotionally. Although Cross lost touch with Glasscock, The Howard Stern Show in April 1995 reunited Cross with Glasscock, after 28 years. Cross acknowledged on the show that his sailing trips with Glasscock had been the inspiration for the song. After that reunion, Cross sent Glasscock a copy of the platinum record he earned for selling more than five million copies of “Sailing.”

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

1 2 SAILING –•– Christopher Cross (Warner Brothers)-12 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 5 UPSIDE DOWN –•– Diana Ross (Motown)-8 (2)
3 1 MAGIC –•– Olivia Newton-John (MCA)-15 (1)
4 4 EMOTIONAL RESCUE –•– The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones)-9 (4)
5 3 TAKE YOUR TIME (Do It Right) (Part 1) –•– The S.O.S. Band (Tabu)-14 (3)
6 7 FAME –•– Irene Cara (RSO)-12 (6)
7 8 ALL OUT OF LOVE –•– Air Supply (Arista)-12 (7)
8 11 GIVE ME THE NIGHT –•– George Benson (Warner Brothers / Qwest)-9 (8)
9 9 LET MY LOVE OPEN THE DOOR –•– Pete Townshend (Atco)-12 (9)
10 10 MORE LOVE –•– Kim Carnes (EMI-America)-14 (10)

11 13 LATE IN THE EVENING –•– Paul Simon (Warner Brothers)-4 (11)
12 16 INTO THE NIGHT –•– Benny Mardones (Polydor)-12 (12)
13 19 LOOKIN’ FOR LOVE –•– Johnny Lee (Full Moon)-8 (13)
14 6 IT’S STILL ROCK AND ROLL TO ME –•– Billy Joel (Columbia)-15 (1)
15 15 TAKE A LITTLE RHYTHM –•– Ali Thomson (A&M)-12 (15)
16 23 DRIVIN’ MY LIFE AWAY –•– Eddie Rabbitt (Elektra)-11 (16)
17 17 JOJO –•– Boz Scaggs (Columbia)-12 (17)
18 18 WHY NOT ME –•– Fred Knoblock (Scotti Brothers)-10 (18)
19 20 YOU’RE THE ONLY WOMAN (You & I) –•– Ambrosia (Warner Brothers)-8 (19)
20 21 OLD-FASHION LOVE –•– The Commodores (Motown)-11 (20)

On this day in 1986: Steve Winwood went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart with, ‘Higher Love’, a #13 hit in the U.K.

It was the first single released from his fourth solo LP, ‘Back In the High Life’. “Higher Love” was Winwood’s first Billboard Hot 100 #1 song, topping the chart for one week. It was preceded by Madonna’s ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ and followed by ‘Venus’ by Bananarama. The song also spent four weeks atop the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart and earned two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. It also peaked at #13 in the United Kingdom, Winwood’s highest charting solo entry there, and reached #1 in Canada for a week.

The music video, which uses the shorter single version, was shot in June 1986 by directors Peter Kagan and Paula Greif. The same duo shot an almost identical video for Duran Duran’s ‘Notorious’ in November of that year; coincidentally, both videos were nominated for several awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, though neither won. Chaka Khan appears in the video, as does Nile Rodgers, who plays guitar with the backing band.

Let’s take a look at the complete Top 20 from this day back in 1986:

1 2 HIGHER LOVE –•– Steve Winwood (Island)-12 (1 Week at #1) (1)
2 3 VENUS –•– Bananarama (London)-10 (2)
3 1 PAPA DON’T PREACH –•– Madonna (Sire)-10 (1)
4 7 TAKE MY BREATH AWAY –•– Berlin (Columbia)-11 (4)
5 6 DANCING ON THE CEILING –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-7 (5)
6 12 FRIENDS AND LOVERS –•– Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson (Carrere)-9 (6)
7 11 SWEET FREEDOM –•– Michael McDonald (MCA)-12 (7)
8 9 RUMORS –•– Timex Social Club (Jay)-12 (8)
9 15 STUCK WITH YOU –•– Huey Lewis & The News (Chrysalis)-5 (9)
10 4 MAD ABOUT YOU –•– Belinda Carlisle (I.R.S.)-16 (3)

11 8 WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF –•– Jermaine Stewart (Arista)-16 (5)
12 5 GLORY OF LOVE –•– Peter Cetera (Full Moon / Warner Brothers)-13 (1)
13 16 WORDS GET IN THE WAY –•– Miami Sound Machine featuring Gloria Estefan (Epic)-12 (13)
14 14 BABY LOVE –•– Regina (Atlantic)-11 (14)
15 20 WALK THIS WAY –•– Run-D.M.C. & Aerosmith (Profile)-6 (15)
16 18 YANKEE ROSE –•– David Lee Roth (Warner Brothers)-9 (16)
17 10 THE EDGE OF HEAVEN –•– Wham! (Columbia)-9 (10)
18 23 DON’T FORGET ME (When I’m Gone) –•– Glass Tiger (Manhattan)-8 (18)
19 22 MAN SIZE LOVE –•– Klymaxx (MCA)-9 (19)
20 21 THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW –•– The Monkees (Arista)-9 (20)


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