Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, November 15th

On this day in 1980: Kenny Rogers went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart with “Lady.” The song was written and produced by Lionel Richie, recorded in 1980, and ranks among Kenny Rogers’ biggest hits. Rogers once told an interviewer, “The idea was that Lionel would come from R&B and I’d come from country, and we’d meet somewhere in pop.”

The success of “Lady” also boosted Richie’s career. The production work on the song was his first outside the Commodores and foreshadowed his success as a solo act during the 1980s. Rogers was also a featured vocalist on “We Are the World”, co-written by Richie. Richie performed “Lady” himself on his 1998 album, ‘Time’ and he and Rogers performed the song as a duet on Richie’s 2012 release ‘Tuskegee.’ Lionel Richie had originally pitched this song to the Commodores and they turned it down. Then later, it was given to Kenny Rogers to record and it became the biggest selling hit single for him as a solo artist.

Since his breakup with the First Edition, Rogers had tasted considerable success as a solo act, with nine #1 entries on the Billboard Country Singles chart (prior to the release of “Lady”), plus several Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts.

“Lady,” according to music historian Fred Bronson, would prove to be an important record for both Richie and Rogers. It became the first record of the 1980s to chart on all four of Billboard magazine’s singles charts – country, Hot 100, adult contemporary and soul singles.

It reached #1 on three of those charts in late 1980. On the Hot 100, “Lady” reached the summit on November 15, 1980 and stayed at the top for a massive six-week stint (tying Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ for the longest run of the year). On December 27th it would be knocked out of the top spot by ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ by John Lennon who had been killed on December 8, 1980.

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

1 2 LADY –•– Kenny Rogers (Liberty)-7 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 1 WOMAN IN LOVE –•– Barbra Streisand (Columbia)-11 (1)
3 5 THE WANDERER –•– Donna Summer (Geffen)-9 (3)
4 4 ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST –•– Queen (Elektra)-14 (1)
5 6 I’M COMING OUT –•– Diana Ross (Motown)-7 (5)
6 7 NEVER KNEW LOVE LIKE THIS BEFORE –•– Stephanie Mills (20th Century)-15 (6)
7 8 MASTER BLASTER (Jammin’) –•– Stevie Wonder (Tamla)-9 (7)
8 3 HE’S SO SHY –•– The Pointer Sisters (Planet)-17 (3)
9 14 MORE THAN I CAN SAY –•– Leo Sayer (Warner Brothers)-8 (9)
10 32 (Just Like) STARTING OVER –•– John Lennon (Geffen)-3 (10)

11 12 DREAMING –•– Cliff Richard (EMI-America)-10 (11)
12 13 LOVELY ONE –•– The Jacksons (Epic)-8 (12)
13 18 YOU’VE LOST THAT LOVIN’ FEELING –•– Daryl Hall and John Oates (RCA)-8 (13)
14 17 WHIP IT –•– Devo (Warner Brothers)-12 (14)
15 15 DREAMER –•– Supertramp (A&M)-9 (15)
16 19 HIT ME WITH YOUR BEST SHOT –•– Pat Benatar (Chrysalis)-7 (16)
17 23 LOVE ON THE ROCKS –•– Neil Diamond (Capitol)-3 (17)
18 24 NEVER BE THE SAME –•– Christopher Cross (Warner Brothers)-6 (18)
19 21 OUT HERE ON MY OWN –•– Irene Cara (RSO)-14 (19)
20 20 ON THE ROAD AGAIN –•– Willie Nelson (Columbia)-11 (20)