Chart Week: August 21, 1982
Song: “Love Is In Control (Finger on the Trigger)” – Donna Summer
Chart Position: #12, 9th week on the chart. Peaked at #10 the week of September 25.
My goodness this was a great week! As I was listening to parts of this countdown, song-after-song jumped out at me. I would settle on a song to write about and, five minutes later, here came another one that sparked more memories and made me want to write about it.
I settled on this song partially because I bet very few of you remember it. It came as The Queen of Disco’s career was winding down and most of her hits were minor, although she still had two top 10’s in her future.1 I remember it when I hear it, but it would take me awhile to come up with it off the top of my head.
What made me write about it, though, was the Casey Kasem trivia about the song’s co-writer, Rod Temperton. Temperton had an amazing song-writing career. He has at least partial credit for 11 Top 10 hits, including two #1’s. He wrote numerous other hits. Most of his hits were for black artists, which, as Casey told his listeners in 1982, was rather strange. Because Temperton didn’t know a black person until he was well into his teens.
Tempterton grew up in the very small, very white town of Cleethorpes on the north east of England. There just weren’t any black folks there. Temperton didn’t meet a black person until he moved to London and began performing music with black artists.
Eventually he auditioned for, and earned a place in, the multiracial band Heatwave, writing their biggest hits: “Boogie Nights,” “The Groove Line,” and the timeless R&B classic “Always & Forever.” He caught Quincy Jones’ attention and was brought in to help write Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall album. Temperton penned both “Rock With You,” which hit #1, and “Off the Wall,” which peaked at #10.
Temperton also wrote a song we’ve talked about before, The Brothers Johnson’s #7 hit “Stomp.” Also in his credits are George Benson’s #4 “Give Me the Night,” and Patti Austin and James Ingram’s #1 smash “Baby, Come to Me.”
He wrote “Thriller,” “Yah Mo B There,” and “Sweet Freedom.” He even earned a credit on LL Cool J’s #3 “Hey Lover,” thanks to its sample from “Thriller.”
Write any two of those songs and that’s a hell of a career. But Temperton wrote them all, along with countless other minor hits and album tracks. Dude was a hall of fame 1980s soul writer.
Not bad for a limey from a sleepy, coastal town where there was no influence from black culture.
My first choice was a song that became one of my all time favorites once I rediscovered it nearly 20 years later, the brilliant Marshall Crenshaw’s “Someday, Someway.” Here’s a bonus video for you.
Oh, and here’s a short list of other songs I considered writing about. I talk about 1984 a lot, but the late summer of 1982 could keep me busy for awhile.
“Somebody’s Baby,” Jackson Browne, #34
“Hot in the City,” – Billy Idol, #31
“Only Time Will Tell,” Asia, #29
“Don’t You Want Me,” The Human League, #26
“Kids in America,” – Kim Wilde, #25
“And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” Jennifer Holliday, #24
“Tainted Love,” Soft Cell, #23
“Jack & Diane,” – John Cougar, #16
“Only the Lonely,” The Motels, #13
“Vacation,” The Go-Go’s, #8
1. “She Works Hard for the Money,” #3 in 1983; “This Time I Know It’s For Real,” #7 in 1988.