1980-59: The Dirt Band, “An American Dream”

Before “Jefferson Airplane”/”Jefferson Starship”/”Starship”, and before “John Cougar”/”John Cougar Mellencamp”/”John Mellencamp,” there was “The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band”/”Dirt Band”/Oh-what-the-heck-let’s-go-back-to “The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.”

Not a bad song really, The Dirt Band’s “An American Dream” reached #13 a few weeks into the decade. I recall hearing this one growing up in Atlanta. I suppose down there pop radio stations were much more friendly to country-based groups like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band versus stations in other regions of the country. However, even the west coast surely couldn’t resist this one with Linda Ronstadt on background vocals.

“An American Dream” ended up the #72 song of 1980.

Memorable lyric: “I think a tropical vacation this year might be the answer to this hillbilly beer.”



1980-58: The Commodores, “Wonderland”

From their Midnight Magic album, here’s the follow-up single to their #1 song “Still.” When you follow up a huge smash like that, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least another top 40 song to add to your credentials- even if it’s not all that snazzy. Case in point- The Commodores’ “Wonderland.”

Don’t get me wrong: When it comes to the C-dores or lead singer Lionel Richie, I’m a fan. It’s just that this song doesn’t really do anything for me. But you be the judge. “Wonderland” would go on to reach #25.
#25? Again….you be the judge.

Memorable lyric: “Mr. Taxi driver, could you give us a ride and take us down to, oh, Paradise Drive.”

1980-57: The Bar-Kays, “Move Your Boogie Body”

So here’s one of the songs that helped bring together R&B, funk and disco.

Peaking at #57 the first week of the decade, this one sounds like a mix of every ’70s disco song, and two soon-to-be-classics from 1986: Cameo’s “Word Up” and Prince’s “Kiss.” Only thing missing here is Morris Day, I guess. The Bar-Kays had several R&B hits in the ’70s and ’80s, but they would go on to have only two more HOT 100 entries. What’s wild is that all three of the songs sound so incredibly different- almost as if performed by three separate groups.

Nope. Don’t remember this one.

Memorable lyric: “I betcha if you let yourself go you won’t regret you got up. You gonna be dancing, prancing, fancy dancing. You’ll be the star of the show.”