HOT TRACKS [1983]

Like I may have mentioned previously, I stopped buying new K-Tel albums after Chart Action '83. It wouldn't be until one of the many trips to Bookman's with our three young (at the time) children that I noticed a small stack of gently used K-Tel albums for sale that my interest in the hit compilations was rekindled and I started filling in the holes of my collection, beginning with two or three albums that day, including today's featured album.
Hot Tracks turned out to be quite the find all those years ago, chock-full of some of my favorite songs, though I probably would have resisted buying it as a new release in 1983 as I'm pretty sure I already had all but one of the fourteen tracks from Hot Tracks on other albums. What was the cheese that stood alone?
I don't recall ever hearing this one before; not even after watching this video of the reunited Animals or their performances on American Bandstand and Solid Gold. Just look at the rest of the playlist, though - it is all prime stuff from late 1982 and early 1983, stuff I heard on KLPX or KWFM and included on more than one mixtape. A few of these songs surely could (or should) have been Number Ones and most of them probably appeared on the Rock Tracks chart as it featured nearly all the songs I was hearing on the two rock radio stations back then. One of the cool things about the album is the inner sleeve. It is void of lyrics and images of the artists but it does feature full-color pictures on both sides:
One side of the sleeve features this ad for unique Atari video games, Xonox Double-Ender™, advertised as "Twice the fun for the price of one" or "More play for less pay." As a passionate Intellivision addict, I didn't get my first Atari 2600 system until the year 2000 and I count none of the Xonox games among my meager collection of two dozen game cartridges.
As you can see in each of the magazine ads above, Xonox was a division of K-Tel Software and, in addition to making games for the Atari, they made games for the Colecovision and Commodore 64. The software division was a casualty of the Video Game Crash of 1983.
The other side of the album's inner sleeve features an ad for eight K-Tel titles, including Hot Tracks. Three of the other albums from the ad sit here on the K-Tel Shelf yet all of them have generic white inner sleeves. We've covered a few of the pictured albums here on The Kollection and we may be covering a couple others up the road apiece. Rather than a more appropriate vinyl record background, the graphic designer boldly opted for an image of a shiny compact disc, which had yet to catch on with the general public but would soon explode.

Before we get to the K-Tel Scale, here's a couple of songs from Hot Tracks that I haven't heard on the radio in more than thirty years but that may be more my fault as I really don't listen that often and they could be playing right now and I wouldn't know it.
Just noticed two connections between the two songs above that were not apparent before: 1) The young lady who kinda sorta resembles Valerie Bertinelli in "So Wrong" is, in fact, Nia Peeples. In 1989, Nia would marry Howard Hewett, the lead singer of Shalamar and 2) both "Dead Giveaway" and "So Wrong" appeared on the Hot 100, R&B, Dance, and Rock charts, as seen below.  
HOT TRACKS [1983]
22.39
Billboard Top 40s
PopR&BDISCORockACCB
ManiacMichael Sembello1634343
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)Eurythmics1216361
Human TouchRick Springfield18233423
White Wedding (Part I)Billy Idol3610436
Mr. RobotoStyx331
Don't Pay The FerrymanChris De Burgh342932
The NightThe Animals(48)34(48)
King Of PainThe Police31335
This TimeBryan Adams212429
Rock Of AgesDef Leppard16119
Mexican RadioWall Of Voodoo(58)(41)(55)
Promises, PromisesNaked Eyes11321912
So WrongPatrick Simmons30(77)81832
Dead GiveawayShalamar221018(41)16
"Mexican Radio" failed to make the Top 40?! Really? This is a very, very disappointing K-Tel Scale score - way below average, even - for a really good album and makes a strong case for adding some sort of a Personal Sentiment feature to the K-Tel Scale. Only four Top 10s, a pair of Number Ones and some decent crossover action, including two more Number Ones on the Rock Top Tracks chart. As I alluded to earlier, the big surprises chart wise on Hot Tracks are "So Wrong" making the R&B and Dance charts with "Dead Giveaway" crossing over to the Rock Top Tracks chart.
Hot Tracks is also available on 8-track and cassette. While the cassette's tracklisting mirrors the vinyl version, the 8-track shuffles things up a bit; most notably, Def Leppard's "Rock Of Ages" moves up from tenth to the fourth position and unfortunately is cut not quite in half across the end of Program 1 and the beginning of Program 2.
Our friends in Canada, saw their own version of Hot Tracks released up there in 1984. The cover art was nearly identical and four tracks held over from the US edition but the Canadian Hot Tracks had sixteen tracks total, including at least ten from CBS and its related labels. I mention this only because there are no CBS tracks on the US version... none. I enjoy listening to the Canadian playlist but track for track, the US is a better listen for me. There is a song that was new to me on the Canadian album:

The first thing that came to mind listening to "Sheriff" was a sound not unlike The Police, which made me laugh because of the song's title. I pulled up their album [Spotify][YouTube], gave it a spin and saved it for later listening, to see how it stands up amongst its peers in the course of casual listening. The Tenants released their second (and last) album in 1984 (Visions Of Our Future) but broke up soon after. The playlist below is a double-length one, coming in just under two hours and featuring the tracks from both the US and Canadian editions of Hot Tracks.
🎧🎧🎧
The next US K-Tel album on the shelf is the follow-up to Neon Nights, featuring more music from Rock's Danceable Side:

No comments:

Post a Comment