Billboard #1’s for the Week Ending September 19, 1981

This week’s Time Capsule!

Chart Song Act Weeks
Hot 100 Endless Love Diana Ross & Lionel Richie 6
R & B Endless Love Diana Ross & Lionel Richie 5
Country You Don’t Know Me Mickey Gilley 1
Adult Contemporary Endless Love Diana Ross & Lionel Richie 3
Rock Start Me Up The Rolling Stones 3
Album Tattoo You The Rolling Stones 1

This week sees a very patient future #1 debut on the Hot 100. At This Moment, by Billy Vera and the Beaters, made its first appearance on the charts at #90. It hung around for two more weeks, peaking at #79. That might well have been that, but for the smash sitcom Family Ties. One of the show’s producers heard the song and thought it would be a perfect fit to accompany a story about the romance of Michael J. Fox’s character Alex P. Keaton. When the song first aired, Vera decided to get the original album re-released. Its Japanese label, Alfa, had folded, so he worked a deal with Rhino records. When the song was used again, viewers suddenly had an album they could buy. As sales mounted, Rhino released the single, which hit #1 on Jan. 24, 1987, five years and four months after its original release.

Amazingly, this record was broken two years later by a band that no longer existed. Sheriff released When I’m With You in May 1983 when it peaked at #61. In its case, a station in Las Vegas resurrected the song, which picked up regional, then national attention. It was re-released, hitting #1 in February 1989, nearly five years and nine months later. Despite the two chart runs, the lone hit makes them a rare true One Hit Wonder.

Vera does top Sheriff in one other record, however, with a 19-year gap between his first hit (1967’s Storybook Children with Judy Clay) and his first #1. Strangely, seven other artists have taken even longer to finally reach the top. The champ in this case is Santana, who took exactly 30 years to finally top the charts with Smooth, one of the biggest Hot 100 hits ever.

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About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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