Dr. Smooth’s Flashback #4: Billboard chart of December 6, 1980

Spend an hour remembering some of the most popular jazz of late Autumn 1980 as listed on the Jazz LPs chart in the December 6, 1980 issue of Billboard magazine.



#47: “Inflation” by Stanley Turrentine, from the #47 album of the week, Inflation.  This album, on the Elektra label was in the latter third of its chart run on this date.  However, his newer release on the Fantasy label, Use the Stairs, was at #33 in the first weeks of its chart run.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 17 38
Billboard 200 209 1
R&B 65 3


#44: “Bud Powell” by Chick Corea and Gary Burton from the #44 album, In Concert, Zürich, October 28, 1979. This ECM album was premiering on the Jazz Charts this week and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 23 19


#38: “Midnight Parade” by Larry Carlton from the #38 album, Strikes Twice. This track is the third track on the album, which was Carlton’s fifth solo release. This week, the album was headed down the charts, having peaked back on the October 4 chart.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 8 22
Billboard 200 138 8


#29: “Hideaway” by David Sanborn from the #29 album, Hideaway. The lead and title track from his breakthrough album. Sanborn would remain a staple on the jazz charts throughout his career. By this point, the album was almost halfway from its 86 week chart run.  It was in its 41st week on the chart, having premiered at #18 on March 1.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 2 86
Billboard 200 63 19
R&B 33 14


#28: “Who’ll Be The Fool Tonight” by the Larsen-Feiten Band from the #28 album, Larsen-Feiten Band. This single by a group of well-known session musicians (led by keyboardist Neil Larsen and guitarist Buzz Feiten) hit #29 in the Billboard Top 40 in October 1980.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 16 12
Billboard 200 142 10


#20: “East Side Strut” by Deodato from the #20 album, Night Cruiser. The second track on the album, this funk song features bass playing by Gary Grainger. The album debuted at #40 on the chart in late August before peaking at #7 in mid-October.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 7 33
Billboard 200 186 3
R&B 53 8


#15: “The Two of Us” by Seawind from the #15 album, Seawind.  Seawind was a fusion group from Hawaii; this, their most popular album, was their only release on the A&M label and was produced by George Duke. This west coast/AOR song features vocals by Pauline Wilson and Carl Carlwell on vocals as well as the signature horn licks of Jerry Hey. The album first appeared on the chart on October 11, had peaked in November, and was just starting its move down the charts on this date.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 13 30
Billboard 200 83 11
R&B 20 21


#11: “Your Sweet Love” by Al Jarreau from the #11 album, This Time. The album, produced by Jay Graydon, moved away from jazz towards a more adult R&B sound. The move was rewarded with chart success. This song again treats us to more Jerry Hey horns along with lots of electric piano from Tom Canning. This album held the #1 spot on the Jazz charts from for 3 weeks in July before being knocked off by The Crusaders’ Rhapsody and Blues.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 82
Billboard 200 27 35
R&B 6 39


#10: “Funkin’ for Jamaica” by Tom Browne from the #10 album, Love Approach. This funk song hit #1 on the R&B charts and #9 on the Disco charts yet didn’t crack the Hot 100.  Vocals provided by Toni Smith. This album held down the #1 spot on the Jazz album chart for just one week, November 8.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 45
Billboard 200 18 26
R&B 1 32


#6: “Let it Flow (For Dr. J)” by Grover Washington, Jr. from the #6 album, Winelight.  This album would go on to spend 31 weeks at #1 on the jazz charts and yield the #2 pop single “Just the Two of Us,” featuring vocals by Bill Withers.  Washington was from the Philadelphia area and was a huge fan of the 76ers basketball team and often performed the national anthem before games.  This love of the game led him to write this piece for Hall of Famer Julius Irving, star of the 76ers at the time.  Grover’s previous album, Baddest,  a double LP “best of” compilation on the Motown label, was also on this week’s chart, placing at #21.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 183
Billboard 200 5 52
R&B 2 49


#2: “Bittersweet” by Spyro Gyra from the #2 album, Carnaval.   This was this particular album’s 5th week on the chart; it spent a total of five weeks at #2 behind George Benson’s Give Me the Night.  The group had two albums on the chart this week, their previous album, Catching the Sun, was at #31 in it’s 37th week on the chart.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 2 34
Billboard 200 49 30
R&B 24 23


#1: “Dinorah, Dinorah” by George Benson from the #1 album, Give Me the Night.
A huge crossover hit on both the pop and R&B charts, this album spent 17 non-consecutive weeks in the #1 spot. Produced by Quincy Jones, this Brazilian composition by Ivan Lins and Vitor Martins features  some familiar names including Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin, Greg Phillinganes, and Jerry Hey (yet again). The album debuted on the Jazz chart on August 9, was at #1 the following week, and stayed on the chart until August of the following year. It also topped the R&B album chart for 4 weeks.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 53
Billboard 200 3 38
R&B 1 37


As always, thanks to Herc of Herc’s Hideaway for research assistance and support.


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