Dr. Smooth’s Flashback #9: Billboard chart of October 20, 1984

Spend an hour remembering some of the most popular jazz of fall 1984 as listed on the Top 40 Jazz Albums chart in the October 20, 1984 issue of Billboard magazine.



#40: “Step by Step” by Al Jarreau, from the #40 album of the week, Jarreau. By this date, Jarreau had been on the jazz chart for 78 weeks  (it debuted at #18 on April 30, 1983) and would finally leave the chart on November 17. This album would rest in the top position for 16 consecutive weeks, May 14-September 10, 1983. It is listed below as #10 on the 1984 year end chart, but was ranked at #2 on the 1983 year end chart.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 81
Billboard 200 13 43
R&B 4 43
1984 Jazz Year End 10


#38: “Samba Dees Days” by Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd, from the #38 album of the week, Jazz Samba. This album was originally released in 1962, started the bossa nova craze in the US, and hit #1 on the pop chart. It was included in an August 1984 series of Verve reissues by Polygram. This particular tune was written by Byrd, the remaining songs on the album were written by Brazilian composers, including Antonio Carlos Jobim. This was the reissue’s third of 15 weeks on the jazz charts.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz (1984) 22 15
Billboard 200 (1962) 1 70


#36: “The Shadow of Your Smile” by Pieces of a Dream, from the #36 album of the week, Imagine This. This was the group’s third album and, after peaking at #4 back in February, was making its final chart appearance this week. This tune, also known as “Love Theme from The Sandpiper,” was written by Johnny Mandel and premiered in 1965. At that time, it won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 4 40
Billboard 200 90 15
R&B 16 40
1984 Jazz Year End 12


#27: “Yolanda, You Learn” by the Pat Metheny Group from the #27 album, First Circle. This week marked the chart debut of First Circle. The album would stay on the jazz chart until March 1986 and win the Grammy Award for “Best Jazz Fusion Performance.” It spent 6 weeks at in the #2 position, held out of the top spot by Wynton Marsalis’ Hot House Flowers album. On this date, Metheny had another album on the jazz charts: Rejoicing was at #18.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 2 75
Billboard 200 91 35
1985 Jazz Year End 3


#26: “Love Theme from ‘London and Davis in New York'” by Chuck Mangione from the #26 album, Disguise. Mangione’s chart appearances were in decline by this point in his career and, to that end, that cover photo may have been a poor choice to boost sales. In its fifth week on the jazz chart, it peaked here at #26. This track was a theme for a failed CBS TV pilot starring Richard Crenna as a crime-solving photographer.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 26 11
Billboard 200 148 8


#23: “Someone to Watch Over Me” by Linda Ronstadt from the #23 album, What’s New. A jazz standard on the first of three Ronstadt albums in which she teamed with legendary orchestra leader Nelson Riddle to record selections from the American songbook. A big seller on multiple charts, this album debuted on the jazz chart in December 1983. The beautiful ballad “Someone to Watch Over Me” was composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by brother Ira Gershwin for the 1926 musical Oh, Kay!

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 5 60
Billboard 200 3 81
1984 Jazz Year End 7


#22: “Sunset Drivers” by Lee Ritenour from the #22 album, Banded Together. This pop album was released in an attempt to recapture the minor pop chart success Ritenour had with 1981’s Rit album. It didn’t fare as well; this particular week marked the album’s 17th week on the jazz chart and was on a fast descent after peaking at #6. Eric Tagg provides vocals on this track.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 6 20
Billboard 200 145 8
1984 Jazz Year End 39


#19: “Now You Know” by Steps Ahead from the #19 album, Modern TimesSteps Ahead were a jazz “supergroup” consisting of Warren Bernhardt (keyboards), Eddie Gomez (bass), Peter Erskine (drums), Michael Brecker (sax), and Mike Mainieri (vibes) that attempted to pick up where Weather Report left off. This album, on the short-lived Elektra/Musician label, had peaked at #11 in September.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 11 39
1984 Jazz Year End 27


#17: “Take It From the Top” by Earl Klugh from the #17 album, Wishful Thinking. This album held the top spot on the jazz chart for two weeks in July, 1984. The album’s follow-up, Night Songs, would debut on the chart following this one, November 3. This track is uncharacteristic of Klugh in that it utilizes a big band; it was used as the theme for CBS Sports’ PGA Tour coverage from 1985 through 1990.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 47
Billboard 200 69 23
R&B 18 27
1984 Jazz Year End 6


#8: “It’s All Right With Me” by Frank Sinatra from the #8 album, L.A. is My Lady. Sinatra’s final solo album, it attempted to do for Los Angeles what his earlier “Theme from ‘New York, New York'” did for NYC. The album sessions were filmed, with a small audience, and released as Frank Sinatra: Portrait of an Album. “It’s All Right With Me” was written by Cole Porter for his 1953 musical Can-Can.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 8 21
Billboard 200 58 13


#3: “I Told U So” by David Sanborn from the #3 album, Backstreet. By this date, the album had been in the jazz chart 48 weeks, had held the #1 spot 14 weeks, and was on its way to being listed as the chart’s top album of the year. This track, the album’s first cut, was written by Sanborn with guitarist Hiram Bullock.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 70
Billboard 200 81 33
R&B 21 47
1984 Jazz Year End 1


#1: “Old San Juan” by Spyro Gyra from the #1 album, Access All Areas.  This 2 LP set was recorded in Gainesville, St. Petersburg, and Orlando, Florida, November 17-19, 1983. It debuted on the jazz chart on July 7 and spent September 1 – November 10 in the top spot. When the album was released on a CD, the album’s first track, “Old San Juan” was cut so the album could be released on a single CD. Years later, the band released an unedited version of the track as a download from their website. It is that version that caps off this flashback mix.

Billboard Album Charts: Peak Weeks
Jazz 1 37
Billboard 200 59 19
R&B 41 13
1984 Jazz Year End 11


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


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