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Retro North: Tom Tom Club and Rick James (1981)

Every Friday at 4pm
On Northland Afternoon

Retro North is a new weekly segment on The North 103.3 FM.

Every Friday at 4pm, we fire up The North’s Time Machine and select a year to spotlight. We will feature two tracks released in that year and provide various nostalgic centerpieces.

On June 23rd, 1981 The accused shooter of John Lennon, Mark David Chapman, pleaded guilty to killing the former Beatle outside his Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8. He would eventually be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

The movie Superman II was #1 at the box office, Kim Carnes had a #1 hit on the radio with the song Bette Davis Eyes, and the longest professional baseball game ended after a record setting 33 innings between The Pawtucket Red Sox  and the Rochester Red Wings.

Also, on this day in 1981, the band Tom Tom Club released their self-titled debut album. A side project of Talking Heads members Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, the album was recorded at the legendary Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas and the second single Genius of Love went to #1 on the dance club charts. The song has been sampled by numerous artists with Mariah Carey using the hook from the song in her massive 1995 hit single Fantasy.

Over on the R&B charts, Rick James held the #1 spot for 5 straight weeks with his song Give It To Me Baby taken from his fifth studio album Street Songs which also featured the funk classic Super Freak.

Street Songs would go on to spend twenty weeks at #1 on the R&B album charts, hit #3 on the Pop Charts, and Rick James became the first African American male artist to be nominated in the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance category at the Grammy Awards that year.

Shane German comes to the North 103.3 via community radio station WYCE in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was the Music Director for 6 years. He's excited to explore a new city, and new terrain - and to engage with a new community.