These posts are about the songs that can accurately claim to crossed the key line of chart success, becoming Top 40 hits on Billboard, but just barely. Every song featured in this series peaked at number 40.

“Give It to Me Baby” gave Rick James his second trip to the Billboard Top 40, following “You and I,” released in 1978. “Give it To Me Baby” was the first single from James’s 1981 album, Street Songs. A smash on the R&B charts, where it went all the way to the top, James had to settle for more modest crossover success, as the track peaked at #40 on the main pop charts. It wound up being merely a warm-up, since the very next single off the album became a far more significant hit, and undoubtedly James’s best-known song.

James wasn’t able to capitalize on that success, however, and his next few singles went nowhere. He wouldn’t visit the Top 40 again until 1983, when he released “Cold Blooded,” the title cut to his seventh album. Purportedly about James’s relationship with actress Linda Blair, it was another huge hit on the R&B charts where it once again took the top spot, one of four times James managed that in his career. And once again it could do no better than #40 on the Hot 100. James notched only one more song in the Top 40 before settling into a life better known for run-ins with the law, tales of drug abuse and one especially famous depiction on a Comedy Central series. James died of heart failure in 2004, with the following in his system: alprazolam, diazepam, bupropion, citalopram, hydrocodone, digoxin, chlorpheniramine, methamphetamine and cocaine.

Previously…
“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
“I’m in Love” by Evelyn King
“Buy Me a Rose” by Kenny Rogers
“Who’s Your Baby” by The Archies
“Me and Bobby McGee” by Jerry Lee Lewis
“Angel in Blue” by J. Geils Band
“Crazy Downtown” by Allan Sherman
“I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Rhythm of Love” by Yes
“Naturally Stoned” by the Avant-Garde
“Come See” by Major Lance
“Your Old Standby” by Mary Wells
“See the Lights” by Simple Minds
“Watch Out For Lucy” by Eric Clapton
“The Alvin Twist” by Alvin and the Chipmunks
“Love Me Tender” by Percy Sledge
“Jennifer Eccles” by the Hollies
“Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Olympics
“The Bounce” by the Olympics
“Your One and Only Love” by Jackie Wilson
“Tell Her She’s Lovely” by El Chicano
“The Last Time I Made Love” by Joyce Kennedy and Jeffrey Osborne
“Limbo Rock” by The Champs
“Crazy Eyes For You” by Bobby Hamilton
“Who Do You Think You’re Foolin'” by Donna Summer
“Violet Hill” and “Lost+” by Coldplay
“Freight Train” by the Chas. McDevitt Skiffle Group
“Sweet William” by Little Millie Small
“Live My Life” by Boy George
“Lessons Learned” by Tracy Lawrence
“So Close” by Diana Ross
“Six Feet Deep” by the Geto Boys
“You Thrill Me” by Exile
“What Now” by Gene Chandler
“Put It in a Magazine” by Sonny Charles
“Got a Love for You” by Jomanda
“Stone Cold” by Rainbow
“People in Love” by 10cc
“Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)” by the Four Tops
“Thinkin’ Problem” by David Ball
“You Got Yours and I’ll Get Mine” and “Trying to Make a Fool of Me” by the Delfonics
“The Riddle (You and I)” by Five for Fighting
“I Can’t Wait” by Sleepy Brown
“Nature Boy” by Bobby Darin

30 thoughts on “Top 40 Smash Taps: “Give It to Me Baby” and “Cold Blooded”

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