Musical Dice -- Buried Treasure

     Welcome to the music section of my Musical Dice website! For you music trivia enthusiasts, and those who love to learn about the stories behind the music, you've come to the right place! I love sharing my knowledge of music trivia, so that's why I created this section.

     For those of you who don't know, I've written a JukeBox program on my computer that contains over 4000 songs. One way I can list these songs is by how often they are played on the JukeBox. Recently, I listed these songs this way, and it got me to thinking, so many of these songs are great songs, but they didn't get the attention I think they deserved. I'm not talking about, let's say, classic songs that didn't make the top 40 (that's another article in the future). I'm more talking about songs that maybe did reach the top 40, maybe they didn't, either way, they were NOT considered classics, but they should be. I think you'll agree with me, when you hear these great songs.

     On YouTube, as many of you know, the Professor Of Rock, on his channel, from time to time, has a segment, which he calls Hidden Gems. What I'm going to mention in this article, are a bunch of hidden gems, which here, collectively, are called Buried Treasure. Here are some examples:

"Take These Chains From My Heart" -- Ray Charles, 1963

     Yes, this is a remake of the old Hank Williams country classic. But this a really good version of that song. Yes, it has a very similar arrangement to "I Can't Stop Loving You" by Ray Charles (another country remake, #1 for 5 weeks in 1962), but that arrangement works here as well. From the many times I've sung this song karaoke, and from the many positive responses I've gotten from that, I think this song qualifies as a hidden gem (how many times have you heard it on the radio, even the oldies stations?). This song was a relatively short-lived #8 hit in 1963, but I think this song deserves to be a classic.

"Sunday And Me" -- Jay & the Americans, 1965

     I never heard this song until this year, when I got curious to hear what the first Neil Diamond composition to become a hit sounds like (and this was about a year before Neil Diamond started having hits of his own). I was IMMEDIATELY hooked. And given the positive response I get whenever I sing this karaoke, I definitely think this song qualifies as a hidden gem, one that should be getting more attention nowadays. Back in 1965, the song was a rather short-lived #18 hit. I think it was every bit as good as the four top ten hits Jay & the Americans actually had. What do you think?

"I'll Never Find Another You" -- The Seekers, 1965

     It is really mind-boggling that I never heard this awesome song until just two years ago, when, just like the last song, I decided to check it out on YouTube. I was immediately touched by the lyrics, and the vocal arrangements are awesome as well. Yes, the song reached #4 on the chart back in 1965, but how many times have you heard this song lately? It's a shame that it doesn't get more attention. When it comes to this group, they are best known for their hit "Georgy Girl" (#2 for 2 weeks in 1967), but I think this definitely deserves a listen as well.

"Travlin' Man" -- Stevie Wonder, 1967

     I first heard this song on the radio over 30 years ago, when a dee-jay played this as a mystery song, which he even said was done by Stevie Wonder. I think the reason why this song wasn't one of Stevie Wonder's bigger hits was because it came just after another hit, which followed a similar theme, and had a similar arrangement. That song was "A Place In The Sun" (#9 in 1966). This song never got higher than #32 in early 1967, but I think it deserves a lot more attention. In my younger years, I really was able to relate to this song. I suspect that a lot of you could relate to this song as well.

"Lazy Day" -- Spanky & Our Gang, 1967

     Maybe this song epitomizes the hippie and flower power days of that time period, but to me, this is still a damn good song. Plus, this is one of those songs that features a musical instrument not often heard prominently in a pop song (I believe the instrument is a piccolo). The song climed up to #14 back in 1967, and I think it deserves a listen nowadays, as it is just a plain old feel-good song. A perfect song to escape reality, and go to your happy place.

"Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" -- Stevie Wonder, 1968

     Simply put, a nonsensical title with a serious message -- better treat your woman right, or she may end up with someone else. I rarely hear this one on the radio these days, either as an oldie, or as an R & B classic. And I think this is a damn good song. It did reach #9 for Stevie Wonder in 1968, but as far as being a classic, I definitely think it should be one. It qualifies as a hidden gem for that reason.

     On a more personal note, I can think of some people I knew whom this song could apply to. I had a friend named Libby, who was in the same bowling league as I was. She wasn't on the same team that I was, but two guys that were, were Jerry and Mike, the latter, was her second husband. I later learned from Libby, that Jerry, sometimes wouldn't show up because he hated the way Mike treated her. So this song could be Jerry's theme song toward Mike, regarding Libby. Turns out, Jerry ended up being husband number three.

"She Belongs To Me" -- Rick Nelson, 1969

     I think this qualifies as another easy-going feel-good song. The song was written and originally recorded by Bob Dylan (originally the B-side of his hit "Subterranean Homesick Blues"). It does sound country, and maybe that's not what people back then wanted to hear out of Ricky Nelson, and maybe that's why the song only topped out at #33, but I think this song deserves a lot more attention.

     SPECIAL NOTE: In Rick Nelson's 1972 top ten hit "Garden Party," he referenced this song as well as his 1961 hit "Hello Mary Lou," when he sand "I said hello to Mary Lou. She belongs to me."

"Burning Bridges" -- The Mike Curb Congregation, 1971

     I first heard of the politician Mike Curb before I heard of him as a producer and musician. Just my opinion, but a song with a pointed message about squandering countless opportunities to get help from countless people, deserves better than a #34 peak on the chart, plus, more importantly, it deserves to be listened to. I'm sure we all know people whom we'd tried to help improve their lives, but they treated us so bad to the point that they would no longer get our help.

"Something's Wrong With Me" -- Austin Roberts, 1972

     The first time I heard this song was back in 2008 when I was listening to an old edition of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 (from late 1972, apparently), and this song was played. Apparently, that particular week in 1972, it was at its high spot of #12. I loved this song so much that I downloaded this song before it finished playing! Why it's not a classic, is beyond me. And it was written by Bobby Hart, the same person who wrote "Last Train To Clarksville" by the Monkees.

"Put Your Hands Together" -- The O'Jays, 1974

     When I bought the O'Jays' Greatest Hits CD, I was very surprised not to see this song on it! This was one of the O'Jays' six top ten hits on the pop chart! (topping out at #10 in early 1974) In fact, it's my favorite song by the O'Jays, so what gives?? Just my opinion, but this song is every bit as good as their other classics, and deserves to be called a classic too.

"I Can't Hear You No More" -- Helen Reddy, 1976

     What? Helen Reddy doing disco?? I can only imagine that that was the reaction of the people in general, back in the day. Could be why the song only topped out at #29 back in 1976. But just listen to the music, and especially to the lyrics, and you'll easily see why this song qualifies as a hidden gem.

"I Need To Be In Love" -- The Carpenters, 1976

     Karen Carpenter had once said about this song, that this was her favorite Carpenters song. Yes, I realize that the Carpenters were fast losing popularity by the time 1976 came around, and that may have been why this song only peaked at #25 on the chart. But this song, written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis, in my opinion, is a very pretty ballad, and deserves to be among the other classic Carpenters ballads that we know and love so well.

"You're My World" -- Helen Reddy, 1977

     The vocal arrangements on this song are incredible. I can't imagine how this isn't a classic. I think, similar to the Carpenters, Helen Reddy was losing popularity, which may explain why this song only got to #18 back in 1977. But I think once you really listen to this song, that this too qualifies as a hidden gem.

"Poor Poor Pitiful Me" -- Linda Ronstadt, 1978

     Written by Warren Zevon (of "Werewolves Of London" fame), this song, I think, is every bit as the many top ten hits Linda Ronstadt had. This song only reached #31 in 1978. Go figure.

"I Love You" -- Donna Summer, 1978

     Given that this was only Donna Summer's third top 40 hit, and given the fact that on her two previous top 40 hits, "Love To Love You Baby" and "I Feel Love," she sounded like a sex kitten, Donna Summer, doing a song that she did some actual singing on, must have been considered a real departure for her at the time. It only reached #37 for Donna Summer in 1978, but I think this is every bit as good as her other disco songs.

"Alive Again" -- Chicago, 1978

     Out of the dozens of hits Chicago had over the years, this is one of those that I hear the least of. The first time I even heard it was when VH-1 had played snippets of it in "Chicago: Behind The Music." Yes, it came on the heels of lead guitarist Terry Kath's tragic death early in the year, and maybe this song was to indicate to Chicago fans that they're still alive as a band. Unfortunately, the new guitarist that replaced Terry Kath, couldn't sound like him, and thus, this song probably got a relatively tepid response because of that. But forget all that. This song has great lyrics, and great vocal arrangements, and yes, I even like the guitar by Kath's replacement. I think it was every bit as good as their other 70's classics, despite only peaking at $14 on the chart in 1978.

"Someone That I Used To Love" -- Natalie Cole, 1980

     This one is a HUGE personal favorite of mine, as it describes quite well, a situation I was in with this girl back in high school. Yes, Rhonda, or Ronni, or whatever the hell you call yourself these days, I'm talking about you! The tip of the iceberg was, as the song went, "Once I had so much to give, but you just refused my love..." (The rest was more like "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" by Stevie Nicks/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.) Anyway, I was very surprised that "Someone That I Used To Love" was not one of Natalie Cole's top ten hits, only topping out at #21 in 1980. Maybe one reason for that was the fact that by the time 1980 came around, Natalie Cole was deeply mired in drug addiction, and the promoters weren't as gung-ho to back her, as they were with previous works. I'm sure many of you had unrequited love similar to my situation, and this song would be fitting for you too. This definitely qualifies as a hidden gem.

"One Step Closer" -- The Doobie Brothers, 1981

     This was the last top 40 hit Michael McDonald had as part of the Doobie Brothers. And I definitely think this deserves to be as much of a classic as most of their other hits. I don't know why it's not. It only peaked at #24 in January of 1981, but that has nothing to do with it, as I'm sure you can think of Doobie Brothers songs that didn't even get that high, that have become classics ("Dependin' On You," #25 in 1979, "Jesus Is Just Alright," #35 in 1972, and "It Keeps You Runnin,'" #37 in 1977, to name three).

"Nobody Wins" -- Elton John, 1981

     I remember following this song on American Top 40, thinking that this song was destined for the top ten, only to stall out at #21. I couldn't figure out why this wasn't a bigger hit. It's a great song, sung from a boy's point of view, about his parents who seem destined for divorce court. Anyway, I think this deserves a lot more attention.

"Breaking Away" -- Balance, 1981

     What else can I say about this song? This is a great rock and roll song, that I think is every bit as great as the other classic rock songs out there. So what if the song only peaked at #22 in 1981? Just listen to it, dammit! ☺

"That Old Song" -- Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio, 1981

     This was the last top 40 hit Ray Parker Jr. had with Raydio. Following the American Top 40 countdown back in the day, I thought for a moment that this was destined for the top ten, just like their previous hit ("A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)" which peaked at #4), but instead, this stalled at #21. Funny that shortly thereafter, Barry Manilow came out with a song that was very similar in theme, called "The Old Songs," which peaked at #15. Coincidence? When you consider the fact that both recording acts were on the Arista Records label at the time, what do you think happened? Just my opinion, I think this is by far the better song. Qualifies as a hidden gem to me.

"Find Another Fool" -- Quarterflash, 1982

     I think most people regard this song as merely the sequel to the Quarterflash hit "Harden My Heart," which reached #3 in early 1982. But to me, this is the better song. It certainly is as good as a rocker as any classic Pat Benatar song out there. This song only reached #16 in 1982, but I think it deserved better, and I think it deserves attention now. Anyone who can relate to the lyrical content of the song whould agree.

"Why Me?" -- Irene Cara, 1983

     I definitely think this anger/anguish/angst-driven rock and dance song should have become a classic. Anyone dealing with heartbreak and betrayal can relate to this song, as one would simply want to scream out "Why ME?" The song moved quickly up the chart, but also quickly fizzled out at #13 in late 1983. One possible explanation for this will come with the next song.

"The Dream (Hold On To Your Dream)" -- Irene Cara, 1984

     This too, I think should be a classic, as it is a very inspirational song. Now the reason why I think "Why Me" stalled at #13 was because this song came out while "Why Me" was still rising on the chart, and such killed its momentun. "The Dream" was featured in the movie "D.C. Cab," which I don't think did that well at the box office. Maybe it was this fact as to why this song only rose up to #37 on the chart in early 1984. Quite frankly, I would much rather have seen this song or "Why Me" hit the top ten, rather than "Breakdance," which followed this song, and reached #8. Both are much better songs, I think. Go figure!

"Goodbye" -- Night Ranger, 1986

     To be honest with you, I was toying with the idea of putting out this article for the past week or so. At the time, I'd only had a few hidden gems in mind, with this song being one of them. But after I sang this song karaoke last Thursday night, and especially after someone else had told me what a hidden gem this song is, I figured I'd think of more hidden gems, and write the article. This song is a rather poignant song, written by Night Ranger lead singer Jack Blades, about his brother who had committed suicide. I always loved this song, and I fully agree that this should be a classic. Coincidentally, "Goodbye" was Night Ranger's last top 40 hit, topping out at #17 in early 1986.

"Another Night" -- Aretha Franklin, 1986

     To me, this is such an empowering song in the aftermath of a heartbreak, that I think this too qualifies as a hidden gem. If this is being played an any measurable amounts on R & B stations, then it's lost on me. I especially like the part near the end, when Aretha declares "I don't need you to be nringing me down!" The song only reached #22 in 1986, but I think it deserved better.

"Headed For The Future" -- Neil Diamond, 1986

     Forget for a moment, who sings this song. Just listen...Isn't this a great song, with a positive message? For this reason, I think this song also qualifies as a hidden gem. I'm only guessing that Neil Diamond wrote this for one of his kids who was graduating at the time. I certainly think this song deserved better than only a #53 peak on the Billboard Hot 100. What are your thoughts?

"Jumpin' Jack Flash" -- Aretha Franklin, 1986

     I know a lot of you will probably disagree with me on this one being a hidden gem, because you like the original Rolling Stones version (#3 in 1968) better. But I happen to like Aretha Franklin' version better. And, it turns out, the guitar work on this version is done by the Rolling Stones' own Keith Richards. Of course, it was the tittle track from the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg. This version climbed up to #21 in late 1986. I happen to like Aretha's interpretation better.

"Wild World" -- Maxi Priest, 1988

     Okay, this is two songs in a row where I prefer the remake over the original version. Trust me, this doesn't happen often. In this case, this version flows much more smoothly, in my opinion, instead of the original Cat Stevens version (which reached #11 in 1971). This version only reached #25 in 1988. Perhaps the original version overshadows this version, but this version is great enough for me to call it a hidden gem.

"California Blue" -- Roy Orbison, 1989

     I was really touched by this song from the first time I heard it. I first time heard this in 2010 when I was at a Wendy's, trying the Bacon Eater meal for the first time. It was something about the melody, the lyrics, and the vocals that really affected me. And whenever I sing this karaoke, others seem to be affected in the same way. This song did not chart at all when it was released in 1989, after Roy Orbison's death in 1988 (it is from the same album that "You Got It" is from). But given its errect on me and on others, I definitely this qualifies as a hidden gem.

"A Shoulder To Cry On" -- Tommy Page, 1989

     I was greatly moved by this song too when I first heard it. Another indication of what a gem this song truly is, is the fact that it was once used as a long distance dedication on American Top 40. I definitely think this song deserved much better than just a #29 high spot on the chart. Maybe the song lacked the star power that Tommy Page's other top 40 hit had ("I'll Be Your Everything," a #1 hit featuring backup vocals by three members of New Kids On The Block). However, by far, I think this is the better song, and for this reason, I'm calling it a hidden gem too.

"Be With You" -- The Bangles, 1989

     Just my opinion, but I think this song is just as good as any of the Bangles' five top ten hits. This song only peaked at #30 in 1989. Maybe it was because it was Debbi Peterson on lead vocals instead of Susanna Hoffs (Debbi Peterson also wrote the song). Maybe by that time, the Bangles were already coming apart at the seams that the promoters didn't want to promote this as much as they did the Bangles' two previous hits ("In Your Room" and "Eternal Flame" which were both top ten hits). The Bangles did split up just a few months after this was a hit. But forget all that. Doesn't this song sound great? That's why this qualifies as a hidden gem.

"My Heart Is Failing Me" -- Riff, 1991

     In this case, I think this group was greatly overshadowed by such R & B teen groups as Another Bad Creation, Hi-Five, and Boyz II Men. This could have a lot to do with why this song only got up to #25 on the chart. It's a great great tune, and it was even written by Holly Knight, who had co-written such 80's classics as "Love Is A Battlefield" by Pat Benatar (#5 in 1983), "The Warrior" by Scandal feat. Patty Smyth (#7 in 1984), and "Better Be Good To Me" by Tina Turner (#5 in 1984). Anyone going through heartbreak can definitely relate to this song. Definitely deserves the title of hidden gem, I think.

"My Destiny" -- Lionel Richie, 1992

     Yes I know that this sounds like the old Lionel Richie that we loved so much in the early to mid 80's, and by the time this came out in 1992, Lionel Richie's image and reputation had all been shot to hell by his cheating on his wife, and the violent end to his marriage. FORGET ALL THAT!! This is a great effing song! It did hit the top ten on the Adult Contemporary (or Easy Listening) chart, but it didn't touch the Billboard Hot 100. What a shame!

     To me, it doesn't matter if the singer is a chronic cheater, or is gay, or is a major drug abuser, or whatever. All that matters to me is the music. Is the music good? In this case, it's a definitive YES! That's why this song too qualifies as a hidden gem.

"Don't Cry For Me Argentina" -- Madonna, 1997

     I recently played this song on my JukeBox program, and my wife made the comment that this doesn't sound like Madonna at all. She explained that she heard some real quality singing on this song, which Madonna isn't always remembered for. This actually is one of my biggest favorite songs by Madonna, and her high quality singing is one reason why. The instrumentation and the dance beat are the other reasons. No, this wasn't written by Madonna (unlike most of her other hits), but by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and originally recorded by another artist around 1980. Madonna's version was a very short-lived #8 hit in early 1997, and I don't even hear the song, except for when I play it. However, for the reasons I've stated earlier, I think this song deserves the title of hidden gem as well.

     You can email me at Any comments on these songs are welcome. Also, if you feel like I'd missed any hidden gems (I'm sure I have, but I didn't want to overload the article), please let me know which hidden gems you feel I've missed, and they'll be the subject of a future article.