Mike Chapman Playlist

Mike Chapman Playlist – Spotify

‘Ballroom Blitz”
The Sweet

Oh yeah, it was like lightning
Everybody was fighting
And the music was soothing
And they all started grooving

This was when you did your best not to listen to AM radio, but not every automobile possessed the FM band, so you’d hear this confounding track that intellectually was offensive yet emotionally was so satisfying. It was simple and stupid, but energetic and catchy. Hell, that’s kind of the Chinnichap ethos. That’s right, this was written and produced by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman.

This appeared on the Sweet’s 1974 album “Desolation Boulevard,” along with “Fox On The Run,” which was composed and produced by the band, but I prefer 1978’s “Level Headed, which I actually bought, which contains the classic “Love Is Like Oxygen.”

“Can The Can”
Suzi Quatro

This actually charted in the U.S., but in the fifties, which means no one ever heard it on the radio, never mind bought it, but we rock devotees were completely aware of it, Quatro was the queen of “Creem”! In her leather, sister of Mike Quatro, we liked her in principle but never ever heard her music, you had to buy it to hear it, and that we did not. All these years later, I’m not sure we were missing out, but there is undeniable energy in this Chinnichap production.

“If You Think You Know How To Love Me”

You know the song, but not the band. This Chinnichap track made it all the way to #96 on the “Billboard” chart, whew!

“Lay Back In The Arms Of Someone”
Juice Newton

A great song is a great song, and this Chinnichap composition made it into the upper reaches of the charts all over Europe, and was covered by Randy Barlow and went to #13 on the country chart in the U.S. in ’79, and was also done by Tanya Tucker and Rick Nelson.

“If You Think You Know How To Love Me”
Pat Benatar

From her debut, “In The Heat Of The Night,” whose production was split between Chapman and his regular engineer Peter Coleman. The Smokie iteration made it all the way to #3 in the U.K., but it’s hard not to prefer this version, which is faster with a hypnotic groove and the vocal stylings of Benatar, who spits the lyrics like she means it, she’s a better Suzi Quatro, one up to the level of Chapman’s developed talent.

“Stumblin’ In”
Chris Norman & Suzi Quatro

The funny thing is this only made it to #41 in the U.K., but it went to #4 in the U.S. and Quatro was on “Happy Days” and a name in America but her hit days were soon behind her. But this track lives on, it’s the most popular of hers on Spotify, with 7,787,748 streams.

Now there were a bunch of Chinnichap hits in between that I haven’t mentioned, by acts like the Arrows and Mud as well as Smokie, never mind more Quatro tracks, but then came…

“Hot Child In The City”
Nick Gilder

All the way to number one, this Chapman production of a Gilder and James McCulloch song went to number one and was ubiquitous. The production was deserving of world domination, it was seamless, it emanated from radios everywhere, but Gilder ended up a one hit wonder, as for Chapman…

“Kiss You All Over”

A Chinnichap song, this was solely produced by Mike Chapman and a monster hit that is still part of the culture today, proving that it’s not about the name of the act, the history of the act, no one had ever heard of Exile, but this cut shot right up the chart, mostly because of its catchy, indelible chorus, the song built into an anthem, Chapman had truly found his chops, he was on the cusp of sheer insanity, making a band with tons of publicity but little recorded success into superstars.

“Heart Of Glass”

Okay, this was hard to fathom, we were supposed to hate disco, but we LOVED THIS!

Then again, the Stones had gone disco that summer with “Miss You,” but this was closer to the clubs than the stadiums, this was unabashedly disco. But the vocal was exquisite, the way Deborah Harry seemed to care but she didn’t, the way she tossed lines off like she was one step ahead of us and we could never catch up, she went from zero to hero, from a two-dimensional woman we saw in magazines to the heartthrob of America, despite already being over thirty. Who said youth is everything?

Composed by Harry and Chris Stein, the track was produced by Chapman and Peter Coleman, the team was set, they were in a groove, and the sound was seamless.

“Hanging On The Telephone”

What an opener, what a great concept, what a KILLER!

You bought the album for the hit, but fell in love with the album tracks.

They hit the ground running, you took off in pursuit, this was an opener as strong as “Under My Wheels” on Alice Cooper’s “Killer,” they both announced that the bands had ARRIVED! And in both cases you can chalk it up to the producer, Chapman in the case of Blondie and Bob Ezrin in the case of Alice Cooper.

“One Way Or Another”

Was this really the same NYC punk/art rock act that started off on Private Stock with a mild hit with a recut of an old standard?

What a one-two punch!

“Fade Away And Radiate”

My favorite cut on “Parallel Lines,” primarily because of Robert Fripp’s solo. A kittenish vocal, Debbie cooing, and then Fripp took us into outer space.

“I Need A Lover”
Pat Benatar

Arguably Mike Chapman is responsible for John Mellencamp’s career, but don’t expect the Indianan to admit it. Chapman elevated Mellencamp’s composition to the stratosphere, showed that Mellencamp was deserving.

This is the track that built Benatar’s reputation. Who was the woman with the pipes who could outsing the guys?

“My Sharona”
The Knack

That’s right, the great white hope of Los Angeles, the hated by the other local acts Knack, hooked up with the hottest producer extant and immediately topped the charts.

This is rare. The hype always outstrips the reality. But overnight, the Knack dominated.

“The Hardest Part”

In a bulletproof vest, shatterproof glass, overdrive we’re gonna pass
Twenty five tons of hardened steel, rolls on no ordinary wheel

What is that underneath these lyrics? That guitar, or whatever it is, fluttering, it makes the track, never underestimate sounds.

This is my favorite cut on “Eat To The Beat,” which was not quite as good or successful as “Parallel Lines,” but what could be?

“The Tide Is High”

Bob Marley was not yet a household name, oh, he was getting there, but this number was the first exposure to reggae for so many.


Yes, they were not the first, yes, they were ripping off the street sound, but they were even further ahead of the game than Madonna was thereafter, most people had absolutely never been exposed to rap.

Toni Basil

For some reason this is not on Spotify, not that I ever need to hear it again, we all know it, it started off as a novelty and then outstripped its niche and became ubiquitous. The song was written by Chinn and Chapman.

“Heart and Soul”
Huey Lewis & the News

Yes, this Chinnichap composition, originally recorded by Smokie, was covered by Huey Lewis on his monster breakthrough album “Sports.” A success in its own right, with tons of airplay, imagine the royalties that came in from this nearly ten million albums sold in the U.S. This is why all those songwriters are bitching about streaming, in the old days you just had to make it to the collection, irrelevant of whether you got any airplay, the sales of a successful LP would line your pockets.

“Love Is A Battlefield”
Pat Benatar

A Chapman/Holly Knight, this Peter Coleman/Neil Giraldo production was a huge success, driven primarily by the video, wherein Benatar danced and titillated the little boys and enthralled the little girls.

“The Warrior”
Scandal, featuring Patty Smyth

And this video about put Scandal out of business, but if you divorce the images of that abomination from the track, you find the resulting Nick Gilder/Holly Knight composition produced by Chapman quite satisfying.

“Better Be Good To Me”
Tina Turner

Where is she today? She’s one of the few who said she was going to retire and DID!

Credit John Carter of Capitol and “Incense and Peppermints” fame for midwiving this LP, he was the only one who believed, and he started a juggernaut, the album was a cornucopia of compositions and producers and although this cut was produced by Rupert Hine, it was written by Chinn, Chapman and Holly Knight.

“The Best”
Tina Turner

Written by Chapman and Knight, it was originally on a Bonnie Tyler LP.

“We Are Strong”
Pitbull (featuring Kiesza)

It’s “Love As A Battlefield.”

The legend lives on!

(Although there are eight other writers credited besides Chapman and Knight.)

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