On the first day of May 1981, Scottish singer Sheena Easton hit #1 in the United States with only her second single, "Morning Train (Nine to Five). Effectively launching Easton's career, the held onto the top spot on the Hot 100 for two consecutive weeks.
Let's turn it up and break down the song that made Easton a star.
1. Sheena Easton was a reality TV star
Way back in July 1980, Easton was featured on an episode of The Big Time, a BBC documentary series. On Easton's episode, appropriately titled "Pop Star," cameras followed the 19-year-old student from Glasgow as she pursued her music industry. On the show, she gets advice from the likes of Dusty Springfield and Lulu, and is seen recording her debut single, "Modern Girl,"
2. "Morning Train" was so popular that it made her first single a hit the second time around
Despite the splashy TV show marketing, Easton's debut, "Modern Girl," was something of a chart dud, stalling out at #56 on the UK charts when it was released in February 1980. After the success of "Morning Train, however, it was re-released, and this time peaked at #8 in the UK, and reached #18 in America as her second single.
3. Easton had to change the name of the song because of Dolly Parton's hit
In 1980, Dolly Parton had a huge with her song, "9 to 5." So there wouldn't be any confusion, Easton's label changed the name of the track--originally titled "9 to 5"--to "Morning Train (Nine to Five)" in America and Canada. The tune hit #1 in both countries.
4. "Morning Train" wasn't released in America until February 1981
In England, the track peaked at #3 in August of 1980. It wasn't even released in America until February 1981. It would serve the young artist well; only a teenager when she first broke, the label had time to groom and prep her to meet the American press. By the time she got to the United States, she was ready for the onslaught.
5. "Morning Train" helped Sheena Easton win the Best New Artist Grammy in 1982
Easton's star continued to rise over the course of 1980 and 1981, culminating in a nomination in the coveted Best New Artist category at the Grammys. She took the prize over some pretty stiff competition: Luther Vandross, the Go-Go's, James Ingram, and Adam and the Ants.