Hits of 1981 – Horrible and Great

On 11/14/08, Stuck in the ’80s released their Horrible Hits from 1981 podcast.
Here is their list:

10. Physical – Olivia Newton John
9. The Breakup Song – Greg Kihn Band
8. Someone’s Knockin’ – Terri Gibbs
7. Urgent – Foreigner
6. Every Woman in the World – Air Supply
5. Hearts – Marty Balin
4. Elvira – The Oak Ridge Boys
3. Morning Train (Nine to Five) – Sheena Easton
2. Boy from New York City – Manhattan Transfer
1. Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes

You can see the top 100 hits from Billboard that year.

Here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year.

5. Who’s Crying Now – Journey

Although Journey is one of my favorite groups of all time, this is probably my least favorite of their hits. It doesn’t have enough energy, and it’s not a powerful enough ballad like “Faithfully” or “Open Arms”.

4. Boy From New York City – Manhattan Transfer

This song is annoying. It’s almost like they are trying to go for an old World War II USO tour swing sound – but fail miserably. There are many other New York theme songs that are a lot better – most recently, “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys.

3. Hearts – Marty Balin

It’s hard to believe that somebody from Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship would come out with something so crappy! This sounds like one of those horrible “lite” music of the ’70s. It still would have been bad for that time period as well.

2. Sukiyaki – A Taste of Honey

Another boring one! How was this a hit!?! A Taste of Honey was a disco group that disappeared not long after disco died. Now I can see why.

1. Hello Again – Neil Diamond

I love Neil Diamond’s early music as well as his recent music that he has released with producer Rick Rubin. But, this song is too slow moving and a disappointment for me. This sounds a lot like “September Morn'”, which is another boring song. But he redeems himself as you will find in my list of:

Great hits from 1981

5. America – Neil Diamond

This is one of Neil Diamond’s greatest songs. It can still be heard playing today – especially around the 4th of July. It is very patriotic and powerful.

4. The Best of Times – Styx

This is a great power ballad, sung by Dennis DeYoung. It was the first single release from Styx’s classic Paradise Theater album. There was great vocals and guitar in this song.

3. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates

This is my favorite Hall & Oates song. You can’t help but tap your hands or feet to this song. It has had a resurgence lately. It was in the movie The Wedding Singer, and more recently in the movie (500) Days of Summer.

2. Lady (You Bring Me Up) – Commodores

This is one of my favorite songs by the Commodores. This was just before Lionel Ritchie went solo. This is a very upbeat and fun song.

1.

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton wrote and performed this song for the move Nine to Five, in which she starred in along with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dabney Coleman. Parton has stated in a number of interviews through the years that when she wrote the song, she devised the clacking typewriter rhythm running her acrylic fingernails back and forth against one another.
A few months after Parton released this song, Sheena Easton had also released a song “9 to 5”, which became a world wide hit. But in the U.S., Easton’s song had to be renamed “Morning Train (Nine to Five)” to avoid confusion.

Here are some songs from the top 100 that did not make my list because they already appear on my list of 1980’s greatest hits:

Another One Bites the Dust, Queen
Whip It, Devo
(Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon

And here are some honorable mentions that do jump in my top 5 for that year:

Jessie’s Girl, by Rick Springfield
Celebration, by Kool and The Gang
I Love a Rainy Night, by Eddie Rabbitt

Does anybody have their own list of favorites and least favorites? Let us know.

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5 thoughts on “Hits of 1981 – Horrible and Great”

  1. You have a very strong Top 5!

    Here’s my Bottom 5 for 1981:
    5. The One That You Love, Air Supply
    4. Woman In Love, Barbara Streisand
    3. Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes
    2. The Stroke, Billy Squier
    1. Rapture, Blondie

    And my Top 5:
    5. Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg
    4. Sweet Baby, Stanley Clarke and George Duke
    3. No Gettin’ Over Me, Ronnie Milsap
    2. Just The Two Of Us, Grover Washington Jr.
    1. Celebration, Kool and the Gang

  2. I like your list. The One That You Love isn’t one of my favorite Air Supply songs. And The Stroke is one of the most over-played 80s songs ever. Rapture is my least favorite Blondie hit. With a name like that, it sounds like it should be a faster song.

    And I like your “Easy Listening” list. Classics. I like Dan Fogelberg alot. I remember that I could not get enough of Language of Love by him.

  3. Thanks. By the way, I did like “Who’s Crying Now?” but the rest of your horrible songs are indeed bottom-worthy. Looking forward to the ’82 list.

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