Category Archives: Artists

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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Daily Trivia – 1/13/11

Question: What retailer unleashed the Discover card in 1985?


Last Question: What memorable song was a top-five hit for Willie Nelson in 1982, and for the Pet Shop Boys in 1988?

Answer: Always On My Mind

“Always on My Mind” was originally recorded by Brenda Lee in 1971, and was written by the songwriting trio of Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson Thompson. Elvis even recorded a version of it in 1972.

In 1982, one of my all-time favorite performers, Willie Nelson, released the song. It raced up to number 1 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart, and stayed on top for 2 weeks. The song also did very well on Top 40 radio, peaking at number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was Billboard’s number one country song for 1982. “Always on My Mind” won three Grammys (including Grammy Award for Song of the Year), and won the 1982 and 1983 CMA “Song of the Year”, and the 1982 CMA Single of the Year.

In 1987, Pet Shop Boys, best known for the song “West End Girls”, recorded a synthpop version of “Always on My Mind”. This version topped the UK charts for 4 weeks. It also peaked at number four in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1988, becoming the duo’s fifth and last Top 10 hit there.

And here is a great version of the song performed by Willie along with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora at a concert that I believe was celebrating Willie’s 70th birthday. Vince Vaughn makes the introduction, and gives an interesting bit a trivia about Farm Aid:

Music Video of the Week – 1/12/11

This week’s video is from one of my favorite singers from one of my favorite bands. Here is “Oh Sherrie” by Steve Perry:

“Oh Sherrie” was written by Journey’s Steve Perry and released on Street Talk, his first solo album which was released while still a member of Journey. The song was Perry’s biggest hit as a solo artist and written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, who also appeared in the music video. The song hit number three on the pop chart and number one on the rock chart in the US.

The Street Talk album was a huge success, but it was the beginning of the end for Journey. After Street Talk, Journey came out with Raised on Radio in 1986, then broke up for several years.
And here is some great news for Steve Perry fans from Steve Perry Online:

In an interview with, ‘Classic Rock Presents AOR’ released in December 2010 it was revealed that Perry has written over 50 songs and is contemplating his first solo project since 1994. “A little over a year and a half ago, I felt I could maybe come back to it, I have been writing. I have about 50 songs, in a little over a year. I never thought I would do it again, but I decided to open up that room and see what I could find. It’s been interesting. Some of it sounds familiar, some of it sounds contemporary, some of it you can’t put a label on – and I’ve never been big on labels anyway.” Perry is reluctant however to put a timescale on his return. “I’ll be honest, I don’t really know how to do that but I can definitely smell a solo project on the horizon. I will be recording some music.”

Hits of 1980 – Horrible and Great

He is an old article that many of you may have missed. It was first published on Junuary 10, 2011.
On the Stuck in the ’80s Facebook page, they have a poll for your favorite and least favorite songs of 1980. And I believe that they are going to have a podcast on it. So this article is going to be republished.

On August 22, 2008, Stuck in the ’80s released their Horrible hits of 1980 podcast:
http://pod.sptimes.com/stuckinthe80s139.mp3.
Here is their list:

Emotional Rescue – The Rolling Stones
The Rose – Bette Midler
Lady – Kenny Rogers
I Can’t Tell You Why – Eagles
Another Brick In The Wall (part II) – Pink Floyd
More Than I Can Say – Leo Sayer
Coming Up – Paul McCartney
Sexy Eyes – Doctor Hook
Longer – Dan Fogelberg

Here is my list of horrible hits of 1980.

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

These are songs that were hits in the year 1980 – not necessarily the year they were released:

5. I Can’t Tell You Why – Eagles
This song became a Top 10 hit in April of 1980, and went on to #8. I love the Eagles’ old, country-sounding stuff, as well as “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Heartache Tonight”. But “I Can’t Tell You Why” is a big snoozer for me.

4. Emotional Rescue – Rolling Stones
This song reached all the way up to #3 in the U.S. in 1980. This is a transitional era for the Stones. “Emotional Rescue” is kind of a disco version of the Rolling Stones. It also doesn’t help that 3/4 of the way through the song Mick Jagger starts talking. For the most part, I hate talking in songs. This was a long way from “Paint It Black” and “Gimme Shelter”. But “Start Me Up” and “Undercover of the Night” was yet to come to redeem the Stones.

3. More Than I Can Say – Leo Sayer
This song somehow was #2 for 5 weeks in 1980. This was a remake that was originally recorded by Bobby Vee in 1961. I don’t know why
More Than I Can Say” needed to be remade. I kind of like the original better. Leo Sayer had better songs with “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” and “When I Need You”.

2. Do That To Me One More time – Captain & Tenille
This song was a #1 hit in 1980. BORING!!!!! “Love Will Keep Us Together” was a better song. And I have to give the Captain props for being the keyboard player in the Beach Boys in the early ’70s. Whenever I hear “Do That To Me One More Time“, I need to turn it off and ask them not to put me through that song one more time.

1. Please Don’t Go – KC & the Sunshine Band
This song also reached to #1 in 1980. Another boring song! Casey Kasem must have had a bad year that year. Is it a coincidence that after “Please Don’t Go” hit #1 that the band broke up?


Now here is a list of some of my favorite hits from 1980:

5. Another One Bites the Dust – Queen

This song reached #1 of Billboard’s Hot 100, and reached #2 on the R&B charts. “Another One Bites the Dust” has one of the greatest bass riffs of all time, along with another hit by Queen – “Under Pressure”. If anybody watched professional wrestling in the early to mid ’80s, they may also remember this being the “Junkyard Dog’s theme song when he came into the ring. This is one of the more frequently played Queen songs, but I don’t get sick of it.

4. Whip It – Devo

This song reached up to #14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. “Whip It” arguably made New Wave mainstream. You also can’t help but picture the band with those crazy cone hats from the video when you hear the song.

3. Any Way You Want It – Journey

This song peaked at #23 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. “Any Way You Want It” is one of the greatest rock songs that Journey released. It is still one of their most popular live songs. The songs also made a memorable appearance in the movie Caddyshack when Rodney Dangerfield blasted it from his golf bag, and pissed off Ted Knight.

2. Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys) – Waylon Jennings

This song reached up to #21 on Billboards Hot 100 chart, and was #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. The late great Waylon recorded this song for the Dukes of Hazzard and was also the narrator on the show. This song is one of the most memorable songs in television history.

1. (Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon

This song reached #1 on Billboard’s charts 2 weeks after John Lennon was murdered. This was the first song released from John Lennon’s final original album Double Fantasy. “(Just Like) Starting Over” stayed at #1 for 5 weeks. This song has kind of a fun oldies feel to it, yet it is totally John Lennon. Lennon had many great solo hits after the Beatles, and this one does him justice.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any favorite songs from 1980? Any songs that want you to drive an icepick into your ears?

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Daily Trivia – 1/7/11

Question: What sitcom’s theme song exulted: “We’ve finally got a piece of the pie”?


Last Question: What was the only Talking Heads single to reach the top 10?

Answer: Burning Down the House

The members of the Talking Heads, David Byrne, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, were alumni of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island. It was there that they formed a band called “The Artistics” in 1974. They dissolved their band and moved to New York. They played their first gig as “Talking Heads” opening for the Ramones at CBGB on June 8, 1975.

The band’s New Wave style, which combined elements of punk rock, avant-garde, pop, funk, world music and art rock, was not exactly radio friendly in the ’70s. But, in 1980, the band released the album, Remain in Light. The album’s first single, “Once in a Lifetime“, made the top 20 in the U.K., and gained them more attention and fame. Then the album, Speaking in Tongues was released in 1983. The band scored their biggest hit, and only top-10 hit, with “Burning Down the House”. It didn’t hurt that the video for the song got heavy airplay on MTV.

Three more albums followed: 1985’s Little Creatures (which featured the hit singles “And She Was” and “Road to Nowhere“), 1986’s True Stories (Talking Heads covering all the soundtrack songs of Byrne’s musical comedy film, in which the band also appeared), and 1988’s Naked.

After the album Naked, the band went on hiatus and eventually broke up for good.

The band tried reuniting without David Byrne, and called themselves The Heads. But they were nowhere nearly as successful as they had been.

Here are a couple of facts about “Burning Down the House” from Songfacts.com:

– Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz is a fan of Funk, and it was a P-Funk show in New York City that inspired this track. When he heard the crowd imploring the band to “Burn Down The House” (this is before “The Roof Is on Fire”), he got the idea for the title. As he explained in a 1984 interview with National Public Radio (NPR), he and Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth, who is also his wife, created the original track in a jam, then took it to the band where they refined the groove. To form the lyrics, they picked words that fit the rhythms, which is why the words don’t make a lot of sense. This is common practice in the world of Funk, where you don’t want the lyric to get in the way of the groove on a feel good song.

– With a lot of help from MTV, who gave the video a lot of play, this song became Talking Heads biggest hit. It didn’t get a great deal of radio play at the time, but has endured as an ’80s classic and is often used in movies and TV shows, including Gilmore Girls, 13 Going on 30, Six Feet Under, Revenge of the Nerds and Someone Like You. Talking Heads also performed it in their 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense.

Battle of the Bands * Repost *

Metal Health vs. Pyromania

Here is a new series where we pit either 2 bands or 2 albums against each other. And you get to vote!

First up is Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. This album was released on March 11, 1983. This classic album had three hits on the Billboard Top 100 for Mainstream Rock – “Cum On Feel the Noize”, “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)”, and “Slick Black Cadillac”. The group was led by Kevin DuBrow, who sad died of a cocaine overdose in November 2007.
Here is the track listing for Metal Health:
1. “Bang Your Head (Metal Health)
2. “Cum on Feel the Noize
3. “Don’t Wanna Let You Go
4. “Slick Black Cadillac
5. “Love’s a Bitch
6. “Breathless
7. “Run for Cover
8. “Battle Axe
9. “Let’s Get Crazy
10. “Thunderbird

And they are up against Def Leppard’s Pyromania. This classic album was also released on January 20, 1983.
It was the band’s third album. It produced three top 40 hits – “Photograph”, “Rock of Ages”, and “Foolin'”. In 2004 the album was listed as number 384 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Here is the track listing:

1. “Rock Rock (Till You Drop)
2. “Photograph
3. “Stagefright
4. “Too Late for Love
5. “Die Hard the Hunter
6. “Foolin’
7. “Rock of Ages
8. “Comin’ Under Fire
9. “Action! Not Words
10. “Billy’s Got a Gun

Def Leppard went on to greater success than Quiet Riot, but these are two great rock albums that were released around the same time, and they were both all over MTV at the time. Def Leppard has stood the test of time, as they still go out and tour, and they put on a great show. Quiet Riot lead the charge for 80’s Hair Metal.

Music Video of the Week – 1/5/11

This week’s selection is “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon:

I used to love this video. This is when Chevy Chase was in his prime. “You Can Call Me Al” was the lead single off of Paul Simon’s classic Graceland album.
Here is some more information about the song from Songfacts.com:

– Simon recorded this 3 months after returning from South Africa, where he worked with local musicians and experimented with their sounds. At the time, South Africa was divided by Apartheid, a policy that separated blacks and whites, and many musicians were boycotting the country as a result. Simon’s visit went over very well, and including South African musicians on the album gave it a distinctive sound that helped make it a huge hit.

– In a 1990 interview with SongTalk magazine, Simon explained: “‘You Can Call Me Al’ starts off very easily with sort of a joke: ‘Why am I soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard?’ Very easy words. Then it has a chorus that you can’t understand. What is he talking about, you can call me Betty, and Betty, you can call me Al? You don’t know what I’m talking about. But I don’t think it’s bothersome. You don’t know what I’m talking about but neither do I. At that point.
The second verse is really a recapitulation: A man walks down the street, he says… another thing.
And by the time you get to the third verse, and people have been into the song long enough, now you can start to throw abstract images. Because there’s been a structure, and those abstract images, they will come down and fall into one of the slots that the mind has already made up about the structure of the song.
So now you have this guy who’s no longer thinking about the mundane thoughts, about whether he’s getting too fat, whether he needs a photo opportunity, or whether he’s afraid of the dogs in the moonlight and the graveyard.”

– This was the first single off Graceland, which won a Grammy for Album Of The Year in 1988. It was Simon’s first hit since 1980, when “Late In The Evening” went to #6 in the US.

– The African Rhythms were supplied by the South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Simon would later produce 2 albums for the group.

– This contains a pennywhistle solo. It was played by Jy Morr Goldberg, a white South African who was living in New York.

– The video featured Chevy Chase lip-synching the vocals while Simon pretended to play various instruments. Most videos at the time were “Performance Videos,” meaning the bands would pretend to be playing the song. This video did a great job mocking them.

– This originally charted at US #44 in October, 1986. It was reissued with greater promotion in March, 1987 and hit #23.

– The University of Florida band plays the tune to “You Can Call Me Al” at every basketball game and has done so for a number of years. It serves at an unofficial theme for the basketball team. The student section at the O’Connell Center (where the basketball team plays) is called the Rowdy Reptiles and while the song plays students sing along with “Da da da da, da da da da…” waving their hands with the music. (thanks to Gator fan and alumnus Sarah Burchfield)

Guilty Pleasures – Frankie Goes to Hollywood

Sometimes they say that it is be a one-hit wonder than it is to have two or three hits. But Frankie Goes to Hollywood did pretty well for themselves. When the band from Liverpool, England burst on to the U.S. scene in 1984, there was considered to be a new British Invasion. To me, it seems ridiculous to put Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Culture Club and Wham in the same category as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and the Who.
Although, Frankie only had a couple of hits in the U.S. with “Relax” and “Two Tribes”, they caused quite an impact on pop culture. Everywhere you turned around, you could see a “Frankie Says” t-shirt. It was a brilliant marketing campaign for a short time. The most popular shirt was “Frankie Says Relax”. There was also “Frankie Says War! Hide Yourself”, and several other customized shirts.

Uggh! How about “Frankie Says Go Away Already”!!! Oh wait, they listened to me! It worked!! But, before they left, they gave us these catchy electronic pop songs:

Two Tribes

Relax

Daily Trivia – 1/3/11

Question: Who directed Gilda Radner’s last movie, the horror spoof Haunted Honeymoon?


Last Question: What singer scored a top-10 hit with the movie theme “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”?

Answer: Cyndi Lauper

“The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” was released in 1985, and the song peaked at #10 on the U.S. charts. Here are some tidbits about the song and video from Songfacts.com:

– This song was recorded for the 1985 film The Goonies, which came from the Steven Spielberg camp, and was directed by Richard Donner. Lauper had a quirky sound that fit well with the film, but for promotional purposes, Cyndi was pushed into playing the part of a ditzy girl by her record label.

– Lauper’s then boyfriend/manager convinced her to get involved with pro wrestling, as he thought it would help promote her career. There was a 2-part video that was shot for this song which featured many popular pro-wrestlers of the day, including Andre the Giant, Captain Lou Albanno, and the Iron Shiek. The videos also featured Steven Spielberg, part of The Goonies cast, and – hidden among the video’s cast – there are some “girl pirates” who are the (then completely unknown) Bangles.

– This song is hard to find, as it did not appear on an album until the 2003 compilation The Essential Cyndi Lauper. It was not included in her 1995 compilation Twelve Deadly Cyns… and Then Some.

– Lauper admitted in an interview with Matthew Rettenmund for his 1996 book Totally Awesome 80s: A Lexicon of the Music, Videos, Movies, TV Shows, Stars, and Trends of that Decadent Decade, that she hated the song, which was why she had chosen not to include it in Twelve Deadly Cyns.

– The single’s B-side was “What a Thrill,” which got Lauper nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance – Female in 1986.

– Sean Astin, who was in The Goonies, spoke about the song in the commentary on the DVD. He said they all loved the song, but appeared tired during the video shoot. He gave a sincere apology to Lauper. Part 1 of the video is available on the DVD.

– Lauper stopped playing the song live around 1987. She did play it in 2006 during a show in Baltimore. Fans cheered, “Goonies” and she walked over to her microphone and tried to work it out on the acoustic guitar. She eventually sang it acapella and the crowd went wild.

Here is the long version of the video. And anybody who was familiar with the WWF (now the WWE), back in the mid-80s, will really enjoy this:

Daily Trivia – 12/30/10

Question: What Arnold Schwarzenegger movie dared to cast Richard Dawson as a game-show host of the future?


Last Question: What Billy Joel chart-topper advised: “Giver her every reason to accept that you’re for real”?

Answer: “Tell Her About It”

“Tell Her About It” was the first single released off of the An Innocent Man album. This song is an homage to the Motown Sound. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for one week on September 24, 1983, replacing “Maniac” by Michael Sembello. At the end of the song in the video, comedian (and Easy Money star) Rodney Dangerfield is there preparing to go on “stage” thanking Joel for warming up the crowd.

For more on the album An Innocent Man, go check out the Album Listening Party for this album.