Welcome back to this week’s Countdown! If you missed the first 10 songs yesterday, you can go ahead and check them out. Some of these songs bring back memories. At this time in 1985, I was in the second half of my freshman year of high school. I enjoyed making new friends in high school, but did not do too well in classes. While I was struggling with my studies, there were some awesome songs to lean back on and use as an escape. Let’s enjoy some of this music now, by Returning to the week ending March 9, and move on with the countdown.
How about we start the countdown today with a little funk?!? The Time, led by Morris Day, was a pop-funk band which was put together by Prince. You can definitely hear the influence in this song. Not long after this, Morris Day left, and went on to a solo career. They would reunite and break up several more times over the years. Currently, they are known as The Original 7ven.
Oh boy, I’m torn on this song now. Before I started the Springsteen project (a.k.a. “Who’s the Boss?”), I would have said that a song with the word “Fire” in the title needs to have screaming in it.
[Possible Spoiler Alert: This song may or may not be on the Live 1975-85 album I’m reviewing right now. And I may or may not express that sentiment as my initial reaction on said review]
But, as I become a Springsteen student, I am beginning to like this song more each time I listen to it. I may not be on fire about this song, but I am warming up to it. What can I say? I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!
With this song, the Commodores finally showed that it may be possible to move on without Lionel Richie. It was their first hit after Richie went solo. “Nightshift” was written by the lead singer at that time, Walter Orange, (along with with Dennis Lambert and Franne Golde). It was a tribute to soul/R&B singers Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye, who both died in 1984. The Commodores won a Grammy Award in 1985 for Best Vocal R&B Performance by a Duo/Group for this song.
The husband and wife songwriting-production team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson had their biggest hit, as performers, with this song. It would go on to peak at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
What a great rocking song! This was John Parr’s first hit in the U.S. In 1985, he and his band, The Business, toured with Toto. At the end of the tour, he was approached by super-producer David Foster, who requested Parr to record a song for the film “St. Elmo’s Fire“. And the rest is history.
This hit came off of one of my favorite albums of the ’80s – Vital Signs. This wasn’t my favorite song from the album though. I feel that this song did get overplayed. But, years removed, I do enjoy hearing this once in a while.
We wrap up the countdown today with an interesting song. “Save a Prayer” was released in the U.K. in August of 1982 from the album, Rio. It had not been released in the U.S. as a single. The video did get play on MTV, though. Then in 1985, a special U.S. version of the song was cut with the live version from the Arena album on the flip side. This live version hit the charts, and climbed all the way up to #16.
Well, that’s the end of the countdown for today. I hope you’re enjoying this week’s songs so far. They are just going to keep on getting better! So, please come back tomorrow as we continue the countdown.
According to the Washington Post, Nick Ashford, of Ashford & Simpson, died yesterday at the age of 70. Ashford, who along with wife Valerie Simpson wrote some of Motown’s biggest hits, died in a New York City hospital, said publicist Liz Rosenberg, who was Ashford’s longtime friend. He had been suffering from throat cancer and had undergone radiation treatment, she told The Associated Press. They had some of their greatest success at Motown with classics like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand” by Diana Ross.
They also wrote “I’m Every Woman”, which was originally performed by Chaka Khan and later remade by Whitney Houston.
But for us ’80s fans, their most populat hit was “Solid”, which was released in 1984:
The duo was married for 38 years.In recent years, the pair continued to perform. They also were owners of the New York City restaurant Sugar Bar, where many top names and emerging talents would put on showcases.
In 2002, Ashford & Simpson were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Ashford is survived by his wife and two daughters.
10. Walking on Sunshine – K.C. and the Sunshine Band
9. Neutron Dance – Pointer Sisters (vetoed by Steve)
8. All I Need – Jack Wagner (vetoed by Cathy)
7. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!
6. Wild Boys – Duran Duran
5. One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head
4. Some Like It Hot – Power Station (vetoed by Cathy and Steve)
3. Sea of Love – The Honeydrippers
2. We Built This City – Starship
1. We Are the World – U.S.A. For Africa
This was a tough one for me. There were so many horrible songs from 1985, and there were so many great ones. But, I was finally able to compile my list, so here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year:
5. Money for Nothing – Dire Straits
This is one of the most overrated songs of the ’80s. Sure, the video was different from anything else at the time. And MTV is mentioned in the song. This was the perfect storm for the video to play in a seemingly endless loop for a long time on MTV. This would have been my #1 for most horrible song, if not for the awesome guitar lick at the beginning of the song. Once that guitar part is done, I go off in a daze, and forget that it’s on.
4. Everytime You Go Away – Paul Young
I never cared much for this song at all. It was too boring for me. This song might not be on too many peoples’ lists of horrible songs, but I have a personal grudge against this song. As some longtime Return to the ’80s readers may know, I served in the military. The day I left, the recruiter picked me up at home to send me off to boot camp. I got in the car, and as we were pulling away, this song came on. Since this song mocked me, it is now on my Horrible list.
3. Solid – Ashford and Simpson
Typical song that lands on my Horrible list – boring and overplayed. I would have to turn off the radio whenever this song came on. I may be in the minority here, but I don’t like too many of this songwriting duo’s songs, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”, and “I’m Every Woman”.
2. Smooth Operator – Sade
The Stuck in the 80s guys were told to keep this song off their Horrible list. It did sound like they wanted it on there though. So, I will place it on my list. Is this even a song? It is more like slow torture! Slow, slow torture.
1. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!
Ecchhhh. Wham! ranks right up there with Culture Club as one of my least favorite groups. The only song I don’t mind by them is “Freedom”, so at least there’s that. I wasn’t sure if “Wake Me Up..” or “Careless Whisper” would be my #1 Horrible song. Since this song is played the most on the 80s on 8 radio station, and on all radio stations that play 80s songs, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” wins. Once you hear this crappy song, it sticks with you, whether you like it or not.
Kool and the Gang may be best known for their party anthem – “Celebration”. But, their Emergency album is incredible, and “Misled” is perhaps the best of the bunch. Great rockin’ song.
5. Neutron Dance – Pointer Sisters
You can’t help but want to move to this song. “Neutron Dance” was the Pointer Sisters’ fourth top ten single in a row, which was on their album Break Out. It was also featured in Beverly Hills Cop. I love the Pointer Sisters, and this song is right up there among my favorites.
4.Crazy for You – Madonna
This was Madonna’s first ballad, which came off of the great Vision Quest soundtrack. This song was surrounded with controversy at the time. The Vision Quest soundtrack was on Geffen Records, and Warner Brothers had just released Madonna’s Like a Virgin album. Warner Brothers did not want “Crazy For You” released as a single, as it would take attention away from Like a Virgin. But Geffen producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber were able to convince Warner to greenlight the single. As a result, Madonna was able to prove that she had more talent than your typical attention-getting pop star. I believe that due to the fact that she could sing different styles of music, this song went a long way in making her an 80s icon.
3. I Can’t Hold Back – Survivor
This is one of my favorite songs by Survivor. This came off the great Vital Signs album, which was their first with lead singer Jimi Jamison. They had other hit songs from this album, such as “High On You” and “The Search Is Over”, but “I Can’t Hold Back” is my favorite. It was featured prominently in the recent movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop“, which made it the best part of the movie.
2. Summer of ’69/Heaven – Bryan Adams
I had a hard time deciding which Bryan Adams song to throw on here, so why not add both? Summer of ’69 is a great rocker. I’m sure we can all relate to looking back at the “good ole days”, or you wouldn’t be reading this. And “Heaven” is a great ballad. It is a nice slow-dance song.
Summer of ’69
1. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds
The ultimate ’80s song from the ultimate ’80s movie. You can’t think of one without the other. It even has staying power as this song is played while the losing American Idols are being booted. This song does gte played alot, but somehow I cannot get sick of it.