Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 Countdown!!! If you missed the first installment, you can go ahead and check out songs 40-31. With the help of MTV, there are a lot of classic songs from this time. And today’s selection has plenty of classics, and even some lost hits. So, let’s Return to the week ending November 27, 1982, and continue the countdown!
This was the first of 2 Top 40 hits by The Clash. According to Songfacts, when this became a hit, Joe Strummer considered leaving The Clash. He couldn’t justify singing rebellious songs when the band was rich and successful. In their early years, when they were struggling, their music was sincere, but he felt they were becoming a joke.
When the band broke up in 1985, it was speculated that their plan all along was to break up once they had conquered America, a feat that was achieved by “Rock the Casbah” becoming such a huge hit along with “Should I Stay or Should I Go?.”
Previously unreleased, producers just assumed this would be a hit, and included it on Fogelberg’s Greatest Hits album. Luckily, they were right, and it peaked at #23 on the U.S. charts, and #29 in Canada.
as the band’s highest charting hit in the UK, peaking at No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart. It would peak at #18 on the U.S. charts. On the album, this song is listed as “The Look Of Love (Part One),” with the last track being a short version of the song called “The Look Of Love (Part Four).” What happened to parts two and three? They appear on the 12″ single along with the others. Part Two is an instrumental, and Part Three is a remix.
Chicago was fading away after having incredible success in the ’70s. Then producer David Foster came along, and kicked them back into high gear, giving them a huge comeback with Chicago 16. This was the second single released from the album. Most of their hits in the ’80s were ballads, including this one. However, I would highly recommend listening to any of their full albums. They have so much more great music that you may not know about.
Forgotten hit of the ’80s. This was released from their self-titled debut album. It would be the first of 2 hits for the band (“Dreamin’ Is Easy” was the other). This was a staple on MTV in the early days. Then again, in those early days, any music video was a staple.
Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s countdown. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. If you are in the U.S., I hope this countdown has provided a little escape from the election day craziness. This has been a great week of music. For those of us who grew up around the time of this countdown, we were so lucky to enjoy some great music. Now let’s Return to the week ending November 10, 1984, and wrap up this countdown.
Earlier in the countdown, we had a song by Tommy Shaw in the wake of the band Styx falling apart. Now we have the former Styx frontman, Dennis DeYoung with his solo effort. This is an outstanding song, that would peak right here at #10.
Thanks to producer, David Foster, we were right in the middle of Chicago’s renaissance. I do get slightly annoyed that most people only know of Chicago from their power ballads, even though they have some incredible rock songs. But, with a song like this, I can totally see why. This is one of my favorites by them. I love that both Peter Cetera and Bill Champlin sing on this. I love both of their voices. Great combination!
David Bowie (still can’t believe he is gone) was still making an impact on the music world at this point. This song was off of his Tonight album, which was his follow-up to the mega-successful Let’s Dance album. This song was launched with a 21-minute short film, Jazzin’ for Blue Jean. The film won the 1985 Grammy Award for “Best Video, Short form” (Later renamed “Best Music Video”), which would be Bowie’s only competitive Grammy Award during his career. He was nominated for several, but this was his only win, in addition to his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
This song is from Tina Turner’s huge comeback album, Private Dancer. This song was originally recorded and released in 1981 by Spider, a band from New York City with one of the co-writers, Holly Knight, as a member. Of course Tina had the most successful version. The song won Tina Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female, one of four Grammys awarded to Turner in that ceremony.
There weren’t too many acts as big in the ’80s as Hall & Oates.This was their lead single from their 1984 album Big Bam Boom. It would be their last #1 hit. The song was also their 14th straight top 40 hit since 1980.
Before we continue, let’s see what was topping some of the other charts this week in 1984:
While Prince was a megastar performer himself, he also wrote music covered by other artists. This was one of them. Prince wrote this song, and it was on his debut album. It was also covered by The Pointer Sisters on their 1982 album, So Excited!.
Then Chaka Kahn took over, and this song would start a big comeback for her. Melle Mel (from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five) did the rapping. And Stevie Wonder is on the harmonica.
This was Wham!’s big breakthrough hit. It became their first American and UK number-one hit. To be honest, I really hated this song when it first came out. I like it now because of its nostalgic value. It should also be noted that while it was at the top of the charts for two weeks, it prevented the next song from becoming a #1 hit…
Yes, perhaps Prince’s signature song, this never hit #1 (still can’t believe he is gone). That doesn’t change anything though. This is an iconic song of the decade. For a lot of people, when you mention the ’80s, one of the first images that come to mind is the cover of the Purple Rain soundtrack and movie poster. And if you listened to our Prince episode of the Return to the ’80s podcast, you would know that there is a Journey connection here. After recording the song, Prince phoned Jonathan Cain from Journey asking him to hear it, worried it might be too similar to “Faithfully“, a Journey single composed by Cain which had recently been in the charts. Cain reassured Prince telling him the songs only shared the same four chords. Prince was extremely sensitive to Copyright infringement. It’s good to see he put his money where his mouth was, and was careful himself.
This was one of Stevie Wonder’s most commercially successful hits. It was featured in the Gene Wilder (still can’t believe he’s gone) movie The Woman in Red. The ballad won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was also nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year and Best Pop Instrumental Performance at the Grammy Awards.
I always loved Billy Ocean’s voice. This is a good one. It won Ocean the 1985 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, making him the first British artist to win in that category.
Well that wraps up this week’s Countdown. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. Did you have any favorites or least favorites? Let’s do another one of these in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.
As this week comes to a close, I’d like to thank you for allowing me to indulge myself, and step over to the ’90s for a bit. We’ll wrap up with some of my favorites from this time period. There are some deep tracks that I really loved. So I hope you enjoy some of these songs. As usual, you can click on the song title to get to the video. These songs are in no particular order.
After The Bangles’ hot run throughout the ’80s, Susanna Hoffs embarked on a solo career. I bought her album, When You’re a Boy. I was expecting it to be better than it was. She is much better with her bandmates. However, there were a few good songs on it, including this Billboard Top 40 single “My Side of the Bed”. I had forgotten about this, but was reminded of it by my friend, and loyal reader, Andy.
On the way back from the Gulf, our ship stopped at Singapore for a couple of days. I loved it there! There was a huge mall there, and of course I had to go in a record store there. I bought Chicago Twenty 1, and the next album coming up on this list. I fell in love with this album. Every single song, on this underrated album, is incredible. These two songs are great ballads. “Explain It to My Heart” is the first song on the album, and “Chasin’ the Wind” is the first song on the second side.
This song was off of Roxette’s album, Joyride, which I bought along with Chicago Twenty 1, in Singapore. This is another album I loved, and this is my favorite song from the album. It is also one of my favorite songs by Roxette.
These are a couple of my favorite AC/DC songs, and they were both on the same album – The Razor’s Edge. “Thunderstruck” has got to have one of the best openings of any song, ever. Talk about getting you pumped up! And “Moneytalks” is just a flat-out fun, rockin’ song.
While in the Middle East, we stopped by Bahrain quite a few times. We would load up on supplies, and it was easier to refuel. So, we would be able to get off the ship. I would always to to the Souq, which was a marketplace. There were several music stores there. They would have 90 minute tapes, often with the greatest hits of anybody you could think of – for the price of 3 dollars, which was extremely cheap (even back then). While most people from the ship loaded up on gold and clothing, I loaded up on tapes. My locker was lined with tapes, from top to bottom (in alphabetical order, of course). One tape I bought had about 40 songs on it. There were some great songs on there, so I had to buy it. There were so many songs on there because they were only samples. A Middle Eastern DJ would introduce a song, then the song would fade out after the first chorus. One of the songs was this great one from The Little River Band. I fell in love with this song, and had to find where it came from. Pre-Google, I somehow found out it was on their new album, Get Lucky. The whole album was really good, but this still remains my favorite song by them.
Just before I went on the ship for the last time before we left for the Gulf War, I was in the Navy Exchange (store), and came across the music section (go figure). I was browsing, trying to find something good that I didn’t already own. A girl came up to me, and said that I should get McAuley Shenker Group’s Save Yourself. I had neveThat album just blew me away heard of them, but decided to give it a shot. Best.Advice.Ever! There are so many great songs on that album, but this was my favorite.
This song was on another mix tape that I bought in Bahrain. However, this time the full songs were on the tape. I believe the tape was titled Right Here Waiting – Homesick Love Songs. Before this song, I had never heard of Yngwie Malmsteen. I had no idea if it was a group or a person. Well, he is a legendary guitarist from Sweden. He is beyond incredible. And this song is an outstanding power ballad that I still play a lot.
Unfortunately, Warrant is now best known for “Cherry Pie“. Although I love that song, they had so many other great songs. And “Blind Faith” is my favorite among them. It is such a great, underrated ballad.
This supergroup just blew me away when I first heard them. How can you go wrong with Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, and Ted Nugent. The drummer, Michael Cartellone, was unknown, but outstanding. He would eventually join Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Their power ballad, “High Enough“, always seems to get the airplay. But this lead single is still one of my favorites by them. And there is not a weak song on their self-titled debut album.
Well, I could just keep going on and on with songs that I love from this time period. But, I’ll have to cut this short now. Maybe I’ll do an ’80s in the ’90s series. Do any of you have any songs that you love from 1990 through 1991?
Hi Everybody! Here is the latest entry of the “Going Solo” series, presented by Robert. The first entry was Phil Collins. Now, we have Peter Cetera of Chicago fame. While Chicago had been around for a while, and I’m sure I heard their music in the ’70s and early ’80s, my formal introduction to Peter Cetera and Chicago was seeing Cetera clinging on the hood of a red convertable, trying to get the girl in the music video for “Stay the Night“. Chicago would go on to be one of my all time favorite groups. They were actually my first rock concert. But, that was long after Peter Cetera was gone from the band. Well, that’s all I have to say for now, but I’m sure Robert has at least “One More Story” on the subject. Take it away, Robert!
The Voice of Chicago Flies Solo
One advantage of growing up in Germany and attending Frankfurt American Junior High School and Frankfurt American High school was that our field trip was to Strasbourg, France. On the 1984 trip I actually ended up with some extra money before the train was to bring us home. Not wanting to bring my parents change, I quickly ducked into a music store and purchased two albums that would go on to be two of my favorites. One of those albums was Chicago 17. I owned a few albums by Chicago and was excited to listen to their latest. This album was Chicago’s most successful release and I was absolutely drawn to the lead singer’s voice. At the ripe old age of 14, I was very into reading liner notes – I wanted to know who wrote the songs, who sang, who played, and who produced. I especially loved the albums that included lyrics. I developed the habit of reading the liner notes for a few days before I even listened to the music. In my opinion, this is the major piece missing from downloading digital music. I discovered that the singer’s name was Peter Cetera and he also played bass – that sets up the focus for the second installment of ‘80s solo artists who started with a band, but broke away to create their own music.
When I bought Chicago 17, I had no idea that Peter Cetera was about to re-launch his solo career. In 1981 Peter Cetera released a self titled solo album. There were many complications with the record company so the album received no promotion, and subsequently failed. In 1986 Cetera gave a song to the soundtrack ofThe Karate Kid, Part II – now he had a solo career! This excellent song, “The Glory of Love”, reached #1 on the Billboard charts. This huge hit was included on Cetera’s first solo album Solitude/Solitaire. This album clearly marked Cetera’s break from Chicago. He wanted to continue with the band in addition to recording his solo music (much like Phil Collins and Genesis), but the band refused the offer, and Cetera was now a true solo artist.
All told, Cetera released seven solo albums in addition to that first effort. These albums spawned only four Top 40 hits – clearly the early success of his solo work could not be sustained, but that first album- wow, what an album.
What a perfect time to take a look at this great album, Solitude/Solitaire.
The album opens with a somewhat surprising track. As the vocalist for Chicago, Cetera was best known as the voice of some great ballads (You’re the Inspiration, for example). Despite this, the opening song for this album is an upbeat, catchy tune that, honestly, rocks a little bit. The song is about the desirable for Mr. Right who, in the morning, turns out to be Mr. Wrong. The song does not come off as a warning, though, rather, it has a clear tone of being of pleading – ‘Hey, he is the wrong guy for you – I’m the right one, if you could only realize this.’ Listen closely for the bridge because a guitar solo follows it – wait, there is a second solo at the end of the song, too. I think Cetera is trying to make a clear distinction between his solo work and his work with Chicago. This song is a great way to start the album.
The second track takes on the difficult task of using cars as an analogy to women. Many say that older cars were built better and were more dependable – not the same with modern women. Cetera turns this into an homage to the modern woman who can think for herself and has more depth than just the obvious physical attributes. He sums this up best with, “I’m so tired of hearing some people say / Everything is moving much too fast / Things were better in the good old days / Let them have their opinions, never gonna change their mind / They lived a long time ago when times were tough / And a real good woman was hard to find.” This is a bold statement; better yet, this is a great song.
This is the single that got most people to notice Peter Cetera and buy this album; I, honestly, cannot blame them – what a perfect ballad! I can only imagine how many times this song was played at high school dances, proms, or put on a mixtape (I will happily admit to putting this song first on a mixtape I made for my girlfriend). Karate Kid II may have been the vehicle for this song, buy it definitely holds it’s own. There are so many great ballads from the ‘80s, but there are only a few that I would put in the category of being flawless. In fact, three come to mind right away: Journey’s “Faithfully“, REO Speedwagon’s “I Can’t Fight This Feeling“, and Cetera’s #1 hit here. Besides, what girl would not want to hear, “I am a man who will fight for your honor / I’ll be the hero you’ve been dreaming of.”?
This song strikes me as a sort of part 2 of of the second song. Yes, modern women are tough and strive for what they want, “Cracking that whip / Making her own decisions / Taking no lip / Living with no conditions.” The strength is clear, but it may come with a price: “She cries when she’s alone.” This is a solid song that adds to what is shaping up to be a great solo album that is a clear departure from Chicago (notice, you have not heard a horn yet).
This next song was also on a soundtrack to a film that was released in 1987. The movie was the very successful Three Men and a Baby and, despite not being written specifically for the film, the song fits perfectly. I liked this song when I was in high school and, now that I have two daughters myself, this song pacts an incredibly emotional punch. I am sure this song has been played at countless weddings. My younger daughter discovered it herself one day as she was going through my albums – I think she played it for three days straight! It does an excellent job of capturing the special bond between a father and a daughter; unfortunately, it ends with the daughter leaving with her husband, replacing the father – cycle of life.
This is the second #1 hit from this album. It is a duet with Amy Grant
(before her huge pop crossover). It is a simple song about recognizing past mistakes while holding out hope for the future. This is a really good ballad that, while it doesn’t have the punch of “Glory of Love”, still holds a place on this album.
This next track is a good upbeat song driven by keyboards and Cetera’s bass. Lyrically, the song is about a man who is making a hard charge in wooing a woman. There is even the requisite disparaging of the competition, “I don’t understand why you want to be with that man.”
In the title track, Cetera captures a feeling that we all have at times: the need to get away from it all. This may be the most personal song on this album. Musically, it builds well and has a simple, yet effective drum beat that holds the listener’s interest.
The album ends with a heartfelt ballad that represents what Cetera is best known for – powerful love songs. This one is a sad one where the singer is reflecting on a strong relationship that has ended and has no real hope for being rekindled. The singer’s pain and uncertainty can be seen with, “It’s gonna be a long, hard road without you / And there’s one thing you should know / Tell me who will I turn to / When I get in trouble / I really don’t want you to go.” Acceptance and sadness all rolled into one.
Cetera followed the success of Solitude/Solitaire with another album in 1988 – One More Story. The single “One Good Woman” reached #4 on the pop charts. In 1989, Cetera teamed up with Cher to record “After All” for the film Chances Are. This song, like “Glory of Love”, was nominated for an Academy Award for best song from a film.
The voice is unforgettable. Peter Cetera has provided the vocals for so many great songs – most remember the ballads, and that is fine, but do not forget the high quality of the other, more upbeat tunes. Cetera differs from Phil Collins in that his most famous work is with the band Chicago, and not his solo recordings. Do not let this take away from his body of solo work.
Cetera’s 1986 album deserves a spot alongside other classics from this decade. If you have not given Solitude/Solitaire a listen, do yourself a favor and get a hold of it right now – you will not be sorry.