On this episode of Return to the ’80s, Robert and Paul welcome Ty Ray, from the Beats and Eats podcast, to the show. The guys Return to 1981, and count down the year’s top songs, movies, and television shows. Also, find out what the biggest selling toys were in 1981, and reminisce on the big news stories of the year.
As this current decade comes to a close, come join us to Return to the greatest decade ever, and check out the awesome year of 1981!
Oakland Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 – January 25, 1981 at the Louisiana Superdome
Boston Celtics beat the Houston Rockets 4-2
New York Islanders defeat the Minnesota North Stars 4-1
LA Dodgers beat the New York Yankees 4-1
January 20 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days freed
March 6 Walter Cronkite signs off of CBS Evening News
March 30 Reagan Assassination attempt
April 18 The Longest Game – Pawtucket Red Sox tie Rochester Red Wings 2-2 in 32 innings (game resumed 23rd June)
May 11 Cats premieres in London
May 13 Assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II
Jun 2 Barbara Walters asks Katharine Hepburn what kind of tree she would be
Jun 5 AIDS Epidemic officially begins when US Centers for Disease Control reports on pneumonia affecting five homosexual men in Los Angeles
Jun 12 Baseball players begin a 50 day strike, their 3rd strike
July 29 Royal Wedding
Aug 1 MTV premieres at 12:01 AM
Aug 3 13,000 Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO) begin their strike; US President Ronald Reagan offers an ultimatum to workers: ‘if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated’
Sep 12 “The Smurfs” animated cartoon series by Hanna-Barbera first broadcasts in North America
Sep 25 Sandra Day O’Connor sworn in as 1st female supreme court justice
Dec 11 Muhammad Ali’s 61st & last fight, losing to Trevor Berbick
Dec 28 1st American test-tube baby, Elizabeth Jordan Carr is born in Norfolk, Virginia
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 Top 40. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. This has been a great week of music so far. And there are some classics here today. And don’t forget, you can click on the song title to get to the YouTube video to listen to the song. Now, let’s Return to the week ending October 17, 1981, and wrap up this week’s countdown.
We begin the top 10 with a decent rock song. This is off of The Little River Band’s Time Exposure album. The album was produced by George Martin. This was the band’s last album with Glen Shorrock on lead vocals until 1988, and with lead guitarist David Briggs.
This was the first single released from the legendary Escape album. This began the hugely successful commercial run of Journey, 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees. Do hear more about Journey, check out the first episode of the Return to the ’80s Podcast:
This was the first single from Stevie Nicks’ debut solo album, Bella Donna. It was written by Tom Petty and Mike Campbell, inteneded to be a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers song. However, Jimmy Iovine, who was also working for Stevie Nicks at the time, arranged for her to sing on it. This was a good call, because these two unique voices sound great together.
This was the theme song of the 12th James Bond movie of the same name. Easton is the only artist (to date) to be seen singing the theme song to a Bond movie during its opening titles. This song was also nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards in 1982.
This song was my introduction to The Rolling Stones. I didn’t have MTV yet, but I did see the song on the television show, Solid Gold. The basic track of this song was written during the 1978 sessions for the Rolling Stones’ album Some Girls. It was at first cut as a reggae-rock track named ‘Never Stop’, but after dozens of takes the band stopped recording it and it was shelved. In 1981, with the band looking to tour, engineer Chris Kimsey proposed to Mick Jagger that archived songs could be put in the set. It was re-worked to the classic that we now know, and was recorded for the Tattoo You album.
This is Lionel Richie’s third entry on this countdown. This was recorded as the title track of the film adaptation of Scott Spencer’s novel Endless Love. The song ended up being a bigger hit than the movie, reaching number 1 on the Hot 100, where it stayed for nine weeks from August 15 to October 10, 1981.
Before we reveal the #1 song, let’s see what was topping some of the other charts this week.
And we have another movie soundtrack song. Coming off his mega-successful self-titled debut album, Christopher Cross followed up with this smash hit. This would be a #1 hit for 3 weeks. The song also won the Oscar for Best Original Song. Although his music was still great, Christopher Cross’ popularity faded away quickly once everybody started getting their MTV. This was definitely his high point.
Well that wraps up this week’s countdown. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. Let me know your thoughts on this list, and on any part of the countdown. We’ll count down a different year in the near future. In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.
Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s Top 40 Countdown. There have been some flat-out classics so far this week, and today is no different. You can go back and check out songs 40-3130-21, and 20-11. Well, I think this has been one of the better Top 40 weeks, so let’s Return to the week ending June 18, 1983, and finish the countdown.
Well, here’s a blast from the past. Hall & Oates were a staple of the ’80s music scene. But, this song is often overlooked. This song is actually a cover, originally done by Mike Oldfield (with Maggie Reilly on vocals) in 1982. Hall & Oates made it their own, and made it a big hit, topping out at #6 on the charts.
Just like Hall & Oates, Rick Springfield had a great hot streak in the early-to-mid ’80s. This song, Springfield’s first single from his Living in Oz album, would be his fourth top 10 hit, peaking right here at #9. It was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance in 1984, but lost to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”.
This synthpop song just screams ’80s! But, did you know that this was a cover? It was originally written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David in the ’60s. The original recorded version was released by Lou Johnson in 1964. Sandie Shaw also released a version of this song that same year, and it was a #1 hit in the U.K., Canada, and South Africa.
The 1964 versions and this ’80s version were each a product of their time. I like all the versions, but of course, I prefer Naked Eyes.
This is a nice ballad by one of my favorite bands – Styx. This song is from their divisive album, Kilroy Was Here. This was the beginning of the end of the original run of Styx, but you wouldn’t know it here.
Lionel Richie immediately proved that he could have a successful career post-Commodores, with his incredible self-titled debut album. This ballad was the third single released from that album, and was his third top 10 hit in a row. Kenny Rogers, who often collaborated with Richie, provided the backing vocals on this song.
Men At Work is just pure ’80s. They were on a hot streak at this time. The combination of Colin Hay’s voice and Greg Ham on sax, gave Men At Work a very unique sound. Everyone knows “Down Under“, but this is one of their better songs as well.
Speaking of unique sounding, this song was a worldwide smash hit. The song’s title refers to Electric Avenue, a market street in the Brixton area of London. You could not escape this song when it was first released, but man was it fun!
All week we have been hearing from artists who had been around for a while, but were introduced to me with the ’80s tunes in the countdown this week. This is another one. I remember first hearing this song on the radio while eating breakfast before school. This song was from the album of the same name, and was part of many of David Bowie’s reinventions. This is a great song from a great album.
Culture Club followed their world-wide smash hit debut, “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me”, with this song. I like this one better. Culture Club was one of those bands that I didn’t care much for back then, but enjoy much more now.
Before we uncover this week’s #1 song, lets see what was topping some of the other charts this week:
What a Feeling! and what a way to end the countdown! A few years earlier, Irene Cara hit it big with the theme song for Fame. Somehow, she outdid herself with this classic from the movie, Flashdance. This song won all kinds of awards, including the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. This is a well deserved #1 hit.
Well, that wraps up this week’s countdown. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. This has got to be one of the best countdowns we’ve covered so far. 1983 was such an incredible and pivotal year of music. Do you agree? We’ll be back with another countdown in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.