Time for another Top 40 countdown! With Election Day tomorrow, I decided to go with the week of an Election Day from the 80s. I had already done 1984 for this week. So, we will go towards the end of the Reagan era. This Presidential race was George H. W. Bush against Michael Dukakis. This was the first election I voted in.
I had graduated earlier in the year, and was now attending Community College. Well actually, I was registered at the Community College of Rhode Island. However, I attended DG’s Arcade instead of actual college classes. 3 months later I was heading to Great Lakes, in the dead of winter, for Navy boot camp.
Now, let’s Return to the week ending November 5, 1988, and see what songs may have come on the radio in my 1981 Chevy Citation, on the way to the arcade.
As usual, you can click on the song title to get the YouTube video, and you can click on the album cover to check out this song on Amazon.
Taylor Dayne burst on to the scene in 1987 with her debut album, Tell It to My Heart. She was one of the hottest acts around in the late ’80s/early ’90s. This was the 3rd song released from her debut album, and first ballad. It got Taylor Dayne nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal, was also nominated for Best R&B Song.
According to the book, Everybody Wants Some: The Van Halen Saga, Van Halen’s OU812 album was complete (or so they thought), Eddie came up with the riff at 2 in the morning and went down to his then-neighbor Sammy Hagar to show it. Hagar let Eddie in, and the two played guitars in his balcony until they had a completed song.
This seems like a little different sound for the Pet Shop Boys. The music is a freestyle dance style. Before the vocals come in, this sounds like it could be a song by Exposé, Sweet Sensation, or the Cover Girls.
Hall and Oates seem to have a different perspective of the city than Guns N’ Roses! Even though Hall & Oates had their best years behind them as far as climbing the charts is concerned, this is a pretty good tune. If it was released in 1982, it may have been a bigger hit.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. Not a bad start. Come back tomorrow to check out songs 30-21.
Welcome back to a new week of the Top 40 countdown! This will be a slightly different format. My comments will be limited to 1 or 2 sentences. If you would like to hear the song/see the video on YouTube, you can click on the song title. If you’d like to listen or buy the song from Amazon, you can click on the album cover. We are in the heart of the 80s for this countdown, so there will be some great songs this week. So, let’s Return to the week ending January 19, 1985, and begin the countdown.
Hey Everybody, it’s been a while. I’ve been wanting to do a new Top 40 countdown, which is a popular feature on this site. The wait is finally over! This week, we’ll Return to the week ending September 25, 1982. At this time in 1982, I had just begun my dreaded Junior high school days – 7th grade. The one thing that got me through those rough times was the totally awesome music. So let’s get to it, and Return to the week ending September 25, 1982. Today we will be covering songs 40-31. If you are new to this series, I post 10 songs a day until we get to the top of the charts. If you want to listen to the song/watch the video, just click on the song title. And away we go!
The 83 year old music legend’s very first public appearance took place shortly after his 5th birthday where he recited a poem. He was so nervous before hand, that he picked his nose until it bled, earning him the name “Booger Red.”
This song, the second single from Willie’s Always On My Mind album, and is a cover of an Everly Brothers 1960 song.
This song was released off of Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2. My mom owned the album, but I think I listened to it more than anybody else. While my mom watched the television shows she liked, such as Dynasty, I would sit at the stereo with headphones listening to this album, while I stared lovingly at Olivia on the album cover:
Barry Manilow’s heyday was in the ’70s. The best contribution Manilow made in the ’80s was that he was mentioned in one of the most popular quotes of the decade, delivered by Bender in The Breakfast Club: “Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?”
I had never heard of this song before, and like it a lot. Tané Cain sounds like a cross between Laura Branigan and Pat Benatar. If her last name sounds familiar, it’s for a good reason. She was married to Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain, who also happened to co-write and co-produce the songs on Tané’s self titled debut album, from which this song came. It was her only top 40 hit.
This Stevie Nicks song was a huge hit off of Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage album. It was intended to be included on Stevie’s solo album, Bella Donna. However, when her best friend Robin Anderson died of leukemia, the song took on a new significance and Nicks held it over for Fleetwood Mac.
You may remember this band, Fleetwood Mac, from 3 songs ago. This one is a Christine McVie jam, with Lindsey Buckingham on the backing vocals. This was the first single released off of the Mirage album.
Today, Robert wraps up his series on great songs that feature a saxophone. What are some of your favorites? Please leave a comment below. To kick off the conclusion of this week’s series, here is the legendary, late Clarence “Big Man” Clemons:
Now, take it away, Robert!
“Only the Lonely” by The Motels
As much as I love ‘80s music there were a few bands that barely registered in my collection. The Motels are one of this bands; I did have copies on a mixtape of this song, but I have never purchased an entire album by them. This song come from their most successful album, 1982’s All Four One, and reached #9 on the AT 40. The vocalist, Martha Davis, is well known to ‘80s fans, but the rest of the band toiled in relative obscurity as far as name recognition goes. The subdued sound that this band creates in this song is memorizing with the sax being played by Marty Jourard who is also the band’s keyboardist. Once again, here is a song that has great phrasing. The verses follow a simple pattern – the first two lines of each verse has a pause after two words and then continues. The third line is a longer one that has no pause. They are, in essence creating a music with words. It goes like this, “We walk (pause) the loneliest mile / We smile (pause) without any style / We kiss all together wrong no intention.” Here we have another song about the end of a relationship, this time though, I think the music first perfectly.
“Who Can it be Now?” by Men at Work
Here we have the first hit single from the Australian band that took the American music charts by storm in the early ‘80s and, honestly, sort of just faded away. This song comes from their first album Business as Usual and it hit #1 on the AT 40 in October of 1982. Men at Work feature the quirky vocals of Colin Hay who is clearly an icon of early ‘80s music as well as being in constant rotation on MTV. The saxophone is being played by Greg Ham who also doubles as the keyboard player. The sax is not limited to just a solo here, though. It establishes the song’s theme and has the sound that makes the song instantly recognizable. The song captures something we have all felt, thought, or said out loud at one time or another: “Just leave me alone!” After several pleas for solitude, Hay reveals a possible reason that he is being bothered, “Is that the man come to take me away? / Why do they follow me? / It’s not the future that I can see / It’s just my fantasy.” Is there a good reason for him to be taken away? I’m not sure, but I am sure that the success Men at Work had with their first two albums is well deserved. Their unique, fun style is something that we are missing today. I wish all of them were still around and making this intriguing music like this.
“Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx
Many ‘80s pundits consider 1987 as the end of the true sound of ‘80s music. Maybe. I tend to extend my definition of ‘80s through 1987 with a few good tunes from 1988 when the changes in musical styles are very apparent and the ‘80s’ sound seems to get lost. One major reason I consider 1987 as a vital part of ‘80s lore is that I graduated high school in 1987 and the rise of Richard Marx. Richard Marx’s debut album was released in the Spring of 1987 about the time I graduated; it was the first album I bought after starting college. This song, the third single released from Richard Marx, was on the charts in early 1988 and reached #2. The sax is played by David Boruff and is full of the emotional sadness that the lyrics capture. This sad, sultry ballad is about an intense summer love that is no more. The speaker is lamenting what has been lost, “Summer came and left without a warning / All at once I looked and you were gone / And now you’re looking back at me / Searching for a way that we can be like we were before.” He is just not the same without her and improving the situation does not look like a possibility. He is stuck in the memories of that summer and cannot find a way to break free of them. The chorus captures this perfectly, “I remember how you loved me / Time was all we had until the day we said goodbye / I remember every moment of the endless summer nights.” We tend to take the time we have with others for granted and when the time is over we realize that we cannot get it back – it is gone forever.
“Do You Believe in Love” by Huey Lewis and the News
I saw Huey Lewis and the News in concert in Frankfurt, Germany in November 1986. The tour was in support of their Fore! album, which I liked, but the most memorable songs were “The Heart of Rock & Rolll”, “Walking on a Thin Line”, and this early hit. This song was released in 1982 and reached #7 on the charts. The first time I heard this song I was immediately drawn in by the harmonious background vocals- I thought (and still do) they sounded so cool. The band’s saxophonist is Johnny Colla, although they typically include an entire horn sections on tour in the ‘80s called The Tower of Power horns. The song is not complex – just a lonely man looking for a woman, “I was walking down a one way street / Just a looking for someone to meet / One woman who was looking for a man.” No hidden meanings here, just a plain old love story.
“You Belong to the City” by Glenn Frey
It seems fitting to end this list with another song from the artist who inspired it. This 1985 release was written specifically for the television show Miami Vice. It helped the soundtrack album reach #1, but the song itself climbed to #2, being kept out of the top spot by Starship’s “We Built this City.” The video itself is clearly influenced by the television show; it features Frey walking through a city at night wearing a Sonny Crockett type suit. The unforgettable sax that begins the song is being played by Bill Bergman. Lyrically the song is about someone who seems to be running away from something and has come to “the city” to escape the past, “You were on the run trying to get away from the things you’ve done.” Unfortunately a sense of boredom has set in, “The moon comes up and the music calls / You’re getting tired of staring at the same four walls.” Clearly a change was desired, but in a sense of frustration, “So much has happened, but nothing has changed.” This is one of Frey’s most successful and well known solo hits a perfect way to close my favorite ‘80s hits that feature a prevalent sax sound.
I am well aware that I have most likely left some great sax work in some big songs. It is difficult to include all of them, for instance “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money. It made the first draft of my list, but ultimately, I thought these others were stronger so I left it off. Please do not be offended if I left off your favorite. There were many more sax songs in the ‘80s than I remembered at first. As I kept digging, I found more and more.
The inspiration for this list, Glenn Frey, is such an enormous musical talent that it would be useless to rehash what he has done – you already know about that. As the years continue to roll by, we will be forced to say goodbye to a lot of our favorite artist from the glorious ‘80s. There is no way to avoid it, so let us, instead, celebrate them by remembering and cherishing what they created.
Hi Everybody! This week Robert is taking a break from Deep Tracks. Instead, he is delving into an awesome topic – 80’s songs that feature a saxophone. Along with the synthesizer, I feel that the sax gives songs that classic ’80s signature sound. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that just about the only new song I’ve liked in recent years is “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga. The late, great Big Man, Clarence Clemons (of E-Street Band fame) has a sax solo in that song.
This will be a two-part series, with 5 songs each day. Take it away, Robert
It has been a tough few weeks for fans of ‘70s and ‘80s pop culture. The recent deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glenn Frey have taken many of us by surprise. We have all read about the lives and careers of these great artists, so I am not going to rehash all of that information. As I have been thinking about these three, I keep coming back to Glenn Frey, both his solo work and the music he created with the Eagles. For years I have enjoyed the great songs that he created on his own or with the legendary band. I vividly remember buying the Eagles single “New Kid in Town” and listening to it over and over again, each time feeling sadder and sadder for the new kid. As I moved into high school and college I gained a huge love and respect for all of the Eagles’ music. Frey’s solo work was also outstanding. Songs like “The Heat is On” and “Smuggler’s Blues” were on dozens of mixtapes that I made- forcing my friends to listen to these great songs.
Over the past week I have listened to many of Frey’s songs and have rediscovered two of my favorites, “The One You Love” and “You Belong to the City.” I also remembered that one of the reasons I love these songs is the use of the saxophone. Naturally, this lead me to thinking about other ‘80s songs that have the prominent use of a saxophone. It took some deep trips into my memory and a little research, but I have come up with my ten favorite ‘80s hits that feature the smooth sounds of the sax; I am defining “feature” as having, at minimum, a sax solo. This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list, just my favorites and a nod to Glenn Frey whose music got me thinking about it. So here they are – in no particular order, my favorite ten ‘80s song with a clear saxophone element being used.
“The One You Love” by Glenn Frey
I begin this list with the song and artist that is the inspiration for this list. This is my favorite solo hit by Frey and comes from his debut solo album No Fun Allowed in 1982. The song reached #15 on the AT 40 and, while that is a respectable chart position, it does not really capture the full quality of this song. The saxophones are played by two musicians; the repeating theme in the song is played by Ernie Watts and the solo sax at the end of the song is played by Jim Horn (no, this is not a pun). This is a slow paced, somber tune that depicts a moral dilemma. The woman in the song is trapped between two men and must make a choice that is going to have a profound effect on both men, “Someone’s going to cry when they’ve learned they lost you / Someone’s going to thank the stars above.” Each man speaks to a different side of the woman which makes her decision extremely difficult. One of the men has hurt her before and the one she is with now treats her well, but she is not crazy in love with him. The chorus ask the question that is perfectly captures her choice: “Are you going back to the one who loves you / Or are you going to stay with the one you love?” There is no easy answer to this difficult situation, but we do know that this song gets Frey’s solo career off to an excellent start.
“Fortress Around Your Heart” by Sting
I will confess to being a huge fan of the Police and Sting due to the songwriting. My English teacher self loves Sting’s lyrics full of symbolism, imagery, and metaphors – call me a literary geek if you want, I will fully acknowledge and accept the label. On Sting’s first two solo albums, Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun, he seems to be trying to stylistically separate himself from the Police. He has abandoned the reggae influences for a more jazz based sound, hence the prominence of the horns. The saxophone on this track is played by the incomparable Branford Marsalis. The sax is spread throughout the song and blends nicely with Sting’s bass and guitar work. This will always be my favorite Sting song because of the lyrics. He takes an unusual twist and uses war imagery to capture a man who is regretting the way he has handled the relationship with his love. He wants to protect her, but he may have taken this to an extreme and now feel remorseful, “I recognize the walls that I once made / Had to stop in my tracks for fear of walking on the mines I’ve laid.” I believe his intentions were good, he just let things get out of hand. The chorus captures both this and his regret in doing so: “And if I built this fortress around your heart / Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire / Let me build a bridge, for I cannot fill the chasm / Let me set the battlements on fire.” I have always been a huge fan of Sting’s songwriting and this song is a prime example of this. I am looking forward to seeing him at the NBA All-Star game in a few weeks.
“Careless Whisper” by Wham! featuring George Michael
I have absolutely no problem in declaring my love for Wham!’s album Make It Big. It was one of my favorites in high school and my best friends and I nearly wore the grooves off of the record. This particular song ended up as the #1 song of 1985 (“Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” was #3) and I have always been fascinated with the raw emotions of the lyrics. The gorgeous saxophone is played by Steve Gregory and truly carries this somber song. When people think of this song Gregory’s excellent sounding horn comes to mind immediately. While this song is from the Make It Big album, it is a solo effort by George Michael and it clearly played an instrumental role in him embarking on a solo career soon after it’s success. The song is one of regret. The speaker has made an enormous mistake and lost his love, “Should have known better than to cheat a friend / And waste the chance that I have been given.” Now he is realizing that he has lost a very special relationship and realizing he can never get it back, “I’m never going to dance again / These guilty feeling got no rhythm . . . So I’m never going to dance again the way I danced with you.” The chorus is agonizing and full of guilt and hopelessness – he know he has lost her forever because of something he did. I am always caught by the bridge in this song, “Maybe it’s better this way / We’ve hurt each other with the things we want to say / We could have been so good together / We could have lived this dance forever / Now who’s going to dance with me.” As an adult who married his high school sweetheart, this song has always stayed with me and serves as reminder of being true to the one who is most important in my life.
“True” by Spandau Ballet
This 1983 hit may now be best remembered for making an appearance in Sixteen Candles – remember the dance scene?
This is Spandau Ballet’s only significant hit in the U.S., putting this song on the category of one hit wonder. If you only get one hit, it might as well be a memorable one like “True” that still makes us stop, listen, and reflect on our high school days. This slow jam of a song is a perfect fit for and a staple of high school dances in the ‘80s. I have fond memories of standing up against the wall, too embarrassed to dance to the fast songs and way too scared to ask anyone to dance to this one. Most memorable are the smooth vocals by Tony Hadley, the simple and repeating guitar plucks and the sax by Steve Norman. There is not much about the lyrics that has not been said, so I offer you a challenge: play this song sometime soon and try not to sway back and forth and hit those “dunt dunt (pause) dunt dunt” sounds. You can’t resist – and neither can I.
“Urgent” by Foreigner
I love Foreigner and the album 4 that this song comes from is one of the major reasons why. There are truly no bad songs anywhere on this album. This album, released in 1981, had five AT 40 hits with “Urgent” hitting #4. This is a great rock song with great guitar work by Mick Jones and Lou Gramm’s signature vocal style. The unforgettable sax solo is played by Junior Walker while the rest of the sax is played by Mark Rivera (although the video does not suggest this). The song as about a woman who just seems to have a burning need to be with the speaker. This is never meant to be a long term relationship, rather a quick-hit whenever needed. I have always enjoyed the pace of this song, lyrics included. I love the way they phrase lines like, “You play trick on my mind / You’re everywhere but you’re so hard to find / You’re not warm, you’re sentimental / You’re so extreme, you can be so temperamental.” This is a fantastic song that played a large role in getting me into music. Years later (1986) when I started dating my future wife, I quickly discovered that we do not have the same passion for or taste in music – except for this album. “Urgent” and 4 was one of the first albums we listened to together and, when it comes on now, we both really get into it.
Axel Foley: Did you see that shit? I can describe all of em. Beverly Hills Cop #1: Please move to the side of the car, and put your hands on the hood!
Axel Foley: Why, what’s with you guys? Beverly Hills Cop #2: You heard what he said, sir. Do it right now, please! Axel Foley: What kind of shit is this, man? Hold up, wait a second! You guys are arresting me for getting thrown out of a fucking window? I got thrown out of a window, man!
Beverly Hills Cop #1: Gun, partner! Beverly Hills Cop #1: Sir, you are under arrest; you are to remain silent, anything you say CAN and will be against you in a court of law! You have a right to have an attorney present during questioning… Axel Foley: Yeah, I understand, I understand the rights! I know this is bullshit, man… I got thrown out of a fucking window! Beverly Hills Cop #2: Please get in the car, sir! Axel Foley: Tell me, sir, what’s the charge? Beverly Hills Cop #2: Possession of concealed weapons, and disturbing the peace! Axel Foley: Disturbing the peace? I got thrown out of a window! What’s the fucking charge for getting pushed out of a moving car, huh? Jaywalking? This is bullshit!
This is my favorite part of Beverly Hills Cop. Just them mention of this movie instantly reminds me of Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is On”. R.I.P. Glenn Frey
Welcome back to this week’s Countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go ahead and check out songs 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. Well, I think this has been a really solid countdown this week. And there are going to be some ’80s classics in this Top 10. So, let’s Return to the week ending March 9, 1985, and wrap up this week’s countdown.
This is a great fun song by the Pointer Sisters, with Ruth as the lead singer. It was included on their great album, Break Out. However, it’s inclusion on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack may have helped it become a huge hit. The song went so perfectly with the awesome chase scene at the beginning of the movie.
This was Julian Lennon’s biggest hit. I could not get over how much he looked and sounded like his father, John. Back then, I was kind of hoping the Beatles would reunite, with Julian taking his father’s place. But, I could not even imagine the pressure he already must have felt. So, that may have been unfair to him. I kind of like this song, and it really brings me back.
I do love me some classic Madonna! I even had a little crush on her back then. It was nice when she was relevant. By the way, did you know she has a new studio album out? I didn’t, until I just went to iTunes for something else. Oh well. After this song, Madonna would sometimes be called the Material Girl in the headlines of newspapers and magazines. She did have a hit with “Like a Virgin“, but I notice she was never called Virgin Madonna. Anyway, “Material Girl” helped play a big part in helping Madonna become a pop icon of the ’80s.
Another ’80s classic! And another smash hit from Beverly Hills Cop. This song would top out at #2, being held off by this week’s top song. However, it is the highest U.S. charting solo single by any member of The Eagles.
Now is the time of the countdown where we find out what was topping the other charts this week in 1985.
This was George Michael’s first solo hit, although he was still performing in Wham! at the time. The song was on Wham!’s Make It Big album. This is one of those songs that I did not like at all when it came out. But, I like it now.
We have reached the top of the charts with this classic power ballad by REO Speedwagon. This was the first week of this song’s run as the #1 hit in the country. If you see any ’80s love song compilation, chances are very good that this song will be on it.