Welcome to a new week of Top 40 music! This week, we are back to the U.S. charts. This week, we are hopping in the Delorian, and heading to 1986. At this time in 1986, I was beginning to head towards the end of my Sophomore year of high school. Academically, this was a horrible time for me. But, there was great music, TV, and movies to help get me by.
As usual, if you want to listen to the song/watch the video, you can click on the song title. If you want to purchase or listen to the song on Amazon, you can click on the album cover. Now, let’s Return to the week ending April 5, 1986, and start the countdown!
Level 42 had about 42 top 40 hits in the U.K. OK, I may be exaggerating a bit. They actually had 20, but 42 would have been cooler. However, in the U.S., they only had 2 hits in the U.S., with this being the first. Maybe we’ll catch more Level 42 songs when we head back to the U.K.
Welcome back to another installment of this week’s Top 40 countdown. If you missed the previous entries, you can check out songs 40-31 and 30-21. So far, it’s been a pretty good week. Let’s see if it continues. Let’s Return to the week ending August 27, 1983, and move on with the countdown.
This smash hit by Bonnie Tyler is the second Jim Steinman song on this week’s countdown. This song still stands the test of time as I have heard it on several recent television commercials. And of course with the recent eclipse, the song has been getting even more airplay.
19. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King” by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)
In the ’80s, there was a lot of nostalgia for the ’50s and ’60s. This song has that old time sound.
This song got by me. I had never heard it before. It isn’t too bad. This title track from Browne’s seventh album was the highest charted song from this album, which also includes “Tender Is the Night” – which I have heard of.
This pretty song was the 5th single released from the legendary Thriller album. They must have broken the budget with all the previous singles, because there is no music video for this. This song was written by Steve Porcaro (the keyboardist from Toto) and John Bettis.
This was the first single released off of Billy Joel’s album, An Innocent Man. I loved it when it came out. Then got sick of it as it played on MTV constantly. Then I missed it when the follow-up single “Uptown Girl” got overplayed even worse.
This is one of the more iconic songs of the ’80s. There is no mistaking which decade this song belongs to. And no, perverts, this isn’t about safe sex. This is an anti-establishment song. The following is from a very cool article from Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict. Sam Tweedle interviewed the writer/lead singer of Men Without Hats, Ivan Doroschuk. Sam asked Ivan about the origins of the song. Ivan explained that “The Safety Dance” is a protest against bouncers stopping dancers pogoing to 1980s new wave music:
The inspiration for the song was from back in the days when Punk and “New Wave” were starting off and the discotheques were still playing disco music. But every now and then they’d slip in Blondie’s Heart of Glass or Rock Lobster by The B-52’s. Well, obviously, anybody who was into that kind of music would rush on the dance floor and start jumping up and down and would bang into the guys trying to do their disco two steps. I got thrown out of a lot of clubs because of that. So that’s basically the origin. I was kind of mad that they wouldn’t let me dance if I wanted to, so I took matters in my own hands and wrote an anthem for it.
That’s it for today. There were some very familiar songs, and others that don’t get much airplay on ’80s radio these days. Let’s see what tomorrow will bring when we wrap up the countdown.
I did not know much about Jackson Browne other than his song “Somebody’s Baby” from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack. Then a friend talked me going to Denver to see Browne. I was skeptical, but fell in love with his music. He is a great songwriter and this song is the most biting on this list so far. Browne does not pull any punches:
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you’ve seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war
There’s a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interests run
I do not think much explanation is needed here. Many times these protest songs carry plenty of weight with the lyrics, but the chorus is seen as less important and does not have that typical catchy chorus feel. This, though has both meaning and a catchy sound:
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire
Simple, yet effective. This type of in your face protest song bothers some people. While I understand why this is, I like to think that we need these type of songs to get us to reexamine our beliefs and policies. Things might not change, but they might if change is needed.
Hi Everybody! Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 Countdown. Today, we will cover songs 20-11. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21. and 20-11.
I don’t know about you, but I think this has been a fantastic week of music so far. And I’m sure you will all enjoy the top 10 this week! Once again, if you want to listen to the song, just click on the song title. Now let’s Return to the week ending September 25, 1982, and wrap up the countdown.
This song was the lead single off of Donna Summer’s self-titled 1982 album. The album was produced by Quincy Jones, and Jones and Rod Temperton who wrote Micahel Jackson’s “Rock with You”, were also the writers on this song.
A great song associated with a great movie – Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This was the highest-charting single of Browne’s career, topping out at #7. It would also be his last Top 10 single. But, what a way to go out!
We now arrive at the debut of Men at Work. This was their first hit, off of their debut album, Business as Usual. This song was inspired by Colin Hay having been hounded by bill collectors prior to making it big.
Now, time for som Prog Rock. I love this song. It really brings me back to the early ’80s. The heart of the band was Alan Parsons (duh) and Eric Woolfson. Other than that, they brought in session musicians. Before they started the band, Alan Parsons was an assistant engineer for the Beatles’ last two albums, Abbey Road and Let It Be, and in 1973 he engineered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. Not too shabby!
Perhaps best known for her 1978 hit, “Don’t Cry Out Loud”, this song was Melissa Manchester’s biggest hit. It peaked right here at #5 this week. It earned Manchester the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for the year 1982, besting nominated performances by superstars Linda Ronstadt and Olivia Newton-John as well as Juice Newton and Laura Branigan. Quite a feat. Another cool fact about this song is that two members from the band Toto played on this song – Steve Lukather (guitar) and Jeff Porcaro (drums).
This began my love of the band Survivor. “Eye of the Tiger” was easily my favorite song at the time. As much as I love Rocky III, this song made it even better.
It’s so crazy that Survivor is one of my all-time favorite bands, and Jimi Jamison, the band’s lead singer through most of the ’80s, had followed me on Twitter before he died. And what’s just as amazing is that Survivor’s original lead singer (who also performed this song), Dave Bickler, also follows me. Aaaand we have interacted!
So we interacted, AND he is recording new music! 12 year old me would have never thought that this would happen.
This was Chicago’s big comeback. They had not had a hit since 1978’s “No Tell Lover”. The Chicago 16 album was Chicago’s first album with Warner Bros. Records, and their first with legendary producer, David Foster. They changed their sound, and became commercially successful again.
Before we get to the top 2 songs of the week, let’s check out what was topping some of the other charts this week:
We already heard one song in this top 10 from John Cougar. Now it’s time for a little ditty about Jack & Diane. This was Cougar’s biggest hit, topping the chart for 4 weeks. John said that the clapping in this song wasn’t supposed to be included in the finished song. It was recorded with the clapping in order to help keep tempo and then it was to be removed. However, he realized the song did not work without it.
We finish the countdown with The Steve Miller Band, which may be great news to some. However, The Steve Miller Band is one of those bands that I can’t quite warm up to. Being a rock fan, I guess I’m supposed to like them. But, I can only enjoy their songs for about a minute before I lose interest. This song isn’t horrible though, so it definitely does not ruin a great week of music.
Well that wraps up this week’s countdown. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. I know these countdowns are popular, so I will try to do them more often. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we see the next one.
In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.