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 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.
Welcome back as we continue the countdown. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31 and 30-21. In my opinion, this week’s songs just keep getting better and better. Sometimes, there is a little lull, where there are songs that are just meh. But every day has been solid so far, and it will continue. So, lets Return to the week ending November 10, 1984, and continue the countdown.
This song does not get as much attention in the U.S. as much as a lot of Culture Clubs hits. I like this. I don’t know if it’s because of the quality of the song, or because it does not get played to death on radio. This was the lead single from the band’s third album Waking Up with the House on Fire, and peak at #17 in the U.S. It cracked the top 10 in several other countries.
I have no idea how this song got by me. I love it! And I love all three singers. What a great combination. Then add in the fact that this song was written by David Foster and Richard Marx, and this is pure gold.
This was the beginning of Madonna becoming an ’80s icon. She would be cemented in with that status with her next album, Like a Virgin. But, the songs from her self-titled debut album, including this song, laid the groundwork. This was Madonna’s fourth single released from that album, and her first Top 5 hit, peaking at #4.
“Some Guys Have All the Luck” was written by Jeff Fortgang, and originally performed by The Persuaders in 1973, and became a Top 40 hit. Rod Stewart’s version here was more successful, peaking at #10.
Jeff Fortgang was only in the music industry for three years. He went on to become a doctor in Psychology, and still practices in the Boston area today.
I always get excited when I get to play some Pointer Sisters! This song was originally released in 1982, from their album So Excited! and was a Top 40 hit, peaking at #30. It was re-released, after being slightly remixed, on their 1984 album, Break Out, and hit the charts once again, peaking at #9 this time.
Rhode Island in the house!! John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band (who are from my home state of Rhode Island) performed this song for the Eddie and the Cruisers soundtrack. This is a fun Springsteenesque rocker. They have a lot of other great songs, but this is their signature song.
This was the fifth and final single released from Lionel Richie’s classic, Grammy winning, Can’t Slow Down album. As with all the other singles taken from Can’t Slow Down (“All Night Long (All Night)”, “Running with the Night”, “Hello” and “Stuck on You”), “Penny Lover” was a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, spending two weeks at #8 in December 1984.
I’m starting to see a pattern this week. This is yet another favorite song of mine by an artist. This was Cyndi’s fourth Top 5 hit in the U.S. It was off her classic She’s So Unusual album. It was originally written and performed by Jules Shear in 1983. In an article in the Chicago Tribune, Jules Shear said, “[it’s] like a big bonus really. Cyndi Lauper does a song (‘All Through the Night’) that’s on a solo record of mine. I just thought, ‘No one’s really going to hear this.’ Then she does it, and it becomes a Top 5 song.”
Hi Everybody! Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 Countdown. Today, we will cover songs 30-21. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31.
Ah, 1982! What a great time for music! These 10 songs alone have such diversity that we definitely don’t see in today’s countdowns, and may never see again. Today, there is some rock, country, pop, funk, R&B, and flat-out classic ’80s.
Now, let’s Return to the week ending September 25, 1982, and continue the countdown.
This was the second single from the multi-platinum album Toto IV, which also contained the smash hits “Africa” and “Rosanna“. There are a few different theories of where the band name originated. In the early ’80s, band members told the press that the band was named after the dog in The Wizard of Oz. There was also a joke that the name came from Bobby Kimball’s “true” last name, Toteaux. The last theory is that after the completion of the first album, the band and record were still unnamed. David Hungate, after seeing the name Toto on the demo tapes (which Jeff Porcaro wrote in order to distinguish their own demo tapes from other bands’ in the studio), explained to the group that the words “In Toto” in Latin translated to “all-encompassing.” Because the band members played on so many different records and many different musical genres, they adopted the name “Toto” as their own.
Now, we’ll get to some country music. If a country song were to enter the Top 40 today, it would be a re-recorded pop version of the original version. But, back in the good ole days, the songs made it on the countdown in its original version. This song earned Juice Newton the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.
This smash hit by Laura Branigan, which I still love, is actually a cover. The original version was an international hit, performed in Italian, by Umberto Tozzi. I’m actually digging his version as well!
This song peaked right here at #23. But, if you remember this song from later in the decade, you are either from the U.K., where this song was re-released in 1987, or you are one of the few people that watched the 21 Jump Street spinoff, Booker. This song was the theme song for Booker, which was supposed to launch Richard Grieco into super-stardom. Oh well. We’ll always have If Looks Could Kill anyway.
Today, we close out with some classic ’80s New Wave. I was never really much of a New Wave fan back then. However, I am embracing it now. Unfortunately, now that I’m older, I don’t think I can quite pull of the Mike Score hairdo from back in the day:
Well, that wraps up today’s list of songs. We’ll continue the countdown tomorrow. Have you had any favorite songs, pleasant surprises, or “I never want to hear that song again” moments? Please let me know.
Welcome back as we conclude this week’s countdown. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. This has been an interesting week. There have been some great songs, and some I could have gone without listening to again. But, today is going to be the best of the bunch. So, let’s return to the week ending May 24, 1980, and check out the top 10 songs of the week.
What a way to start! In my opinion, this is one of the signature songs of the ’80s. The synthesizers and guitarmake the song instantly recognizable. Even though this song was technically released in 1979, this is a totally ’80s classic.
Christopher Cross began the decade and his career with his incredible self-titled debut album. This is one of the songs that helped make it so successful. This is one of my favorite songs by him. It doesn’t hurt that Michael McDonald is on here with the backing vocals. This is probably Christopher Cross’ most rockin’ song.
This is a really good song by Linda Ronstadt. I know the Eagles were her band early on in the ’70s. They were no longer with her at this point, and were actually on the verge of a breakup themselves around this time, but this song sounds a lot like the Eagles. This was a cover of a 1965 Top 10 hit by Little Anthony & The Imperials.
Here is a great guilty pleasure. If I post this song on Facebook, it gets a ton of hits, likes and comments. Ambrosia was a very good soft rock band of the late ’70s/early ’80s. They have nice music to chill too.
Now, let’s see what was topping some of the other charts this week. The rock chart was not in existence yet. And with all the soft rock and ballads on this countdown, there may not have been enough rock songs to have a top 40 list.
This is my pick of the day. I love this duet. Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes sound so good together. This song was written by David Ellingson and Kim Carnes. They presented it to Kenny Rogers and he was going to do it as a duet with somebody else. But, Kenny said, “why don’t you and I do it?” It would become a #3 smash hit, and a #1 hit on the Country charts.
As we approach the #1 song, we have yet another classic ’80s song. There are some songs that really helped define the musical landscape of the decade, and this is one of them. On paper, you would think I would be sick of this song. But, I still love it so much! And I like the Pseudo Echo cover version of this song even more. That song has more of a rock edge than a disco sound, and still has that classic ’80s sound.
We have arrived at our #1 song. And we have another classic! This song was a #1 hit for 6 straight weeks. I don’t think I listened to the radio too much back then, but I do remember this getting played a lot. I love the guitar work in this song. And how can you not love Debbie Harry?!? I think this is a great way to end the countdown. In a ballad heavy countdown, we end with a rocker.
Well that wraps up this week’s countdown. I hope you enjoyed it. Man, oh man, The Force Awakens next week! To celebrate, we are going to countdown the biggest songs of the week that the original Star Wars opened. Yes, we are going to be rebels,and return to the week ending May 28, 1977. I am debating making it a ’70s week next week on Return to the ’80s.
So, let me know what you think of this week’s countdown, and let me know if you would like a ’70s theme for Remember That Song and the Quote of the Day. Until then, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.