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 the Top 40 Countdown! If you missed the previous posts, you can go ahead and check out songs 40-31, and 30-21. Once again, this has been a great week of discovering music, for me. Today is another great mix of songs. So, let’s Return to the week ending January 12, 1985, and move on with the countdown.
This is a cover of George and Ira Gershwin’s popular song from the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. It has been covered many times, including this version, from Bronski Beat’s debut album, which reached up to #16 on this chart.
Sal Solo had been the lead vocalist of Classix Nouveaux, as part of the New Romantic movement. He embraced the Roman Catholic faith after a pilgrimage to San Damiano, a small village in Italy near Piacenza. He began a solo career, scoring a hit with this song, which would peak at #15. After 1987, Solo stopped recording music commercially, and became active in youth ministry in the Catholic Church in the UK.
Here is the song from Chess that I did know about already, and love! Murray Head raps the verses and the chorus is sung by Anders Glenmark, a Swedish singer, songwriter and producer. For fans of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show, Murray Head is the brother of Anthony Stewart Head, who played Giles.
Smiley Culture was a reggae rapper. We did not hear this style music in the U.S. at this point. This was the supposedly autobiographical tale of how Smiley Culture was arrested for the possession of cannabis, but then let off in return for an autograph when the policeman recognized him as a famous reggae artist. In a cruel twist of irony, Smiley Culture died at the age of 48 in 2011 during a police raid on his home.
This was the first song released from the album Here’s to Future Days. It peaked right here at #13 in the U.K., and reached #14 on the U.S. charts. This song and “King for a Day” are my favorite songs by The Thompson Twins. And both songs are from the same album.
Great song from the Emergency album! I owned the cassette, and the whole first side is flawless, in my opinion. I love the funky R&B sound of this song. It peaked at #11 here, and cracked the Top 10 in the U.S., peaking at #9 there.
My long-time readers and podcast listeners know of my love of rap, and how I loved to break out the cardboard and boom box, throw on my parachute pants, and throw down some break dance moves. Well, this is right in my wheelhouse! I love how the Chaka Khan/I Feel For You rap got mixed in here too.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. I think this is the best list so far! Come back Friday as we see what the Top 10 songs were this week in the U.K. in 1985.
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.