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 countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. This has been a great week of music so far, and it continues today. It was so good, that we will be coming back with another countdown next week, with a twist! We will Return to the top 40 countdown for the week of March 6-12, from the UK! I know there is a huge following here of folks from the U.K. So they will get to relive their past, and 80s fans from the U.S. may discover music that did not make it over here for one reason or another. But first thing’s first. Let’s Return to the week ending February 28, 1987, and check out the top 10 songs of this week.
Peter Gabriel had some groundbreaking videos in the late ’80s. Which means that they were on MTV every other song. Which also means that I couldn’t stand it! I was dreading listening to this again, but now I’m liking it a little more.
Between this, and Janet Jackson’s “Let’s Wait Awhile” earlier in the countdown, all we need to do is substitute Samantha Fox’s “Touch Me” with Jermaine Stewart’s “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off”, and we would have a perfect countdown for a Catholic school dance.
Bon Jovi had a huge hit with “You Give Love a Bad Name”. But, this ’80s anthem is the one that changed them forever. When you say the words “’80s music” to somebody, this is one of a handful of songs that would immediately come to mind. This is totally deserving of the #1 spot, and a great way to end the countdown.
That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed this countdown. Please let me know your thoughts. And as I mentioned earlier, we will be coming right back next week with the UK Top 40 from 1983. Until then, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.
Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 Countdown!!! If you missed the previous songs, you can go ahead and check out songs 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. We are down to our top 10 songs. We have some true classic songs coming up, so let’s get to it. Let’s Return to the week ending November 27, 1982, and wrap up this week’s countdown.
Speaking of Michael Jackson, this was the first single released from his up and coming album, Thriller. At least he got the worst song out of the way! It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for all that yapping at the end.
Love this song by Joe Jackson! It peaked at #4, and was Jackson’s highest charting hit in the U.S. This song received a Grammy nomination for Record of the Year in 1983 but lost to “Rosanna” by Toto, which is fine by me.
Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with this song. My mom is the biggest Neil Diamond fan, so this was my life. I do like his early stuff a lot. But, I didn’t care much for his easy listening music. This song was written by Diamond, Carole Bayer Sager and her then-husband Burt Bacharach. They were inspired by the blockbuster movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which Diamond, Bayer Sager and Bacharach had all seen together.
This classic duet is from the film, An Officer and a Gentleman (which I have yet to see). The movie’s producer, Don Simpson, demanded “Up Where We Belong” be cut from An Officer and a Gentleman, saying, “The song is no good. It isn’t a hit.” (Sounds like a Trump tweet. Oh shit, here come the comments and emails!). It’s a good thing Simpson was a movie producer, and not a music producer. The song was a #1 hit in the US for three weeks, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. It also won the BAFTA Film Awards for Best Original Song in 1984. Cocker and Warnes also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1983.
This is one of those new songs that was placed on a Greatest Hits album. And this song definitely belongs there! I love this ONJ song! It was the first single released off of Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
I have always loved Laura Branigan’s voice, and I had a huge crush on her. I was devastated when she died in 2004 from a brain aneurysm. This was Branigan’s signature song. It peaked right here at #2, and remained her for three weeks.
“Hello” seems to get all the love out of Lionel Richie’s ballads. But, this one is my favorite. This was also Richie’s debut solo single. It was the first single released off of his self-titled debut album. The song won a Grammy Award for Richie in the category Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Not a shabby start for a solo career.
That wraps up this week’s countdown. I hope you enjoyed it. Did you have any favorite songs this week? Are there any that you got sick of hearing? I’d love to hear from you. Until next time, 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.”
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.