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.
This somewhat cryptic hit reached #4 on the AT 40 in September of 1983. There has been much discussion about the meaning to the lyrics ranging from an anti nuclear protest song to a plea for safe sex. The band’s singer and lyricist, Ivan Doroschuk, says it is neither. He wrote the lyrics to this song as a protest, not to nuclear weapons, rather to club bouncers. When New Wave music was becoming popular, it began to replace disco music in many clubs. As the style of music changed, so did the style of dancing. Dancers started to perform pogoing; a form of dancing that consisted remaining upright and thrashing about (this would eventually evolve into slam dancing and yes, I had to look this up). The bouncers at the clubs that Doroschuk attended did not allow this type of dancing and kicked out anyone who insisted on dancing in this style. This now becomes a great song that is not nearly as deep as many thought it to be. Keeping the dancing style in mind, the lyrics to this song do express the natural tendencies for young people to resent and resist authority:
I say we can go where we want to
A place they will never find
And we can act like we come from out of this world
Leave the real one far behind
We can go where we want to
The night is young and so am I
We can dress real neat
From our hands to our feet
And surprise them with a victory cry
And later still:
We can act like we want to
If we don’t, nobody will
We can act real rude
And totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile
Clearly now, this song becomes a typical teenage rebellion song, a staple of rock since the ‘50s. Couple these sentiments with an infectious keyboard and we have a perfect one hit wonder. And don’t forget the intro to the album (long) version of this song:
Sss – Aaa – Fff – Eee – Ttt – Yyy