It’s been too long, so it’s time for a new Top 40 countdown! This week, we are going back over to the U.K. and checking out the top songs from this week in 1983. These are always a lot of fun. If you want to see the video/listen to the song on YouTube, you can click on the song title. You can click on the album cover to get the song from Amazon. Now, let’s begin this week’s countdown!
40. “Juicy Fruit” by Mtume
This title track from the funk and sould group Mtume’s (pronounced em-tu-may) third album was their most successful single. It had moderate success, but did not crack the top 40 pop charts in the U.S.
39. “War Baby” by Tom Robinson
British singer-songwriter Tom Robinson is a long-time LGBT rights activist. After the break-up of his band, Section 27, Robinson had financial troubles, which sent him in a depression. He moved to Germany, and played with East German band NO 55. According to Wikipedia,
Robinson describes writing the song, whilst stoned, after a bad experience at a gay sauna, he “…wrote straight down “only the very young and the very beautiful can be so aloof.” And the rest of it poured out onto the page, eight, ten pages of the stuff, just hand-written, stream of consciousness stuff. And it took about a year to get those ten pages down to something that you could actually sing in four minutes.”
He returned to the UK, recorded and released the song. It would go on to peak at #6 on the UK singles chart.
38. “What Kinda Boy You Looking For (Girl)” by Hot Chocolate
Best known for their 1975 smash hit “You Sexy Thing“, the British soul group, Hot Choclate, had a Top 10 UK hit with this song, peaking at #10.
37. “I Won’t Hold You Back” by Toto
This is most likely the first song on this week’s countdown that US audiences are familiar with. This power ballad barely scraped the Top 40 here in the UK. But, it was a Top 10 hit in the US. The song, from the classic Toto IV album, features the Eagles’ bass player Timothy B. Schmit on backing vocals during the choruses.
36. “She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summer
This worldwide hit is one of Donna Summer’s signature songs. Summer performed the song live as the opening of the 1984 Grammy Awards.
35. “True” by Spandau Ballet
This song was a worldwide smash hit, landing in the Top 10 in many countries. It was #1 here in the UK for 4 weeks. It is Spandau Ballet’s biggest hit and their only major hit in the US.
34. “It’s Over” by Funk Masters
One of my favorite things about doing these UK countdowns is catching a lot of R&B and Funk songs that did not get much airplay in the US in the ’80s. This mid-tempo song by the British group would peak at #8 in th eUK.
33. “Come Live With Me” by Heaven 17
Oh boy! This sounds like it is going to be a classic ’80s sounding synth-pop song. Turns out that it is a statutory rapey song.
It starts off with these lyrics:
I was thirty-seven
You were seventeen
You were half my age
The youth I’d never seen
Unlikely people meeting in a dream
Heaven only knows the way it should have been
And only gets worse from there! I think somebody needs to look into these songwriters (Glenn Gregory, Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware).
32. “Temptation” by Heaven 17
The second Heaven 17 song in a row! It is rare to see 2 songs in a row by the same artist on any countdown. This isn’t as bad as the previous song…unless the “Temptation” is about that 17 year old. And now that I’m realizing that the name of this band is Heaven 17, I’m going to assume it is about a 17 year old. This band is gross.
31. “Candy Girl” by New Edition
Another song about a girl! However, this is more acceptable since boy band New Edition was more age appropriate. This was New Edition’s debut song. The group was first discovered and mentored by manager Brooke Payne. He decided to name them New Edition to signify they were a new edition of the Jackson 5. And this song does indeed sound like a Jackson 5 song, which is a good thing.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. We will continue the countdown tomorrow. What do you think so far?