It’s coming up on that time of year again! Since last year’s inaugural Return to the ’80s March Madness Tournament was a success, we will make this an annual thing. Last year was all about Hall & Oates (with “Out of Touch” being their most popular song among Return to the ’80s readers.
For those of you who discovered this site within this past year, here’s how this works. We take an artist, and place their 16 biggest hits in brackets, and have the same format as the NCAA basketball tournament. Two songs will be pitted against each other for several days, and the winner moves on in the tournament. We keep narrowing it down, until we have a winner. You can vote on this site, as well as on Twitter, and the main Facebook page and the Facebook group page. I will add the votes together.
This year I’m going to need your help to get this started. I am having a difficult time choosing which artist to cover. This is where you come in. I have listed some of the top musical icons of the ’80s. So, please vote for the artist who you would like to see in this year’s tournament. I will leave the voting open for a week. You can vote here, and in the Facebook Group. The Facebook page and Twitter don’t allow enough options, so those pages won’t be used until the actual tournament begins. I have listed Phil Collins (his solo and duet stuff – not Genesis), Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and Bon Jovi. I should also note that only the singles that charted in the ’80s will be in the actual tournament. I have also allowed the option to write in somebody that is not on the list.
Thank you so much for your help! This should be fun! And unlike any political election, no matter who wins, we all win.
Welcome back as we continue this week’s countdown! If you missed the first 10 songs, you can go ahead and check them out. As I look at this countdown, one thing that really stands out to me is the variety of the different genres of music in one countdown. And it was like this throughout the entire decade. It is something you would never hear today. Now, let’s go back to that glorious time, and Return to the week ending February 11, 1989, and continue the countdown.
And don’t forget, you can click on the song title to listen to/watch the video on YouTube, and you can click on the album cover to get the song from Amazon.
This is the song that will live in music-world infamy, as it was the song that was playing when Milli Vanilli were exposed as lip synchers. Up to that point, they were wildly popular, and even won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist (which they had to return). The sin wasn’t just that they were lip synching, but they were lip synching to somebody else’s vocals. Milli Vanilli get all the attention for the scandal. But, what I want to know is, what ever happened to the real singers, and how ugly could they have been in order to not be allowed to be seen?! They had a lot of great hits, so you would think they would have come out of the shadows, and performed for real.
This song did not sound familiar at all to me. It was actually Breathe’s debut single. It was released in the UK in early 1986. However, it did not chart very high at all, peaking at #77. But, after Breathe’s international success with “Hands to Heaven” and “How Can I Fall?”, “Don’t Tell Me Lies” was reissued, and became much more successful the second time around. It would become their third top 10 hit in the U.S., peaking at #10.
This was the highest charting single of Rod Stewart’s awesome Out of Control album, peaking at #4. It had originally been written for Barbara Mandrell to cover, but Rod Stewart took it instead. This song also features Duran Duran and Power Station guitarist, Andy Taylor.
As the decade was coming to a close, Duran Duran’s sound started changing a bit. Some of it may be due to the musical climate, and some of it may also be that they were now without Andy Taylor. This was Warren Cuccurullo’s first full album with Duran Duran after Andy Taylor’s departure.
This is my favorite Guns N’ Roses tune. “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine” rocked. But, they got way overplayed for me. But, I never got sick of this song at all. Each band member really stands out in this song.
Here is another song that I had forgotten about. I wish this got more airplay. It would be Steve Winwood’s fourth and final #1 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart, and would peak at #11 on this chart. The music video was directed by famed director, David Fincher.
I bought the 45 of this song as soon as it was released. There was no need of that. You could not turn on the radio, or put on MTV, without hearing this song. I got so sick of this. This is another one that I like more now after I haven’t listened to it in a while. It was featured on the Buster soundtrack. Between this song, and “A Groovy Kind of Love” from that movie, I would have thought the movie would have been a smash hit. I don’t know a single person who has seen it, and I’m not even sure if it was released in the U.S.
This world-wide smash hit would top the U.S. charts next month. This is a very moving song, with Paul Carrack on vocals, as it addresses a son’s regret over unresolved conflict with his now-deceased father. It would be nominated for four Grammy awards in 1990, including Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best Video.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. We are halfway through the countdown. What do you think so far? Come back tomorrow as we continue the countdown.
Welcome back, as we wrap up this week’s Top 40 Countdown! This brought back a lot of fond memories for me. And I do love how there was quite a few different genres represented throughout this whole countdown. So, let’s Return to the week ending November 5, 1988, and see what were the most popular songs in the country
Awesome song that has that eary-mid ’80s sound. And yes that’s Leonard Nimoy’s voice as Mr. Spock from the Star Trek episode “Errand of Mercy”, which was the first time we saw the Klingons in the Star Trek universe.
Kylie Minogue was the third act to make this song a top 5 hit, starting with LIttle Eva in 1962 and Grand Funk Railroad in 1974. This song was a locomotion for Minogue, as it started as a hit in her home country of Australia. Then it made it’s way to Europe and Asia, then came to the U.S. and Canada.
We have another cover here, as Phil Collins recorded this Mindbenders 1965/66 hit for the Buster movie soundtrack. Between this song, and “Two Hearts”, you would think the movie was going to be a blockbuster. However, I still haven’t seen it, and I don’t know anybody who ever has.
I think we can track the division in the country back to this song. I personally think it’s a fun song, although I did get very sick of it. But, a lot of people had this extreme hatred of this song. And seeing John Stamos on drums really sent them over the edge! This song would be their last hit on the Hot 100.
Well that wraps up the Top 40 this week. I hope you enjoyed it! The next time, we will hop back across the pond to the U.K. In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.
Welcome to a new week of Top 40 music! This week, we are back to the U.S. charts. This week, we are hopping in the Delorian, and heading to 1986. At this time in 1986, I was beginning to head towards the end of my Sophomore year of high school. Academically, this was a horrible time for me. But, there was great music, TV, and movies to help get me by.
As usual, if you want to listen to the song/watch the video, you can click on the song title. If you want to purchase or listen to the song on Amazon, you can click on the album cover. Now, let’s Return to the week ending April 5, 1986, and start the countdown!
Level 42 had about 42 top 40 hits in the U.K. OK, I may be exaggerating a bit. They actually had 20, but 42 would have been cooler. However, in the U.S., they only had 2 hits in the U.S., with this being the first. Maybe we’ll catch more Level 42 songs when we head back to the U.K.
Hey Everybody! Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 Countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. When I began this week, I had no idea that this would be one of the best, if not THE best countdown I’ve covered so far. Let’s see if this streak continues today. Let’s Return to the week ending January 19, 1985, and wrap up the countdown.
Welcome back to another week of some Top 40 music! This time, we Return all the way back to 35 years ago this week. Christmas season had just started, and I was 12 years old. I was past the age of getting kids toys. Instead, it was a time of home video games (in my case, Intellivision), and music. Instead of listening to my parents’ albums, I was beginning to get my own music. I would get cassettes for my birthday and Christmas, and I was constantly listening to the radio. So, the songs this week really bring me back. I hope you feel the same. So let’s Return to the week ending November 27, 1982, and begin this week’s Top 40 countdown.
Phil Collins’ cover of The Supremes’ 1966 hit was his first solo #1 hit in the U.K. It would reach #10 in the U.S. This song came off of Collins’ second album, Hello, I Must Be Going!, and proved that he could be mega succcessful as both a solo artist, and as a member of Genesis.
This was the Australian group’s first number one single in their home country, spending 6 weeks at the top of the charts. It was so successful, that it came over to the U.S., and became a hit there too.
This was the third single released from John Cougar’s breakthrough album, American Fool. “Hurts So Good” and “Jack & Diane” are hard acts to follow. But this song isn’t too shabby, and has the same sound as it’s predecessors.
The second Rhode Island act of this countdown! All we need is John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band to complete the trifecta! This is Osborne’s signature song, which came off his self-titled debut album.
This band had it’s heyday in the ’70s, with hits “A Horse With No Name”, “Ventura Highway”, and “Sister Golden Hair”. This song is also pretty damn good. It was a comeback song for the group, but it would be their last Top 40 hit.
It was 1981 and I was sitting in my grandparent’s living room in Valkenburg a/d Geul, the Netherlands. My grandfather and I were waiting for the weekly Saturday soccer highlight show to start and, to fill air time, the station was, as expected, showing music videos. As I watched the first video, I saw a large black and white face begin to fill the screen. The music was quiet – it had an almost foreboding feel to it. I was about to walk away and get a drink, but something made me stay. I watched the video, wondering the entire time what was going on. I did not like the music much, but I did like the singer’s voice and I was intrigued by the song’s haunting sound. I kept watching and the song built a bit and then, seemingly out of nowhere, a burst of drums blasts from the TV. I was taken aback — and hooked. The song was “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, so the Monday, after school, I went to my favorite record store and bought the album Face Value.
This was my first experience with the artist whose career I would follow for the next three decades. I bought every Collins album as soon as each was released – I went back and bought the Genesis albums that he sang on and then bought all future Genesis releases. Don’t believe me? As I look through my music collection now, I see:
Phil Collins albums:Face Value (original and remastered 2015), Hello, I Must Be Going (original and remastered 2015), No Jacket Required (original and remastered 2015), . . . But Seriously (original and remastered 2015), Serious Hits Live, Both Sides (original and remastered 2015), Dance Into the Light, Testify, Love Songs: A Compilation . . .Old and New, Going Back, and The Singles. Yes, both Tarzan and Brother Bear are missing – I just couldn’t.
Genesis albums:A Trick of the Tail, Wind and Wuthering, And Then There WereThree, Duke, Abacab, Genesis, Invisible Touch, We Can’t Dance, Turn It On Again. There are still a few live albums I need to acquire.
You see? I like me some Phil Collins! I do not like all albums equally, in fact, I have been disappointed in a few, but I have never stopped listening to him. When I read, and finally saw, that he was releasing an autobiography, I was excited and a bit nervous. I am a picky reader and I was worried that the writing would not be very good. Also, I did not want my vision of him ruined with “the truth.” Despite my trepidations, I picked up the autobiography, Not Dead Yet, and started reading.
I was not disappointed. The writing is not horrible as he dictated his stories, organized them, and put them in written form – the book sounds like Collins is talking to you. He has a clever sense of humor and tries his best to be honest. This is difficult as he has been married three time which, as a whole he takes responsibility for his role in the ending of all three marriages (although, presently Collins and his third wife are back together, but not married). Collins organizes his stories chronologically starting with his childhood days, his time with Genesis as a drummer and then vocalist, his solo career, and his comeback. The stories are real and full of insights on how some of his great songs were created. This is by no means an expose, but Collins does broach some touchy situations with professionalism and no true axe to grind.
I do want everyone to read Not Dead Yet, so I am not going to give away all of the cool stuff, but I do want to intrigue you all a bit, so what follows are a few interesting tidbits from Collins’ book.
Collins’ interest in show business started with acting. He attended a fine arts performance high school and wanted to be an actor. As a boy, he played the Artful Dodger in Oliver. Clearly, he pursued a career as a drummer and played in several bands before joining Genesis. This acting bug resurfaced when Collins stared in Buster and made appearances in Miami Vice and Hook.
Collins hesitantly replaced Peter Gabriel as the lead vocalist of Genesis. After auditioning many potential vocalists, Tony Banks (keyboards) and Mike Rutherford (guitars) encouraged Collins to try the lead vocals. Everyone liked what they heard and the rest is history. Collins did not think he could be the lead vocalist and play drums for the band in concert. So, when performing live, Chester Thompson played drums while Collins was the front man. Collins maintained Thompson for his live solo shows. During all Genesis and solo shows, there would be segments (mostly instrumentals) in the show where Collins would jump back on the drum kit. Despite all of the many things Collins did during his career, he always came back to drumming as his ultimate love.
“In the Air Tonight” has nothing to do with witnessing a drowning. It is a bitter song about the breakup of his first marriage. “Well, if you told me you were drowning / I would not lend a hand / I’ve seen your face before my friend / But I don’t know if you know who I am” is nothing more than some really hard feelings about the way that first marriage ended. Collins is fully aware now that the constant touring and recording schedule that Genesis maintained was a recipe to end any marriage, but he was totally driven by the work.
The Genesis song “Since I Lost You “ from the We Can’t Dance album was written for his good friend Eric Clapton, whose son died in a tragic accident. Collins played it for him, asking his permission to include it on the album, saying that he would gladly drop it if Clapton did not approve. Clapton loved it and played “Tears in Heaven” for Collins; both men cried with each other that night and remain good friends today. Clapton appears on the Collins albums Face Value and . . . But Seriously.
“Since I Lost You”:
“I Wish it Would Rain Down”:
The title to Collins’ #1 hit “Sussudio” from No Jacket Required means nothing! Both as a solo artist and as a member of Genesis, the writing of the songs came in a similar manner. The musicians would be in a room together and play. The music was almost always written before any lyrics came about. While working on No Jacket Required, Collins was working on the music and, as was typical, needed to improvise lyrics. He used the word “sussudio” as a place holder. The song started to take shape and lyrics were added, but “sussudio” fit so well he decided to leave it.
One last one: Many people have said that there is some contention between Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins after he replaced him as Genesis lead vocalist. Collins insists that this is not true. He feels that he and Gabriel are still good friends as was evident when the original members reunited for a BBC documentary Genesis: Together and Apart.
Documentary (1 ½ hours long):
For ‘80s music fans Not Dead Yet is a must read. It is full of insights to Collins’ creative process as a member of Genesis and as a solo artist. Collins discusses all of his big songs and how they came to be. One more note: Both “Against All Odds” and “Separate Lives” (both #1 hits) could not make the cut for a Collins album and sat on the shelf for some time until given to the soundtracks of Against All Odds and White Knights respectively. The book reads well and is an evenly told autobiography. Yes, there a few things that could use a little more explanation, but Collins does not avoid touchy or embarrassing situations. He is, for example, very honest about his role in the debacle of performing in London and Philadelphia for Live Aid. The book did not talk me out of my Phil Collins fandom, rather, it may have increased it. Collins is performing a Not Dead Yet tour in Europe in 2017. There are rumors that he will bring this tour to the U.S. – one can only hope. Not Dead Yet end optimistically, giving the reader hope that his fantastic musical career continues.