Today’s Song of the Day is David Bowie’s “Modern Love” which is on the Let’s Dance album which was released on this day in 1983. This song is the opening track on the album, and was the third single released. It peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart and number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Stevie Ray Vaughan played guitar on this track.
Bowie said this song’s call-and-response vocal arrangement “all comes from Little Richard.” A defining moment in Bowie’s childhood was when his dad came home with a copy of “Tutti Frutti.”
In honor of Peabo Bryson’s 71st birthday, today’s Song of the Day is his 1984 hit, “If Ever You’re In My Arms Again”. Released as a single from his album Straight from the Heart, the single peaked at #6 on the R&B chart and was Bryson’s first Top 10 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at #10 during the summer of 1984. It also spent four weeks at #1 on the adult contemporary chart.
Bryson had some very successful duets including 1983’s “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love For You” with Roberta Flack. He also won two Grammy Awards (both duets, and both for Disney films): in 1992 for his performance of the song “Beauty and the Beast” with Celine Dion and in 1993 for “A Whole New World” with Regina Belle.
Today’s Song of the Day is Roxette’s “The Look”, which hit #1 on the Billboard charts this week in 1989. This was the Swedish pop duo’s fourth single from their second studio album, Look Sharp!. It was a worldwide smash hit as it topped the charts in 25 countries, and was the first of their four number ones on the Billboard Hot 100.
Roxette released the Look Sharp! album in October 1988. It was an immediate commercial success in their home country, spending seven weeks at number one on the Swedish Albums Chart. “Dressed for Success” and “Listen to Your Heart” were released as the album’s first two singles in Sweden, both becoming top three hits there. “Chances” was released in Germany and France as the first international single from the album. This song became an international hit when an American exchange student returned from Sweden and urged the Minneapolis radio station KDWB to play the song. Even though it hadn’t yet been released in the United States the song spread on cassette copies to other American radio stations. Eventually it became a #1 in Australia and Japan as well as the United States.
In honor of John Oates’ 74th birthday, today’s Song of the Day is “Kiss On My List” by Hall & Oates. The song was written by Daryl Hall and Janna Allen, and produced by Hall and John Oates. It was the third single release from their ninth studio album, Voices. It was their 2nd US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (after “Rich Girl” in 1977), which makes this song the duo’s first #1 hit of the ’80s.
The co-writer, Janna Allen was the sister of Daryl Hall’s long-term girlfriend Sara Allen. She also co-wrote “Private Eyes,” which was a chart-topper later in the year for Hall & Oates, and also their Top 10 singles “Did It in a Minute” and “Method of Modern Love.” Janna Allen died of leukemia at the age of 36 in 1993. She passed away at Daryl and Sara’s home in Millbrook, New York.
This song is often misinterpreted as a “love” song. In fact, it is an anit-love song Daryl Hall has stated that the song is tongue-in-cheek sarcasm in that the kiss is not that important, in that it is on a list of other things that are just as important. [Is there anybody else that is today-years-old when they found that out?]
The music video was the 207th that aired on MTV’s first day of broadcast.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of The Motels’ fantastic album, All Four One, today’s Song of the Day is “Only the Lonely”. The album, released on April 6, 1982, featured this Top 10 hit, and the follow-up hit single, “Take the L“. “Only the Lonely” number 9 on July 17, 1982 where it spent four weeks in that position. The video earned the award “Best Performance in a Music Video” at the American Music Awards.
According to Songfacts, The Motels spent the late ’70s making a name for themselves in the Los Angeles music scene, and their first two albums, released in 1979 and 1980, met with critical acclaim and cracked the charts in America and Australia. All Four One was their third album, and it contained their breakthrough hit “Only the Lonely,” which was written by their lead singer Martha Davis. She explained the song in an interview with Beyond Race magazine. Said Davis: “‘Only the Lonely’ was one of those songs that was sitting on my guitar waiting for me. It literally wrote itself. It’s a song about empty success. It came about while the Motels were experiencing critical acclaim, traveling the world, riding in limos, and yet I was probably as sad as I had ever been. I was in a horrible relationship and had not yet recovered from my parents’ death (I doubt one ever does). The contradiction of these two worlds was where “Only the Lonely” lived… bittersweet.”
“Fast Car”, today’s Song of the Day, is off of Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut album which was released on this day in 1988. The album is an acoustic album which gained critical acclaim from a wide majority of music critics, praising the simplicity, Chapman’s vocal ability and her political and social lyrical content. The album was a huge success, selling over one million copies just after 2 weeks of its release. It sold over 20 million copies worldwide and is one of the first albums by a female artist to have more than 10 million copies sold worldwide. There were three singles released from this album: “Fast Car”, “Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution“, and “Baby Can I Hold You“.
When the then-unknown Tracy Chapman was booked to appear down the bill at the Nelson Mandela birthday concert at Wembley Stadium on June 11, 1988, little did she know her appearance would be the catalyst for a career breakthrough. After performing several songs from her self titled debut during the afternoon, Chapman thought she’d done her bit and could relax and enjoy the rest of the concert. However, later in the evening Stevie Wonder was delayed when the computer discs for his performance went missing, and Chapman was ushered back onto stage again. In front of a huge prime time audience she performed “Fast Car” alone with her acoustic guitar. Afterwards the song raced up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.
That performance of the song at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute helped it become a top-ten hit in the United States, reaching number six on the Billboard Hot 100. In the United Kingdom, it reached number four on the UK Singles Chart. “Fast Car” received three Grammy Award nominations; Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, the latter of which it won. It also received a MTV Video Music Award nomination for Best Female Video in 1989.
In this heart-wrenching song, Chapman sings from the perspective of a woman whose life isn’t working out as she hoped. She’s with a guy who’s unemployed, lazy and unsupportive – she works at the convenience store to pay the bills while he’s drinking at the bar.
Today’s Song of the Day, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship hit #1 on this day in 1987. It was co-written by Diane Warren and Albert Hammond, and was Warren’s first chart-topper. The song was on Starship’s album No Protection, and was also the theme to the romantic comedy film Mannequin (starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall.
This song received a nomination for Best Original Song at the 60th Academy Awards (losing to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing).
At the time that this song hit #1, Grace Slick became, at age 47, the oldest woman to attain a number-one single in the United States, surpassed only by Cher, who was 52 when her song “Believe” reached number one in early 1999.
Today’s Song of the Day is in remembrance of Marvin Gaye, who was tragically killed by his father on this day in 1984. “Sexual Healing” was Marvin Gaye’s biggest hit of the ’80s.The song was off of his album Midnight Love. The song reached number one on Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles chart, staying at the top spot for ten weeks. It also peaked at #3 on the Hot 100.
This was the first single Gaye released after leaving Motown Records. He spent 20 tumultuous years with the label, which included disputes over royalties and his marriage to and divorce from Berry Gordy’s sister, Anna. He recorded this album for CBS Records.
This won the 1982 Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. The instrumental version also won for Best R&B Instrumental.
Today we are going for a fun song for the Song of the Day – “Neutron Dance” by The Pointer Sisters. The song was written by Allee Willis and Danny Sembello. Allee Willis also wrote Earth, Wind & Fire’s hits “September” and “Boogie Wonderland“. Danny Sembello was the younger brother of Michael Sembello.
This song featuring Ruth Pointer on lead vocal was introduced on the Pointer Sisters’ October 1983 album release Break Out. There had already been four singles released from that album. But “Neutron Dance” was issued as a single in November 1984 thanks to its addition to the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.
In March 1985 “Neutron Dance” became the fourth Top Ten single issued from the Break Out album rising as high as #6. It would be their last Top 10 hit. “Dare Me“, from their follow-up album Contact, peaked at #11.
In honor of Eric Clapton’s 77th birthday, today’s Song of the Day is his 1986 hit, “It’s in the Way That You Use It”. This song was the first track on the album August, which was named after the month Clapton’s son Conor was born. It was also was written for the movie The Color Of Money, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise as pool sharks. It appeared on the soundtrack before Clapton’s album was released. Clapton wrote this with Robbie Robertson, who’s work with The Band in the ’60s encouraged Clapton to get away from the long, heavy solos he was playing with Cream. Robertson was in charge of the music for The Color Of Money, but because he was not finished with his first solo album, his record company would not let him sing on any of the songs. He got around it by contributing instrumental songs to the soundtrack.
Surprisingly, this song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. However, it reached #2 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart in 1986 and eventually positioned itself at the top of the charts one year after.