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. The hits are getting bigger and bigger. However, there are still two songs on today’s list that I was unfamiliar with. That’s always exciting for me. Now, let’s Return to the week ending and move on with the countdown. And as usual, if you’d like to listen to the song on YouTube, click on the song title. And if you want to listen or buy this song on Amazon, you can click on the album cover.
Hi Everybody! Welcome back as we finally conclude the countdown. I’m sorry it took so long to wrap this up, but sometimes real life happens. If you missed the previous songs, you can check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. What a blast going down memory lane! Now, let’s Return to the week ending August 27, 1983, and wrap up the countdown.
And don’t forget, if you click on the song title, you can see the video of the song. If you click on the album cover, you can listen to or purchase the song on Amazon.
The great David Bowie re-invented himself once again with the Let’s Dance album. This classic was the second song released off of that album. Bowie was one of the many of our 80s icons that passed away last year. He is missed.
This is a great signature song for Stevie Nicks’ solo career. Stevie is almost 70 and still going strong. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Stevie was asked how it felt to be turning 70 in 2 years. She said:
I don’t like that number. I see lots of people my age, and lots of people who are younger than me, and I think, “Wow, those people look really old.” I think it’s because they didn’t try. If you want to stay young, you have to make an effort. If I wanna walk onstage in a short chiffon skirt and not look completely age-inappropriate, I have to make that happen. Or you just throw in the towel and let your hair turn white and look like a frumpy old woman. I’m never gonna go there.
This cover of the Irving Berlin song was a huge hit for Taco, eventually peaking at #4. This made Irving Berlin, then 95, the oldest ever living songwriter to have one of his compositions enter the top ten.
This song was so overplayed that I would cringe every time I’d hear The Eurythmics. Luckily, enough time has been removed that I really love their music. I have no problem skipping over this one though. But, I love anything else they do.
Speaking of overplayed songs, this was the king of them. I clearly remembering listening to the year end countdown in December, and being so disappointed that this was the #1 song of the year. I love just about everything else from the Synchronicity album. But I guess I’m a weirdo. At least it’s better than a stalker.
That wraps up this week’s countdown. I hope you enjoyed this. There will definitely be more countdowns coming up. 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. 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.
Hi Everybody! Robert is back with another Going Solo article. Today, he is covering the legendary Stevie Nicks. My introduction to Stevie Nicks was her “Stand Back” video on MTV. I was blown away! I had never heard of Fleetwood Mac before, so this was a treat. Of course, now I’m very familiar with Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks is my favorite member of the band, and I love all her solo work. “I Can’t Wait” to see what Robert has to say! So, take it away, Robert!
An Apology to Stevie Nicks
Dear Ms. Nicks,
I am writing you to apologize. You see, I am an enormous fan of ‘80s music; I grew up during this great era – graduated high school in 1987- went to college, you know, normal stuff. During all of the countless hours I spent listening to the fantastic tunes of the decade, I made one huge mistake. I never gave your music a chance. I knew you were a vocalist for Fleetwood Mac, but the band was never one of my favorites. Sure, I like some of those big hits – “Go Your Own Way”, “Don’t Stop”, “Dreams” – but not enough to listen to your solo music. That started to change a bit with Fleetwood Mac’s live album The Dance. I thought your vocals on “Landslide” were haunting and amazing, but it wasn’t enough. I still refused to listen to your solo work. Recently, I have listened to at least one American Top 40 countdown from the ‘80s every day. Your songs have been popping up all of the time. And I like them. I was familiar with your duets with Tom Petty and Don Henley, but now I was really listening to them. Now I had to reconsider “Edge of Seventeen” – a song I had always refused to pay attention to. I listened closely – and – what a great song!
I now feel the need to take a close listen to your first solo album Bella Donna. You released this album in 1981 after having wild success with the two previous Fleetwood Mac albums, Rumours and Tusk. You were clearly established in the rock world, but Bella Donna may have made you even bigger. The album reached #1 on the Billboard album charts, selling over four million copies and being certified quadruple platinum status. The album had four top 40 hits which are constantly played on classic rock radio stations today. This album is just a beginning to your wonderful solo career while you continued to work with Fleetwood Mac.
Shortly after recording Bella Donna, you discovered that your pregnant best friend had been diagnosed with cancer. She named you God mother and you took care of the child after she died. These must have been very difficult times for you, but you clearly preserved and showed drive and determination by touring for this album and releasing your second solo effort in 1983, The Wild Heart. The evidence was clear, I just didn’t see it. You are an icon of the rock world and your solo career is just as strong and worthy of attention as is your work with Fleetwood Mac. Bella Donna is an excellent album and worthy of all of the accolades it has received.
What a great way to begin the first solo album. There have been many interviews over the years and occasionally this song comes up. It seems that Nicks was making a personal statement with this song – one in which she is declaring her youth in the past and recognizing that it is time to move on. Nicks said of this song, “’Bella Donna’ is a term of endearment I use and the title is about making a lot of decisions in my life, making a change based on the turmoil in my soul. You get to a certain age where you want to slow down, be quieter. The title song was basically a warning to myself and a question to others.” I love this idea of recognizing the need to move on. If we never move forward we are doomed to be stuck in the past.
Another solid track that is centered around the much used idea of temptation. The speaker in the song has recognized that the man she loved has given into the temptation of another woman. She realizes that she could have made it with this man, but not now. He will be haunted by the memory of both women and the actions he took that changed everything. This song is highlighted by an excellent guitar solo that has its own haunting quality.
This song has the unmistakable voice of Tom Petty that accompanies Nicks. In addition, three other Heartbreakers help out on this song: Stan Lynch is on drums, Benmont Tench on keyboards, and Mike Campbell is on the guitar. Lyrically, this is a song in which the woman is seriously questioning the ability of her man to be worthy of the relationship. Her doubts are clear with, “Baby, you could never look me in the eye / Yeah, you buckle with the weight of the words.” I think this song can be connected to the first one, thematically speaking. As we mature, we are forced to see situations with clearer eyes – in a more truthful manner. Yes, this stinks, but if we do not then we are stuck in situations, or with people, that are not good for us.
This song really sounds like a positive breakup song – is that possible? No hard feelings, regret, or animosity? In some ways, lyrically this reminds me of a Journey song; the upbeat, optimistic song that serves to give the listener confidence and a belief that good things will come. Nicks writes, “Even when you feel your life is fading / I know that you’ll go on forever / You’re that good / Heartbreak of the moment is not endless / Your fortune is your life’s love.” Is there any chance that this song is a touch autobiographical considering her relationship with Lindsey Buckingham? I’m just saying.
Speaking of autobiographical. This song sounds as if Nicks is sitting down and talking to us about her life and outlook on her career. It seems that she is rather content with how things are going, “For me, it’s the only life I’ve ever known / And love is only one fine star away / Even though the living is sometimes laced with lies / It’s alright, the feeling remains / Even after the glitter fades.” Based on the title alone, I was fully expecting a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of stardom and the rapidity with which it fades. Instead . . . what a nice surprise. The video is a studio version of Nicks performing the song.
This is the song that really caused me to reexamine Stevie Nicks. Every day I listen to at least one American Top 40 countdown from the ‘80s; iHeart radio has a station that plays these in a somewhat random order. One week this song popped up three times and each time I liked it a bit more. Despite being the third highest charting single from this album, it is the song that most listeners recognize as Nicks truly becoming a solo artist. The meaning of this excellent song has been discussed by many listeners. I prefer to go to the source – the songwriter herself – who says this song is in memory and reaction to the death of John Lennon and her uncle, who both died as she was beginning to compile songs for this album. I think this song has some her most powerful lyrics that just add to the greatness of this song: “And days go by / Like a strand in the wind / In the web that is my own / I begin again.”, “The clouds never expect it when it rains / But the sea changes colors, but the sea does not change / So with slow graceful flow of age / I went forth with an age old desire to please.”
This song features an infectious slide guitar and adds a level of consistency to the album. This is not a great or memorable song, but it is good and shows how Nicks is able to show consistently strong song writing that maintains her style. The song builds to an effective climax – but I think it suffers a bit from being in between two classic tracks.
Sometimes I need to remind myself that songs do not need to be complicated or have deep lyrics to be truly great – this song is an excellent example of this. Here is a love song, a duet with Don Henley, that does not push any boundaries of originality. It uses simple imagery of leather and lace to show two people who seem to be opposites but have a close connection. There is a strong motif of home that is used to emphasizes this feeling of comfort-ability. This is a remarkable love song and Don Henley’s voice does nothing but make this song even better. The video is a live version and, unfortunately, does not feature Don Henley.
“Love is a word that some entertain / If you find it, you have won the game.” It is a mistake to assume that every songwriter composes songs that are strictly autobiographical. Take Phil Collins, for example. He has gone through a few nasty, public breakups. He himself has said that his second solo album is his “divorce” album and that all of the songs are about his failed first marriage. The relationship problems between Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are very public and documented in several Fleetwood Mac songs. Nicks has been very open about the ups and downs of their relationship; so saying, I do not want to pigeonhole this song as being autobiographical, but is does have that feeling to it. It is nearly impossible not to think so when Nicks writes, “And it’s been like dying / No love is that hard to find / And I’m tired of – I’m tired of trying / Outside the rain / And the heart skips a beat – so you’re lonely.” If you notice a stronger presence of a guitar it is because Mike Campbell from the Heartbreakers is back. Solid stuff.
There is a famous poem published in 1906 by Alfred Noyes with the same title as Nicks’ song. She follows a similar ballad style, telling a story of a about a man who is striving for glory and a woman who is searching for love in that man. I have no idea if Nicks was using the Noyes poem as an inspiration but there are some real similarities. Being an English teacher, you know I have to link you to the poem: (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-highwayman) – read it if you have some time. This song is a great end to an excellent album that leaves plenty of hope for future Stevie Nicks albums.
Ms. Nicks, I apologize with all of my musical heart. You are a fantastic vocalist who deserves to be deeply entrenched in the annals of ‘80s rock. You are a legend and all fans of ‘80s need to recognize your supreme talent. At times, these talents may be overshadowed a bit by your work with Fleetwood Mac, but your solo music deserves just as much attention. I have no good excuse for not appreciating your music when I was younger. Perhaps I just needed to get a little older to be able to truly tune into your songs. Whatever – I now hear your talents. I will always recognize you as one of the most important voices of the 1980’s.
Hey Gang! Welcome to a new week of some Top 40 music! This week we will be checking out a Top 40 from 1983. At this time in 1983, I was just finishing up 7th grade, and getting ready for my last year of junior high school. A month from now, I would be going on one of my best childhood vacations. We went to Colorado to go see my grandparents for their 50th anniversary. That side of my family is scattered all over the country, so it’s always a great time when we all get together. We stayed with my aunt and uncle and 2 cousins. We had a blast! In addition to visiting my grandparents, we took several day trips, and hung out at a pool with a giant diving board. In between, when we were hanging out at the house, if Rocky III wasn’t on, then it was Six Pack, or The Who’s “final” concert. Those three shows seemed to be in heavy rotation on HBO at that time. We were constantly quoting Rocky III. Then the main event of the trip was my grandparents’ 50th anniversary party. All of my aunts and uncles, and most of my cousins were there, and it’s a time that I will always remember fondly.
As far as the music goes, that last remnants of ’70s music was gone, and we were beginning to start the classic ’80s sound. So, I personally think this is going to be a fun week of music. Now, let’s Return to the week ending June 18, 1983, and begin the countdown.
I did not remember this song at all. But, there is no mistaking which decade this song is from. The keyboards at the beginning, and a sax solo in the middle give it that classic ’80s sound.
Christopher Cross had an incredible debut in 1980. He followed that up with 1983’s Another Page. That album included his smash hit “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)“. It also had the song, “Think of Laura“, which was for the daytime soap opera General Hospital. I really enjoyed this song, “No Time for Talk”. It was a pleasant surprise for me, and a great way to begin the countdown.
I’m so glad I’ve been able to finally find some Prince videos! This isn’t on YouTube, and it’s a little slower to load, but it’s worth it! I really enjoy Prince’s early work. This song was originally released in 1982. But, it did not crack the top 40. Then after “Little Red Corvette” came out, he gained many fans. So, “1999” was re-released and finally became a big hit, peaking at #12.
Alabama was my gateway into country music. Throughout the ’80s, I hated country music – with the exceptions of Alabama and Kenny Rogers, and maybe a handful of songs. When I was in the Navy, almost everybody seemed to be a country music fan. It drove me crazy, and everybody was trying to get me to like it. But, we did find some common ground in the form of Alabama. The music is great, and their harmonies are just incredible. I eventually became a country music fan in the ’90s when rock and pop music were really sucking.
In the country music world, it seems like every song Alabama released became a number hit. “The Closer You Get” was no exception. I still like this one a lot.
This was the first time I had seen Stevie Nicks, and I’ve been hooked ever since! Stevie Nicks was hugely successful with Fleetwood Mac, and helped send them into the stratosphere of success. But, she has had just as successful solo career. In the early days of MTV, this is one of the songs that helped launch that career.
This is the second surprise of the day. Due to his smash hit, “Lady in Red“, I always that of Chris DeBurgh as an easy listening/lite rock staple. But, this song rocks! I mean there’s no confusing this with Metallica, but this song still rocks pretty good.
Fans of the podcast, Stuck in the ’80s, are very familiar with this song as it is the theme for their PPTMN segment (Please Please Tell Me Now). “Is There Something I Should Know?” was Duran Duran’s first #1 hit in the U.K. It was also a big hit in the U.S., peaking at #4. Duran Duran is just a flat-out classic ’80s band. And this song has that classic, unique Duran Duran ’80s sound.
I cannot give Laura Branigan enough praise. I love all of her music, and she has an incredible voice. I think she is so underrated. This song was always one of my favorites by her. This song was the follow-up to “Gloria“, and became Branigan’s second consecutive Top Ten hit. I love these songs that start off low, and build up as the song goes on until the singer is really belting it out. It is done so well in this song.
Well, that wraps up today’s list of songs. What do you think so far? Where were you at this time in 1983?
We’ll be back to continue the countdown tomorrow.