Hi Everybody! Welcome back to the countdown! If you missed yesterday’s list of songs, you can go ahead and check them out. Where were you at this time in 1985? I was 14 and midway through my first year of high school. The beginning of the school year was exciting. I went to a catholic school from 2nd through 8th grade. Then I went to a good size public school for high school. The change was exciting. I got to go to a different classroom for every class, and I didn’t have to wear a uniform! However by this point, the newness wore off, and I wasn’t liking school too much, and didn’t do to well. Even though I wasn’t enjoying school at all, this was still a great time for music, movies, and TV. There will be a few familiar songs on today’s list of songs that bring us back to that great time of music. For my good friends in the U.K., there may be even more songs that bring you back to that time. Now let’s Return to the week ending January 12, 1985, and either relive, or discover the great music of that time.
[Also, I should point out that you can click on the song title to listen/watch the YouTube video, and you can click on the album cover to get the song from Amazon]
Before this artist became known as Alvin Stardust, he was known as Shane Fenton. He had success in the pre-Beatles era, hitting the UK top 40 with four singles in 1961–62. However, he became better known in the 70s and 80s with his Alvin Stardust persona. This song had reached up to #7 on the U.K. charts.
Love this! This is a novelty song that was a huge hit in the UK, peaking at #2, and spending 30 weeks in the Top 75. I am reading up on these songs before I listen to them, just so I can know the background. In a survey for dotmusic in 2000, this song was rated the 4th most annoying song of all time. That really got my attention! I just had to listen to it. This is from Wikipedia:
In a poll for Q magazine in 2003, a panel of music writers voted “Agadoo” as the worst song of all time, saying: “It sounded like the school disco you were forced to attend, your middle-aged relatives forming a conga at a wedding party, a travelling DJ act based in Wolverhampton, every party cliche you ever heard.” The panel also described it as “magnificently dreadful”.
No wonder I like this so much! I’d be one of those middle-aged relatives forming a conga, to this train wreck of a song, at a wedding reception.
Very cool funk/R&B song. Council Collective was a collaborative effort put together by The Style Council. It was put together to raise money for striking miners. The proceeds also went to the family of David Wilkie, a Welsh taxi driver who was killed during the miners’ strike.
This song was my introduction to Chaka Khan, and was a big comeback hit for her. It has an iconic introduction by Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Oh by the way, this was written and originally performed by Prince. But, Chaka Khan made it her own, and was a smash hit in the U.S. and U.K. It also won Prince the 1985 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song, as the songwriter.
To say that this was a smash hit, is just putting it mildly. This was Stevie Wonder’s biggest hit, topping a record 19 charts. This was one of those cases where the song was much bigger than the movie that it was featured in. In this case, it came from the 1984 soundtrack album The Woman in Red. This was actually Wonder’s only #1 hit in the U.K. He made it count though, as it topped the charts for 6 weeks, and it became Motown Records’ biggest-selling single in the UK, a distinction it still holds today.
Well, I learned something new, which I probably should have known. This song is from the album 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother), which was the soundtrack from the film Nineteen Eighty-Four. I never knew there was a soundtrack for that movie. I’m pretty sure I saw the movie, but I don’t remember it. There’s no need to go back and watch it, seeing that we are living it now.
Great soulful song by the awesome Yazoo singer. In my opinion, she is very underrated (at least in the States).
Well, that wraps up today’s list of songs. They seem to be getting better and better! What do you think so far? Also, feel free to email me at email@example.com if you would like to make a long distance dedication. We’ll continue the countdown tomorrow.
Welcome back as we continue the countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31. This has been a good countdown so far. So let’s Return to the week ending April 5, 1986, and continue the countdown.
This is one of my favorite Bob Seger songs. This is one of those misunderstood songs. It is not a patriotic song. It is about cocaine abuse. In an interview with the New York Times, Seger said, “I wrote it after reading ‘Wired,’ Bob Woodward’s biography of John Belushi. That was two and a half years ago, when there was a lot of publicity about cocaine abuse in show business. At the time, I thought that it was just a trend that would quickly die out and that the song would be out of date when it came time to record. But the situation has gotten worse. Maybe cocaine isn’t quite as fashionable on the East and West Coasts these days, but the plague has spread into the heartland — into the Middle West and the South. The key line in ‘American Storm’ is ‘You never feel the need.’ You never feel anything when you’re on drugs. You’re numb. You’re afraid to feel for one reason or another, and that’s why you turn to drugs. I want to see people not do that.”
I loved Janet Jackson. But, whenever I hear this song, this is the first thing that comes to mind [keep in mind that this is Eddie Murphy. So if you’re listening at work, make sure your headphones don’t pop out]:
That wraps up today’s list of songs. I’m really liking this countdown so far! What do you think. Do you have any favorite songs so far. Any surprises you forgot about? Come back tomorrow as we continue the countdown!
Hi Everybody! Welcome back to this week’s countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31. At this time in 1985, I was in the middle of the 2nd quarter of my Freshman year of high school. Indoor track was in high gear. This also means I was doing horrible in school. For some reason, the 2nd quarter was always the time when I got my worst grades. Maybe it’s because the freshness wore off by now. Then the last 2 quarters I had to buckle down to get my grades back up. Why the hell am I talking about school?!? Let’s get to some music! Now, let’s Return to the week ending January 19, 1985, and continue the countdown.
Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s countdown. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. If you are in the U.S., I hope this countdown has provided a little escape from the election day craziness. This has been a great week of music. For those of us who grew up around the time of this countdown, we were so lucky to enjoy some great music. Now let’s Return to the week ending November 10, 1984, and wrap up this countdown.
Earlier in the countdown, we had a song by Tommy Shaw in the wake of the band Styx falling apart. Now we have the former Styx frontman, Dennis DeYoung with his solo effort. This is an outstanding song, that would peak right here at #10.
Thanks to producer, David Foster, we were right in the middle of Chicago’s renaissance. I do get slightly annoyed that most people only know of Chicago from their power ballads, even though they have some incredible rock songs. But, with a song like this, I can totally see why. This is one of my favorites by them. I love that both Peter Cetera and Bill Champlin sing on this. I love both of their voices. Great combination!
David Bowie (still can’t believe he is gone) was still making an impact on the music world at this point. This song was off of his Tonight album, which was his follow-up to the mega-successful Let’s Dance album. This song was launched with a 21-minute short film, Jazzin’ for Blue Jean. The film won the 1985 Grammy Award for “Best Video, Short form” (Later renamed “Best Music Video”), which would be Bowie’s only competitive Grammy Award during his career. He was nominated for several, but this was his only win, in addition to his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
This song is from Tina Turner’s huge comeback album, Private Dancer. This song was originally recorded and released in 1981 by Spider, a band from New York City with one of the co-writers, Holly Knight, as a member. Of course Tina had the most successful version. The song won Tina Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female, one of four Grammys awarded to Turner in that ceremony.
There weren’t too many acts as big in the ’80s as Hall & Oates.This was their lead single from their 1984 album Big Bam Boom. It would be their last #1 hit. The song was also their 14th straight top 40 hit since 1980.
Before we continue, let’s see what was topping some of the other charts this week in 1984:
While Prince was a megastar performer himself, he also wrote music covered by other artists. This was one of them. Prince wrote this song, and it was on his debut album. It was also covered by The Pointer Sisters on their 1982 album, So Excited!.
Then Chaka Kahn took over, and this song would start a big comeback for her. Melle Mel (from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five) did the rapping. And Stevie Wonder is on the harmonica.
This was Wham!’s big breakthrough hit. It became their first American and UK number-one hit. To be honest, I really hated this song when it first came out. I like it now because of its nostalgic value. It should also be noted that while it was at the top of the charts for two weeks, it prevented the next song from becoming a #1 hit…
Yes, perhaps Prince’s signature song, this never hit #1 (still can’t believe he is gone). That doesn’t change anything though. This is an iconic song of the decade. For a lot of people, when you mention the ’80s, one of the first images that come to mind is the cover of the Purple Rain soundtrack and movie poster. And if you listened to our Prince episode of the Return to the ’80s podcast, you would know that there is a Journey connection here. After recording the song, Prince phoned Jonathan Cain from Journey asking him to hear it, worried it might be too similar to “Faithfully“, a Journey single composed by Cain which had recently been in the charts. Cain reassured Prince telling him the songs only shared the same four chords. Prince was extremely sensitive to Copyright infringement. It’s good to see he put his money where his mouth was, and was careful himself.
This was one of Stevie Wonder’s most commercially successful hits. It was featured in the Gene Wilder (still can’t believe he’s gone) movie The Woman in Red. The ballad won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was also nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year and Best Pop Instrumental Performance at the Grammy Awards.
I always loved Billy Ocean’s voice. This is a good one. It won Ocean the 1985 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, making him the first British artist to win in that category.
Well that wraps up this week’s Countdown. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. Did you have any favorites or least favorites? Let’s do another one of these in the coming weeks. 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 Countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. This week has been a little different as we stretched all the way back to the ’70s. Now, let’s Return to the week ending May 28, 1977, and see what was at the top of the charts the weekend that Star Wars opened.
What an awesome way to start the Top 10! This was Foreigner’s debut single. It is a perfect Foreigner song, as it has a rockin’ guitar, soaring vocals, just about every instrument is on full display, and the harmonies are great.
This is a pretty good song that I had not heard before today. I like the piano and guitars in this song. This was Andrew Gold’s biggest U.S. hit, peaking at #7. Linda Ronstadt sings a blink-and-you-miss-it background vocal in the second verse.
Here is a Rocky theme we all know and love. It is a great song for a blockbuster film. After this weekend in 1977, this song was overshadowed by the soundtrack of a new little independent film called Star Wars.
This was a huge, worldwide hit by Marvin Gaye. This is a pretty cool funk/disco tune. Unfortunately, this is the song that brought us the (song thieves) Robin Thicke and Pharrell 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines“.
This is a really nice ballad by the British singer=songwriter Leo Sayer. It had also been a #1 hit on this chart. I have no idea why he is wearing a Buffalo Sabres jersey in the video, other than he must be performing in Buffalo.
Before we see our #1 song, let’s see what was topping some of the other charts this week in 1977:
What a way to close out the week! As much as I like a lot of Stevie’s songs in the ’80s, I prefer his ’70s work. This song is a tribute to Duke Ellington, who was an influence on Stevie Wonder, and had just died three years earlier. This song is instantly recognizable by it’s horn section that begins the track. Wonder also refers to other jazz legends Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
Well, that wraps up this week’s Top 40. I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know what you think. Even though this is an ’80s site, do you mind venturing over to a different decade, occasionally?
I don’t think I’m going to be able to see the new Star Wars movie this weekend. I still have shopping to do, and a family Christmas party to go to. So, I am going to be offline until I see the movie. Most people are good at not spoiling movies. But, all it takes is one idiot to post something that will ruin the experience for me. The next couple of weeks will be short due to the holidays. So, the next Top 40 countdown will be in the new year. So, “if you’ll not be needing me, I’ll close down for a while.”
I hope you all have a totally awesome and peaceful holiday season! Until next time, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.
Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s Countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can still check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-10. I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve been liking the songs this week. Since I was so young when these songs came out, I had not heard of most of them. Luckily, I have discovered some really good music. As we hit the Top 10 songs of the week, I am very familair with most of them. But there are still a few that I didn’t know. So, the surprises continue. Now, let’s Return to the week ending January 5, 1980 and wrap up the countdown!
Before I started going over the countdowns this past year, the only thing I knew Cliff Richard from was the duet he did with Olivia Newton-John from Xanadu, “Suddenly.” Since then, I discovered that he was a pretty big star in the late ’50s/early ’60s, until the Beatles came along. Then he fell off the face of the earth until the late ’70s. He’s been on several of our countdowns, and I’ve liked every song by him so far. And this song is no different. This song was Cliff Richard’s biggest worldwide hit. Tt hit #1 in Germany for 5 weeks. It peaked at #7 here in the U.S. Since this song hit the charts in 1979, and is still here in 1980, Richard became the first person to reach the Hot 100’s top 40 in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. One more fun fact about this song – it was the 6th video that ever aired on MTV, on August 1, 1981.
This is another song that I never heard of until years after it was released. This is probably one of the best storytelling songs I ever heard. All it needs is a fiddle, and it would be a perfect Irish folk song. Rogers tells the story so well that you can see the movie in your head. And you’re pumping your fist in the air for Tommy by the end of the song.
This is one of my favorite Commodores songs. It would be the band’s last #1 hit before Lionel Richie went solo. With this song, you could see the writing on the wall that Lionel would be able to go out on his own and have an incredible career.
I had not known that Captain and Tennille went into the ’80s. I knew them from their ’70s variety show. By the late ’70s their popularity was gone. But, “Do That to Me One More Time” was a big comeback hit for them. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to capitalize on the song’s success. It would go on to be their final #1 hit.
This is a song that I didn’t know from just looking at the title. But, as soon as I started playing it, I recognized it. I have it on a Greatest Hits album by Stevie Wonder. This isn’t one of my favorite songs by his, which explains why I didn’t remember it at first. It is better than a lot of his other songs, but there are many more that I like better.
Now, let’s take a moment to see what was topping some of the other music charts this week in 1980.
The #1 Adult Contemporary song was the one we just heard at #4 on the pop charts – Stevie Wonder’s “Send One Your Love”
A week earlier, this classic was the #1 song, making it the last #1 song of the ’70s. The song was popular as soon as it was released. However, the name was just “Escape,” so it was not selling very well. The only words that everybody knew from the song was blah-blah-blah, IF YOU LIKE PINA COLADAS and getting caught in the rain, blah-blah-blah. So reluctantly, Rupert Holmes agreed to change the name of the song to “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”. Then it shot up the charts.
And we have reached the #1 song of the week, which I never heard of before. Even after listening to it, I still didn’t remember it. The first #1 hit of the ’80s was KC and the Sunshine Band’s first ballad. In the coming weeks, the group broke up and Harry Wayne Casey went solo.
That wraps up this week’s countdown. Wow, I guess the ’70s really were wrapping up. In this list alone, we heard songs which were the last #1 hits for The Commodores with Lionel Richie, The Captain and Tennille, and KC and the Sunshine Band. I hope you enjoyed this week’s countdown as much as I did. We are going to keep them coming during the year. In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.