“Desert Moon” by Dennis DeYoung and “Girls with Guns” by Tommy Shaw
In 1961, when he was 14, Dennis DeYoung teamed up with his 13-year-old neighbors, Chuck and John Panozzo, in a three-piece combo. The trio later added guitarist James Young and John Curulewski to form the band Tradewinds in the late 1960s. The band renamed itself TW4 in 1968 before becoming Styx in 1970.
The band had some success in the early-mid 70s.
Their popularity started soaring when guitarist/singer/songwriter Tommy Shaw joined the group in 1975. But by the early ’80s, tension began mounting in the group. Tommy Shaw wanted the band to go more towards a rock direction, and Dennis DeYoung wanted to go more pop and theatrical. In 1984, Tommy Shaw left the band, and went solo. He released three solo albums in the 1980s: Girls with Guns (1984), What If (1985), and Ambition (1987). His biggest hit was the title track from his debut album Girls With Guns. It peaked at #33 on November 17, 1984.
While the band was in transition, Dennis DeYoung also did a solo project. He was a little more succesful than Shaw as his first solo album, Desert Moon, generated the hit, “Desert Moon”, which peaked at #10 on November 10, 1984.
Five years later, Styx decided to get back together. But, they did so without Shaw, who had formed Damn Yankees along with Ted Nugent, Jack Blades (of Night Ranger), and drummer Michael Cartellone (Shaw’s drummer during his 1988 Ambition tour). In 1990, Styx released the album Edge of the Century. A&M Records (which had just merged with PolyGram Records) dropped the group from its roster in 1992, and the group broke up again shortly afterwards.
In 1995, Styx reunited again, this time Tommy Shaw joined the group again. However, drummer John Panozzo became terminally ill and did not rejoin the band. He died of gastrointestinal bleeding on July 16, 1996. In 1999, DeYoung was replaced by Canadian star Lawrence Gowan. He has been non-mainstream work, and has not had another solo hit since “Desert Moon”. Styx is still together touring and recording, so Tommy Shaw also has not had another solo hit since “Girls With Guns”
10. Mickey – Toni Basil
9. She Works Hard for the Money – Donna Summer
8. You and I – Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle
7. Mr. Roboto – Styx
6. Tell Her About It – Billy Joel
5. Never Gonna Let You Go – Sergio Mendes
4. Making Love Out of Nothing At All – Air Supply
3. What About Me – Moving Pictures
2. Puttin’ On the Ritz – Taco
1. The Girl Is Mine – Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney
Even though I love ’80s Music, I definitely prefer David Bowie’s ’70s music. No, David Bowie, I don’t want to dance! I’d much rather be Major Tom a “Space Oddity“! “Let’s Dance” is bad enough as it is. What makes it worse is that it is an “earworm” song. In other words, it gets stuck in your head. As I write this, I have not heard the song in years. But, just mentioning the title gave me earwormage (is that a even a word?) big time!
Well, that’s why I start with the ‘Horrible’ list, and end with the ‘Great’ list.
Yes, this was the Eurythmics breakthrough hit, but I’m not a big Eurythmics fan. This song just drones on and on. Instead of ‘Sweet Dreams’, this song was more like a recurring nightmare when it came out. It was always on the radio and on MTV.
I do like the Eurythmics “Missionary Man” a lot. But, I just can’t take this song or “Here Comes the Rain Again“.
Ah, Ah-Ah-ah. AAAAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!! I can’t stomach this song. It is too boring, and it high on some kind of wuss factor. I’ll have to admit that it was funny seeing Steve Buscemi singing this song at the end of The Wedding Singer:
Unfortunately, since the song was included in the movie, it was also included on the movie’s soundtrack. Why didn’t they leave this song off, and put on “Do You Believe In Love”?
I like The Police a lot. But, this song is one of my least favorites, and one of the most overrated songs of all time. I remember listening to the American Top 40 countdown of the top songs of the whole year, and this was number 1!! Really?!? “Synchronicity II” was my favorite song on the Synchronicity album by far – even though I don’t understand the lyrics too much.
Two of the greatest music artists of all time took the biggest dump on the biggest album of all time! Uggh, this song makes me want to rip my ears off and rip all the skin off my face! The doggon song bites the big one! Especially when they start yapping in the song. This song should be taken off of all copies of Thriller, and be replaced by “Say, Say, Say”.
Here is my top songs from that year: Runners up:
10. You and I – Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle: These legends made a song that was perfect for a wedding
9. Little Red Corvette – Prince: Probably my favorite Prince song. Not as overplayed as “1999”
8. Truly – Lionel Richie – My favorite Lionel Richie ballad
7. Africa – Toto: Great song by Toto. I love the music, and the lead singer Bobby Kimball has an incredible voice.
6. Mr. Roboto – Styx: A lot of people make fun of Styx because of this song, and how it made them more theatrical. But, there’s nothing wrong with having a little fun with music. There have been worse concept albums than Kilroy Was Here.
And Jeffster did a great cover of this in the TV show Chuck:
5. Photograph – Def Leppard
A great song by one of my favorite bands. Although Def Leppard had a couple of good albums before Pyromania (On Through the Night and High and Dry), “Photograph” became their first hit, and helped spur on the success of Pyromania. The video showed a lot of photos of Marilyn Monroe, so people incorrectly thought the song was about her. This is still a great song. Def Leppard has stood the test of time for over 30 years now.
4. Solitaire – Laura Branigan
Laura Branigan’s “Gloria” and “How Am I Suppose to Live Without You” were overplayed. But I think this song was way better than both of them. It rocks, and Branigan had a great voice. It sounds like she put a lot of passion into this song. This song also launched songwriter Diane Warren’s career.
3. Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran
This song got a lot of people into Duran Duran. The exposure on MTV didn’t hurt either. I liked it when it came out because the video reminded me of Raiders of the Lost Ark. But, even without the video, the song itself is really good.
2. Down Under – Men At Work
This song was a breakthrough for Men At Work, and basically introduced the U.S. to Australia and vegemite sandwiches. This is a fun song, and Colin Haye has a great unique voice. The band had a great string of hits. Will they get back together already?!
1. Separate Ways – Journey
Silly video aside, this song rocks. As soon as you hear Jonathan Cain’s keyboard, you know what song is playing. It has a lot of energy and gets you pumped. After Journey had a very long hiatus, they went on tour with a new lead singer – Steve Augeri. Of course I went, and this was the song they came out playing first. What a way to come back! While I need to turn some songs off as soon as I hear them, I have to listen to this one all the way through when it comes on.
10. Physical – Olivia Newton John
9. The Breakup Song – Greg Kihn Band
8. Someone’s Knockin’ – Terri Gibbs
7. Urgent – Foreigner
6. Every Woman in the World – Air Supply
5. Hearts – Marty Balin
4. Elvira – The Oak Ridge Boys
3. Morning Train (Nine to Five) – Sheena Easton
2. Boy from New York City – Manhattan Transfer
1. Bette Davis Eyes, Kim Carnes
Although Journey is one of my favorite groups of all time, this is probably my least favorite of their hits. It doesn’t have enough energy, and it’s not a powerful enough ballad like “Faithfully” or “Open Arms”.
This song is annoying. It’s almost like they are trying to go for an old World War II USO tour swing sound – but fail miserably. There are many other New York theme songs that are a lot better – most recently, “Empire State of Mind” by Alicia Keys.
It’s hard to believe that somebody from Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship would come out with something so crappy! This sounds like one of those horrible “lite” music of the ’70s. It still would have been bad for that time period as well.
I love Neil Diamond’s early music as well as his recent music that he has released with producer Rick Rubin. But, this song is too slow moving and a disappointment for me. This sounds a lot like “September Morn'”, which is another boring song. But he redeems himself as you will find in my list of:
Great hits from 1981
5. America – Neil Diamond
This is one of Neil Diamond’s greatest songs. It can still be heard playing today – especially around the 4th of July. It is very patriotic and powerful.
4. The Best of Times – Styx
This is a great power ballad, sung by Dennis DeYoung. It was the first single release from Styx’s classic Paradise Theater album. There was great vocals and guitar in this song.
3. You Make My Dreams – Hall & Oates
This is my favorite Hall & Oates song. You can’t help but tap your hands or feet to this song. It has had a resurgence lately. It was in the movie The Wedding Singer, and more recently in the movie (500) Days of Summer.
2. Lady (You Bring Me Up) – Commodores
This is one of my favorite songs by the Commodores. This was just before Lionel Ritchie went solo. This is a very upbeat and fun song.
9 to 5 – Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton wrote and performed this song for the move Nine to Five, in which she starred in along with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dabney Coleman. Parton has stated in a number of interviews through the years that when she wrote the song, she devised the clacking typewriter rhythm running her acrylic fingernails back and forth against one another.
A few months after Parton released this song, Sheena Easton had also released a song “9 to 5”, which became a world wide hit. But in the U.S., Easton’s song had to be renamed “Morning Train (Nine to Five)” to avoid confusion.
Here are some songs from the top 100 that did not make my list because they already appear on my list of 1980’s greatest hits:
Another One Bites the Dust, Queen
Whip It, Devo
(Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon
And here are some honorable mentions that do jump in my top 5 for that year:
Jessie’s Girl, by Rick Springfield
Celebration, by Kool and The Gang
I Love a Rainy Night, by Eddie Rabbitt
Does anybody have their own list of favorites and least favorites? Let us know.
The countdown continues for the top 80’s solo artists who had been in successful 80’s bands:
9. Dennis DeYoung – Styx
Styx started releasing albums in the 70’s, and achieved moderate success. When guitarist Tommy Shaw joined the band in 1976, Styx became more well known. But, with the release of Paradise Theater in 1981, Styx shot to super stardom. It went to number one on the Billboard pop albums chart and contained five hit singles, including “The Best of Times” (#3) and “Too Much Time on My Hands“(#9). This was followed by the album Kilroy Was Here , which contained the hits “Mr. Roboto” (#3) and power ballad “Don’t Let It End” (#6).
Even though Kilroy Was Here was successful, it caused creative tension in the group. Tommy Shaw went on to a solo career, and the band went on hiatus until 1990. In the meantime, Dennis DeYoung also started a solo career.
Dennis DeYoung had a huge hit with the album and single Desert Moon. It reached to #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and was on heavy rotation on MTV. He then followed that with the song “Don’t Wait for Heroes“, which did not get much radio play, but was played heavily on MTV. DeYoung also released the single “This Is the Time” for The Karate Kid, Part II soundtrack.