Give Your Free Will A Chance

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For all of you folks born on March 10, 1984, Happy 35th Birthday. These are the songs that “we” collectively agreed were the most popular that week:

40. Wang Chung – Don’t Let Go

The band formerly known as Huang Chung released an album in 1982. When they released how stupid that name was they changed it to…Wang Chung. Their 2nd single from Points on The Curve was this one and it became their first Top 40 single reaching #38.

39. Yes – Owner Of A Lonely Heart

Much better than an owner of a broken heart, so saith Yes, grammatical errors and all. But is it really much better to be alone than to have lost and lost? The verses say no but the chorus says yes. Ha ha ha…now go jump off a building.

38. Dwight Twilley – Girls

NAOHW …and Twilley don’t mind. Cause he traded in his old partner, Phil Seymour for a new friend named Tom Petty who helps out on the chorus with Dwight, probably a factor in it reaching #16. Now when was the last time you heard this one on the radio?

37. Lionel Richie – Hello

From the Grammy-winning Album of the Year, Can’t Slow Down, this track was one of 5 Top 10 singles that the album spawned, and one of two #1s. Considering that the album spent the entire year of 1984 in the Top 10, this should have been as big as Thriller was. But unfortunately, his videos weren’t as good as Michael’s and so all we remember are ones like Hello where some blind chick makes a clay bust of Lionel that looks more like Ron Perlman in his Beast makeup.

36. The Romantics – Talking In Your Sleep

It took four albums for The Romantics to finally have a Top 40 hit with this track which was sliding down from its #3 peak, though What I Like About You has endured a lot longer. [and that only reached #49…what the hell?] This song is packed tight like four guys in black leather suits and was produced by Pete Solley, a former member of Procol Harum & Whitesnake (nice resume).

35. Queen – Radio Ga-Ga

The last original US Top 40 song for Queen, which just isn’t right. It’s the first US hit written by Roger Taylor, so finally, each member of the band had written a Top 40 hit.

34. Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)

This week as Genesis is coming down Phil is going up. And when he hit #1 the floodgates opened and the hits didn’t stop for another 10 years. First Phil then Genesis. Then Genesis then Phil. Until they morphed into Philgenecollinsis, which everyone ran to get a vaccine for. By the way, I’m sure that Phil’s divorce to his first wife was painful, but kudos to him for wringing a bunch of hits out of it.

33. Olivia Newton-John – Livin’ In Desperate Times

ONJ was riding those pop charts hard in the late 70s and early 80s, but here is where you can start to see the wheels coming off. This cocaine jitter of a song was the second release from the soundtrack to the movie, Grease Two (of A Kind), which kept Travolta in his professional freefall but dragged poor Sandy down with him. [Should have talked the family into staying in Australia.]

32. Paul Young – Come Back And Stay

Between MTV and our second British Invasion, there were a lot of Brits making the pop chart in the 80s. We’re at #32 and this is Brit #5 – newcomer Paul Young, not to be confused with Sad Cafe’s Paul Young, who would eventually be Mike & The Mechanics’ Paul Young.

31. Howard Jones – New Song

I have always been a big Howard Jones fan. Although he’s had some success in the U.S. I felt that his songwriting took a critical hit because he was a synth artist. Now isn’t everyone these days? [Don’t know if that’s good, though]. Also not sure why Peter Gabriel didn’t try to get a cut from this one.

30. Tina Turner – Let’s Stay Together

The comeback story of Tina Turner in 1984 is the best one in rock history as far as I’m concerned. Imagine having a big career in R&B music, and then forced to risk everything, having to leave a very abusive relationship, and start completely over with nothing to your name. Then imagine trying to reinvent yourself as an African-American woman in rock. It was a long road of eight years after she left Ike, but she got her first Top 40 hit with her melancholy cover of Al Green’s classic sprinkled with just enough new wave flourishes, provided by Heaven 17’s Martyn Ware, to sound modern. She’ll finish the decade with eleven more Top 40 hits and the title of biggest bad-ass.

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