Clinging to the Things We Prize


What were you doing during the week of April 20th, 1985? Well if you were like me, you were giving New Coke a try and then immediately spitting it out. I’ve written about some of that Summer before, so instead let’s check out the first half of this week’s Top 40.

40. Walking On Sunshine – Katrina And The Waves

Katrina Leskanich was born in Kansas but moved around a lot when she was younger eventually settling in England when she was 16. It was there where she formed the band Mama’s Cookin’ which eventually morphed into a new incarnation of The Waves when former Soft Boys guitarist Kimberly Rew joined the band. They would end recording the happiest most upbeat pop song of the decade.

Alan Hunter [AH] talks about a story tying this song to Hurricane Katrina which seemed weird until I realized it was “ripped from Wikipedia“, which will now be known as RFW.

39. Celebrate Youth – Rick Springfield

After Rick’s attempt as meshing movies and music in 1984 with the film Hard to Hold, his followup Tao saw his star slip a bit and while it didn’t generate much in terms of sales it did receive positive crictical resposne. [Don’t all musicians prefer money over someone telling them how good they are?] This introspective new wave-flavored LP did spawn two Top 40 hits, this one peaking at #26.

38. One Lonely Night – REO Speedwagon

REO’s first of two on the chart, this one released as the 3rd single from Wheels Are Turnin’ and as the followup to their monster smash Can’t Fight This Feelin’. Although this hit #19, I’ll be damned if I can find anyone who remembers it.

AH mentions that the video probably propelled it to a higher spot than it should have reached [Nice backhanded compliment.] I watched MTV like a fiend that year and again, can’t recall it. Maybe I just changed the channel every time it came on cause the video blows.

37. Things Can Only Get Better – Howard Jones

HoJo kicked it up a notch with his 2nd release, Dream Into Action, an album jam packed with great synth pop songs. The video for this Top 5 hit featured Howard getting ready for a performance with a Charlie Chaplin lookalike and Numchucks McGee.

36. The Bird – The Time

The Big 80s countdown has had some trouble in the past with this one. I heard one version on a countdown last year that was basically an instrumental or one section that they looped over and over. This week they play the funky album version complete with Morris saying “fuckin'” which I’m sure that Casey never played and Sirius never listened to ahead of time.

35. Just A Gigolo/ I Ain’t Got Nobody – David Lee Roth

PFK – Vegas Lee Roth tries to do his best Louis Prima imitation with a song that was over 60 years old at the time he recorded it and was once in a Betty Boop cartoon. Its success convinced Roth that he was much better off without Van Halen, so he fianlly made it official.

As a youngster, I thought this video was hilarious. Now as I watch it, I can’t believe how completely sexist and infantile it is. The premise is that Dave hosts Dave TV which is supposed to be a parody of MTV. He thinks the videos which include his own California Girls are inferior to what he can come up with in his dirty litle creative mind. So Dave, dressed up like a spandex Mork, stumbles onto “video sets’ by Michael Jackson, Billy Idol & Cyndi Lauper and upstages those stars. I would love to record a version of this song just so I can parody Dave and his “Panama” swords.

34. Fresh – Kool & The Gang

Kool & the Gang made a big move away from their signature jazzy horn sound with this slick synthy dance track, which dragged the hip-hop slang for great into the mainstream although many years after it was cool. I guess if they sang She’s Def many folks would have thought she was hard of hearing.

33. Vox Humana – Kenny Loggins

Westcoast Kenny! The title track from his 1985 album was a collaboration between he & the Pointer Sisters and snuck into the Top 30 before disappearing from history.

32. Too Late For Goodbyes – Julian Lennon

Maybe Julian wasn’t as lyrically proficient as his dad, but he could still write some catchy pop tunes. His debut, Valotte, yielded three Top 40s with two of them landing in the Top 10, this being the second.

31. High On You – Survivor

How did Survivor have any sort of career recording shitty songs like this? A kid in the throws of puberty could write deeper lyrics than this. And ladies, if someone is begging for your touch in the middle of the street, run as fast as you can!

30. Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer

OHW – From the juggernaut Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, this instrumental theme [and free ad for the Roland Jupiter-8] named after Eddie Murphy’s character was a hit on the pop, dance, soul and AC charts. Actually 1985 featured a lot of white acts crossing over to the Soul chart such as Sting and Wham!,

29. Suddenly – Billy Ocean

Billy applies for a license to chill with the title track from his 1984 LP. This ballad would be his third straight Top 5 on its way to #4.

28. Radioactive – The Firm

OHW – Nothing signifies 80s corporate rock than a band called The Firm. Their only Top 40 song features a muted Jimmy Page and lead vocals by Paul Rodgers who applies the same banality to this track as he has done during his career with Bad Company.

27. Forever Man – Eric Clapton

Now here’s a man trying to fight his way out of becoming a shell of his former self, even though the reverb and methadone keep pushing him down. A surprise Top 30 with a video directed by Godley & Creme with a pipeless Duck Dunn.

Let’s also not forget that Clapton is a big dummy and his racist comments in 1976 inspired people to form the movement Rock Against Racism.

26. Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears

TFF smoothed off the rough edges from their debut, The Hurting and gave us a solid worldwide smash with Songs From the Big Chair. This would be the first of two #1s from that LP and was also used as the theme to Dennis Miller’s HBO talk show in the 90s.

25. Just Another Night – Mick Jagger

You would think that an icon like Mick would have a bigger solo career or at least a more memorable one. That’s mostly due to the fact that the band has always been priority number one when it comes to making music. But in the mid-80s, Mick needed to get away from the boys (and make more money) so he endured a pissed-off Kieth Richards, hired Jeff Beck and made an album that sounds exactly like a aural photocopy of the Rolling Stones.

24. New Attitude – Patti Labelle

More Beverly Hills Cop and the first solo Top 40 hit for Patti, ten years after Lady Marmalade hit #1. Produced by Harold Faltermeyer (that makes two) this song was no doubt playing in many folks’ head as they signed up for aerobics classes to shed off their drug-fueled 70s excess and replace it with 80s shop-til-you-drop narcissism.

23. Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon

Man, did Long John Silvers miss a licensing opportunity?

“Cause I can’t fight this feeling anymore.” Tired of boring seafood places? “I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for.” Do you have crustacean frustration? Well, give in to your urges with this 52 pc fish platter with hush puppies. “It’s time to bring this ship into to the shore…” So sail in to your local Long John Silvers and grab a piece of the dock!

22. Rock and Roll Girls – John Fogerty

All this man wanted to do was create good music and make people happy. He succeeded on both counts but in the process he had to deal with unscrupulous managers and ridiculous lawsuits like the one in which he was accused of ripping off his own songs. The guy even had to bring his guitar to court. At least his music endures, esp at baseball games. He had three Top 40 hits including this one from his Centerfield album on which he played all the instruments ala Prince.

21. Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid – Daryl Hall & John Oates

The spiritual cousin to their 1978 hit, It’s a Laugh, whereas in the former a sarcastic Daryl is bitter at a relationship ending, we hear him in this song realizing that maybe a lasting partnership shouldn’t be as open and honest as he once believed. You rarely hear such sad and melancholic songs from this duo, which is maybe why this former Top 20 has been lost to time.


OHW – One-Hit-Wonder

NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder

PFK – Perfect for karaoke

RAR – Rite-Aid Rock

RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia

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