The Ultimate Test of Cerebral Fitness


Get your kicks above the waistline, sunshine? Then enjoy the Top 20 from April 20th, 1985.

20. Don’t Come Around Here No More – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

RFW – Another Wikipedia rip off, this one from Mark Goodman who tells the story of how the song title came to producer Dave Stewart. [I am tempted to look ahead and make up a bullshit story for an upcoming countdown song just to see if they’ll read it on air.]

This is one of Tom’s most recognized songs even though it only reached #13, possibly because his Alice In Wonderland-themed video was played non-stop on MTV. It also raised the bar for Tom to come up with more creative videos, but then he shrugged and did what he wanted anyway.

19. Everything She Wants – Wham!

And now you tell me that you’re having my baby. I’ll tell you that I’m happy if you want me to.” Wow, that must have been a fun Sonogram appointment.

The young guns of Wham! grow up and turn into what they warned against – a working-class slave with a money-sucking girlfriend and a baby on the way. I wish Kanye would do an update on this song. [oh yeah, he did – Ed.] Wham! was a pretty dark pop group.

So to recap George would like you to wake him and go dancing, then his cheatin’ ass guilty feet lose their rhythm and now he’s knocked someone up and he’s trapped. Soon he will be begging for his un-freedom.

18. Somebody – Bryan Adams

The 2nd single from Adams’ Reckless LP didn’t hint at the juggernaut it would become, but it would eventually yield 6 Top 20 hits. Somebody is sliding down from its #11 peak.

17. That Was Yesterday – Foreigner

Foreigner was still trading on their new found sensitivity with this pep talk pop song. I give Foreigner a hard time, but maybe a song like this is where all the build a wall talk started.

16. Smooth Operator – Sade

It took almost a year for the band to break in the US with their debut, Diamond Life but their single & video for Smooth Operator which showcased the band’s exotic jazzy sound made it into the Top 5. I was memorized by this band in 1985 and have been a fan for life. They can do so much with simple sultry grooves and Sade Adu’s smoky voice is one-of-a-kind.

15. Lover Girl – Teena Marie

NAOWH – Lady T had lots of R&B hits but aside from 1981’s I Need Your Lovin’, this was her only other crossover hit falling down from its height of #4. It’s a song that benefits from Prince’s early decade pop breakthrough while adding a new female dimension to 80s funk.

14. Along Comes A Woman – Chicago

At least it finally features some horns.

13. Material Girl – Madonna

Ever wonder what Chic would sound like with Madonna on lead vocals? Look no further than this funk rock track written by Peter “Do Ya Wanna Get Funky Me” Brown and features Tony Thompson on drums, Bernard Edwards on bass and Nile Rodgers on guitar and keys. Play this back to back with #19 for ultimate 80s greed experience.

12. Some Like It Hot – The Power Station

‘Nard & Tony are back to back on the countdown and who could have predicted that after the Disco Sucks movement 6 years previous. But you can’t keep good talent down which is why this Duran Duran offshoot formed a band with their idols – Nard is producing, Tony hits the hell out of his drums and Robert Palmer preaches.

Also funny how the Material Girl video had Madonna paying tribute to Marilyn Monroe’s Gentlemen Prefers Blondes while this Top 10 Power Station track is a 1959 film she co-starred in with Tony Curtis & Jack Lemmon.

11. All She Wants To Do Is Dance – Don Henley

The intersection of Westcoast and synth rock. The second Top 10 song from his Building The Perfect Beat LP  has Toto’s David Paich & Jeff Porcaro programming the Yamaha DX7 and punchy synth drums respectively while Don predictably talks down to a woman who’s not as interested in politics as he is.

10. Missing You – Diana Ross

On April 4th, 1984, Marvin Gaye was shot dead by his father. One year later we had two tributes to him in our Top 10 by current and former Motown artists. The first one was from the Boss whose touching song was recorded a few months after Marvin died and was written by Lionel Richie.

9. One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head

NAOHW – Have you ever been to Thailand? I haven’t, but I heard it’s beautiful – the scenery, the culture, the language, the food. So you gotta have a lot of balls to write a song about a chess championship classing up an entire country, as if those nerds even left their hotel. And Benny & Bjorn from ABBA along with Tim Rice decided to write an entire musical about it. What made us as a nation think on May 18th, 1985 that this was the third best song in the country?

8. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

Simple Minds had recorded six albums by 1985 with no crossover to the US charts whatsoever. It took the theme to a John Hughes movie called The Breakfast Club, which the band reportedly hated, to finally garner them some stateside success. They would ride out the momentum for one album before they disappeared from the charts again.

7. Obsession – Animotion

The 1983 box office bomb, A Night In Heaven, would unwittingly spawn two big hits in 1985. Bryan Adams’ song Heaven was originally written & recorded for that soundtrack and would hit #1 in June 1985. The original recording of Obsession written and sung by Holly Knight & Michael DesBarres made its first appearance as well.  Animotion covered it and is one notch away from its zenith of #6.

6. I’m On Fire – Bruce Springsteen

This was the third different song with the same title of I’m On Fire to reach the Top 40. Bruce (aka The Boss #2) does his best Johnny Cash in San Quentin imitations. You can interpret the lyrics how you’d like but I always imagined this song as sung by a serial killer in prison who’s tormented nightly by what he’s done.

5. Rhythm Of The Night – Debarge

Finally a top 10 for the family of Debarges from a Motown-produced movie called The Last Dragon. You remember that one, don’t you? It’s the movie Vanity decided to star in after pulling out of Purple Rain.

4. One More Night – Phil Collins

The first of three #1s in 1985 for good ol’ Phillibuster. If you even remotely like any of his music, I would highly recommend his autobiography, Not Dead Yet. This guy never stopped working until he actually retired and in the meantime recorded with everybody. I wish I knew what a workaholic he was. I might have been able to have him play on one of my albums. Or maybe he did and I forgot.

3. Nightshift – Commodores

The second Marvin Gaye eulogy and the most popular one this week also crams in a bit about Jackie Wilson too. This was the only Top 40 hit for the Lionel-less Commodores. Come to think of it, why is it that the Commodores past and current members are the only ones honoring Marvin Gaye?

Robin Thicke was 8 years old at the time.

2. Crazy For You – Madonna

As Material Girl slides down the charts, this ballad from the Visionquest soundtrack, another 80s non-classic, inches up to #2. It will sit there for a few more weeks before its charity runs out and knocks off…

1. We Are The World – USA For Africa (2 Wks at 1)

OHW (sorry)  – What started out as an idea by Harry Belafonte to have a slew of R&B artists put on a concert in Africa to raise money for Ethiopians devasted by a countrywide drought and famine morphed into the most successful charity single of all time. How many other #1 songs feature Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Dan Aykroyd?

It was also one of two #1 hits written by Lionel Richie in 1985.

BTW – this was rerecorded for Haitian relief in 2010. It is horrible. I can’t believe I even brought it up. Please do not listen to it. Just give money here instead.


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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