What else was going on the day of July 28th, 1984 besides radio playing this Top 20 on repeat? It was the opening day ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles when due to the boycott of several Communist countries, the US team won three times as many medals as the second-place finisher. Wonder if any of the athletes fired up their Walkmans to get pumped to these tracks?
20. Van Halen – Panama
VH scores their third Top 20 hit from 1984 and inspires kids like my brother and me to stumble around the house wrapped in a waist-length towel and cowboy boots. Guess that’s better than twirling swords.
19. Corey Hart – Sunglasses At Night
You know who wears their sunglasses at night? Ronnie Milsap. Why are you making fun of the blind, Corey? I thought Canadians were kind.
18. Peabo Bryson – If Ever You’re In My Arms Again
This title sounds like the first half of stalker’s threat, followed by…
17. Laura Branigan – Self Control
You take my self. You take my self-control.
16. The Cars – Magic
Ric and company lose the hold on you and all of us, sliding down from #12 but he’s still walking on water.
15. Lionel Richie – Stuck On You
The fourth single from his smash album Can’t Slow Down will also be his fourth Top 10 from that LP. It will also be his first Country Top 40, which is not much of a surprise given the aw shucks vibe that these lyrics give off. I can see folks slow dancing at Gilley’s to this one (as long as they don’t know who’s singing it.)
Was he the first African-American artist to hit the Country Top 40 in 1984 since Charley Pride? Answer in comments.
14. Thompson Twins – Doctor! Doctor!
This Thompson Twins hit, which peaked at #11 last week, was their third Top 40 song. That’s one hit for every twin.
13. Dan Hartman – I Can Dream About You
RAR – The pride of Harrisburg, PA had already written a Top 40 hit while in the Edgar Winter Band (Free Ride) and had a Top 40 solo hit under his belt (Instant Replay) when he released this single from the soundtrack to Streets Of Fire, which would become his biggest hit topping out at #6. The video features Dan as a bartender and stars actress Joyce Hyser who makes sultry eyes at him and dances up on the bar Coyote Ugly style. She would later star in the cable classic Just One of The Guys.
This is one that I hear in Trader Joe’s all the time. Maybe I need to add TJR to my key.
12. Mike Reno and Ann Wilson – Almost Paradise
OHW/THW – This obligatory movie ballad was one of six Top 40 hits from the Footloose soundtrack. Although Mike Reno never had another entry in the Top 40 without Loverboy, Heart’s Ann Wilson had another Top 10 duet in 1989, this time with Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, which reached #6.
11. Ollie And Jerry – Breakin’… There’s No Stopping Us
OHW – Raydio’s Jerry “Overnight Sensation” Knight teams up with session drummer Ollie Brown for a fluke smash from the Breakin’ soundtrack and a pop-culture reminder that breakdancing was mainstream for a short time in the 80s.
Even though 1984 is a big year for 80s classic hits and this countdown is full of them, eight of the top ten songs are by artists who had big hits in the 70s. [I don’t count Prince on a technicality.] So much for saying goodbye to the me decade.
10. Pointer Sisters – Jump (For My Love)
Just in time to watch Edwin Moses fly over the hurdles, the Pointer Sisters hang out in the Top 10 for one more week with this former #3 hit. I hope you don’t confuse this with Van Halen’s Jump. Oh, wait they added for my love. Thank God.
9. Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
We finally welcomed Tina with open arms as a solo artist in 1984. This would be her only #1 although she would have lots more big hits. And we were still two years away from I, Tina and learning about the true horrors of what she went through.
8. ZZ Top – Legs
ZZ Top embraced the video age with so much gusto that they completely rebranded themselves from a grungy blues outfit to a hirsute trio (still grungy) with flashy Z keys ready to be taken to drive a 30’s Ford hot rod with some slutty chicks. So much so that they could release the same song again and again and no ever noticed.
7. Elton John – Sad Songs (Say So Much)
Another year, another Elton Top 40. No matter if it was the 70s, 80s or 90s, Captain Fantastic was always around doing his thing with one earworm after the next.
6. Rod Stewart – Infatuation
Rod’s got a jones of dance rock and was riding it hard in 1984 with this one produced by Michael Omartian and guitar work by Jeff Beck. And since he was on a roll of alienating his fan base, he upped the ante with this pervy stalker video while he rocked that peacock mullet.
5. Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face
PFK – Les yeux sans visage. N’a aucune grâce humaine, tes yeux sans visage. Oh to hear Serge Gainsbourg’s version of this song with a little squeezebox solo and cigarette break. Next time you go to karaoke, put Billy’s lyrics into a French translator and sing them with la fièvre.
4. The Jacksons – State Of Shock
Wow, this is frigging awful. Michael was so popular at the time, his star power helped lug this dead carcass of a song all the way up to #3. The lyrics are beyond juvenile. The vocals are all hiccups and squeals. By the time Mick Jagger starts yelping look at me over and over, each one slower and more defiant, it evolves (or devolves) into a pathetic display of ego overflow. This is an endless Pepsi commercial where my ears catch on fire.
3. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark
More private rubbing this time from the Boss, who was yet to be the Boss until we saw him actually dancing on stage by himself and then with future Monica. Springsteenmania exploded (no pun intended) from there.
2. Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters
This is what it sounds like when Ray stops talking about cheating and rips off Huey Lewis instead.
1. Prince – When Doves Cry (4 wks at #1)
And this is what it sounds like to be on top of the world with your first #1 and a new movie released the same week. Prince was in the fourth of five weeks at number one. Only another soundtrack song could stop him.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
ML – Misheard Lyrics
PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
STA – Second Time Around