No one hit wonders. No two hit wonders. It’s an almost perfect collection of iconic 80s artists and songs during the week of September 10th, 1983 in this first twenty with a few exceptions. [We’ve covered a few songs in this Top 40 a few months back right here.]
40. Paul Anka – Hold Me Til The Morning Comes
OK, exception #1. You might be wondering, like most people what Paul Anka is doing here. But within the Yacht Rock vibe of the early 80s, all you needed to do was chill with David Foster, which Paul did, to write this ballad. Then you get his buddy Peter Cetera to come in and sing the chorus [Every time it starts, I feel like Peter wants to sing Hard To Say I’m Sorry instead] and voila – you get Paul’s fourth straight decade with a Top 40 hit. It would be his last as well.
Fun fact: He was also colloborating with Michael jackson at this time but the fruit of that labor would not be released until the This Is It documentary.
39. Journey – After The Fall
Here’s the third single from the album Frontiers cascading from its peak of #23. It was also featured in the Tom Cruise movie Risky Business which was in theaters at the time.
38. The Fixx – One Thing Leads To Another
The second single from the LP Reach The Beach will be the Fixx’s most successful US track, eventually reaching #4. The video also uses a set that I believe was recycled from a Six Million Dollar Man episode. I remember seeing it on a Universal Studios tour.
ML – I always heard the line communicate, pull out your party piece as communicate or let your body be.
37. Sheena Easton – Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)
Sheena dials up another hit entering the Top 40 this week on her way up to #9. It will be her fourth Top 10 single to date.
36. Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack – Tonight, I Celebrate My Love
Peabo was kicking round the R&B charts for years without any crossover success. So for his ninth LP, he decided to do a studio duets album with Roberta Flack. They recorded this Michael Masser/Gerry Goffin tune and will take it up to #16. Was there a wedding in the 80s that did not play this song?
Fun fact: Peabo & Roberta grew up only 60 miles from each other in Greenville, SC and Asheville, NC respectively.
35. Little River Band – You’re Driving Me Out Of My Mind
Original lead singer, Glenn Shorrock left the band in 1981 and was replaced by John Farnham. Immediately LRB had their first hit with their new frontman, The Other Guy released from their 1982 greatest hits collection. They also racked up two more from their 1983 album, The Net and then their US run was over. This funky pop track is at its peak this week.
34. Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton – Islands In The Stream
PFK – The Bee Gees became persona non grata in the 80s, but in name only. Their music still lived on and thrived through the voice of others such as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick and Kenny Rogers, who enters the Top 40 on a path to #1. It will be his & Dolly’s second.
Also, I have a question about what the hell this song means. Beause there is someone in between you if you’re an island in a stream. It’s called water. And water just messes shit up. So is it a love song or song about two lovers who can’t seem to get together?
33. Talking Heads – Burning Down The House
The Heads decided to mix some funk into their new wave stew and came up with the biggest single of their career. This track will heat up the charts all the way to #9. On the recording the keyboards are played by Wally Badarou but the band decided to up the funk factor and invited Parliament’s Bernie Worrell to play with them on the Stop Making Sense tour.
32. Robert Plant – Big Log
I used to find songs like this boring as hell as a kid. I have rightly come to appreciate them, even find them oddly comforting – the airy guitar strums and Plant’s mellow crooning of taillights dissolving into the night. Although I have no idea why it’s called Big Log, my theory is that it refers to the weight on Robert after John Bonham died and Led Zeppelin broke up.
This would be Robert’s only US Top 20 as a solo artist.
Fun fact: Phil Collins not only plays drums on this song, he played drums on Robert’s 1983 Principle of Moments US tour. And now you know why Phil sat in with them at Live Aid.
31. Juice Newton – Tell Her No
This sounds like the record company told Juice, “We need more hits. And fast. Just do a 60s cover. Now!” This is ill-advised Zombies remake features an obnoixous synth riff and Juice’s singing through clenched teeth vocals, yet it will still move four more notches up to #27. Although it was her last Top 40 hit, Juice still racked up a few more #1s on the Country chart.
30. George Benson – Lady Love Me (One More Time)
Now here’s a jam that’s unfortunately not gonna sail any higher than where it is this week. And it will be George’s last Top 40 hit. What the hell folks.? This thing cooks. It was co-written by Toto’s David Paich who also plays keyboards along with Jeff Poracro on drums and Nathan East on bass. That’s soild West Coast soul.
29. Loverboy – Hot Girls In Love
I have to hand it to Loverboy. These guys have continued playing together ever since they formed in 1979. To this day you can hear the original lineup live, minus bassist Scott Smith who passed away in 2000. Hopefully they’ve acquired some serious 401k portfolios or they spend their mornings sneaking into Days Inn breakfast bars to fill up ice cube bags for their daily meals. Either way, songs like this former #11 rocker should have at least got them some comped bearclaws in Vancouver.
28. Elton John – Kiss The Bride
You wanna kiss the bride? Really? Just be lucky you’re still standing. How about we put the eight ball down and just walk away? You can take the extra time on your hands and write about sad songs or something.
27. Jeffrey Osborne – Don’t You Get So Mad
Jeff, this is a smooth groove my friend. This is the kind of early 80s soul I really dig. But also, this song is why Aimee Mann had to write Voices Carry.
26. Quarterflash – Take Me To Heart
The Pride of Portland’s third Top 20 is falling from its peak of #14, tumbling onto the rocky shores of Oregon and landing the band back into the smoky hippie bars from whence they started.
25. Shalamar – Dead Giveaway
The Look was the sixth Shalamar album produced by Leon Sylvers III and the last to feature Howard Hewitt and Jody Watley, who would both move on to successful solo careers. It will only creep up to #22 but will be their fourth UK Top 10.
24. Stevie Nicks – Stand Back
My daughter likes to play with shawls and scarves. I like to play Stevie Nicks in the house. You see where this is going, don’t you?
23. David Bowie – China Girl
Only David Bowie can sing the word swastikas in a pop song and no one bats an eye.
22. Spandau Ballet – True
PFK – By the time of their third album, Spandau Ballet took out their seaside arms and perfected the first New Wave ballad, True, as an almost-tribute to Marvin Gaye. It will crack the Top 10 in the Fall and hit #4. Then in 1991, it will be awesomely sampled by PM Dawn on their song Set Adrift On Memory’s Bliss, which will reach #1.
21. The Police – King Of Pain
How can a band follow up a mammoth hit about a psycho stalker which was misunderstood as a wedding love song? With a song featuring dead salmon, shredded foxes and a paralyzed seagull. The Police rule!
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- ML – Misheard Lyrics
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
- SXMFU – A Sirius XM mistake
- STA – Second Time Around