A warm September day is a bonus, especially knowing that the chill is just around the corner. These songs from the Top 20 on September 10th, 1983 are a reminder that summer’s gone and the heat won’t hang around for anyone.
20. Laura Branigan – How Am I Supposed To Live Without You
WPWFU – If you’re a Michael Bolton superfan, you can point to this song as the spark that lit his path to success aflame. [And if your name’s Michael Bolton, I’m sure you really like this song.] Hyerbole aside, it will cry itself up to #12. In seven years, we will be treated to Michael’s howling version which will replace Phil the Shill’s Another Day In Paradise at #1.
19. Naked Eyes – Promises, Promises
Pete Byrne and Rob Fisher follow up their hit debut Always Something There To Remind Me, with a less synthy, more Chic-ish track that will just miss the Top 10 peaking at #11.
Fun Fact: Bacharach & David who wrote Always… also wrote a song called Promises, Promises. Both were recorded by Dionne Warwick.
18. Rick Springfield – Human Touch
While this song is at its high this week, it’s worth noting that this is Rick’s only Top 40 hit in the UK. I guess that under Thatcher they needed something to freeze the thaw.
17. Frank Stallone – Far From Over
OHW – As Jack Black would say in School of Rock, little nepotis. And that’s what happens when your brother is a directing a film and he needs a song for the soundtrack.
16. Men At Work – It’s A Mistake
Men At Work racked up four straight Top 10s within a year. Then they went on strike and Reagan laid them off.
15. Air Supply – Making Love Out Of Nothing At All
Jim Steinman considers himself to be a rock GOD, at least when it comes to songwriting. Once he lifted up (then dumped) Meat Loaf, he went out searching for more Coup Devilles hiding in a Cracker Jacks box. Air Supply was about to put out a greatest hits LP and they enjoyed testing their fans’ patience so it seemed like a match made in heaven between the two parties.
This will peak at #2 while the song at #8 is #1, with both songs pretty much featuring the same backing band.
14. Stray Cats – (She’s) Sexy +17
Dave Edmunds is back for prodcution duties on the Cats’ Rant N Rave LP. The leadoff single will strut its way up to #5. I always thought that the swing/ rockabily phase that came around again in the late 90s was just a nostaglic goof on the early 80s rather than real tribute to the 50s, but what do I know. I also don’t wear tank tops under my shirts.
Also, no one has a problem with a bunch of adults singing about underage girls they find sexy and obscene?
13. Jackson Browne – Lawyers In Love
Sitting at its high this week, Jackson Browne writes one of the best lines for 2019 in 1983:
I hear the U.S.S.R will be open soon as vacation land for lawyers in love.
It was only two weeks prior than the USSR admitted to “mistakenly” shooting down a Korean Air Lines airplane carrying 269 passengers. That incident is why you have GPS on your phone. Look it up.
12. Human League – (Keep Feeling) Fascination
One of my faves to this day, is sliding down from its top of #8. The band had a color coding system to differentiate whether it was a pop single [blue] or a dance single [red]. What was the color if it was both? Purple? Whoa….I get it now. Prince was a genius.
11. Asia – Don’t Cry
The supergroup Asia had four Top 40 singles. This was one of two that made the Top 10. So tell that to the snickering guy in the frame shop.
10. Culture Club – I’ll Tumble 4 Ya
My first thought when I saw this title was Prince is gonna be pissed. Then I realized that we were still a year awy from I Would Die 4 U. Boy George should be pissed.
9. Michael Jackson – Human Nature
This is the second song on the countdown written by a Toto keyboardist, this time it’s Steve Porcaro. You can hear the story of how it ended up on one of the biggest selling albums of all time here. It is Michael’s fifth Top 10 from that LP with P.Y.T. right around the corner.
Fun fact: Swiss metal band Killer released an album a few months before MJ’s called Thriller. It yielded no hits.
8. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse Of The Heart
I took a social studies class with a teacher named Mr. Steinman when this song was popular. So I brought in the 45 from home [yes. I had it] and decided to spread a rumor that he wrote this song for his daughter who was blind. That was a fun few days.
7. Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money
You know who works hard for the money? Nadeen at the Burger Castle. But sometimes she works too hard and needs to relax. She also likes the album that this song is on but she prefers to catalog it last name first.
6. Police – Every Breath You Take
Half of the Top 10 is populated with past or future #1s. The Police gummed up the works at the top for two months but they ain’t going anywhere. They’re gonna be at #6 next week too. By time they fall out King Of Pain will be right there to replace it
5. Billy Joel – Tell Her About It
Billy poured everything he had into his last good album, An Innocent Man [the movie features Tom Selleck] paying homage to all the great music in grew up with. This future #1 is supposed to be his tribute to Motown, complete with a video that shows Billy as a musical guest on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1963 while folks dressed like it’s the late 70s watch him on a TV in a bar, suggesting that Billy’s biggest influence was Billy Joel. And that he has African-American fans.
4. Taco – Puttin’ On The Ritz
OHW – So so bad, it’s good (kinda). Don’t believe me? Try listening to anything else on Taco’s After Eight LP without laughing or cringing. The “funky” synth coda at the end of this cover is so dorky. I imagine this guy doing a mime routine in a park and after a dozen or so ass-kickings, he decided to become a singer. It is nice to see Irving Berlin get a hit in the MTV era though.
3. Men Without Hats – The Safety Dance
THW – It’s the countdown that has Men At Work and Men Without Hats, who finally combine forces to form Men Without Work. Also, the single mix blows. Go for the extended version.
2. Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
The Eurythmics sat at #2 for a full month before they knocked offf the Police. And then they had the indignity of getting pushed out after only one week by…
1. Michael Sembello – Maniac (1 wk at #1)
THW – The second charttopper from the Flashdance soundtrack (guess it really was safe ta dance) only got to film producers by accident. It seems that Michael’s wife mistakenly sent a song to Paramount Pictures that he had written for a slasher film rather than the new tracks he was working on. The folks at Paramount loved it, probably because they were coked out of their mind, and asked Michael to rework the lyrics a bit to match the character of a steelworker who struggles to be a dancer. And she was nifty on her pins.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
- STA – Second Time Around
- WPWFU – White People, We F(_)cked Up