I’m not sure if after-school specials did more harm than good to our generation. But they were usually suitable for lots of unintended laughs, which is why I loved watching them. ABC was often the best at these, but then CBS threw their tam in the ring. There was one that aired around this time called Hear Me Cry about two completely different kids that were both contemplating suicide. As you would expect, the acting is hilariously over-the-top. I won’t bore you with any more details except that one kid kills himself, and the other is destroyed for life by it. Then it ends.
I spent lots of time by myself, and unfortunately, this movie made me feel like I should feel ashamed about that. I lived for many years with that feeling until I became an adult and realized that it was OK to be alone, especially if that’s what you wanted. So thanks, CBS. Well done.
Here’s the first twenty from the Top 40 countdown during the week of December 8th, 1984.
40. Billy Ocean – Loverboy
Here’s the first of two Billy Ocean songs on the countdown as he enters a successful five-year period as a smooth, soulful pop singer. It’s on its way to a bridesmaid position of #2, kept off the mountain by a careless whisper.
39. John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band – Tender Years
STA – There are five songs in the Top 40 from movies this week. But this is the only one whose film isn’t in the theaters. Eddie & the Cruisers had an unlikely resurgence due to endless showings on HBO and JC, and the boys were the benefactors. This track is their second Top 40 hit, on the way up to #31 after initially bombing out at #78 earlier in the year.
38. Sheila E. – The Belle Of St. Mark
Here’s Sheila’s second Top 40 hit, also written by Prince. It will crawl up to #34 but would only peak at #68 on the Soul charts.
37. Philip Bailey & Phil Collins – Easy Lover
OHW, PFK – Phils a deux team up for a duet about a woman who is anything but easy (unless it’s Sunday morning) that will hit #1 in many countries but only #2 in the US. It’s Philip Bailey’s only solo pop hit away from Earth Wind & Fire. Phil Collins didn’t even release an album in 1984, yet he hit the top 40 that year with Genesis, as a solo artist, and as a duo.
36. Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes & James Ingram – What About Me?
RAR – Here is the rare trio to appear in the Top 40 falling from its #15 peak. The song, written by David Foster and Richard Marx, was initially planned as a trio with Lionel Richie & Barbra Streisand. It also charted on the Country, AC & Soul charts. But when was the last time you heard this?
35. U2 – Pride (In The Name Of Love)
U2 gets their first burst of chart success with this Brian Eno/ Daniel Lanois production written in tribute to Martin Luther King, who had just had his birthday officially recognized as a holiday in the US the year previous. I need to point to Bono (I’m sure others already have) that MLK was shot in the evening, not during an early morning. And I just found out that Chrissie Hynde sings back up on this.
SXMFU – Alan Hunter mentions on the Big 80s Countdown that this song will go to the top of the charts, but it will only top out at #33.
34. Don Henley – The Boys Of Summer
Here’s a song that was originally written by Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers. He brought it to Don, who wrote some lyrics to it and released it as his first single from his second album. The video featuring former bandmate Glenn Frey was popular at the time and won several awards. But Don is a dick and won’t let anyone watch it on YouTube. But here it is anyway.
33. Ray Parker Jr. – Jamie
PFK – From his compilation album, Chartbusters, here’s a new single from RP2 featuring his trademark love, respect, and understanding of women. It’s his sixth Top 40 hit, and he’ll take it up to #14.
32. Toto – Stranger In Town
Hot off the heels of the success of Toto IV, here they are with a new single, which sounds like it’s about Jack the Ripper. David “Africa” Paich sings lead vocals while the new lead singer oohs in the background. Two more notches, and then it’s outta here.
31. Dennis DeYoung – Desert Moon
OHW, PD – This is the reason that Dennis is not in Styx anymore.
30. Rebbie Jackson – Centipede
OHW – Rebbie was 34 when she released this track from her debut, written by her little brother, Michael. 34 was old by Jackson standards. This was almost two years before Janet had her first Top 40 hit, and she was 19.
Fun fact: Rebbie’s debut included a cover of Prince’s I Feel 4 U, which Chaka Khan also recorded. She released her version first, and it is on this week’s chart.
29. REO Speedwagon – I Do’Wanna Know
Releasing this as their first single from Wheels Are Turning almost derailed the whole album. It’s a by-the-numbers uptempo pop-rocker with a tinge of faux-rebellion thrown in for good measure. Maybe it sounds incredible live, but the album performance does not. Thus it’s at its final resting place.
28. Chicago – You’re The Inspiration
RAR – Peter Cetera signed a very lucrative deal with Hallmark, and here’s the first collaboration between the two. If sending a greeting card was too impersonal, you can give someone this 45. Unless you’re over ten years old.
27. Bob Seger – Understanding
From the forgotten Arthur Hiller-directed film Teachers comes this forgotten Bob Seger Top 20 hit. It will reason its way up to a #17 high.
26. Dan Hartman – We Are The Young
Dan was 34 when he recorded and released this single, which means he wasn’t really among the young. So according to my 22-year-old nephew, the song is canceled. Next, he’s going to investigate Dan’s REM patterns to see if his dreams could have ever indeed been about “you.”
25. Stevie Wonder – I Just Called To Say I Love You
PD – I get the feeling that someone in Silicon Valley heard this song and decided to create technology that would eliminate future derivatives of this narrative if only to save Stevie from himself.
24. The Cars – Hello Again
The fourth single from Heartbeat City is inching up the charts to an eventual zenith of #20, making it four Top 20s from that LP. Andy Warhol directed the video and also appeared as the bartender.
23. Bryan Adams – Run To You
Here’s the first single from BA’s ultra smash, Reckless. It will quickly jog up to #6. I love how Canadians are so polite that even in their cheating songs, they are still very complementary to the ones they are screwing around on, effusing them with praise such as having a heart of gold possessing a true love. How gallant.
22. Jermaine Jackson – Do What You Do
Here’s the second Jackson in the Top 40, and neither one is Michael. 1984 was an overall good year for the family with Michael, Rebbie & Jermaine getting Top 40 hits as well as the Jackson themselves and their popular Victory Tour. You can even see Janet now and then on Diff’rent Strokes.
21. Bruce Springsteen – Born In the U.S.A.
From the book, Every Breath You Take: Songs That We Love To Misunderstand comes this entry – a rallying jingoistic cry that reminds everyone that America is #1, so saith Ronnie. Or that we’re pieces of shit for sending kids off to fight an unwinnable war then spitting on them when they returned. It will stomp up to a #8 finish.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- ML – Misheard Lyrics
- PD – Previously Discussed
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- SXMFU – A Sirius XM mistake
- STA – Second Time Around