Tired Of All The Darkness In Our Lives

Were you turning on the latest Jim Henson show, Fraggle Rock, or recovering from Kilauea erupting in Hawaii? Then you were alive on January 15th, 1983, and might have been listening to these Top 20 songs during that week.

20. John Cougar – Hand To Hold On To

JC had a year to remember when Hurts So Good and Jack & Diane dominated the charts in 1982. Their success will allow him to begin the transition to his birth name of Mellencamp, and so the third single from American Fool will be his last one credited to John Cougar. It’s one notch away from its peak.

19. Adam Ant – Goody Two Shoes

Does it make sense that Adam had more Top 40 hits in the 90s than in the 80s? This will be his only Caseyland entry during the decade of greed. It’s also his first solo single after Adam & the Ants split up, or rather, half of the members joined Bow Wow Wow. This #1 UK smash is on its way to a #12 zenith. Also, love that Al Green name check.

18. ABC – The Look Of Love

With a name like ABC, this UK New Wave quartet always found themselves first in the rock albums rack. [Not so, with a Google search] As early purveyors of sophisti-pop, they find themselves with their first US hit, sitting at its peak this week. In the UK, this was their third Top 20 hit, landing at #4.

17. Kenny Loggins – Heart To Heart

If we go by the Yachtski scale, this along with the Doobie Brothers’ What A Fool Believes in the nexus of the Yacht Rock universe. As the latter was Michael McDonald singing a song he wrote with Kenny Loggins, this track is Kenny’s pipes over a song he wrote with Michael. [McD plays the Rhodes and provides backing vocals.] I always prefer West Coast Kenny to Movie Kenny, and this is one of his smoothest moments. Featuring David Sanborn on the sax solo, his second single from High Adventure is inching up to its final destination of #15. It even somehow crossed over to the R&B charts peaking at #71.

16. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Shame On the Moon

PD – This Country rock song will be Bob’s biggest hit when it reaches #2, until Shakedown in 1987. That’s amazing considering we’re in the midst of a New Wave/MTV revolution. Also, that’s Bill Payne from Little Feat on the piano solo.

15. Phil Collins – You Can’t Hurry Love

From the divorce files of Phil The Shill: A Motown cover of the Supremes 1966 #1 smash, recorded for and released from his second album, Hello, I Must Be Going. The single was successful in many countries and will be Phil’s first US Top 10. It was perfect for the burgeoning 60s nostalgia crowd, who’s Big Chill soundtrack was right around the corner. I wonder if Phil sang this song from memory because he butchers unnecessarily changes many of the original lyrics.

14. Little River Band – The Other Guy

Here’s a defensive divorce song from a group who just went through a messy one, as lead singer Glenn Shorrock has just left. This single released from their Greatest Hits album will feature new lead singer, John Farnham, but will get clipped by DSS at #11.

13. Joe Jackson – Steppin’ Out

Joe is one of my all-time faves and seeing him live, just him and his piano on a Summer night in Central Park, is one of my best concert memories. This single, from his fifth album, Night And Day, a tribute to Cole Porter, was an across-the-board smash hitting the Top 10 here and in the UK and officially began my lifelong love affair with his music. It sonically captures the unique feel of a night out in Manhattan as Joe sings and plays all of the instruments on the track. The pulsating bassline was created by hooking up a Minimoog to a Korg KR55 drum machine, using it as a makeshift sequencer trigger.

12. Eddie Rabbitt with Crystal Gayle – You & I

PD – My son saw a picture of Eddie this weekend and thought it looked like a murderer. Well, he’s definitely killin’ it with Crystal as they continue to take this wedding song up the charts. It will also be the last Top 40 hit for both of them.

11. Laura Branigan – Gloria

PD – I would have never thought in 2021 we would have to collectively take this song back from the folks who thought it necessary to destroy our democracy. They can have How Am I Supposed To Live With You? instead.

10. Dionne Warwick – Heartbreaker

RAR – Much has been discussed about The Bee Gees’ career crashing in the 80s. While their name might have instigated unfair ridicule back then, they were just hiding in plain sight, having hits with others singing lead. It’s not like their voices disappeared either, as their backing vocals were always very prominent. They produced the entire Heartbreaker album, and the title track became Dionne’s biggest solo hit during the 80s, outside of That’s What Friends Are For. It will also hit #1 on the AC charts, #14 Soul, and #2 in the UK.

RFW – Since SXM doesn’t think anyone reads Wikipedia, they still steal their copy from the artist’s song pages, just like this one, where they lift the first two lines under Background.

9. The Clash – Rock The Casbah

THW – This New Wave nee punk quartet from the UK have their biggest US hit when they let this raga drop onto Pop programmers playlists. These folks were always a dance band hiding behind the notion that music and politics can mix, so long as it makes you feel something good. That also explains Mick Jones’ next project, Big Audio Dynamite. Anger is an energy, Johnny Rotten once said. Also, this was the minarets’ bomb growing up, and we turned it up at any opportunity. My daughter thought they were saying Rock In the Cat’s Spa, which is cute and makes me feel old as hell.

8. Patti Austin with James Ingram – Baby Come To Me 

PD – I love the fact that Patti uses her lower register on this song while James uses his upper tenor. Her natural transition from jazz to R&B under Q’s tutelage should have been experienced more by Pop audiences. But alas, this #1 was her only Top 40 hit. At least we got more of him, or as my daughter calls him, James Instagram.

7. Toto – Africa

Ok, kids, settle down. I wrote about this song on another blog a few years back, so here ya go.

6. Toni Basil – Mickey

PD, OHW – The former #1 single, replaced at the top by the song at #4, had also reached the mountain top in Australia & Canada and hit #2 in the UK. Lolly will cover it in 1999 and hit #4 in the UK, and Gorie and Jasmine’s cover will hit #1 in Japan in 2004. Both reference the cheerleader look and chant that Toni created on her own.

5. Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing

The comeback of the year. Marvin had virtually disappeared since 1976, as far as the mainstream was concerned after his revolutionary R&B albums, 1971’s What’s Going On and 1973’s Let’s Get It On earlier in the decade. [1978’s Hear, My Dear, is also a beautiful piece of work] And for those that think drum machines are all sterile, it’s all about the groove, folks. And that aching voice. This song makes Let’s Get It On sound like Oh Babe, What Would You Say in comparison. And yet there is nuance, even if we all know what he’s after. It will spend ten weeks atop on the R&B charts and reach #3 on the Hot 100 for three weeks, held off my only Africa and Australia.

Fun fact: The whispered get up, get up, get up is by singer Harvey Fuqua, who gave Marvin his start and became his brother-in-law when he married Anna, Harvey’s wife, Gwen’s sister, whose brother was Berry Gordy.

4. Hall & Oates – Maneater

I combined my son’s love for dinosaurs and this song (he plays it on a loop) with this shirt that I made him for Christmas. Out of the six #1 singles this duo garnered, Maneater will spend the most weeks at the top at four.

3. Don Henley – Dirty Laundry

This single and lyrical subject is how I expect Don to live his daily life, angry about something to the point of satire but never figuring out the solution. It still sounded good on the radio back then, which is why it reached #3 and boiled Glenn Frey’s blood for years.

2. Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney – The Girl Is Mine

PFK – This is how Thriller‘s phenomenon got started, a soft rock milquetoast pop fight from a ridiculously faithful ex-Beatle and the increasingly androgynous gloved one.  It will still be a #1 smash on the R&B and AC charts. The band is mostly Toto members, their second appearance in the Top 10 with Louis Johnson on bass. They start off the year together at #2 and will end it together at #1 with Say Say Say, a song they recorded back in 1981.

RFW –  SXM is at it again: “The Girl Is Mine” has been the subject of two plagiarism lawsuits, the first in 1984 and the latter in 1993. Ok great, from who and about what? Oh, Wiki doesn’t tell you.

1. Men At Work – Down Under

PD – Before this song makes you book your next vacation to Australia, you should know that this continent has the world’s most deadly wildlife living there. Unless you have a head full of zombie, then, by all means, have fun in the Outback.


  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • ML – Misheard Lyrics
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia


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