We Have No Past


I’m back with a Billboard Top 40 recap from the 80s, specifically the week ending on January 12th, 1985. Some of you folks might have been birthing a daughter this week and contemplating naming her Madonna or Punky Brewster. Or maybe you were listening to these tunes on the radio…

40. Culture Club – Mistake No. 3

RAR – Perhaps the least remembered of the Club’s ten Top 40 hits, and thus the least appreciated. This soulful ballad finds George in fine vocal form. It was the second Top 40 hit from their third album, Waking Up With The House On Fire, an excellent metaphor for the group’s international status coupled with record company pressure. The LP was critically panned, but it features some very appealing tracks, such as Mannequin and this 45, which will peak at #33. They can’t all be Karma Chameleon.

39. Cyndi Lauper – Money Changes Everything

This is the fifth straight Top 40 hit from Cyndi’s debut, She’s So Unusual. It’s a cover tune, originally written and recorded by the Atlanta, GA quartet, The Brains, for their 1980 debut. They had already broken up by this point, but I’m sure songwriter Tom Gray appreciated the royalty checks. Featuring a “hooter” solo by Rob Hyman, it’s on its way to #27.

38. Elton John – In Neon

Sir Elton enters the Top 40 with his third hit from his 1984 Breaking Hearts album, his eighteenth, and his band’s second recording in Montserrat. This ballad splits the difference between Country and gospel, and I’m not surprised that I couldn’t find someone from either genre who’s covered it.

37. Kool And The Gang – Misled

“Hey, J.T. This Jacksons Victory album is out of sight!”

“I’m diggin’ it too, Ronald. How about we do the same thing? No horns. Just straight synth funk-rock with a pop twist.”

“That’s Kool with me. But let’s try to write better songs than they did…”

If you doubt this conversation took place, watch the lead song from Emergency‘s video.

36. Midnight Star – Operator

OHW – No Parking on the Dance Floor was chockful of great 80s’ synth-funk. But it was the group’s follow-up, Planetary Invasion, which yielded their only Top 40 hit. It will reach #1 on the Soul charts and peak at #18 on the Hot 100. But give me Freak-A-Zoid any day.

35.  The Cars – Hello Again

PD – I can’t get enough of Greg Hawkes barfy Prophet synth riff. Someone should mash this up with Neil Diamond’s Hello Again.

34. The Time – Jungle Love

The Purple Rain train keeps rolling on, even if this wasn’t officially on the soundtrack. It helps build the momentum for the group’s third album, Ice Cream Castles, which featured this Top 20 smash. It’s also one of three songs in the Top 40 that Prince wrote. And next week, Sheena Easton’s Sugar Walls will make it four.

33. Cyndi Lauper – All Through The Night

PD – Double Cyndi! She’s spent almost an entire year in the Top 40 without a break.

32. Ashford & Simpson – Solid

PFK – This legendary Motown songwriting team’s second and last Top 40 hit is the lead single and title track from their eleventh album as artists. It’s rolling up the charts to #12 but will reach the Top 10 in Canada, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, Holland, Switzerland, and the UK. It will be the couple’s only #1 R&B smash staying atop for three weeks. I love this jam, but back then, my immature friends and I loved singing a different variation to the chorus.

And thankfully, there’s also this.

31. John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band – Tender Years

PD – Springsteen is already up at #9, so I don’t have a need for this. Maybe someone else does? Someone outside of Rhode Island?

30. Giuffria – Call To Your Heart

OHW – Here’s a power ballad dressed up in early glam metal by a group led by keyboard player Greg Giuffria, late of the Casablanca Records outfit, Angel. It’s sung by lead singer and Neil Young stunt double David Glen Eisley, who once played minor league baseball for the San Francisco Giants and voiced Spongebob Squarepants singing voice in this episode.

29. Steve Perry – Foolish Heart

RAR – Steve’s debut Street Talk yielded three Top 40 singles and looked like it was running out of steam. Then this Randy Goodrum co-write was released and was an immediate shot in the arm. It will shoot up to #18 and #2 on the AC charts. Next time you pick up another rapid test at Walgreens, don’t be surprised if this comes over the speakers.

28. Survivor – I Can’t Hold Back

PD – If you like this song, find out more here. For most everyone else, keep moving.

27. Rick Springfield – Bruce

Rick was at the height of his fame in 1984. So was Springsteen. Why not release a song to capitalize on both things? This tune was recorded in 1978 at a time when Rick was forgotten by most Americans. And even Bruce was not yet the Boss. The recordings were eventually shelved.

I have a hard time believing a scenario where anyone would mistake Rick for him based on a similar six-letter pattern in their surnames. In 1984, I still didn’t, but at least it’s humorous. It’s at its peak this week.

26. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Method Of Modern Love

The Philly duo’s twelfth album, Big Bam Boom, led off with Out Of Touch, their sixth #1 hit. Next week that smash will drop to #22 as this follow-up single follows it at #21. We are at peak 80s H&O. This Sesame-Street-styled future Top 10  will feature some island vibes and a melodic rap by Daryl at the end. It must have passed because it will climb to #21 on the R&B charts. Don’t mess with imperfection.

Fun fact: Chromeo covered this on Daryl’s House.

25. Stevie Wonder – Love Light In Flight

In addition, to being a master at singing, songwriting, harmonica playing, among other things, he was also a synth wizard. He created 70s masterpieces on this. So adept was he when analog moved to digital he began to make complex pieces like this sound effortless and easy. I’m thinking he’s using a mix of a PPG Wave 2.2, a Roland Jupiter 8, an Oberheim OB-8, and a Synclavier II. Probably a Yamaha DX7 is in the mix as well. He’s definitely using a LINN LM-1 drum machine for the kick. All of this makes for one of my faves of his 80s work. It will go Top 10 on the Soul & AC charts but stall out at #17 on the Pop charts.

24. Pointer Sisters – Neutron Dance

I remember having a science teacher who was trying to be hip explaining nuclear energy to us and finishing with “…and that’s how you make a neutron dance.” I’m not sure which was louder –  the groans or the cricket chirps.

23. Paul McCartney – No More Lonely Nights

PD – If Give My Regards To Broadstreet exists solely to give us this one song, then it was more than worth it. Unfortunately, there’s also a “dance’ version that wipes out most of that goodwill.

22. Billy Ocean – Loverboy

PD – When this song reaches #5 in a few weeks, Teena Marie will enter the Top 40 at #39 with Lovergirl. How many programmers thought it would be cute to play them back to back?

21. Chaka Khan – I Feel For You

PD – Is it Sh-aka or Ch-aka ? I don’t think Melle Mel knew for sure, so he covered his bases.


  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around
  • SXMFU – SiriusXM Mistake



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