I love taking these strolls down musical lane. And since it’s a Saturday, we can also stay up late and watch SNL with Kathleen Turner and musical guest John Waite. [I bet he sings Missing You.] Let’s review the Top 20 for the week ending January 12th, 1985.
20. Wham! Featuring George Michael – Careless Whisper
RAR, PFK – Wham! finally had their first Top 40 last Fall, the #1 smash Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, and already the record company is trying to break up the group, giving George a separate billing. It was actually released as a solo single in the UK, where it reached #1 in August of 1984. Ironically this was one of the songs on the original demo that got the duo signed. But it took many years of recording to finally get it right.
Listen to the first attempt, recorded down at Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama in 1983 with Jerry Wexler manning the boards.
BTW – do you think when Goerge came up with that “guilty feet have got no rhythm” line, he punched the air in joy over and over?
19. Prince And The Revolution – I Would Die 4 U
This snappy fourth single from Purple Rain is on its way up to #8, where it will be the fourth straight Top 10 from that album. It will only clip #11 on the R&B charts.
SXMFU – On the Big 80s Countdown, some dumbass intern fed Mark Goodman the line that this was the final single from the album and that he didn’t have any more hits from it. The way it was written sounds deliberate, as if they were intentionally trip him up. Take Me With U, the fifth single, would be released in two weeks and climb to #25 on March 23rd. Two months later, Raspberry Beret will debut on the Hot 100 at #37.
PD – How does it feel, Ray? It hurts, doesn’t it; imagining her with someone else. That’s what you get for being bad boy.
PD – Bob is the phase of his career where he can release just about anything, and radio will play it. But these mid-80s don’t have the depth or soul like the ones from the late 70s, minus Like A Rock.
16. Don Henley – The Boys Of Summer
PD – Rather than embrace the YouTube era, Don had decided to play whack-a-mole with anyone who dares to share his “art.” What was the point of making it then, outside of padding your 401K?
15. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas?
OHW – Not the first charity single, but the one which kicked off the mid-80s “help the world via pop song” phase. And it’s been getting played every holiday season since. When was the last time you heard (or sat through) We Are The World (besides an American Top 40 rerun)? Plus, it has Paul Weller, Sting, Bono, Boy George, George Michael, and other 1984 UK posters. The single will reach #1 in the UK and #13 in the States. Not bad for two guys (Bob Geldof and Midge Ure) who never had a US Top 40 with their respective bands or solo.
Fun fact: The only Americans on the recording are Jody Watley as well as Robert Bell, JT Taylor, and Dennis Brown from Kool & the Gang.
14. Jermaine Jackson – Do What You Do
PD – This is the second Top 20 single from Jermaine’s eponymous debut for Arista Records after leaving Motown in 1983. It’s the most consistent album he ever made and his best effort to capitalize on Michael’s superstardom. But he couldn’t nab a Top 10 hit from it. This will be his only #1 on the AC charts, something smooth to listen to during your next teeth cleaning.
Fun fact – Jermaine did something before Michael for the first and only time (besides being born). He had Iman in his video eight years before Michael featured her in Remember The Time.
13. Philip Bailey With Phil Collins – Easy Lover
PD, PFK, OHW (for Philip) – The last single recorded and the first one released from Bailey’s third solo album, Chinese Wall, produced by Phil “the shill” Collins. I’m also guessing some of those lyrics are from Phil’s divorce files.
12. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Out Of Touch
PD, PD – Let’s think about being out of touch in the literal sense. You can lose your sense of smell, taste, sight, and hearing. Can you lose your touch, I mean, outside of Steve Sax?
11. Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
PFK – Foreigner’s back after a three-year absence with Foreigner 5, otherwise known as Agent Provocateur. They swing for the heartstrings and will nab their one and only #1 hit in just a few weeks. I get why this track was so huge, topping the charts in seven other countries, including the UK. Maybe I could have been OK with it had they not brought in a gospel choir at the end. Any feelings of earnestness go out the door at that point.
Fun fact: Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins was recording next door, sharing producer Alex Sadkin, and he sings back up as well.
10. Bruce Springsteen – Born In The USA
PD – After parody and imposter, we’ve reached the deal. The Boss is in the middle of his Thriller moment as the title track to his 1984 album will stomp up one more spot next week to its zenith. This is his third Top 10 out of an eventual seven from that long play.
PD – When Julian released his debut in 1984, many critics harped on the fact that he sounded so much like his dad. Duh. Lots of singers before and after have tried to sound like John Lennon. Here’s someone who comes by it honestly for a change.
PD – Is it because of or in spite of their success that Maurice Starr felt the urge to create New Kids On the Block? Discuss.
PD – Bryan’s gonna go for a Thriller moment of his own with Reckless, which will spawn six Top 20 hits, including the chart-topper Heaven. I like this one, even though he’s an absolute jerk in this song. Dude, you’re the one with the cold love.
6. Chicago – You’re The Inspiration
PD – For a song with this title released during the L.A. Olympics year, it should have been 140 BPM, not a slushy ballad. And it should be on an aerobics video, the high-impact section, not the cool down.
PD – Once Pat put out Love Is A Battlefield, she left a lot of her rock roots behind her and moved into a proper pop direction. She ended up with one of the biggest hits of her career, but I wonder if she lost a few notches on her lipstick case.
4. The Honeydrippers – Sea Of Love
PD, THW – There was a soul band in the early 70s called the Honey Drippers. I prefer this instead.
3. Duran Duran – The Wild Boys
PD – A massive single for the band released as an extra studio track on their live album, Arena. Also, a favorite of Benni Luft.
PD, RAR, OHW – Here’s the second General Hospital alum in the Top 40 this week, all the way up to #2, where it will plateau. It will reach #1 on the AC charts. So if you need just a little more time to be sure what you feel, it’s probably just dry mouth from the dental suction device.
1. Madonna – Like A Virgin (4 wks at #1)
PD – One year ago this week, Madge was climbing the charts with her first single, Holiday, which was sitting at #25. In 1985 she would be on top of the world, a bonified pop superstar.
Even though I’m sure the title was meant to turn some heads, I bet the songwriters didn’t give it much thought. I wonder what they were thinking after hearing Quinton’s take.
- 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