Home | History and Heritage | Popular music: 1983

Popular music: 1984

Top 20 Singles of 1984

1. Dancing In The Dark - Bruce Springsteen (right)
Springsteen wrote this song about his difficulty writing a hit single and his frustration trying to write songs that will please people. Ironically, it was a hit single. It was penned after his manager, Jon Landau, demanded a hit single from his new album. After a brief altercation about how creativity is not something one can turn on and off at will, he wrote this song that same night. Springsteen had over 70 songs written for Born In The U.S.A., but Landau wanted a guaranteed hit to ensure superstar status for Springsteen. Due to its catchy beat, the somewhat depressing lyrics were lost on most listeners. The song won Springsteen his first Grammy and an award for Best Male Vocal. A promotional video, filmed at the St. Paul Civic Center in Minnesota and directed by Brian DePalma, featured a then-unknown Courtney Cox as an adoring fan who gets to dance on stage with Bruce. She landed a role on the sitcom Family Ties soon after.

2. It's Just Not Cricket - The Twelfth Man
A novelty recording featuring a humorous and often irreverent take-off of Richie Benaud's cricket commentary team and a modern one day match. The script was by Castle/Birmingham and produced by Little Digger Productions in Australia. Benaud and the Wide World of Sports team on Channel 9 have become synonymous with modern cricket commentary. Cricket commentary commenced with the first radio broadcasts in the early 1930s. The "synthetic" long distance broadcasts in Sydney studios based on telegrams from the UK led to many ex cricketers forming a new career in broadcasting. Some of these transferred to television in the 1960s when regular cricket telecasts began and Richie Benaud and the "Wide World of Sports" team on Channel 9 have become synonymous with modern cricket commentary.

3. Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr (right)
This song was written for the movie of the same name starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver. Parker's song was chosen after sixty others were rejected. The artist states he didn't find the song an easy one to write: "It's hard to write a song where your main objective is to use the word 'Ghostbuster'. There aren't many words that rhyme with it." Huey Lewis sued Parker for plagiarizing the medley to his composition, "I Want A New Drug" on this song. They settled out of court and agreed not to talk about the case in public. In 2001, Lewis did talk about the case in public on an episode of Behind The Music, when he revealed that Parker paid to settle the suit. Parker then sued Lewis for violating the terms of their agreement.

  • watch the video online

    4. Careless Whisper - Wham! (right)
    Contrary to popular belief, this song was not based on an actual event in George Michael's high school dating life, but rather he thought the whole thing up getting on a bus as a 17-year old while on his way to his job as a cinema usher, hence the reference to "the silver screen" in the first verse. Michael claims that he has gotten more compliments on his writing of the sax solo at the beginning of the song than on anything else he has ever written. Michael said, "I wasn't secure enough to write something that would expose my feelings, so it's very cliched in a lot of its terms." He also has complained, "It disappoints me that you can write a lyric very flippantly and it can mean so much to so many people."

  • watch the video online

    5. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham!
    This was inspired by a sign Wham! member Andrew Ridgeley used to put on his bedroom door for his mom to wake him before she went to work. It became Wham's first American hit. Ridgeley and George Michael (born Georgios Panayiotou) met at school in Hertfordshire when both were in their early teens. They became friends and after leaving school they made a demo of "Wham! Rap" at Ridgeley's parents' house. It was picked up by the record label Innervision and released but without success. Their next single "Young Guns (Go For It)" was more successful rising to No.3 in the UK. Their first single was then reworked and became their second Top 10 hit.

  • watch the video online

    6. I Just Called To Say I Love you - Stevie Wonder (right)
    This song was featured in the movie, The Woman In Red, starring Kelly LeBrock as a woman in a red dress, and Gene Wilder as the married man who is mesmerized by her. Wonder wrote the score for the movie, thanks to Dionne Warwick, who was working on the soundtrack; she suggested him to the producers of the film. He ended up contributing songs as well, and the soundtrack contains songs from both Stevie and Dionne. This was Motown's biggest-selling single ever outside the US. The song won an Academy Award for Best Song 1984.

  • watch the video online

    7. Footloose - Kenny Loggins (right)
    'Footloose' is the theme from the movie of the same name starring Kevin Bacon. He plays a teenager who moves to a small town where dancing is illegal. This was the biggest hit and the only chart topper for Loggins. Two years later, he contributed "Danger Zone" to the Top Gun soundtrack and also "I'm Alright" to the Caddyshack soundtrack. Loggins wrote the melody to "Footloose" in a hotel room in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. He was on tour, and had sustained broken ribs from a fall he took on stage. The lyrics were written by Dean Pitchford, who wrote the screenplay to Footloose. Pitchford also wrote the lyrics to "Fame" by Irene Cara and "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Deniece Williams.

  • watch the video online

    8. Hello - Lionel Richie (right)
    Lionel Richie recalls that, when he was young, he used to watch beautiful women walk past but was too shy to talk to them. He thought to himself, "Hello, is it me you're looking for." Years later he started to write a song using the phrase but got stuck and gave up, but his record producer liked the line and urged him to finish it. The song was written well before his first solo album was being compiled, but he right it off the album. His wife Brenda liked it so muchshe insisted he include it on Can't Slow Down. That album won the 1984 Grammy for Album of the Year, and is the biggest selling album in the history of Motown Records. The recording is considered by many as Lionel Richie at his very best.

  • watch the video online

    9. Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper (right)
    Lauper's voice was first heard on an album in 1981 by the group Blue Angel, of which she was a member. This was her first single as a solo artist. It was originally written by Robert Hazard as "Girls Are Having Sex", be he re-wrote it for a female to sing and gave it to Lauper, who took out the sex part; it became a huge part of 1980s culture. Not only was it an anthem for female attitude, but it set fashion trends, as the video showed Lauper wearing bright, outrageous clothes that looked like they came from a thrift store (they often did). It set the stage for artists like Madonna - independent women wearing cheap, yet fashionable clothes and who like to accessorise. The song also spawned a reasonably successful film.

  • watch the video online

    10. Islands In The Stream - Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton (right)
    After disco died, The Bee Gees' career as a singing group drifted into the doldrums. To keep themselves occupied (and rich) they kept writing songs, often for other people and in most cases they did the production and musical arrangements. Such was the case here. This was originally written by The Bee Gees as an R&B song for Diana Ross. The Bee Gees did not release their version of the song until its apearance on the live One Nigtht Olnly live album (1998). The title came from an Ernest Hemingway story which was published in 1970. It was the first of his books to be published posthumously. "Islands in the Stream" won the 1985 American Music Awards winner for Favorite Country Single. Twenty years later it topped CMT's poll of the best country duets of all time. What is unique about this song is the clever way the singing switches from the off-beat at the beginning of the chorus, only to switch seamlessly back again to the on-beat a few lines later. Former Fugee Pras Michel's 1998 hit, "Ghetto Superstar (That Is What You Are)" was based around this song.

    11. Love Is A Battlefield - Pat Benatar (right)
    New Yorker Pat Benetar (real name Pat Andrzejewski) first appeared on the world pop scene in 1980. Her album of that year, Crimes Of Passion, yielded her first big hit, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," and landed her a Best Female Vocalist Grammy. She soon conquered MTV's very male landscape of rock video with her eye-catching, very 1980s videos for tracks such as "Love Is A Battlefield" and "Shadows of the Night" (both from the album, Best Shots). Benatar continued to record into the late 1980s before taking a break to be with her family.

    The song was written by Mike Chapman and Holly Knight. Chapman was an established songwriter and producer, while Knight was a former member of the bands Device and Spider, and was just starting to write songs, something she proved very good at. Says Knight: "I was at his house, I was just starting to write with him, and Pat Benatar called up and said, 'Mike, I would love for you to write me a song. I'm doing an album, will you write me a hit, please?' And he goes, 'Well, I'm here with one of my writers, Holly Knight, and we were just going to sit down and write. So we'll write something for you.' So he hung up, and I started playing the chords to 'Love Is A Battlefield.' He said, 'That's so great, I love that, keep doing that.' He says, 'Now, what we really need' – and this is something I learned from him - 'This song is very catchy, very commercial, let's write something really, really weird on top of it. That'll make it special. And it'll be that much better.' I said, 'Oh, I like it.' He says, 'We're going to write something really sick, like…' and he just spit out 'Love is a battlefield,' as an example. I said, 'Well, that works for me.' And we wrote that song. It was just like free association."

  • watch the video online

    12. Original Sin - INXS (right)
    INXS came together in 1977 as the Farriss Brothers. They changed their name in 1980 and enjoyed instant success in Australia. Three years later, they released their first album with international backing, Shabooh Shoobah, and headed to North America for an extensive tour. It was in New York that the band recorded their break-through single, "Original Sin." The song was produced by Nile Rodgers, who added more funk to the band's pop-rock sound, and featured Daryl Hall on backing vocals. The song became a hit in the States, Europe, and reached No. 1 at home.

  • watch the video online

    13. Come Said The Boy - Mondo Rock (right)
    Mondo Rock, fronted by former Daddy Cool frontman, Ross Wilson (right), became one of the major successful Aussie bands of the 1980s. Though there were periodical changes in the line-up, Mondo Rock established itself as one of the most consistent, if unspectacular, bands on the Australian recording and concert scenes. The fourth Mondo Rock album, The Modern Bop, contained the band's biggest hit, the provocative 'Come Said The Boy'.

  • watch the video online

    14. When Doves Cry - Prince & The Revolution (right)
    A deeply personal song that deals with Prince's feelings toward his parents when he wondered if he was becoming like them. He calls his father "demanding" and mother "never satisfied". The barrage of keyboards in the chorus represents doves crying. Prince took out the bass track to get a different sound. His drummer and bassist from his band The Revolution still appear in the video, playing along (silently) on their instruments.

  • watch the video online

    15. Heaven (Must Be There) - Eurogliders
    The Eurogliders (essentially Grace Knight and Bernie Lynch), formed in Perth, enjoyed success throughout the 1980s with ten top 10 hit singles, of which "Heaven (Must Be There)" was one of their best sellers. It received significant airplay in the US where it reached No.21 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and No.65 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984. The song was lifted from their first album, This Island. The band reformed in 2006 to record their first album in 18 years.

  • watch the video online

    16. Relax - Frankie Goes To Hollywood (right)
    Frankie Goes to Hollywood was formed in Liverpool, England in 1980. The band rose to prominence in 1982, when it appeared on the British television program, The Tube, with a rough version of the video for "Relax" attracting the attention of a number of record labels, and record producer Trevor Horn in particular. Horn signed the band to his label, ZTT; then, late in 1983, "Relax" was released. It had a dance beat and featured sexually provocative lyrics that gave rise to much controversy. By January 1994, the song had soared to No. 1, selling in excess of one million copies. Further fame was to elude Frankie Goes to Hollywood which made its final tour in early 1987. Shortly afterwards, the band broke up.

  • watch the video online

    17. Thriller - Michael Jackson (right)

    Apart from novelty Halloween songs, this was the first hit song containing lyrics about creatures of the night who terrify their victim. At the time, Michael Jackson was one of the least frightening people on Earth, so the video had to sell it. John Landis, who worked on the 1981 movie An American Werewolf In London, was brought in to direct. Landis had Jackson turn into a werewolf in the video. Vincent Price, an actor known for his work on horror films, did the narration at the end, including the evil laugh. Price's rap includes the line "Must stand and face the hounds of hell."

    This was inspired by the popular Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in which Sir Henry Baskerville's family is supposedly cursed by a bloodthirsty, demonic hound. The 14-minute video is one of the most popular music videos ever. It started the trend of group dance scenes in pop videos, and was named the No.1 video of all time in the VH1 100 Greatest Videos countdown. The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller, a behind the scenes video, became the best selling music video at the time. The song was written by Rod Temperton, once a member of the disco group, Heatwave, who also wrote Jackson's "Off The Wall" and "Rock With You." Jackson, a Jehova's Witness, insisted on a disclaimer at the beginning of the video that read: "Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult."

  • watch the video online

    18. 99 Luftballons - Nena (right)
    A protest song in the 1980s that makes comment about the brinkmanship and paranoia/hysteria surrounding the issue of war. The song talks about Nena (real name Gabriele Susanne Kerner) and the listener buying 99 balloons in a shop and letting them go, for fun. These balloons show up on the radar as unidentified objects and both sides scramble planes and go to full alert to counteract a perceived nuclear attack, when in fact it is the most childlike of things - a bunch of balloons. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a lot of tension between East and West Germany; if either West or East Berliners saw balloons going over the wall, they thought it was a nuclear attack. Nena is a true one-hit-wonder outside of Germany, where she didn't even come close to another hit. Before this, however, her single "Nur Getraumt" topped the singles charts in Germany.

  • watch the video online

    19. Calling Your Name - Marilyn (right)
    Marilyn (real name Peter Robinson) is a famous Jamaican born cross-dressing singer and musician who reached fame with the song "Calling Your Name" in the 1980s. He became friends with Boy George during his teenage years and began experimenting with his sexuality and image, adopting the blonde hair, makeup and movements of his idol Marilyn Monroe, hence his stage name. Coincidentally, Monroe died the same year Peter Robinson was born. While Boy George went on to form Culture Club in 1981, Marilyn was still scouting for a recording contract. With the aid of Boy George, he scored one, and "Calling Your Name" became his one and only hit of any magnitude. The lyrics to the song are based on an argument Marilyn had with Boy George.

  • watch the video online

    20. Two Tribes - Frankie Goes To Hollywood
    The dance pop Liverpool band Frankie Goes To Hollywood can claim the success it briefly enjoyed in the mid 1980s came more through good marketing than anything else. A major promo campaign around the slogan "Frankie Says Relax" had Britain ready and waiting for the release of their first single, "Relax", which rocketed up the charts. The campy, homosexual imagery of the promotional video was banned by many TV stations, but that didn't stop the single from going to No. 1. The follow-up was the more political "Two Tribes" which also went to No. 1 in Britain but was less successful elsewhere. It told of the political tensions of the time between Us President Ronald Reagan and Russian leader Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev. Within three years the band had broken up. The production by Trevor Horn took Frankie a level above everyone else back in the day - if released now it would blow away the present pooh in the charts.

  • watch the video online

Top 10 Australian Hits of 1984

1. It's Just No Cricket - The Twelfth Man
See above.

2. Original Sin - INXS
See above.

3. Come Said The Boy - Mondo Rock
See above.

4. Heaven (Must Be There) - Eurogliders
See above.

5. Burn For You - INXS
Llifted off the 1984 INXS album The Swing, "Burn For You" was the second single to be released from it. "Someone to raise and someone to burn," Michael Hutchence once said of the rollercoaster of celebrity. As his own fame grew, the charismatic lead singer of INXS came to know the ups and downs of success better than most. So did his band. INXS hailed from the pubs of Australia, which is part of the reason they never comfortably fitted in with new wave. Even when the band branched out into synth pop on its early recordings, they were underpinned by a hard, Stones-like beat and lead singer Michael Hutchence's Jagger-esque strut. Ultimately, these were the very things that made INXS into international superstars in the late 1980s.

6. Listening - Pseudo Echo (above right)
An Australian new romantic band formed in the early 1980s by school friends Brian Canham (vocals, guitars, and keyboards) and Pierre Gigliotti (bass and keyboards), Pseudo Echo's climb to success in the summer of 1984 was rapid, and they quickly became the second biggest band in Australia after INXS. Their first album, Autumnal Park, yielded the Australian hit singles "Listening" (produced by Peter Dawkins), "Stranger in Me", "Dancing Till Midnight", and "Beat for You". The group made another two albums before disbanding in 1990.

7. I Send A Message - INXS
Also lifted of the 1984 INXS album, The Swing, "I Send A Message" was the third single to be released in Australia from it. The song is regarded as one of the album's stronger tracks. Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS who cowrote the song, would die by his own hand at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Double Bay, Sydney, by hanging on 22nd November 1997. His lover Paula Yates died three years later from a drug overdose and had attempted suicide in 1998.

8. Soul Kind of Feeling - Dynamic Hepnotics
The Dynamic Hepnotics were a successful Australian soul/blues/funk band during the 1980s. They enjoyed major success with their chart topping song "Soul Kind Of Feeling". Frontman Robert Susz went on to form the band The Mighty Reapers after his split of the Dynamic Hepnotics in 1988.

9. Catch Me I'm Falling - Real Life
Melbourne-based new romantic band Real Life came together in the early 1980s, and with the release of their debut single, "Send Me An Angel", were hailed Australia's most promising new act. "Catch Me I'm Falling" was as close as they got to repeating their first single's success. Headed by vocalist/guitarist David Sterry (right), Real Life had a new wave-influenced sound similar to Duran Duran.

10. A Beat For you - Pseudo Echo
See No. 6 above.

Other Hits of 1984

Neverending Story - Limahl (right)
Born Christopher Hamill in 1958 in Lancashire, England, Limahl (an anagram of his surname) came to prominence as lead vocalist with Kajagoogoo. His rancorous exit from the group in 1983 was caused partly by guitarist Nick Beggs' increasing control over the outfit's destiny. However, a flamboyant performer and a friend of BBC pop presenter Paul Gambaccini, Limahl was well placed for solo success that began with "Only For Love' in the UK Top 20. After a relative flop with 1984"s "Too Much Trouble", he made No. 4 with the movie title theme, "Never Ending Story". This Giorgio Moroder opus was also Limahl's only chart entry outside of Britain. Apart from "Don't Suppose" flitting briefly into the UK charts, he has since been absent from the commercial scene..

Like A Virgin - Madonna (right)
This song is the work of the songwriting team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg who have written numerous No.1 hits featuring female vocalists. Steinberg considers this their most famous song. He recalls: "My father was a farmer. He was a grape grower in the Coachella Valley and our vineyards were in a little town called Thermal, California. My band had just split up, so I was working out in the vineyards with my dad. I remember writing the lyrics to 'Like a Virgin' while driving in a red pickup truck that I owned around our dusty desert vineyards. I had been involved in a very emotionally difficult relationship that had finally ended and I had met somebody new. I remember writing that lyric about feeling shiny and new - I made it through the wilderness, somehow I made it through - I made it through this very difficult time. I took that lyric to Tom, he knew what I had gone through. He read those first lyrics and he sat down at the piano and tried to write a sensitive ballad to them. He'd come up with a few interesting things, but every time we got to the chorus lyric where it said, 'Like a virgin,' it just hit a brick wall - how can you write a tender ballad called 'Like a Virgin'? It just sounded ridiculous. Whereas it was him prodding me with 'True Colors' (Cyndi Lauper) to finish the lyric, with 'Like a Virgin' I was the one prodding him, saying, 'No, no, no, let's not put this one aside because this is a very special lyric.'

I didn't want to let it fall by the wayside. Out of nothing more than utter frustration, Tom started to play the bass line to 'Like a Virgin' and sing the lyric falsetto to this bass line he was playing. I said, 'That's it!' He stopped and went, 'What?' and I said, 'That's it, that's the song.' Nile Rodgers produced it and recorded it using real musicians, rather than synthesized tracks that were characteristic of Madonna's first album. The title and lyrics were considered very racy for a pop song at that time, which made it quite difficult to find someone to record it. Madonna had released only one album and was known as a dance singer, so her record company didn't mind having her record a song that would generate some controversy. It became a huge hit and created a new image for Madonna that set her apart from other singers. The media has been fascinated with her ever since. This was Madonna's first No.1 hit.

Against All Odds - Phil Collins (right)
Director Taylor Hackford asked Phil Collins to write a song for the film Against All Odds, so Collins went back to a song that didn't make it onto his Face Value album called "How Can You Sit There" and adapted it to fit the movie. It became the first of seven US solo No.1 hits for Collins. It won him the 1984 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance. Nominated for Best Song at the 1984 Academy Awards, Collins was not permitted to sing it at the awards ceremony because at the time, the Academy rules required that the award show performers had to work in the movies. Ann Reinking sang the song and performed the accompanying dance. The best/worst part of the Oscar broadcast was that they kept showing Phil Collins in the audience, who was visibly wincing at the way Reinking was demolishing his song. It caused a huge uproar and the rule was eventually changed. Thus, in 1993, Bruce Springsteen sang "Philadelphia" at the awards show and won the Oscar that night.

All Cried Out - Alison Moyet
Moyet, the female half of the electropop duo, Yazoo, released her debut album, Alf (titled after her punk-era nickname), in 1984. Alf was produced by the noted UK producing/songwriting team of Swain and Jolley. The album's songs were co-written by the duo and Moyet, with the exception of "Invisible", written specifically for Moyet by Motown legend Lamont Dozier. The record was a huge hit in Britain, reaching No.1 in the album charts. Alf spawned three international hit singles, "Love Resurrection", "Invisible" and "All Cried Out". In the US, "Invisible" was a Top 40 hit (something Yazoo had never achieved). In some European territories, a fourth single, "For You Only", was also released.

An Innocent Man - Billy Joel (right)
The whole of the album, An Innocent Man, was written and played in the style of 1950s and 1960s popular music. It was Joel's homage to the 1960s-era that he grew up on, combined with his own romantic experiences as a teenager. Joel considers this a "singer's album," and pays homage to a number of different musical styles, most notably doo-wop, a style made popular in the mid-1950s and emulated in the songs "The Longest Time," "This Night," and "Careless Talk." Joel said in 1000 UK No.1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, "Usually I agonize over every note, but this time the songs came pouring out of me." Joel has said that the music for this song was inspired by the songs of Leiber and Stoller, which were recorded mainly by Ben E. King and The Drifters. He added that the words came from personal experience.

Dance Me Up - Gary Glitter (right)
Glitter's career took a downturn towards the end of the 1970s. He was said to have begun drinking heavily, even admitting later that he had pondered suicide. Under financial pressure, not even a pair of Top 40 hit singles ("It Takes All Night" and "A Little Boogie Woogie in the Back of My Mind") could lift him all the way back. It took the post-punk audience and some of the artists who still respected Glitter's work, to do that (he was an influence on post-punk and new wave as wall as early punk rock itself). This helped open a path for Glitter to cut a dance medley of his greatest hits, "All That Glitters", which charted in 1981; within three years, he was playing eighty shows a year at colleges and clubs, and had chart hits "Dance Me Up" and "Another Rock N' Roll Christmas".

If This Is It - Huey Lewis and the News
Record label delays had put back the release of Huey Lewis and the News' third album, Sports. It initially hit No.6 in the US when first released. However, the album slowly became a No.1 hit in 1984 and multi-platinum success in the following year, thanks to the band's frequent touring and a series of clever, funny videos that received extensive MTV airplay. Four singles from the album would reach the Billboard Top Ten: "Heart and Soul", "I Want a New Drug", "The Heart of Rock & Roll", and "If This Is It".

Their No.1 hit "The Power Of Love" was  featured in the 1985 film Back to the Future, with which they also recorded the theme song "Back In Time". Huey Lewis has a cameo appearance in the film as the teacher who rejects Marty McFly's band's audition for the school's "Battle of the Bands" contest - ironically, the piece the band plays is an instrumental version of "The Power of Love". The song was also nominated for an Academy Award. A third song, "In the Nick of Time", was also written for the film, however, negotiations to use the song fell through and it was covered by Patti LaBelle and played over the end credits of the film Brewster's Millions (1985) the same year.

Jump - Van Halen (right)
Van Halen's album 1984 was their commercial pinnacle, and many claim their artistic apex as well. Recorded at Eddie Van Halen's newly-built 5150 Studios, it featured keyboards, previously heard only rarely, now fully integrated into the band's sound. The album's lead single, "Jump", featured a bouncy synthesizer hook and anthemic lyrics, and became the band's first and only No.1 hit, garnering them their first Grammy nomination. Other US hit singles included "Panama," "I'll Wait," and "Hot For Teacher," and many of the songs became major music videos on the increasingly popular MTV, especially "Hot For Teacher," which featured a skimpily dressed model playing the part of an elementary-school teacher and school-age boys portraying younger versions of the band members.

The album 1984 was praised by critics and fans alike, peaking at No.2 behind
Michael Jackson
's Thriller (Eddie Van Halen played the guitar solo on the hit song "Beat It," on Jackson's album). "Jump" is Van Halen's most popular and instantly recognizable composition, perhaps because its sound embodies the key aspects of both of the two genres of popular music most associated with the 1980s: synth-driven pop and arena-style metal. Its synthesized brass introduction is one of popular music's most recognizable musical introductions. "Jump" changed the future and style of Van Halen from being a predominantly hard rock band to one of more radio-oriented popular music.

Let's Hear It for the Boy - Deniece Williams
Deniece Williams, often referred to by the nickname "Niecy", is an American singer, songwriter and record producer who achieved considerable success in the 1970s and 1980s. Williams, whose music has been influenced by pop, soul, gospel, R&B and dance, is remembered today for her hits such as "Let's Hear It for the Boy" and "Silly" and for her vocal-duets with Johnny Mathis like "Too Much Too Little Too Late". This song was featured in the movie Footloose, starring Kevin Bacon. It's one of 2 No.1 US hits on the Footloose soundtrack. "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins is the other. George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam of the duo Boy Meets Girl sang backup. They had a hit in 1988 with "Waiting For A Star To Fall." and also wrote Whitney Houston's songs "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)."

No More Lonely Nights - Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney wrote the screenplay and music, and starred in the 1984 film Give My Regards to Broad Street. The film and soundtrack featured the Top 10 hit "No More Lonely Nights", but the film did not do well commercially and received a negative critical response. Roger Ebert awarded the film a single star and wrote, "You can safely skip the movie and proceed directly to the soundtrack". Later that year, McCartney released "We All Stand Together", the title song from the animated film, Rupert and the Frog Song, and wrote and performed the title song to the movie Spies Like Us. Beginning filming and recording in November 1982 following Pipes of Peace's conclusion, production on the album and film continued until July the following year. In the interim, Pipes of Peace and its singles were released and the film project was thus scheduled for a 1984 release once an appropriate amount of time had passed.

One Night In Bangkok - Murray Head
Murray Head was born in London; his younger brother is Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Anthony Head. Murray began acting and writing songs as a child, and by the mid-1960s he had a London recording contract. He had limited success until asked by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber to play Judas Iscariot on the original concept album version of Jesus Christ Superstar (singing the hit "Superstar"). Murray reappeared in the spotlight in 1984 as the star of Chess, a musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, formerly of ABBA. The song, "One Night in Bangkok" from Chess and featuring Murray Head on lead vocal, became the last significant Broadway/West End number to be a hit on American and German radio to date. After this 1984 hit, Head had little attention in the UK. Bening fluent in French, he has released a number of albums in that language and is today more popular in France and Canada. 

Purple Rain - Prince & The Revolution
"Purple Rain" is a power ballad by Prince and the The Revolution. It was his third US single and title track from the legendary 1984 album Purple Rain. The song is quite emotional and combines elements of rock and roll, pop and gospel music. Recorded live at the Minneapolis club, First Avenue, in 1983, it was the live debut of American guitarist and singer-songwriter Wendy Melvoin, and also netted the final three songs of the Purple Rain album, although the songs would undergo studio overdubs later. The emotional lyrics have multiple meanings; on the surface, they seem to be an apology from one lover to another, though on a deeper level, they become more of a spiritual allegory. It is a theory that "Purple Rain" is a metaphor for heaven, inspired by the testimonies of a woman who died on the operating table that the afterlife is full of falling purple rain.

Smooth Operator - Sade
Helen Folasade Adu, better known as Sade, is a Nigerian born Grammy Award-winning English soul, jazz, R&B, and adult contemporary singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer, noted for her soulful, smoky contralto. She has achieved success since the 1980s as the frontwoman and lead vocalist of the popular Grammy Award-winning English group Sade. Her first foray into the music business came in the early 1980s, as a member of a Latin-soul group named Arriva. It was as a member of Arriva that she first performed the song "Smooth Operator," which would eventually become her first hit.

Shortly thereafter, she joined the band Pride, then helped form a splinter group named Sade and began to write their own material. In 1985 she appeared in the film, Absolute Beginners, directed by Julian Temple. This was written by lead singer Sade and Ray Saint John, who was a member of Sade's previous band Pride. The song is about a fashionable man who lives a jet-set lifestyle. He's very popular with the ladies, and breaks a lot of hearts in his travels. With the lyrics, "Across the north and south, to Key Largo, love for sale," it's implied that the women he uses also supply his wealth. It's also clear that he does not return the affections of these women, as Sade sings near the end, "His heart is cold."

Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper
Lauper wrote this with Rob Hyman, who also sang backup. Hyman was at the time in a Philadelphia band with Eric Bazilian and Rick Chertoff. Says Hyman: "With 'Time After Time,' we wrote that very quickly. We were recording Cyndi's debut album. We had all the songs chosen, and quite simply the producer, Rick Chertoff, suggested to all of us that the album could use 'one more song.' We had 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun,' we had 'She Bop,' we had 'All Through The Night,' we had what would end up being really strong songs. It felt good to us, but for Rick, he's been known to say that on every album - you could always have 'one more song,' but in this case, he absolutely was right and in this case we delivered.

We had most of the album recorded and we were close to mixing the record when he suggested this fateful 'one more song.' Cyndi came up with the title when she saw it in the magazine TV Guide - Time After Time was a 1979 science fiction movie starring Malcolm McDowell as a man who invents a time machine. "When she saw the words 'Time After Time,' something clicked - she said 'I think I have a title.' I was sitting at the piano and just started banging out what would eventually be the chorus, hook, and the way we sing it. It almost had like a Reggae feel, it was a little bouncier and a little more upbeat. We never did a demo of the song. We just kind of bashed it out on the piano over a couple of days, maybe a week or two period. It really did happen pretty quickly, and we needed to because the album was being finished. I'd say in wo or three sessions the song was pretty much done." The song became Lauper's first No.1 single. She had another big hit in 1986 with "True Colors."

To All the Girls I've Loved Before - Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson
A duet by singers Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson, which appeared on Iglesias's album, 1100 Bel Air Place. A breakthrough for Iglesias in the English-language market, the song peaked at No.5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and rose to No.17 on the UK Singles Chart and enjoyed similar sucess in Australia. The song has become Iglesias's signature English-language tune, prominently performed at his concerts since the single's release.

Together In Electric Dreams - Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder
Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder was a collaborative album released in 1985 by Philip Oakey, lead singer of the electronic band, The Human League, and producer Giorgio Moroder. The album is most notable for two songs: "Together in Electric Dreams", which was the title track for the movie Electric Dreams and a major hit single, and "Good-Bye Bad Times", which was a minor hit. The Human League still perform "Electric Dreams" at their concerts, usually with Philip Oakey giving named credit to Giorgio Moroder. In 2003, in an interview by Simon Price included on the Human League Very Best of DVD, Oakey was asked to comment on the experience of working with his idol Moroder on this project. He diplomatically characterised him as a "very quick worker", claiming they made the entire album in a few days.

What's Love Got to Do with It - Tina Turner (right)
"What's Love Got to Do with It", written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle who were friends of Tina Turner's manager, Roger Davies, was the second single released from Turner's breakthrough solo debut album, Private Dancer. The song is widely credited for the huge success of the album itself. The song's lyrics and theme express how love is usually not a motive for someone to find a relationship. "What's Love Got to Do with It" is arguably Tina Turner's most popular and successful single, becoming her first No.1 hit and establishing Turner as a mainstream Pop and Rock artist.

In 1993, the song's name was used as the title for a biographical film about

Turner's life leading up to the actual release of the song. The song's music video was directed by Mark Robingson. Ironically, Tina hated this song, but her manager was sure it would be a hit and convinced her to record it. The song won Grammys in 1985 for Song Of The Year, Record Of The Year, and Best Female Vocal Performance. She gave one of the awards to Davies, who she credited with reviving her career. At the second MTV Video Music Awards in 1985, it won for Best Female Video. Turner's first song to chart was "A Fool In Love" with her husband Ike in 1960. When this song hit No.1 US, she set the record for longest time between first song to chart and first No.1 hit at 24 years.

This website is published as information only. Please direct enquiries about places and services featured to the relevant service provider.

Design and concept © Stephen Yarrow | Email us | W3Layouts