1. I Got You - Split Enz
Singer/songwriter keyboardist/guitarist Tim Finn was born in Te Awamutu, New Zealand. Influenced by not only British bands like the Beatles, the Move and the Kinks, but also his Catholic upbringing and the communal sing-alongs of the Maori people, Finn founded the 1970s art-rock turned New Wave band Split Enz, leading them through several albums to moderate international acclaim. The success of his between-albums solo project, Escapade, led to his leaving the band in 1983. The popularity of his brother's band, Crowded House, stirred up enough interest by 1988 for him to join it. 'I Got You', Split Enz's biggest hit, is one of Finn's finest compositions.
2. Turning Japanese - The Vapors
A very light piece of pop fluff, typical of the 'plastic' nature of New Wave in the late 1970s. It is said to refer to the "oriental" facial features people are supposed to get at the moment of climax during masturbation. This was the Vapors' only hit. Their early musical style owed a great deal to New Wave and Mod influences such as The Jam, Secret Affair and The Jags. Indeed, they were discovered and managed by The Jam's Bruce Foxton. Remembered principally for this single, they had two albums: New Clear Days (the pun on "nuclear" being intentional) and Magnets. A solicitor who specializes in music law, frontman Fenton has retired from his days as a music creator and performer to concentrate on legal aspects of the industry.
3. Crazy Little Thing Called love - Queen
Another piece of bland 1950s-flavoured rock - though many a Queen fan would disagree - that one expects more from Jerry Lee Lewis than the creators of 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. It was a different sound for the group, but their fans loved it. Freddie Mercury wrote this while Queen was touring in Germany as the band's tribute to all their early influences and not just Elvis. On stage, this was an important part of their show. There's an unconfirmed legend that declares John Lennon was inspired to go back into the music business by this song, the result of which, if it is true, was his Double Fantasy album. The video for this song and "Save Me" feature Mercury right before he grew that infamous moustache; many fans were offended by it.
4. Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) - Pink Floyd
Written by Roger Waters, this song is said to be about his views on formal education. He hated his grammar school teachers and felt they were more interested in keeping the kids quiet than teaching them. The wall refers to the proverbial wall Waters built around himself because he wasn't in touch with reality. The bricks in the wall were the events in his life which propelled him to build this wall. His school teacher was another brick in the wall.
The chorus came from a school in Islington, England, and was chosen because it was close to the studio. They were also used in Alice Cooper's 'School's Out' in 1972. The Chorus was made up of 23 children between the ages of 13 and 15. They were overdubbed 12 times, making it sound like they were more in number. There was some controversy when it was revealed that the Chorus was never paid. It also didn't sit well with teachers that their students were singing an anti-school song. The Chorus was later given recording time in the studio in exchange for their contribution; the school eventually received £1000 and a platinum record.
5. Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders
This song contains many British slang expressions: "Got Bottle" - Have courage; "Skank" - Move your body side to side; "Reet" - Righteous. "Brass" is a Northern English expression for money, harking back to the days when non-silver coins, or "Coppers" were worth something. In the music video, lead singer Chrissie Hynde portrays a waitress, implying the "brass" was the change she got from tips. In an interview with the Observer newspaper, Hynde said, "When we recorded the song I wasn't very happy with it and told my producer that he could release it over my dead body, but they eventually persuaded me. So I remember feeling a bit sheepish when it went to No.1."
6. Can't Stop The Music - The Village People
This was the last hit from The Village People who faded into oblivion after this song after the film of the same name came and went. While the single was successful both in the U.S. (reaching No.10), the UK and Australia (reaching No.1) the film by the same name was not. It was little more than a feature-length promotion for the group, and the public weren't fooled.
7. Space Invaders - Player One
Released by a group of Australian performers, this song uses sound effects from the game. It was lifted from Player One's album called Game Over. The song was also released as a 7" record in Australia only, backed with a possibly-related song entitled "A Menacing Glow in the Sky". At the time, the video game Space Invaders had been in release for a year and Space Invaders-mania was sweeping the world, including Australia.
8. More Than I Can Say - Leo Sayer
Leo Sayer was one of the major male popular recording artists of the 1970s and enjoyed a string of highly polished hits. 'More Than I Can Say' was his last hit in the US and Australia, and though he had two further charting singles in the UK, his career as a hit maker was over, though his popularity as a performer remained high. The song was written by Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison, both former members of Buddy Holly's band The Crickets. It had been a moderate hit in 1961 for Bobby Vee, who, as a teenager in February 1959, was one of a group of local musicians recruited to play at the next leg of Buddy Holly's scheduled concert in Fargo, North Dakota, the day Holly died in a plane crash. Sayer has stated that while looking for an "oldie" to record for his album Living in a Fantasy, he saw a TV commercial for a greatest hits collection by Vee and chose the song on the spot: "We went into a record store that afternoon, bought the record and had the song recorded that night."
9. Funkytown - Lipps Inc.
Lipps Inc. was formed in 1977. Steven Greenberg was the band's key member, producing and writing all their songs. The lead vocalist was Cynthia Johnson who was crowned Miss Black Minnesota in 1976. "Funkytown", their first and only smash hit, was released in 1979 at the height of the disco craze. Lipps Inc. stayed together in the early part of the 80's, but failed to capitalise on their early success. In 1981, they recorded a Funkytown-like single called "How long" which failed to chart.
Four years later, they recorded an interesting album from which the single "Does Anybody Know me" was lifted. It sold well, but did not repeat Funkytown's success. Songwriter and producer Steven Greenburg wrote this song when he became bored with Minneapolis and wanted to move to New York, which he called "Funkytown." Greenburg became A&R Vice President for Mercury Records, signing Hanson, among other acts. Australian Pop group Pseudo Echo had a No.1 hit in Australia and Top 10 hit in both the US and UK with their rockier version of this song.
10. Please Don't Go - KC and the Sunshine Band
The seeds of KC & The Sunshine Band were planted when two South Florida boys, Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch, met while working at the attic studio of T.K. Records. Rick assisted producers while Harry's duties included processing returns and boxing up records, and sometimes playing keyboards in recording sessions. It was Casey's idea for he and Finch to pool their skills. "Everybody else had a team together already", says Rick. "He found out I played bass and drums, and I found out he played keyboards, and when the studio was empty in the evenings, we would go up there and find out what kind of music would happen.
A lot of people would throw tape away because they couldn't figure out how to make the machine erase properly. It was expensive, so I would take it out of the trash can, wind it up on the reel, clean it up, and use that for recording". KC and the Sunshine Band released their first recordings in 1973. They used 'Please Don't Go' as a direction change, leaving behind their days of recording bubblegum, funk and disco music. Ironically, shortly after this song's one-week run at No.1, the group broke up and Casey went solo.
11. Tired of Toein' The Line - Rocky Burnette
Born Jonathan Burnette in 1953 in Memphis, Tennessee, he was the first born son of rockabilly legend, Johnny Burnette. Rocky's musical career had started 10 years before he found solo success, and as early as 1967, after the family moved to California, he was a songwriter, penning off-the-shelf titles for The Osmonds, David Cassidy and other teen heart throbs. This rockabilly flavoured song placed Johnny and Rocky in the elite group of musician parent/offspring who have had major hits.
12. Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
One of Michael Jackson's better songs, he was encouraged to come up with his own songs by Quincy Jones, the man who produced his early albums. Jackson wrote this for an extremely high vocal range. Since his voice could not carry it alone, he was overdubbed a few times to create a harmony and fill out the vocals. The video was very advanced for its time and showed Jackson dancing in front of various funky backgrounds. This single was Jackson's first No.1 hit since 'Ben' in 1972, and paved the way for his even bigger success - "Thriller". The chorus contains one of the most misheard vocals ever. The line is: "Keep up with the force, don't stop. Don't stop 'til you get enough."
13. What I Like About You - The Romantics
A power pop song by the American band, The Romantics. Written by Romantics members, it was featured on the band's self-titled 1980 debut album. Jimmy Marinos, the band's drummer, is the lead vocalist on the song. 'What I Like About You' has become a staple of modern rock, appearing on numerous compilation albums of 1980s pop and rock music hits and heard in frequent rotation on modern rock and classic rock radio. The song is often played at sporting events, parties, and at bars and clubs. In 2003, the alternative rock band Lillix recorded a cover version.
14. Dreaming My Dreams With You - Colleen Hewitt
One of Australia's most popular female vocalists in the 1970s, Collen Hewitt had two No.1 hits, this song and 'Day By Day', from the rock musical Godspell (1971) in which Hewitt was a member the Australian cast. Prior to going solo, Hewitt was vocalist with Ian Saxon and The Sound. They released two singles in 1970, 'Home Cooking'/'I'm Satisfied' and 'Brother Where Are You'/'Love Doesn't Always Find A Way'. The song was written by record producer-songwriter Allen Reynolds and was originally recorded in 1975 by Waylon Jennings (on his album Dreaming My Dreams), Marianne Faithfull (on her album Dreaming My Dreams), Crystal Gayle (on her album Somebody Loves You) when Reynolds was Gayle's record producer. 'Dreaming My Dreams With You' was also recorded by American country artist Alison Krauss in 1999.
15. Upside Down - Diana Ross
Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, who were the duo behind the success of the disco group Chic in the late 1970s, wrote this song was originally for Aretha Franklin. Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers were supposed to produce her last Atlantic album, but she wanted too much creative control and this union never happened. This song was Diana Ross' biggest hit as a solo artist and was lifted from her most succesful solo album, Diana, her last for the Motown label. The song has one of the most complex beats in popular music, the strum pattern from Nile Rodgers' rhythm guitar being anything but simple.
16. Moscow - Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan, was a German pop band, created in 1979 to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. Known as Dschinghis Khan back home in Germany, the band was part of the 'Neue Deutsche Welle' (New German Wave) genre of popular music of the 1970s and 1980s. Inspired by the success of Boney M's 1978 hit 'Rasputin', German producer Ralph Seigel decided to form a band that shared the same hallmarks - extravagent costumes, a pernacious disco beat, synthesizers, and lyrics concerned with historical people and events.
The group of four men and two women that Seigel put together failed to win at a German talent show in 1979, singing about the Mongol warlord, however their clothes stood out and they generated enough audience appeal to dare to put together an album. Their one claim to fame was the song 'Moscow', written as the theme song for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. The band was invited to perform it, even though their country - West Germany - boycotted the Games. The group disappeared around 1983 after their last album, Himalaya, was released and sold poorly.
17. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling - Long John Baldry & Kathi McDonald
The husband and wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote this song at the request of Phil Spector, who was looking for a hit for The Righteous Brothers. It was inspired by 'Baby I Need Your Loving' by The Four Tops. It is generally acclaimed as the most played song on radio of the 20th Century. Phil Spector produced The Righteous Brothers' version using his famous "Wall of Sound" recording technique. Spector got a songwriting credit because he helped write the bridge. The line "You've lost that lovin' feelin'" was used as a placeholder until the writers could come up with something better. Spector thought it was great and insisted they use it. Other artists who have covered the song include Elvis, Dionne Warwick, Cilla Black (No.1 in UK), Hall and Oates and Neil Diamond, among others. The Long John Baldry & Kathi McDonald version is the only one to make No.1 in Australia.
18. He's My Number One - Christie Allen
Born in England in 1954, Christie Allen was Australia's hottest pop solo artist of the late 1970s. Settling in Perth on her move from England with her family, she was noticed by producer Terry Britten when singing with a band and was signed up by Mushroom Records. Her first three singles were all big hits. The ballad 'Falling In Love With Only You', hit No.20 in 1979. She moved to a more disco style for her following two releases - her 1979 Top 3 hit 'Goosebumps' (with sales of 60,000, was for a time Mushroom Record's highest selling single) and 'He's My Number One' hit No. 4 in 1980. To top it off, Allen was also the voice and star of the commercials for the soft drink Tarino - a Fanta like orange drink.
If the jingle 'Come Tarino with Me' had been released as a single it in all likelihood would have topped the charts. Top music show Countdown, hosted by Ian 'Molly' Meldrum, named Allen the Queen of Pop at the Countdown Awards in 1979 and 1980. Subsequent singles followed, but could never match her earlier success. Illness prevented Allen from promoting her career and she soon retired. Christie died at her home in country Western Australia on 12th August 2008 following a battle with pancreatic cancer, age 54.
19. Call Me - Blondie
Blondie was an American rock band who pioneered the early American punk rock and New Wave scene. Originally billed as Angel & The Snake, the band soon renamed themselves Blondie - the name was taken from comments from truck drivers who called "Hey Blondie" to lead singer Deborah Harry as they drove by. Their first commercial success came in Australia in 1977 when the music TV program Countdown mistakenly played their video 'In the Flesh', which was the B-side of their current single 'X-Offender'. The video was well received and gained popularity through repeated screenings.
In the late 70s, Deborah Harry worked with the German songwriter and producer Giorgio Moroder, who was responsible for some of Donna Summer's biggest hits, and they composed the song 'Call Me' for the soundtrack of the film, American Gigolo. The song became the biggest hit of Blondie's career, spending seven weeks at No.1. Their album Autoamerican was released shortly after and contained two more worldwide hits, the reggae styled "The Tide Is High" and the hip-hop 'Rapture'. 'Rapture' was the first song containing elements of rap music vocals to reach No. 1 in the U.S. and helped introduce the then underground hip-hop genre to a larger audience. Blondie's popularity declined rapidly and disbanded in 1982.
20. The Winner Takes It All - ABBA
This song was always destined to go down as a true ABBA classic, and is arguably the best recording they ever made, featuring Agnetha in the performance of her ABBA career. Even at the writing stage, sitting together head to head, Benny at the piano and Björn with his acoustic guitar sensed they were on to something special. The first attempt at a backing track was an up-tempo arrangement with a regular, insistent beat. It sounded fine, but the songwriters felt it wasn't exactly what they were after so they let the song rest for a few days.
Four days later, Benny came up with a "chanson-style", descending piano line, loosening up the structure considerably and giving the song a better flow. As a guide demo for this new arrangement, Björn put down a vocal track with a France nonsense lyric. On this particular night Björn opened a bottle of whisky and drank freely during the writing process. He claims it was the quickest lyric he ever wrote and also one of the best. Anyone wanting a lesson in pop song structure, and a near-perfect blend of music, lyrics, arrangement and vocal performance, need look no further than this recording.
5. Magic - Olivia Newton-John
In 1980, Olivia starred in a rather forgettable film called Xanadu. The best thing about it was a number of songs in it sing by Olivia. 'Magic', the first single released from the Xanadu soundtrack album, became a No. 1 hit and stayed in the top spot for five weeks. It prompted the release of the title song, sung by Olivia and backed by the Electric Light Orchestra, also as a single. With an Olivia Newton-John & Gene Kelly duet 'Whenever You're Away From Me' on the B-side, it reached No. 2.
6. People - Mi-Sex
Mi-Sex was new wave rock band from New Zealand who were active from 1978 to 1985. Led by Steve Gilpin as vocalist, they were best known for their single 'Computer Games' in 1979. After recording 'People', Steve Gilpin remained in Australia and worked with a number of bands including Under Rapz. In November 1991, Steve was involved in a car accident in Australia while returning to his home after a gig in Coolangatta. He lapsed into a coma from which he never recovered. He died in Southport Hospital on 6th January 1992.
7. No Secrets - The Angels
The Angels, fronted by Doc (Bernard) Neeson, were a hard rock band from Adelaide that had relocated to Sydney. On New Years Eve 1979, the band played in front of almost 100,000 people on the steps of the Sydney Opera House. Doc Neeson received a few cuts to the head from the noisy crowd and Chris Bailey was knocked unconscious and hospitalised. In America they changed their name to Angel City. Epic issued the band's Face to Face album in 1980, a compilation from the Australian albums Face To Face and No Exit, for the American and European market. The Kinks threw the band off their American tour, supposedly for being too good. The single "No Secrets" reched No. 8 in Australia.
8. You Shook Me All Night Long - AC/DC
AC/DC was formed in Sydney in 1973 by rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young and his brother, lead guitarist Angus Young. The pair were the younger brothers of George Young, bandmember and songwriter for The Easybeats. The band has sold over 150 million albums worldwide, making them one of the most successful hard rock acts ever. Their 1980 album Back in Black has sold 42 million units worldwide (21 million in the US alone) and is the second highest selling album of all time. In its recording career, the band has had two distinctive lead singers, and its fans tend to divide its history into the Bon Scott era (1974-80), and the Brian Johnson era (1980-present). 'You Shook Me All Night Long' was the first single to be released with Brian Johnson as lead singer, who replaced Bon Scott following the latter's death in February 1980. The song was an unstated tribute to Scott.
9. Can't Help Myself - Flowers
Icehouse was formed in 1977 as Flowers by Iva Davies, classically trained musician who was the main creative force, and bass player, Keith Welsh. Flowers built up a strong following as a live act around Sydney, noted for their distinctive cover versions of songs by a wide range of acts including T-Rex and Brian Eno. After signing with Festival Records, they released their first album Icehouse in 1980, which became a hit in Australia. A single from this album, also called 'Icehouse', created some interest in the UK, partly because of a memorable video. Other singles included 'Can't Help Myself' and 'Walls'. The album was innovative for its time as it made extensive use of synthesisers. With the success of the album Icehouse and the singles from it, the band dropped the name Flowers aqnd adopted the name of their first album as their own.
10. Shaddup You Face - Joe Dolce
Like a breath of fresh air on the popular music landscape, Joe Dolce's ode to Australia's European Baby Boomer migrant kids continues to hold the record for the most successful song in Australian music history. Over 40 cover versions have been released with translations into 10 languages, including Papua New Guinea 'pidgin' and the Australian Aboriginal Indjibundji dialect. Dolce was not born in Italy, as many believe, but in Painesville, Ohio. He attended Ohio University in the 1960s, became a folk and country and western singer before moving to Melbourne. In 1979, he wrote and recorded 'Boat People', translated into Vietnamese and performed before diplomats of the Vietnamese National Convention in Melbourne in that year.
Woman In love - Barbra Streisand
One of a number of songs written by The Bee Gees as their career headed for the wilderness when the disco bubble burst. After their wildly successful contributions to the 1978 movie Saturday Night Fever, they were asked to work on an album for Streisand, which became Guilty. It was Streisand's best-selling album. 'Woman In Love' was a US No.1 hit. Her four year streak of No.1 hits started in 1977 with 'Love Theme From A Star Is Born (Evergreen)'. In 1978 it was 'You Don't Bring Me Flowers', a duet with Neil Diamond. The following year it was 'No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)', a duet with Donna Summer. Two other songs from the album hit US Top 10, and both were duets with Barry Gibb: 'Guilty' and 'What Kind of Fool'. 'Guilty' won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal by Duo or Group. Hear the song online
Coming Up - Paul McCartney
The tame studio version was released as a single, but DJs flipped it over and began playing the "Live at Glasgow" version, which hit No. 1. Nowadays, that's the version more widely known. Paul and Linda McCartney are the only people in the video, playing all the band members. This song began a run of "one person plays the whole band" singles/videos such as Phil Collins' 'You Can't Hurry Love' and 'Two Hearts', and Outkast's 'Hey Ya'. Paul wrote 'Coming Up' in the late 70's and performed it several times with Wings in concert but never released it until his solo album, McCartney II, in 1980. The live version was recorded with Wings during a concert in Glasgow in 1979. The McCartney II album was quite uncommercial, and recorded entirely at his home. His first album entitled McCartney had also recorded at his home studio 10 years earlier, and that is why this is called McCartney II. View the video online
Do That To Me One More Time - The Captain & Tennille (right)
In July 1976 Captain & Tennille were invited by First Lady Betty Ford to perform in the East Room of the White House in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II and President Ford during the US Bicentennial celebrations. Neil Bogart had signed them to a contract with Casablanca Records, and they reached No.1 with "Do That to Me One More Time" in January 1980. Subsequent singles achieved only moderate success, and when Bogart died in 1982, the company went bankrupt, and the duo were right without a record company. They signed with CBS Records but, not being able to find a niche there, were released from their contract.
During the duo's period of highest popularity, Tennille also worked as a session singer (most frequently partnered with Beach Boy Bruce Johnston), performing backup on no fewer than three Elton John albums including Caribou, Blue Moves and 21 At 33 and most notably on "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". She also appeared as a backup vocalist on tracks by Art Garfunkel and The Beach Boys, as well as Pink Floyd for whom she performed backing tracks on The Wall album. View the video online
It's Still Rock n' Roll To Me - Billy Joel
Critics tore Joel to pieces over this song and the Glass Houses album in general for being so "commercial". The album is a testament to Joel's love of pop music in all it's many styles. It is not at all uncommon for a piano player to be very versatile musically if he has any real talent, and to develop a love of a lot of different musical genres. Since rock music tends to be dominated by guitarists who develop a signature playing style, the rock establishment tends to revere distinctive style and technique over versatility. By refusing to go along with that expectation, Joel became something of a rebel. But what the rock establishment failed to realise is that by its treatment of Joel, it had become the music establishment it once rejected. View the video online
Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
This track was Queen's last big hit. John Deacon, who wrote it, once said that he got the title from viewing old cowboy movies, but also that he saw a documentary about the St. Valentines day Massacre and it inspired him to write this song, hence the reference to machine guns. View the video online
Crying - Don McLean (right)
"Crying", written by Roy Orbison, was first released by Roy as a single in 1961 and became one of The Big O's best sellers. Orbison claimed to have written this as the result of an encounter he had with an old flame with whom he still was in love with. He failed to tell her how much she meant to him, and when he ran into her again later, it was too late. In 1978 Don McLean recorded a cover version for his Chain Lightning album. It was originally released as a single in Europe, as it was not expected to be a big seller in English language markets were Orbison's version was both well known and well loved. Considerable airplay in those markets led to it being released in 1980, when it became a surprise top 5 hit all over again. View the video online
The Tide Is High - Blondie
Although made popular by Blondie (and later remade by Atomic Kitten), "The Tide is High" was actually written by Jamaican DJ, Duke Reid, in the 1930s. It was recorded onto a piano roll and many years later arranged by John Holt for the Paragons who released their version of it in the 1960s. After they disbanded, Holt did an updated version. Blondie, a Punk/New Wave band in their early years, experimented with many different sounds. This song was their foray into Reggae, but they played around with Rap on "Rapture" and with Disco on "Heart Of Glass."
In a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Sean (son of Beatle John) Lennon said: "My father had an old Wurlitzer in the game room of our house on Long Island. It was filled with 45s, mostly Elvis and The Everly Brothers. The one modern song I remember him listening to was 'The Tide Is High' by Blondie, which he played constantly. When I hear that song, I see my father, unshaven, his hair pulled back into a ponytail, dancing to and fro in a worn-out pair of denim shorts, with me at his feet, trying my best to coordinate tiny limbs." View the video online
Xanadu - Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra
"Xanadu" is the title song from the 1980 movie of the same name. It was one of the most critically and commercially panned films in Hollywood history, a 'Nouveau Art' musical with Art Deco themes, a weirdly conceived animated interlude, and performances of such widely varying calibre that a viewer might wonder if the actors were all reading from the same script! The film starred Olivia Newton-John (right) and Gene Kelly in his last movie role. The (incomplete) poem Kubla Khan, on which the film was based, was written by Samuel Taylor-Coleridge.
He apparently began writing the poem while under the influence of drugs, but after the drug-trip wore off, he was unable to complete it. Unfortunately, such was not the fate of this film. Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra appear to have been the only ones who survived this fiasco in one piece - this song was the only ELO track to ever reached the top of the UK charts, and Olivia's fans quickly forgave her for this black mark on her otherwise clean copybook. View the video online
All Out of Love - Air Supply
Air Supply formed in 1975 when Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock met as cast members on the stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar. In 1977 they toured Australia with Rod Stewart. They were then invited to tour North America with Stewart, enabling them to break into the American market. Air Supply had a string of hits, all love-themed soft rock ballads, including "Lost in Love", "Every Woman in the World", "Even the Nights Are Better", "The One that You Love", "Making Love out of Nothing at All" and "Lonely is the Night" (along with this one). Curiously, this was Air Supply's only chart entry in the UK. View the video online
Celebration - Kool and the Gang
This post-disco upbeat dance song was Kool And The Gang's only American No.1. It is commonly played at weddings, parties, sporting events and just about anywhere there is something to be celebrated. It was played to help welcome home the 52 freed American hostages from Iran in 1981. Three years later in 1984 it was played to hail presidential candidate Walter Mondale's nomination at the Democratic convention. View the video online
Cheap Wine - Cold Chisel (right)
For many of their fans, Cold Chisel weren't just a band, they were a lifestyle to some of the roughest men in the land. This gave Chisel their hard living approach to their music and made them a tough live band that dominated the pub rock era. They are the only Australian band to have sold more records after breakup than before and have become trans-generational. The Chisel repertoire included such Australian anthems as the landmark Vietnam War song "Khe Sanh", "Bow River", "Flame Trees" and "Saturday Night". Other Cold Chisel classics which still frequently get airtime on radio and in bars/pubs, include Cheap Wine (1980), Forever Now (1982) and Flame Trees (1984). Many of their hits came from the pen of band member Don Walker who became the major creative force of the band, particularly in the early years. View the video online
Could I Have This Dance - Anne Murray
The 1970s could well be called Anne Murray's decade, she being one of only a handful of artists to have a top ten hit in all but one year of that decade - "Snowbird" (1970), "Talk It Over In The Morning" (1971), "Danny's Song" (1972), "A Love Song" (1973), a remake of the Beatles' "You Won't See Me" (1974), "The Call" (1976), "You Needed Me" (1977), "I Just Fall In Love Again" (1978), "Shadows in the Moonlight" and "Broken-Hearted Me" (1979), a remake of The Monkees' "Daydream Believer" (1979), followed by "Could I Have This Dance", from the movie, Urban Cowboy, in 1980. Other songs from the Urban Cowboy soundtrack album that were released as singles were Johnny Lee's "Looking for Love", "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" sung by the Charlie Daniels Band and "Love The World Away" by Kenny Rogers. View the video online
Coward Of The County - Kenny Rogers (right)
Rogers followed up his multi-million selling album The Gambler with another top-selling album, simply titled Kenny, that followed the same sucessful formula. From it came another international No.1 hit single, "Coward of the County". In the late 1970s Kenny teamed up with close friend and country singer Dottie West for a series of albums and duets. Together the duo had three hit albums, selling out stadiums and arenas while on tour. Their hits together "Every Time Two Fools Collide", "Anyone Who Isn't Me Tonight" and "What Are We Doin' In Love" became Country standards. Later in 1980 came his partnership with Lionel Richie who wrote and produced Rogers' No.1 hit "Lady". Richie went on to write and produce Rogers' 1981 album Share Your Love, a chart topper and commercial favorite featuring hits such as "I Don't Need You" and "Through The Years". He went on to work with the Bee Gees to record and produce his 1983 hit album, Eyes That See In The Dark, featuring the title track and yet another No.1 hit "Islands in the Stream," a duet with country singer Dolly Parton. View the video online
Super Trouper - ABBA (right)
"Super Trouper" proved to be another successful charting single for ABBA, providing the group with their ninth and final No.1 in the UK (their 2nd last in Australia), whilst also topping the charts in many other countries. In the USA, where ABBA never quite managed to achieve the same success they experienced elsewhere, the single only reached No.45. However, combined with "Lay All Your Love on Me" and "On and On and On", it managed to top the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart.
The name "Super Trouper" referred to the gigantic spotlights used in stadium concerts. It is widely known that ABBA were not always fond of performing onstage, preferring the confines of the studio than to being on tour. This is reflected in this song's lyrics which, in typical ABBA style, are presented as happy and upbeat, yet are tinged with an underlying hint of sadness. The title track from their 1980 studio album Super Trouper, the song was written by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. When the album, already named Super Trouper, had nine songs included on it, a tenth was needed to complete it. Thus, a new song was created, conceived in a number of days, about life on the road for the foursome. The lead vocal was performed by Anni-Frid Lyngstad. View the video online
Don't Stand So Close to Me - The Police (right)
As this song is about a teacher who lusts after one of his students, and Sting (real name Gordon Sumner) was a teacher before joining the band, The Police, many fans speculated the lyric was drawn from personal experience. Sting has denied this, stating that it is based on the novel, Lolita, which is about an older man who pursues underage girls. He also pointed out that he didn't even write the song - Zenyatta Mondatta did - and that The Police had sourced it from the Motown archives. There is good reason for the chorus sounding similar to the introduction to Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" (compare the lines "Don't stand so close to me" with "I want my MTV") - Sting sings on "Money For Nothing" and helped write it; that's him at the beginning singing "I want my MTV." While Dire Straits were in Montserrat recording their Brother In Arms album, Sting was holidaying there and came by to help out. Sting did not want a songwriting credit for it, but his record company did because they would have earned royalties from it. Sting later used the theme he added to the beginning of Dire Straits "Money For Nothing" for this later composition. View the video online
Fame - Irene Cara (right)
"Fame" is the title song for a 1980 movie about a New York performing arts school - Fiorello LaGuardia High. It followed the stories of the students who aspired to stardom. Irene Cara played the role of Coco Hernandez in the film and also sang this song, which captured the spirit of the students determined to make sure people remember their names. The lyrics have a double drug-addict/aspiring performer meaning. In the musical, the character, Coco Hernandez, dies of an overdose.
She represents those performers who "flame out" in their pursuit of fame. The movie was spun off into a TV show in 1982, with this song used as its theme, sung by Erica Gimpel (Janet Jackson was on the show for a season). When the single was first released, it flopped in the UK, but two years later it hit No.1 as a result of the TV series. Singer Lesley Gore's brother Michael Gore wrote this song with lyricist Dean Pitchford. "Fame" won the 1980 Oscar for Best Original Song, and Gore won an Oscar for Best Score. Cara won the same award three years later with the song, "Flashdance - What A Feeling". View the video online
He's So Shy - Pointer Sisters
R&B group The Pointer Sisters achieved their greatest commercial success demonstrating their versatility in the early years of the 1980s. In 1980 the medium tempo dance single, "He's So Shy", reached No.3 on the charts, and the following year a slow, sultry, country and western flavoured song, "Slow Hand", reached No.2. The follow-up, "Should I Do It" was classic girl-group. Their first release for 1982 was "American Music", a patriotic themed modernised take on the girl-group sound while "I'm So Excited" was an influential frenetic dance track. All these singles were significant hits in the US and were also successful in Australia, where all but "American Music" reached the Top 20. View the video online
Jesse - Carly Simon (right)
During a show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while touring to promote her album, Come Upstairs, Simon collapsed onstage of exhaustion. She subsequently largely retired from performing in the 1980s. She had a top 20 hit with this single from that album. Simon also contributed the song "Be With Me" to the 1980 album, In Harmony A Sesame Street Record, produced by her sister Lucy and Lucy's husband, David Levine. "Jesse" was written by Carly Simon and Mike Mainieri. View the video online
Little Jeannie - Elton John
In 1979, the songwriting team of Elton John and Bernie Taupin reunited after an extended break. John's album, 21 at 33, released in the following year, was a significant career boost. Sales were aided by this, Elton's biggest hit in four years, although its lyrics were written by Gary Osborne (Elton John also worked with lyricists Tom Robinson and Judie Tzuke during this period). His 1981 follow-up album, The Fox, was recorded in part during the same sessions and also included collaborations with both lyricists.
On 13th September 1980 Elton John performed a free concert to an estimated 400,000 fans on the Great Lawn in Central Park in New York City, within hearing distance of his friend John Lennon's apartment building. "Little Jeannie" was included in the concert. Three months later, Lennon would be murdered in front of that same building. Elton John mourned the loss in his 1982 hit "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)", from his Jump Up! album. He performed the tribute at a sold-out Madison Square Garden show in August 1982, joined on stage by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon, John's godchild. View the video online
The Rose - Bette Midler
"The Rose" was written by Los Angeles singer/songwriter Amanda McBroom. Bette Midler recorded it for the 1980 movie of the same name, which she starred in. Of the song, McBroom recalls: "A song came on the radio. It was 'Magdalena' by Danny OKeefe, sung by Leo Sayer. I liked it immediately. My favorite line was, 'You're love is like a razor. My heart is just a scar.' I thought, 'Ooh, I love that lyric, but don't agree with the sentiment that love is a razor.' As I continued to drive down the road the thought came, "What, then, do I think love is." Suddenly, it was as if someone had opened a window in the top of my head. Words came pouring in. I had to keep reciting them to myself as I drove faster and faster towards home, so I wouldnt forget them. I screeched into my driveway, ran into the house, past various bewildered dogs and cats and husbands, and sat down at the piano.
Ten minutes later, The Rose was there. A year or so later, a professional songwriter friend of mine said, 'Listen, there is this movie coming out called The Rose, based on the life of Janis Joplin. They are looking for a title tune. Do you want me to submit this to them? I had never really tried to submit a song to anyone. I didn't consider myself a songwriter at the time. So I said, 'Sure.' The producers hated it. They thought it was dull and not Rock And Roll and totally wrong. They put it in the reject box. But Paul Rothchild, who had been Janis Joplin's producer, and now the music supervisor on the film, hauled it out and asked them to reconsider. They again said no. So he mailed it to Bette Midler, the star of the movie. She liked it, lobbied in favor of it; and that's how it got into the film and changed my life forever."
You May Be Right - Billy Joel (right)
'You May Be Right' is the opening track to Billy Joel's album, Glass Houses. In this song, Joel takes the persona of a person who is told he is reckless. Joel confirms the suspicion, admitting that he is crazy and extolling the virtues of a more carefree, but dangerous existence. Before the song starts, there is the sound of shattered glass, to match the cover picture of Joel throwing a rock into the window of an all-glass house, as a parody of the saying "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." This song, along with other tracks on the album, was Joel's statement to his critics. The glass house pictured on the album cover was actually Joel's own house. View the video online