1. Eye Of The Tiger - Survivor
This song was the theme song to Rocky III, which was the biggest movie of 1982. Tony Scotti was the president of Survivor's record label, and he played Sylvester Stallone some tracks from the previous Survivor album, Premonition. Stallone thought the sound, writing style and street appeal could fit in his new movie. Peterik recalls: "When we got the initial rough cut of the movie, the scene that 'Eye Of The Tiger' appears in was cut to 'Another One Bites The Dust' by Queen.
Frankie and I are watching this, the punches are being thrown, and we're going, 'Holy crap, this is working like a charm.' We called Stallone and said, 'Why aren't you using that?' He goes, 'Well, we can't get the publishing rights to it.' Frankie and I looked at each other and went, 'Man, this is going to be tough to beat.' We had the spirit of, 'We've got to try to top this.' I started doing that now-famous dead string guitar riff and started slashing those chords to the punches we saw on the screen, and the whole song took shape in the next 3 days."
2. What About Me? - Moving Pictures Days Of Innocence, the 1981 album of Aussie R&B band Moving Pictures, featured many strong ballads that belied their live act. The biggest of these was the single "What About Me", which had been written by Garry Frost who, at the time was working with autistic children in his day job. He'd literally gone out to get lunch at his local shop in the Sydney suburb of Annandale and seen a small boy not being noticed waiting at the counter. He was moved by the vision sufficiently to pen the song. It was rarely played live by the band, and when it was it was in a modern country style. It was destined to never be recorded had their debut album's producer Charles Fisher not heard Frost and Alex Smith tinkling around with the tune on the studio piano during a break in recording.
Fisher had Moving Pictures record the song against their better judgement as it was not the direction they wanted to go. "What About Me", with its classical sounding kettle drum roll at the beginning, stayed at the top of the Australian music charts for seven weeks. It also made the American Top 20. Moving Pictures were signed to the Elektra distribution label in the US and just as the song started to chart very successfully there, Elektra went broke. This was Moving Pictures' only chance of making it in the US and it was shot. Ironically, the success of "What About Me" signalled the beginning of the end for the band. Garry right in 1984, feeling it had lost its direction. Other band members followed one by one and Moving Pictures eventually disbanded in 1987, but their song that shone so brightly remains. It was re-recorded in 2004 by Australian Idol runner up, Shannon Noll. His version also went to No.1, making it the only song to ever reach the top spot twice by different artists.
3. Tainted Love - Soft Cell
A cover of a 1964 song by soul singer, Gloria Jones. She was good friends with Marc Bolan, and joined his group, T-Rex, as a backup singer and keyboard player in 1974. They later married, and she was driving the car (a Mini) at the time of the accident that killed him in Barnes Common, South London in 1976. The original version of this song by Gloria Jones became something of a hit on the UK. It was written by Ed Cobb, who was the manager of the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband, for whom he also wrote songs. Soft Cell started recording this as a throwaway cover song. The whip-crack sounds were made on hand-held synth-drums; the style of the backing vocals were copied from "Heart Full of Soul" by the Yardbirds. As AIDS began to spread, this song took on new meaning. Soft Cell's Mark Almond thinks there is an unintentional relation to this song to the rise of AIDS in gay communities when it was released.
4. Centrefold - J Geils Band
This song was used in the UK as a kind of "End of Term" anthem in the 1980s. It was the band's biggest hit in their native America although they had a number of major US singles chart successes between their formation in 1967 and 1985, when they split up, but in early 1982, it became their only big hit in Britain. The band, formed in 1967 in Worcester, Massachusetts, had a successful R&B-influenced blues-rock sound in the 1970s, before moving towards a more pop-influenced sound in the 1980s.
5. Key Largo - Bertie Higgins
It is a littler known fact that Bertie Higgins' 1982 debut hit, 'Just Another Day In Paradise', actually marked his return to music. He had not undertaken a musical endeavour since 1968, when he retired to his home town of Tarpon Springs, Florida after his group, The Roemans, disbanded. The Roemans had recorded a series of singles between 1964 and 1968. Higgins worked on a collection of songs over the course of the 1970s, forming the basis of Just Another Day In Paradise - an album that became a hit, and the single, "Key Largo", from it soared into the Top 10. The song is themed around a Humphrey Bogart movie. In 1994, Higgns released a new album, Then and Now, which received little attention. Though he has never had another hit single, he continues to perform, especially the Pacific Rim, Australia and small venues with his backing group named Band of Pirates.
6. Mickey - Toni Basil
Originally recorded as "Kitty" by Racey - in the original version, Kitty was a girl. The song was penned by the songwriting team of Mike Chapman and Nancy Chinn, who wrote several pop hits, including "Love Is A Battlefield" and "Ballroom Blitz." Basil got the idea for the video before she found the song. "I wanted to do something with a cheerleader image." The cheerleaders in the video were members of a championship squad from Carson high school in Los Angeles.
Basil met them at a competition where she was shooting a video of cheerleading choreography. Two years after this single was released, Basil tried to follow it up with a song called "Over My Head," but it went nowhere. She declined to have a Paul Oakenfold remix version of this song released in 1999 - a decision she must surely have regretted later in the year when teenager Lolly went to No.4 in the UK with a cover often referred to as the worst remake in history. Basil is today a busy, accomplished choreographer who has worked on dance numbers for many TV shows and movies, and often appears on camera herself.
7. I Love Rock'n'Roll - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
First recorded by British group The Arrows in 1975 who had some success in England and even had their own TV show there, but they made only one album before breaking up. This wasn't on that album, it was released as the B-side of a single and later put out as an A-side. Jett was a member of an all teenage girl group called The Runaways when she discovered this song. The Runaways were touring England when Joan saw The Arrows perform the song on a TV show. She wanted to record it with The Runaways, but the other members didn't like the song and made the mistake of passing it up. Jett then recorded it with Paul Cook and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols.
When the Runaways broke up, Jett and Laguna put her first solo album together. In the original version, the lyrics are about a guy picking up a young girl and taking her home, which was fairly typical Rock and Roll subject matter. In Jett's version, it is a song about a girl who notices a guy next to a jukebox and brings him home to have sex. Other hit songs like "Physical" by Olivia Newton John and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar also had sexual overtones, but Jett sang about aggressively pursuing the guy, which for many women made this a female-empowerment anthem. This song helped shape Jett's image as a tough, confident rock star and became an inspiration to many female musicians.
8. Trouble - Lindsey Buckingham
On New Years Eve 1974, the singing duo of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac. However, during his years with Mac, Buckingham has embarked on a few solo projects. In 1981, he released his first solo album, Law and Order, playing nearly every instrument and featuring guest appearances by bandmates Mick Fleetwood and Christine McVie. The album spawned the hit single, "Trouble".
9. Believe It Or Not - Joey Scarbury
As a child Scarbury was continually encouraged by his mother in his ambition to sing. In 1969, after songwriter Jimmy Webb's father overheard his mother talk about Joey's ability to sing, the fourteen-year-old was signed to a recording contract and primed up for chart success. His first single, "She Never Smiles Anymore," didn't sell, so Scarbury was dropped frocm the label. He supported himself the following years by singing backup for artists like Loretta Lynn, and singing whatever he could get.
Although he had a minor chart single with "Mixed Up Guy" in 1971, real chart success escaped him for the rest of the decade. Scarbury's luck was to change when he started working for producer and composer Mike Post. Post was hired to write the theme song for a new TV series dubbed The Greatest American Hero, about a high school teacher who comes in possession with a super hero outfit; Scarbury was given the task of recording the song. When released it reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and gave Scarbury his first hit. This success was to be short-lived, however, and after charting at No.49 with the single "When She Dances," Scarbury disappeared from the charts. He went on to work with Post again in the mid-80s to record the song "Back to Back," for the television series Hardcastle and McCormick.
10. Hard To Say I'm Sorry - Chicago Chicago 16 is the sixteenth album by American rock band Chicago. Released in 1982, the album marked the beginning of a new era for Chicago in many ways: it was the first album in a decade-long association with new label Warner Bros; their first project produced by David Foster; and their first bonafide hit album since 1978's Hot Streets, making Chicago one of the first, if not, the first band to experience a significant and lengthy "second wind" in commercial fortunes, even eclipsing their considerable 1970s successes.
In 1981, realising that the band's commercial appeal and image was at an all-time low, they took steps to rectify the situation. They radically redifined Chicago's sound for the 1980s, utilising all the latest technologies and techniques, in addition to increasing the use of outside songwriters. Of all the band's members, Peter Cetera benefitted most from the stylistic changes, the adult contemporary leanings that permeated much of Chicago 16 suiting his voice and style. Upon its June 1982 release, Chicago 16 proved a big hit album, especially as "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" became the band's second No.1 single.
11. I've Never Been To Me - Charlene
How this song became a hit is one of popular music's more interesting stories. Composed by Ron Miller and Ken Hirsch, it was written with Robert Shaw's character from "Jaws" as its inspiration and with the lyric from a male perspective. When Charlene (born Charlene Marilynn D'Angelo) began working with producer Miller for her debut album, he re-wrote the lyrics from a female point of view. Charlene's "I've Never Been To Me" was actually recorded in 1976 and released as a single shortly thereafter. It charted at No.97 in the US and vanished from the charts.
Five years later, it was re-released after a Florida radio station started playing it to great public acclaim, by which time Charlene had abandoned her singing career, moved to England and was working in an Ilford, Essex sweet shop. The re-release became a huge hit in England and Australia as well. When her first album was repackaged and re-released as Songs of Love, an edited version of the song was included. Many had found the spoken bridge in the original to be too feminist and it was edited out for the US re-release. But when "I've Never Been To Me" began to gain attention in 1982, it was the original 1976 version that got the most airplay and became the most played and recognised version. Many who bought the single in the US were shocked and disappointed that it was different to the record receiving radio airplay.
12. Come On Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
Dexy's Midnight Runners were very popular in their homeland, the UK, and had several hits there, but elsewhere, Australia included, this would be their sole hit. Eileen was a girl that songwriter and band member Kevin Rowland grew up with. Their relationship became romantic when the pair were 13. The song describes the thin line between love and lust. The band's name was inspired by the amphetamine drug, Dexedrine. The band, however, claimed to have stayed away from drinking and drugs, saying nothing should interfere with their dedication to music, leaving many to question why they chose a name that identified them as drug runners.
13. Abracadabra - The Steve Miller Band
A catchy pop song with mild sexual innuendo that is far removed from the band's earlier work. The Steve Miller Band started out as a blues band in the 1960s, evolving into a Rock band in the 1970s. Miller was the first of several established rock artists to release a slick synth-pop song in the early 1980s. ZZ Top, Van Halen, and Yes also had hits with highly produced songs featuring synthesizers. They all lost some core fans as a result, but gained many more. This catchy Pop song with mild sexual innuendo is far removed from the band's earlier work. The Steve Miller Band started out as a Blues band in the 1960s, evolving into a Rock band in the 1970s.
14. If You Want My love - Cheap Trick
Cheap Trick, arguably one of the first pop-punk bands, hailed from Rockford, Illinois, and first gained popularity in the late 1970s. Cheap Trick's roots lie in Fuse, a late-1960s Illinois band formed by Rick Nielsen and bassist Tom Petersson; they released an unsuccessful album in 1969. Cheap Trick's first album recorded with Joe Brant at the helm, One on One, appeared in 1982. "If You Want My Love" was one of a number of singles released from the album; it was the only one to impact the charts in Australia.
15. I Ran - A Flock of Seagulls
New-wave synth-popsters A Flock of Seagulls became synonymous with the early 1980s space-pop movement (other exponents were Gary Numan, Missing Persons, the Buggles), which ushered in the dawn of MTV. Relying heavily on synthesizers and extravagant hairstyles, Flock dressed up their simple love songs with airtight hooks and pseudo-futuristic imagery ("Space Age Love Song"). Their debut self-titled album spawned three radio-ready singles, "Space Age Love Song," "Telecommunications" and the slightly paranoid-sounding "I Ran."
16. Hurts So Good - John Cougar
When this song was released, John Mellencamp was still known as Johnny Cougar, the name his manager had given him. The song won Mellencamp his first Grammy - Best Male Rock Vocal Performance of 1982. In his acceptance speech he said, "I don't know what to say, I'm just an idiot." It was reported that Mellencamp wrote this on his shower door with a bar of soap. The title came a result of a comment by one of Cougar's closest friends. Consequently, Cougar gave the friend half the composing credit, but by the time the record came out, he had lost track of him and the friend never did get any royalties.
17. Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go Go's
Relatively unknown in Australia, The Go-Go's were an American rock band formed in 1978. They are notable as the first all-woman band in rock to play their own instruments and write their own songs and achieve a No.1 Billboard hit with one of them. Rising to fame in the early-1980s, at first they played mainly pop punk but later defined themselves with the distinct sound of 1980s rock, chalking up five Top 40 US hits. Their debut album, Beauty and the Beat, was a surprise hit and topped the charts for six weeks. "Our Lips Are Sealed" and a new version of "We Got the Beat" were extremely popular singles in early 1982.
18. Six Months In A Leaky Boat - Split Enz
The 1982 Split Enz album Time & Tide maintained the band's new-found commercial strength after the revamp of their lineup, sound and image. However, the single "Six Months In A Leaky Boat" lifted from it engendered some controversy in Britain where some thought the song was a veiled attack on the British defence of the Falkland Islands after their invasion by the Argentinians (the song was actually recorded in January 1982, many months before the Falklands conflict). The banning of the song from the airwaves in Britain was a totally over-the-top reaction since the album clearly had a recurring nautical theme. Due to Tim Finn's input, particularly with lyrics reflecting personal situations ("Haul Away" was Tim Finn's life story in song), a number of critics jokingly referred to the album as Tim & Tide.
119. Shy Boy - Bananarama
An English girl group who found worldwide fame with their melodic pop and new wave songs, Bananarama were known for their unique vocal style which featured all members singing the same notes in unison (rather than three-part harmonies). Much of Bananarama's early material was recorded with all three members at the same microphone. The group was among the artists featured on the Band Aid single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?", and were the only artists to appear on both the original 1984 Band Aid and the 1989 Band Aid II versions. Bananarama experienced their greatest success during the period from 1984 to 1989. Their debut album, Deep Sea Skiving (1983), contained two hit singles; "Really Saying Something" and "Shy Boy". The next album, Bananarama (1984), contained the UK hit singles "Cruel Summer" and "Robert De Niro's Waiting". "Cruel Summer" was featured in the movie, The Karate Kid.
20. Ebony and Ivory - Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder
During the 1980's Stevie Wonder (right) entered a phase of his career which was perhaps his most successful commercially. However, critics panned most of his work in this period, stating that it failed to live up to his previous outings. During this time, Stevie seemed more interested in making music for people rather than for himself or other reasons. Hits like "Ebony and Ivory," " I Just Called to Say I Love You," " Part Time Lover," " Overjoyed," and "That's What Friends are For" reflected this feeling. His mini-duet with Bruce Springsteen in the benefit song, "We are the World", remains as one of the weirdest yet most powerful and memorable musical exchanges ever.
2. Six Months In A Leaky Boat - Split Enz
3. Down Under - Men At Work
The song, which topped the charts in Australia in late 1981 and in the US and the UK in 1982, got its first spark of life from a cassette made by Ron Strykert, who played guitar with Hay in Melbourne band, Men At Work. Mucking around at home, Strykert had filled up a bunch of bottles with different levels of water and struck them to come up with a percussive melody. The opening of 'Down Under' is a reference to that tape. Hay got the idea for the chorus melody while in his car. "It was 1978 and I was driving down Power Street in Hawthorn," he recalls. "It just popped into my head. The verses and all the chords came a day or two later. It took about half an hour or 45 minutes and they were done." Hay had come to live in Australia from his native Scotland at the age of 14, and he feels that it was his fascination with his new country that fuelled the song. "The chorus was coming from the standpoint of my fear and trepidation of Australia becoming Americanised and overdeveloped, and in the process losing its spirit.
The verses were more the 'Barry McKenzie' aspect of the song, and that thing where it's almost a rite of passage for young Australians to travel through Asia and India, and go back to find out where their families come from in England or Ireland or Scotland." As for the famous line about the Vegemite sandwich, Hay actually did have a friend who walked into a bakery in Brussels and was attempting to converse in the native tongue when the guy behind the counter explained that he was from Brunswick in Melbourne. The song was "a lot slower and more dreamy" at first, before developing into the bouncy tune that forever became associated in Australia with the 1983 America's Cup challenge.
4. Forever Now - Cold Chisel
Cold Chisel, fronted by Jimmy Barnes, produced the canonical example of Australian pub rock, with a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and they are acknowledged as one of the most popular and successful Australian groups of the period, although this success and acclaim was almost completely restricted to Australia. While typically classified as a hard-driving rock band, the Chisel repertoire included such songs as the landmark Vietnam War anthem, "Khe Sanh", "Bow River", "Flame Trees" and "Saturday Night", but also included thoughtful ballads like "Choir Girl" (written about the subject of abortion), pop-flavoured love songs like "My Baby" and caustic political statements like "Star Hotel", an attack on the late-1970s government of Malcolm Fraser that was inspired by a riot at a Newcastle pub. "Forever Now" stands as one of their most technically refined recordings. Also released on the album, Circus Animals, the song was written by Chisel's drummer Steve Prestwich became the unlikely pop meister of the band.
5. Body And Soul - Jo Kennedy
"Body And Soul" is otherwise known as "She's Got Body, She's Got Soul", a Split Enz song written by Tim Finn. The reason for the name change is because the song featured under its alterative name in an Australian film, Starstruck. The movie's story centres around a teen named Jackie (Jo Kennedy) who dreams of becoming a rock star. With the help of her cousin Angus (Ross O'Donovan) they pull a stunt to attract the attention of a TV show host, Terry (John O'May). Kennedy, in the first of a number of film roles, sings "Body And Soul".
6. Solid Rock - Goanna
In Australia, the band Goanna were a catalyst for a stream of socially-conscious folk-rock music in the 1980s. Their songs brought a voice to the 'stolen generation', and showed all dimensions and facets of their homeland. Goanna's biggest hit, "Solid Rock," was a triple platinum-selling anthem, a call to the rights of Australia's indigenous people. It was a testament to Uluru - and to the change it made to lead singer-songwriter Shane Howard's life. In May 1980, on a doctor's advice, Howard had taken a month's hiatus from Goanna and travelled to Ayers Rock (Uluru). A chance meeting with the Aboriginal tribes at Uluru that gave Howard a new direction for his music. In those days there was no resort or accommodations, just a dirt road for 300 kms to get there.
He attended an Aboriginal tribal meeting there one evening. "It was a very amazing experience, it changed my whole perception of the depth of aboriginal culture and spirituality right there and then. I realized we were dealing with a culture that was very ancient, that had its own theology, its own spirituality that was very profound." On his way home, he saw "a different group of Aboriginals - ones that had been displaced from their homes, who suffered from racial abuse and intolerance, whose daily life consisted of a suicide cocktail of petrol (sniffing) and grog. I had come from this beautiful inspiring Aboriginal tradition, and the contrast between that and this harsh reality of conflict with western world 300 kilometers away, it marked me for all time. I saw an incredible injustice that needed to be dealt with. And also, I realized that this country that I grew up in, that I thought was my country, it wasn't. I had to re-assess my whole relationship with the land and the landscape, and understand that we had come from somewhere else, and we had disempowered a whole race of people when we arrived." By the time Howard arrived back in Melbourne, he had a new song for the group to record, based upon his experiences at Uluru - "Solid Rock."
7. Great Southern Land - Icehouse
Icehouse were one of a number of 80s groups who shook off Australia's cultural cringe and placed liberal doses of Australiana in their music. Like Goanna's "Solid Rock", Icehouse's "Great Southern Land", from their second album, Primitive Man, salutes Australia, the oldest continent on earth. "Great Southern Land" was featured in the late 1980s film, Young Einstein. The original video clip was filmed in a disused sandstone quarry in the Kuringai National Park near Sydney. Then, in 1989, when the song met its first release as a single in North America and Europe, a new clip had to be made to accompany the overseas single. This time, the background Australian landscapes were provided by the Myall Lakes National Park on the mid-north coast of New South Wales.
9. Down On The Border - The Little River Band
At the time Glenn Shorrock jumped ship, Little River Band's Beeb Birtles and Graham Goble had been writing songs for and producing John Farnham's comeback album, Uncovered. Goble agitated within the band to replace Glenn Shorrock with Farnham (right). Australia pricked up its ears, but America was in shock. This still successful band was replacing the singer of all their big hits with an unknown! Farnham walked straight into the recording studio to record the album, The Net, from which the first single with Farnham as lead singer, "Down On The Border", was lifted. Then it was Beeb Birtles' turn to leave, replaced by David Hirshfelder. Farmham's LRB material sold well in Australia but died everywhere else. In all, Farnham recorded three albums with LRB over four years, but the experiment never worked. Whatever John's talents, America longed for Glenn Shorrock. At the end of 1985, while LRB was seriously contemplating its future, Farnham took the initiative of leaving to start work on another solo album (Whispering Jack).
10. Lady, What's Your Name - Swanee
John Swan (Swanee) was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and migrated to South Australia with his family. If the story sounds a bit like Jimmy Barnes' story, that's because they are brothers. Swanee got into music first, in fact it was he who introduced his kid brother to a hot new band back when their stage was the back of a truck. The band became Cold Chisel. Whilst Swanee has never had the same high profile as his younger brother, he has been a performer all along, often as a support act for everyone from Tina Turner to Deep Purple. "Lady, What's Your Name" was lifted off Swanee's 1982 album, This Time It's Different.
Waiting For A Girl Like You - Foreigner
Foreigner, masters at the Powar Ballad, formed in 1976 and became known for its formulaic compositions and heavy reliance on keyboards. During the making of the band's synth-oriented 4 album in 1982, two members right, but that didn't stop it from being completed and rocketing to No. 1 on its release. From the album came two top 10 singles, "Waiting For a Girl Like You" and "Urgent." The 1984 follow-up album, Agent Provocateur, reached No. 4 and contained the No. 1 hit, "I Want to Know What Love Is." As was customary for popular bands at their peak, Foreigner took some time off in the mid-1980s so its members could pursue other projects. View the video online
Young Turks - Rod Stewart
Carmine Appice, the drummer in Stewart's band, wrote the music of this song with Duane Hitchings, who had also worked on Stewart's hit, "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." Says Appice: "Rod was always trying to be on the cutting at that time, so we did drum machine stuff. Duane had just gotten a sequencer, so we started screwing around and came up with the chords and melodies. We presented it to Rod. This one was easy because we used the whole concept that we came up with. We just transferred it from the 8-track that Duane had going right onto the 24-track. We used the drum machine and everything. Once we gave Rod the music, he wrote the lyrics." In English slang, a 'Young Turk' was a rebellious kind of teenager that would go against the grain. Many of Stewart's songs tell stories, this one tells the story of Billy, a kid who leaves his hometown and gets his girlfriend pregnant. Its video clip was the first video played on MTV that contained breakdancing. View the video online
The Day Before You Came - ABBA
Very few fans of ABBA realise the significance of this single - that it was actually the very last song the four Swedes recorded together before going their separate ways. The song was recorded for an ABBA album that never eventuated - ABBA never came back from what was always intended to be just an extended break from recording together to finish the album and resume their career together. "The Day Before You Came" was put down on 20th August 1982 and released before the end of that year, but sold poorly by ABBA standards and is the most forgotten of ABBA's gems. It tells of an average day in the life of an ordinary person.
At first it appears to be nothing more that a list of actions (I must have read the morning paper going into town... I must have made my desk around a quarter after nine with letters to be read and heaps of paper waiting to be signed, I must have gone to lunch at half past twelve or so). As the song heads towards its conclusion, the lyrics begin to sound like the most dull and depressing ever used in a pop song. And then, right at the end, the miracle happens as Agnetha declares: It's funny, but I had no sense of living without aim, the day before you came. Suddenly it all makes sense: boring lyrics represent a boring, pathetic life, until it is saved by love. This is a love song in which the word 'love' is not even quoted (and that's a rarity). The musical picture painted is of a life caught in the very moment before love steps in. To underline the great power of love, ABBA in their last song chose to sing about its absence, an appropriate ending to a volume of recorded work in which love was its main theme. The song is a literary gem. No wonder the song wasn't a hit; it probably wasn't mean to be. It was for posterity. View the video online
Chariots of Fire Theme - Vangelis
This piece was written for the 1981 movie, Chariots Of Fire, about two runners in the 1924 Olympic Games. It was used in a classic slow-motion scene where the pair are seen running. The scene has been spoofed many times, usually with this music or something similar used to complete the joke. One of the most memorable movie themes ever written, this piano piece is the work of Greek composer Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, otherwise known as Vengelis. Prior to his work on Chariots of Fire, Vangelis was best-known for his work with Aphrodite's Child, a band that also featured Demis Roussos, and the duo Jon and Vangelis ("Jon" was Jon Anderson of Yes). Chariots of Fire is a rare film in that it dared to use music that was 'out of period', in this case, synthesizer music to score a film that is set in the 1920's. Other examples of this are The Sting which is set in the 1930s, but uses Scott Joplin's ragtime pieces from the 1900s. Another is Ladyhawke which is set in the Middle Ages, but has a rock music score. View the video online
I Don't Wanna Dance - Eddy Grant
"I Don't Wanna Dance" was a hit in November 1982 for Eddy Grant. Written and produced by Grant it was the most successful of his solo singles in the UK and his first No.1 (in the UK) since "Baby Come Back" by The Equals in 1968. Grant, a native of Guyana, had many Pop and Ska groups in England and Barbados. His first band, The Equals, had three Top 10 hits in England in the 1960s. They were the first multi-racial band to find success in the UK. Many artists, including The Rolling Stones, record at Grant's studio in Barbados. "Electric Avenue" was the biggest hit Grant ever had, but it failed to reach the top 10 in Australia. View the video online
Who Can It Be Now? - Men At Work
This was the first single released by the Australian band, Men At Work, and it became a huge hit. The group started as an acoustic duo with singer Colin Hay (right) and guitarist Ron Strykert. After a few years playing pubs in Australia, they were discovered by an American who worked for CBS records and signed them. Colin Hay recalls: "I was up in the bush in Southern New South Wales with my girlfriend, just sitting outside at night. We had this little tree hut in the middle of the bush. It was a great place to kill the time, mess around with ideas. It was just an idea that popped out, it took about half and hour to write that song.
I was living in St. Kilda in Melbourne, which is a great part of Melbourne. At that particular time it was a very interesting area, it was frequented by everybody from the high Jewish population, punks, drug movers, all kinds of different people. My girlfriend at the time said, 'that will be your first hit, that song,' and she was right." The album Business As Usual stayed at No.1 in the US for 15 weeks, a record at the time for longest stay at the top for a debut album. The group won the Best New Artist Grammy Award in 1982. View the video online
Maneater - Daryl Hall & John Oates
"Maneater" was lifted off Hall & Oates' 1982 album, H2O. In 2006, the song and its subject matter were adapted and reinterpreted by Nelly Furtado in a recording by the same name from her album, Loose. The song was sampled once more when the Ying Yang Twins featuring Wyclef and Mr. Collipark released the song "Dangerous" in 2006. The Hall & Oates original version features a saxophone solo by Charles "Mr. Casual" DeChant. Its music video opens with a woman walking down a red staircase and the band, at first motionless, then playing in a dimly lit studio with shafts of light projecting down on them. This may be an attempt to mimic a bar-dance club setting. The band members step into and out of the light for their lip sync. A young woman in a short party dress is shown in fade-in and fade-out shots along with a black jaguar hence the song line "The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar" which likely refers to a gold digger who prefers to ride in an up-scale luxury automobile such as a Jaguar. View the video online
Ain't No Pleasing You - Chas & Dave
The unique cockney style singing of Londoners Chas & Dave was from the start intentional. "Rockney" has been coined as a term for their music style. They felt an alternative to the way British bands copied American accents was needed. Their songs have a distinct comic flavour, and Chas 'n' Dave are clearly identified with London pub culture. Their 1982 No.2 hit, "Ain't No Pleasing You" was a more romantic record than most of their repertoire, with strings added to the usual piano, drum and bass sound. Chas and Dave have remained popular in part because of the songs they have written and recorded for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, of whom both are fans. Hear the song online
Bad to the Bone - George Thorogood & The Destroyers
A blues-influenced rock song, "Bad to the Bone" was released in 1982 on the album of the same name. The song is one of the most recognised songs of the 1980s and is one of the most heavily licensed songs for commercials, TV shows and movies, along with Katrina and The Waves' hit, "Walking On Sunshine". The song's roots can be traced back to blues guitar legend Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man", which uses the same guitar riff and vocal rhythm. The song also holds a very similar melody to AC/DC's hit "Whole Lotta Rosie", released on their 1977 album Let There Be Rock. It was an early hit thanks to its memorable video on MTV, which was in its infancy and had very few titles to screen.
Almost any video played on MTV at that time became a hit because of the limited product and the medium being so new. The video intercut a live performance by Thorogood and his band with him playing a lengthy game of pool with Bo Diddley. Pool legend Willie Mosconi was summoned from another room by a spectator and he wagers a large sum of money on Diddley. As Thorogood appears to be winning, a group of children outside celebrate while Diddley gets a dirty look from Mosconi. It ends with Thorogood making the 8 ball drop into a pocket by flicking a large quantity of cigar ash on the floor, implying the ash made the ball fall in. The song was used in the bar scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
"Bad to the Bone" can also be heard in the remake of The Parent Trap (featuring Lindsay Lohan) in the poker scene, the opening credits to Major Payne, in the opening scene of Stephen King's Christine, as well as multiple episodes of the sitcom Married ... with Children and in the Super Nintendo classic game Rock 'n Roll Racing. The song also serves as the theme to Problem Child - with its main riff appearing throughout the movie. The lyrics of "Bad to the Bone" fits perfectly into the protagonist Junior, as it tells about someone incorrigibly bad. View The Terminator 2: Judgment Day clip | View the video of the live version online
Blue Eyes - Elton John
"Blue Eyes" was written by Elton John and Gary Osborne. It was released in 1982, both as a single and as part of the album Jump Up!. It was Elton John's second album recorded for Geffen Records and his sixteenth studio album in total. This album featured the song "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)" which was Elton John and Bernie Taupin's tribute to John Lennon. View the video online
Don't Go - Yazoo
Yazoo (known as Yaz in the US) was a short-lived but highly successful English synth-pop duo from Basildon, Essex that had a number of top ten hits in the British charts in the early 1980s. Heavily influenced by earlier bands like Kraftwerk, Yazoo expanded upon the synth-pop formula by juxtaposing Alison Moyet's bluesy and emotional vocals with Vince Clarke's clinical electronic hooks. Its sound referenced disco but added a more disaffected attitude that disco lacked. Their second album saw greater songwriting input from Moyet, adding a rather more mature and soulful flavour, particularly on the hit single "Nobody's Diary". The first two of their nine singles - "Don't Go" and "Only You" - were their biggest hits, reaching No. 6 and 7 in Australia. View the video online
Don't Talk To Strangers - Rick Springfield (right)
After a break of several years to do some acting, Rick Springfield returned to music in 1981 with the album Working Class Dog. Most notable on this album were the singles "Jessie's Girl", which went to No.1, and "I've Done Everything for You", written by Sammy Hagar. Springfield won a Grammy in 1982 for "Best Male Rock Vocal Performance" for "Jessie's Girl". He was also nominated for Grammys in 1982 and 1983. His subsequent release in 1982, the album, Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet, contained a string of US top 40 hits including the No.2 hit "Don't Talk to Strangers" and the ballad "What Kind of Fool Am I?" View the video online
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me - Culture Club (right)
The British band Culture Club came up with its soft Reggae beat when they put this song together after finding they had some spare studio time during a recording session for the Peter Powell Show on BBC Radio One. Lead singer Boy George had written the lyrics about his relationship with Culture Club drummer Jon Moss. They had an affair for about six years that was kept hidden from the public, and George often felt hurt and emotional.
At first, George didn't want it released as a single because it was such a personal song for him; when it was released, it reached No.1 in 23 countries. In the book 1000 UK No.1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, Boy George said: "It is a really well constructed song. It's probably the only proper song we've got with proper chord sequences and keyboard changes in it. It's just very musical. The most powerful songs in the world are love songs. They apply to everyone - especially kids who fall in and out of love more times than anyone else. At the end of the day, everybody wants to be wanted." View the video online
Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny) - Elton John
A tribute to John Lennon who was shot to death in 1980 by a deranged fan. In an interview, lyricist Bernie Taupin has identified the 'empty garden' referred to in the song as Madison Square Garden, New York, where, on 28th November 1974 (Thanksgiving night), Lennon had given his last live performance. Elton John appeared onstage with Lennon at that time; they sang "I Saw Here Standing There" which Lennon said was from "an old, estranged fiance of mine called Paul". Lennon and Elton had grown quite close as Elton and had convinced Lennon that his contribution to 20th century culture was far more profound than a few pop songs. Elton John has performed at Madison Square Garden more times than any other performer in the history of the Garden. In his only performance on Saturday Night Live in 1982 he performed this song, which he found particularly chilling because New York was still in shock from Lennon's murder. He then performed it at a sold-out Madison Square Garden show in August 1982, and was joined onstage by Lennon's wife Yoko Ono and son, Sean Lennon. View the video online
Girls On Film - Duran Duran
In an interview on the band's Greatest Hits DVD Collection, band member Simon Le Bon says that the controversy over the song's notoriously raunchy music video eclipsed the song's message of fashion model exploitation. MTV did not exist when Duran Duran made the video, which was very racy. They made it for video jukeboxes in bars that were not subject to broadcast regulation. The video showed the band with lots of girls posing for the camera, some of them in the nude. The BBC banned it, but MTV aired an edited version with the nudes removed. Duran Duran had a following in England, but were unknown elsewhere until MTV went on the air in August 1981 and started playing the video. As it became clear that videos were a big part of marketing a band, groups like ZZ Top, Van Halen and The Rolling Stones embraced the concept, while acts like REO Speedwagon faded away. The video was directed by Lol Creme and Kevin Godley, who were the leaders of the group 10cc, and also recorded as Godley And Creme. View the video online
Gypsy - Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac's 1982 Mirage album was a return to the more conventional for Fleetwood Mac following two solo turns by Nicks (Bella Donna) and Buckingham (Law and Order). Buckingham had been chided by critics, fellow bandmembers and music business managers for the limited commercial success enjoyed by the previous album, Tusk. Recorded at a chateau in France, Mirage was an attempt to recapture the huge success of Rumours. Its hits included Christine McVie's "Hold Me" and "Love In Store" (each song being co-written by Robbie Patton and Jim Recor respectively), Stevie Nicks' "Gypsy", and Lindsey Buckingham's "Oh Diane", which made the UK Top 10. View the video online
Heartlight - Neil Diamond (right)
Top 10 chart selection "Heartlight" was inspired by the blockbuster 1982 movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Though the film's title character is never actually mentioned anywhere in the lyrics, Universal Pictures, which had released E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, and was the parent company of the Uni Records label for which Diamond had recorded for years, briefly threatened legal action against both Diamond and Columbia Records.
Diamond wrote the song together with Carole Bayer Sager and her then-husband, Burt Bacharach. The song title came about from the fact that, when E.T. right Earth, his heart glowed a luminous red; hence the title of the song. The entire song is about an E.T. which came to earth but unfortunately never made it on time to the spacecraft. Many parts, especially the lyrics of the song, are based on the famous scenes in the movie. For example: "Don't wake me up too soon, Gonna take a ride across the moon, You and me" is a strong reference to E.T and Elliot riding a bicycle across the moon, as they headed towards the forest. View the video online
Hey Little Girl - Icehouse
Released in August 1982, the band's second album, Primitive Man, was a huge Australian hit and became Icehouse's international breakthrough. The hit single "Hey Little Girl" reached the UK Top 20 and has remained their most regularly played song. Another strong track from this album was "Great Southern Land", which made the Australian top 5 and was later featured in the late 1980s film, Young Einstein. View the video online
Hungry Like The Wolf - Duran Duran (right)
"Hungry Like the Wolf" was Duran Duran's second top 5 hit in the UK and was their breakout hit worldwide. It was their fifth single, released off their 1982 album, Rio, and has become one of the band's signature songs. Its popularity was boosted by MTV which played the accompanying music video in heavy rotation. The song was written and recorded quickly on a Saturday afternoon in the spring of 1982 at the basement studios of EMI's London headquarters. "That track came from fiddling with the new technology that was starting to come in," guitarist Andy Taylor has recalled in an interview. This was a reference to the rhythmic backing track they came up with by joining a Roland 808 drum machine with a sequencer and a Roland Jupiter 8 keyboard. "As soon as we heard that, we knew we had something, and I started working out a Marc Bolan-ish guitar part, a very Marshall-sounding Les Paul guitar lick, to go on top of it," Taylor continues. "Then we added the bass and drums, and the whole track was finished that day, including Simon's vocal melody and lyric. He has a great ear for putting a melody to a bunch of chords.
I didn't realise it at the time, but his inspiration for that lyric was Little Red Riding Hood!" Music video director Russell Mulcahy, who had directed the band's first video, Planet Earth, was brought back to make the music videos for "Hungry Like the Wolf" and several other songs for the band's ambitious 1983 video album. The band had a vision of jungles and exotic women, and Mulcahy suggested Sri Lanka, a country he had just visited, which had the advantage of being inexpensive. Les Garland, senior executive vice president at MTV, said 'I remember our director of talent and artist relations came running in and said, You have got to see this video that's come in. Duran Duran were getting zero radio airplay at the time, and MTV wanted to try to break new music. 'Hungry Like A Wolf' was the greatest video I'd ever seen." View the video online
I Will Always Love You - Dolly Parton (right)
Dolly Parton has told numerous interviewers over the years that she wrote this song in 1973 for her one-time partner and mentor, Porter Wagoner (the two were splitting professionally at the time). Recorded in June 1973, the song was first included on Parton's album Jolene, and was released as a follow-up single after the chart-topping success of the title track. Elvis Presley expressed his wish to record the song, but when she refused to split her songwriting royalties, he did not record it. The song was destined, almost immediately, to be covered by artists across various other genres, including a jazz version by Horace Silver and a folk version by Linda Ronstadt, each of which garnered modest attention. Parton herself re-recorded the song in 1982 for inclusion on the soundtrack to the film, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, in which she starred opposite Burt Reynolds.
Parton again had success with the song in 1995 - this time, as a duet with Vince Gill. Whitney Houston covered the song for the soundtrack to The Bodyguard, her film debut. The song was also referenced in the plot of the film itself. Houston was originally to record Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" as the movie's lead single, however, when the producer discovered the song would be used for Fried Green Tomatoes, he asked her co-star Kevin Costner to find a new song. Costner chose the song but, not wanting it to have a country flavour, Houston was asked to reinterpret it as a soul ballad. The song was again a massive hit. In March 2007, the United World Chart ranked "I Will Always Love You" as the sixth most successful song in music history. On that same list, "I Will Always Love You" is also the most successful song released by a solo female musician. It appears at No.40 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Pop Songs", number eight on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years", and number one on VH1's "100 Greatest Love Songs". View the video online
It's Raining Again - Supertramp
Backed by a Dutch millionaire named Stanley August Miesegaes, the band that became Supertramp was formed under the name Daddy in August 1969 to January 1970. Throughout the 1970s, the driving force of the band was the talents of vocalist/guitarist and keyboardist Roger Hodgson and vocalist and pianist Richard Davies. Their different singing and songwriting styles provided the albums with an interesting counterpoint, contrasting Davies' determined blues-rockers and songs of broken relationships ("Another Man's Woman", "From Now On", "Goodbye Stranger") with Hodgson's wistful introspection ("Dreamer", "School", "Fool's Overture", "The Logical Song"). In 1982, Hodgson felt constrained by the arrangement and right the band after the tour for the album, Famous Last Words, which contained "It's Raining Again" and another US top 40 hit, "My Kind of Lady". There was much speculation behind the reasons why Roger Hodgson right Supertramp. In an interview in the 90's Hodgson stated that family was the main reason he right the band. Hear the song online
One Perfect Day - Little Heroes
Melbourne band Little Heroes had an enormous hit with band member Roger Hart's composition, 'One Perfect Day', about an Australian who recalls happy times spent in England. The band made regular appearances on Countdown and other TV Shows and toured constantly in support of a string of subsequent singles and albums. In 1984, Hart right the Little Heroes and embarked on a journey of self discovery that led him to Thailand where he embraced an intensive Buddhist meditation regime which he continues to practice and now teaches. View the video online
Memory - Barbra Streisand (right)
"Memory" is one of the more memorable songs from the award-winning musical, Cats, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Based on Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats and other poems by T. S. Eliot, the show has been performed around the world in numerous productions and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Cats was first shown in London's West End, at the New London Theatre, on 11th May 1981. It played a total of 8,949 performances in London's West End, its final performance being on its 21st birthday, 11th May 2002. It was broadcast on a large screen in Covent Garden to the delight of fans after tickets for the final performance sold out. It held the record as the world's longest running musical until 8th October 2006, when it was surpassed by Les Miserables. View the video online
Only You - Yazoo
Written by Vince Clarke for Depeche Mode, it was very much the straw that broke the camel's back for Clarke who, at the time, was not comfortable with the direction Depeche Mode was heading. When they rejected "Only You" and released "See You" instead, a song Martin Gore wrote when he was only 15. Clarke right the band, taking "Only You" with him. He teamed up with Alison Moyet and together they formed Yazoo - they recorded "Only You" and it became their first hit. The British group Flying Picketts recorded an ecellent a cappella version in the 1990s. View the video online
Our House - Madness
Lifted from their UK album, The Rise & Fall, and their US compilation, Madness, this song was their biggest hit worldwide. Because of its success, Madness are often regarded as a one-hit wonder (though technically they are two-hit wonders as their version of "It Must Be Love" was a top 40 hit). "Our House" won Best Song at the May 1983 Ivor Novello awards. A musical called Our House, featuring Madness songs, ran in London's West End between October 2002 and August 2003. The song's music video depicts the band acting out the song's lyrics in an old mews. Its lyrics mostly describe the daily activities in the house, with some of the band portraying the "family." The video cuts between scenes of the family, the band playing in a living room, and exterior shots of various other houses. View the video online
Since You're Gone - The Cars
A somewhat experimental album, Panorama was released by The Cars in 1980, charting only one top 40 hit with "Touch and Go". Rolling Stone described the album as "Ric Ocasek's art record, and not a very good one at all". In 1981, The Cars bought their own studio in Boston and recorded the album, Shake It Up, there. It was their first album to score a top 10 hit in the title track; they had another top 40 hit in "Since You're Gone". In 1982, The Cars took a short break and went to work on solo projects, with Ric Ocasek and Greg Hawkes both releasing their debut albums. View the video online
Spread A Little Happiness - Sting (right)
In September 1981, the lead singer of The Police, Gordon Sumner (Sting), made his first live solo appearance, performing on all four nights of the fourth Amnesty International benefit The Secret Policeman's Other Ball at the invitation of producer Martin Lewis. He performed solo versions of "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle", playing the guitar. He also led an all-star band (dubbed "The Secret Police") on his own arrangement of Bob Dylan's, "I Shall Be Released". The band and chorus included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, all of whom (except Beck) later worked together on Live Aid.
His performances were featured prominently in the album and movie of the show and drew Sting major critical attention. Sumner's participation in The Secret Policeman's Other Ball was the beginning of his growing involvement in raising money and consciousness for political and social causes which led to the solo single, "Spread a Little Happiness", from the a film version of the Dennis Potter television play, Brimstone and Treacle. The song was a re-interpretation of a song from the 1920s musical Mr. Cinders by Vivian Ellis, and was a surprise top 20 hit. View the video online
Valley Girl - Frank Zappa
In May 1982, American composer, musician, and film director Frank Zappa released Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch, an album which featured his biggest selling single, "Valley Girl". In her improvised "lyrics" to the song, Zappa's then 14-year old daughter Moon Unit Zappa (yes, that is her real name) satirised the vapid speech of teenage girls from the San Fernando Valley, which popularised many "Val-speak" expressions such as "gag me with a spoon" and "barf out". As an adult she has worked as a stand-up comic, magazine writer, and as an actress in the film Spirit of '76 and the television sitcom, Normal Life. She also appeared as a burka-clad Muslim woman in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Moon Unit has three younger siblings, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva. Hear the song online
When The War Is Over - Cold Chisel
Cold Chisel, fronted by Jimmy Barnes, produced the canonical example of Australian pub rock. With a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, they are acknowledged as one of the most popular and successful Australian groups of the period, although this success and acclaim was almost completely restricted to Australia. Their Forever Now album stands as one of their most technically refined recordings and still gets airtime on radio and in online video clips in bars and clubs. Drummer Steve Prestwich became the unlikely pop meister of the band after a penned a number of tracks for the album. "He's from the River Mersey.
His old man played drums with Gerry and the Pacemakers and those groups. He was the drummer in the house band at the Cavern," says Don Walker enigmatically when quizzed on Prestwich's pop sensibility. His popular ballad, "When The War Is Over" is the only Cold Chisel track to be covered by other artists on numerous occasions since; first by Little River Band when John Farnham and Steve Prestwich were members of that band (on the No Reins album, 1986), later by a heavy metal band out of England, again by Farnham on his anthology of great Aussie songs and by Aussie songstress Cosima De Vito. Dripping with emotion, it tells of someone's struggle to pull themselves together after enduring a difficult and heart-wrenching break-up. View the video online | John Farnham video online | Cosima De Vito's version online