Monday, September 26, 2005

Alive In 85 Part Two

Part two of my look back at the Top 100 songs of 1985.

51 RASPBERRY BERET, Prince and the Revolution (Paisley Park) (#2, July) I thought this would be higher on the chart. Prince was the man in 1984 and 1985. Absolutely and undoubtedly ubiqitous, he was on fire. Still I never managed to bump into a girl wearing a beret she had found in a second hand store.

52 SUDDENLY, Billy Ocean (Jive) (#4, June) My friend Clyde was a huge Billy Ocean fan which I found odd. Clyde was a dairy and pig farmer whose idea of fun was shooting doves. Go figure.

53 THE BOYS OF SUMMER, Don Henley (Geffen) (#5, Feb) Recently covered by some alternative rock band whose name escapes me although I liked the way they changed the line about "the deadhead sticker on a Cadillac" to a "Black Flag sticker" for an appropriate 21st century touch. The one and probably only Don Henley song I have ever liked which goes to show that I was already middle-aged when I was 18. It still has a yearning charm to it.

54 ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK, Murray Head (RCA) (#3, May) I don't recall this song making any kind of impact on me in 1985 at all.

55 IF YOU LOVE SOMEBODY SET THEM FREE, Sting (A&M) (#3, Aug) If you love somebody, you wouldn't subject them to this slice of pomposity from the king of all egos Sting.

56 OBSESSION, Animotion (Mercury) (#6, May) Catchy slice of synth pop that I didn't mind hearing then.

57 WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HERO (Thunderdome), Tina Turner (Capitol) (#2, Sept) I've got to shill for my homegirl from Nutbush, Tennessee. She does her best with this syrupy mess of a song and of course she kicked ass in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. 1984 and 1985 were her years much like Prince.

58 MATERIAL GIRL, Madonna (Sire) (#2, March) Ripping off both Marilyn Monroe and Ann Margaret and achieving superstardom was the way to go in the Eighties. The way she warbles the words is worse than chalk on a blackboard. I famously predicted she wouldn't last more than a few years at best before disappearing. Either it shows how stupid I am or how stupid the general populace is - take your pick.

59 BETTER BE GOOD TO ME, Tina Turner (Capitol) (#5, Nov 1984) Tina's most rocking song from the era, but how did those dudes from The Fixx get involved? Or is this the one with Bryan Adams singing along with her. Damn my memory is shot.

60 HEAD OVER HEELS, Tears For Fears (Mercury) (#3, Nov) I actually saw the video to this one before I heard the song. I'd been out drinking with Bruno and we got in just in time to see it on Friday Night Videos. I was captivated. It had romance and it had a chimp. The only thing missing is a football to the groin. The simple, but gorgeous melody still sounds good in the year 2005.

61 AXEL F, Harold Faltermeyer (MCA) (#3, June) Beverly Hills Cop was funny. The soundtrack was terrible.

62 SMOOTH OPERATOR, Sade (Portrait) (#5, May) Too smooth for me. She needs some grits to stick to her throat.

63 IN MY HOUSE, The Mary Jane Girls (Gordy) (#7, June) They've got the requisite Rick James connection so there's a level of cool about them, but I don't remember the song.

64 DON'T LOSE MY NUMBER, Phil Collins (Atlantic) (#4, Sept) I went cruising with one of my McDonalds co-workers in the summer of 1985. He had a Buick Century and he loved squealing the tires. That part was fun. The Phil Collins tape in the stereo wasn't. I never hung out with him again.

65 ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT, Cyndi Lauper (Portrait) (#5, Dec 1984) Was this a spillover from She's So Unusual? I don't remember this one. Where's "She-bop" on this list? Didn't her ode to female masturbation come out in 1985?

66 RUN TO YOU, Bryan Adams (A&M) (#6, Jan) The second Adams entry on the list. The dude was the biggest Canadian export since Rush. Heck he was bigger than Triumph! This song does rock in that corporate rock school sort of way. His vocals are almost as shredded as the next entry on the chart.

67 GLORY DAYS, Bruce Springsteen (Columbia) (#5, Aug) Bruce can't sing!!! Send the epithets my way, but the man always sounds like he's strangling and it's only gotten worse as he ages. I suspect he'll end up sounding like Jack Klugman did in The Odd Couple reunion before he quits. He's a damn good songwriter though.

68 VOICES CARRY
'Til Tuesday (Epic) (#8, July) I liked this light rock tune. The video made me want to stomp her loathsome boyfriend's skull in so I guess it pushed all the right buttons.

69 MISLED, Kool and the Gang (De-Lite) (#10, March) I remember this slice of rock funk because the Gonz was really into them briefly. It was okay in a middle of the road way.

70 WOULD I LIE TO YOU, The Eurythmics (RCA) (#5, July) The Eurythmics suddenly become some sort of weird sould band. I wasn't amused. Dave Stewart was also busy doing his best to ruin Tom Petty that year too.

71 BE NEAR ME, ABC (Mercury) (#9, Nov) Saw the video the same night I saw "Head Over Heels" and in Eighties speak I found it rather gay. I actually liked the song.

72 NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS, Paul McCartney (Columbia) (#6, Dec 1984) This one surprised me. I didn't think Paul was still hitting the Top Ten back then. It's typical mid-80's treacle.

73 I CAN'T HOLD BACK, Survivor (Scotti Brothers) (#13, Dec 1984) My memory banks have been wiped clean of this one. The only Survivor tune still in my memory is "Eye Of The Tiger" and I'm trying hard to erase it too.

74 SUMMER OF '69, Bryan Adams (A&M) (#5, Aug) I can't resist the Canadian any longer. It's cliched lyrics and looking back into the past rock and roll days of the protagonist win me over. For just about 4 minutes, I am Canadian!

75 WALKING ON SUNSHINE, Katrina and the Waves (Capitol) (#9, June) Finally we arrive at my favorite tune from this Top 100 pop songs list! Forget about the 2005 hurricane, this Katrina was all about the joy of the perfect power pop song. Most vivid recall of this song's power was: I was working an afternoon shift at McDonalds when the assistant manager Linda came in singing this song. She danced down the back of the kitchen extolling the song. Then she helped me turn burgers during the eveing rush.

76 FREEDOM, Wham! (Columbia) (#3, Sept) No wham, no bam, no thank you mam with George Michael.

77 TOO LATE FOR GOODBYES, Julian Lennon (Atlantic) (#5, March) Where a marginally talented dude gets a record deal based on his last name and the public goes briefly nuts. He never got to say goodbye to his father. I get it. I also have a huge dollop of sympathy for Julian for the way said father deserted him.

78 VALOTTE, Julian Lennon (Atlantic) (#9, Jan) Where above marginally talented dude really strikes a chord with a pleasing ballad that sounded much like his departed daddy.

79 SOME LIKE IT HOT, The Power Station (Capitol) (#6, May) I liked Robert Palmer better when he had a "Bad Case Of Loving You" and when Lee Perry was producing a 45 flipside for him.

80 SOLID, Ashford and Simpson (Capitol) (#12, Feb) Don't remember it.

81 ANGEL, Madonna (Sire) (#5, June) Don't remember it.

82 I'M ON FIRE, Bruce Springsteen (Columbia) (#6, April) Snoresville for me on this one. Anything post "Born To Run" always has a tough go with me.

83 METHOD OF MODERN LOVE, Daryl Hall and John Oates (RCA) (#5, Feb) More booming bad Eighties over production hiding what could have been a decent song.

84 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME, The Thompson Twins (Arista) (#6, Nov) Pure drivel. It pains me to think about how bad the Top 40 was in 1985.

85 WHO'S HOLDING DONNA NOW, DeBarge (Gordy) (#6, Aug) Don't remember this one.

86 LONELY OL' NIGHT, John Cougar Mellencamp (Riva) (#6, Oct) The first salvo from Mellencamp's finest album Scarecrow was a good one. I was a huge Mellencamp supporter back then. It probably cost me some punk rock credibility with some, but just as I felt then - to hell with them.

87 WHAT ABOUT LOVE, Heart (Capitol) (#10, Aug) I always get the Wilson sisters mixed up, but I dig them both. One for her guitar playing and the other for her singing. And leave Cameron Crowe out of this.

88 CALIFORNIA GIRLS, David Lee Roth (Warner Brothers) (#3, March) It was the beginning of the end of the real Van Halen. I didn't know it at the time. I just thought it was a goofy lark by Dave. I bought it even if I thought it was lame. The world hasn't been the same since.

89 FRESH, Kool and the Gang (De-Lite) (#9, June) Got to give Kool and the Gang credit for being up on the lingo. It's a decent tune.

90 DO WHAT YOU DO, Jermaine Jackson (Arista) (#13, Jan) Don't remember.

91 JUNGLE LOVE, The Time (Warner Brothers) (#20, Feb) This is the jam!! Hell Yeah. Morris Day and The Time totally stole Purple Rain from Prince. Great funky track!

92 BORN IN THE U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen (Columbia) (#9, Jan) Man I hate this tune. I hate the Weinberg on steroids drums. I hate the way Bruce screams the words. I hate how stupid politicians wanted to use the song in their campaigns.

93 PRIVATE DANCER, Tina Turner (Capitol) (#7, March) More classy stuff from Tina.

94 WHO'S ZOOMIN' WHO, Aretha Franklin (Arista) (#7, Nov) Slightly better material than her other entry in the Top 100, this is still mediocre when placed against her work for Atlantic in the late Sixites and early Seventies.

95 FORTRESS AROUND YOUR HEART, Sting (A&M) (#8, Oct) This song had to be a Police leftover. It's too good to have just been a Sting solo song.

96 PENNY LOVER, Lionel Richie (Motown) (#8, Dec 1984) I find it funny that Lionel is now better known as Nicole's adopted father. Not a big Lionel fan unless we're talking about "Brickhouse" or "Machine Gun" era Commodores.

97 ALL SHE WANTS TO DO IS DANCE, Don Henley (Geffen) (#9, May) Here's a Henley tune that I can hate. Aah, sweet normality.

98 DRESS YOU UP, Madonna (Sire) (#5, Oct) Don't remember this one.

99 SENTIMENTAL STREET, Night Ranger (Camel) (#8, July) Don't remember this one.

100 SUGAR WALLS, Sheena Easton (EMI-America) (#9, March) I remember the controversy over the Prince penned lyrics. But I don't remember the tune.

My look back at the Top 100 songs of 1985 reveals that the top selling songs of that year were for the most part total garbage. The Top 40 radio when The Ramones were young inspired them. The Top 40 radio of my late teens also inspired. It inspired me to seek other music outlets. I listened to college rock radio. I read fanzines. I kept my ear to the ground. It became easier and easier to avoid the top hits of the day. Which is what I eventually did. And now that I've done this little exercise in blog filler I've come to know that Top 40 died long before I thought it had.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

A few songs that were o.k. The rest is garbage. That is why an all 80's radio station format can't make it. This stuff is good in small doses only. In larger doses it may cause nausea and vomiting.
Gonz

Steph said...

The sad part is... in 1985 I was 9, and I really like a lot of these songs... still. I wouldn't say it was all good... but I like it enough to listen to 80s music on a daily basis. Thanks for posting this! Now I know what I need to download. ;)

jones said...

I feel very young when I read through this list. Gotta love that there are three Tina Turner songs on there, though. No one rocks out in heels like that woman.

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Anonymous said...

You really didn't know very much about pop music in 1985. So many of the songs you posted comments like "never heard it".

I was 12 yrs old in 1985 and know every song you posted comments to extremely well. Perhaps we had better Top 40 radio where I live (St. Louis).