Friday, September 23, 2005

Alive In 85

My 20 Year high school reunion is next month and I'm not going. It might be interesting to see what's happened to some of the people, but I felt like the cost of attending wouldn't be enough to cover any curiousity I might have. I'm still in touch with my closest friends from then and if I've fallen out of touch with others it just means we were never that close to begin with. As for the rest of my fellow travelers from high school; they could care less about me then and I'm sure time will not have changed that. Phony friendliness makes me want to hurl anyways. It's dangerous to venture too far into one's past. I used to feel that 1985 was one of the last great years as far as Top 40 radio was concerned. I mainly listened to punk rock and metal, but it sure seemed like radio was pretty good at the time when I bothered to turn it on. A glance back at the Top 100 songs of 1985 has caused me to re-examine that thought. The crap completely outnumbers the quality. I thought I knew it all when I was 18, but I obviously didn't know nuthin'. In tribute to those halcyon days, how about a song by song rundown of the Top 100 with snide comments out to the side supplied by the middle aged geezer I hope to become, if I'm not there already. Inspired by a post from Home School Blogger.

Part One:

*1 CARELESS WHISPER, Wham! Featuring George Michael (Columbia) (#1, Feb) I didn't have a clue about Wham! then and I'm glad I didn't.

*2 LIKE A VIRGIN, Madonna (Sire) (#1, Dec 1984) Only notable since it provided a song for Stiv Bators and The Lords Of The New Church to cover.

*3 WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO, Wham! (Columbia) (#1, Nov 1984) Okay, you don't believe how clueless I was to this band's existence; I bought a Choose Life button with no idea at all that it had something to do with Wham!...all I figured was that life was preferable over death. I do remember this song though. It's just complete drivel.

*4 I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS, Foreigner (Atlantic) (#1, Feb) There's a soft spot in my heart for "Hot Blooded", "Dirty White Boy", and "Jukebox Hero" but this song just curdles my blood. It makes me want to go hunt Lou Gramm down and smack him in the face for singing it.

5 I FEEL FOR YOU, Chaka Khan (Warner Brothers) (#3, Nov 1984) I like my Chaka whether it's of Land Of The Lost or Rufus Chaka. First song on the list that I do indeed like, especially the intro.

*6 OUT OF TOUCH, Daryl Hall and John Oates (RCA) (#1, Dec 1984) Yeah, Hall and his little munchkin sidekick Oates were getting severely out of touch by this point. The Philly soul was being replaced by lame 80's overproduction.

*7 EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD, Tears For Fears (Mercury) (#1, June) This tune went to number one. I loved it along with everybody else in the country. I've yet to get to rule the world though and I feel just a little cynical about it these days.

*8 MONEY FOR NOTHING, Dire Straits (Warner Brothers) (#1, Sept) "And your chicks for free." Perhaps the only recording featuring Sting from that year that didn't come off pompous and overbearing. It holds up well.

*9 CRAZY FOR YOU, Madonna (Sire) (#1, May) Wasn't this tune in Vision Quest? Madonna herself was seen singing in some dingy club. Oh if only she had never escaped the dingy clubs, maybe Londoners would still like us.

*10 TAKE ON ME, A-Ha (Warner Brothers) (#1, Oct) It's a slice of pure pop heaven and who can forget the animated video.

*11 EVERYTIME YOU GO AWAY, Paul Young (Columbia) (#1, July) Written by Daryl Hall, the best piece of Philly soul that summer. I can't say much for Young as a rocker, but he could sure sing purty.

12 EASY LOVER, Philip Bailey with Phil Collins (Columbia) (#2, Feb) This is not a drill, when you see the name Phil Collins, run away as fast as you can. It won't even be held against you if you throw your arms up in the air and scream like a little girl.

*13 CAN'T FIGHT THIS FEELING, REO Speedwagon (Epic) (#1, March) I've talked about the guilty pleasures of dinosaur corporate rock before so it shouldn't surprise people to learn I liked this tripe back in 85. I had a momentary crush on a girl I had known since 2nd grade and somehow I associated the song's lyrics with her.

*14 WE BUILT THIS CITY, Starship (Grunt) (#1, Nov) This song is one of the worst songs ever which in my book makes it one of the best. The paradox is rather blinding, isn't it.

*15 THE POWER OF LOVE, Huey Lewis and the News (Chysalis) (#1, Aug) Remember the bit about Phil Collins above? The same goes for Huey Lewis, though this time it won't be held against you if you curl up into a ball and cry.

*16 DON'T YOU (Forget About Me) Simple Minds (A&M) (#1, May) I was a senior in high school in 85. So do you think I liked this song or what. It was as if The Breakfast Club was written for me and me alone. And millions of kids for a generation since have thought the same thing. I also thought that Jim Kerr's Jim Morrison impression was groovy.

17 CHERISH, Kool and the Gang (De-Lite) (#2, Sept) Don't remember this one.

*18 ST. ELMO'S FIRE (Man In Motion), John Parr (Atlantic) (#1, Sept) I liked the film so I grudgingly tried to like the song. Now I hate them both. That's 20 years progress for you.

19 THE HEAT IS ON, Glenn Frey (MCA) (#2, March) Glenn Frey sounds like a girl! I know it's a rather lame insult, but that's always what went through my head when I would get subjected to his songs.

USA For Africa (Columbia) (#1, April) Absolutely terrible tune though I can't fault the idea behind it; let's help starving people. It would have worked much better if the famine in Ethiopa had actually been caused by nature instead of the communist government that was attempting to wipe out a huge segment of its population. Idealism goes hand in hand with youth - this song was played at our senior talent show and money was collected.

*21 SHOUT, Tears For Fears (Columbia) (#1, Aug) The annoying Tears For Fears hit single. Just let it all out already!

*22 PART-TIME LOVER, Stevie Wonder (Tamla) (#1, Nov) By November of 85 I had all but stopped listeing to commercial radio because WRVU 91 Rock had increased its wattage in the summer of that year. Junk like this was another reason why.

*23 SAVING ALL MY LOVE FOR YOU, Whitney Houston (Arista) (#1, Oct) You don't have to Whitney. Really you don't. Give your love and your big mouth to somebody else. I won't mind.

*24 HEAVEN, Bryan Adams (A&M) (#1, June) Don't remember this one.

*25 EVERYTHING SHE WANTS, Wham! (Columbia) (#1, May) And another one that passed me by. Darn!

26 COOL IT NOW, New Edition (MCA) (#4, Jan) It's goofy, juvenile, and an obvious Jackson 5 homage (rip off would be too harsh, don't you think) and of course I liked it in all its bubblegum splendor.

27 MIAMI VICE THEME, Jan Hammer (MCA) (#1, Nov) I didn't like the show so I wasn't about to like this keyboard dominated pastel shaded horror of a song.

28 LOVER BOY, Billy Ocean (Jive) (#2, Feb) Just what are the odds?

Teena Marie (Epic) (#4, March) That "Lover Boy" would chart one position ahead of "Lover Girl"? Just another example of the male dominated world of 1985. I liked the Teena Marie song better since she had Rick James connections.

30 YOU BELONG TO THE CITY, Glenn Frey (MCA) (#2, Nov) Why The Eagles should have stayed together: They could only inflict one song at a time onto the world. With Glenn Frey and Don Henley releasing songs the pain was doubled.

*31 OH SHEILA, Ready For the World (MCA) (#1, Oct) Don't remember it.

32 RHYTHM OF THE NIGHT, DeBarge (Gordy) (#3, April) I don't want to dance until the morning light. I was more of a drink until the morning light kind of a guy in 1985.

*33 ONE MORE NIGHT, Phil Collins (Atlantic) (#1, March) What a loathsome man.

34 SEA OF LOVE, The Honeydrippers (Es Paranza) (#3, Jan) Robert Plant retreating into the past and it was sort of cool even though I never would have admitted it to my heavy metal buddies.

*35 A VIEW TO A KILL, Duran Duran (Capitol) (#1, July) Very low on the totem pole of James Bond theme songs. Very low.

36 THE WILD BOYS, Duran Duran (Capitol) (#2, Dec 1984) A song so bad it managed to sell into 1985.

Chicago (Full Moon) (#3, Jan) Chicago actually used to make some decent records. Really they did. I bet this got played at many a prom that year. Of course, I didn't go to mine.

38 NEUTRON DANCE, The Pointer Sisters (Planet) (#6, Feb) When The Pointer Sisters were on Blue Thumb I dug 'em. When they covered Springsteen's "Fire" and made it their own I was with them. When they started doing the neutron I was out of there.

39 WE BELONG, Pat Benatar (Chrysalis) (#5, Jan) Pat always sang with such emotion, as if every word really meant something. I never really got it even if her hubby Neil Geraldo could lay down decent power chord riffs.

40 NIGHTSHIFT, The Commodores (Motown) (#3, April) I believe this was from a movie. I don't remember it.

41 THINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTER, Howard Jones (Elektra) (#5, June) Dude had mimes in his videos. 'Nuff said.

42 ALL I NEED, Jack Wagner (Qwest) (#2, Jan) The heavily processed vocals on the chorus as clean as an operating room never fail to make me smirk.

43 FREEWAY OF LOVE, Aretha Franklin (Aria) (#3, Aug) Aretha is only as good as her material. The material and production on this song stink.

44 NEVER SURRENDER, Corey Hart (EMI-America) (#3, Aug) The sunglasses at night dude had another hit? Where was I when this was happening?

*45 SUSSUDIO, Phil Collins (Atlantic) (#1, July) The apocryphil story: What Phil Collins got when he combined his girlfriend's first and last name together. She was hanging with Phil so she had it coming. Phil says the title is meaningless which is fitting for him too.

46 STRUT, Sheena Easton (EMI-America) (#7, Nov 1984) Sheena was quite fetching back in those days, but I can't recall the song. I must have been too busy looking and not listening.

47 YOU GIVE GOOD LOVE, Whitney Houston (Arista) (#3, July) Do we really want to know who was giving Whitney good love back then. Why didn't she go away and marry that guy from the boy band sooner?

48 THE SEARCH IS OVER, Survivor (Scotti Brothers) (#4, July) Survivor was still riding the tiger in 85. Bands that should have been one hit wonders often get the kind of bounce Survivor did.

49 MISSING YOU, Diana Ross (RCA) (#10, April) She didn't look like Michael Jackson yet. That's about all I can tell you.

*50 SEPERATE LIVES, Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin (Atlantic) (#1, Nov) Thankfully this tune was erased from my memory banks. Black Flag's Damaged album is a godsend.

Part two next week. We'll see if the bottom of the Top 100 of 1985 gets any better.


elliott said...

Wow, does that bring back damaging memories or what? I recall hating top 40 radio back then and I can see why. Some of those songs I did like, though. The Tears for Fears songs I liked a lot. I even liked Shout - not so much for their version but I remember working as a dishwasher at a Denny's and one night the cook kept singing this tune with his own lyrics "TROUT, TROUT with alfalfa sprouts, they taste better with sauerkraut". I was in hysterics. I also liked the Duran Duran tunes and the Breakfast Club tune. The rest more or less sucked for me. Nice post, thanks.

DDBlank said...

It would be nice if we could get a top 100 from KDF for 1985. That was the only commercial station that I/we really listened to that year. Right? I am sure that we wouldn't wretch quite as much from such a list. Maybe Kid Red reads your blog and can help me out.

I remember even less of this stuff than you do, I think.

Anonymous said...

Wow - It sucked even more than I remember.