Don’s Top 10 For October 6, 1983
Back…back…back into time, as “The Time Machine” glides to a halt on Thursday, October 6, 1983. It was a partly cloudy, warm day in New Jersey, with highs in the low 80s. On primetime TV that night, we watched “Magnum, P.I.”, “Simon And Simon” & the underrated soap “Knot's Landing” on CBS, while NBC had the new, critically acclaimed, but still low-rated “Cheers” & “Hill Street Blues”. The up-and-coming band R.E.M. made their national TV debut, performing “Radio Free Europe” & “South Central Rain (I'm Sorry)” on NBC's “Late Night With David Letterman”. At the movies, the big flicks were “The Big Chill” & “Mr. Mom”, with Sean Connery about to make a short-lived unofficial return as James Bond in “Never Say Never Again” (that toupee really looked bad). And these were the local top 10 singles:
“Every Breath You Take” by The Police
(#6 last week) The song is officially written only by Sting, but it's well-known that he co-wrote it with bandmate Andy Summers. I feel bad for Summers: the song is estimated to generate between 1/4 & 1/3 of Stings annual music publishing income. The song is fraught with tension, so it's not surprising to learn the band allegedly was fighting all through the recording process.
“The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats
(#10 last week) I don't think this video version is the exact mix that was on top 40 radio in '83. What WAS “The Safety Dance”? A protest against bouncers stopping dancers pogoing to 1980s New Wave music in clubs, according to the Canadian group's leader, Ivan Doroschuk. What's “pogoing”? Dancing, but different from disco-style dancing, because it was done individually instead of with partners & involved holding the torso rigid & thrashing about.
“Miracles” by Stacy Lattisaw
(#7 last week) Like teenager Lattisaw's other early 80s hits, this was was much bigger locally than nationally, where it only peaked at #40. Stacy retired from singing to raise a family about 20 years ago, but recently attempted a comeback, this time in the gospel field.
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurthymics
(#4 last week) First & biggest hit for the Brit duo. The innovative video presented Annie Lennox with short orange hair & a tailored black suit, making it the first popular video with an androgynous woman.
“True” by Spandau Ballet
(#9 last week) You wouldn't automatically think of it by a casual listen, but the song in part pays tribute to Marvin Gaye & the smooth soul sound he helped to establish. Went to #1 in the U.K. six months before it hit here in the U.S.
“Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” by Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack
(#6 last week) A bigger hit locally than nationally, where it peaked at #16 pop. Words by Gerry Goffin, who wrote all those classics with ex-wife Carole King in the 60s.
“Ain’t Nobody” by Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
(#3 last week) Another hit bigger locally than nationwide.This could have been on “Thriller”! Quincy Jones wanted Rufus keyboardist Hawk Wolinski, the songwriter, to give it to Michael Jackson, but he decided the song was a better showcase for the band's own lead singer, Chaka Khan. It would be their last hit together.
“All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Richie
(#5 last week) This would ultimately go on to be the local #1 hit of the year for 1983, ahead of both “Billie Jean” & “Every Breath You Take”! The video was produced by ex-Monkee Mike Nesmith, & directed by Monkees TV director Bob Rafelson.
“Tell Her About It” by Billy Joel
(#2 last week) First single from Billy's album “An Innocent Man”, his affectionate homage to the early/mid 60s music of acts like the 4 Seasons & Dion. The video also invokes nostalgia, with a dead-on Ed Sullivan impersonaton & Rodney Dangerfield. Hey wait, Rodney Dangerfield didn't start becoming popular until 1969. Whoops!
“Total Eclipse Of The Heart” by Bonnie Tyler
(#1 last week; 3rd week at #1) Should have been a Meat Loaf hit! It was written by Jim Steinman for Meat, but for some reason loaf's record company refused to pay for Steinman, so he gave the song to Tyler. Same thing happened with “Making Love Out Of Nothing At All”, which hit the top 10 just a few weeks later for Air Supply. Bad for Meat Loaf, what WAS on that album didn't sell at all.