Don’s Top 10 From August 3, 1983
Back…back…back into time, with the hot-rockin’, flame-throwin’ local survey from 30 years ago today! Let the countdown begin:amazon.com
“Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks
(#16 last week) Guess who plays the synthesizer on this synth-laden smash? Prince. How did it happen? Well, after Stevie’s marriage to Kim Anderson, the newlyweds were driving up to San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara, when “Little Red Corvette” played on the radio. Nicks started humming along to the melody, especially inspired by the lush synthesizers of the song, and “Stand Back” was born. They stopped and got a tape recorder and she recorded the demo in the honeymoon suite that night. Later, when Nicks went into the studio to record the song, she called Prince & told him the story of how she wrote the song to his melody. He came to the studio that night & played synthesizers on it, although his contribution is uncredited on the album. Then, she says, “he just got up and left as if the whole thing happened in a dream”. Prince is officially co-writer of “Stand Back”, although you usually won’t see his name listed.
“Is This The End” by New Edition
(#15 last week) The followup to the Jackson 5-ish group’s first hit, “Candy Girl”, this was a national top 10 R&B hit, but only peaked at #85 pop. As you can see, it was much bigger here.
“Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant
(#8 last week) Eddy first hit the charts way back in 1968 as lead singer of The Equals, with the killer track “Baby Come Back” (Bonnie Raitt later covered that). It’s kind of ironic that “Electric Avenue” is used in so many commercials, TV shows & movies because the song is about a nasty riot, the 1981 Brixton riot, where Electric Avenue can be found.
“How Do You Keep The Music Playing” by Patti Austin & James Ingram
(#7 last week) “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” is a song composed by Michel Legrand, with lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman for the 1982 film “Best Friends” (it starred Burt Reynolds & Goldie Hawn), where it was introduced by Patti Austin and James Ingram. It was one of three songs with lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 55th Academy Awards. They had a three out of five shot to win…& they lost, to “Up Where We Belong”.
Flashdance…What A Feeling” by Irene Cara
(#3 last week) Giorgio Moroder originally recorded “Flashdance… What a Feeling” with Joe Esposito (he sang “Heaven Knows” with Donna Summer as lead singer of Brooklyn Dreams); Paramount Pictures asked Moroder to rework the song with a female artist to parallel the gender of the dancer who was the film’s protagonist.
“She Works Hard For The Money” by Donna Summer
(#5 last week) A return to form for the disco queen, which was a term Summer did NOT like, BTW. She wrote or co-wrote every track on the album this came from. A super-talented, very underrated artist.
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurythmics
(#6 last week) Annie Lennox certainly stood out from the crowd, didn’t she? Lennox’s striking androgynous visual image, with close-cropped, orange-colored hair, & dressed in a man’s suit brandishing a cane, immediately made her a household name. Her gender-bending image would be further explored in other Eurythmics videos such as “Love Is a Stranger” & “Who’s That Girl?” As for the song, the original recording’s main instrumentation featured a sequenced analog synthesizer riff, which Dave Stewart accidentally discovered in the studio when he played a bass track backwards.
“Maniac” by Michael Sembello
(#4 last week) Philadelphia born & raised, Sembello was one of the top session musicians in the business before his one success on the singles chart, most notably with Stevie Wonder from 1974 to 1979. He plays electric & lead guitar on most of “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” & “Songs In The Key Of Life”.
“Never Gonna Let You Go” by Sergio Mendes
(#2 last week) Credit where credit is due department: the singers are Joe Pizzulo & Leza Miller. Mendes never sang lead on his hits. Surprise comeback, in a totally different style from the bossa nova pop he had been famous for in the late 60s. Written by the famous songwriting duo of Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil. They had originally given it to Earth, Wind & Fire, who passed. It was first recorded by Dionne Warwick.
“Every Breath You Take” by The Police
(#1 last week; 6th week at #1) Sting doesn’t get how this is thought of as a happy love song by so many. He later said he was disconcerted by how many people think the song is more positive than it is. He insists it’s about the obsession with a lost lover, the jealousy and surveillance that follows. “One couple told me ‘Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!’ I thought, ‘Well, good luck.'” When asked why he appears angry in the music video Sting told BBC Radio 2, “I think the song is very, very sinister and ugly and people have actually misinterpreted it as being a gentle, little love song.” However you think of it, it became one of the biggest hits of all time.