Don’s Top 10 From January 11, 1985
Heading back into time on this date, January 11, 1985 (a Friday), with the local top 10 singles.amazon.com
“Strut” by Sheena Easton
(#9 last week) Many female artists have made the transformation from sweet & innocent to smokin’ sexy, starting with Olivia Newton-John & then this Scottish lass. Her next single, “Sugar Walls”, even got her banned from some stations. Sheena was born Sheena Orr. She married a man named Sandi Easton in 1979. They divorced after only 8 months (the first of her four husbands), but she deecided to keep the name Easton.
“I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan
(#4 last week) Anyone who didn’t know the former Rufus lead singer KNEW after hearing the opening of this smash. That’s Melle Mel rapping her name (as in Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five) & Stevie Wonder playing the harmonica. The song was originally performed & written by Prince (he won a Grammy for Best R&B Song for it). Not bad! The name being rapped over & over was actually a mistake on Melle Mel’s part, which famed producer Arif Mardin decide to leave on the record. Good instincts!
“All I Need” by Jack Wagner
(#7 last week) Remember when soaps were king? Jack Wagner was superstud Frisco Jones on “General Hospital’ in the 80s & parlayed that success into a short-lived career as a crooner. I preferred him paired with Heather Locklear on “Melrose Place” in the 90s as creepy Dr. Peter Burns (I never missed an episode at its peak). In the soap opera-imitating-life department, Wagner & Locklear were engaged in real life, but then broke up, & Heather’s life seemed to be headed downhill, with her hospitalization two years ago Maybe all she needed was Frisco Jones….
“We Belong” by Pat Benatar
(#13 last week) Brooklyn-born, Long Island-raised Pat Benatar celebrated her 32nd birthday this week (January 10) with her 11th top 40 hit moving into the top 10. Strangely, this was her very first U.K. hit. Nobody wore the tight black leather pants better than Pat, but I don’t think she was too thrilled with it.
“Careless Whisper” by Wham! Featuring George Michael
(#29 last week) In most of the world, this was a George Michael solo single (and, in fact, is). But given that the duo Wham!, which consisted of Michael & the modestly talented Andrew Ridgeley, had just (finally) broken big in the U.S., Epic Records decided it was too early in the states to make Michael a solo star, so the Wham! name was added only here. This cemented their U.S. hit status with a quick followup to their first #1, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”. It turned out to be an even bigger hit. Michael wrote the melody while riding the bus home from his job as a movie usher at the age of 16.
“The Wild Boys” by Duran Duran
(#2 last week) Ah, the “Durannies” dominated the request lines in 1983-84-85, asking for songs like this one. Scary to think those tweenyboppers are probably soccer moms now, in their late 30’s/early 40’s. Fans know the band was named after the villain in the campy 1968 sexploitation movie “Barbarella”, “Dr. Durand Durand”. Why’d they drop that last “d”?
“I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner
(#20 last week) Jersey connection! The song features backing vocals from the New Jersey Mass Choir, “Dreamgirls” star Jennifer Holliday, & The Thompson Twins (“Hold Me Now”). Foreigner celebrated when this finally hit #1, because it was their first (and only) chart-topper. “Waiting for A Girl Like You” was especially frustrating, as it spent a record 10 weeks stuck at #2 in 1981-82. “I Want to Know What Love Is” came in at #476 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time”.
“Easy Lover” by Philip Bailey & Phil Collins
(#19 last week) Poor Philip Bailey. A million hits part of Earth, Wind & Fire, a smash debut apart from them, & everyone remembers this as a Phil Collins record, because it came in the middle of Phil’s super-hot streak at top 40 radio. Phil could do no wrong then. This is just an absolute killer, one of my personal favorites from the 80s, & it still sounds just as fresh today.
“Solid” by Ashford & Simpson
(#5 last week) After 20 years of success as songwriters (“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “I’m Every Woman”) it must have been a thrill for married couple Nick & Valerie to finally break through as artists (they had met in a church in 1964). The duo actually charted on WABC for two weeks in ’64 with “I’ll Find You” as Valerie & Nick, peaking at #31.
“Like A Virgin” by Madonna
(#1 last week; 6th week at #1) Madonna’s 4th hit at top 40 radio, first single from the album of the same name, & the one that cemented her as a superstar. It spent a huge 9 weeks at #1 here. OMG, that barely-there wedding dress inspired a lot of male lust (yeah, kids, there was once a time when Madge was Miley & Britney rolled into one).