Don’s Top 10 From January 18, 1984
Back…back…back into the mists of time, to Wednesday, January 18, 1984, as I count down the local top 10 singles.amazon.com
"Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder
(#15 last week) Has there ever been a song more used in TV commercials? Been in over a dozen. Wilder's song was also prominently sampled in Puff Daddy's 1997 smash “Can't Nobody Hold Me Down”. Wilder was a backup vocalist for artists such as Bette Midler when this hit big, but he never matched the success, making him a one-hit wonder.
"Talking In Your Sleep" by The Romantics
(#14 last week) Technically, this is the biggest hit for the Romantics, a Detroit New Wave band (they got their name because they formed on Valentine's Day). But the reality is, they are most remembered for the 1980 song “What I Like About You”, which wasn't a big hit at all back then, only becoming an enduring rock standard in retrospect (before MTV's debut, top 40 radio avoided playing most “New Wave” songs, even though they were almost all incredibly catchy).
"Say It Isn't So" by Daryl Hall & John Oates
(#6 last week) By the beginning of 1984, Hall & Oates had become the most successful duo in pop music history, & their hits just kept on comin'. This was the first single from their “Greatest Hits” collection, “Rock 'N' Soul-Part One”. Just about my favorite from the duo.
"Owner Of A Lonely Heart" by Yes
(#9 last week) The British prog-rock band Yes were just about the least likely artist you'd think would have a hit single, but this was actually their second, 12 long years after their first, 1972's “Roundabout”. Those opening notes sure sound good in reverb after a “shotgun” jingle!
"Love Is A Battlefield" by Pat Benatar
(#4 last week) After "Hit Me With HYour Best Shot", arguably Pat's most enduring song. Interesting to watch 31-year old Benatar playing a teenager in the music video for this. Co-written by veteran Mike Chapman (Blondie, Nick Gilder, Sweet) after Benatar specifically requested him.
"Time Will Reveal" by DeBarge
(#5 last week) By 1984, DeBarge was being compared to an earlier Motown family act, the Jackson 5. They were soon invited to open for Luther Vandross in concert. Sadly, their success was short-lived. Several members served time in prison for drug trafficking; others were addicts, one died from AIDS. “Time Will Reveal” was a much bigger hit locally than nationally, where it peaked at #18.
"All Night Long (All Night)" by Lionel Richie
(#3 last week) One of the biggest hits of 1983 is STILL on the survey three weeks into 1984. In fact, if you combine all the points it racked up in the top 20 from both years, it would have been the local #1 hit of the year in EITHER 1983 or 1984! So…what does “tom bo li de say di moi ya, yeah, jambo, jumbo” MEAN? Actually, not really anything, but according to Richie, it means SOMETHING. Huh?
"Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club
(#8 last week) What exactly is this mysterious song about? Apparently, according to a Boy George interview in the Los Angeles Times, it's about fear of alienation, the fear of standing up for one thing. You gotta act how you feel, because if you don't you get karma, justice. Nature's way of getting you back. Following all this? I'm not.
"Joanna" by Kool & The Gang
(#2 last week) One of New Jersey's most popular musical exports, Kool & The Gang formed in Jersey City way back in 1964. They first charted locally in 1969, first hit the top 10 in 1974, but really hit it big when new lead singer James “J.T.” Taylor joined the band in 1979. Taylor (& new producer Eumir Deodato) gave them more mass-appeal with his smooth, romantic sound.
"Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
(#1 last week; 2nd week at #1) A year after Paul guested on Michael's album, Michael returns the favor. In a kinda-spooky chart coincidence, Paul McCartney's first & last New Jersey #1 hits came exactly 20 years apart, almost to the week. The single, & album (“Pipes Of Peace”) was produced by old McCartney friend George Martin.