You and I both know that lists like these are exercises in frustrating futility and immediate obsoletion - just because I think I like one song more than another today doesn't necessarily preclude I won't love yet another song more than both of them tomorrow. And what does it all matter anyway. That being said, this is the umpteenth version of my 100 favorite songs from my absolute favorite year in music, 1982, and the first one to be published. The criteria of eligibility was as convoluted as was the judging process and the best that I can hope is you and I share a few songs in common and we can be friends. Or if we are already friendly, maybe we can become better friends as we discover we have more in common, sharing confidentialities and forming trusts that transcend the many miles between us. Hell, I don't know, its just a list. But it is my list, a labor of love, so indulge me if you will. We're up to numbers 80-61 today.
(Click here for the first part, 100-81.)
"What you gonna do?/Do you wanna get down?" Those are but two of the many questions in this hip-shaker that probably quizzed me from 1330 K-Hit in late 1981 and early 1982. I don't recall ever seeing the Gang perform this on the TV venues of the time (Solid Gold, American Bandstand or Soul Train) but the music video is annoying as heck to watch as someone had too much fun using video effects.
This song has a bassline for days courtesy of Freddie "Boom Boom" Washington, one of Kotter's former Sweathogs on Welcome Back, Kotter.
- (Right name, wrong guy. This guy's nickname is "Ready" Freddie Washington - Ed.)
Well, I know Patrice's nickname is "Cornrow" because of her admiration for Bo Derek...
- (Wrong again, she's affectionately know as "Babyfingers" because of her small delicate hands. - Ed.)
One of the few songs to simultaneously top the Hot 100, R&B and Dance charts...
- (Nope, it was number 23, number 4 and number 2 on the charts you named respectively. Did you even read your research notes for this one? - Ed.)
All off the top of my head...
- (um, no. - Ed.)
If asked, I would credit my exposure to this song to the New Music Test Department or Virgin Vinyl shows that aired Sunday nights on KLPX back in 1982. The Furs' Richard Butler possesses one of the most unique voices in rock and this song was produced by Todd Rundgren, who also played the marimba throughout. Butler and his brother Tim's next band after the Furs was Love Spit Love and their claim to fame is their cover of "How Soon Is Now?" by the Smiths. A lot of people don't care for it but I have been using it and "Love My Way" on Halloween mix discs for damn, nearly twenty years now.
This was definitely a K-Hit jam though I later saw him perform it on Soul Train. If you know nothing else about me, you have to know I am a sucker for the growling vocal style Junior employs when he sings "Mama used to say" and that is but one reason I really like this song. Today, I just like 76 songs from 1982 more;)
I began buying Sugar Hill twelve inch singles in early 1980 when I picked up SH-542, which despite the catalog number is the first one they ever issued, I think. (Verified it with the Sugar Hill singles discography included in the booklet for the box set The Sugar Hill Records Story from 1997.) The song was "Rapper's Delight" and I had only recently heard it at a junior high basement party that prior Christmas. Mine wasn't an original red label one but rather the now familiar rainbow colored Sugar Hill logo above a white skyline. Did I buy every twelve single they put out? No. But I did buy every single one I ever saw. All three of them. There wasn't much of a market for them in the middle of Illinois I guess and I consider myself fortunate to have found the three singles I did before we moved to Tucson:
- "Rapper's Delight" (SH-542) - Sugarhill Gang (memorizing every line was a thing)
- "Funk You Up" (SH-543) - Sequence (our jr. high cheer squad did a sweet routine to this)
- "Super-Wolf Can Do It" (SH-546) - Super-Wolf (whatever happened to this guy? He was awesome!)
"The Message" (SH-584) was my third Grandmaster Flash twelve inch single after "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel" (SH-557 and also the very first record I bought after we moved to Tucson in August 1981) and "It's Nasty (Genius of Love)" (SH-569) and set the stage for the grittier rap that was to come, including the mutinous "White Lines (Don't Do It)" in 1983.
|rank||song title||artist||Hot 100||debut on Hot 100|
|080||Get Down On It||Kool & the Gang||10||2/27/1982|
|079||Forget Me Nots||Patrice Rushen||23||5/1/1982|
|078||Love My Way||Psychedelic Furs||44||3/5/1983|
|077||Mama Used To Say||Junior||30||2/13/1982|
|076||The Message||Grandmaster Flash||62||10/16/1982|
This is one of several songs on this list that would not have been on my list of favorite songs from 1982 if I compiled it 5, 10 or 30 years ago. Recently re-discovered, it has grown on me quite a bit and if I were to revise and update this list next week, it would surely be higher than number 75 which is where it sits now.
Someone gave me the Tattoo You on cassette just after we got to Tucson in August 1981. Or I found it on the bus which I rode A LOT. The first 30 days or so we were in Tucson, we lived in a tent at the Crazy Horse Campground because there were no houses for us on the base. (The campground still exists!) Each morning my little sister and I got up before the Sun, ate, showered and dressed before Dad drove us to our bus stop on base. It was a nine mile drive, usually 15-20 minutes in the early morning traffic. The bus ride was another 15 miles, about 25-30 minutes in even busier traffic, to downtown Tucson where Tucson High School is located. Even after we moved into a house on base, I would ride the school bus to school but then take Sun Tran (public transit) home or to Mom's tailor shop. Until we moved into that house on base and got all of our belongings out of storage, my trusty off-brand Walkman and five pre-recorded cassettes were all I had to soundtrack daily voyages and as a result, I have listened to Tattoo You more than a few hundred times and "Hang Fire" is my favorite track on the whole album. "Marrying money is a full time job/I don't need the aggravation/I'm a lazy slob/Hang fire!"
An irresistible, good feeling song that stretches out over ten minutes on Original Musiquarium I, the half as long single edit always leaves me wanting more. A little disappointed in myself as this one should be ranked higher. Who's up next? Sweet Kenny Rogers!
If you're a carbon-based life form like me, you thrive on a musical diet high in Vitamin K for Sweet Kenny Rogers. He can tell you a story, croon a love song or duet with any female on the face of the Earth. Or he can just sing as easy and naturally as he breathes which is what he does on "Love Will Turn You Around". This is definitely one of my favorite songs and deservedly ranks at... what the crap? This is only number 72. I find that very hard to believe.
Remember how your world was rocked the every first time you heard "Planet Rock"? And the next dozen or so times when it still sounded fresh? Yeah, I still get that feeling. Bam's immense and influential record collection has been donated to a institution of higher learning so that future generations of musical scholars can hear them all again for the first time.
|075||Nice Girls||Eye To Eye||37||5/22/1982|
|074||Hang Fire||Rolling Stones||20||3/20/1982|
|073||Do I Do||Stevie Wonder||13||5/29/1982|
|072||Love Will Turn You Around||Kenny Rogers||13||7/3/1982|
|071||Planet Rock||Afrika Bambaataa||48||7/17/1982|
"Stand Or Fall" is a pretty somber even depressing song. But it was so fresh and new at the time, it didn't really matter with a chorus of "Stand Or Fall" sounds rebellious or confrontational which you can get behind. The music is the key and then they followed it up with "Red Skies", an equally down tune before brightening up just a bit on their next album. Still very interesting to listen to these well-produced songs full of original sounds.
Business As Usual holds a special place in my life and while most people opt for the hit singles "Down Under" and "Who Can It Be Now", I gravitated towards "Be Good Johnny" as they might as well have been singing "Be Good, Be Good, Be Good, Be Good <insert my name here>". The stash of my report cards that have recently come into my possession seem to back this up with teacher comments like "Daydreams in class", "uses imagination more than he should" and "All-American kid with so much potential needs to learn how to control himself in class"
The words lush, smooth, luxurious, polished, posh, beautiful and perfect are rarely used when discussing pop music yet each and every one apply to Roxy Music's album Avalon and most especially to the song "More Than This". It is a warm breeze on a cool day, the perfect blanket on a cold night and a glorious reason to wake up in the morning. It is both praise to a higher power and a humble prayer of thanks. You can't tell me there was no room on the Hot 100 for a song like this back in 1982. Well, you can, but I would not believe you.
T.G. Shepperd got me with the chorus of this song and that little stuttering guitar riff that backs it. I'd bet country fried steak to Carroll's donuts that the song was on the Cow Talk jukebox and I spent a few bucks listening to it. Probably the least country "country" song on my personal countdown, I still sing along each and every time it comes on.
We all went cuckoo over Huey Louie and the Newies third album Sports in 1983 and rightfully so but some of us loved the band's second album, Picture This, from the year before. The sweet spot on that album was the final two tracks on side one and the first track on side two which made recording the whole album on one side of a cassette very practical. "Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do" sounds like late Seventies soft rock, the good stuff, and "Workin' For A Livin' " rocks with the same organ-driven swagger that drives Elvis Costello's "Pump It Up" before going up in a blazing harmonica solo. Then you flip the record and "Do You Believe In Love" starts with Huey sing shouting his love lorn lyrics and those super sweet background harmonies kick in and that's all she wrote, mister. This song makes me swoon and its such a good feeling. Where were we?
|070||Stand Or Fall||The Fixx||76||10/30/1982|
|069||Be Good Johnny||Men At Work|
|068||More Than This||Roxy Music|
|067||Only One You||T.G. Sheppard||68||1/30/1982|
|066||Do You Believe in Love||Huey Lewis & the News||7||2/6/1982|
Journey's Escape was another one of those tapes I lived with for more than a month when we moved from Illinois to Arizona through Orlando and New Orleans. Love the album (with the exception of "Mother, Father") and would have to say my favorite song on the tape is "Who's Crying Now" followed by "Don't Stop Believin'", "Still They Ride", "Stone In Love" and "Open Arms". That last one was also featured in the film Heavy Metal in the scene where Harry the cabbie brings home the redhead and... well you've seen the film but it is used more memorably in The Last American Virgin. An unabashed piano ballad with power ballad tendencies, the song has been covered by noted piano balladeer Barry Manilow on his Greatest Songs Of The Eighties album.
"Heat Of The Moment" caught me off-guard in the Spring and Summer of 1982. I didn't really care for the single upon the first few listens but once I purchased the album and heard it in context of some of the supergroup's other songs, I liked it a lot more but nowhere near as much as some of my friends who talked about the album incessantly for the last month of school. This one might actually be ranked too high on the list. I'll fix it next time.
Looking more like a country outlaw artist than the soft pop artist he was, Paul Davis was a revelation the first time I saw him perform on television (Solid Gold, maybe), like seeing a teacher outside of school when you're a child. Not at all what I expected. My parents had a real-life "'65 Love Affair" and managed to stick together for 50 years before Dad passed in 2015. Both of my parents, like me, appreciate the nostalgic tone and references in the song.
"The Beatles Movie Medley" was late to the medley game of 1981-1982 though their music had originally been the basis of the Stars on 45 medley. And they also deserve credit for the Hooked On Classics medley, the Beach Boys Medley, The Elvis Medley and every other medley ever - past, present or future. They're the Beatles! This single was another one of those songs I only heard on Casey's American Top 40, where it debuted on the April 10, 1982 countdown at number 34 in its third week on the Hot 100. The following week, the single leaped up to number 22 and then spent another six weeks in the Top 20 before cliff-diving from number 20 all the way down to number 92 in its eleventh and ultimately final week on the chart. Bought the Reel Music album thinking the Medley would be on there but it was not.
Billy Squier could do no wrong from 1980-1983 but then he made that video and everybody hated him for what? For wearing pink? For his unconventional dance moves? For his perfect cheekbones and flowing locks? For working with producer Jim Steinman? Doesn't matter. I stuck with the guy, bought the Signs Of Life album and took my future wife to see him in concert (10/9/84) where I bought two sleeveless tee/muscle shirts: one white, one pink. All of which has nothing to do with how freakin' great this song is. From the revving anticipation at the beginning of the track, the snaky guitar riff before liftoff at just 10 seconds and then its just relentless high energy wild rockin' funk with Squier wailing over the top of it all. And then its over and I'm reaching for the play button again and again.
|064||Heat Of The Moment||Asia||4||4/17/1982|
|063||'65 Love Affair||Paul Davis||6||2/27/1982|
|062||The Beatles Movie Medley||The Beatles||12||3/27/1982|
|061||Everybody Wants You||Billy Squier||32||10/2/1982|