The road to nowhere continues as we breach the Top 40 Singles of 1982 today on my own personal list. (You can catch up with the previous sixty songs by clicking on links below.) This has been a ton of fun on my end and I might wear out my welcome by taxing your collective attention spans with lists of 100 of my favorite singles covering my entire favorite decade (1973-1982) in music appearing each and every month during 2016. We'll see. You'll have to wait a week to see how this list works out in the end. Spoiler alert: every song title as well as every artist on the entire list appears at least once in the graphic above. But you already knew that...
Some people unfortunately got their first taste of Bryan Adams with his 1978 unintentional disco track "Let Me Take You Dancing", written and recorded when he was just 18. Still others first sampled Bryan's brand of Canadian everyman rock with his self-titled debut album in 1980. I fell for Bryan, his barely raspy voice along with songwriting partner Jim Vallance (ex-Prism) and their hook-laden brand of pop-rock the first time I heard "Lonely Nights" on KLPX in late 1981 or early 1982. Nearly every Adams/Vallance song, even the ballads that followed throughout the Eighties and into the Nineties and beyond sounded reassuringly familiar and comfortable as if they had recorded one everlasting gobstopper of an album that just continued to spin off great song after great song. "Lonely Nights" remains my favorite Bryan Adams song (you rarely forget your first) but I still buy his albums as he releases them and think he is highly underrated everywhere outside of his Canadian homeland.
After exploding fully-formed on the world and Woodstock stage back in the late Sixties, Carlos Santana could have packed away his guitar and concentrated his considerable passion and effort into his signature line of men's hats and women's shoes but he just kept going, pushing the envelope, experimenting and pursuing a deeper spirituality because that is what you do when you are Carlos No Middle Name Santana. He returned to the Pop charts in 1981 with the self-prophesying "Winning", his highest charting single in a decade and followed it up in 1982 with the even higher charting single, "Hold On" a cover of an Ian Thomas song from Thomas's 1981 album The Runner. Scotsman Alex Ligertwood handled vocal duties on both "Winning" and "Hold On" and also lent his pipes to the Dixie Dregs track "Crank It Up", also from 1982. A couple of years later, I would recognize Ligertwood's vocals on Jeff Lorber's "Double Bad" from the In The Heat Of The Night album.
Like all great rock songs, Eddie Money's "Shakin'" was about a hot girl ("Rosanna") in a purloined car ("her daddy's") and all the freedom both provided. I'm no scholar but I'm fairly certain the song's title, like the term rock and roll itself, is a euphemism for the dirty dirty boink boink neener neener. Though not explicitly mentioned in the lyrics themselves, the music video for the song turns it into a G-rated low rider romance, complete with hydraulic bouncing, spark-shooting, street racing cars and a girl in a white peasant dress. You might recognize Rosanna in the video - two years later, Prince renamed her Apollonia and featured all of her physical attributes onscreen in a little film called Purple Rain.
Speaking of euphemisms, ZZ Top has one for the natural act of waka waka ting tang bouncy bouncy or whatever the kids are calling it nowadays. Beginning with Frank Beard's tribal beat, sounding a little bit like the drum intro to "Shakin'" does, the song soon descends into your standard guitar blues-boogie with loverman Billy Gibbons and his croaky voice bragging about his four women:
- a gal who lives cross town
- another gal who lives on the block with pink and black socks (some say "kinky black socks")
- and a gal who lives on a hill with her sister
Bassist Dusty Hill holds down the low end while Billy coaxes a couple of wicked blues-soaked solos out of his fifth gal, his six string guitar to close the brief song out. "Tube Snake Boogie" remains a staple on KLPX thirty five years after it's initial release which is a coincidence because both KLPX and I will be celebrating our respective 35th Anniversaries here in Tucson in 2016.
Diver Down came out just before my sixteenth birthday in 1982. Short on cash, I borrowed my friend Brian's album and dubbed it down to both sides of a TDK D60 tape by leaving off the twelfth track, the boys take on Roy and Dale Roger's "Happy Trails" which later became one of my go-to last songs on mixtapes. My air guitar skills were challenged by all the new sounds Eddie was able to come up with and sure enough at that year's school-sanctioned air guitar contest, Diver Down had more songs performed than any other album though I think we heard and saw Ozzy's "Flying High Again" and "Crazy Train" performed many times that year. (And the year after.) Though one of the songs on Diver Down shared a title with a junior high nickname I had, my favorite song on the album quickly became their rockin' retake of the Motown classic "Dancing In The Street" with Eddie honking, echoing and squawking away on that wild red and white striped axe of his. He had the cool matching overalls as well. The song brings back many memories of high school hijinx though none I can share here in this family-friendly space. Haven't you heard? Big Bad Bill is Sweet William now.
|rank||song title||artist||Hot 100||debut on Hot 100|
|040||Lonely Nights||Bryan Adams||84||3/13/1982|
|037||Tube Snake Boogie||ZZ Top||103|
|036||Dancing In The Street||Van Halen||38||5/22/1982|
Rough Trade's "All Touch" was another, indirect gift from that Sunday night show on KLPX where all sorts of imports and off-genre songs that would never be heard otherwise on the AOR airwaves of KLPX got airtime. I remember the host took the time to both front and back sell each song, running down six song sets both before and after playing them to make sure we knew what we had just heard. Heard "For Those Who Think Young" that Sunday night and bought it Monday afternoon at Al Bum's after class, a gold-stamped promo only copy of the album For Those Who Think Young. Carole Pope brought the attitude and the vocals while Kevan Staples brought (most of) the noise. I wrote about the album's title track back in 2013 and I am proud to shine the spotlight on the new wavish glory of "All Touch" which actually climbed up to number 58 on the Hot 100 here in the States early in 1983 after an initial release in their Canadian homeland back in 1981.
The first ABBA song I remember hearing on the radio was "Dancing Queen" and the first ABBA song I remember not hearing on the radio was "Fernando" over at a distant cousin's house on a humid Missouri night. I was a big fan and remember quite clearly ordering both ABBA's Greatest Hits and ABBA's Greatest Hits Volume Two from the RCA Music Service. The former led me back through the group's early singles I had missed while the latter continued that education while strengthening my love of the group's 1976-1979 work. The very last ABBA album I purchased on vinyl was the double album The Singles: The First Ten Years, which I ranked as my 50th favorite album of 1982. I never bothered to pick up their final studio album The Visitors until much later and then rarely played it beyond that initial got a new CD to listen to phase as nothing popped or stuck. Sometime in late 2014, I was researching which singles had been released in 1982 and gave The Visitors another listen and was immediately captivated by the pulsing, glowing title track. I mean I fell for it hard, head over ears and I played it endlessly for days, eventually racking up 120 plays according to my last.fm page and in an unfounded panic I reset the song's playcount so that going forward it would reflect actual plays in context of playlists and random shuffle plays and it still came it at number 83 on my most played songs of 2015 list. "The Visitors" was ABBA's last charting single on the Hot 100 and it only made it up to number 63. It was much more popular in discos and dance clubs though and managed to land at number 8 on the Disco/Dance chart. Once I started listening to it for the purposes of writing this little piece about it, I listened five times before nature called and I snapped out of the hold the song has over me.
Frida was recently asked to list her five favorite ABBA songs and she selected three songs off The Visitors, including the title track. It is a strange and wonderful coincidence that her post-ABBA solo single debut "I Know There's Something Going On" comes in one spot above her old group. Enlisting the help of Phil Collins was a masterstroke as he was just beginning his unprecedented string of hits, productions and guest appearances. Recorded in early 1982 while ABBA was on a break, Anni-Frid wanted her solo work to sound as different from ABBA as possible. Her song was a world-wide smash except over in the ABBA obsessed UK where the group had logged nine Number One albums and nine Number One singles yet Frida saw her song fail to make the Top 40. This song used to get airplay on KLPX though I bet they wouldn't even allow it in their computer library of songs now. My favorite part of the song is Collins stuttering drum riff.
Christmas 1981 was our first Christmas in the Sonoran Desert and my Texas Grandma drove in to spend the holidays with us. I remember getting a Mattel Intellivision(!!!) that Christmas and a few albums but not much else though I probably got some clothes. Ever since I had started high school, Mom had switched from making my clothes to buying my clothes. My most vivid memory of Christmas 1981 is falling asleep just after lunch in a lounger in the backyard and being woken up a couple hours later because I was beginning to burn out there in the sun. It was a warm day and I was in a tee shirt and a pair of boxers. Anyway, one of the albums I got that Christmas was Rod Stewart's Tonight I'm Yours and I played that thing constantly, so much so that I have always suspected my Dad snuck in and took the album of my little shelf of 100-150 albums, turned it around so the spine wasn't showing and then misplaced it back on the shelf where it didn't belong. I did panic a little bit when it wasn't where it was supposed to be but I found it rather quickly and a crisis was averted. My two favorite songs on the album remain the two hits, the title track and "Young Turks". Both contain the prevalent contemporary sounds of the day like bouncy synths and new wave flourishes while retaining Stewart's rock appeal so that I heard them on the Top 40 countdowns as well as on my station of choice, the rockin' KLPX. My favorite of the two is "Young Turks" which even charted on the Dance/Disco chart but it is on my list of favorite singles from 1981 so the nearly equal "Tonight I'm Yours" gets the nod for the 1982 list. I warned you at the beginning my methods were convoluted.
"Stone Cold" begins with an air of quiet menace, a little organ noodling and some martial drumming gives into a bass and guitar groove before the vocals tell the hopeless tale of man trapped in a one way love affair. And then the bridge comes, the chorus kicks in and its one of the best songs Deep Purple never cut, a soaring power ballad that got mucho airplay on KLPX. I grew to love it after repeated playings of the K-Tel album N.U. R.O.C.K.
|035||All Touch||Rough Trade||58||12/18/1982|
|033||I Know There's Something Going On||Frida||13||11/6/1982|
|032||Tonight I'm Yours (Don't Hurt Me)||Rod Stewart||20||1/23/1982|
Another Virgin Vinyl find that I picked up on the cheap as a gold-stamped promo at Al Bum's. I don't think I have mentioned this before but when I started junior high school in 1978, my parents gave me $2 a day for lunch, which was enough to get several of the junk food options offered in the cafeteria or if I could stick it out til after school, a slice and a root beer at Garcia's Pizza. When I got to high school, they generously upped my lunch allowance to $5 a day. Though they rarely paid me for the entire week in advance, there were a few times when I got $25 on a Monday and had spent it all on records by Tuesday and starved the rest of the week. This wasn't much of a problem once I discovered tasty Peanut Butter flavored Carnation Breakfast Bars (sadly discontinued in the late Eighties) and began carrying them in my backpack or devouring the entire box of six in one sitting immediately when I got home which was usually abut an hour before suppertime. (Sorry, Mom.) Once I got to college, I reconciled my vinyl addiction with my eating disorder and enjoyed a regular eating schedule once again while continuing to amass my music collection. Anywho, there are apparently four versions of the song "Talk Talk" and I like the 3:18 version that jumps right into the song. It still astonishes me how this dynamic new wave song gave way to the immersive soundscapes of later Talk Talk recordings.
While "Back On The Chain Gang" is a fine and dandy tune, it is the single's flipside "My City Was Gone" with it's loping bassline and steady drum beat that steals the show. The first time I heard this song I was sitting in the dark with about a hundred other young adults in various stages of altered consciousness watching projected starscapes being invaded by musically snyched lasers at the Flandrau Planetarium on the University of Arizona campus. (I just checked and they are still running a laser light music show on Friday nights and a Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon laser light show on Saturday nights.) Being stone cold sober as the designated driver as well as an all-around goody two shoes, I enjoyed the ever loving crap out of the song and the rest of the show. Loud music in the dark is still a thing with me, though my claustrophobia and agoraphobia dictate I do so alone. Over the years, I have also come to appreciate the song on the level it was written though with a slight twist. Whereas Ms. Hynde laments urban sprawl, my nomadic childhood as an Air Force Brat has left me with a series of homes and schools that no longer exist due to the closing down of the bases we lived on. Only the faded memories remain.
As the closing track on the album Shabooh Shoobah, INXS's "Don't Change" sends things off just right. An anthemic plea perfectly delivered by Michael Hutchence's vocals and his band's seriously rocking chops, "Don't Change" has snapped me out of countless funks while boosting my resolve in uncomfortable or confrontational situations. It brings a sweet serenity to my soul, a strength of courage to my heart and a much welcomed stillness to my mind. Another one of the songs that I consider gospel and essential to my life. Ranking it my 28th favorite single of 1982 was a formality.
Though I totally missed out on the original 1980 punk-ish recording of this song, I fell hard for the later version of "We Got The Beat" and dove headfirst into the Beauty And The Beat album in early 1982 after catching their performance on American Bandstand. Until then I kind of dismissed them and their sound as if I was the arbiter of cool. Idiot! Infectious describes the beat they got to a T and it was great to hear the familiar drumbeat open the film Fast Times At Ridgemont High later in 1982. Sassy, playful and teasing also come to mind when trying to describe this song which remains my go-to Go-Go's jam though a close second is the darker, moodier "This Town".
In the context of this list, "I Love Rock N Roll" is the edgier, more dangerous bad girl cousin of the Go-Go's innocent, sunny and pure "We Got The Beat" - they are both self-aware songs that encourage musical celebration. The fact that both of them debuted within a week of each other on the Hot 100, with Jett ultimately coming from behind to beat The Go-Go's to Number One. (The California girls didn't do too shabby, nestling in at number 2 for three weeks before both songs were toppled by two of the lamest songs of 1982 or any year.) Though the song is tailor-made for Joan, it turned out later that it was a cover and then we found out she had recorded it earlier with two Sex Pistols. After the Summer of 1982, I was a Jett fan for life. I bought her previous album (Bad Reputation), all the Runaways albums I could find and finally saw her in concert opening for Robert Plant of all people in 1988. "I Love Rock N Roll" was the theme song for late Spring/early Summer 1982 - you heard it everywhere you went.
|030||Talk Talk||Talk Talk||75||10/16/1982|
|029||My City Was Gone||Pretenders||5||12/11/1982|
|027||We Got The Beat||The Go-Go's||3||1/30/1982|
|026||I Love Rock N Roll||Joan Jett||1||2/6/1982|
Here's a fun fact: never in my nearly fifty years on Earth have I ever met a girl named Rosanna and yet there are two of them in songs in this portion of the countdown: one up there at number 38 and one right here at number 25. Toto's "Rosanna" might well be their crowning achievement; the sound of talented musicians at the peak of their creative powers, honed after thousands of hours in the studio, playing on almost every record you ever loved in the Seventies and Eighties. "Rosanna" won a Grammy for Record Of The Year in 1983, one of several Grammy Awards Toto took home that year. It seems like I have always known this song and have listened to it hundreds if not thousands of times yet each listen reveals something new to me. The varying jazz-tinged breaks, vamps and solos allow the players to stretch out, keeping the song fresh over it's legendary steady shuffling beat. Of course the critics hated Toto and despite having faces that belonged in the studio, the boys in Toto gamely made a music video which received quite a bit of airplay on the fledgling MTV. For me, this is just a happy song regardless of the lyrics - it sounds happy, it makes me happy and I'm happy with that.
"Let It Whip" was another Grammy winner in 1983. I believe it won Best Funky Groove or something like that. It's a great song that I wrote about back in November 2015 over on the K-Tel Kollection - click HERE to read.
You viewers probably get tired of me writing about my falling for the Stray Cats the first time I saw and heard them so you might as well skip to the next song now. The third series of Fridays that aired in 1981-1982 furthered the show's reputation for featuring both the hottest new wave acts as well as established California pop acts. Check out the lineup from the first four episodes that season - click on artist for performance video from show:
Eleven months later, the Stray Cats split the bill with the Dazz Band on the premiere episode of American Bandstand's twenty-sixth season. By the time graduation rolled around in 1984, the Stray Cats had all but disappeared leaving behind a handful of great songs of which "Stray Cat Strut" is my absolute favorite though it is not every one's favorite. While waiting for a fresh order of delicious cheesy bread at a national carry-out only pizza chain a few months back, the song came on the in store music system and I heard a voice in the back yell "If I have to hear this song one more time today, Imma kill someone." About a minute later, that same hidden voice said "Sorry, I didn't know anyone was in here."
As a high school student in 1982, the film Fast Times At Ridgemont High was almost like a documentary - they were just like us, extremely horny and trying to figure out their place in the world. The book makes this even more apparent but it was the soundtrack that left the biggest impression on me featuring stray tracks from favorite artists The Go-Go's, Don Henley, Billy Squier and Donna Summer among many others. But the gentle longing of Jackson Browne's "Somebody's Baby" perfectly summed up those teenage feelings of love and how the object of your affections probably has no idea how attractive she is or that you're even interested. As I was experiencing that very thing at that very moment, "Somebody's Baby" was something of a personal anthem. That girl (and the next girl) didn't work out (I was banished to the "friend zone") but I kept my wits about me, regrouped and eventually found a girl who felt the same way about me.
"Don't Fight It" features dynamic performances from co-vocalists Kenny Loggins and Steve Perry as well as scorching guitar work from Neil Giraldo. From the opening notes, the song builds steam before exploding on the chorus then resetting itself for the next round. The lyrics are positive and easy to sing along with, which I do as often as I can. Still can't believe this was not a Top 10 smash on the Pop charts.
|024||Let It Whip||Dazz Band||5||4/24/1982|
|023||Stray Cat Strut||Stray Cats||102||7/17/1982|
|022||Somebody's Baby||Jackson Browne||7||7/31/1982|
|021||Don't Fight It||Kenny Loggins w/ Steve Perry||17||8/28/1982|