Friday, June 19, 2015

Milestone! 1982: The Year in Review

With a third year of chart songs complete, I have to say that I still love doing this project. It has been a lot of fun listening to old favorites, discovering new ones, and digging up information on artists and their songs. Regardless of any rating I apply, I like to think that by listening and writing about some of the forgotten songs/artists of the decade, it will keep their contributions and legacies alive. After all, they have done something that very few people have been able to do - get a single on the pop chart. It doesn't matter if you like the song or not. The fact that they did it is pretty darn cool. So to all those long forgotten artists who are still out there selling real estate or running a business or working in an office or even still playing in the bars, I'm listening and thanks for your work! I couldn't have this much fun without you!

The chart music of 1982 was still in a transition phase. MTV was changing the way we discovered songs and artists. Synthpop was on the verge of a major breakthrough. The British were coming! R&B artists were gaining some traction at pop but were still ignored by a lot of pop radio and even MTV. Major artists from the 70s were having difficulty adapting and getting left behind. It was all leading up to one of the most iconic years of the decade (and probably my second favorite), 1983.

As I move along in the chart years, probably the most difficult aspect is finding interesting information on artists that had several chart entries, yet the artist or their songs are...well...bland. I try to track down what I can, but sometimes there are artists who are just plain boring. When I get to another low-level chart entry by an uninteresting artist, I usually groan. I'm sure anyone reading one of those blog entries can practically hear that groan through the post! But luckily there are not too many and eventually the artist runs their chart course.

Other than that, I'm having a blast and I hope anyone who encounters the blog will have fun as well. Keep reading, pass it along to friends, feel free to send comments, and don't forget to "Rate It!" at the bottom of each post. Here is a recap of 1982:

Number of charted songs in 1982:  431  (413 in 1981)
Time it took listen/post all songs:  1 year, 24 days  (10 mo. for 1981)
Number of songs to hit #1:  15  (14 in 1981)
Number of songs to reach Top 10 (excluding #1's):  59  (61 in 1981)
Artist with the most chart entries:  Tied with 4 each  (3 artists had 4 each in 1981)
  • Kool & the Gang
  • Steve Miller Band
  • Stevie Wonder (3 solo, 1 duet) 
  • Paul McCartney (2 solo, 2 duets)
Number of gold singles:  22  (26 in 1981)
Number of platinum singles:  10  (3 in 1981)
Number of songs that won a Grammy:  12  (11 in 1981)
Number of One-Hit Wonders:  7  (5 in 1981)
Number of Rated 10 songs:  12  (9 for 1981)
Number of Rated 1 songs:  0  (1 for 1981)

Top 5 favorite chart songs of the year:
  1. "Jack & Diane" by John Cougar
  2. "Don't You Want Me" by Human League
  3. "We Got the Beat" by The Go-Go's
  4. "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks
  5. "Eye in the Sky" by The Alan Parsons Project
Worst song of the year:  "Attack of the Name Game" by Stacy Lattisaw
Best song I didn't know existed:  (tie) "What Do All the People Know" by The Monroes and "All of My Love" by Bobby Caldwell
Favorite discovery:  Larry Lee's "Marooned" album.

Some interesting things learned (click links for more details in previous posts):
  • John Cougar was the first artist of the 80s to place two songs in the Top 10 of a year-end chart (see chart below).
  • Much derided actress Pia Zadora was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female.
  • Saga did a song cycle about insect aliens who find Albert Einstein's brain.
  • British group Alan Parsons Project never had a major hit in their home country.
  • Kim Carnes wrote a novelty song called "She Dances with Meat" and recorded it under the name Connie con Carne.
  • Writers of the 80s classic "Down Under" were taken to court for copyright infringement and lost - 28 years after the song was released.
  • Hawaiian crooner Don Ho did a cover version of Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey."
  • Tug of War is a sanctioned international sport.
  • Toni Basil's "Mickey" was actually a remake of the song "Kitty" by UK band Racey.
  • The cover art for Billy Squier's "Emotions in Motion" album was done by Andy Warhol.
  • In John Cougar's original version of "Jack & Diane," the pair were an interracial couple.
  • Devo provided background vocals for Jermaine Jackson's "Let Me Tickle Your Fancy."
  • Greg Kihn writes horror novels, one of which won an award.
  • Rocker Aldo Nova wrote songs that were hits for Celine Dion and Clay Aiken.
  • Neil Diamond got a scholarship to New York University - in fencing.
  • Charlene's "I've Never Been to Me" also comes in a male version which was covered by The Temptations.
  • Tom Petty's wife inspired Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen."
  • Survivor's Dave Bickler is the singing voice on the famous Bud Lite "Real Men of Genius" ads.
  • Olivia Newton-John's first recording contract was with the Don Kirshner-assembled group Toomorrow.
  • Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n' Roll" is a remake of a 1975 song by The Arrows.
According to the year-end chart for 1982, these were the year's Top 10 singles:
  1. "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John
  2. "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
  3. "I Love Rock n' Roll" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
  4. "Ebony and Ivory" by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
  5. "Centerfold" by J. Geils Band
  6. "Don't You Want Me" by Human League
  7. "Jack & Diane" by John Cougar
  8. "Hurts So Good" by John Cougar
  9. "Abracadabra" by Steve Miller Band
  10. "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago
So long '82, hello '83!


  1. I always enjoy your reviews....even when I don't agree with them. I'm glad to see your favorite discovery was Larry Lee's album. I absolutely love "Don't Talk." I'll confess, reading your rather generic/so so review of the song, I'm surprised (albeit pleasantly) that you enjoyed the album as much as you appear to have done.

    1. Thanks for the nice comment! I like when folks both agree and disagree with a post. The thing about this project is that I only hear a song a few times at most and then I'll make a quick judgement. That's kind of like what it was back in the day when a new song played on the radio. You may just have one listed to hook into it. So sometimes I may rush to judgement. I've revisited songs that I didn't care for that someone else loved just to see if I missed out on something (or vice versa too - did I really like that one?). Most times I stick with my assessment but sometimes I might like something better. "Don't Talk" is a good example. For the most part, I'd stick with the so-so review because if I heard it on the radio, it probably wouldn't grab my attention. However, a friend had the album and passed it on to me and I really enjoyed it. And the more I heard "Don't Talk," the more I did like it. Now, I'd probably bump up the song's rating, but for the blog I gotta go with my gut feeling first time around. That's what makes this project fun! Thanks for the comment and for following!

    2. Geez - someday I'll learn to proofread....."just have one LISTEN"...not listed. Obviously, I'm not a real writer...