Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Milestone! 1984: The Year in Review

This officially marks the halfway point in the project! Five years down, five more to go! The first half of the decade consisted of 2,173 songs. The second half should be similar, so I still have a long way to go. However, I'm looking forward to it!

Oh 1984 - the year I loved! And it didn't disappoint. I think it was my peak year of buying charted songs. Out of the 51 chart weeks, for 10 of them I owned the complete Top 10 song. For 15 weeks, I owned 9 of the Top 10. It was just a fantastic year for pop music and it contained some of the best albums of the decade including Purple Rain and Born in the U.S.A. Plus it included the return of Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper hitting her stride. Former Eagles Don Henley and Glenn Frey were scoring hits while Van Halen jumped to a new high and U2 hit the Top 40 for the first time.

There will still be some great stuff ahead in 1985. Many of the hits from that year signaled what was to come for the remainder of the decade. The music changed rapidly throughout the 80s and the mid-decade year was an appropriate transition span. Hair metal would be on the rise as would be the dance sounds from the Stock-Aitken-Waterman production team. There would be more movie hits and rap would start getting more attention. It should be another excellent year to explore.

I'm still enjoying this project 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 1984:

Number of charted songs in 1984:  433  (445 in 1983)
Time it took listen/post all songs:  1 year, 29 days  (1 year, 49 days for 1983)
Number of songs that debuted in 1984 to hit #1:  19  (15 in 1983)
Number of songs that debuted in 1984 to reach the Top 10 (excluding #1's):  76  (70 in 1983)
Artist with the most chart entries:  Rick Springfield - 5  (Michael Jackson, had 6 in 1983)
Number of gold singles:  26  (19 in 1983)
Number of platinum singles:  9  (7 in 1983)
Number of songs that won a Grammy:  10  (8 in 1983)
Number of One-Hit Wonders:  3  (10 in 1983)
Number of Rated 10 songs:  19  (16 for 1983)
Number of Rated 1 songs:  2 (plus a rare zero for one song)  (3 for 1983)

Top 5 favorite chart songs of the year:
  1. "When Doves Cry" by Prince
  2. "Here Comes the Rain Again" by Eurythmics
  3. "Had a Dream (Sleeping with the Enemy)" by Roger Hodgson
  4. "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)" by Icicle Works
  5. "The Boys of Summer" by Don Henley
Worst song of the year:  "Eat My Shorts" by Rick Dees (however, if I discount novelty/comedy songs, then I'd choose "Sex Shooter" by Apollonia 6)
Best song I didn't know existed:  "Flashes" by Tiggi Clay
Favorite discoveries:  Tiggi Clay's sole album, Mink DeVille, and Helen Hoffner's song "Summer of Love."

A few other fun stats:

Highest debut:  #20 - "Thriller" by Michael Jackson (peaked at #4)
Lowest debut:  #96 - "Joystick" by Dazz Band (peaked at #61)

Longest climb to peak position:  "What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner climbed 91 positions from #92 to #1

Longest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1984:  "What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner took 16 weeks to reach #1
Quickest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1984:  Both "When Doves Cry" by Prince and "Like a Virgin" by Madonna took only 6 weeks to reach #1.
Most weeks at #1 in 1984:  5 - for two songs, "Jump" by Van Halen and "When Doves Cry" by Prince

Most weeks on the chart for a song debuting in 1984:  30 - "Borderline" by Madonna (it peaked at #10).

Average number of weeks a song spent on the chart:  12
Position on chart where the most songs debuted:  #90 - 32 songs debuted at that spot (1 hit Top 10)
Longest song title:  "Superstar/Until You Come Back to Me (That's What I'm Gonna Do)" by Luther Vandross
Shortest song title:  "17" by Rick James

A few artists who got their first chart single in 1984:  Billy Ocean, Bon Jovi, Corey Hart, Howard Jones, Mötley Crüe, Paul Young, Wang Chung, Sheila E., UB40, and Whitney Houston

Runners-Up:  8 songs peaked at #2, 2 songs peaked at #11, and 2 songs peaked at #41

Some interesting things learned (click links for more details in previous posts):
  • One-hit wonder Matthew Wilder got an Oscar nomination for writing some of the music for the Disney film Mulan. He also produced the mega-hit album Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt.
  • Thomas Dolby's song "Hyperactive" was originally written for and submitted to Michael Jackson.
  • Bon Jovi was not the original name choice for the band. They were going to go with Johnny Electric.
  • "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" was a remake. It was originally recorded by the song's for-writer, Albert Hammond, in 1975.
  • Night Ranger's Kelly Keagy wrote "Sister Christian" for his sister.
  • Directing team Godley & Creme shot 18 different videos for Yes' single "Leave It."
  • Rick Springfield was offered a role in the Oscar-winning film "The Right Stuff." He ultimately turned it down when he was given a chance to headline his own movie "Hard to Hold."
  • Steve Perry wrote "Oh Sherrie!" for his girlfriend at the time, Sherrie Swafford.
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood got their name from a painting that included a headline about Frank Sinatra.
  • Van Halen's "I'll Wait" was co-written by David Lee Roth and Doobie Brother Michael McDonald.
  • "It's My Party" singer Lesley Gore co-wrote the Fame song "Out Here on My Own" with her brother Michael.
  • Dan Hartman originally wrote "I Can Dream About You" for Daryl Hall & John Oates.
  • Billy Idol's song "Eyes Without a Face" was inspired by a French horror film.
  • John Fogerty was sued for plagiarism for copying from his own song.
  • The solo voice on Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is" is Tony-winner Jennifer Holiday.
  • Eddie Money's hit "I Wanna Go Back" was originally a chart entry by Billy Satellite.
  • Andy Warhol directed the video for The Cars' song "Hello Again."
  • Rod Stewart's "Some Guys Have All the Luck" was a remake of a 1973 R&B hit by The Persuaders.
  • Bruce Springsteen originally wrote "Cover Me" for Donna Summer.
  • A young Mariska Hargitay (of Law and Order: SVU fame) got her start playing the female lead in the video for Ronnie Milsap's "She Loves My Car."
  • Apparently, Rick James was supposed to be at Sharon Tate's house the night of the Manson Murders.
  • The Jacksons' "State of Shock" was originally supposed to be a duet between Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury.
  • In addition to his own hits, Bryan Adams and his co-writer Jim Vallance had four of their songs hit the chart in '84 by other artists including 38 Special, Krokus, Joe Cocker, and Juice Newton

According to the year-end chart for 1984, these were the year's Top 10 singles:
  1. "When Doves Cry" by Prince
  2. "What's Love Got to Do with It" by Tina Turner
  3. "Say Say Say" by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
  4. "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins
  5. "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins
  6. "Jump" by Van Halen
  7. "Hello" by Lionel Richie
  8. "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes
  9. "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker, Jr.
  10. "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club

So long '84! It was an awesome blast from the past!



  1. You rule, Aaron! I've read every post and I'm sticking around for the duration. I surfed in like most people probably do, looking for info on some song. I came in somewhere around 1982 and then read all the prior posts back to the beginning while keeping up with the new ones as they appear. I'm kind of a music nut if you hadn't figured that out yet. Great job!

    1. Thanks so much! And thanks for following. I appreciate it. Nice to know someone is out there takin' a look! It certainly has been fun. I've enjoyed listening to all these songs, finding info on them and the artists, and uncovering lost gems. Next half of the 80s coming up!

  2. Hate to say it, but you didn't review "Careless Whisper" which was the last song to debut in 1984.

    1. OMG - you are right! I wondered how I could miss that and looking back at the actual charts I now know why. When a song debuted on the chart, there was a black arrow next to the song with a bold "NEW" next to it. On the chart where "Careless Whisper" debuted, they made a mistake and there was just a light "Re-Entry" next to it, which was obviously wrong. I guess I overlooked it because I was used to focusing on the bold "NEW" items. Ah, well. I'll toss it in and adjust accordingly - thanks for the heads up!!