Every #1 Song of the 1980s – Series 10

Click for links to: Series 9,  Series 8,  Series 7,  Series 6,  Series 5Series 4,  Series 3, Series 2, and Series 1 and a quick study of #2 songs

Getting towards the end of this survey – I was worried the bottom of the chart would not be tested, but then ta-da!

“Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen (1980) – On Sirius, Nina Blackwood, when introducing this noted the bass beat was used to train EMTs on chest compressions for CPR cases. The bass line is of course one of the most well known in rock history, and makes the song one of the great ear worms from the decade. 1980 was a pretty dreary year for #1s and this is clearly one of the best. (35 points)

“Woman In Love” by Barbra Streisand (1980) – Given my own enmity towards soppy love songs and the year 1980, this was always going to be a contender for the bottom of the list. Now, I guess you can say that “Hey she has a terrific voice” but even that is not really for me. I didn’t like “The Way We Were” and that was a LOT better. (12 points)

“Arthur’s Theme (Best You Can Do)” by Christopher Cross (1981) – There is nothing about this which is not dated. This was the Oscar winning theme song to the movie which made Dudley Moore a huge star. Of course Christopher Cross was “kind of a big deal” around this time too. At the same time, I really do find it kind of charming, and the song does describe Arthur fairly well – it actually is a working theme song. It should get credit on that basis alone. (32 points)

“Jack and Diane” by John Mellencamp (1982) – This was still back in the John Cougar days – this would be Mellencamp’s only number one. Indeed “Hurts So Good” would actually finish higher in the 1982 year end chart. This “little ditty” is the sort of song about regular folks which he would turn back to over and over (and over) again. For some reason I liked “I Need a Lover” better. But still this is fine. (35 points)

“Who Can It Be Now” by Men At Work (1982) – This was the first of Men At Work’s two #1s, and probably the lesser of the two. That said, this is still a cheeky song with a fun video. I grew up in the late 80s-90s when the videos had stories too, but the lower level of production here is just more charming. (39 points)

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler (1983) – On the other hand, videos can yield something like this. The song itself is clearly bloated, overlong and overdramatic – no wonder being a Jim Steinman composition. Steinman, of course was Meat Loaf’s writing collaborator – so the song is not a surprise. The video here is – appropriate I guess given the style of the song, but how did it not give frightful nightmares to everyone in its wake? I can’t write more without it happening to me. (27 points)

“Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (1983) – Early 80s was very much about the country crossover, such as “9 to 5” and “I Love a Rainy Night”‘ and “Queen of Hearts”. For my money, this is the best of the lot, a duet of two country legends with a song infectious enough to be interpreted by Old Dirty Bastard and Pras. With the absence of a video, here is the grammy performance. This won’t score too high relatively – but it is hard not to smile. (32 points)

“I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder (1984) – This is a very sweet song which I have sang to my kids as infants before. It is also justifiably noted as cheesy – and the video sure as hell is cheesy. Of course this also fits as a description of Stevie Wonder’s 1980s material. But he is such a terrific songwriter that it doesn’t matter too much to me. And I guess my score has some nostalgia there too, belated credit for “Superstition”, and “I Wish.” (38 points)

“Oh Sheila” by Ready for the World (1985) – There are some songs, like “Rock Steady” by the Whispers and “Casanova” by Levert which are very much of the decade. It’s not Motown, but clearly of influence. Ready for the World, from Michigan was certainly of a piece, and this was their big hit. Overall it’s pretty disposable, but I enjoyed the dancing in the video.(31 points)

“Take on Me” by a-ha (1985) – Usually I have gone with more durable acts for 50 point scores. a-Ha only had this hit and maybe one more, but what a hit it was. The video was groundbreaking – and this is among the most coverable of all the songs in this project. I saw Reel Big Fish do a perfectly party-appropriate ska version of this many years ago. This is one song which transcends the obscurity of the artist ultimately. (50 points)

“Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston (1985) – Is this the greatest song ever made about cheating? It is an unaplogetically romantic song – and since this is Whitney Houston, it works on that level. She famously staggered the usually detached David Letterman when she did this on his show, and I am certainly not immune to prime Whitney’s superpowers. It’s just funny to note the actual subject matter here. (44 points)

“When I Think of You” by Janet Jackson (1986) – The first of Janet Jackson’s many number ones, the video is a terrific production which really does play like a high level Broadway style performance. The song is pretty good too. (40 points)

“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper (1986) – My daughter loves this song, or at least the version which appeared in “Trolls”. Is this Cyndi Lauper’s signature song? Some say “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and that is certainly not wrong. She has always been a terrific singer and it shows here. (41 points)

“Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake (1987) – David Coverdale already had some fame with his run in Deep Purple. However, Whitesnake was where he would have his greatest fame. This song is probably more well known for the video with the lady on the car. It is one of the better rock entries among the 1980s #1s, although it is not my favorite. (36 points)

“Lost in Emotion” by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam (1987) – The band’s second #1, I like “Head to Toe” better. (33 points)

“Bad” by Michael Jackson (1987) – As I always note when Michael Jackson comes up here – it is hard to convey just how big he was in his heyday. No artist now – especially given the diffuse nature of media in 2017, could capture the zeitgeist the same way. When “Bad” dropped, the real world seemed to stop. This was not a great song relative to other things he did, and frankly I know it more for inspiring the great Weird Al parody. (37 points)

Here is the 18 minute film if you have the time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd4SJVsTulc

“Love Bites” by Def Leppard (1988) – This was one of the lesser monster ballads to appear in the #1 spot. Additionally, if I told you Def Leppard would appear on this list, this would not be the song you’d expect – and rightfully so. Personally, this song just makes me yearn for that other song. (28 points)

“Red, Red, Wine” by UB40 (1988) – This is one of those songs like “All Along the Watchtower” or “Nothing Compares 2 U”, which is a cover where the cover version became the version of record.
Yes, this is a Neil Diamond song, but what UB40 did with it was so distinctive that even Diamond really performs that version of the song now. This is the only reggae entry on the list and I certainly admire it. Of course reggae covers became UB40’s metier – at least as far as pop success went. (38 points)

“A Groovy Kind of Love” by Phil Collins (1988) – Did you know that Phil Collins was a star in a major movie? But yes, yes he was – Buster. This was one of the two number ones from the soundtrack. “Two Hearts” is a song I liked very much – and my own feelings about Collins are largely hard to defend. This is a sweet song – enough to survive its sappiness. (34 points)

“Miss You Much” by Janet Jackson (1989) – This song spent 4 weeks at number 1, more than any song in 1989. This was the first single from Rhythm Nation, the “long awaited” follow up to Control. That is was a huge hit on that basis alone was not surprising. (40 points)

The Full List through October:

Song Artist
1 Sweet Child O’Mine Guns N’ Roses
2 West End Girls Pet Shop Boys
3 Kiss Prince
4 Take On Me a-ha
5 Jessie’s Girl Rick Springfield
6 With or Without You U2
7 When Doves Cry Prince
8 Beat It Michael Jackson
9 Billie Jean Michael Jackson
10 Rock With You Michael Jackson
11 I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For U2
12 Batdance Prince
13 Father Figure George Michael
14 Roll With It Steve Winwood
15 Jump Van Halen
16 Livin on a Prayer Bon Jovi
17 Down Under Men At Work
18 Saving All My Love For You Whitney Houston
19 Every Breath You Take The Police
20 Eye of the Tiger Survivor
21 Faith George Michael
22 How Will I Know Whitney Houston
23 Let’s Go Crazy Prince and the Revolution
24 Like a Virgin Madonna
25 The Tide Is High Blondie
26 Centerfold J Geils Band
27 (I Just) Died in Your Arms Cutting Crew
28 La Bamba Los Lobos
29 Don’t You (Forget About Me) Simple Minds
30 Sledgehammer Peter Gabriel
31 We Are the World USA For Africa
32 Like A Prayer Madonna
33 Money for Nothing Dire Straits
34 True Colors Cyndi Lauper
35 Greatest Love of All Whitney Houston
36 Monkey George Michael
37 Everybody Wants to Rule The World Tears For Fears
38 Rapture Blondie
39 Man in the Mirror Michael Jackson
40 Miss You Much Janet Jackson
41 What’s Love Got to Do With It Tina Turner
42 When I Think of You Janet Jackson
43 The Power of Love Huey Lewis and the News
44 Careless Whisper Wham featuring George Michael
45 Footloose Kenny Loggins
46 Walk Like an Egyptian Bangles
47 Karma Chameleon Culture Club
48 I Love Rock and Roll Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
49 Celebration Kool and the Gang
50 So Emotional Whitney Houston
51 Venus Bananarama
52 Don’t You Want Me The Human League
53 Two Hearts Phil Collins
54 Need You Tonight INXS
55 Red Red Wine UB40
56 Call Me Blondie
57 Who Can It Be Now Men At Work
58 A View to a Kill Duran Duran
59 I Just Called to Say I Love You Stevie Wonder
60 Let’s Dance David Bowie
61 Never Gonna Give You Up Rick Astley
62 Dirty Diana Michael Jackson
63 Together Forever Rick Astley
64 Time After Time Cyndi Lauper
65 Every Rose Has Its Thorn Poison
66 Bad Michael Jackson
67 Papa Don’t Preach Madonna
68 My Prerogative Bobby Brown
69 Got My Mind Set on You George Harrison
70 Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car Billy Ocean
71 Addicted to Love Robert Palmer
72 Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) Eurythmics
73 Upside Down Diana Ross
74 Shout Tears For Fears
75 I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) Whitney Houston
76 Owner of a Lonely Heart Yes
77 Forever Your Girl Paula Abdul
78 Maneater Darryl Hall and John Oates
79 Here I Go Again Whitesnake
80 Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2 Pink Floyd
81 Rock Me Amadeus Falco
82 I Just Can’t Stop Loving You Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
83 Chariots of Fire Vangelis
84 Saint Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) John Parr
85 Open Your Heart Madonna
86 One More Try George Michael
87 Wishing Well Terrence Trent D’Arby
88 Another One Bites the Dust Queen
89 The Flame Cheap Trick
90 The Way You Make Me Feel Michael Jackson
91 Jack and Diane John Cougar
92 Say, Say, Say Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
93 9 to 5 Dolly Parton
94 Straight Up Paula Abdul
95 Missing You John Waite
96 The Look Roxette
97 Head to Toe Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
98 Invisible Touch Genesis
99 Higher Love Steve Winwood
100 Stuck With You Huey Lewis and the News
101 Islands in the Stream Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
102 The Reflex Duran Duran
103 Who’s That Girl Madonna
104 I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) Aretha Franklin and George Michael
105 A Groovy Kind of Love Phil Collins
106 Baby Don’t Forget My Number Milli Vanilli
107 Ghostbusters Ray Parker Jr
108 Flashdance … What a Feeling Irene Cara
109 Lost In Emotion Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
110 Shakedown Bob Seger
111 Good Thing Fine Young Cannibals
112 That’s What Friends Are For Dionne Warwick
113 Physical Olivia Newton John
114 I Can’t Go For That Hall and Oates
115 Sussudio Phil Collins
116 I’ll Be There For You Bon Jovi
117 Crazy Little Thing Called Love Queen
118 Everything She Wants Wham
119 Africa Toto
120 Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do) Christopher Cross
121 Maniac Michael Sembello
122 Don’t Worry Be Happy Bobby McFerrin
123 Right Here Waiting Richard Marx
124 Holding Back the Years Simply Red
125 Satisfied Richard Marx
126 Alone Heart
127 Cold Hearted Paula Abdul
128 Coming Up Paul McCartney
129 Come on Eileen Dexy’s Midnight Runners
130 These Dreams Heart
131 Anything For You Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
132 Heaven Bryan Adams
133 Tell Her About It Billy Joel
134 Oh Sheila Ready for the World
135 Ebony and Ivory Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
136 The Living Years Mike and the Mechanics
137 At This Moment Billy Vera and the Beaters
138 Bette Davis Eyes Kim Carnes
139 If You Don’t Know Me By Now Simply Red
140 Didn’t We Almost Have It All Whitney Houston
141 Foolish Beat Debbie Gibson
142 She Drives Me Crazy Fine Young Cannibals
143 Eternal Flame The Bangles
144 Kyrie Mr. Mister
145 Hold On to the Nights Richard Marx
146 Don’t Wanna Lose You Gloria Estefan
147 Shake You Down Gregory Abbott
148 You Keep Me Hangin On Kim Wilde
149 Kiss Is On My List Hall and Oates
150 Funkytown Lipps, Inc
151 Let’s Hear It for the Boy DeNiece Williams
152 Everytime You Go Away Paul Young
153 Girl I’m Gonna Miss You Milli Vanilli
154 Love Bites Def Leppard
155 Keep on Loving You REO Speedwagon
156 Magic Olivia Newton John
157 There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry) Billy Ocean
158 Hello Lionel Richie
159 Total Eclipse of the Heart Bonnie Tyler
160 Take My Breath Away Berlin
161 It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me Billy Joel
162 Glory of Love Peter Cetera
163 I Love a Rainy Night Eddie Rabbitt
164 Abracadabra Steve Miller Band
165 Live to Tell Madonna
166 I’ll Be Loving You (Forever) New Kids on the Block
167 Lost in Your Eyes Debbie Gibson
168 Say You, Say Me Lionel Richie
169 Always Atlantic Starr
170 Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now Starship
171 (Just Like) Starting Over John Lennon
172 On My Own Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald
173 Hard to Say I’m Sorry Chicago
174 Hangin Tough New Kids on the Block
175 Crazy for You Madonna
176 Seasons Change Expose
177 Can’t Fight This Feeling REO Speedwagon
178 One More Night Phil Collins
179 I Want to Know What Love Is Foreigner
180 Stars on 45 Medley Stars on 45
181 Escape (The Pina Colada Song) Rupert Holmes
182 Wind Beneath My Wings Bette Midler
183 Sara Starship
184 Endless Love Diana Ross and Lionel Richie
185 Lean on Me Club Nouveau
186 Sailing Christopher Cross
187 Baby, Come to Me Patti Austin and James Ingram
188 Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) Phil Collins
189 Where Do Broken Hearts Go Whitney Houston
190 Could’ve Been Tiffany
191 Do That To Me One More Time Captain and Tennille
192 Jacob’s Ladder Huey Lewis and the News
193 Morning Train (Nine to Five) Sheena Easton
194 When I’m With You Sheriff
195 The One That You Love Air Supply
196 Toy Soldiers Martika
197 Rock On Michael Damian
198 Woman in Love Barbra Streisand
199 Please Don’t Go KC and the Sunshine Band
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