Sunday, April 8, 2018

The 1980s Project

So on April 9th, 2018, I turn 49. This is probably a good time for reflection coupled with a bit of nostalgia. We are shaped by the pop culture of our youth. There are no movies like the ones that we saw in our teen years, no television shows like the ones that we watched as kids, and no music like the music that was the soundtrack of our adolescence. By sheer coincidence, my teen years almost exactly coincide with the decade of the 1980s: I turned 11 in 1980, and turned 20 in 1989. This means that the songs of the 1980s are also the songs to which I grew from a child to an adult.

Covering all of the music of the 1980s would be an impossible task, so I'm going to limit this project to the songs that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles or the Cash Box Top 100 charts in the United States or reached #1 on the U.K. Chart in the United Kingdom during that time period. This project is to list and comment on, in chronological order, this list of #1 songs from the beginning of 1980 through the end of 1989. Because these three charts diverged as much as they coincided, this means that the account here will be a weird amalgamation of these three sources. I have a rough plan in mind for what order to list the songs on the various charts, that basically boils down to "list the next song to reach #1 on any of the charts, and only list each song once". To the extent that there might need to be tie-breakers, I will simply be incredibly arbitrary about it and just pick which song I want to write about first.

This will obviously miss a lot of good music from the era - including a lot of music that I like more than the music that is on these lists - but these are the songs that shaped the popular culture around me. Even though I actively disliked a fair number of these songs when they were popular (and still do for some of them), these songs were more or less inescapable when they came to the public consciousness. Even if you wanted to ignore them, most of them were so omnipresent that it just wasn't really possible.

I'm merging this project with my regular Musical Monday, so for the foreseeable future, the Musical Monday selections with also be part of the 1980s Project as I work through the decade starting with Another Brick in the Wall (Part II), Escape (The Piña Colada Song) and Please Don't Go and running through Another Day in Paradise and Do They Know It's Christmas? and place each of these songs into my own personal context.

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

04/09/18: Please Don't Go by KC and the Sunshine Band
04/23/18: Escape (The Piña Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes
04/30/18: Rock with You by Michael Jackson
05/07/18: Brass in Pocket by the Pretenders
05/21/18: Do That to Me One More Time by Captain and Tennille
05/28/18: Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers
06/04/18: Cruisin' by Smokey Robinson
06/11/18: Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen
06/18/18: Atomic by Blondie
06/25/18: Longer by Dan Fogelberg
07/02/18: Together We Are Beautiful by Fern Kinney
07/09/18: Going Underground/Dreams of Children by the Jam
07/16/18: Working My Way Back to You - Forgive Me Girl by the Spinners
07/23/18: Call Me by Blondie
07/30/18: Geno by Dexys Midnight Runners
08/06/18: What's Another Year by Johnny Logan
08/13/18: Funkytown by Lipps, Inc.
08/20/18: Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless) by the Mash
08/27/18: Crying by Don McLean
09/03/18: Coming Up by Paul McCartney
09/10/18: The Rose by Bette Midler
09/17/18: It's Still Rock and Roll to Me by Billy Joel
09/24/18: Xanadu by Olivia Newton-John and the Electric Light Orchestra
10/01/18: Use It Up and Wear It Out by Odyssey
10/08/18: Magic by Olivia Newton-John
10/15/18: The Winner Takes It All by ABBA
10/22/18: Take Your Time (Do It Right) by the S.O.S. Band
10/29/18: Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie
11/05/18: Sailing by Christopher Cross
11/12/18: Start! by the Jam
11/19/18: Upside Down by Diana Ross
11/26/18: Feels Like I'm in Love by Kelly Marie
12/03/18: Don't Stand So Close to Me by the Police
12/10/18: Another One Bites the Dust by Queen
12/17/18: Woman in Love by Barbra Streisand
12/24/18: The Tide Is High by Blondie
12/31/18: Lady by Kenny Rogers
01/07/19: Super Trouper by ABBA
01/14/19: Master Blaster (Jammin') by Stevie Wonder
01/21/19: (Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon
01/28/19: There's No One Quite Like Grandma by St. Winifred's School Choir
02/04/19: Imagine by John Lennon
02/11/19: Woman by John Lennon
02/18/19: Celebration by Kool and the Gang
02/25/18: I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt
03/04/11: 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
03/11/19: Shaddap You Face by Joe Dolce Music Theatre
03/18/19: Keep On Lovin' You by REO Speedwagon
03/25/19: Jealous Guy by Roxy Music
04/01/19: Rapture by Blondie
04/08/19: This Ole House by Shakin' Stevens
04/15/19: Kiss On My List by Hall and Oates
04/22/19: Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz
04/29/19: Morning Train (Nine to Five) by Sheena Easton
05/06/19: Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants
05/13/19: Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes
05/20/19: Being With You by Smokey Robinson
05/27/19: Stars on 45 Medley by Stars on 45
06/03/19: One Day in Your Life by Michael Jackson
06/10/19: Ghost Town by the Specials
06/17/19: The One That You Love by Air Supply
06/24/19: Jessie's Girl by Rick Springfield
07/01/19: Elvira by the Oak Ridge Boys
07/08/19: Green Door by Shakin' Stevens
07/15/19: Theme from the Greatest American Hero by Joey Scarbury
07/22/19: Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross
07/29/19: Japanese Boy by Aneka
08/05/19: Tainted Love by Soft Cell
08/12/19: Prince Charming by Adam and the Ants
08/19/19: It's My Party by Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin
08/26/19: Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) by Christopher Cross
09/02/19: Private Eyes by Hall and Oates
09/09/19: Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by the Police
09/16/19: Physical by Olivia Newton-John
09/23/19: Begin the Beguine (Volver a Empezar) by Julio Iglesias
09/30/19: Don't You Want Me by the Human League
10/07/19: The Land of Make Believe by Bucks Fizz
10/14/19: I Can't Go for That (No Can Do) by Hall and Oates
10/21/19: Oh, Julie by Shakin' Stevens
10/28/19: Centerfold by the J. Geils Band
11/04/19: Computer Love/The Model by Kraftwerk
11/11/19: Town Called Malice/Precious by the Jam
11/18/19: The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit
11/25/19: Open Arms by Journey
12/02/19: I Love Rock n' Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
12/09/19: Seven Tears by the Goombay Dance Band
12/16/19: That Girl by Stevie Wonder
12/23/19: My Camera Never Lies by Bucks Fizz
12/30/19: Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
01/06/20: Chariots of Fire by Vangelis
01/13/20: A Little Peace by Nicole
01/20/20: House of Fun by Madness
01/27/20: Goody Two Shoes by Adam Ant
02/03/20: I've Never Been to Me by Charlene
02/10/20: Happy Talk by Captain Sensible
02/17/20: Fame by Irene Cara
02/24/20: Hurt So Good by John Cougar
03/02/20: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor
03/09/20: Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners
03/16/20: Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band
03/23/19: Hard to Say I'm Sorry by Chicago
03/30/19: Jack and Diane by John Cougar
04/06/20: Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth
04/13/20: Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? by Culture Club
04/20/20: Who Can It Be Now? by Men at Work
04/27/20: Up Where We Belong by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
05/04/20: I Don't Wanna Dance by Eddy Grant
05/11/20: Gloria by Laura Branigan
05/18/20: Truly by Lionel Richie
05/25/20: Beat Surrender by the Jam
06/01/20: Mickey by Toni Basil
06/08/20: Save Your Love by Renée and Renato
06/15/20: Maneater by Hall and Oates
06/22/20: You Can't Hurry Love by Phil Collins
06/29/20: Down Under by Men at Work
07/06/20: Africa by Toto
07/13/20: Too Shy by Kajagoogoo
07/20/20: Baby Come to Me by Patti Austin and James Ingram
07/27/20: Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
08/03/20: Is There Something I Should Know? by Duran Duran
08/10/20: Beat It by Michael Jackson
08/17/20: Let's Dance by David Bowie
08/24/20: Mr. Roboto by Styx
08/31/20: True by Spandau Ballet
09/07/20: Candy Girl by New Edition
09/14/20: Flashdance . . . What a Feeling by Irene Cara
09/21/20: Every Breath You Take by the Police
09/28/20: Baby Jane by Rod Stewart
10/05/20: Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant
10/12/20: Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home) by Paul Young
10/19/20: Give It Up by KC and the Sunshine Band
10/26/20: Red Red Wine by UB40
11/02/20: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) by Eurythmics
11/09/20: Maniac by Michael Sembello
11/16/20: Puttin' On the Ritz by Taco
11/23/20: Tell Her About It by Billy Joel
11/30/20: Karma Chameleon by Culture Club
12/07/20: The Safety Dance by Men Without Hats
12/14/20: Islands in the Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
12/21/20: Uptown Girl by Billy Joel
12/28/20: All Night Long (All Night) by Lionel Richie
01/04/21: Only You by the Flying Pickets
01/11/21: Say Say Say by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
01/18/21: Union of the Snake by Duran Duran
01/25/21: Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney
02/01/21: Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
02/08/21: Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes
02/15/21: Jump by Van Halen
02/22/21: 99 Luftballoons by Nena
03/01/21: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
03/08/21: Hello by Lionel Richie
03/15/21: Footloose by Kenny Loggins
03/22/21: Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now) by Phil Collins
03/29/21: The Reflex by Duran Duran
04/05/21: Let's Hear It for the Boy by Denice Williams
04/12/21: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!
04/19/21: Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper
04/26/21: Two Tribes by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
05/03/21: Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springstein
05/10/21: When Doves Cry by Prince
05/17/21: Ghostbusters by Ray Parker, Jr.
05/24/21: Careless Whisper by George Michael
05/31/21: What's Love Got to Do With It by Tina Turner
06/07/21: I Just Called to Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder
06/14/21: Missing You by John Waite
06/21/21: Let's Go Crazy by Prince
06/28/21: Freedom by Wham!
07/05/21: Caribbean Queen (No More Love On the Run) by Billy Ocean
07/12/21: Purple Rain by Prince
07/19/21: I Feel for You by Chaka Khan
07/26/21: I Should Have Known Better by Jim Diamond
07/04/22: The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
07/11/22: Out of Touch by Hall and Oates
07/18/22: The Wild Boys by Duran Duran
07/25/22: Do They Know It's Christmas? by Band Aid
08/01/22: Like a Virgin by Madonna
08/08/22: I Want to Know What love Is by Foreigner
08/15/22: I Know Him So Well by Elaine Paige and Barbra Dickson
08/22/22: You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record) by Dead of Alive
08/29/22: I Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon
09/05/22: Easy Lover by Phillip Bailey and Phil Collins
09/12/22: Material Girl by Madonna
09/19/22: One More Night by Phil Collins
09/26/22: We Are the World by USA for Africa
10/03/22: Move Closer by Phyllis Nelson
10/10/22: 19 by Paul Hardcastle
10/17/22: Crazy for You by Madonna
10/24/22: Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds
10/31/22: Everything She Wants by Wham!
11/07/22: Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears
11/14/22: You'll Never Walk Alone by the Crowd
11/21/22: Heaven by Bryan Adams
11/28/22: Sussudio by Phil Collins
12/05/22: Frankie by Sister Sledge
12/12/22: A View to a Kill by Duran Duran
12/19/22: Raspberry Beret by Prince
12/26/22: There Must Be an Angel (Playing With My Heart) by Eurythmics
01/02/23: Every Time You Go Away by Paul Young

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  1. This should be interesting as I'm about 6 months older than you.

    1. @Laura: It's going to be a long and interesting ride.