Tuesday, August 19, 1980

AC/DC released “You Shook Me All Night Long”

Last updated 10/24/2020.

You Shook Me All Night Long

AC/DC

Writer(s): Angus Young, Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson (see lyrics here)


Released: August 19, 1980


Peak: 36 US, 42 CB, 42 HR, 1 CL, 38 UK, 8 AU) (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.4 UK, 3.75 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 218.0 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

AC/DC’s Back in Black has become such a mainstay on “best albums of all time” lists now that it is easy to forget the uncertainty the band faced when the album was released in 1980. On February 19 of that year, the band’s lead singer, Bon Scott, died after a drinking binge. It was Scott’s father who encouraged the band to find a new singer and soldier on. SF Brian Johnson stepped in and the band found the greatest success of their career.

Guitarists Angus and Malcom Young already had the title and the chords, but needed words. Johnson supplied his “gravelly, raspy vocals and easy-to-learn, almost exultant, double-entendre lyrics.” AMG (“She told me to come but I was already there”). The song is basically “a night-after bragging session with a heavy dose of swagger and pomp.” AMG It “was equal parts naughty and proud, pop-tinged yet stomp-worthy,” AMG which probably explains the song’s popularity at strip clubs. SF

The inspiration for “You Shook Me All Night Long” came while the band was recording in the Bahamas. Never a band known for “deep, meaningful lyrics,” SF Johnson turned images of American girls into lyrics where he compared women to cars in lines like “She was a fast machine/ She kept her motor clean.” SF Johnson said it “just fell into place so I can’t claim any credit on that thing.” SF Of the Young brothers’ work, he said, “It’s one of the greatest rock and roll riffs I’ve ever heard in my life.” SF

It has “a simple beat; a melodic, heavy rock-boogie riff; a shrill, pumping guitar solo.” AMG The “pop-tinged guitar chords give the song a slap-on-the-back, beer-swilling friendliness” AMG which is probably why it has become “a hard rock staple…popular at sporting events and bars, and…one of…hard rock’s most memorable party anthems.” AMG Johnson told USA Weekend he considers the song the highlight of the band’s catalog because “It was the first song I wrote with the guys and it has a special groovy beat that won’t let you go. It has such a special place in my heart…it might be one of the best rock songs ever written – if I do say so myself.” SF


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Tuesday, August 5, 1980

Pat Benatar’s Crimes of Passion released

First posted 3/24/2008; updated 9/20/2020.

Crimes of Passion

Pat Benatar


Released: August 5, 1980


Peak: 2 US, -- UK, 2 CN, 16 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, -- UK, 5.67 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Treat Me Right (Dough Lubahn) [3:24] (12/29/80, 18 US, 3 CL, 31 AR, 12 CN)
  2. You Better Run (Eddie Brigati, Felix Cavaliere) [3:02] (7/8/80, 42 US, 11 CL, 31 AU)
  3. Never Wanna Leave You (Neil Giraldo, Benatar) [3:13]
  4. Hit Me with Your Best Shot (Eddie Schwartz) [2:51] (9/15/80, 9 US, 2 CL, 10 CN, 33 AU, gold single)
  5. Hell Is for Children (Giraldo, Benatar, Roger Capps) [4:48] (8 CL)
  6. Little Paradise (Giraldo) [3:32]
  7. I’m Gonna Follow You (Billy Steinberg) [4:28] (46 CL)
  8. Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush) [4:28] (46 CL)
  9. Prisoner of Love (Scott St. Clair Sheets) [3:05]
  10. Out-a-Touch (Giraldo, Benatar, Myron Grombacher) [4:19]


Total Running Time: 37:07

Rating:

4.508 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“With Crimes of Passion, Pat Benatar escaped the dreaded sophomore slump.” AMG Her first album, In the Heat of the Night, was a platinum seller which peaked at #12 and had two top-30 singles. Crimes of Passion sold more than five million copies, reached #2 on the Billboard album chart for 5 weeks, stuck behind John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy. The album also won Benatar her first Grammy Award – for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

While the album cemented Benatar’s status as a rock icon, the original Rolling Stone review knocked it for its “leaden reworkings of hard-rock clich├ęs,” RS “sodden songwrting and excruciating excesses” RS and accused her of “lacking both subtlety and playfulness.” RS However, Benatar does avoid “the synth-happy trends of the early ‘80s and delivers a hard rocking ten-song session of power pop tempered with a few ballads for balance.” AMG

The lead single from the album was You Better Run. The song had originally been recorded by the Young Rascals and was a top-20 hit in 1966. Benatar’s version fell just shy of the top 40 hit, but became a landmark video in the MTV era as the network’s second video ever broadcast, following the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

The album’s success was due “in no small part to the song that would become the most well-known…of her career, Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” AMG The song was her first top ten hit. It was written by Eddie Schwartz, who later co-wrote Paul Carrack’s “Don’t Shed a Tear” (1987) and the Doobie Brothers’ “The Doctor” (1989), both of which were top 10 hits.

The album’s third single, Treat Me Right, became Benatar’s second top-20 hit. On March 21, 1981, the song landed on the maiden album rock chart, despite being nearly three months old at that point. Other songs which likely would have hit that chart had it debuted six months earlier included Hell Is for Children, a slow-building rocker about child abuse, and the ballad I’m Gonna Follow You, released as the B-side of “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.”

“The rest of the album is mildly hit or miss, with a few moments of filler.” AMG Most notable may be Benatar’s version of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights. It “is probably one of the most underrated songs of her entire catalog.” AMG

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Saturday, August 2, 1980

Olivia Newton-John hit #1 with “Magic”

First posted 10/24/2020.

Magic

Olivia Newton-John

Writer(s):John Farrar (see lyrics here)


First Charted: May 23, 1980


Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 13 HR, 12 RR, 15 AC, 32 UK, 12 2, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 15.5 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

After the huge success of Grease, it was a no-brainer to find another film vehicle for Olivia Newton-John. She agreed to do Xanadu because, as she said, “this musical fantasy appealed to me” BR1 and she would get to sing and dance with one of her idols – Gene Kelly. She played Kira, a muse who came down from Mount Olympus to inspire Sonny (Michael Beck) to open a night club. The roller-skating-themed movie, however, turned out to be what she called “a character-building” bomb. BR1

The soundtrack, however, was a success. Featuring music from Olivia and Electric Light Orchestra, it generated five top-20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The lead single was “Magic” and it found its way to the top of the U.S. pop charts for four weeks. The song played in the movie when Kira and Sonny first met, again when she has to go back to Olympus, and a third time when she reappears as a waitress at the nightclub.

The song’s theme about finding “inspiration for pursuit of one’s dreams and love” WK was fitting in the context of the movie, but also had a broader message about “destiny and faith” SF that worked even for those who hadn’t seen the movie. Considering the failure of the movie, it was a good thing that the song worked outside of the context of the movie.

The song boasts “an easy-going melody and clear vocals” SF that continued to push Olivia farther away from her more country sound of the early ‘70s. “Magic” was her third trip to the top following the 1974 ballad “I Honestly Love You” and “You’re the One That I Want,” her smash duet with John Travolta from 1978’s Grease. She went on to hit the top one more time – with the monstrous song “Physical” from 1981. It spent a whopping ten weeks on top of the charts, becoming the biggest hit of the ‘80s.


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Olivia Newton-John
    DMDB page for Xanadu soundtrack
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 528.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia