Saturday, March 20, 1982

Joan Jett hits #1 for the first of 7 weeks with "I Love Rock and Roll"

Last updated 4/9/2020.

I Love Rock and Roll

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

Writer(s): Jake Hooker, Alan Merrill (see lyrics here)


First Charted: December 12, 1981


Peak: 17 US, 15 CB, 15 HR, 1 AR, 4 UK, 18 CN, 15 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 86.64 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

When the Rolling Stones sang “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It),” the lesser known Arrows felt obligated to respond with their more celebratory message of “I Love Rock and Roll.” BR1 The American trio went unnoticed stateside, but garnered enough attention in England to warrant their own TV show. Still, they only recorded one album and this 1975 song didn’t even make it on; it was originally relegated to a mere B-side of a single. SF

The Arrows’ message eventually reached a mass audience, though. While Joan Jett was touring England as a member of the teenage girl group the Runaways, SF she saw the Arrows performing “I Love Rock and Roll” on a TV show. She wanted to cover the song, but was outvoted by her band members. SF After the Runaways’ demise, Jett cut the song herself. She shopped it to twenty-three record labels before finally getting the attention of Boardwalk Records, RS500 a new label formed by Neil Bogart, the “emperor of disco at Casablanca” MA and “king of bubble gum at Buddah and Cameo/Parkway.” MA

Even then, the song only surfaced in Holland as the flip side of a cover of Lesley Gore’s “You Don’t Own Me.” BR1 Jett still believed enough in the song to buy the radio rights for $2500. RS500 She made a decent investment: today, the song that became the biggest pop hit of 1982, WHC is worth close to $20 million. RS500

In the Arrows’ hands, the song’s message about a guy picking up a girl and taking her home made for a fairly clichĂ©d topic in a rock song. SF In Jett’s hands, though, the song became an empowering anthem about the woman aggressively pursuing the guy SF and shaped Jett’s image “as a tough, confident” SF “girl-rock icon.” RS500


Resources and Related Links:

  • Joan Jett’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). New York, NY: Billboard Books. Page 553.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Page 300-1.
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (12/04). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • SF Songfacts
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 11.

Thursday, March 18, 1982

Asia released its debut album

First posted 7/12/2010; updated 9/20/2020.

Asia

Asia


Buy Here:


Released: March 18, 1982


Charted: April 3, 1982


Peak: 19 US, 11 UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.1 UK, 10.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: mainstream progressive rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Heat of the Moment [3:50] (4/3/82, #4 US, #46 UK, #1 AR)
  2. Only Time Will Tell [4:44] (5/1/82, #17 US, #54 UK, #8 AR)
  3. Sole Survivor [4:48] (4/3/82, #10 AR)
  4. One Step Closer(Wetton, Howe) [4:16]
  5. Time Again (Downes, Howe, Palmer, Wettton) [4:45] (7/31/82, #43 AR)
  6. Wildest Dreams [5:10] (4/10/82, #28 AR)
  7. Without You(Wettton, Howe) [5:04]
  8. Cutting It Fine (Wetton, Howe, Downes) [5:35]
  9. Here Comes the Feeling (Wetton, Howe) [5:42] (7/3/82, #40 AR)

Songs by John Wettton and Geoff Downes unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 44:22


The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • Steve Howe (guitar)
  • Carl Palmer (drums)
  • John Wetton (vocals/ bass)

Rating:

3.655 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

The debut album from Asia was “the success story of 1982” TD logging 9 weeks atop the Billboard chart and being named the magazine’s album of the year. The album has sold an estimated 10 million copies worldwide.

Produced by Mike Stone, Asia’s strengths were the powerful vocals of John Wetton, the nimble, classically tinged guitar work of Steve Howe, Geoffrey Downes’ majestic keyboard playing, and anchoring the band, Carl Palmer’s propulsive drumming.” TD They made for a supergroup “with impressive pedigrees” TDJohn Wetton had been with King Crimson; Carl Palmer with Emerson, Lake & Palmer; and Steve Howe and Geoff Downes had both been in Yes.

With backgrounds in progressive rock, they were definitely “going against the grain of the new wave styling of the day,” TD but they also adopted a more commercially savvy pop-rock sound. The group’s formula was “a precarious balance between arty rock ambition and bombastic pop appeal.” GG They definitely had their detractors: “the lyrics are overwrought at moments” TD and, as critic Robert Christgau said, the album is “pompous – schlock in the grand manner.” RC

Still, “there’s no denying the epic grandeur of the music, which provided some much-needed muscle to radio at the time, and did so with style.” TD Billboard magazine said “the caliber of the [band’s] playing is superb and the music sounds fresh and perfect fare for AOR.” WK

The lead single, Heat of the Moment, was a perfect introduction to the band as such fare. It was a #1 song on album rock and a top five pop hit. The follow-up, “the sweeping Only Time Will Tell,” TD was a top ten album rock hit and top-twenty pop song. Sole Survivor also hit the top ten on the album rock chart.


Notes: The B-side “Ride Easy” was added to later editions of the album.

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, March 6, 1982

Willie Nelson charts with “Always on My Mind”

image from rollingstone.com


Willie Nelson “Always on My Mind”


Writer(s): Wayne Carson, Johnny Christopher, Mark James (see lyrics here)

First charted: 3/6/1982

Peak: 5 US, 2 AC, 12 CW, 49 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

Radio Airplay (in millions): 5.0 Video Airplay (in millions): 44.7


Review: This song “is virtually the definition of a modern pop standard.” AMG B.B. King told Esquire magazine in the January 2006 issue that this was his favorite song. SF While the ballad format of the song may be conventional, its theme of a love affair’s end instead of its beginning is a break from the more traditional love song that becomes a pop standard. AMG The narrator confesses guilt and regret AMG over not always doing what he should have to show appreciation for the object of his affection. SF

With its “expressive melody and dramatic lyrics” AMG the song was “a natural for vocalists.” AMG Brenda Lee had a minor country hit with it in 1972. That same year, Elvis Presley had a gold single with his version that went top 20 on the U.S. pop charts and top 10 in the U.K.

In 1982, Willie Nelson gave the song its greatest success yet, taking it to the top of the U.S. country charts and into the top 5 on both the pop and adult contemporary charts. His version was also a platinum seller and multiple award winner. While other versions risked sounding “melodramatic or corny,” AMG Willie’s take on the song “emphasized the pain and sorrow of the lyrics.” AMG

Before the close of the ‘80s, the song became a hit again, but this time it was recast as a dance song. The Pet Shop Boys performed it for an Elvis tribute show on the BBC SF and then released a single of the song. Their version actually outdid Nelson’s in terms of chart performance – it went a notch higher on the U.S. pop charts (#4) and went to the top of the U.K. charts. Nonetheless, “the best version will always belong to Willie Nelson.” CC


Resources and Related Links:

Note: Footnotes (raised letter codes) refer to sources frequently cited on the blog. Numbers following the letter code indicate page numbers. If the raised letter code is a link, it will go directly to the correct page instead of the home page of a website. You can find the sources and corresponding footnotes on the “Lists” page in the “Song Resources” section.


Award(s):