Saturday, December 31, 1983

Dave’s Faves: My Album Collection in 1983

First posted 8/12/2020.

Dave’s Faves:

My Album Collection in 1983

I bought my first album – an eight track actually – in 1979. It was a K-Tel compilation called High Energy which featured a few songs which still rank amongst my top 100 of all time: Styx’s “Renegade,” Blondie’s “Heart of Glass,” and Chic’s “Le Freak.” Over the next few years, I added a new eight track once and a while.

In September 1982, I joined the Columbia House Record and Tape Club and began not just the transition of my collection from eight track to cassette, but a move to a much faster-growing collection. 1983 would be a significant year for me as I added dozens more albums to my collection, picking up something new every week or so. They would have a long-lasting effect on me as well. The albums pictured below, as well as the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, Michael Jackson Thriller, the Police Synchronicity, and Styx Styx The Grand Illusion, still rank in my top 100 albums of all time.

By year’s end, this was what my collection looked like:

  1. Air Supply Lost in Love (1980)
  2. Air Supply The One That You Love (1981)
  3. Asia Asia (1982)
  4. Asia Alpha (1983)
  5. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
  6. The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
  7. The Beatles Hey Jude (1968)
  8. The Beatles 1962-1966 (compilation: 1962-66, released 1973)
  9. The Beatles 1967-1970 (compilation: 1967-70, released 1973)

  10. Pat Benatar Get Nervous (1982)
  11. Blondie Parallel Lines (1978)
  12. Blondie Eat to the Beat (1980)
  13. Chicago Chicago 16 (1982)
  14. Def Leppard Pyromania (1983)
  15. Neil Diamond The Jazz Singer (soundtrack, 1980)
  16. Dan Fogelberg Greatest Hits (compilation: 1972-82, released 1982)
  17. Foreigner 4 (1981)
  18. Foreigner Records (compilation: 1976-82, released 1982)
  19. J. Geils Band Freeze Frame (1981)
  20. Daryl Hall & John Oates H2O (1982)
  21. Daryl Hall & John Oates Rock ‘N’ Soul Part I (compilation: (1973-83, released 1983)
  22. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
  23. Billy Joel The Nylon Curtain (1982)
  24. Billy Joel An Innocent Man (1983)

  25. Journey Escape (1981)
  26. Journey Frontiers (1983)
  27. Barry Manilow Greatest Hits (compilation, released 1978)
  28. Men at Work Business As Usual (1981)
  29. Men at Work Cargo (1983)
  30. John Cougar’s American Fool (1982)
  31. Olivia Newton-John Greatest Hits (compilation: 1971-76, released 1977)
  32. Olivia Newton-John Totally Hot (1978)
  33. Olivia Newton-John/Electric Light Orchestra Xanadu (soundtrack, 1980)

  34. Olivia Newton-John Physical (1981)
  35. Olivia Newton-John’s Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (1982)
  36. Stevie Nicks The Wild Heart (1983)
  37. The Police Ghost in the Machine (1981)
  38. The Police Synchronicity (1983)
  39. Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits (compilation: 1977-80, released 1980)
  40. Queen Greatest Hits (compilation: 1973-81, released 1981)
  41. Styx Styx II (1973)
  42. Styx The Grand Illusion (1977)
  43. Styx Cornerstone (1979)
  44. Styx Paradise Theater (1981)

  45. Styx Kilroy Was Here (1983)
  46. Toto Toto IV (1982)

    Various Artists:

  47. Flashdance (soundtrack, 1983)
  48. K-Tel: High Energy (1979)
  49. K-Tel: Starflight (1979)
  50. K-Tel: Wings of Sound (1979)
  51. Two of a Kind (soundtrack, 1983)

1983 proved to be the year when my music obsession took the great leap forward. I was now an addict for life.


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Saturday, December 3, 1983

Lionel Richie hit #1 with Can’t Slow Down

First posted 3/28/2008; updated 11/26/2020.

Can’t Slow Down

Lionel Richie


Released: October 11, 1983


Peak: 13 US, 123 RB, 13 UK, 11 CN, 13 AU


Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 1.89 UK, 21.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop/R&B


Tracks:

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

  1. Can’t Slow Down
  2. All Night Long (All Night) (9/17/83, 1 US, 2 UK, 1 RB, 1 AC, gold single)
  3. Penny Lover (10/6/84, 5a US, 18 UK, 8 RB, 1 AC)
  4. Stuck on You (6/23/84, 3 US, 12 UK, 8 RB, 1 AC)
  5. Love Will Find a Way
  6. The Only One
  7. Running with the Night (11/26/83, 7 US, 9 UK, 6 RB, 6 AC, 49 AR)
  8. Hello (2/25/84, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 RB, 1 AC, gold single)


Total Running Time: 40:56

Rating:

4.295 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“On Can’t Slow Down, his second solo album, Lionel Richie ran with the sound and success of his eponymous debut, creating an album that was designed to be bigger and better.” AMG He follows the template of Michael Jackson’s Thriller by playing “to the MOR adult contemporary audience.” AMG “He doesn’t swing for the fences like Michael…he makes safe bets, which is more in his character.” AMG As Rolling Stone’s Don Shewey said, “If you can’t innovate, imitate. And the more honest they are about their sources, the better.” WK

“But safe bets do pay off, and with Can’t Slow Down Richie reaped enormous dividends, earning not just his biggest hit, but his best album. He has less compunction about appearing as a pop singer this time around, which gives the preponderance of smooth ballads – particularly Penny Lover, Hello, and the country-ish Stuck on You – conviction,.” AMG The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau concurred, saying it was “a surprisingly solid” improvement, especially the ballads. WK

Christgau also though the “jumpy international dance pop” WK was more suited to Richie than had been the funk music he created with the Commodores. WK Richie “ups the ante on his dance numbers, creating grooves that are funkier.” AMG “The dance songs roll smooth and easy, never pushing the beats too hard and relying more on Richie’s melodic hooks than the grooves, which is what helped make All Night Long (All Night) a massive hit.” AMG A Q magazine review called it “an anthem to good times that makes the heart sing and feel twitch.” WK Richie “even adds a bit of rock with the sleek nocturnal menace of Running with the Night, one of the best songs here.” AMG

With only eight songs, “the short running time does suggest the record’s main weakness, one that it shares with many early-‘80s LPs — the songs themselves run on a bit too long, padding out the running length of the entire album. This is only a problem on album tracks like Love Will Find a Way, which are pleasant but a little tedious at their length, but since there are only three songs that aren’t hits, it’s a minor problem. All the hits showcase Lionel Richie at his best, as does Can’t Slow Down as a whole.” AMG

The album was Richie’s most successful commercially and critically, winning him a Grammy for Album of the Year. It spent 59 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard album chart.


Notes: The 20th anniversary of the album, released in 2003, added remixes originally released on the singles and instrumental versions of “All Night Long” and “Running with the Night” as well as demos and alternate versions of all the songs on the album. A couple of unfinished songs, “Ain’t No Sayin’ No” and “Tell Me,” are also included.

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Thursday, November 24, 1983

Nov. 24, 1933: Bessie Smith's final recording session

First posted March 6, 2011. Last updated September 8, 2018.

The Essential

Bessie Smith

Released: Sept. 23, 1997

Years Covered: Feb. 15, 1923 to Nov. 24, 1933


Sales (in millions):
US: --
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): --


Peak:
US: --
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

Quotable: “If you’ve never experienced the genius of Bessie Smith, pick this one up and prepare yourself to be devastated.” – Cub Koda, All Music Guide


Genre: blues


Album Tracks – Disc 1:

  1. Aggravatin’ Papa (8/25/23, #12 US)
  2. Baby, Won’t You Please Come Home (9/1/23, #6 US)
  3. ‘Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness if I Do (10/20/23, #9 US)
  4. Jail-House Blues (1923)
  5. Graveyard Dream Blues (1923)
  6. Ticket Agent, Ease Your Window Down (1924)
  7. Boweavil Blues (1924)
  8. Weeping Willow Blues (1924)
  9. Dying Gambler’s Blues (1924)
  10. St. Louis Blues (6/13/25, #3 US)
  11. You’ve Been a Good Ole Wagon (1925)
  12. Cake Walkin’ Babies from Home (1925)
  13. Careless Love Blues (10/31/25, #5 US)
  14. I Ain’t Goin’ to Play Second Fiddle (11/28/25, #8 US)
  15. At the Christmas Ball (1925)
  16. Jazzbo Brown from Memphis Town (1926)
  17. Backwater Blues (1927)
  18. After You’ve Gone (8/6/27, #7 US)

Album Tracks – Disc 2:

  1. Alexander’s Ragtime Band (10/15/27, #17 US)
  2. There’ll Be a Hot Time in the Old Time Tonight (1927)
  3. Trombone Cholly (1927)
  4. Send Me to the ‘Lectric Chair (1927)
  5. A Good Man Is Hard to Find (recorded 1927, charted 3/10/28, #13 US)
  6. Dyin’ by the Hour (1927)
  7. Me and My Gin (1928)
  8. Kitchen Man (1929)
  9. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out (8/31/29, #15 US)
  10. On Revival Day (A Rhythmic Spiritual) (1930)
  11. Moan, You Moaners (1930)
  12. Black Mountain Blues (1930)
  13. Shipwreck Blues (1931)
  14. Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl (1931)
  15. Do Your Duty (1933)
  16. Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer (1933)
  17. Take Me for a Buggy Ride (1933)
  18. Down in the Dumps (1933)

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

“Bessie Smith was crowned the Empress of the Blues, and, while this moniker was well deserved, she was much more. A prolific recording artist, Smith was quite an eclectic performer. In fact, she may have been one of the first true crossover artists.” LG “Bessie could sing it all, from the lowdown moan of St. Louis Blues and Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out to her torch treatment of the jazz standard After You’ve Gone to the downright salaciousness of Need a Little Sugar in My BowlCK or other “suggestive material [such] as Kitchen Man.” LG She “could breathe new life into a pop chestnut like Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” LG

The collection works its way through Smith’s entire career, from her very first recording session on February 15, 1923 through her final session on November 24, 1933. DA “This two-disc, 36-song set sweats it down to the bare essentials in quite an effective manner,” CK giving “the listener a good sampling of her wide repertoire.” LG “This is the perfect entry-level set.” CK

“Utilizing the latest in remastering technology, these recordings have never sounded quite this clear and full, and the selection – collecting her best-known sides and collaborations with jazz giants like Louis Armstrong” CK – ‘St. Louis Blues’…features [his] horn work” LG – Coleman Hawkins, and Benny Goodman – is first-rate. If you’ve never experienced the genius of Bessie Smith, pick this one up and prepare yourself to be devastated.” CK “The title of this album says it all.” LG


Review Source(s):

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Saturday, November 12, 1983

Lionel Richie hit #1 with “All Night Long”

First posted 11/26/2020.

All Night Long (All Night)

Lionel Richie

Writer(s): Lionel Richie (see lyrics here)


Released: August 31, 1983


First Charted: September 16, 1983


Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 13 RR, 14 AC, 17 RB, 2 UK, 13 CN, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.6 UK, 1.6 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 80.43 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

After a hit-laden career with the Commodores and the monstrous success of “Endless Love,” his #1 duet with Diana Ross, Lionel Richie released his first solo album in 1982. The album generated three top 10 hits, including the #1 song “Truly,” but it was merely a precursor to the even bigger smash that was to come with his 1983 album, Can’t Slow Down.

That album produced five top-10 hits, the biggest of which was the #1 lead single “All Night Long (All Night).” The song “was a joyous celebration with Caribbean influences and lots of partying.” BR1 The multi-cultural vibe for the song was inspired by his vacations in the Caribbean and his observation of calypso dancing. SF As he told Motown when he wanted to release the song, “This is the rhythm that the whole world dances to on vacation.” SF

Regarding the lyrics “Tom bo li de say de moi ya” and “jambo jumbo,” Richie said he tried to get his wife’s Jamaican gynecologist to help with pronunciations. BR1 He also called a friend at the United Nations for some African phrases, but was told there were 101 African dialects and could take a few weeks just to come up with a few words. In the end, Richie said the words were gibberish, NYP a “wonderful joke,” written when he ran out of time to hire a translator to come up with the foreign-language lyrics he wanted for the song. WK

In early 1984, Richie performed the song for 2.6 billion people in 120 countries at the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles with 200 breakdancers and athletes from all over the world. BR1


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Monday, November 7, 1983

Yes released 90125

First posted 6/7/2011; updated 9/20/2020.

90125

Yes


Released: November 7, 1983


Peak: 5 US, 16 UK, 3 CN, 27 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.1 UK, 3.88 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: progressive rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Owner of a Lonely Heart (Rabin, Anderson, Squire, Trevor Horn) [4:27] (11/5/83, 1 US, 1 AR, 28 UK, 2 AU)
  2. Hold On (Rabin, Anderson, Squire) [5:18] (3/17/84, 27 AR)
  3. It Can Happen (Squire, Anderson, Rabin) [5:25] (12/3/83, 51 US, 5 AR)
  4. Changes (Rabin, Anderson, White) [6:16]
  5. Cinema (instrumental) (Squire, Rabin, White, Kaye) [2:07]
  6. Leave It (Squire, Rabin, Horn) [4:10] (2/11/84, 24 US, 3 AR, 56 UK)
  7. Our Song (Anderson, Squire, Rabin, White) [4:13] (11/12/83, 32 AR)
  8. City of Love (Rabin, Anderson, Squire, Kaye, White) [4:46]
  9. Hearts (Anderson, Squire, Rabin, White, Kaye) [7:36]


Total Running Time: 44:49


The Players:

  • Jon Anderson (vocals)
  • Trevor Rabin (guitar, keyboards)
  • Chris Squire (bass)
  • Alan Whie (drums, percussion)
  • Tony Kaye (keyboards)

Rating:

3.938 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“A stunning self-reinvention by a band that many had given up for dead, 90125 is the album that introduced a whole new generation of listeners to Yes.” PC The album featured longtime members Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums as well as the return of vocalist John Anderson (after sitting out the 1980 Drama album) and “the first time in twelve years that original keyboardist Tony Kaye had appeared with the group.” WK

The 11th album by Yes was a surprise since the band had officially called it quits after 1980’s Drama. Anderson, the only singer the group had ever known, left in the early making of that album, as had Rick Wakeman, who’d been the keyboardist for most of the band’s classic ‘70s albums. In their place came singer Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of the Buggles (“Video Killed the Radio Star”). After that short-lived lineup, Squire and White worked on the aborted XYZ project with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and released a single as a duo in 1981.

Squire and White then started working with South African guitarist Trevor Rabin. “There had been various attempts to place Rabin in a band, including a proposed quartet with Rick Wakeman, John Wetton and Carl Palmer in 1980 and a proposed trio with Keith Emerson and Jack Bruce. Rabin tried out in Asia, alongside Wetton, Palmer and former Yes members Steve Howe and Geoff Downes.” WK

The new trio decided they needed a keyboardist and Squire suggested Kaye. They called themselves “Cinema” and started recording their anticipated debut album in early 1983. The material consisted mostly of music Rabin had intended for a solo album produced by Horn. WK Horn brought a slick production while Rabin offered a “distinctly ‘80s guitar sound.” PC

Squire played some of the group’s demos for Jon Anderson, who then came on board. At this point, they revived the Yes name. “Rabin was dubious at first, not wanting to be perceived as Steve Howe’s replacement, but rather the lead guitarist for a new group. However, he quickly changed his mind once Anderson brought in some new lyrics and put his distinctive vocals on the existing music tracks.” WK

The album, which was released in the autumn of 1983, was “simply titled after its Atco Records catalogue number (for example, 7-90125-1 for the LP).” WK It “launched Yes to the MTV age and to a whole new breed of fans.” WK Songs like “Changes marked the band’s definitive break with its art rock roots.” PC The new musical direction was “was catchy, contemporary and well liked by reviewers and their new fans (many of whom had little clue of the band’s previous incarnation). The lead single, Owner of a Lonely Heart, became the band’s first (and only) US #1 hit” WK “and its orchestral break has been relentlessly sampled by rappers ever since.” PC

“The vocal harmonies of Leave It and the beautifully sprawling Hearts are additional high points, but there’s nary a duff track on the album.” PC

“The album’s logo was created and designed by Garry Mouat at Assorted Images on an Apple IIe computer, which would be used on Yes’ next studio album Big Generator as well.” WK


Notes: Trevor Rabin released an album in 2003 called 90124 which was comprised of demos from the 90125 sessions.

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Saturday, October 29, 1983

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hit #1 with “Islands in the Stream”

First posted 3/21/2020.

Islands in the Stream

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

Writer(s): Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb/Maurice Gibb (see lyrics here)


First Charted: August 27, 1983


Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 2 RR, 14 AC, 12 CW, 7 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.6 UK, 4.7 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 90.82 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

The Bee Gees were one of the most successful acts of the 1970s, but by 1983 they were a relic of the then-passe disco era. Had anyone bet the trio would ever again top the U.S. pop charts – much less the country charts – any sensible person would have taken that bet. Those people would have lost – kind of.

Even at their peak, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb wrote for others, including #1 songs for Yvonne Elliman, Samantha Sang, Frankie Valli, and their brother Andy. In the 1980s, they wrote Barbra Streisand’s #1 pop hit “Woman in Love” (1980) and the #1 adult contemporary hit “Heartbreaker” for Dionnne Warwick (1982). Their most successful non-Bee Gees song, however, was “Islands in the Stream,” a #1 pop, country, and adult contemporary hit for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. The tune, whose title came from a 1970 Ernest Hemingway story, would be the last country song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 17 years, when Lonestar hit #1 with “Amazed.” SF

Rogers had been interested in working with Barry Gibb a couple of years earlier. He envisioned recording a duets album singing with Gibb, Parton, Willie Nelson, and others. While that project didn’t work out, Rogers still kept Gibb in mind and when he was looking for a new collaborator, he tapped him as the producer for his first album on the RCA label. BR1

The resulting Eyes That See in the Dark album was introduced with the single “Islands in the Stream,” a song originally written in an R&B style for Marvin Gaye. WK It was the first time Rogers and Parton worked together, but both had plenty of success on their own. Both artists had topped the country charts multiple times and each had hit #1 on the pop charts in 1980 – Rogers with “Lady” and Parton with “9 to 5.” It ended up the only song in 1983 to be certified platinum. BR1 It also won the American Music Award for Best Country Single and the Academy of Country Music’s Single of the Year and Vocal Duet of the Year. In 2005, it topped CMT’s poll of the best country duets of all time. WK


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Sunday, October 23, 1983

John Cougar Mellencamp Uh-Huh

First posted 6/22/2010; updated 9/20/2020.

Uh-Huh

John Cougar Mellencamp


Released: October 23, 1983


Peak: 9 US, 92 UK, 9 CN, 57 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.3 US, -- UK, 3.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic heartland rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Crumblin’ Down (10/15/83, 9 US, 2 AR, 9 CN, 42 AU)
  2. Pink Houses (10/29/83, 8 US, 3 AR, 15 CN, 69 AU)
  3. Authority Song (2/18/84, 15 US, 15 AR, 41 CN, 93 AU)
  4. Warmer Place to Sleep
  5. Jackie O
  6. Play Guitar (2/4/84, 28 AR)
  7. Serious Business (1/28/84, 34 AR)
  8. Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya
  9. Golden Gates


Total Running Time: 32:59

Rating:

4.148 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Quotable: “His first terrific album.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

“Since American Fool illustrated that John Cougar was becoming an actual songwriter, it’s only proper that he reclaimed his actual last name, Mellencamp, for the follow-up, Uh-Huh. After all, now that he had success, he wanted to be taken seriously, and Uh-Huh reflects that in its portraits of brokenhearted life in the Midwest and its rumbling undercurrent of despair. Although his lyrics still have the tendency to be a little too vague, they are more effective here than ever before, as is his music; he might not have changed his style at all – it’s still a fusion of the Stones and Springsteen – except that he now knows how to make it his own.” STE

Uh-Huh runs out of steam toward the end, but the first half…makes the record his first terrific album.” STE “His best protest song, “Pink Houses”, STE “is the state-of-our-union anthem that John Mellencamp likes to boast about, but the real class-awareness beef of 1983’s Uh-HuhRW is “the punky Authority Song”: STE “‘Call up my preacher... / He said, ‘You don’t need no strength, you need to grow up, son’”).” RW

There’s also the “kidding cynicism” RW of “the dynamic rocker Crumblin’ Down,” STE “the Mellencamp-John Prine collaboration Jackie O,” RW and “the melancholy Warmer Place to Sleep.” STE

“With his Stonesy band crackling behind him, the newly minted superstar also shows that he gets the joke of his ‘serious business’” RW on “the garage rocker Play Guitar,” STE “which might have been the album’s fourth hit single if not for its admonition to ‘forget all about that macho shit.’” RW

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