Tuesday, August 19, 1980

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

You Shook Me All Night Long


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 charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 467.63 video, 1069.60 streaming


Click on award for more details.

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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Last updated 4/11/2024.

Monday, August 18, 1980

Yes Drama released



Released: September 18, 1980

Peak: 18 US, 2 UK, 41 CN, 69 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.06 UK

Genre: progressive rock


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

  1. Machine Messiah [10:18]
  2. White Car [1:18]
  3. Does It Really Happen? [6:27]
  4. Into the Lens (I Am a Camera) [8:31] (8/6/80, --)
  5. Run Through the Light [4:41] (1/81, --)
  6. Tempus Fugit [5:12]

All songs written by Downes, Horn, Howe, Squire, and White.

Total Running Time: 36:30

The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • Trevor Horn (vocals, bass)
  • Steve Howe (guitar, mandolin, backing vocals)
  • Chris Squire (bass, backing vocals, piano)
  • Alan White (drums, percussion, backing vocals)


3.101 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

About the Album:

After 1978’s Tormato, singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman were “enthusiastic about creating a new album, and the rest of the band was lukewarm over the idea, given the relative failure of the last album. This in turn discouraged both Anderson and Wakeman, with the latter at times refusing to leave his room, and both men dejectedly spending time at a local bar. They quit the band soon afterwards.” WK

Remaining members Chris Squire (bass), Steve Howe (guitar), and Alan White (drums) opted to continue without them. “Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of The Buggles, who had recently had a number one hit in the UK with ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’, and were managed by Yes’ long-time manager Brian Lane, were working in an adjacent studio, and, being Yes fans, introduced themselves. As it happened, Squire owned and enjoyed their first album, and the pair were invited to sit in during rehearsals. They were soon asked to join the band.” WK

The resulting album, 1980’s Drama, “featured a harder-edged Yes with a distinct new wave flavour (in no small part due to the two new recruits).” WK “For classically inclined fans, it was a jarring departure; but it was a harbinger of Yes and Asia albums to come. A newly emboldened Chris Squire lays down aggressive rhythms with Alan White, and Steve Howe eschews his usual acoustic rags and flamenco licks for a more metallic approach, opting for sheets of electric sound.” PC

“Perhaps to ensure that some of the old glory was there, Roger Dean was commissioned to design his first Yes cover in five years, and Eddie Offord, who had co-produced the band in their 1971-1974 heyday, returned to the studio for assistance.” WK

“Although the songs are all group credited, Into the Lens and White Car are basically Buggles compositions (an alternate version of ‘Into the Lens’ appeared on the second Buggles album Adventures in Modern Recording as ‘I Am a Camera’; the song is based on Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin stories.” WK

Does It Really Happen?, Run Through the Light and Tempus Fugit with its “manic ska inflections” PC “were developed by Squire, White and Howe before Horn and Downes joined the band; Horn added lyrics.” WK

The “doom-laden” PCMachine Messiah was based on another Buggles composition, but with considerable input from the other three, and therefore the only truly group composition on the album.” WK

“The two demo songs ‘We Can Fly from Here’ and ‘Go Through This’ did not end up on the album, although the band did play both of them on the subsequent tour. Live recordings of these songs were released on The Word Is Live.” WK

Drama fared very well in the UK charts, reaching #2 there, but American audiences were not so sure, with Drama becoming Yes’ first album there in years to not reach the Top 10 or go gold. Still, the US tour was a big success. They were not so lucky on the UK leg, with some fans angry over Anderson’s replacement and Horn’s voice suffering from his first experience of major touring, as well as his efforts to match Anderson’s higher register. Horn subsequently quit the band” WK and “went into production; Howe and Downes joined Asia, and Squire and White toyed and then gave up on a pair-up with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, which was to be titled XYZ (i.e., Ex-Yes and Zeppelin).” PC The Yes story wasn’t over yet, though – a new lineup would emerge in 1983 with the band’s most successful album yet – 90125.

Notes: A 2004 reissue added single versions of “Into the Lens” and “Run Through the Light,” tracking sessions for “Tempus Fugit” and “White Car,” and the songs “Have We Really Got to Go Through This,” “Song No. 4 (Satellite),” “Dancing Through the Light,” “Golden Age,” “In the Tower,” and “Friend of a Friend.”

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First posted 6/7/2011; updated 7/25/2021.

Peter Gabriel “Biko” released


Peter Gabriel

Writer(s): Peter Gabriel (see lyrics here)

Released: August 18, 1980

First Charted: August 23, 1980

Peak: 18 CL, 5 CO, 38 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 8.6 video, -- streaming

Awards (Peter Gabriel):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Simple Minds):

Awards (Playing for Change):

About the Song:

“Biko” was written as “an anti-apartheid protest song” WK inspired by Bantu Stephen Biko, a black South African anti-apartheid activist. Biko founded the South African Students’ Organization in 1968 and the Black People’s Convention in 1972. In 1973, the South African government banned him from “leaving his hometown, meeting with more than one person, publishing his writing, and speaking in public.” WK He was arrested in August 1977 for breaking that order. He died during police custody on September 12, 1977.

All Music Guide’s Stewart Mason called the song Gabriel’s “first masterpiece” AMG and “a stunning achievement for its time.” AMG Gabriel wrote it after hearing about Biko’s death via the BBC WK and reading three biographies about Biko. SF The lyrics described Biko’s death and the violence perpetrated by the apartheid government. Gabriel said, “It seemed impossible to me that the South Africans had let him be killed when there had been so much international publicity about his imprisonment.” SF

Mason said it was “one of the few rock songs to treat a political martyr with dignity but not mawkishness.” AMG After the release of the song as a single, Gabriel donated the proceeds to the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa. The song has been credited with evoking “resistance to apartheid part of western popular culture.” WK Scholar Ingrid Byerly said it was the “right song written at the right time by the right person.” WK The South African government banned the song because they viewed it as a security threat. WK

Musically, Gabriel incorporated his growing interest in African musical styles by using “a sparse two-tone beat played on Brazilian drum and vocal percussion, in addition to a distorted guitar, and a synthesized bagpipe sound.” WK “Biko” also used excerpts of recordings of songs, including “Ngomhia sibuyaho” and “Senzeni Na?,” which were sung at Biko’s funeral. WK

Personal favorite cover versions of the song include one by Simple Minds in 1989 and the collaborative project known as Playing for Change which recorded the song in 2010.


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First posted 6/9/2022; last updated 12/23/2022.

Tuesday, August 5, 1980

Pat Benatar’s Crimes of Passion released

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


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


4.508 out of 5.00 (average of 7 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

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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First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 9/3/2021.

Saturday, August 2, 1980

Olivia Newton-John hit #1 with “Magic”


Olivia Newton-John

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

First Charted: May 23, 1980

Peak: 14 US, 13 CB, 11 GR, 13 HR, 12 RR, 15 AC, 32 UK, 2 CN, 4 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

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


Click on award for more details.

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” FB 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. FB

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.


  • FB Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 528.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 10/24/2020; last updated 12/6/2022.