Friday, December 31, 1982

Dave's Faves: My Top Songs of 1982

Updated 12/1/2018.

I was 15 in the summer of 1982 and was pretty enthralled with the popular music of the day. When my local top 40 radio station did a countdown of their all-time songs, I decided to emulate the list and make my own. It turned into my own weekly countdown list which I maintained all through high school, college, and even into my young adult years. I consider it ground zero for my fascination with charts. At the end of 1982, based on those charts, here were my biggest songs of the year:

1. Styx “Babe” (1979)
2. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (1981)
3. Olivia Newton-John “Heart Attack” (1982)
4. Journey “Open Arms” (1981)
5. Styx “The Best of Times” (1981)
6. Climax Blues Band “I Love You” (1980)
7. Asia “Only Time Will Tell” (1982)
8. Toto “Rosanna” (1982)
9. The Alan Parsons Project “Eye in the Sy” (1982)
10. Journey “Who’s Crying Now” (1981)

11. Olivia Newton-John “Physical” (1981)
12. Olivia Newton-John “Make a Move on Me” (1981)
13. Journey “Still They Ride” (1981)
14. Styx “Reneage” (1978)
15. Chicago “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” (1982)
16. Steve Miller Band “Abracadabra” (1982)
17. Air Supply “Here I Am” (1981)
19. Air Supply “Sweet Dreams” (1980)
20. Billy Joel “Pressure” (1982)

21. Olivia Newton-John “Magic” (1980)
22. Joe Jackson “Steppin’ Out” (1982)
23. Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1981)
24. John Cougar Mellencamp “Jack and Diane” (1982)
25. Queen “Body Language” (1982)
26. Olivia Newton-John & Cliff Richard “Suddenly” (1980)
27. J. Geils Band “Freeze Frame” (1981)
28. Vangelis “Chariots of Fire” (1981)
29. The Beatles “Fixing a Hole” (1967)
30. Steel Breeze “You Don’t Want Me Anymore” (1982)

31. Olivia Newton-John “Suspended in Time” (1980)
32. Air Supply “The One That You Love” (1981)
33. Toto “Africa” (1982)
34. Charlene “I’ve Never Been to Me” (1977)
35. Daryl Hall & John Oates “Maneater” (1982)
36. Neil Diamond “America” (1981)
37. Neil Diamond “Love on the Rocks” (1980)
38. America “You Can Do Magic” (1982)
39. Electric Light Orchestra “The Fall” (1980)
40. Kenny Rogers “Coward of the County” (1979)

41. Kenny Rogers “Lady” (1980)
42. Electric Light Orchestra “I’m Alive” (1980)
43. Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra “Xanadu” (1980)
44. REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You” (1980)
45. Foreigner “Waiting for a Girl Like You” (1981)
46. Air Supply “Don’t Turn Me Away” (1981)
47. Air Supply “Young Love” (1982)
48. Kansas “Play the Game Tonight” (1982)
49. Neil Diamond “Hello Again” (1981)
50. Paul McCartney “Take It Away” (1982)

Friday, December 24, 1982

Fred Astaire hit #1 with Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” for first of 10 weeks, 50 years ago today (12/24/1932)

First posted 12/24/2011; updated 4/12/2020.

Night and Day

Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman’s Orchestra

Writer(s): Cole Porter (see lyrics here)

First Charted: December 17, 1932

Peak: 110 US, 11 GA (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.36 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

When it comes to standards, “Night and Day” stands second only to “Star Dust”. MM Cole Porter, whose name is “almost a generic term for witty show songs,” LW wrote what has been called “one of the greatest love ballads ever written” NPR for the Broadway musical Gay Divorce. The song builds the melody by repeating the first note 32 times, followed by another 16 notes repeated at a half tone higher, followed by a return to the original note for another 16 beats. LW Porter has claimed the song was inspired by Moroccan Muslim calls to prayer; TY supposedly while visiting North Africa, he heard a priest wailing to his followers from the local mosque. LW

Fred Astaire and Claire Luce sang it in the show and then for the 1934 film version Astaire reprised the number, singing and dancing with Ginger Rogers. JA Astaire’s recording of the song with Leo Reisman’s Orchestra was the first and most successful of seven charting versions between 1932 and 1946. PM It was the biggest hit of 1932. WHC

Astaire was a popular choice for Tin Pan Alley songs, not just because he could deliver the box office goods, but because he sang songs as they were written. LW The song has also “held a strong position across the board in jazz” MM with wildly versatile versions by Benny Goodman (big band), Dave Brubeck (piano), Stan Getz (saxophone), and Django Reinhardt (guitar). MM Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and Sammy Davis, Jr. have also recorded vocal versions. MM One of the most interesting covers, though, was the version U2 did for the Cole Porter tribute album Red Hot + Blue. Nearly sixty years after the song first charted, this Irish rock band took the Tin Pan Alley classic to #2 on the modern rock tracks chart and #34 on the album rock tracks chart.

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, October 2, 1982

John Cougar Mellencamp hits #1 with "Jack and Diane": October 2, 1982

Originally posted October 2, 2011.

In 1981, John Mellencamp (then known as John Cougar) could only boast of modest chart success, having scored top 40 hits with “I Need a Lover”, “This Time”, and “Ain’t Even Done with the Night”. However, 1982’s American Fool thrust this Indiana heartland rocker into the limelight. The album hit #1 on the strength of the #2 single “Hurts So Good” and the chart-topping “Jack and Diane”.

The latter was a “ballad of an American couple, taking them from courtship through rocky marriage.” JA Mellencamp was inspired to write the nostalgic song after watching the 1961 movie Splendor in the Grass, starring Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood. WK It was a tribute to the rural working class of his hometown of Seymour, Indiana. SF For the video, Mellencamp even used some of his own high school photos and home movies. SF Initially, the song was supposed to be about an interracial couple, but Mellencamp realized it might provoke backlash. WK

The song wasn’t easy to make. As Mellencamp said, “The arrangement’s so weird. Stopping and starting, it’s not very musical.” WK As such, he included hand clapping in the song to help keep the tempo. It was supposed to be removed from the final version, but he realized the song didn’t work without it. WK

Mellencamp told Classic Rock magazine that the song wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for musician Mick Ronson, who’d worked primarily as a guitarist with David Bowie and Ian Hunter. He helped on several cuts for the American Fool album. Mellencamp had discarded “Jack and Diane” until Ronson suggested the baby-rattle-style percussion and the “let it rock, let it roll” chorus. WK

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, September 18, 1982

My First Personal Chart

Updated 12/1/2018.

I was 15 in the summer of 1982 and was pretty enthralled with the popular music of the day. When my local top 40 radio station did a countdown of their all-time songs, I decided to emulate the list and make my own. It turned into my own weekly countdown list which I maintained all through high school, college, and even into my young adult years. I consider it ground zero for my fascination with charts.

However, here is the first chart I ever created:

1. Styx “Babe” (1979)
2. Climax Blues Band “I Love You” (1980)
3. Olivia Newton-John “Magic” (1980)
4. Journey “Open Arms” (1981)
5. Kenny Rogers “Coward of the County” (1979)
6. The Beatles “Fixing a Hole” (1967)
7. Queen “Body Language” (1982)
8. Air Supply “American Hearts” (1980)
9. Barry Manilow “Copacabana (At the Copa)” (1978)
10. Styx “Reneage” (1978)

11. Olivia Newton-John “Suspended in Time” (1980)
13. Kenny Rogers “The Gambler” (1978)
14. Chicago “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” (1982)
15. The Alan Parsons Project “Eye in the Sy” (1982)
16. Asia “Only Time Will Tell” (1982)
17. Paul McCartney “Take It Away” (1982)
18. Olivia Newton-John “Make a Move on Me” (1981)
19. Electric Light Orchestra “The Fall” (1980)
20. Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’” (1981)

21. Styx “The Best of Times” (1981)
22. Neil Diamond “Love on the Rocks” (1980)
23. Kermit “The Rainbow Connection” (1979)
24. Queen “You’re My Best Friend” (1976)
25. Blondie “Shayla” (1979)
26. Kenny Rogers “Lady” (1980)
27. Dan Fogelberg “Leader of the Band” (1981)
28. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (1981)
29. The Police “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (1981)
30. Olivia Newton-John “Physical” (1981)

31. Olivia Newton-John & Cliff Richard “Suddenly” (1980)
32. America “You Can Do Magic” (1982)
33. Electric Light Orchestra “I’m Alive” (1980)
34. Survivor “Eye of the Tiger” (1982)
35. Olivia Newton-John “Carried Away” (1981)
36. Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder “Ebony and Ivory” (1982)
37. Neil Diamond “Be Mine Tonight” (1982)
38. Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra “Xanadu” (1980)
39. The Human League “Don’t You Want Me” (1981)
40. John Cougar Mellencamp “Jack and Diane” (1982)

41. Chicago “If You Leave Me Now” (1976)
42. REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You” (1980)
43. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll” (1981)
44. Steve Miller Band “Abracadabra” (1982)
45. Fleetwood Mac “Hold Me” (1982)
46. Charlene “I’ve Never Been to Me” (1977)
47. Toto “Rosanna” (1982)
48. Styx “Come Sail Away” (1977)
49. Kansas “Play the Game Tonight” (1982)
50. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “Crimson and Clover” (1982)

51. Blondie “**Heart of Glass” (1978)
52. George Harrison “All Those Years Ago” (1981)
53. Elton John “Blue Eyes” (1982)
54. Billy Joel “Just the Way You Are” (1977)
55. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “Do You Wanna Touch” (1981)
56. Air Supply “I Can’t Get Excited” (1980)
57. Sheena Easton “When He Shines” (1981)
58. Elton John “Empty Garden” (1982)
59. J. Geils Band “Freeze Frame” (1981)
60. Billy Squier “The Stroke” (1981)

61. Neil Diamond “America” (1981)
62. The Cars “Shake It Up” (1981)
63. Greg Kihn Band “The Breakup Song” (1981)
64. Air Supply “Lost in Love” (1980)
65. Blondie “Dreaming” (1979)
66. Air Supply “Sweet Dreams” (1980)
67. KC & the Sunshine Band “Please Don’t Go” (1979)
68. Dan Fogelberg “Run for the Roses” (1981)
69. Pure Prairie League “Let Me Love You Tonight” (1980)
70. Dirt Band with Linda Ronstadt “An American Dream” (1979)

Saturday, July 24, 1982

Survivor hit #1 with “Eye of the Tiger”

First posted 4/17/2019.

Eye of the Tiger


Writer(s): Frankie Sullivan, Jim Peterik (see lyrics here)

First Charted: 6/5/1982

Peak: 16 US, 14 CB, 27 AC, 15 AR, 146 CN, 16 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 6.6 US, 1.87 UK, 9.4 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: 1.0

Video Airplay *: 483.3

Streaming *: --

* in millions


In 1982, Sylvester Stallone was looking for a song to use in his upcoming Rocky III movie. The first two movies used “Gonna Fly Now,” an orchestral #1 from Bill Conti. SF Stallone wanted something more cutting edge for the third movie. He initially approached Queen about using their #1 hit “Another One Bites the Dust.” After they turned him down, WK Tony Scotti, the president of Survivor’s record label played Stallone some cuts from Survivor’s 1981 Premonition album. SF Stallone thought the band’s “sound, writing style and street appeal” fit wth what he wanted SF and he asked the band about using “Poor Man’s Son,” the group’s top 40 hit from Premonition. WK

Jim Peterik, the band’s keyboardist, watched a rough version of the movie with fight scenes still cut to “Another One Bites the Dust.” He and bandmate Frankie Sullivan thought that was going to be tough to beat, but, as Peterik said, they “started slashing those chords to the punches we saw on the screen, and the whole song took shape in the next three days.” SF

The song was built around the phrase “keep the eye of the tiger” which was referenced repeatedly in the film BB100 and crafted lyrics to fit with the events of the film. SF The band wondered if calling the song “Eye of the Tiger” was too on the nose and played around with calling it “Survival,” to play up a rhyme with the word rival. Eventually, Peterik decided “Are we nuts? That hook is so strong and ‘rival’ doesn’t have to be a perfect rhyme with the word ‘tiger.’ We made the right choice and went with ‘Eye of the Tiger.’” SF

Stallone loved the song after hearing a demo, but made some suggestions. Peterik said the band wouldn’t typically take suggestions from an actor, but that “Stallone had a good ear for a hook. Just listen to his dialogues – he wrote those scripts. He came up with…hook phrases like ‘I’m going to knock you into tomorrow.’” SF

The result was a #1 song and the band’s signature hit. It wasn’t a run-of-the-mill chart topper; the song was not only one of the biggest hits of that year, but one of the biggest hits of the ‘80s. At decade’s end, “Eye of the Tiger” was in a three-way tie for #1 song which spent the most weeks in the top ten (15 weeks) along with Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and – surprise surprise – Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” WK

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.


Grandmaster Flash charted with “The Message”: July 24, 1982

First posted 7/24/2012; updated 4/9/2020.

The Message

Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five

Writer(s): Sylvia Robinson/Ed Fletcher/Melvin Glover/Nathaniel Chase (see lyrics here)

Released: July 1, 1982

First Charted: July 24, 1982

Peak: 62 US, 94 CB, 4 RB, 8 UK (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, -- UK, 0.5 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 20.0 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

“Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was a pivotal group in the early days of rap, developing crucial aspects of the genre.” NRR Flash is “largely credited with the popularization of scratching” FR in which DJs mixed songs together and MCs would improvise verses – or rap – over the top. CR The style grew out of block parties in the Bronx in the mid-1970s when DJs would set up sound systems and play records. CR “What had once been a party trick became the most significant cultural movement of the next three decades.” CR

Sugar Hill Records tapped Flash & Co. to bring their talents to the recording studio, resulting in “the first record made solely from mixing other records.” CR Ed “Duke Bootee” Fletcher, a schoolteacher RS500 and the house band percussionist, CR wrote a poem which Sugar Hill’s co-owner Sylvia Robinson decided to turn into a rap record. RS500

With Melle Mel providing the main rapping, “The Message” “detailed the hardships of life in the urban environment.” FR It was “a breakthrough in hip-hop, taking the music from party anthems to street-level ghetto blues.” RS500 That “focus on urban social issues” NRR mapped “a course followed by many later rap artists.” NRR “Without this song, the entire course of the genre could have been very different indeed, and some of its most prominent voices might never have surfaced.” TB

Flash and the crew weren’t enamored with the political message CR and apparently Robinson only got them to agree to record it by promising it wouldn’t be a single. WI Of course, the song would be released and it became “an instant sensation on New York’s hip-hop radio.” RS500 As Flash said, “It played all day, every day. It put us on a whole new level.” RS500

Of course, its success went beyond lyrical content. “What’s obvious is how much the words were abetted by the music: melody sketched by synthesizer, pulse provided by fun bass and glowering drums, comment added by scratchy rhythm guitar.” MA It “was hardly the first rap record, but its sonic power…and the astonishing immediacy of its lyrics combined to make it the official announcement of the start of something truly new.” WI The song posed the concern, “Sometimes I wonder how I keep from goin’ under,” and critic Dave Marsh suggested, “Apparently dancing helps.” MA

Resources and Related Links:

  • Grandmaster Flash’s DMDB Music Maker Encyclopedia entry
  • CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 391.
  • FR Paul Friedlander (1996). Rock and Roll: A Social History. Boulder, Colorado; Westview Press, Inc. Page 274.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Page 61.
  • NRR National Recording Registry
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (12/04). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 198.
  • WI Paul Williams (1993). Rock and Roll: The Best 100 Singles. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. Pages 204-6.