Friday, December 31, 1982

Dave's Faves: My Top Songs of 1982

Dave’s Faves:

My Top Songs of 1982

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 Sky” (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)

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First posted 12/1/2018; last updated 1/12/2022.

Friday, December 24, 1982

50 years ago: Fred Astaire hit #1 with Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” for first of 10 weeks

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

Awards (Fred Astaire version): (Click on award for more details).

Awards (Ella Fitzgerald version): (Click on award for more details).

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:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Fred Astaire
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Leo Reisman
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Cole Porter
  • JA David A. Jasen (2002). A Century of American Popular Music: 2000 Best-Loved and Remembered Songs (1899-1999). Routledge: Taylor & Francis, Inc. Page 145.
  • LW Alan Lewens (2001). Popular Song – Soundtrack of the Century. Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 68.
  • MM Max Morath (2002). The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to Popular Standards. New York, NY; Penguin Putnam Inc. Page 178.
  • NPR National Public Radio web site (1999). “The Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century
  • TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 65.
  • PM Joel Whitburn (1986). Pop Memories 1890-1954. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 558.
  • WHC Joel Whitburn (1999). A Century of Pop Music. Menomonee Falls, WI; Record Research, Inc. Page 49.

First posted 12/24/2011; last updated 4/22/2021.

Saturday, December 18, 1982

Hall & Oates hit #1 with “Maneater”

First posted 11/28/2020.


Daryl Hall & John Oates

Writer(s): Sara Allen, Daryl Hall, John Oates (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 15, 1982

Peak: 14 US, 15 CB, 14 RR, 14 AC, 78 RB, 18 AR, 6 UK, 4 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.25 UK, 1.35 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 158.4 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Daryl Hall and John Oates became the biggest duo in American chart history on the strength of multiple hits in the ‘70s and ‘80s, including six #1 songs. The biggest of them was “Maneater” from their 11th album, H2O. In a bit of trivia, it was the biggest hit of the ‘80s to feature a sax solo. SF

The song grew out of a reggae-tinged prototype Oates created with Edgar Winter. WK Hall changed the groove to a Motown thing. In fact, when Motown songwriter LaMont Dozier first heard the song, the introduction made him think the duo had done a cover of the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love.” BR1 It was one of a handful of songs by the duo with a songwriting credit given to Sara Allen, Hall’s girlfriend. Hall said it was her idea to end the line after “she’s a maneater” whereas he’d originally had more written after that. He said her idea is what made the song come together. SF

Songfacts says the song is “about a very seductive woman with expensive tastes that she uses men to satisfy.” SF Hall said it was understandable that people assumed the lyrics were about a woman, but the song was actually “about NYC in the ‘80s. It’s about greed, avarice, and spoiled richies. But we have it in the setting of a girl because it’s more relatable.” WK Despite Hall’s claims, lines like “The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar” sure sounds more like it is about a woman than New York City.

According to Hall, “someone decided the ‘Maneater’ video wouldn’t be complete without an actual panther…It appeared for a second and a half in the video and probably cost $10,000.” SF The panther and a woman are juxtaposed with shots of the band in what appears to be an after-hours champagne room. SF The panther was leashed to the floor for the shoot, but got loose at one point and roamed the rafters. Hall said this is when he left. SF

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Saturday, December 4, 1982

The Police charted with “I Burn for You”

I Burn for You

The Police

Writer(s): Sting (see lyrics here)

Released: October 21, 1982 (on Brimstone and Treacle soundtrack)

First Charted: December 4, 1982

Peak: 27 AR, 29 CO (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.90 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Sting first recorded this song with Last Exit, his band before the Police. He later presented it to the Police for consideration on their third album, 1980’s Zenyatta Mondatta. However, they “deemed [it] unsuitable for the musical direction the band was taking,” WK considering it “too sentimental.” PW In 1981, the group Hot Gossip recorded the song and the Police recorded it during the sessions for their Ghost in the Machine album. The versions done by Last Exit and Hot Gossip featured a verse which was omitted from the Police’s recording.

That version was still shelved for another year. Finally, in 1982 it was released on the Brimstone and Treacle soundtrack along with other music written and recorded by Sting and the Police. It was released as a single in late 1982, reaching #27 on the album rock chart. Clips from the movie have been integrated into the video below along with the original version of “I Burn for You” by Last Exit.

The movie was based on a 1976 BBC television play by Dennis Potter. Both versions starred Denholm Elliott; the 1982 film featured Sting as one of the co-stars. The story focuses on a middle-class London suburban couple and their daughter, who has been rendered comatose by a hit-and-run accident. The father (Elliott) meets a stranger one day (Sting) who claims to be friends with the daughter. When he rapes the girl, she awakes screaming and fully recovers from her disability.

Sting also recorded the song as a solo artist, first on his 1986 live album Bring on the Night and again in 2010 for Symphonicities, a collection of rerecordings of his work. The version done for Bring on the Night was made into a video. In 1991, the Bob Belden Ensemble recorded the song for their Sting tribute album, The Music of Sting: Straight to My Heart.

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First posted 7/14/2021.

Monday, November 29, 1982

A Foreigner Retrospective

First posted 9/20/2020; updated 10/21/2020.



Released: November 29, 1982

Recorded: 1977-1982

Peak: 10 US, 58 UK, -- CN, 26 AU

Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.06 UK, 11.4 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (1) Cold As Ice (2) Double Vision (3) Head Games (4) Waiting for a Girl Like You (5) Feels Like the First Time (6) Urgent (7) Dirty White Boy (8) Juke Box Hero (9) Long, Long Way from Home (10) Hot Blooded (live)

Total Running Time: 39:23


4.157 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)


The Players:

  • Lou Gramm (vocals, percussion): 1977-82
  • Mick Jones (guitar, keyboards, vocals): 1977-82
  • Ian McDonald (guitar, backing vocals, saxophone, keyboards): 1977-79
  • Al Greenwood (keyboards): 1977-79
  • Ed Gagliardi (bass): 1977-78
  • Dennis Elliott (drums): 1977-82
  • Rick Wills (bass): 1979-82

A Brief History:

English musician Mick Jones, formerly of Spooky Tooth, formed Foreigner in 1976 with Ian McDonald (formerly of King Crimson) and American singer Lou Gramm. He suggested the name “Foreigner” after the group had blossomed into a six-piece with three Brits and three Americans. In the short five years covered on this page, they lost three founding members and by 1981 were working as a four-piece unit.

From 1977 to 1981 the band released four studio albums, all of which hit the top 5 on the Billboard album charts and sold at least five million each. Their most successful album was 4, which spent 10 weeks on top. They hit the top 40 eleven times in that same span with their biggest hit being “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” a #2 hit for 10 weeks.

Here are the four studio albums covered by the Records compilation. Each has a link to a separate DMDB page, but snapshots of each album are offered on this page.

The Studio Albums:

Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the anthologies below are noted. If the song charted, the date of the song’s release or first chart appearance and its chart peaks are noted in parentheses. Click for codes to singles charts.

Foreigner (1977):

The debut album from Foreigner was an immediate success, spawning three top-10 hits and a third top-20 hit. The album sold more than five million copies and hit the top 5 on the Billboard album chart.

  • Feels Like the First Time (3/26/77, 4 US, 2 CL, 39 UK, 7 CN, 41 AU)
  • Cold As Ice (7/23/77, 6 US, 1 CL, 24 UK, 9 CN, 32 AU)
  • Long, Long Way from Home (12/10/77, 20 US, 7 CL, 22 CN, 70 AU)

Double Vision (1978):

With two top-five hits, Foreigner wasn’t suffering from a sophomore slump. Not only did the album chart a notch higher (#3) than its predecessor, but it outsold it with more than ten million copies worldwide. A third song, “Blue Morning, Blue Day,” was a top-20 hit, but isn’t included on the Records compilation.

  • Hot Blooded (live version) (7/1/78: studio version, 3 US, 2 CL, 42 UK, 3 CN, 24 AU)
  • Double Vision (9/22/78, 2 US, 2 CL, 7 CN, 97 AU)

Head Games (1979):

While Head Games still put two songs in the top 20 on the U.S. pop chart, it wasn’t quite the same lofty heights as the Double Vision album. Still, the album was a top-five hit with sales over five million.

  • Head Games (11/10/79, 14 US, 6 CL, 14 CN)
  • Dirty White Boy (9/8/79, 12 US, 6 CL, 14 CN)

4 (1981):

This was Foreigner’s most successful outing. The album spent a whopping ten weeks atop the Billboard album chart and gave them their biggest hit to date with the power ballad “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” which spent ten weeks in the runner-up spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

  • Urgent (7/4/81, 4 US, 1 AR, 45 UK, 1 CN, 24 AU)
  • Juke Box Hero (7/25/81, 26 US, 3 AR, 48 UK, 39 CN, 53 AU)
  • Waiting for a Girl Like You (10/10/81, 2 US, 1 AR, 5 AC, 8 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU, sales: ½ million)

About Records:

After four top-10 albums and 11 top-40 singles in five years, Foreigner took a break, offering fans their first compilation. It was a multi-platinum, top-10 hit just like its predecessors despite offering nothing new, save a live version of “Hot Blooded.” In fact, this wasn’t just a multi-platinum seller; it was Foreigner’s third album (after Double Vision and 4) to top ten million in sales worldwide.

As packed as this is with hits, it still misses a few, most notably the #15 hit “Blue Morning, Blue Day” and the #41 hit “Women.” They could have easily been added, considering the album’s sub-40-minute running length. Still, there’s no arguing with what is here. There would be many compilations to follow over the years, but this was the first and most successful.

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Saturday, November 13, 1982

Men at Work’s Business As Usual hit #1 for 1st of 15 weeks

Business As Usual

Men at Work

Released: November 9, 1981

Peak: 115 US, 15 UK, 110 CN, 19 AU

Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 0.3 UK, 15.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop rock/new wave


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

  1. Who Can It Be Now? (6/6/81, 1 US, 46 AR, 45 UK, 2 AU, 8 CN)
  2. I Can See It in Your Eyes
  3. Down Under (10/23/81, 1 US, 1 AR, 13 AC, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, sales: 1.6 million, airplay: 2 million)
  4. Underground (3/5/83, 20 AR)
  5. Helpless Automation
  6. People Just Love to Play with Words
  7. Be Good Johnny (4/82, 3 AR, 78 UK, 19 CN, 8 AU)
  8. Touching the Untouchables
  9. Catch a Star
  10. Down by the Sea

Total Running Time: 38:11

The Players:

  • Colin Hay (vocals, guitar)
  • Greg Ham (flute, keyboards, saxophone, vocals)
  • Ron Strykert (guitar, vocals)
  • John Rees (bass, backing vocals)
  • Jerry Speiser (drums, backing vocals)


3.994 out of 5.00 (average of 8 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Business as Usual was the debut album for the Australian new wave band Men at Work. It was released in their home country in November 1981 and saw U.S. release five months later in April 1982. They became “the most unlikely success story of 1982,” AZ spending 15 weeks atop the Billboard album chart and winning the Grammy for Best New Artist.

Their success came primarily on the basis of “two excellent singles that merged straight-ahead pop/rock hooks with a quirky new wave production and an offbeat sense of humor. Colin Hay’s keening vocals uncannily recall Sting, and the band’s rhythmic pulse and phased guitars also bring to mind a bar band version of the Police.” AMG “Like Sting, Colin Hay’s vocal inflections were more suited to reggae than to white guitar-pop; the band, meanwhile, seemed to aim for much the same kind of earnest, slightly arch tone as early XTC.” AZ

The lead single, Who Can It Be Now?, was released in Australia in June 1981, where it became a #1 hit. More than a year later, it made its U.S. chart debut, eventually soaring to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

While that song played up paranoia in its video, the follow-up hit, Down Under, showcased Men at Work’s goofier side. The almost-novelty song celebrated their native country with a campy and popular video. The song was an even bigger hit on the U.S. charts. “For a time, Australians abroad seemed destined to have ‘Down Under’ sung at them – often by whole groups of strangers – as if it were a sunny gesture of greeting or camaraderie, instead of what it actually was: a tacit reinforcement of cultural stereotypes.” AZ “For the record: to ‘chunder’ means to vomit. And a Vegemite sandwich is nothing you’d want to eat.” AZ

The song met with more controversy in 2010 when it was determined it had been plagiarized from a 1934 Australian song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree,” written by Marion Sinclair. The band were ordered to pay a portion of royalties to the company holding the copyright on “Kookaburra.”

“There’s a fair amount of filler on the record, but Be Good Johnny, I Can See It in Your Eyes, and Down by the Sea are all fine new wave pop songs, making Business as Usual one of the more enjoyable mainstream-oriented efforts of the era.” AMG

Notes: A 2003 rerelease adds non-LP B-side, “Crazy,” the non-U.S. single track, “F-19,” and live versions of “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Underground.”

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First posted 4/19/2012; updated 8/2/2021.