Saturday, September 25, 1982

Dave’s Faves: The Columbia House Record Club

First posted 8/12/2020.

Dave’s Faves:

Columbia House

September 25, 1982. I was 15 years old and had just started my sophomore year in high school. Arguably, there is no more significant time for musical discovery. I was very much a slave to whatever was popular at the time, but my tastes were starting to shift from more middle-of-the-road artists like John Denver, Neil Diamond, and Barry Manilow to more rock-oriented fare like Journey, Queen, and Styx.

A week before, I’d put together my very first personal song chart. I’d listened to a local radio station’s countdown of the hits of the summer and decided to create my own list of all-time favorites. However, within the week I revamped it and I was on my way to more than a decade’s worth of creating weekly personal song charts.

By that second week, I was hit by an influx of “new” music. Actually, it would be more appropriate to call it “newly acquired music” as the six new albums in my collection were all at least nine months old:

To what did I owe this new treasure trove? Columbia House’s Record and Tape Club. Anyone from my generation should remember the omnipresent ads in magazines to buy 13 albums for a dollar, sometimes a penny, under the agreement that you bought X number more albums over the next few years. The catch was they would automatically send an album each month if you didn’t specifically refuse it, sticking some people with albums they didn’t want.

My friend Nic and I decided to jump into the venture together, each getting half the albums and therefore only spending half as much money. I believe Nic took on the responsibility of mailing in the cards and I think he only got stuck once with the automatically mailed album.

I’d started my music collection three years earlier with the K-Tel compilation High Energy (1979) on eight track. Now I was beginning my transition from eight track to cassette. I’d already bought Styx Cornerstone (1979) and the Xanadu soundtrack (1980) on tape and now, with six new titles in my collection, I was well on my way toward this newer medium surpassing the old. Before year’s end, I would also have John Cougar’s American Fool (1982), J. Geils Band Freeze Frame (1981), and Olivia Newton-John’s Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (1982). In December of that year, I also hit the jackpot when my local rock station played a Beatles’ album every day at midnight for a week. I recorded the Beatles’ 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 collections as well as Magical Mystery Tour (1967), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), and Hey Jude (1968).

The impact on my personal chart was immediately apparent. Songs from the above tapes which showed up on my charts in the next few weeks included:

  • Air Supply “The One That You Love,” “Here I Am,” “Sweet Dreams”
  • Foreigner “Urgent,” “Juke Box Hero,” “Waiting for a Girl Like You”
  • Journey “Who’s Crying Now,” “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Open Arms
  • The Police “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”
  • Queen “You’re My Best Friend,” “Flash,” “Another One Bites the Dust”
  • Styx “The Best of Times,” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” “Rockin’ the Paradise,” “Nothing Ever Goes As Planned”

Some of the songs from those tapes still rank on my top 100 songs of all-time list (Foreigner “Waiting for a Girl Like You,” Journey “Open Arms,” Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen “We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions,” and Styx’s “The Best of Times”). Styx Paradise Theater and Journey Escape rank amongst my top 100 albums of all time. Perhaps no other week in my life has had more impact on me musically.

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Friday, September 24, 1982

Prince released “1999”

First posted 3/10/2021.



Writer(s): Prince (see lyrics here)

Released: September 24, 1982

First Charted: October 16, 1982

Peak: 12 US, 14 CB, 12 RR, 33 A40, 4 RB, 15 CO, 2 UK, 6 CN, 2 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.72 US, 0.25 UK, 0.98 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 18.0 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

While “1999” is well remembered as one of Prince’s best songs, it wasn’t one of his biggest hits. Based solely on peaks on the Billboard Hot 100, twenty Prince songs fared better on the charts than “1999.” That includes nineteen top-10 hits and the #11 hit “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” In fact, the song didn’t even hit the top 40 – the first time around. When it was released as the lead single for the album of the same name, “1999” stalled at #44. After “Little Red Corvette” reached the top 10, “1999” was re-released and peaked at #12. In the year 1999, the song resurfaced, hitting #40. It then charted for a rare fourth time in 2016 after Prince’s death, reaching #27. It became the first song to chart in three different decades. SF

The song shares a commonality with Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life,” which gives lead vocal duties to two other singers before Wonder takes charge. “1999” was initially intended as a three-part harmony, but Prince decided to separate out the voices starting each verse. WK Lisa Coleman sings the first line of the song, followed guitarist Dez Dickerson. Both were members of Prince’s backing band, the Revolution. Prince doesn’t sing until the third line of the song. Jill Jones, a backup singer, also sings a line in the song: “Got a lion in my pocket / And baby he’s ready to roar.”

While the song’s “we’re gonna party like it’s 1999” feels like a celebratory line, it has a deeper meaning. During the Reagan administration, the United States stockpiled nuclear weaponry in an arms race with Russia known as the Cold War. The massive arsenals of both countries provoked a fear of Armageddon. SF Prince sings “Everybody’s got a bomb / We could all die any die.” Of course, Prince still plans to have fun until the end: “But before I’ll let that happen / I’ll dance my life away.”

In a CNN interview with Larry King in 1999, Prince said, “We were sitting around watching a special about 1999, and a lot of people were…speculating on what was going to happen…Everyone that was around me whom I thought to be very optimistic people were dreading those days, and I always knew I’d be cool. I never felt like this was going to be a rough time for me…So I just wanted to write something that gave hope.” SF

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Thursday, September 23, 1982

Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain released

First posted 5/9/2011; updated 9/22/2020.

The Nylon Curtain

Billy Joel

Released: September 23, 1982

Peak: 7 US, 27 UK, 12 CN, 4 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 5.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop/rock singer-songwriter


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

  1. Allentown (11/27/82, 17 US, 19 AC, 28 AR, 21 CN, 49 AU)
  2. Laura
  3. Pressure (9/25/82, 20 US, 8 AR, 9 CN, 16 AU)
  4. Goodnight Saigon (3/19/83, 56 US, 29 UK)
  5. She’s Right on Time
  6. A Room of Our Own (11/13/82, 27 AR)
  7. Surprises
  8. Scandinavian Skies (10/9/82, 38 AR)
  9. Where’s the Orchestra?

Total Running Time: 41:57


3.608 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

About the Album:

With previous album Glass Houses, Billy Joel set out “to prove that he could rock as hard as any of those new wave punks.” AMG “For all of his claims of being a hard rocker, his work inevitably is pop because of his fondness for melody – but he proved to himself that he could still rock, even if the critics didn’t give him any credit for it.” AMG “His faux-New Wave period behind him, Joel decided it was time to be taken seriously as an artist” DB and that “it was now time to mature, to move pop/rock into the middle age.” AMG

Joel “consciously crafting a song cycle about Baby Boomers in the Reagan era,” AMG making for “a fascinating cross between ear candy and social commentary.” AMG “His desire to record a grand concept album is admirable, but his ever-present lyrical shortcomings mean that the songs paint a picture without arriving at any insights.” AMG

“He scored with brooding, well-intentioned odes to Vietnam and Rust Belt unemployment” DB with Goodnight Saigon and Allentown respectively. The first half of the album – including those songs as well as Laura, Pressure, and She’s Right on Time –“ is layered, successful, mature pop that brings Joel tantalizingly close to his ultimate goal of sophisticated pop/rock for mature audiences.” AMG

However, “he occasionally gets lost in his own ambition, as on the waterlogged second side.” AMG In addition, “the Beatlesque art-pop that lords over the album was strained and overly stylized.” DB “Joel is naturally inclined to write big melodies like McCartney, but he idolizes Lennon.” AMG In the end, though, “Lennon and McCartney should never sound this labored.” DB “And be wary of any Billy Joel album with a song called Scandinavian Skies.” DB

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Saturday, September 18, 1982

My First Personal Chart

First posted 12/1/2018; updated 8/6/2020.

My First Personal Chart:


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 was a mix of classics alongside current hits. 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.

So here is the very first chart I did:

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 “Renegade” (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 Sky” (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)