Saturday, December 31, 1983

Dave’s Faves: My Album Collection in 1983

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 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 (1979)
  13. Chicago Chicago 16 (1982)
  14. Def Leppard Pyromania (1983)
  15. John Denver Greatest Hits (compilation: 1969-72, released 1973)
  16. Neil Diamond The Jazz Singer (soundtrack, 1980)
  17. Dan Fogelberg Greatest Hits (compilation: 1972-82, released 1982)
  18. Foreigner 4 (1981)
  19. Foreigner Records (compilation: 1976-82, released 1982)
  20. J. Geils Band Freeze Frame (1981)
  21. Daryl Hall & John Oates H2O (1982)
  22. Daryl Hall & John Oates Rock ‘N’ Soul Part I (compilation: (1973-83, released 1983)

  23. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
  24. Billy Joel The Nylon Curtain (1982)
  25. Billy Joel An Innocent Man (1983)

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

  35. Olivia Newton-John Physical (1981)
  36. Olivia Newton-John’s Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (1982)
  37. Stevie Nicks The Wild Heart (1983)
  38. The Police Ghost in the Machine (1981)
  39. The Police Synchronicity (1983)

  40. Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits (compilation: 1977-80, released 1980)
  41. Queen Greatest Hits (compilation: 1973-81, released 1981)
  42. Styx Styx II (1973)
  43. Styx The Grand Illusion (1977)
  44. Styx Cornerstone (1979)
  45. Styx Paradise Theater (1981)

  46. Styx Kilroy Was Here (1983)
  47. Toto Toto IV (1982)
  48. John Williams (composer) Star Wars IV: A New Hope (soundtrack, 1977)

    Various Artists:

  49. Flashdance (soundtrack, 1983)
  50. K-Tel: High Energy (1979)
  51. K-Tel: Starflight (1979)
  52. K-Tel: Wings of Sound (1979)
  53. 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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First posted 8/12/2020; updated 8/31/2021.

Saturday, December 3, 1983

Lionel Richie hit #1 with Can’t Slow Down

First posted 3/28/2008; updated 12/1/2020.

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


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


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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Friday, December 2, 1983

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video was released


Michael Jackson

Writer(s): Rod Temperton (see lyrics here)

Released: November 12, 1983

First Charted: November 19, 1983

Peak: 4 US, 4 CB, 11 RR, 24 AC, 3 RB, 42 AR, 10 UK, 3 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 7.5 US, 0.6 UK, 9.52 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 956.0 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The song was conceived from the beginning as the title cut from the album. Rod Temperton, the songwriter, experimented with the titles “Starlight” and “Midnight Man” before coming up with “Thriller.” He was interested in writing something theatrical to suit Jackson’s love of movies. W-S They decided to include a spoken-word intro and, at the suggestion of producer Quincy Jones then-wife Peggy Lipton, brought in horror movie icon Vincent Price. W-S

The album was met with monstrous success, eventually becoming the biggest seller of all time. “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” were #1 hits and four other songs had gone top ten. Still, the album was starting to wane and Jackson wanted to do something to juice sales. Considering how big his videos for “Billie Jean” and “Beat It” were, his manager, Frank DiLeo, suggested a third music video. Epic, Jackson’s record company, wasn’t interested in another video because they believed the album had peaked. However, Showtime and MTV both put up money for the video, whose eventual $900,000 budget was the biggest ever for a music video. W-V

Jackson tapped director John Landis, who’d done An American Werewolf in London, to direct the nearly-fourteen-minute, zombie-themed mini-movie. The resulting landmark video has been hailed by some as the greatest of all time. It transformed music videos into a serious art form and broke down racial barriers in popular entertainment. W-V The Library of Congress called it “the most famous music video of all time” W-V and it became the first video inducted into the National Film Registry in 2009.

The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 at a then astonishing #20. When it leapt to #7 the next week it became the seventh top-10 hit from the album, an unprecedented feat. It accomplished Jackson’s goal of boosting interest in the album; sales of Thriller doubled. W-V Years later, it still charts every year around Halloween, thanks to its horror theme.

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First posted 11/28/2020; last updated 10/11/2021.

Thursday, November 24, 1983

50 years ago: Bessie Smith's final recording session

The Essential

Bessie Smith

Released: September 23, 1997

Recorded: 2/15/1923 to 11/24/1933

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: blues/jazz

Tracks, Disc 1:

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

  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)

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)


4.360 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)

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

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“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

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First posted 3/6/2011; last updated 2/9/2022.

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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