Saturday, December 31, 1983

Dave’s Faves: My Album Collection in 1983

First posted 8/12/2020.

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, as well as the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, Michael Jackson Thriller, the Police Synchronicity, and Styx Styx The Grand Illusion, 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 (1980)
  13. Chicago Chicago 16 (1982)
  14. Def Leppard Pyromania (1983)
  15. Neil Diamond The Jazz Singer (soundtrack, 1980)
  16. Dan Fogelberg Greatest Hits (compilation: 1972-82, released 1982)
  17. Foreigner 4 (1981)
  18. Foreigner Records (compilation: 1976-82, released 1982)
  19. J. Geils Band Freeze Frame (1981)
  20. Daryl Hall & John Oates H2O (1982)
  21. Daryl Hall & John Oates Rock ‘N’ Soul Part I (compilation: (1973-83, released 1983)
  22. Michael Jackson Thriller (1982)
  23. Billy Joel The Nylon Curtain (1982)
  24. Billy Joel An Innocent Man (1983)

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

  34. Olivia Newton-John Physical (1981)
  35. Olivia Newton-John’s Olivia’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (1982)
  36. Stevie Nicks The Wild Heart (1983)
  37. The Police Ghost in the Machine (1981)
  38. The Police Synchronicity (1983)
  39. Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits (compilation: 1977-80, released 1980)
  40. Queen Greatest Hits (compilation: 1973-81, released 1981)
  41. Styx Styx II (1973)
  42. Styx The Grand Illusion (1977)
  43. Styx Cornerstone (1979)
  44. Styx Paradise Theater (1981)

  45. Styx Kilroy Was Here (1983)
  46. Toto Toto IV (1982)

    Various Artists:

  47. Flashdance (soundtrack, 1983)
  48. K-Tel: High Energy (1979)
  49. K-Tel: Starflight (1979)
  50. K-Tel: Wings of Sound (1979)
  51. 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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Thursday, November 24, 1983

Nov. 24, 1933: Bessie Smith's final recording session

First posted March 6, 2011. Last updated September 8, 2018.

The Essential

Bessie Smith

Released: Sept. 23, 1997

Years Covered: Feb. 15, 1923 to Nov. 24, 1933


Sales (in millions):
US: --
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): --


Peak:
US: --
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

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


Genre: blues


Album Tracks – Disc 1:

  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)

Album 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)

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

“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


Review Source(s):

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Monday, November 7, 1983

Yes released 90125

First posted 6/7/2011; updated 9/20/2020.

90125

Yes


Released: November 7, 1983


Peak: 5 US, 16 UK, 3 CN, 27 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.1 UK, 3.88 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: progressive rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Owner of a Lonely Heart (Rabin, Anderson, Squire, Trevor Horn) [4:27] (11/5/83, 1 US, 1 AR, 28 UK, 2 AU)
  2. Hold On (Rabin, Anderson, Squire) [5:18] (3/17/84, 27 AR)
  3. It Can Happen (Squire, Anderson, Rabin) [5:25] (12/3/83, 51 US, 5 AR)
  4. Changes (Rabin, Anderson, White) [6:16]
  5. Cinema (instrumental) (Squire, Rabin, White, Kaye) [2:07]
  6. Leave It (Squire, Rabin, Horn) [4:10] (2/11/84, 24 US, 3 AR, 56 UK)
  7. Our Song (Anderson, Squire, Rabin, White) [4:13] (11/12/83, 32 AR)
  8. City of Love (Rabin, Anderson, Squire, Kaye, White) [4:46]
  9. Hearts (Anderson, Squire, Rabin, White, Kaye) [7:36]


Total Running Time: 44:49


The Players:

  • Jon Anderson (vocals)
  • Trevor Rabin (guitar, keyboards)
  • Chris Squire (bass)
  • Alan Whie (drums, percussion)
  • Tony Kaye (keyboards)

Rating:

3.938 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“A stunning self-reinvention by a band that many had given up for dead, 90125 is the album that introduced a whole new generation of listeners to Yes.” PC The album featured longtime members Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums as well as the return of vocalist John Anderson (after sitting out the 1980 Drama album) and “the first time in twelve years that original keyboardist Tony Kaye had appeared with the group.” WK

The 11th album by Yes was a surprise since the band had officially called it quits after 1980’s Drama. Anderson, the only singer the group had ever known, left in the early making of that album, as had Rick Wakeman, who’d been the keyboardist for most of the band’s classic ‘70s albums. In their place came singer Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes of the Buggles (“Video Killed the Radio Star”). After that short-lived lineup, Squire and White worked on the aborted XYZ project with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and released a single as a duo in 1981.

Squire and White then started working with South African guitarist Trevor Rabin. “There had been various attempts to place Rabin in a band, including a proposed quartet with Rick Wakeman, John Wetton and Carl Palmer in 1980 and a proposed trio with Keith Emerson and Jack Bruce. Rabin tried out in Asia, alongside Wetton, Palmer and former Yes members Steve Howe and Geoff Downes.” WK

The new trio decided they needed a keyboardist and Squire suggested Kaye. They called themselves “Cinema” and started recording their anticipated debut album in early 1983. The material consisted mostly of music Rabin had intended for a solo album produced by Horn. WK Horn brought a slick production while Rabin offered a “distinctly ‘80s guitar sound.” PC

Squire played some of the group’s demos for Jon Anderson, who then came on board. At this point, they revived the Yes name. “Rabin was dubious at first, not wanting to be perceived as Steve Howe’s replacement, but rather the lead guitarist for a new group. However, he quickly changed his mind once Anderson brought in some new lyrics and put his distinctive vocals on the existing music tracks.” WK

The album, which was released in the autumn of 1983, was “simply titled after its Atco Records catalogue number (for example, 7-90125-1 for the LP).” WK It “launched Yes to the MTV age and to a whole new breed of fans.” WK Songs like “Changes marked the band’s definitive break with its art rock roots.” PC The new musical direction was “was catchy, contemporary and well liked by reviewers and their new fans (many of whom had little clue of the band’s previous incarnation). The lead single, Owner of a Lonely Heart, became the band’s first (and only) US #1 hit” WK “and its orchestral break has been relentlessly sampled by rappers ever since.” PC

“The vocal harmonies of Leave It and the beautifully sprawling Hearts are additional high points, but there’s nary a duff track on the album.” PC

“The album’s logo was created and designed by Garry Mouat at Assorted Images on an Apple IIe computer, which would be used on Yes’ next studio album Big Generator as well.” WK


Notes: Trevor Rabin released an album in 2003 called 90124 which was comprised of demos from the 90125 sessions.

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Saturday, October 29, 1983

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton hit #1 with “Islands in the Stream”

First posted 3/21/2020.

Islands in the Stream

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

Writer(s): Barry Gibb/Robin Gibb/Maurice Gibb (see lyrics here)


First Charted: August 27, 1983


Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 2 RR, 14 AC, 12 CW, 7 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.6 UK, 4.7 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 90.82 video, -- streaming

Awards:

About the Song:

The Bee Gees were one of the most successful acts of the 1970s, but by 1983 they were a relic of the then-passe disco era. Had anyone bet the trio would ever again top the U.S. pop charts – much less the country charts – any sensible person would have taken that bet. Those people would have lost – kind of.

Even at their peak, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb wrote for others, including #1 songs for Yvonne Elliman, Samantha Sang, Frankie Valli, and their brother Andy. In the 1980s, they wrote Barbra Streisand’s #1 pop hit “Woman in Love” (1980) and the #1 adult contemporary hit “Heartbreaker” for Dionnne Warwick (1982). Their most successful non-Bee Gees song, however, was “Islands in the Stream,” a #1 pop, country, and adult contemporary hit for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. The tune, whose title came from a 1970 Ernest Hemingway story, would be the last country song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 17 years, when Lonestar hit #1 with “Amazed.” SF

Rogers had been interested in working with Barry Gibb a couple of years earlier. He envisioned recording a duets album singing with Gibb, Parton, Willie Nelson, and others. While that project didn’t work out, Rogers still kept Gibb in mind and when he was looking for a new collaborator, he tapped him as the producer for his first album on the RCA label. BR1

The resulting Eyes That See in the Dark album was introduced with the single “Islands in the Stream,” a song originally written in an R&B style for Marvin Gaye. WK It was the first time Rogers and Parton worked together, but both had plenty of success on their own. Both artists had topped the country charts multiple times and each had hit #1 on the pop charts in 1980 – Rogers with “Lady” and Parton with “9 to 5.” It ended up the only song in 1983 to be certified platinum. BR1 It also won the American Music Award for Best Country Single and the Academy of Country Music’s Single of the Year and Vocal Duet of the Year. In 2005, it topped CMT’s poll of the best country duets of all time. WK


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Sunday, October 23, 1983

John Cougar Mellencamp Uh-Huh

First posted 6/22/2010; updated 9/20/2020.

Uh-Huh

John Cougar Mellencamp


Released: October 23, 1983


Peak: 9 US, 92 UK, 9 CN, 57 AU


Sales (in millions): 3.3 US, -- UK, 3.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic heartland rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Crumblin’ Down (10/15/83, 9 US, 2 AR, 9 CN, 42 AU)
  2. Pink Houses (10/29/83, 8 US, 3 AR, 15 CN, 69 AU)
  3. Authority Song (2/18/84, 15 US, 15 AR, 41 CN, 93 AU)
  4. Warmer Place to Sleep
  5. Jackie O
  6. Play Guitar (2/4/84, 28 AR)
  7. Serious Business (1/28/84, 34 AR)
  8. Lovin’ Mother Fo Ya
  9. Golden Gates


Total Running Time: 32:59

Rating:

4.148 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


Quotable: “His first terrific album.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

“Since American Fool illustrated that John Cougar was becoming an actual songwriter, it’s only proper that he reclaimed his actual last name, Mellencamp, for the follow-up, Uh-Huh. After all, now that he had success, he wanted to be taken seriously, and Uh-Huh reflects that in its portraits of brokenhearted life in the Midwest and its rumbling undercurrent of despair. Although his lyrics still have the tendency to be a little too vague, they are more effective here than ever before, as is his music; he might not have changed his style at all – it’s still a fusion of the Stones and Springsteen – except that he now knows how to make it his own.” STE

Uh-Huh runs out of steam toward the end, but the first half…makes the record his first terrific album.” STE “His best protest song, “Pink Houses”, STE “is the state-of-our-union anthem that John Mellencamp likes to boast about, but the real class-awareness beef of 1983’s Uh-HuhRW is “the punky Authority Song”: STE “‘Call up my preacher... / He said, ‘You don’t need no strength, you need to grow up, son’”).” RW

There’s also the “kidding cynicism” RW of “the dynamic rocker Crumblin’ Down,” STE “the Mellencamp-John Prine collaboration Jackie O,” RW and “the melancholy Warmer Place to Sleep.” STE

“With his Stonesy band crackling behind him, the newly minted superstar also shows that he gets the joke of his ‘serious business’” RW on “the garage rocker Play Guitar,” STE “which might have been the album’s fourth hit single if not for its admonition to ‘forget all about that macho shit.’” RW

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Thursday, September 22, 1983

Pat Benatar Live from Earth

First posted 9/20/2020.

Live from Earth

Pat Benatar


Released: September 22, 1983


Peak: 13 US, 60 UK, 25 CN, 2 AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.1 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks:

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

  1. Fire and Ice (live) (Tom Kelly, Scott St. Clair Sheets, Benatar) [3:46] (7/6/81, 17 US, 2 AR, 4 CN, 30 AU)
  2. Looking for a Stranger (live) (Franne Golde, Peter McIan) [3:28] (4/23/83, 39 US, 4 AR)
  3. I Want Out (live) (Neil Giraldo, Billy Steinberg) [4:05]
  4. We Live for Love (live) (Giraldo) [3:39] (2/25/80, 27 US, 8 CN, 28 AU)
  5. Hell Is for Children (live) (Giraldo, Benatar, Roger Capps) [6:06]
  6. Hit Me with Your Best Shot (live) (Eddie Schwartz) [3:07] (9/15/80, 9 US, 10 CN, 33 AU, gold single)
  7. Promises in the Dark (live) (Giraldo, Benatar) [5:14] (9/25/81, 38 US, 16 AR, 31 CN)
  8. Heartbreaker (live) (Geoff Gill, Clint Wade) [4:21] (10/26/79, 23 US, 16 CN, 95 AU)
  9. Love Is a Battlefield (studio recording) (Mike Chapman, Holly Knight) [5:23] (9/13/83, 5 US, 1 AR, 17 UK, 2 CN, 6 AU)
  10. Lipstick Lies (studio recording) (Giraldo, Myron Grombacher) [3:51]

Chart data is for original studio recordings.


Total Running Time: 43:02

Rating:

3.323 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

This was Benatar’s first live album after four studio albums. It was her fifth consecutive platinum-seller, but didn’t attain the same chart heights as the previous three albums, which had all reached the top 5.

The album featured live versions of six of the nine songs she’d taken to the top 40 in the last six years. That meant most of her big hits, such as Heartbreaker, Hit Me with Your Best Shot, and Fire and Ice are present, but there are a few obvious omissions. Top-20 hit “Treat Me Right” from 1980’s Crimes of Passion is absent, but fan-favorite Hell Is for Children from that album is here.

Looking for a Stranger, first on Get Nervous, was her most recent top-40 hit prior to this collection. However, she neglected to include that album’s other two top-20 hits “Shadows of the Night” and “Little Too Late,” opting instead for the album cut I Want Out.

The album is rounded out by two new studio recordings. Love Is a Battlefield became Benatar’s biggest hit, reaching #5 on the pop charts and #1 on the album rock chart. The video depicted her as a girl on the streets who ends nonsensically dancing with her new street fans a la Michael Jackson’s zombie party in “Thriller.” It was pretty silly, but it was a popular video at the time.

Resources and Related Links:

Saturday, August 20, 1983

Air Supply chart with Greatest Hits

8/20/1983:
First posted 9/10/2020.

Greatest Hits

Air Supply


Recorded: 1980-1983


Charted: August 20, 1983


Peak: 7 US, -- UK, -- CN, 11 AU


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


Genre: adult contemporary


Tracks:

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

  1. Lost in Love (2/9/80, 3 US, 1 AC, 13 AU, airplay: 2 million)
  2. Even the Nights Are Better (6/12/82, 5 US, 44 UK, 1 AC, 35 AU, airplay: 1 million)
  3. The One That You Love (5/16/81, 1 US, 2 AC, 10 AU, sales: 1 million, airplay: 1 million)
  4. Every Woman in the World (10/25/80, 5 US, 2 AC, 8 AU, sales: 2 million)
  5. Chances
  6. Making Love Out of Nothing at All (July 1983, 2 US, 2 AC, 80 UK, 3 CN, 45 AU)
  7. All Out of Love (6/14/80, 2 US, 11 UK, 5 AC, 9 AU, sales: 1 million, airplay: 2 million)
  8. Here I Am (Just When I Thought I Was Over You) (9/19/81, 5 US, 1 AC, 43 AU, airplay: 1 million)
  9. Sweet Dreams (12/12/81, 5 US, 4 AC, airplay: 1 million)


Total Running Time: 37:27

Rating:

3.550 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)

About the Album:

Air Supply released four albums in their native Australia before finding success in the United States, thanks to signing a deal with Arista Records. From 1980 to 1983, the group released three albums which produced seven consecutive top-five hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The 1980 album Lost in Love produced the title cut, All Out of Love, and Every Woman in the World.

The title song to their 1981 album The One That You Love was the group’s only U.S. #1. It was followed by Here I Am and Sweet Dreams. They landed another top-five hit with Even the Nights Are Better from their 1982 Now and Forever album.

They landed their eight and final top-ten hit with Making Love Out of Nothing at All, the one new song featured on their 1983 Greatest Hits compilation. The song was penned by Jim Steinman, who’d most famously worked with Meat Loaf on his Bat Out of Hell album. He also wrote Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” the song which kept “Making Love” from reaching the top spot in America.

Unfortunately, this was Air Supply’s last trip to the top ten in the states. They only managed one more top 40 hit, the 1985 song “Just As I Am,” which peaked at #19. That makes this collection a pretty good sampling of the band, certainly during their heyday in the early ‘80s. At only nine songs, though, the collection feels a little light. They did have two minor hits (“Two Less Lonely People in the World” and “Young Love”) during this era which could have easily been added. Instead, the set features “Chances,” a non-single album cut from the band’s Lost in Love album.

Resources and Related Links:

Monday, August 8, 1983

Billy Joel’s An Innocent Man released

First posted 5/30/2008; updated 9/22/2020.

An Innocent Man

Billy Joel


Released: August 8, 1983


Peak: 4 US, 2 UK, 12 CN, 3 AU


Sales (in millions): 7.0 US, 0.9 UK, 13.3 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop/rock singer-songwriter


Tracks:

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

  1. Easy Money
  2. An Innocent Man (12/17/83, 10 US, 1 AC, 8 UK, 16 CN, 23 AU)
  3. The Longest Time (3/24/84, 14 US, 1 AC, 25 UK, 36 CN, 15 AU, gold single, airplay: 2 million)
  4. This Night (6/23/84, 78 UK)
  5. Tell Her about It (7/17/83, 1 US, 1 AC, 17 AR, 4 UK, 5 CN, 9 AU, gold single, airplay: 2 million)
  6. Uptown Girl (9/24/83, 3 US, 2 AC, 22 AR, 1 UK, 4 CN, 1 AU, platinum single, airplay: 2 million)
  7. Careless Talk
  8. Christie Lee
  9. Leave a Tender Moment Alone (6/23/84, 27 US, 1 AC, 29 UK, 58 CN, 76 AU, airplay: 2 million)
  10. Keeping the Faith (1/19/85, 18 US, 3 AC, 81 CN)


Total Running Time: 40:25

Rating:

3.939 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

“Recording The Nylon Curtain exhausted Billy Joel, and even though it had a pair of…hits” AMG with “Pressure” and “Allentown,” it was his first album since 1976’s Turnstiles to fail to generate a top-10 song. His previous two albums had been #1’s and Nylon Curtain’s 2 million in sales were impressive by anyone else’s standards, but were a letdown compared to his three previous albums which had sold at least 7 million each.

“Since he labored so hard at the record, he decided it was time for a break – it was time to record an album just for fun. And that’s how his homage to pre-Beatles pop, An Innocent Man, was conceived: it was designed as a breezy romp through the music of his childhood.” AMG “This collection of barefaced salutes to Otis Redding, Frankie Valli and ‘Stand by Me’ was unabashedly corny in its re-creation of ‘50s pop and ‘60s R&B.” DB

“The opener Easy Money is a slice of Stax/Volt pop-soul, via the Blues Brothers (quite possibly the inspiration for the album).” AMG Elsewhere, “he’s effortlessly spinning out infectious, memorable melodies in a variety of styles, from the Four Seasons send-up Uptown Girl and the soulful Tell Her About It to a pair of doo wop tributes, The Longest Time and Careless Talk.” AMG

“He’s in top form as a craftsman throughout the record. Only once does he stumble on his own ambition (This Night, which appropriates its chorus from Beethoven).” AMG Otherwise, “Joel has rarely sounded so carefree either in performance or writing, possibly due to Christie Lee Brinkley, a supermodel who became his new love prior to An Innocent Man.” AMG “There was no denying the exuberance and joy in what he called his ‘valentine’ to his second (but not last) wife.” DB This is “his Christie Brinkley State of Mind album.” DB “He can’t stop writing about her throughout the album – only three songs, including the haunted title track, aren’t about her in some form or fashion. That giddiness is infectious.” AMG

That’s probably why the album became his biggest in terms of charting singles. “Tell Her About It” was a #1 hit, “Uptown Girl” hit the top 3, and the title cut was also a top-10 hit. Beyond those three, he charted with three more top-40 hits from the album with “The Longest Time,” “Leave a Tender Moment Alone,” and “Keeping the Faith.”

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, July 26, 1983

Asia released its sophomore album

First posted 4/19/2008; updated 9/20/2020.

Alpha

Asia


Buy Here:


Released: July 26, 1983


Peak: 6 US, 5 UK, 10 CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.06 UK, 1.06 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Don’t Cry (7/30/83, #10 US, #33 UK, #1 AR)
  2. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes (10/15/83, #34 US, #25 AR)
  3. Never in a Million Years
  4. My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want)
  5. The Heat Goes On (8/20/83, #5 AR)
  6. Eye to Eye
  7. The Last to Know
  8. True Colors (8/20/83, #20 AR)
  9. Midnight Sun
  10. Open Your Eyes
  11. Daylight * (7/30/83, #24 AR)

* bonus track/B-side of “Don’t Cry”


The Players:

  • Geoff Downes (keyboards)
  • Steve Howe (guitar)
  • Carl Palmer (drums)
  • John Wetton (vocals/ bass)


Total Running Time: 42:16

Rating:

3.208 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


Awards:

About the Album:

Alpha is sorely disappointing, especially coming on the heels of a promising debut.” TD It was “a platinum-selling Top Ten hit,” TD but a “disappointment to some fans” WK compared to 1982’s Asia, which had sold 10 million copies worldwide and spent nine weeks atop the U.S. Billboard charts.

“Where Asia managed to make old sounds fresh, Alpha fails miserably. Nothing on Alpha packs the sheer sonic force of the band’s debut,” TD although lead single Don’t Cry did give the band their second top 10 U.S. pop hit. “Instead, much of the record is lightweight both lyrically and musically, leaning heavier on keyboard-laden ballads like The Smile Has Left Your Eyes, which managed to scrape into the Top 40, and My Own Time (I’ll Do What I Want). The only real meat on the record comes during the last cut, Open Your Eyes (and only at the end of the song).” TD

Alpha was the product of Geoff Downes’ and John Wetton’s song-writing. Steve Howe was mostly left out of the writing process, causing tensions within the band. Recorded in Morin Heights, Canada, Alpha is Asia’s…last album with Steve Howe as full-time guitarist until 2008’s Phoenix.” WK In the 25-year interim, Howe would go on to form the one-album-only supergroup GTR with former Genesis’ guitarist Steve Hackett, which released one self-titled album in 1986. Howe also frequently worked with former band Yes and occasionally turned in a guest spot on an Asia album.

Howe wasn’t the only one who jumped ship. Wetton bailed “before the year was out” (Demalon), replaced briefly by Emerson, Lake, & Palmer vocalist Greg Lake on tour. Wetton, however, would return by 1985’s Astra.

The “rumored creative differences, the album’s lukewarm reception, and flagging ticket sales for the ensuing tour” TD effectively ended the band’s momentum. The Asia brand name would soldier on with numerous personnel changes; it would be 25 years before the original four would record together again on 2008’s Phoenix.

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