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.


Resources and Related Links:


First posted 8/12/2020; updated 8/31/2021.

Saturday, December 10, 1983

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson hit #1 with “Say Say Say”

Say, Say, Say

Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson

Writer(s): Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson (see lyrics here)


Released: October 3, 1983


First Charted: October 7, 1983


Peak: 16 US, 13 CB, 15 RR, 3 AC, 24 AR, 2 UK, 14 CN, 4 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.25 UK, 4.57 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 85.43 video, 67.92 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Say, Say, Say” capped off one of the most successful year’s in music history for an artist. When it hit the top 10, it gave Michael Jackson his seventh top-ten of 1983 – the most successful run since the Beatles had eleven top-ten hits in 1964. TB Of course, the song paired Jackson with none other than Paul McCartney of the Beatles. Anything less than another smash would have been a letdown. It didn’t disappoint. Its #26 debut on the Billboard Hot 100 was the highest since John Lennon’s “Imagine” premiered at #20 in 1971. “Say, Say, Say” would go on to sit at the pinnacle for six weeks.

In his “Number Ones” column at Stereogum, Tom Breihan criticizes it as “a slight song” SG without a “bulletproof hook,” SG although he also calls it “a strong piece of breezy post-disco synth-funk, a worthy artifact of Jackson’s peak moment.” SG “Its lyrics are about some unrequited crush, and none of them stick with you.” SG Songfacts.com notes, however, that “the bipolar nature of the song lends itself to the duet format, with McCartney’s verses seeming somewhat reasonable…while Jackson is the voice of desperation.” SF

Breihan also points out how in the video the pair play “charming-rogue conmen, who keep people happy in desperate circumstances even as they’re taking their money.” SG “The symbolism practically hammers you over the head: Two grinning masters of the form, sidling right up to you and showing you exactly how they’re taking advantage of your affection.” SG

The song is “a thick mix, full of funky bass/guitar interplay, bright horn blats, and cinematic synth-effects. The drum sound is huge. Some extremely cool vocoder-murmurs pop up here and there. All of that marks the song as being within Jackson’s wheelhouse.” SG It sounds closer to what Jackson was doing on Off the Wall than Thriller, which makes sense considering it was recorded between the two albums. Jackson first reached out to McCartney on Christmas Day, 1980. Jackson flew to England the next autumn and they worked on the song. In 1982, they met at McCartney’s Arizona ranch and again in Los Angeles to finish the song and shoot a video for it. They also recorded “The Man,” which was released on McCartney’s Pipes of Peace album along with “Say, Say, Say.” A third song, “The Girl Is Mine,” was released as the first single from Jackson’s Thriller and soared to #2 a year before “Say, Say, Say” was released.

As great as their chemistry was, the two would never work together again. In 1984, Michael Jackson bought the vast majority of the Beatles’ catalog for $46 million. McCartney had tried to buy the rights previously with no luck. Now his former collaborator was in charge of licensing Beatles’ songs for commercials and McCartney had to negotiate royalty rates for his own songs with Jackson.


Resources:


Related Links:


First posted 6/25/2022.

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


Tracks:

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

Rating:

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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Journey “Ask the Lonely” charted

Ask the Lonely

Journey

Writer(s): Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry (see lyrics here)


First Charted: December 3, 1983


Peak: 3 AR, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): --


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 3.62 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The story goes that this song and “Only the Young” were recorded during the sessions for Journey’s 1983 album, Frontiers. Some brilliant executive, however, decided the album was overloaded with hits (since when is that a problem?) and the two songs were pulled in favor of the vastly inferior cuts “Back Talk” and “Troubled Child.”

Journey’s recording of “Only the Young” was released on the Vision Quest soundtrack in 1985 and reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Ask the Lonely” was released in late 1983 on the Two of a Kind soundtrack and reached #3 on the album-rock chart.

These weren’t Journey’s first foray’s into soundtrack work. “Only Solutions” appeared on the 1982 Tron soundtrack. In 1980, the band recorded a full soundtrack for the movie Dream After Dream. The nine songs were somewhat a return to the band’s more progressive leanings from their first few albums and featured only three songs with vocals. “Little Girl,” from the album, was released as the B-side to “Open Arms” in 1982.

On a personal note, “Ask the Lonely” was a major hit on my own weekly chart, which I started in September 1982. It was their tenth song to reach my top 10 in that short amount of time. The song’s biggest competition on my charts was “Twist of Fate,” a song by Olivia Newton-John which was also on the Two of a Kind soundtrack. The movie reteamed Olivia with John Travolta, who she’d starred with in 1978’s Grease.


Resources:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Journey


Related Links:


First posted 7/8/2022.

Friday, December 2, 1983

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video was released

Thriller

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

Awards:

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.


Resources and Related Links:


Other Related DMDB Pages:


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