Saturday, February 25, 1984

The Police “Wrapped Around Your Finger” hit the top 10

Wrapped Around Your Finger

The Police

Writer(s): Sting (see lyrics here)

Released: July 8, 1983

First Charted: July 9, 1983

Peak: 8 US, 11 CB, 4 RR, 13 AC, 9 AR, 2 CO, 7 UK, 10 CN, 36 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 41.7 video, 21.27 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Police exploded in 1983 when the song “Every Breath You Take” became a smash, spending eight weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. The group’s fifth album, Synchronicity, racked up 17 weeks atop the album chart on its way to eight million in sales. “Every Breath You Take,” however, was only the beginning.

In the UK, the follow-up single, “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” gave the band their tenth top ten hit there. However, in the United States, the second single was the #3 hit “King of Pain,” followed by the top-20 hit “Synchroncity II.” “Wrapped Around Your Finger” was the fourth single in the U.S. On February 25, 1984, the song entered the top 10 on Billboard Hot 100, the third song from Synchronicity to do so.

Sting explained that “Wrapped Around Your Finger” was “a spiteful song about turning the tables on someone who had been in charge.” WK He said it is about “a professional psychic and my tutor in tarot, with bits of Doctor Faustus and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice thrown into the pot for good measure.” WK The former is a 1947 Thomas Mann novel inspired by a classic German legend about a scholar who makes a deal with the Devil. SF The latter is a 1797 German poem by Goethe about an apprentice trying his hand at magic while the sorcerer is away. SF

The song also references Scylla and Charibdes of Greek mythology. Scylla was a nymph turned into a six-headed monster who destroyed any boats that passed by where she lived on the Straits of Messina. Charibdes was a monster who lived in a whirpool across from Scylla. The Odyssey tells the tale of Odysseus, one of the few who made it through without being killed. SF

All Music Guide’s Steve Huey called the song “a complex take on power dynamics in relationships…revolving around an older and/or more experienced woman selecting a na├»ve, easily dominated male partner…whom she can wrap around her finger. Things backfire when…he learns her tactics…and uses them against her.” AMG Huey also said, “the song was full of subtle reggae syncopations…and this rhythmic emphasis perked up what might have turned out a straight-ahead ballad.” AMG


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First posted 7/27/2022.

Van Halen hit #1 with “Jump”


Van Halen

Writer(s): Eddie Van Halen/Alex Van Halen/Michael Anthony/David Lee Roth (see lyrics here)

Released: December 21, 1983

First Charted: January 13, 1984

Peak: 15 US, 12 CB, 15 RR, 18 AR, 7 UK, 12 CN, 2 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.4 UK, 3.4 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 92.0 video, 531.36 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“This is heavy metal in excelsis.” MA The song’s riff, which Eddie Van Halen crafted on synthesizer in 1981, WK “is a direct descendent of the Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again,’ but with sweeter more cogently stated melody.” MA It wasn’t as much of a stretch for guitarist to veer into new territory as some thought. He’d grown up being trained in classical piano and didn’t take up the guitar until his teen years. SF Daryl Hall says Eddie told him he copied the synth part from Hall & Oates’ “Kiss on My List.” Hall said, “I don’t have a problem with that at all.” WK

The band initially rejected the song for being too much of a departure from the band’s harder-edged, guitar-based sound. WK Lead singer David Lee Roth thought it would look like the band was selling out for radio airplay. SF However, when the band’s producer, Ted Templeman, heard the song two years later, he said, “It just killed me. It was perfect.” FB He said everyone at Warner Brothers, the band’s record company, “flipped out.” FB He convinced Roth to take a stab at writing some lyrics.

According to Roth, he wrote the lyrics in the back of 1951 Mercury low rider while band roadie Larry Hostler drove through the Hollywood Hills, up the Coast Highway, and through the San Fernando Valley. FB Roth had seen a TV news report the night before about a man threatening to jump off a building. He imagined an onlooker shouting “go ahead and jump.” WK Roth opted to turn the phrase into an invitation for love instead of a song about suicide, WK although he’s also said the song is about a stripper. SF He dedicated the song to Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, a martial artist who trained Roth. WK

The song was released as the lead single for their sixth studio album, 1984. The band had charted top 40 hits before, but never even hit the top ten. A cheap, but ground-breaking performance video showcased the band’s charisma and playfulness. After the album, Roth went solo, but the band soldiered on with Sammy Hagar at the helm, continuing to be commercially successful.


  • FB Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 584.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Page 26.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 11/13/2019; last updated 10/29/2022.

Wednesday, February 1, 1984

50 years ago: Charley Patton, Father of the Delta Blues, has last recording session

Founder of the Delta Blues

Charley Patton

Released: March 1, 1969

Recorded: 6/14/1929 to 2/1/1934

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: blues


Song Title (date of recording) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Down the Dirt Road Blues (6/14/29)
  2. Mississippi Boweavil Blues (6/14/29)
  3. Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues (6/14/29)
  4. Stone Pony Blues (1/30/34)
  5. It Won’t Be Long (6/14/29)
  6. Shake It and Break It But Don’t Let It Fall, Mama (6/14/29)
  7. Magnolia Blues (11/29)
  8. Dry Well Blues (5/28/30)
  9. High Water Everywhere, Pt. 1 (12/29)
  10. High Water Everywhere, Pt. 2 (12/29)
  11. Green River Blues (12/29)
  12. Bird Nest Bound (5/28/30)
  13. High Sheriff Blues (1/30/34)
  14. A Spoonful Blues (6/14/29)
  15. Moon Going Down (5/28/30)
  16. Pony Blues (6/14/29)
  17. Elder Green Blues (11/29)
  18. Banty Rooster Blues (6/14/29)
  19. Some of These Days (11/29)
  20. Tom Rushen Blues (6/14/29)
  21. 34 Blues (1/31/34)
  22. Going to Move to Alabama (12/29)
  23. Hammer Blues (11/29)
  24. Poor Me (2/1/34)
  25. When Your Way Gets Dark (11/29)
  26. Devil Sent the Rain Blues (11/29)


4.275 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)

Quotable: “A cornerstone of any blues collection.” – Cub Koda, All Music Guide

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“A mean, hard-hearted man, Patton’s blues inscribed all the experiences of a Mississippi man into the rough and sometimes barely audible sounds he made for Paramount. He was one of the oldest of the major bluesmen – born in 1887, he bridges the gap between the blues and songster generations – and he sounds like a gruff, irritable figure, a self-taught musician but someone who knows he’s damn good, even if he has his own manners.” MF

MF but he “was the key figure in the transition between traditional folk and what came to be known as the Mississippi Delta blues.” FH The genre has “had an enormous impact on American music, influencing everyone from The Rolling Stones to Cassandra Wilson.” NM

“Although the title of founder might not be exactly accurate,” LG since “blues didn’t start with Patton,” MF he “was one of the true greats” LG in that “he personified its expressionism.” MF Also significant in building his impact was that “he was one of the first to be recorded. He was also immensely gifted, amazingly prolific and served as a major influence for other musicians in the delta, including Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker.” NM Johnson “probably picked up his trademark descending bass run from Patton.” LG As such, Founder of the Delta Blues is “a cornerstone of any blues collection” CK and “required listening for Delta blues fans.” LG

“A flamboyant, popular performer,” FH his “background as a medicine show entertainer made him more than the typical brooding bluesman. Much of his repertoire was upbeat and just plain fun.” LG “Take, for instance, his rendition of Shake It and Break It: the gravelly voiced Patton snaps his strings and taps out the rhythm on his guitar while not missing a beat. His slide numbers like High Sheriff and When Your Way Gets Dark are beautiful melodic pieces seldom matched by his peers.” LG

“While most musicians might be quite content to sing about love or the lack thereof, Patton would sing about whatever caught his interest, from social issues to insects.” NM Patton “sang tales of hardship, freedom, topical events, and other matters in a rough voice that stormed with turmoil. His guitar picking was of a piece: skillfully nuanced in expression and, above all, rhythmically imperative.” FH He lived his songs “with an intensity which still strikes through these ancient records.” MF

This compilation “originally started life as a double-record set featuring all of Patton’s best-known titles, and soundwise was miles above all previous versions.” CK “Yazoo’s typically conscientious mastering makes the sound of primitively recorded 78s acceptable.” FH “Its compact disc incarnation here trims the tune list to 24 tracks, but includes all the seminal tracks: Pony Blues, High Water Everywhere, Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues, A Spoonful Blues, …and the wistful Poor Me, which was recorded at his final session in 1934, a scant two months before he died.” CK

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First posted 2/26/2010; last updated 1/29/2022.