Saturday, May 12, 1984

Lionel Richie hit #1 with “Hello”

First posted 11/29/2020.


Lionel Richie

Writer(s): Lionel Richie (see lyrics here)

Released: February 13, 1984

First Charted: February 25, 1984

Peak: 12 US, 12 CB, 2 RR, 16 AC, 12 RB, 16 UK, 11 CN, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.96 UK, 2.11 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 185.4 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Michael Jackson’s Thriller changed the game for multi-hit singles from one album and Lionel Richie was one of the earliest beneficiaries. His Can’t Slow Down album, released in late 1983, was fueled to major platinum success and an Album of the Year Grammy on the strength of five top-10 singles. The first two were dance-oriented songs (“All Night Long (All Night)” and “Running with the Night”), but the third (“Hello”) was a ballad.

From his days in the Commodores, Richie had learned to bring in ballads for the group because everyone else would supply the uptempo numbers. It led to the group finding #1 success with “Three Times a Lady” and “Still.” Richie went on to write “Lady,” a #1 ballad for Kenny Rogers, and then dueted with Diana Ross on the #1 ballad “Endless Love.”

The release of his first solo album saw him ride three songs into the top ten, including the #1 ballad “Truly.” The song “Hello” was written for that album, but rejected, despite the protests of Richie’s wife, Brenda. When it was nearly left off Can’t Slow Down, Brenda insisted it be included. BR1 Good thing she said. It gave her husband his fourth #1 solo hit and, surprisingly enough, the first UK million-selling single for Motown. SF

The song was accompanied by a story video in which Richie is a drama teacher and falls for a student. He loves her from afar, unable to approach her, and is surprised at the end that she has carved a sculpture of him, despite being blind. While the video evoked a creepy, teacher-student relationship, the lyrics themselves were a more universal declaration of unrequited love. Viewers of The Box, a TV channel in the UK, voted it the worst video of all time. SF

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Wednesday, May 9, 1984

Bruce Springsteen released “Dancing in the Dark”

First posted 11/28/2020.

Dancing in the Dark

Bruce Springsteen

Writer(s): Bruce Springsteen (see lyrics here)

Released: May 9, 1984

First Charted: May 25, 1984

Peak: 2 US, 12 CB, 11 RR, 16 AR, 4 UK, 3 CN, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 0.6 UK, 2.91 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 239.25 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Michael Jackson paved the way for albums with multiple hit singles (seven top 10s) with 1982’s Thriller. The next artist to do so was not one most would have guessed – Bruce Springsteen. While “The Boss” had earned a reputation as a live performer and his albums had become platinum sellers, he wasn’t one to rack up top 10 hits. Prior to his 1984 Born in the U.S.A. album, he’d had six songs total hit the Billboard Hot 100, and only “Hungry Heart” made it to the top 10.

However, with Born in the U.S.A., Springsteen joined the elite club of having an album which produced seven top 10 hits. The first of them was “Dancing in the Dark,” a sort of proclamation to the masses that he was about to take the pop world by storm. The song spent four weeks at #2; three of those behind another artist who was achieving blockbuster status with a multi-hit album – Prince, with 1984’s Purple Rain and specifically the song “When Doves Cry.”

While the song didn’t make it to the top in the U.S.A., it did top the charts in Belgium and the Netherlands. In Australia, it peaked at #5 but went on to be the highest-selling single of the year. WK It also won a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance and was voted Single of the Year in the Rolling Stone readers’ poll.

Humorously enough, Springsteen wrote the song when his manager, Jon Landau, wasn’t convinced the album had a single yet. Springsteen’s reaction was, “Look, I’ve written seventy songs. You want another one, you write it.” WK Despite that, he wrote the song in a single night in his hotel room. It captured the feelings frustration in trying to write a hit single. WK “The deep, philosophical message was lost on most listeners who were entranced by the catchy beat.” SF

The straight performance video for the song was shot at the Saint Paul Civic Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on June 28 and 29, 1984. In the video, Springsteen plucks a fan from the audience to dance with him on stage. While he’d been told who he was supposed to pick, he himself didn’t know it was professional actress Courteney Cox. She had already been in As the World Turns and went on to even greater fame on Family Ties and Friends. “Dancing in the Dark” won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Stage Performance.

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Tuesday, May 8, 1984

Bob Marley’s Legend released

First posted 5/8/2012; updated 9/30/2020.


Bob Marley & the Wailers

Released: May 8, 1984

Recorded: 1973-1983

Charted: May 19, 1984

Peak: 5 US, 112 UK, 23 CN, 14 AU

Sales (in millions): 15.0 US, 2.52 UK, 31.3 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: reggae

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Is This Love [3:52] (2/25/78, #9 UK)
  2. No Woman, No Cry (live) [4:05] (Vincent Ford) (studio version: 8/75, #8 UK)
  3. Could You Be Loved [3:33] (5/80, #5 UK, #56 RB)
  4. Three Little Birds [2:56] (8/80, #17 UK)
  5. Buffalo Soldier [5:24] (Bob Marley/Noel Williams) (5/7/83, #4 UK, #71 RB)
  6. Get Up, Stand Up [3:17] (Bob Marley/Peter Tosh) (9/73)
  7. Stir It Up [3:38]
  8. One Love/People Get Ready [2:52] (Bob Marley/Curtis Mayfield) (4/21/84, #5 UK)
  9. I Shot the Sheriff [3:46] (2/74)
  10. Waiting in Vain [4:10] (8/77, #27 UK, #38 RB)
  11. Redemption Song [3:48] (10/80)
  12. Satisfy My Soul [3:45] (5/78, #21 UK)
  13. Exodus [5:24] (6/25/77, #14 UK, #19 RB)
  14. Jamming [3:17] (12/10/77, #9 UK)

All songs written by Bob Marley except where noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 51:01


4.776 out of 5.00 (average of 18 ratings)

Quotable: “The standard by which all other reggae albums are judged.” – VH1’s Ultimate Albums


About the Album:

“Ask someone to name a reggae artist, and the first name that comes to mind is always Bob Marley.” NO “For many Marley embodied the music to the exclusion of all other artists.” PR “Often called Reggae 101,” VU Legend is “the classic Marley album, the one that any fair-weather reggae fan owns.” AMG “To many, this compilation is the reggae album,” NO setting “the standard by which all other reggae albums are judged.” VU This “is the best-selling reggae album of all time” NO with more than 12 million copies sold in the U.S. and 30 million worldwide. In the UK, it logged 12 weeks at #1. Stateside, its #26 peak came decades after its release, showing the album’s longevity. It “is an essential part of any collection.” NO

When Legend came out, “America was bopping to self-indulgent tunes by artists from Madonna to Motley Crue [so] Marley’s simple messages seemed destined for oblivion. Instead, Marley’s hypnotic pleas for social and political justice for the impoverished would seduce the material world” VU and find “an audience ready for music with meaning.” VUGet Up, Stand Up would become Amnesty International’s theme song…One Love an international anthem for unity.” VU “The meditative Redemption SongAMG is Marley’s “rallying cry for emancipation from tyranny.” VU

“The beauty and simplicity of Marley’s music was as important as his message” AMG and Legend is full of “songs of spirituality, longing, and sacrifice” VU with “relaxing island rhythms that make your soul dance.” ZS The album runs the gamut “from the much-mimicked I Shot the Sheriff to the painful cry of Buffalo Soldier.” VU There’s also “the irrepressible Three Little Birds” and Is This Love, which “shows off his ability to make polyrhythm into melody.” TL In addition, “the live version of No Woman No Cry from a July 1975 concert in London has more humor, warmth and sex appeal than the original.” TL

This is “the rare ‘best of’ that really is an artist at his best.” TL “It gives a doubter or casual fan anything they could want.” AMG The collection “exposed virgin ears to a new genre of music and propelled Bob Marley to a figure of almost mystical proportions. But more than anything else, Legend was a classic coda to the excellence of Bob Marley and the Wailers. … and it forever cemented their status… as legends.” VU

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