Monday, October 29, 1984

Depeche Mode “Somebody” released


Depeche Mode

Writer(s): Martin Gore (see lyrics here)

Released: October 29, 1984

First Charted: November 10, 1984

Peak: 20 CO, 16 UK, 87 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 10.3 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Depeche Mode formed in Basildon, Essex, England, in 1980. They became one of the pivotal synth-pop acts of the 1980s, shaping new wave, college rock, and electronica. Their debut album, 1981’s Speak & Spell, was a top 10 in the UK – a feat matched by all fourteen of the band’s studio albums. They wouldn’t find similar success in the U.S. until 1990’s Violator.

The band achieved its first chart success on the Billboard Hot 100 with “People Are People.” The #13 hit was from Depeche Mode’s fourth album, Some Great Reward. The song reached #4 in the UK and was followed up by “Master and Servant,” a #9 hit in the UK. Neither that single nor “Blasphemous Rumours” / “Somebody,” the double-A-sided third single, cracked the Billboard Hot 100.

The decision to release the band’s first double-A-sided single grew from controversy around the song “Blasphemous Rumours.” The song was about a 16-year-old girl who attempts suicide, experiences a religious revival, and then ends up on life support after being hit by a car. The religious community weren’t enamored with the song and its lyrics that “God’s got a sick sense of humour.” WK

“Somebody” was Martin Gore’s “first ever solo appearance” AMG on lead vocals, something which happened more often after this. He wrote the “painfully honest piece” AMG about “longing for someone to be with, someone that doesn’t have to agree with his views. She just needs to be there and understand him.” SF All Music Guide’s Dave Thompson called it “a cunning confection” that “was defiantly different from all that had come before” AMG citing the song’s “lack of effervenscent keyboards or opulent synths, the introspective atmosphere and the down-beat mileu.” AMG Instead, he was accompanied “only by his majestic piano playing.” AMG However, the song takes a twist at the end when he sings “Though things like this make me sick / In a case like this I’ll get away with it.” WK


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First posted 12/22/2022; last updated 12/29/2022.

Friday, October 26, 1984

Don Henley “The Boys of Summer” released

The Boys of Summer

Don Henley

Writer(s): Don Henley, Mike Campbell (see lyrics here)

Released: October 26, 1984

First Charted: November 10, 1984

Peak: 5 US, 6 CB, 6 RR, 33 AC, 15 AR, 12 UK, 15 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 5.6 video, 364.97 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Don Henley rose to fame with the Eagles in the 1970s and #1 hits like “Hotel California,” “Best of My Love,” and “One of These Nights.” He released his first solo album, I Can’t Stand Still, in 1982 and followed up in 1984 with Building the Perfect Beast. “The Boys of Summer” was the lead single.

The title of the song comes from a book about the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team by Roger Kahn. However, the song isn’t about baseball. Henly used the title “to represent everything youthful and vibrant with which the narrator can no longer compete.” AS Henley explained that it “is about aging and questioning the past.” WK The narrator is nostalgic about a past relationship, convinced that he can win his ex back once she gives up on fleeting romances with the boys of summer.

There is a reference in the lyrics to a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac. Henley said it was “an example of his generation selling out.” WK While driving on the San Diego freeway, he actually saw a Cadillac Seville – what he called “the status symbol of the right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie” – with a Grateful Dead bumper sticker on it. SF

Mike Campbell, “Tom Petty’s right-hand man,” SF created the rhythm on a drum machine and offered it to Petty, but the synthesizers didn’t fit with the album, Southern Accents, that they were doing at the time. Jimmy Iovine, who was producing the album, connected Campbell with Don Henley who then wrote lyrics for it and said he wanted to record it. Campbell ended up playing guitar on the song and producing. SF

The black-and-white video was directed by French graphic designer/photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino. It shows the main character as a boy, young adult, and middle-aged man – each reminiscing about a past relationship. It won Video of the Year and three other awards at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1985.

In 2003, the Ataris did a pop-punk cover of the song which reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the alternative-rock chart. The Hooters also covered the song in 2007.


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First posted 6/29/2022; last updated 10/28/2022.

Wednesday, October 24, 1984

Today in Music (1934): “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” recorded for first time

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

J. Fred Coots & Haven Gillespie (writers)

Writer(s): J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie (see lyrics here)

First Recorded: October 24, 1934 (Harry Reser & His Band)

First Charted: November 22, 1934 (George Hall)

Highest-Ranked Version Charted: December 27, 1947 (Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters)

Peak (all versions combined): 12 PM, 3 GA, 11 SM, 9 HP 51 CB, 29 GR, 80 HR, 2 AC, 53 CW, 15 CL, 9 UK, 29 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions – all versions): 2.0 US, 1.6 UK, 3.0 sheet music, 6.78 (world: includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions – all versions): -- radio, 219.22 video, 798.77 streaming


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About the Song:

J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie wrote “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” wrote this Christmas classic in 1934. It was first recorded by banjo player Harry Reser & His Band with Tom Stacks on vocal. It became a hit when Eddie Cantor performed it on his radio show in November 1934. It “an introductory verse about a lovely trip along the Milky Way and stopping off at the North Pole to spend a holiday where he called on dear old Santa Claus to hear his plans.” SM A half million copies of the sheet music then sold within 24 hours. WK

That same year George Hall & the Hotel Taft Orchestra featuring vocalist Sonny Schuyler had the first chart version of the song (#12 BB, 3 GA, 1 SM). He did not use the introduction Cantor performed, opting instead to go straight into the chorus. SM Hall, a New York-based bandleader, had thirteen chart hits from 1934 to 1938, including six top-10 hits. PM

The song has been covered more than 200 times, most notably in 1970 when Rankin-Bass produced Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, an hour-long animated TV movie, that featured Fred Astaire singing the song (7 DF).

The highest ranked version in Dave’s Music Database is the 1944 recording by Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters (22 BB, 16 GA, 9 HP, 80 HR, 4 DF). Others who have charted with the song include Michael BublĂ© (2011, #22 BB, 8 AC, 77 UK, 67 AU), Harry Connick Jr. (2004, #27 AC), the Four Seasons (1962, #23 BB), Natalie Grant (2005, #9 AC), Faith Hill (2008, #53 CW), Chris Isaak & Stevie Nicks (2004, #25 AC), the Jackson 5 (1970, #33 BB, 51 CB, 29 GR, 30 UK, 29 AU), Wynonna Judd (2006, #3 AC, 54 CW), Barry Manilow (2012, #2 AC), George Strait (1996, #69 CW), James Taylor (2005, #7 AC), Steve Tyrell (2002, #11 AC), and Wilson Phillips (2010, #22 AC).

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band recorded a live version of the song (15 CL, 9 UK, 2 DF) at C.W. Post College in Brookville, New York on December 12, 1975. WK It has become a classic rock favorite that was first released on the Sesame Street compilation In Harmony 2 in 1981 and later as the B-side to “My Hometown” in 1985. WK His version is my personal favorite, appearing in the book Dave’s Faves: The Grand Library.

There have also been versions by Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, the Carpenters, Neil Diamond, Tommy Dorsey, Bill Evans, the Glee Cast, Cyndi Lauper, Luis Miguel, Frank Sinatra, Straight No Chaser, the Supremes, the Temptations, and Andy Williams. WK


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First posted 12/20/2023.

Thursday, October 18, 1984

Toto “Stranger in Town” charted

Stranger in Town


Writer(s): David Paich, Jeff Porcaro (see lyrics here)

First Charted: October 27, 1984

Peak: 30 US, 26 CB, 21 GR, 21 RR, 7 AR, 100 UK, 16 CN, 40 AU, 1DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 9.3 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Toto formed in Los Angeles in 1977. The original lineup consisted of the brothers Jeff Porcaro (drums) and Steve Porcaro (keyboards) along with Steve Lukather (guitar), David Hungate (bass), David Paich (keyboards, vocals), and Bobby Kimball (vocals). That lineup would reach its greatest acclaim and commercial success with 1982’s Toto IV, which produced three top-10 hits – “Rosanna” (#2), “Africa” (#1), and “I Won’t Hold You Back” (#10). It also won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Their next album would see the group’s first shakeup in members. Bobby Kimball was fired during the making of the 1984 album Isolation, although he was still credited as a guest musician. The album went gold and peaked at #42 – a far cry from the multi-platinum top-5 success of the group’s previous effort. The lead single, “Stranger in Town,” featured Paich on vocals and was written by him and Jeff Porcaro. While it reached the top 40, it was a disappointment compared to the success of the singles from Toto IV. Toto would go on to land three more top-40 hits in the 1980s before disappearing from the pop charts.

The song’s lyrics are based on the 1961 film Whistle Down the Wind, a British children’s crime drama. The Lancashire children discover a fugitive hiding in their barn. They mistake him for Jesus Christ and the story spreads to other children who come to visit him. He plays along as a way to hide out from the law. However, with posters circulating in town about a wanted murderer, the Lancashire’s father catches on to what his children are doing and calls the police to apprehend him. WK

This story was recreated for the music video, with Brad Dourif playing the convict. The video was directed by Steve Barron, who also did such iconic videos as Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” aha’s “Take on Me,” and Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing.” He had also previously worked with Toto on their video for “Africa.” One of the most dramatic scenes in the video for “Stranger in Town” (which is also taken from the movie) is when Dourif is apprehended by the police. He stretches out his arms in a manner that echoes the crucifixion as he is padded down and then cuffed.


First posted 12/10/2022; last updated 12/29/2022.

Tuesday, October 16, 1984

Pat Benatar “We Belong” released

We Belong

Pat Benatar

Writer(s): David Eric Lowen, Dan Navarro (see lyrics here)

Released: October 16, 1984

First Charted: October 26,1984

Peak: 5 BB, 6 CB, 2 GR, 2 RR, 34 AC, 20 CO, 22 UK, 8 CN, 7 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, 0.05 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 79.1 video, 163.51 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Pat Benatar’s 1984 Tropico album was her fifth studio effort and her sixth platinum release. The album’s lead single, “We Belong,” was Benatar’s eleventh top-40 hit and second consecutive song to reach #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Sadly, her commercially successful years was peaking as she would chart only three more top-40 hits in her career, the last one in 1988.

For better or worse, “We Belong” represented Benatar at the peak of her powers. No song did better for her on the charts although “Love Is a Battlefield” also reached #5. She had mastered the crossover between rock and pop, finding ways to appeal to both audiences. Cash Box magazine said the song was “an ode to love which shows a whole world of vocal and instrumental nuances that have not been explored before by the powerful vocalist.” WK

The song is “about a woman who is stuck in a relationship which appears to be failing, yet the lovers are still too attached to let go.” SF It was written by Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro. The latter songwriter said, “I was kind of lamenting an old relationship and I kind of wanted to get the point across, ‘It doesn’t matter if you agree, or disagree, if you’re here or gone. There are things that are bigger than both of us, and we belong together.” SF He explained that he started with the final line of the song and worked backwards. SF

In 2009, the Bangles covered the song for a compilation called Keep the Light Alive: Celebrating the Music of Lowen & Navarro. The tribute album was designed to raise funds for finding a cure for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Songwriter Eric Lowen had become a victim of the disease. SH


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First posted 2/15/2024.

Saturday, October 13, 1984

Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You” hit #1

I Just Called to Say I Love You

Stevie Wonder

Writer(s): Stevie Wonder (see lyrics here)

Released: August 1, 1984

First Charted: August 18, 1984

Peak: 13 US, 14 CB, 12 RR, 13 AC, 13 RB, 16 UK, 13 CN, 18, 3 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 1.91 UK, 4.54 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 160.3 video, 303.20 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Singer Dionne Warwick was the song coordinator for the movie The Woman in Red. She suggested Stevie Wonder for the score to the Gene Wilder film. Despite Wonder being blind, he “watched” the film and, according to Warwick, “He saw the film. There’s no way in the world that you can write the pieces of music that he wrote, for the sequences he wrote for, so directly.” FB

Jay Lasker, who was then the president of Motown Records, wasn’t too excited. He discouraged Wonder from doing the soundtrack because it had already been four years since his last album and he wasn’t sold on the first three songs Wonder had written for the movie. Wonder responded with “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” Lasker’s response was that it “is probably going to be the biggest single in the history of Stevie Wonder. This is the record I picked and said I wanted out as a single.” FB

Lasker’s hunch was right. The song topped a record 19 charts and remains Wonder’s best-selling single. WK It was his eighth chart-topper on the Billboard Hot 100 and tenth on the R&B chart. It was his only solo trip to the top in the UK, where it also became Motown’s biggest-selling single ever. WK

Songwriters Lloyd Chiate and Lee Garrett, a former writing partner with Wonder, sued him in October 1985. They claimed he stole the title and chorus idea for the song from a song they wrote in September 1976 called “Hello It’s Me/I Just Called to Say.” During the testimony, Wonder said he wrote the chorus on July 16, 1976 when coming home from visiting his mother. He also said he had John Lennon in mind when he worked on the song, imagining the Beatles singing with him. SF Chiate dropped the lawsuit in 1986, but Chiate continued it. In 1990, a jury ruled in favor of Wonder. SF

The fact that Wonder said he’d written much of the song in 1976 put its Oscar win for Best Song in doubt since songs were only eligible in the category which had been written specifically for film. However, no action was taken and Wonder kept the award. SF


  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Stevie Wonder
  • FB Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 596.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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First posted 11/14/2019; last updated 10/28/2022.