Saturday, May 18, 1985

Simple Minds hit #1 with “Don’t You Forget About Me”

First posted 1/25/2021.

Don’t You Forget About Me

Simple Minds

Writer(s): Keith Forsey, Steve Schiff (see lyrics here)


Released: February 20, 1985


First Charted: February 23, 1985


Peak: 11 US, 12 CB, 12RR 36 AC, 13 AR, 1 CO, 7 UK, 11 CN, 6 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.6 UK, 0.75 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 228.9 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

The Scottish new wave rock band Simple Minds formed in 1977 and found popularity in the UK where they hit #1 with their 1984 album Sparkle in the Rain. That same year, they landed their fourth top-20 hit in the UK. However, they had yet to dent the United States’ Billboard Hot 100. That changed in 1985 with “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

The song, featured in the hit movie The Breakfast Club, soared to #1 in the US and gave Simple Minds their first top-10 hit in the UK. It wasn’t written by the band, but by producer Keith Forsey and Steve Schiff, who was a guitarist and songwriter with the Nina Hagen band. Forsey also wrote the #1 hit “Flashdance…What a Feelin’” for the 1983 movie Flashdance and would later write “Shakedown” for Bob Seger, a #1 song from Beverly Hills Cop II. SF Forsey and Schiff’s original demo opens the movie while Simple Minds’ version closes things out. WK

There’s some dispute as to whether the song was written for Simple Minds or for Bryan Ferry. In any event, both said no. Simple Minds thought they should only record material they had written. The song was also rejected by Billy Idol and Cy Curnin of the Fixx. WK The record company suggested Corey Hart, but Forsey didn’t think he was right for the song.

Simple Minds eventually agreed to record the song, although there are varied stories as to why. One version says that Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, persuaded Jim Kerr, the lead singer of the band and her then-husband, after Forsey called her. WK Another account says John Hughes, the director of The Breakfast Club, screened the film for the band. SF Either way, the band still initially thought it would be “a throwaway song on the soundtrack to a forgettable movie.” WK Once they recorded it, however, some of the band members now thought the song had “genuine commercial potential.” WK


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Monday, May 13, 1985

Dire Straits released Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

Dire Straits


Released: May 13, 1985


Peak: 19 US, 114 UK, 118 CN, 134 AU


Sales (in millions): 9.0 US, 4.15 UK, 32.6 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. So Far Away [5:12] (4/20/85, 17a US, 29 AR, 3 AC, 20 UK)
  2. Money for Nothing (Knopfler/ Sting) [8:25] (6/1/85, 1 US, 1 AR, 4 UK, 1 CN, 4 AU)
  3. Walk of Life [4:12] (6/1/85, 6a US, 6 AR, 4 AC, 2 UK, 7 CN, 11 AU)
  4. Your Latest Trick [6:33] (3/3/86, 26 UK)
  5. Why Worry [8:30]
  6. Ride Across the River [6:58] (1/11/86, 21 AR)
  7. The Man’s Too Strong [4:40]
  8. One World [3:40] (8/24/85, 8 AR)
  9. Brothers in Arms [6:59] (10/26/85, 16 UK, 57 AU)

All songs written by Mark Knopfler unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 55:07


The Players:

  • Mark Knopfler (vocals, guitar)
  • John Illsley (bass, vocals)
  • Alan Clark (keyboards)
  • Guy Fletcher (keyboards, vocals)
  • Omar Hakim, Terry Williams (drums)

Rating:

4.351 out of 5.00 (average of 32 ratings)


Quotable: “The first album to sell one million copies in the CD format” – Wikipedia


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Dire Straits were fortunate enough to be the right band at the right time with the right product to benefit from a new music medium.” TB “When the clamour of punk began to die down at the beginning of the eighties, ex-pub rockers Dire Straits emerged with a lucrative brand of laid-back rock tailor-made for the more mature end of the market and the fledging CD format.” PR At a time when most albums were still recorded on analog equipment, Arms was recorded digitally making it a “must-have record for serious audiophiles.” ZS It was “the first album to sell one million copies in the CD format and to outsell its LP version.” WK “Industry insiders suggested everyone who owned a CD player also owned a copy of this disc.” PR The one downside – due to limitations of the latter’s format, tracks had to be edited to fit.

Brothers in Arms brought the atmospheric, jazz-rock inclinations of Love Over Gold into a pop setting, resulting in a surprise international best-seller.” AMG The album topped the charts in 25 countries. TB One of the keys to their success “was that their music wasn’t too dynamic, nor demanding.” PR “It rocks – but not too much – and it doesn’t scream at you, so millions who would normally never buy a rock album bought it.” TB “Knopfler’s laid-back guitar licks looked back to Clapton, Rory Gallagher, and Martin Barre of Jethro Tull” PR and “his mid-Atlantic drawl reminded older fans of J.J. Cale, Springsteen, and Bob Dylan” PR positioning Knopfler as “an unpretentious Man Of The People.” TB

The Lineup
Other than Mark Knopfler, the band’s only original member was bassist John Illsley. Mark’s brother David was the original rhythm guitarist and departed in 1980. Hal Lindes replaced him, but was either fired or quit at the beginning of sessions for Brothers in Arms. WK He was replaced in December 1984 by Jack Sonni, who contributed minimally to the album, not even being listed as a band member. Keyboards were handled by Alan Clark, who joined in 1980, as well as Guy Fletcher, who became a member in 1984.

Original drummer Pick Withers left in 1982 and was replaced by Terry Williams. Williams was credited on Brothers in Arms, but jazz session drummer Omar Hakim came in to re-record drum parts after it was decided that Terry Williams’ style didn’t fit the goal of the album. WK Hakim had worked with Weather Report, David Sanborn, George Benson, and David Bowie (Let’s Dance, Tonight) and was also on Sting’s debut album, released just a few weeks later. He went on to work with Miles Davis, Mick Jagger (Primitive Cool), Sammy Hagar, Carole King, Anita Baker, Mariah Carey (1990’s Mariah Carey), Tracy Chapman, Lionel Richie, and Daft Punk (2013’s Random Access Memories).

“Money for Nothing”
“The success of Brothers in Arms was helped considerably by the clever computer-animated video for Money for Nothing.” WK With its “indelible guitar riff,” AMG the “harmonic-popping distant relative of ‘Jumping Jack Flash’” TB and “the album’s liveliest track” TB was a #1 hit. The song grew out of overhearing a “New York appliance salesman’s anti-rock-star, anti-MTV rant” RS as a wall of TVs tuned to MTV played in the background. Nikki Sixx, the bassist for Mötley Crüe, claimed in 2007 that the man was grumbling about one of their videos. DSB Ironically, the song became one of the most played videos of all time.

“Money for Nothing “is the only Dire Straits song on a studio album to not be solely credited to Mark Knopfler. Sting was given a co-writing credit because his vocal hook, ‘I want my MTV,’ is the same melody as The Police’s ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me.’” WK Sting was reportedly embarrassed that his publishing company demanded credit because he felt his contribution to the song was minimal. DSB

“Walk of Life” and “So Far Away”
What sent the album into the stratosphere was the band’s development on the first half of the record “of their unique brand of arena rock which had evolved in their music since the 1980 album Making Movies.” WK This is best exemplified by Knopfler’s “incisive songwriting and lush guitar riffs on Walk of Life and So Far Away,” RS both of which were released as singles. “Walk of Life,” which was written as a celebration of London buskers, DSB reached the top ten in the U.S. and the UK; in fact, it was a bigger hit in the UK than “Money for Nothing.” The original video featured a busker, but the U.S. version of the video featured a sports bloopers montage, DSB causing reviewer Nick Deriso to wrongly call the song a “silly baseball-park ditty” SER and saying that it and “Money for Nothing” were “jokey songs.” SER

“The approachably pretty” ‘So Far Away’” SER was a top 20 hit in both the U.S. and UK. It “is a catchy up-tempo boogie variation on ‘Sultans of Swing,’” AMG that “was nearly left off the album, but was included after the band out-voted producer Neil Dorfsman.” WK

“Why Worry” and “Your Latest Trick”
“The melodies of the bluesy ‘So Far Away’ and the down-tempo, Everly Brothers-style Why Worry were wistful and lovely.” AMG “The jazzy Your Latest TrickAMG is also a standout.” AMG Aft first, it “seems like a simpler song about love-gone wrong” SER but in the context of the album’s musings on war, it sounds more “like another swipe at political leaders with their own wartime agendas.” SER

“Dire Straits had never been so concise or pop-oriented, and it wore well on them.” AMG “The whole album maintains the original Dire Straits’ bluesy and laid back guitar-based sound whilst retaining a more lavish and bombastic production and overall sound.” WK

“Ride Across the River”
However, “the second half consists of more folk-influenced material.” WK These “semi-acoustic folk-rock tracks…have an enduring and unassuming appeal.” PRRide Across the River is built on an off-beat rhythm. The song uses immersive Latin American rain forest imagery, accompanied by pan flute and eerie background noises, to allude to the elements of guerilla warfare.” WK

“The Man’s Too Strong”
The Man’s Too Strong is also “lyrically focused on the guerrilla wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua of the 1980s.” WK Between this song, “Ride Across the River,” and the title cut, Brothers in Arms becomes a somewhat thematical album making a commentary on war.

“Brothers in Arms”
The title of the album was inspired by a conversation in which Knopfler’s father remarked, ‘We shouldn’t be at war with our brothers in arms.’” WK Knopfler wrote “Brothers in Arms” in 1982 during the Falklands War, a two-month conflict which claimed the lives of 258 soldiers. DSB The song is a “meditation on suffering – in battle and afterward.” SER It “is one of Knopfler’s greatest moments. Refusing to show off, he wrests from the Les Paul something magisterial. Rarely has the electric guitar possessed such dignity.” TB

Conclusion
Brothers in Arms remains one of their most focused and accomplished albums, and in its succinct pop sense, it’s distinctive within their catalog.” AMG It “perfectly evokes its period (great for flashbacks to Miami Vice) with a terrific mix of commercial pop…and musical exploration crafted in an atmosphere of power and mystery.” ZS

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First posted 3/7/2008; last updated 1/10/2022.

Saturday, May 11, 1985

Hooters’ “All You Zombies” charted

All You Zombies

Hooters

Writer(s): Eric Bazilian, Rob Hyman (see lyrics here)


First Charted: May 11, 1985


Peak: 58 US, 11 AR, 12 CO, 8 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


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


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 13.0 video, 18.4 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Hooters first recorded “All You Zombies” live on April 11, 1981 at the Emerald City nightclub in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. WK Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman, the songwriters, considered it “too quirky to be a hit,” SF but when they did a live concert for Philadelphia radio station WMMR, the station was flooded with requests for the song. SF

It was released as a single in 1982. Another version was included on their 1983 independent debut album, Amore. Two years later, a longer version appeared on their major label debut, Nervous Night. It was released as the first single in support of that album. It was a minor hit in terms of its Billboard Hot 100 appearance, but reached #11 on the album rock chart and #8 in Australia. It was also a top-20 hit in New Zealand and Germany.

The song “mingles mentions of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments and Noah building his ark with warnings to people ‘sittin’ in high places’ that ‘the pieces gonna fall on you.’” CT Hyman said of the controversy created by the Bibilca images that “the spirituality of it wasn’t premeditated…There was no real agenda on our part.” SF We were “just combining those kind of icons and images with this reggae beat.” SF

Bazilian said, “Even though we wrote it, I still feel very much on the outside of it…We’re still trying to really understand the song.” CT Hyman said it was the fastest song they had written “that was of any quality.” WK


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First posted 11/13/2021.

Monday, May 6, 1985

Hooters Nervous Night released

Nervous Night

Hooters


Released: May 6, 1985


Peak: 12 US, -- UK, 39 CN, 12 AU


Sales (in millions): 2.0


Genre: mainstream rock


Tracks:

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

  1. And We Danced (8/3/85, 21 US, 23 CB, 21 RR, 3 AR, 6 CO, 51 CN, 6 AU)
  2. Day by Day (12/14/85, 18 US, 25 CB, 22 RR, 3 AR, 6 CO, 66 CN, 55 AU)
  3. All You Zombies (5/11/85, 58 US, 11 AR, 12 CO, 8 AU)
  4. Don’t Take My Car Out Tonight
  5. Nervous Night
  6. Hanging on a Heartbeat
  7. Where Do the Children Go (with Patty Smyth) (4/5/86, 38 US, 37 CB, 34 RR, 34 AR, 7 CO, 98 CN)
  8. South Ferry Road
  9. She Comes in Colors
  10. Blood from a Stone


Total Running Time: 43:07


The Players:

  • Eric Bazilian (vocals, guitar, bass, mandolin, saxophone)
  • Rob Hyman (vocals, keyboards, melodica)
  • Andy King (bass, vocals)
  • John Lilley (guitar)
  • David Uosikkinen (drums)

Rating:

4.136 out of 5.00 (average of 17 ratings)


Quotable: “A defining record not only for the band, but for 1985” – Kenyon Hopkin, All Music Guide


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

The Hooters released their first album, 1983’s Amore, independently. The 100,000 in sales they achieved with the album was enough to impress Columbia Records who signed the band to a multi-album deal. The group also gained exposure because members Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman were contributing musicians and writers to Cyndi Lauper’s mega-successful She’s So Unusual album. The album’s #1 song, “Time After Time,” was co-written by Hyman.

With the power of a major label behind them for their sophomore outing, 1985’s Nervous Night, they scored a top-20, double-platinum album thanks to three top-40 hits. The lead single, All You Zombies, “refers to stories in the Bible.” AMG It did not reach the top 40 but “is the band’s most powerful moment.” AMG That song, Hanging on a Heartbeat, and Blood from a Stone were initially released on Amore but recorded for Nervous Night.

Nervous Night “was a defining record not only for the band, but for 1985 itself. Filled to the brim with fun, danceable new wave-ish rock, the album is a wonderful representation of a lighthearted era. The peppy vocals of keyboardist Rob Hyman and guitarist Eric Bazilian give the band an assured, happy energy, while the sporadic use of the mandolin and melodica (a combination harmonica/keyboard) gives the group its distinctive sound.” AMG

And We Danced and Day by Day became instant pop hits, but the remainder of Nervous Night is almost as strong. Where Do the Children Go “showed that the Hooters could be serious and dramatic as well as upbeat.” AMG

“Although the band wasn’t able to maintain its momentum with subsequent records, Nervous Night remains a noteworthy contribution to mid-‘80s rock and doesn’t sound quite as dated as the work of some of the band’s contemporaries.” AMG

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First posted 2/15/2008; last updated 8/19/2021.