22 October 2008

AT40 from deep in the heart of "the big 80s"

Well, shuckatoon! It's time for another forty pieces of top vinyl as Casey counted 'em down way back when.

Today, we're spotlighting the week ending May 26, 1984. Much was going on in my life, I'd just finished up my Freshman year at what was then Garland County Community College in Rot Hot Springs, Ark., and counting the months, weeks, minutes and seconds until I would transfer to Arkansas State University that August. I was a nice and fit 180 pounds, muscles fully toned thanks to regular Nautilus workouts ... and a high-end yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do.

Friday, May 25, the second of the Indiana Jones movies (Temple of Doom) had its release, and the girl I'd just begun dating was foaming at the mouth about seeing it. So we both were in the audience on opening night at the Hot Springs Mall Cinema (I wanted to "go along", despite not giving several rats' hemorrhoids about the IJ franchise).

Her name was Christi, and she worked at the record store in the mall (remember Camelot Music?). Our first date was the Saturday before, and things started heating up quickly. AT40 programs typically aired the weekend before the "week ending" date, so in Little Rock this program aired the morning after our first date (which didn't suck like certain other first dates ... right, dear?)

Friday the 25th, atop West Mountain, was also when we both agreed to "go steady" -- or, as many of us called it back then, "going together." Christi, for all intents and purposes, was my first "real love" (yeah, yeah, what part of "late bloomer" don't you get?), so this AT40 program carries a lot of memories within.

So here we go.......

This was a terribly underrated techno-pop single, and there's no mistaking what decade this came from. I don't think it climbed much higher than this on the chart ... upper 30s, I think, but moving right along:

*39) MAGIC / The Cars
The video comes to mind, first and foremost. I remember Ric Ocasek 'walking on water' in that swimming pool ... and you could friggin' see the plexiglass under him! I guess they were mailing this one in, as it was hard to top the video for their previous hit, "You Might Think." I've always liked "Magic" .... both the song and the title describe that year's Summer.

*38) DANCE HALL DAYS / Wang Chung
Nothing Oriental here. "Wang chung" is, supposedly, the sound a geetar makes when its strings are strummed.

Unless Jimi Hendrix is doing it, in which case it sounds like wwwwwwaaaaaaaaananananananangggnnnngngngngngng chuuuuuunnnngngngngngngngng.

And if any of the Wiggin sisters are playing, it'd sound like this: jngq93pehrerc fsophr 4fd45xjfqmymio3wrqio3wjtpalpi2ngntunnu4gfbfyurb4bwrkmopg64umtninfootfootq32mnuireun3eybjiop432rpn432pf54fpwrjeyy

[Here, Casey did his hourly station salute, and one of the stations was WKXY in Sarasota, Fla., beachfront memories of Summer trips there in the '70s. "The Suncoast Giant" was an AM station still hanging in with top-40 in 1984, and did a good job at it. I have a copy of a 'KXY sweeper from 1983 where a caller says "Y'all are gonna make the FM band obsolete!"]

37) NO MORE WORDS / Berlin
They still had air in their lungs ... Top Gun was two years away.

*36) DANCING IN THE DARK / Bruce Springsteen
From the forthcoming album Born in the USA. Sad thing, that album didn't go anywhere, and practically shipped cutout. Good luck trying to find a copy.

35) LOVE WILL SHOW US HOW / Christine McVie
The second of two singles from the honey-sweet Fleetwood Mac vocalist's solo LP (the first, and bigger hit, was "Got a Hold on Me") Another great video lost to the ages, a parody of the whole pomp and circumstance of music videos. Mind you, this was when MTV did something really crazy: played music videos 24/7.

Then there was Night Tracks weekends on TBS. Stop swooning, Sera and Nettie.

34) MODERN DAY DELILAH / Van Stephenson
Just a great big "meh." I'll spare you any further cutting remarks.


33) EYES WITHOUT A FACE / Billy Idol
32) MY EVER-CHANGING MOODS / The Style Council

31) IT'S MY LIFE / Talk Talk

A trio of songs that seemed to rotate on a single cartridge tape in the "earworm" machine during this pocket of time. In 1984, my tastes were beyond eclectic and well into schizophrenic territory. I really liked the techno-pop sound popularlized by The Fixx and others, yet in May '84 I was coming down off a serious "headbanging" phase. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Scorpions, AC/DC, et al. And in the middle of all this, I found the time to buy The Hollies' Greatest Hits, foretelling a love of '60s pop music which had yet to bloom in full.

PS - Loved the video for "It's My Life."

30) WHO'S THAT GIRL / Eurythmics
Not to be confused with the Madonna single a few years later. And I didn't like this one, either.

29) ALMOST PARADISE / Mike Reno & Ann Wilson
With Christi, it felt like full-tilt paradise in the Summer of '84. Yeah, every big '80s movie had to have a requisite Hit Ballad. Heck, Ren had to have something for a bone-rubbing dance with Ariel (no belly -- you have seen Footloose, haven't you?). Speaking of which, did you hear classmate Calista off to the side? "That Ariel is such a fat cow!!!"

28) STAY THE NIGHT / Chicago
Peter Cetera hits it big with yet another Chick Pop Smash.

27) RUN RUNAWAY / Slade
I love this song. But not as much as the follow-up, "My Oh My." The album had a most amusing title: Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply. Said, I'm certain, more than a few times by my bass guitar playing son on the football field during halftime.

Slade was an English metal band with limited success over here, and in the early '70s they originally wrote and performed "Cum On Feel The Noize", made into a hit by Quiet Riot late in '83.

26) THEY DON'T KNOW / Tracey Ullman
I should hate this song. I don't. It's irresistible as hell, and once it gets under your skin, there's no shaking it.

See "metalhead phase", above.

('Till You Know What You Want) Joe stepped out with another hit. I had a 45 of this one, but I accidentally stepped on it, and broke it in two........

23) FOOTLOOSE / Kenny Loggins
Dance and you'll burn in hell. I remember well the night I watched this at the Malco Theater in Hot Springs, and when Ren's new buddy said, "Bomont isn't the only place that bans dancing, there are other places upstate .... places in Kansas and Arkansas, too", the whole theater erupted in groans.

Lakeside was one of the few schools in that area that had a prom. Most of the other high schools had what they called "senior banquets."

22) JUMP (FOR MY LOVE) / The Pointer Sisters
The parenthetical title was added because of Van Halen's hit of the same name.

21) THE AUTHORITY SONG / John Cougar Mellencamp
Or: Let's see how I can rip off "I Fought the Law and the Law Won." Mr. Melonhead should've been beaned upside the head with a Bobby Fuller 2 x 4. I can't stand this song. Like it for me, please.

20) IT'S A MIRACLE / Culture Club
After the previous single release ("Karma Chameleon", a song I revile to the n'th degree to the point of my ears bleeding when I hear the first gay bar), anything by Boy George & Company would be downright likable. And if THAT isn't a miracle.......

19) SELF CONTROL / Laura Branigan
I needed a lot of it when "Karma Chameleon" was still being played to death.

18) BORDERLINE / Madonna
Her second hit, and first top 10 single (#10). First single was "Holiday", which peaked at #16. This was about the time Madonna made her debut on American Bandstand, and told Dick Clark her ambition was "to take over the world." [cue "Pinky and The Brain" theme]

I had no idea that one Sunday morning on AT40 when "Holiday" debuted on the chart, that Madonna - who struck me at the time as a girl who wore weird clothes and had a weird look about her - would go on to become such a monolithic figuress.


More Footloose hooey. This, by the way, is what happens most Friday nights in many Mississippi rural areas.

16) I'LL WAIT / Van Halen
Second single release from 1984, released in ...... *bzzt!* 1983! Last album with Diamond Dave up front.

15) LOVE SOMEBODY / Rick Springfield
Is it possible to swoon twice in a single post? If not, then Seraphim and Nettiemac have missed this one. The movie was Hard To Hold, but the real Rickheads knew that already. It's one of Rick's better songs, to my tastes. I can't really dis the guy -- yeah, he was lightweight, but Mr. I'm-Not-A-Doctor-But-I-Play-One-on-LP put out some really solid pop product in his day.

14) THE LONGEST TIME / Billy Joel
When it came time to divvy up such things as the CD collection during the divorce, my music tastes and my soon-to-be-ex-wife's were so far apart that there was little overlap, meaning no battles. I let her take whatever she wanted. And she went for the two-disc Greatest Hits set, and I took it upon myself to throw in all of Joel's albums after The Nylon Curtain (1982). Fake doo-wop, coming off Frankie Joel and The Four Billys' "Upgirl Town" ..... moving along, nothing to see here ......

13) THE HEART OF ROCK & ROLL / Huey Lewis & The News
From an album called Picture This to this one, from which this song was taken, titled Sports. I always thought it would've been a cool idea to keep the 'newspaper' motif going, and name their final album Obituary.

I have a great memory of this song, and it goes back to a dance I DJ'ed in 1995. It was at the firehouse in the small village of Saco, Ala. in northeast Pike County. The party was in the 'community room', such as it is. Next door were a couple of fire apparatuses. You know the horn sound effect in the opening part of the song, after the line "...and no place that I'd rather be"? I had my then-wife go out there and get into the cab of one of the fire trucks. When that part of the song played, she blew the truck horn.

12) YOU MIGHT THINK / The Cars
The video, far and away, makes the song. The Cars were on top of their game in 1984.

11) HEAD OVER HEELS / The Go-Gos
I used to have such a crush on Jane Wiedlin, especially as she appearered on this album (Talk Show). Then I heard her voice. *fingernails down chalkboard*

10) HOLD ME NOW / Thompson Twins
The Thompson Twins were neither. For one thing, there were three of them; one was a woman, then you had the black man and the white man. And none of 'em were named Thompson.

The song? Passable, borderline "meh."

9) BREAKDANCE / Irene Cara
What a feeling! Throwing your back out from grinding it into the floor ... if you didn't get burns from the friction first!

I find it hard to believe how many copies of the how-to video on breakdancing I saw in rental stores well into the 1990s. I think it was a K-Tel video, but I'm not sure. Nor would I be surprised.

8) SISTER CHRISTIAN / Night Ranger
Night Ranger has a new album out. Do you believe that? Seraphim said, "Sister Christian is now a middle-aged divorced woman in a trailer with three kids and a deadbeat ex."

Boy, it sure does suck getting beat with the "Old" Stick.

7) THE REFLEX / Duran Duran
Unusual was the teenaged girl in 1984 who didn't have a gratuitous crush on Simon Le Bon. Me, I thought 'em as cotton candy, evidence that MTV took away the need for a pop act to actually play with any degree of talent; so long as they looked good in the video, that's all that mattered. Bonus points if you could point out the synthesizer in a police lineup.

Some songs of Duran2 I liked more than others. "Reflex", "Girls on Film" and "Save a Prayer" were okay, but I could do without "Wild Boys" or "Hold Back the Rain."

6) TO ALL THE GIRLS I'VE LOVED BEFORE / Willie Nelson & Julio Iglesias
The last gasp of top-40 as a Wal-Mart of music. Back when country crossovers could reach the top ten as easily as one from the R&B side of the room. And I loathe this record. Loathe it, I tell you.

And speaking of Wal-Mart, isn't that an ice machine I see out front?..........

5) OH SHERRIE / Steve Perry
And all I had to do to get her plenty apoplectic was to recite the song's opening line: "y'SHOULDA BEEN GOOOOONE!!...."

4) AGAINST ALL ODDS / Phil Collins
For some twisted reason I cannot even remember (if I ever knew at all), this was one of Our Songs® during the Christi Administration. I can tolerate the song, although I much prefer the Stevie Nicks album cut ("Violet and Blue") on the AAO soundtrack.

3) TIME AFTER TIME / Cyndi Lauper
I've got your rubberbands right here, Captain.

2) HELLO / Lionel Richie
Not only reaches for the pink packets, but dumps over the sugar dispenser in the process. And got half-and-half spilled into its lap, too.

Did life in Tuskegee, Alabama screw him up that badly??

And speaking of screwed up, be sure to take off your-your-your-your-your boogie shoes, because we're fixin' to return to Bomont for this week's #1 hit rekkid:

1) LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY / Deniece Williams
Meh. A double dip of meh. With a fundamentalist Bible on top.

--Talmadge "Leaping and dancing before the Lord ..... LEAPING! AND! DANCING!" Gleck


nettiemac said...

I am all verklempt and weeping at the beautiful memories this list has brought. I will not diss one single song in it.

Freshman Year Memories.... AHH!!!

Seraphim9 said...

Rick Springfield!!!!!



Seraphim9 said...

Unbelieveable....guess what was playing in "the bungalow" as I got to #8???

Coolness at 10:02 a.m.

I love freaky coincidences like that. :-)

Ooh, I like this word verficiation: talinart....Tal in art. Tal's art - this blog. Neat-o.


nettiemac said...

Okay, speaking of "Stay the Night" you gotta go visit List of the Day (see my blog for the link) -- yesterday he posted the video and a bunch of us have made comments. ... Heh heh heh. The one about Cetera's teeth being Chiclets slew me.

Seraphim9 said...

It's me again, Margaret....

Yeah, I'm still stuck on "Sister Christian" at the moment because I just had a brief memory related to it.

Earlier this year, I was driving home after cake class one evening. I had Sirius 80's on the radio and was immersed in the songs of my teens years when "Sister.." came on.

Getting caught up in the 80's-ness of the song, and not having a cigarette light handy (I don't smoke, nor do I use one to melt my eyeliner - anymore), I reached for the next best thing.

I'm sure the other drivers were curious as to why I was driving down I-95 at 70-ish MPH waving my flipped-open cell phone over my head.

I didn't care - I was too busy MOTORIN'!!!!

Melissa said...

ok May 26 1984.....I'd just turned 9, I was in the 3rd grade....
I know almost every song on this list! Not sure if I know it because I listened to them after the fact or if I listened in the day...I can't remember pop music being a big part of my childhood though - my parents almost always listened to public radio, classical or 70s light rock....my point I guess, well other than to make yall feel old....is that if I knew this much about pop music when I was 9 after not really being very aware, it's no wonder my kids (6 & 7 years old) know so much about pop music - at 1st I felt like "kids today aren't kids anymore...listening to all this "grown up" music"....I guess I consider it "grown up" because I listen to it to....but it seems that I was listening to "grown up music" when I was little too....I think I may have stopped making sense back at "making you all feel old!"