Monday, 16 July 2012

The Best Of 1980 - part 2

JUMP TO: 20-11 II 10-1

Ready for more great songs from 1980? Well I am, so here’s my top 10 favourite songs from 1980...

It doesn't get more '80s than Adam Ant

First up, at number 10 is “I Got You” by Split Enz, a band I remember hearing a lot of in the early ’80s since their songs always seemed to be on the radio and on TV – and with good reason. I generally preferred the sweeter Split Enz songs, like this and “Message To My Girl”, than the more rambunctious ones, like “I See Red”. Watching the video, I can't help but wonder if the guys had an in-house competition for who could pull the stupidest face?

Speaking of sweet songs. Make that syrupy sweet. At number 9 it’s “All Out Of Love” by Air Supply, a song so saccharine it’s lucky it’s not edible. And here it is, high up on my list of favourite songs for 1980 - which gives you some indication of just how big a sweet tooth I am. Air Supply and their brand of sentimental love songs were also massive in the States, where they enjoyed seven straight top 5 hits between 1980 and 1982. But that should come as no surprise, since if any country rivals Australia for inhaling sweet treats, it's the USA.

At number 8: “Never Knew Love Like This Before” by Stephanie Mills. Although it was a decent hit in Australia (it got to number 13), I didn’t actually come across this song until decades later when it was playing on an easy listening station. In my defence, I was in my parents’ car at the time. A quick look online (OK, Wikipedia) tells me Stephanie was in the stage version of The Wiz – in the role Diana Ross would play in the film version. It also claims she dated co-star Michael Jackson, something that seems backed up by this fantastic interview.

Number 7 is a song I do recall from the '80s – who doesn’t? It's “Antmusic” by Adam & The Ants. The make-up, the nonsense lyrics, the thumping drums… it was everything you could ask for in a pop song. It came out at the tail end of 1980 in the UK and went on to hit the top spot in Australia in 1981. Fast forward to 2012, and, after a shaky start to the 21st Century, Adam’s back on the concert trail and even has new music – but he’ll always belong in the ’80s.

No wedding reception is complete without the song at number 6: “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang, which was covered in 1987 by Dragon just in time for Australia's Bicentenary, and again in 1992 by Kylie Minogue for her first Greatest Hits album. I recently talked about the song being sampled for “Celebration Rap”, but the less said about that the better. I actually like a lot of Kool & The Gang’s stuff, but pretty much only their post-1979 James “J.T.” Taylor-fronted material like "Fresh" and "Emergency".

At number 5: “Upside Down” by Diana Ross, who was back on a roll after some choppy chart placings in the second half of the ’70s. The songs she released over the next couple of years would be among her best, and included such classics as “I’m Coming Out” and “Why Do Fools Fall In Love”.

The first of three soundtrack hits is at number 4“Xanadu” by Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra. Unlike today, when it’s rare for a song not to have a featured artist or 20, a collaboration between two well-known acts was a big deal in 1980, and “Xanadu” combines the best elements of ONJ and ELO’s separate styles. Who would have guessed that in just one year’s time, Olivia would be shocking America with a “raunchy” new single?

At number 3“Call Me” by Blondie, which was taken from the Richard Gere film American Gigolo, “Call Me” saw the group collaborate with super-producer Giorgio Moroder and further diversify their sound. I wasn’t as big a fan of their experiments with rap (“Rapture”) or reggae (“The Tide Is High”), but the synth sound of “Call Me” hit the spot for me.

The final of our movie hits is at number 2“Fame” by Irene Cara. I can’t remember if I actually saw the film of the same name at the time (I was only 5, so probably not), but I do recall that I was a big fan of the TV show spin-off - and songs like “Mannequin” and “Hi-Fidelity” - which came afterwards. The video is a decidedly low budget affair, but it does, at least, feature a yellow taxi, even if Irene only sits on its roof.

And in the number 1 spot? It’s Debbie Harry et al again. “Atomic” by Blondie was a song I rediscovered in the early ’90s at a retro club night I frequented (very frequently) during my first couple of years of university. “Atomic” would get a play – often two – every night, and even though the volume was turned up so loud and the speakers were so crappy that I really couldn’t understand what Debbie was screaming about (whose hair did what?), I fell in love with the song all over again.

My top 100 for 1980 in full:

1         ATOMIC Blondie
2         FAME Irene Cara
3         CALL ME Blondie
4         XANADU Olivia Newton-John / ELO
5         UPSIDE DOWN Diana Ross
6         CELEBRATION Kool & The Gang
7         ANTMUSIC Adam & The Ants
8         NEVER KNEW LOVE LIKE THIS BEFORE Stephanie Mills
9         ALL OUT OF LOVE Air Supply
10       I GOT YOU Split Enz
11       MAGIC Olivia Newton-John
12       BAGGY TROUSERS Madness
13       TO CUT A LONG STORY SHORT Spandau Ballet
14       WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU The Romantics
15       WE CAN GET TOGETHER Flowers (Icehouse)
16       CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC Village People
18       HE'S SO SHY Pointer Sisters
20       KISS ON MY LIST Hall & Oates
21       GIVE ME THE NIGHT George Benson
22       MY GIRL Madness
23       ECHO BEACH Martha & The Muffins
24       RIDE LIKE THE WIND Christopher Cross
25       EMBARRASSMENT Madness
26       LET’S GET SERIOUS Jermaine Jackson
27       WHIP IT Devo
28       I’M COMING OUT Diana Ross
29       GIRL U WANT Devo
30       JUMP TO THE BEAT Stacy Lattisaw
31       INTO THE NIGHT Benny Mardones
32       THE TIME WARP Original Cast
33       FEELS LIKE I’M IN LOVE Kelly Marie
36       MORNING TRAIN (9 TO 5) Sheena Easton
38       ENOLA GAY O.M.D.
39       CAN’T HELP MYSELF Flowers (Icehouse)
40       GOT TO LOVE SOMEBODY Sister Sledge
41       LADY LOVE MEO 245
42       9 TO 5 Dolly Parton
43       MY WORLD Secret Affair
44       HE’S MY NUMBER ONE Christie Allen
45       STOMP Brothers Johnson
46       RAPPER’S DELIGHT Sugarhill Gang
47       YOU GAVE ME LOVE Crown Heights Affair
48       TIRED OF TOEING THE LINE Rocky Burnette
49       I’M ALIVE ELO
50       FUNKYTOWN Lipps Inc
51       LOOKING FOR CLUES Robert Palmer
52       TRAIN IN VAIN The Clash
53       I AIN’T GONNA STAND FOR IT Stevie Wonder
54       ONE STEP AHEAD Split Enz
55       BABOOSHKA Kate Bush
56       ON THE RADIO Donna Summer
57       AND THE BEAT GOES ON The Whispers
58       TURNING JAPANESE The Vapors
59       DON’T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME The Police
60       IT’S DIFFERENT FOR GIRLS Joe Jackson
62       SOONER OR LATER The Innocents
63       WHEN I’M WITH YOU Sparks
64       ONE DAY I’LL FLY AWAY Randy Crawford
65       RELIGHT MY FIRE Dan Hartman
66       TOO HOT Kool & The Gang
67       LOVE AT FIRST NIGHT Kim Hart
68       THE GLOW OF LOVE Change
69       WHEN I LOOK IN YOUR EYES The Romantics
70       BOURGIE BOURGIE Gladys Knight & The Pips
71       OVER YOU Roxy Music
72       DE DO DO DO, DE DA DA DA The Police
73       SWEET SENSATION Stephanie Mills
74       DIRTY MIND Prince
75       THE TIDE IS HIGH Blondie
76       ME MYSELF I Joan Armatrading
77       DON’T PUSH IT DON’T FORCE IT Leon Haywood
78       PEOPLE Mi-Sex
79       JOHNNY & MARY Robert Palmer
80       LOVE SENSATION Loleatta Holloway
82       THE BREAKS Kurtis Blow
83       MODERN GIRL James Freud & The Radio Stars
84       LOVE X LOVE George Benson
85       SAME OLD SCENE Roxy Music
86       EVERY WOMAN IN THE WORLD Air Supply
87       DON’T MAKE ME WAIT TOO LONG Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway
88       WOMAN IN LOVE Barbra Streisand
89       IN YOUR CAR The Dugites
90       LOVE WILL TEAR US APART Joy Division
92       I NEED YOUR LOVIN’ Teena Marie
93       LET’S GO ROUND AGAIN Average White Band
94       DREAMIN’ Cliff Richard
95       GENO Dexy’s Midnight Runners
96       MASTER BLASTER (JAMMIN’) Stevie Wonder
97       YOU’RE THE ONLY WOMAN (YOU & I) Ambrosia
98       OH YEAH (ON THE RADIO) Roxy Music
99       STATE OF THE HEART Mondo Rock
100     SHE’S OUT OF MY LIFE Michael Jackson

So that's it for the first year of music's finest decade. I’ll revisit 1981 soon, but before that, another trip back to the ARIA charts of 1987 this Thursday. See you then!

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  1. So many songs I only discovered through Club Retro! Echo Beach, Girl U Want and Enola Gay, all unknown to me before 1994-ish.

    1. Atomic was the big one for me. I must have heard it back in the day since Blondie was so big, but I really do associate it with the firetrap that was Club 77.