Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Best Of 1982 - part 2

JUMP TO: 30-21 II 20-11 II 10-1

Before we continue with my favourite songs from 1982, it's time for a random fact. I spent one month of 1982 living in the Solomon Islands. In between wandering down to the nearby village for 20 cent ice creams, I watched Grease and episodes of The Two Ronnies – the only videos available – on a continuous loop.

Remember their names? The Kids From Fame were on TV and in the charts in 1982

I can't say the international experience had any impact on my taste in music (other than reinforcing a love for the Grease soundtrack), but it is something I always think of when I think of 1982. Here are ten more things that come to mind...

Kicking things off is number 20: "Shadows Of The Night" by Pat Benatar, who I saw in concert last year (supported by The Bangles). Pat sang this and all her other hits - even though she isn't the biggest fan of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", but she's a trooper like that. Best of all, her voice was still amazing. This wasn't her biggest hit in Australia (it got to a respectable number 19), but it did feature a bizarre Nazi-fighting video starring Judge Reinhold and Bill Paxton - and you can't say that about many songs!

At number 19 is a band who were getting more mainstream with each release. "Rock The Casbah" by The Clash also features some of the most undecipherable lyrics I've ever heard. Seems I'm not the only one who's struggled, with the first line of the chorus variously listed as: "Sharia don't like it", "The shareef dont like it" and "The Sharif don't like it". I give up!

Another band going mainstream is at number 18: "Let's Go To Bed" by The Cure. Of course, after starting their career with a song called "Killing An Arab" - a title which would never fly these days - anything was going to be more commerical. "Let's Go To Bed" was the band's first hit in Australia, reaching number 15 and eclipsing the song's performance back home in the UK.

I've always assumed the band at number 17 was a two-hit wonder, but "Freeze Frame" by J.Geils Band was actually their third and final top 50 hit in Australia (other than "Centrefold", "Come Back" got to number 31 in 1980). While I was on a roll, I also decided to finally find out what the J stands for. Well, it's quite the anti-climax. J is for John, as in John Geils, lead singer of the band. It's kinda like - OK, it's exactly like - finding out the name of Big in Sex And The City. At least the song is still exciting...

From one extreme to another - at number 16 it's "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" by Chicago, featuring the dulcet tones of Peter Cetera (who'd return to guest on a 1997 cover of the song by R&B group Az-Yet). "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" was taken from the album Chicago 16 and it was Peter's second last album with the group before heading off on his solo career. Any guesses for what his final album with Chicago was called? Yep, Chicago 17. Imaginative bunch.

At number 15: "I'm So Excited" by Pointer Sisters, a song which I always associate with Crunchies, thanks to the song's use in an ad campaign for the chocolate bar, but luckily not with Sara-Marie from Big Brother, whose cover version I'll gloss right over. This was another top 10 hit for the Pointers in Australia, and rightfully so.

A song I discovered many years after the fact is at number 14: "Starmaker" by The Kids From Fame (which is a catchier artist name than Glee Cast, I have to say). This soppy - but great! - ballad was performed in two season one episodes, but I must have blocked out all memory of it, which is weird since I recall songs like "Desdamona" and "Hi Fidelity" from the same season. Anyway, "Starmaker" was a big hit in the UK, but didn't chart at all in Australia - in fact, only "Hi Fidelity" did, reaching number 56.

The biggest-selling single of 1982 in Australia is at number 13. "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor was featured on the Rocky III soundtrack and has remained popular for the past 30 years, popping up in the most unlikely of places - like this clip from the TV series, Supernatural. Interesting that the beret never caught on as a rock accessory.

At number 12: "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners, which conjures up memories of a summer holiday at a caravan park in Tuncurry, NSW for me. Some people can't stand this song, especially since it was flogged to death at the time and then all over again during the '90s retro revival, but I haven't gotten sick of it yet.

And at number 11, it's "View From A Bridge" by Kim Wilde, who was still going strong after her 1981 debut and already onto her second album. This cheery ditty about suicide would be Kim's last big hit in Australia until 1986 and "You Keep Me Hangin' On".

That just leaves my top 10 for 1982, and it features two artists we haven't come across yet who each have two songs in the 10 as well as two songs named after people.

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