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?

At number 9: “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 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.

Number 8 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 7: “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 6: “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”.

And at number 5"Can You Feel It" by The Jacksons, which surprisingly, like "Blame It On The Boogie", was a flop in the US - even with the state-of-the-art, special effects-laden video. It did much better here (peaking at number 10) and I always remember being annoyed that the clip featured all those silly sci-fi noises throughout (not to mention the over-the-top intro) - and just wanted to hear the song, dammit! The full extended version of the video is below.

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