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1981 was a horrible year for music

I drove from Columbus to Champaign on Saturday.  It’s about a 4.5 hour drive and I had the chance to listen to the entire Top 40 Countdown for this week in 1981 on one of the Sirius 80s Channels on the radio.  Check out the list below with thanks to  It is one of the most forgettable lists of music that you can ever think of.  There are only a handful of songs that are even regularly played today.  This year is such a transitional year in music.  I still listened to the entire list though.

TW LW Wks. Song-Artist

1 2 ARTHUR’S THEME (Best That You Can Do) –•– Christopher Cross (Warner Brothers)-10 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 1 ENDLESS LOVE –•– Diana Ross and Lionel Richie (Motown)-15 (1)
3 7 START ME UP –•– The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones)-9 (3)
4 5 FOR YOUR EYES ONLY –•– Sheena Easton (EMI-America)-13 (4)
5 6 STEP BY STEP –•– Eddie Rabbitt (Elektra)-13 (5)
6 8 PRIVATE EYES –•– Daryl Hall and John Oates (RCA)-8 (6)
7 3 STOP DRAGGIN’ MY HEART AROUND –•– Stevie Nicks (with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) (Modern)-13 (3)
8 4 WHO’S CRYING NOW –•– Journey (Columbia)-14 (4)
9 13 HARD TO SAY –•– Dan Fogelberg (Full Moon)-8 (9)
10 11 THE NIGHT OWLS –•– The Little River Band (Capitol)-9 (10)

11 9 URGENT –•– Foreigner (Atlantic)-16 (4)
12 17 I’VE DONE EVERYTHING FOR YOU –•– Rick Springfield (RCA)-9 (12)
13 10 HOLD ON TIGHT –•– ELO (Jet)-13 (10)
14 22 TRYIN’ TO LIVE MY LIFE WITHOUT YOU –•– Bob Seger (Capitol)-6 (14)
15 16 SHARE YOUR LOVE WITH ME –•– Kenny Rogers (Liberty)-7 (15)
16 21 WHEN SHE WAS MY GIRL –•– The Four Tops (Casablanca)-10 (16)
17 19 SUPER FREAK (Part 1) –•– Rick James (Gordy)-11 (17)
18 18 I COULD NEVER MISS YOU (More Than I Do) –•– Lulu (Alfa)-12 (18)
19 20 WE’RE IN THIS LOVE TOGETHER –•– Al Jarreau (Warner Brothers)-12 (19)
20 25 SAY GOODBYE TO HOLLYWOOD –•– Billy Joel (Columbia)-6 (20)

21 23 JUST ONCE –•– Quincy Jones Featuring James Ingram (A&M)-10 (21)
22 29 THE THEME FROM “HILL STREET BLUES” –•– Mike Post (Featuring Larry Carlton)-9 (22)
23 27 HERE I AM (Just When I Thought I Was Over You) –•– Air Supply (Arista)-4 (23)
24 26 SHE’S A BAD MAMA JAMA (She’s Built, She’s Stacked) –•– Carl Carlton (20th Century)-9 (24)
25 42 WAITING FOR A GIRL LIKE YOU –•– Foreigner (Atlantic)-2 (25)
26 14 QUEEN OF HEARTS –•– Juice Newton (Capitol)-21 (6)
27 39 OH NO –•– The Commodores (Motown)-4 (27)
28 36 EVERY LITTLE THING SHE DOES IS MAGIC –•– The Police (A&M)-4 (28)
29 34 ATLANTA LADY (Something About Your Love) –•– Marty Balin (EMI-America)-5 (29)
30 15 THE VOICE –•– The Moody Blues (Threshold)-11 (15)

31 47 PHYSICAL –•– Olivia Newton-John (MCA)-3 (31)
32 37 HE’S A LIAR –•– The Bee Gees (RSO)-4 (32)
33 38 ALIEN –•– The Atlanta Rhythm Section (Columbia)-8 (33)
34 12 THE BEACH BOYS MEDLEY –•– The Beach Boys (Capitol)-13 (12)
35 24 (There’s) NO GETTIN’ OVER ME –•– Ronnie Milsap (RCA)-17 (5)
36 28 LADY (You Bring Me Up) –•– The Commodores (Motown)-18 (8)
37 43 SAUSALITO SUMMERNIGHT –•– Diesel (Regency)-6 (37)
38 57 THE OLD SONGS –•– Barry Manilow (Arista)-2 (38)
39 46 IN THE DARK –•– Billy Squier (Capitol)-6 (39)
40 40 BURNIN’ FOR YOU –•– Blue Oyster Cult (Columbia)-10 (40)

Billboards Top 100 Albums from 1983

As I’m working on my list of my favorite albums from 1983, I wanted to share with you the list from Billboard for 1983.  There are several classic albums here, and many very forgettable albums.  What are your favorites?  Some of my favorites from 1983 aren’t here as they weren’t big sellers, but they were very important albums.  REM and Madonna’s first albums came out in 1983.  There were great albums from Blue Nile, The The, Replacements, Tears for Fears, Aztec Camera, and New Order.  I’ll publish the top 100 singles list shortly for 1983.

Rank   Album                                     Artist

1          Thriller                                    Michael Jackson

2          Business As Usual                 Men At Work

3          Synchronicity                         The Police

4          H20                                        Hall & Oates

5          1999                                       Prince & the Revolution

6          Lionel Richie                           Lionel Richie

7          Workout Record                     Jane Fonda

8          Pyromania                              Def Leppard

9          Kissing To Be Clever              Culture Club

10       Greatest Hits, Vol. 2                Olivia Newton-John

11       IV                                             Toto

12       Frontiers                                  Journey

13       Rio                                           Duran Duran

14       Built For Speed                       The Stray Cats

15       Cuts Like A Knife                    Bryan Adams

16       Get Nervous                            Pat Benatar

17       The Distance                           Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

18       Get Lucky                                Loverboy

19       Mountain Music                      Alabama

20       Flashdance Soundtrack          Flashdance

21       Hello, I Must Be Going            Phil Collins

22       Night and Day                         Joe Jackson

23       Spring Session M                   Missing Persons

24       Kilroy Was Here                     Styx

25       War                                         U2

26       Duran Duran                           Duran Duran

27       Always On My Mind               Willie Nelson

28       Let’s Dance                            David Bowie

29       The Closer You Get                Alabama

30       Combat Rock                         The Clash

31       Eliminator                               ZZ Top

32       American Fool                        John Cougar

33       The Nylon Curtain                  Billy Joel

34       Escape                                   Journey

35       High ‘N’ Dry                           Def Leppard

36       High Adventure                      Kenny Loggins

37       Long After Dark                     Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

38       Pancho and Lefty                  Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard

39       Cargo                                     Men At Work

40       Special Beat Service              The English Beat

41       Friend Or Foe                         Adam Ant

42       The Lexicon Of Love              ABC

43       All This Love                           DeBarge

44       Living In Oz                            Rick Springfield

45       Midnight Love                        Marvin Gaye

46       Three Lock Box                     Sammy Hagar

47       Greatest Hits                         Dan Fogelberg

48       Jarreau                                  Al Jarreau

49       Emotions In Motion               Billy Squier

50       Outside/Inside                       Tubes

51       Killer On the Rampage          Eddy Grant

52       Worlds Apart                          Saga

53       Forever, For Always, For Love          Luther Vandross

54       Famous Last Words              Supertramp

55       Blinded By Science               Thomas Dolby

56       Reach the Beach                   Fixx

57       Metal Health                          Quiet Riot

58       Heartlight                               Neil Diamond

59       The Golden Age Of Wireless   Thomas Dolby

60       Branigan                                Laura Branigan

61       Bella Donna                           Stevie Nicks

62       Naked Eyes                           Naked Eyes

63       Headhunter                            Krokus

64       Winds Of Change                 Jefferson Starship

65       Never Surrender                   Triumph

66       Pleasure Victim                     Berlin

67       Cut                                        Golden Earring

68       Screaming For Vengeance    Judas Priest

69       Too Tough                              Angela Bofill

70       Records                                 Foreigner

71       Heartbreaker                         Dionne Warwick

72       Sweet Dreams                       Eurythmics

73       I Can’t Stand Still                  Don Henley

74       Greatest Hits                         The Little River Band

75       Visions                                   Gladys Knight & the Pips

76       Scandal                                 Scandal

77       Too-Rye-Ay                           Dexys Midnight Runners

78       Piece of Mind                        Iron Maiden

79       Julio                                      Julio Iglesias

80       The Wild Heart                     Stevie Nicks

81       Forever Now                         Psychedelic Furs

82       Speaking In Tongues            Talking Heads

83       Dawn Patrol                          Night Ranger

84       Keep It Up                            Loverboy

85       State Of Confusion               The Kinks

86       Daylight Again                      Crosby, Stills & Nash

87       Sergio Mendes                     Sergio Mendes

88       Mirage                                  Fleetwood Mac

89       Love For Love                      The Whispers

90       Kihnspiracy                          The Greg Kihn Band

91       Here Comes the Night         Barry Manilow

92       In Your Eyes                         George Benson

93       Madness                              Madness

94       A Flock of Seagulls              A Flock Of Seagulls

95       Dark Side of the Moon         Pink Floyd

96       Gap Band IV                         The Gap Band

97       We’ve Got Tonight                Kenny Rogers

98       Every Home Should Have One        Patti Austin

99       The Nightfly                           Donald Fagen

100     Word Of Mouth                      Toni Basil

Billboard Top 100 for 1983

Why I know the 80s music

As I have a lot of new followers of this blog, I wanted to remind everyone why I actually know 80s music.  I worked in and around music for all of the 1980s.  I started part-time working at Musicland in the Fall of 1982, right around when both Michael Jackson released Thriller, and MTV became really important.  I worked part-time at Musicland for a few years, then a local Madison, Wisconsin indie record retailer.  After this, I opened a small record store that was really a CD store with a few partners.  We built it to five locations.  I then sold my share and went back to school.  During this time, I also managed a local Chicago band and worked for the Midwest distributor of Profile and Tommy Boy.  I’ll try to dig up my picture with Queen Latifah for the release of her first album on Tommy Boy.

Below is my time sheet from Musicland from 1984.  It’s actually for Thanksgiving week, you’ll see no hours on Thursday.  I found this while I was going through all of my old albums before I recently moved.  It is really a relic.



I have started working on my favorite albums from 1983 and will begin posting about these soon.  In the meantime, let me know some of your favorites from 1983.  1983 saw the debuts of a lot of artists including Tears for Fears, Eurythmics, Big Country, Waterboys, REM, Madonna and of course Weird Al Yankovic.  And also new albums from U2,  David Bowie, Billy Joel, Genesis and the Replacements (one of my all-time favorites).  Were you into Styx and Kilroy Was Here, maybe not.  Or Kiss (without their makeup)?  Let me know.

My podcast with OKRP and #OnTheRocks

Check out my first podcast I did with my amazing agency partners at OKRP with a special thanks to @trokeefe,  Scott and #OnTheRocks.  The link is   The theme for the podcast was great covers. They’re done by some of my favorite bands like Foo Fighters and Dinosaur Jr.  Some are just amazing covers like Johnny Cash’s version of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails and Filter’s version of Happy Together.

Let me know what you think, I think they are all great.

Up next will be the best album’s of 1983, which will be my Summer project.

My Top 5 Albums from 1982

Sorry, it’s been so long.  Finally, here are my top 5 albums from 1982.


Artist Album
5. Joe Jackson



Night and Day


Release Date: June 1982


His big hits from this album still hold up today. This is a very under-rated album as is Joe Jackson overall.



4. Prince




Release Date: October 27, 1982


This one is really hard to believe that it was almost 32 years ago.


I can remember working at Musicland in Bayshore Mall for Christmas in 1982 when I was exposed to this album. I built a display for it. This was my first job working in a record store.




3. The Jam


The Gift


Release Date: March 12, 1982


I can thank my friend Scott for introducing me to The Jam and Paul Weller. When I get to my 1983 list, you will definitely see the Style Council rated high. This is a really fun album.


Link to the Full Album (but not in the right order):


2. Kate Bush


The Dreaming


Release Date: September 13, 1982


Kate quickly became one of my favorites with her Hounds of Love album. From this, I went backwards to hear her earlier albums.   I actually talked to her on the phone in 1989. This list is my favorite albums from 1982, not necessarily, my favorites that I experienced in 1982.


I saw that she was going to do a series of dates in the UK later this year and it sold out in minutes.   These are here first concerts in decades. It would have been fun to go to London to see her, hopefully she comes here.


Link to the Full Album:


1. Violent Femmes


Violent Femmes


Release Date: 1982 (really, this was 1982)


In 1982 I was in High School in Milwaukee. While all of these great bands from the UK were getting a ton of airplay, we had an amazing hometown band. They were playing small clubs across Milwaukee, and very slowly building a following. I remember seeing them headline at Summerfest in Milwaukee in 1983.


This album very slowly built a following over the next two years, and is known as one of the only albums to go platinum without ever hitting the top 100.


Link to the Full Album:


Also, check out the remake from Gnarls Barkley of Gone Daddy Gone:


My number 10-6 favorite albums from 1982

Sorry, it’s been a few weeks.  I didn’t forget, just got very busy.  I did really enjoy listening to these albums again.  Let me know what you think.


Artist Album
10. Duran DuranDuranRio Rio 

Release Date: May 10, 1982


The music videos told a story and had a great theatrical look and feel.


Video for Hungry Like the Wolf:


Video for Rio:


Video for Save a Prayer:


9. Roxy MusicAvalon_album_cover Avalon 

Release Date:  May 1982


More Than This is such a great song and the entire album is still a great listen.

8. Gregory IsaacsGregory_Isaacs-Night_Nurse_(album_cover) Night Nurse 

Release: 1982


This album is a great reggae album.  Definitely listen to this.


7. English BeatSpecial_Beat_Service Special Beat Services 

Release: 1982


Here’s a link to the entire album:


And a link to Save It For Later, their biggest hit in the U.S.



I have seen the English Beat (as they are known in the U.S., they are just the Beat in the U.K.) in concert twice now.  The first time was in the summer of 1983 at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin.  The opening act was Bow Wow Wow.  I still remember this concert today, and was one of my all-time favorites.  The second time I saw them was probably 7 years ago at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, they were still great, but with definitely a different lineup.


In my top 20, you can definitely see my affection for SKA and reggae.


Be on the lookout for old Beat t-shirts.  They had the best designs on their concert t’s.


6. ABCABC-Lexicon Lexicon of Love 

Release Date:  June 25, 1982


Link to the full album on YouTube:


Link to Look of Love music video:


ABC was one of my favorite bands in the 1980’s.  I did see them in concert at the Lincoln Park Zoo the year before I saw English Beat there.  The opening act was Naked Eyes, another band from the 80’s.




Here are my albums ranked 16 to 11 for 1982

This is close to a greatest hits of MTV from the Fall of 1982 into 1983.  While I’m working on this, I’m listening to one of the best albums from 1983, check out Aztec Camera’s High Land Hard Rain.  There is a 30th Anniversary special double disc out.

Artist Album and Release Date
16. Madness Madness MadnessRelease Date: UK Version (Rise and Fall of Madness) October 8, 1982One of my favorite songs from this year and introduced me to SKA.  Check out the Specials.  You’ll see in my 1983 list, an album from Two-Tone that is a compilation of several British SKA bands.Our House Video:

Not on this album, but a great song from Madness, One Step Beyond:

15. INXS inxs 


Shabooh ShoobahRelease Date: October 1982A great rock album and introduction to INXS.Video for Don’t Change:

14. Dexy’s Midnight Runners dexys Too-Rye-AyRelease Date: July 1982One great song, and all they are known for in this country, but enough to be one of the top Albums from 1982.  Plus I have someone very special named Eileen.Video for Come on Eileen:

13. Culture Club cultureclub  Kissing to be CleverRelease Date: December 13, 1982I can remember hearing this for the first time while I was working in a Musicland (yes, Musicland) around Christmas 1982.  I had no idea what to make of this band, but over time it really grew on me.  It’s a great mix of many different styles.Video of Do You Really Want to Hurt Me:

12. Men Without Hatsmenwithout Rhythm of YouthRelease Date: March 20, 1982The album was released in 1982, but the big single “Safety Dance” became a hit nearly a year later.  It might be one of the best videos ever made and to me, one of the most enduring songs from the 80’s.Video for Safety Dance:

And to those that call them a One-Hit Wonder, check out Pop Goes the World, that did hit Top 20 in 1987:

11. Billy Joel billyjoel The Nylon CurtainRelease Date: September 23, 1982Billy Joel has always been one of my favorites, blending piano and rock together.  Especially in this group from 11-16, he definitely seems out of place.Here’s a link to the full album:

My favorite albums from 1982 numbers 17-20

Here are the first four of my favorites from 1982.  This is a very eclectic group, as I think you’ll see from my entire list.  What do you think?

Artist Album and Release Date
20.  The Who It’s Hard

Release date: September 4, 1982

who-its hardLink to the Video for Eminence Front: In 1982, It’s Hard was billed as the Who’s farewell album and tour.  I can remember that Milwaukee wasn’t on the tour schedule, and well, we were Milwaukee, how could we not be on the schedule.  A DJ at the local rock station decided to sit on a ledge at his studio until the Who added Milwaukee to the schedule.  They did add Milwaukee towards the end of the schedule.  Little did we know then, that the Who would have several farewell tours over the next 30 years.   Through High School, the Who was one of my favorite bands.  I saw midnight showings of both Tommy and Quadrophenia several times.From this album, I still love the long intro to Eminence Front.
19. Stray Cats Built for Speed

Release date: June 7, 1982

stray cats-built for speedLink to the video for Rock This Town:

Link to the video for Stray Cat Strut:

Rock This Town introduced me and the country to Rockabilly.  The entire album really holds up and is fun to listen to.  It’s not a surprise that they didn’t have anything else very successful after this.  One album is still enough.  I do particularly like the chord progression in Stray Cat Strut as it’s a traditional blues progression that you can find in other songs.
18. The Cure Pornography

Release date: May 3, 1982

cure-pornographyHere’s a link to the full album: My first introduction to the Cure was from the Album “the Head on the Door.”  From this I went backwards to hear their other albums.  This is a great album.
17. Simon and Garfunkel Concert in Central Park

Release date: February 16, 1982

Simon and GarfunkelSounds of Silence from Central Park: In the summer of 1983, Simon and Garfunkel played at Milwaukee County Stadium.  I can remember, getting to the stadium early with a group of friends, and waited for the gates to open to the outfield grass.  When the gates opened, we ran and ended up near the front of the stage.  The field was all General Admission seating.  I can’t imagine anything like this today.  It was a great concert and one I still remember.


Remainder of My Honorable Mention for 1982

This has taken a while to put together as 1982 was a very prolific and fun year for music.  I have updated the playlist below to include everything within my Honorable Mention.  It is now 41 songs and over 2.5 hours long.

I will start publishing my top 20 albums for 1982 this week.  They’ll be in order from 20 to 1.  I hope you enjoy.  Please let me know what you think.  This is becoming a labor of love, and quite enjoyable to create.  I’m re-listening to all of the albums.

This is the entire list of my honorable mention.

Honorable Mention: Good Music, Memorable, but Not Great Albums, some awesome singles on this list.

Artist and Links Album Title and Songs
A Flock of Seagulls


A Flock of Seagulls

  • I Ran
Adam Ant


Friend or Foe

  • Goody Two Shoes


Aldo Nova


Aldo Nova

  • Fantasy


Bow Wow Wow


Last of the Mohicans (EP)

  • I Want Candy


The Clash

Combat Rock

  • Should I Stay or Should I Go
  • Rock the Casbah


Elvis Costello


Imperial Bedroom

  • Almost Blue


John Cougar


American Fool

  • Hurts So Good
  • Jack and Diane


Marshall Crenshaw


Marshall Crenshaw

  • Someday, Someway


Thomas Dolby


Golden Age of Wireless

  • She Blinded Me with Science


Eddy Grant


Killer on the Rampage

  • Electric Avenue
Peter Gabriel


Peter Gabriel (Security)

  • Shock the Monkey


Golden Earring



  • Twilight Zone


The Fixx


Shuttered Room

  • Stand Or Fall
  • Red Skies


Haircut 100


Pelican West

  • Love Plus One
Human League



  • Don’t You Want Me


Billy Idol


Billy Idol

  • White Wedding


Michael Jackson



  • Billy Jean
  • Beat It


Huey Lewis and the News


Picture This

  • Do You Believe in Love


Missing Persons


Spring Session M

  • Destination Unknown


Modern English


After the Snow

  • I Melt with You


Moving Pictures


Days of Innocence

  • What About Me


Alan Parsons Project


Eye in the Sky

  • Eye in the Sky


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


Long After Dark

  • You Got Lucky


Psychedelic Furs


Forever Now

  • Love My Way





  • Subdivisions


Simple Minds


New Gold Dream (81, 82, 83, 84)

  • Promised You a Miracle




Sweets from a Stranger

  • Black Coffee in Bed


Billy Squire


Emotions in Motion

  • Everybody Wants You




Famous Last Words

  • It’s Raining Again




Eye of the Tiger 
Talk Talk


The Party’s Over

  • Talk Talk


Thompson Twins


In the Name of Love 



  • Reap the Wild Wind


Wall of Voodoo


Call of the West

  • Mexican Radio




Under the Big Black Sun

  • Riding with Mary




English Settlement

  • Senses Working Overtime


Yaz or Yazoo


Upstairs at Eric’s

  • Don’t Go


First Ten Honorable Mention Albums from 1982

Here is a playlist from the first ten artists for Honorable Mention. Over the next several days and this coming week, I will complete the Honorable Mention list and then start releasing my top 20 for 1982. I hope you enjoy.

And by the way, I apologize in advance for some of the video clips from YouTube. I did my best to get the actual videos, but in some cases they were copyright protected and not posted on YouTube.

Let me know what you think, but I do realize it’s hard to give feedback without seeing the entire list.  I’m working on it.  I felt it was very important to have an Honorable Mention.  I’m defining Honorable mention as 1) Good Music, 2) Memorable, 3) but Not Great Albums.  And there are some awesome singles on this list.

I updated the list in my posting from 4/14 so I removed it here.