Tag Archives: Wham!

Top 40 Songs This Week – November 10, 1984: Songs 10-1

Welcome back as we wrap up this week’s countdown. If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31, 30-21, and 20-11. If you are in the U.S., I hope this countdown has provided a little escape from the election day craziness. This has been a great week of music. For those of us who grew up around the time of this countdown, we were so lucky to enjoy some great music. Now let’s Return to the week ending November 10, 1984, and wrap up this countdown.


10. “Desert Moon” by Dennis DeYoung

Earlier in the countdown, we had a song by Tommy Shaw in the wake of the band Styx falling apart. Now we have the former Styx frontman, Dennis DeYoung with his solo effort. This is an outstanding song, that would peak right here at #10.

9. “Hard Habit to Break” by Chicago

Thanks to producer, David Foster, we were right in the middle of Chicago’s renaissance. I do get slightly annoyed that most people only know of Chicago from their power ballads, even though they have some incredible rock songs. But, with a song like this, I can totally see why. This is one of my favorites by them. I love that both Peter Cetera and Bill Champlin sing on this. I love both of their voices. Great combination!

8. “Blue Jean” by David Bowie

David Bowie (still can’t believe he is gone) was still making an impact on the music world at this point. This song was off of his Tonight album, which was his follow-up to the mega-successful Let’s Dance album. This song was launched with a 21-minute short film, Jazzin’ for Blue Jean. The film won the 1985 Grammy Award for “Best Video, Short form” (Later renamed “Best Music Video”), which would be Bowie’s only competitive Grammy Award during his career. He was nominated for several, but this was his only win, in addition to his Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

7. “Better Be Good to Me” by Tina Turner

This song is from Tina Turner’s huge comeback album, Private Dancer. This song was originally recorded and released in 1981 by Spider, a band from New York City with one of the co-writers, Holly Knight, as a member. Of course Tina had the most successful version. The song won Tina Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female, one of four Grammys awarded to Turner in that ceremony.

6. “Out of Touch” by Daryl Hall & John Oates

There weren’t too many acts as big in the ’80s as Hall & Oates.This was their lead single from their 1984 album Big Bam Boom. It would be their last #1 hit. The song was also their 14th straight top 40 hit since 1980.


Before we continue, let’s see what was topping some of the other charts this week in 1984:

The number one country song was “I’ve Been Around Enough to Know” by John Schneider (Yes, that John Schneider from The Dukes of Hazzard)

Topping the Rock charts was “I Can’t Hold Back” by Survivor

Number one on the Adult Contemporary charts was “What About Me?” by Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes and James Ingram

The Number 1 album was Purple Rain by Prince and the Revolution

And topping both the R&B and the Dance charts is our #5 song on the Hot 100 this week:

5. “I Feel For You” by Chaka Kahn

While Prince was a megastar performer himself, he also wrote music covered by other artists. This was one of them. Prince wrote this song, and it was on his debut album. It was also covered by The Pointer Sisters on their 1982 album, So Excited!.
Then Chaka Kahn took over, and this song would start a big comeback for her. Melle Mel (from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five) did the rapping. And Stevie Wonder is on the harmonica.

4. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by Wham!

This was Wham!’s big breakthrough hit. It became their first American and UK number-one hit. To be honest, I really hated this song when it first came out. I like it now because of its nostalgic value. It should also be noted that while it was at the top of the charts for two weeks, it prevented the next song from becoming a #1 hit…

3. “Purple Rain” by Prince

Yes, perhaps Prince’s signature song, this never hit #1 (still can’t believe he is gone). That doesn’t change anything though. This is an iconic song of the decade. For a lot of people, when you mention the ’80s, one of the first images that come to mind is the cover of the Purple Rain soundtrack and movie poster. And if you listened to our Prince episode of the Return to the ’80s podcast, you would know that there is a Journey connection here. After recording the song, Prince phoned Jonathan Cain from Journey asking him to hear it, worried it might be too similar to “Faithfully“, a Journey single composed by Cain which had recently been in the charts. Cain reassured Prince telling him the songs only shared the same four chords. Prince was extremely sensitive to Copyright infringement. It’s good to see he put his money where his mouth was, and was careful himself.

2. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder

This was one of Stevie Wonder’s most commercially successful hits. It was featured in the Gene Wilder (still can’t believe he’s gone) movie The Woman in Red. The ballad won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It was also nominated for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year and Best Pop Instrumental Performance at the Grammy Awards.

1. “Caribbean Queen (No More Love On The Run)” by Billy Ocean

I always loved Billy Ocean’s voice. This is a good one. It won Ocean the 1985 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, making him the first British artist to win in that category.


Well that wraps up this week’s Countdown. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have. Did you have any favorites or least favorites? Let’s do another one of these in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.

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Sax in the ’80s

Hi Everybody! This week Robert is taking a break from Deep Tracks. Instead, he is delving into an awesome topic – 80’s songs that feature a saxophone. Along with the synthesizer, I feel that the sax gives songs that classic ’80s signature sound. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that just about the only new song I’ve liked in recent years is “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga. The late, great Big Man, Clarence Clemons (of E-Street Band fame) has a sax solo in that song.

This will be a two-part series, with 5 songs each day. Take it away, Robert


It has been a tough few weeks for fans of ‘70s and ‘80s pop culture. The recent deaths of David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and Glenn Frey have taken many of us by surprise. We have all read about the lives and careers of these great artists, so I am not going to rehash all of that information. As I have been thinking about these three, I keep coming back to Glenn Frey, both his solo work and the music he created with the Eagles. For years I have enjoyed the great songs that he created on his own or with the legendary band. I vividly remember buying the Eagles single “New Kid in Town” and listening to it over and over again, each time feeling sadder and sadder for the new kid. As I moved into high school and college I gained a huge love and respect for all of the Eagles’ music. Frey’s solo work was also outstanding. Songs like “The Heat is On” and “Smuggler’s Blues” were on dozens of mixtapes that I made- forcing my friends to listen to these great songs.

Over the past week I have listened to many of Frey’s songs and have rediscovered two of my favorites, “The One You Love” and “You Belong to the City.” I also remembered that one of the reasons I love these songs is the use of the saxophone. Naturally, this lead me to thinking about other ‘80s songs that have the prominent use of a saxophone. It took some deep trips into my memory and a little research, but I have come up with my ten favorite ‘80s hits that feature the smooth sounds of the sax; I am defining “feature” as having, at minimum, a sax solo. This is by no means meant to be a comprehensive list, just my favorites and a nod to Glenn Frey whose music got me thinking about it. So here they are – in no particular order, my favorite ten ‘80s song with a clear saxophone element being used.


“The One You Love” by Glenn Frey

I begin this list with the song and artist that is the inspiration for this list. This is my favorite solo hit by Frey and comes from his debut solo album No Fun Allowed in 1982. The song reached #15 on the AT 40 and, while that is a respectable chart position, it does not really capture the full quality of this song. The saxophones are played by two musicians; the repeating theme in the song is played by Ernie Watts and the solo sax at the end of the song is played by Jim Horn (no, this is not a pun). This is a slow paced, somber tune that depicts a moral dilemma. The woman in the song is trapped between two men and must make a choice that is going to have a profound effect on both men, “Someone’s going to cry when they’ve learned they lost you / Someone’s going to thank the stars above.” Each man speaks to a different side of the woman which makes her decision extremely difficult. One of the men has hurt her before and the one she is with now treats her well, but she is not crazy in love with him. The chorus ask the question that is perfectly captures her choice: “Are you going back to the one who loves you / Or are you going to stay with the one you love?” There is no easy answer to this difficult situation, but we do know that this song gets Frey’s solo career off to an excellent start.

“Fortress Around Your Heart” by Sting

I will confess to being a huge fan of the Police and Sting due to the songwriting. My English teacher self loves Sting’s lyrics full of symbolism, imagery, and metaphors – call me a literary geek if you want, I will fully acknowledge and accept the label. On Sting’s first two solo albums, Dream of the Blue Turtles and Nothing Like the Sun, he seems to be trying to stylistically separate himself from the Police. He has abandoned the reggae influences for a more jazz based sound, hence the prominence of the horns. The saxophone on this track is played by the incomparable Branford Marsalis. The sax is spread throughout the song and blends nicely with Sting’s bass and guitar work. This will always be my favorite Sting song because of the lyrics. He takes an unusual twist and uses war imagery to capture a man who is regretting the way he has handled the relationship with his love. He wants to protect her, but he may have taken this to an extreme and now feel remorseful, “I recognize the walls that I once made / Had to stop in my tracks for fear of walking on the mines I’ve laid.” I believe his intentions were good, he just let things get out of hand. The chorus captures both this and his regret in doing so: “And if I built this fortress around your heart / Encircled you in trenches and barbed wire / Let me build a bridge, for I cannot fill the chasm / Let me set the battlements on fire.” I have always been a huge fan of Sting’s songwriting and this song is a prime example of this. I am looking forward to seeing him at the NBA All-Star game in a few weeks.

“Careless Whisper” by Wham! featuring George Michael

I have absolutely no problem in declaring my love for Wham!’s album Make It Big. It was one of my favorites in high school and my best friends and I nearly wore the grooves off of the record. This particular song ended up as the #1 song of 1985 (“Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” was #3) and I have always been fascinated with the raw emotions of the lyrics. The gorgeous saxophone is played by Steve Gregory and truly carries this somber song. When people think of this song Gregory’s excellent sounding horn comes to mind immediately. While this song is from the Make It Big album, it is a solo effort by George Michael and it clearly played an instrumental role in him embarking on a solo career soon after it’s success. The song is one of regret. The speaker has made an enormous mistake and lost his love, “Should have known better than to cheat a friend / And waste the chance that I have been given.” Now he is realizing that he has lost a very special relationship and realizing he can never get it back, “I’m never going to dance again / These guilty feeling got no rhythm . . . So I’m never going to dance again the way I danced with you.” The chorus is agonizing and full of guilt and hopelessness – he know he has lost her forever because of something he did. I am always caught by the bridge in this song, “Maybe it’s better this way / We’ve hurt each other with the things we want to say / We could have been so good together / We could have lived this dance forever / Now who’s going to dance with me.” As an adult who married his high school sweetheart, this song has always stayed with me and serves as reminder of being true to the one who is most important in my life.

“True” by Spandau Ballet

This 1983 hit may now be best remembered for making an appearance in Sixteen Candles – remember the dance scene?

This is Spandau Ballet’s only significant hit in the U.S., putting this song on the category of one hit wonder. If you only get one hit, it might as well be a memorable one like “True” that still makes us stop, listen, and reflect on our high school days. This slow jam of a song is a perfect fit for and a staple of high school dances in the ‘80s. I have fond memories of standing up against the wall, too embarrassed to dance to the fast songs and way too scared to ask anyone to dance to this one. Most memorable are the smooth vocals by Tony Hadley, the simple and repeating guitar plucks and the sax by Steve Norman. There is not much about the lyrics that has not been said, so I offer you a challenge: play this song sometime soon and try not to sway back and forth and hit those “dunt dunt (pause) dunt dunt” sounds. You can’t resist – and neither can I.

“Urgent” by Foreigner

I love Foreigner and the album 4 that this song comes from is one of the major reasons why. There are truly no bad songs anywhere on this album. This album, released in 1981, had five AT 40 hits with “Urgent” hitting #4. This is a great rock song with great guitar work by Mick Jones and Lou Gramm’s signature vocal style. The unforgettable sax solo is played by Junior Walker while the rest of the sax is played by Mark Rivera (although the video does not suggest this). The song as about a woman who just seems to have a burning need to be with the speaker. This is never meant to be a long term relationship, rather a quick-hit whenever needed. I have always enjoyed the pace of this song, lyrics included. I love the way they phrase lines like, “You play trick on my mind / You’re everywhere but you’re so hard to find / You’re not warm, you’re sentimental / You’re so extreme, you can be so temperamental.” This is a fantastic song that played a large role in getting me into music. Years later (1986) when I started dating my future wife, I quickly discovered that we do not have the same passion for or taste in music – except for this album. “Urgent” and 4 was one of the first albums we listened to together and, when it comes on now, we both really get into it.

Remember That Song: 12/10/15

Can you name the artist and song:

It’s time to come together
It’s up to you, what’s your pleasure?


Last Song: “Last Christmas” by Wham! (1984)
I am so happy that so many people participated yesterday! Lots of winners!
Great job Robert (@mishouenglish), Brent (@jonbrent13), Rachel (@DarkDemonHeart), Karina (@WillieSun), and Andy (@andytorah)!!!

I gave you my heart
But the very next day you gave it away

Top 40 Songs This Week – March 9, 1985: Songs 10-1

Welcome back to this week’s Countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go ahead and check out songs 40-31, 30-21 and 20-11. Well, I think this has been a really solid countdown this week. And there are going to be some ’80s classics in this Top 10. So, let’s Return to the week ending March 9, 1985, and wrap up this week’s countdown.

10. “Misled” by Kool & the Gang


Once again, a great way to begin the countdown today! This is one of my favorite Kool & the Gang songs. This was off of Kool & the Gang’s biggest selling album, Emergency.

9. “Sugar Walls” by Sheena Easton

I love Sheena Easton, but this isn’t one of my favorite songs by her. It does have that classic ’80s synth-pop sound though. This song was composed by Prince, and you can totally hear it.

8. “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner

This classic power ballad by Foreigner was a #1 hit. It was also overplayed. But, after avoiding it for a while, it sounds good to me again.

7. “Neutron Dance” by The Pointer Sisters

This is a great fun song by the Pointer Sisters, with Ruth as the lead singer. It was included on their great album, Break Out. However, it’s inclusion on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack may have helped it become a huge hit. The song went so perfectly with the awesome chase scene at the beginning of the movie.

6. “Too Late For Goodbyes” by Julian Lennon

This was Julian Lennon’s biggest hit. I could not get over how much he looked and sounded like his father, John. Back then, I was kind of hoping the Beatles would reunite, with Julian taking his father’s place. But, I could not even imagine the pressure he already must have felt. So, that may have been unfair to him. I kind of like this song, and it really brings me back.

5. “Material Girl” by Madonna

I do love me some classic Madonna! I even had a little crush on her back then. It was nice when she was relevant. By the way, did you know she has a new studio album out? I didn’t, until I just went to iTunes for something else. Oh well. After this song, Madonna would sometimes be called the Material Girl in the headlines of newspapers and magazines. She did have a hit with “Like a Virgin“, but I notice she was never called Virgin Madonna. Anyway, “Material Girl” helped play a big part in helping Madonna become a pop icon of the ’80s.

4. “California Girls” by David Lee Roth

I loved this song when it came out! I much prefer DLR’s rockin’ music, but this was fun. He always has the strangest characters in his music videos.

3. “The Heat is On” by Glenn Frey

Another ’80s classic! And another smash hit from Beverly Hills Cop. This song would top out at #2, being held off by this week’s top song. However, it is the highest U.S. charting solo single by any member of The Eagles.


Now is the time of the countdown where we find out what was topping the other charts this week in 1985.

Topping the Country charts was “My Only Love” by the Statler Brothers

Topping the R&B charts was our #34 song on the Hot 100 – “Missing You” by Diana Ross.

The top Rock song this week was our #25 hit on the Hot 100 – “Just Another Night” by Mick Jagger.

The top Dance tune was “New Attitude” by Patti LaBelle.

The top album was Make It Big by Wham

And the top Adult Contemporary song this week is our #2 song this week:

2. “Careless Whisper” by Wham! Featuring George Michael

This was George Michael’s first solo hit, although he was still performing in Wham! at the time. The song was on Wham!’s Make It Big album. This is one of those songs that I did not like at all when it came out. But, I like it now.

1. “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon

We have reached the top of the charts with this classic power ballad by REO Speedwagon. This was the first week of this song’s run as the #1 hit in the country. If you see any ’80s love song compilation, chances are very good that this song will be on it.


Remember That Song: 8/7/14

Can you name the artist and song:

We live in the modern age
Where love is fast like a turning page
In a magazine, we’ve hardly seen


Last Song: “I’m Your Man” by Wham! from Music from the Edge of Heaven (1985)

Great job Robert (@mishouenglish)!!!

Call me good
Call me bad
Call me anything you want to, baby
But I know that you’re sad

Remember That Song – 6/28/13

Since I am still on a high from seeing Scarab (a Journey tribute band) last night, today is a special challenge. Here is my favorite part of my favorite song. Name the song, and see if you can fill in all the blanks.

Just when you think you had it all figured out
Runnin’ ______ ___ ______ ____ ____

I never knew I had so much to give
How ____ _____ ___ ____ __

Oh I’m okay, I’m alright
Feelin’ ____ ___ __ ____ ___

I’ll break away, I’ll break away tonight
I’ve ___ ______ _’_ _____’ ___


Last Song “Freedom” by Wham!

Great job Kickin’ It Old School (@oldschool80s) and Robert (@mishouenglish)!!

Tell me I’m a baby and I don’t understand
But you know that I’ll forgive you
Just this once, twice forever

Remember That Song: 12/12/12

Can you name the artist and song:

She’s got big thoughts, big dreams
And a big brown Mercedes sedan
What I think this girl, she really wants
Is to be in love with a man


Last Song: “Freedom” by Wham!
Lots of winners yesterday!
Great job Jim, Rachel (@StarLady82), Jo (@jo_purplepoppy), Kids Inc Daily (@kidsincdaily), and @picklebuggy!!

‘Cause baby
You could drag me to hell and back
Just as long as we’re together
And you do

And courtesy of our good friend, @kidsincdaily:

Hits of 1985 – Horrible and Great

On September 6, 2009, Stuck in the 80s released their Horrible Hits of 1985 Podcast (Episode 178). Here is their list:

10. Walking on Sunshine – K.C. and the Sunshine Band
9. Neutron Dance – Pointer Sisters (vetoed by Steve)
8. All I Need – Jack Wagner (vetoed by Cathy)
7. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!
6. Wild Boys – Duran Duran
5. One Night In Bangkok – Murray Head
4. Some Like It Hot – Power Station (vetoed by Cathy and Steve)
3. Sea of Love – The Honeydrippers
2. We Built This City – Starship
1. We Are the World – U.S.A. For Africa

You can see the top 100 hits from Billboard that year.

This was a tough one for me. There were so many horrible songs from 1985, and there were so many great ones. But, I was finally able to compile my list, so here is my top 5 (or worst 5) of Horrible songs from that year:

5. Money for Nothing – Dire Straits

This is one of the most overrated songs of the ’80s. Sure, the video was different from anything else at the time. And MTV is mentioned in the song. This was the perfect storm for the video to play in a seemingly endless loop for a long time on MTV. This would have been my #1 for most horrible song, if not for the awesome guitar lick at the beginning of the song. Once that guitar part is done, I go off in a daze, and forget that it’s on.

4. Everytime You Go Away – Paul Young

I never cared much for this song at all. It was too boring for me. This song might not be on too many peoples’ lists of horrible songs, but I have a personal grudge against this song. As some longtime Return to the ’80s readers may know, I served in the military. The day I left, the recruiter picked me up at home to send me off to boot camp. I got in the car, and as we were pulling away, this song came on. Since this song mocked me, it is now on my Horrible list.

3. Solid – Ashford and Simpson

Typical song that lands on my Horrible list – boring and overplayed. I would have to turn off the radio whenever this song came on. I may be in the minority here, but I don’t like too many of this songwriting duo’s songs, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing”, and “I’m Every Woman”.

2. Smooth Operator – Sade

The Stuck in the 80s guys were told to keep this song off their Horrible list. It did sound like they wanted it on there though. So, I will place it on my list. Is this even a song? It is more like slow torture! Slow, slow torture.

1. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!

Ecchhhh. Wham! ranks right up there with Culture Club as one of my least favorite groups. The only song I don’t mind by them is “Freedom”, so at least there’s that. I wasn’t sure if “Wake Me Up..” or “Careless Whisper” would be my #1 Horrible song. Since this song is played the most on the 80s on 8 radio station, and on all radio stations that play 80s songs, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” wins. Once you hear this crappy song, it sticks with you, whether you like it or not.

Here is my top songs from that year:

10. Loverboy – Billy Ocean:

I love Billy Ocean’s voice. This is a fun song.

9. Nightshift – Commodores:

This is a really good Commodore’s song without Lionel Richie. It’s a nice tribute about music legends.

8. St. Elmos Fire (Man In Motion) – John Parr:

This song is just as good as the movie. Great rockin’s song with a Joe Cocker feel to it.

7. What About Love – Heart:

Heart was at the beginning of their resurgence with this song. Great song, and Ann Wilson has one of the best female rock voices of all time.

6. Misled – Kool and The Gang:

Kool and the Gang may be best known for their party anthem – “Celebration”. But, their Emergency album is incredible, and “Misled” is perhaps the best of the bunch. Great rockin’ song.

5. Neutron Dance – Pointer Sisters

You can’t help but want to move to this song. “Neutron Dance” was the Pointer Sisters’ fourth top ten single in a row, which was on their album Break Out. It was also featured in Beverly Hills Cop. I love the Pointer Sisters, and this song is right up there among my favorites.

4.Crazy for You – Madonna

This was Madonna’s first ballad, which came off of the great Vision Quest soundtrack. This song was surrounded with controversy at the time. The Vision Quest soundtrack was on Geffen Records, and Warner Brothers had just released Madonna’s Like a Virgin album. Warner Brothers did not want “Crazy For You” released as a single, as it would take attention away from Like a Virgin. But Geffen producers Jon Peters and Peter Guber were able to convince Warner to greenlight the single. As a result, Madonna was able to prove that she had more talent than your typical attention-getting pop star. I believe that due to the fact that she could sing different styles of music, this song went a long way in making her an 80s icon.

3. I Can’t Hold Back – Survivor

This is one of my favorite songs by Survivor. This came off the great Vital Signs album, which was their first with lead singer Jimi Jamison. They had other hit songs from this album, such as “High On You” and “The Search Is Over”, but “I Can’t Hold Back” is my favorite. It was featured prominently in the recent movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop“, which made it the best part of the movie.

2. Summer of ’69/Heaven – Bryan Adams

I had a hard time deciding which Bryan Adams song to throw on here, so why not add both? Summer of ’69 is a great rocker. I’m sure we can all relate to looking back at the “good ole days”, or you wouldn’t be reading this. And “Heaven” is a great ballad. It is a nice slow-dance song.

Summer of ’69
Heaven

1. Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds

The ultimate ’80s song from the ultimate ’80s movie. You can’t think of one without the other. It even has staying power as this song is played while the losing American Idols are being booted. This song does gte played alot, but somehow I cannot get sick of it.