Tag Archives: Lionel Richie

The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1986

12 Apr

The summer of 1986 felt different from those that came before. It was between my junior and senior years of high school, and I sensed that one part of my life was going away and making room for a new one. If other people get that feeling, then I guess it would come the summer after graduation. However, the transition would then be complete.

The summer of 1986 was my last as a high schooler. I did the same things. Only, it felt like I was doing them for the last time under mantle of teenager with no responsibilities.

With all that begin written, what was the soundtrack of 1986?1986

January hit the calendar, and “Say You, Say Me” by Lionel Richie was still at the top. It would be followed by twenty-nine other songs. That, dear readers, is a lot of turnover.

For four weeks, Dionne and Friends dominated with “That’s What Friends Are For”. Obviously, Dionne was Dionne Warwick. Friends included Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.

Dionne was knocked from the top of the charts by her cousin, Whitney Houston, who sang “How Will I Know”.

Next, “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister claimed Number One and stayed there for a couple of weeks.

Jefferson Airplane, er, Jefferson Starship, er, Starship hit the summit with “Sara”. They did not stay there long. It could be that no one ever figured out who recorded the song.

That opened the door for “These Dreams” by Heart. However, the could not hold off the juggernaut that dominated pop culture in March and April. “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco zoomed the trop and had people asking, “Who is this Amadeus dude?”

Prince and the Revolution were able to conquer the one hit wonder with “Kiss”, a song that is not about Gene Simmons and the gang.

“Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer had an awesome video that was supposedly inspired by Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”.

The next Number One was supposedly inspired by T.S. Eliot. I must admit that “West End Girls” by Pet Shop Boys was one of my favorites.

“Went End Girls” could not stand up to the vocal force that was Whitney Houston. She had her second Number One of the year with “Greatest Love of All”.

“Greatest Love of All” could not stand up to the all around force that was Madonna. She hit the top with “Live to Tell”.

It would take two people to knock Madonna out of the box. Those two people were Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald with “On My Own”. A couple of years ago, we saw Michael McDonald in concert, and we were able to meet him before the show. You would have thought that my wife had seen the greatest person in the world. She just about freaked out.

“There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry” by Billy Ocean started a string of songs that could only hold on for a week. Next, there was “Holding Back the Years” by Simply Red. Then, there was “Invisible Touch” by Genesis.

Ironically, Genesis lost the top spot to Peter Gabriel, who used to be a member of Genesis. Honestly, I think “Sledgehammer” made it to Number One because of its video.

Peter Cetera, who had also been a member of a famous band, broke the one week chain by having “Glory of Love” stay on top for two weeks. Unfortunately for Peter, Madonna was waiting in the wings with “Papa Don’t Preach”.

Then, there was the teenage prodigy turn grownup genius named Steve Winwood. “Higher Love” took him as high up the charts as he could go.

How in the world could a group called Bananarama replace somebody like Steve Winwood? Well, they did with “Venus”. They did not stay long before being knocked into outer space by “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin.

Berlin fell to Huey Lewis and the News and “Stuck with You”. Of course, they were old news by the time Janet Jackson sang “When I Think of You”.

“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper was special song. In fact, it was special enough that it became the theme to our Senior Night an entire year after it left the charts. How up to date were our planners?

Boston sang about “Amanda”, and The Human League sang about “Human”. I think Amanda was a human. However, I am certain that Bon Jovi thought “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

Peter Cetera came back with “The Next Time I Fall”. This time he had a partner in Amy Grant. I wonder if she was singing about Vince Gill.

“The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and the Range hit the top in December but did not stay for long.

The year of 1986 ended with everyone wanting to do like The Bangles and “Walk Like an Egyptian”. I did not want to walk like that, but I wanted to meet The Bangles girl with the big brown eyes.

Those were the top songs of 1986. Did you have any favorites from that year?

 

 

 

The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1985

7 Apr

Wow, I cannot believe that 1985 was thirty years ago. I started the year as a sophomore and ended the year as an upperclassman. For a high school kid, that makes all the difference in the world. I could not play an instrument, but I could play the radio.1985

The year began with Madonna continuing her “Like a Virgin” dominance of the charts. In fact, the entire month of January belonged to her.

In February, her song was replaced by “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner. It was one of my favorites and was a big deal for a kid who really wondered what love was all about.

It was soon replaced with “Careless Whisper” by Wham! featuring George Michael. This should have been a clear signal to the other guy. George was about to be the star of the duo. I guess that is why I call him the other guy.

REO Speedwagon was up next with “Can’t Fight This Feeling”. Honestly, I never understood the fascination with this band or this song.

“One More Night” started a big year for Phil Collins. This would be the first of three Number One songs for the singer/drummer. Or, is it drummer/singer?

Phil Collins was good, but he could not hold off a bunch of stars raising money for Africa. “We Are the World” was a song, an event and a pretty good video. It was performed by USA for Africa, a group of singers who were not all from the USA. Ever wonder who took part in this project? Wonder no more. The group was made up of (in alphabetical order):

Dan Aykroyd, Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Sheila E., Bob Geldof, Hall and Oates, James Ingram, Jackie Jackson, La Toya Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson, Randy Jackson, Tito Jackson, Al Jarreau, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Huey Lewis and the News, Kenny Loggins, Bette Midler, Willie Nelson, Jeffrey Osborne, Steve Perry, The Pointer Sisters, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder

It stayed on top for four weeks before Madonna struck back with “Crazy for You”.

She stayed in that spot for a week and was knocked out by a song that played over the end credits of a movie. The Breakfast Club struck a chord with high school kids, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds was the song that made this chord stick.

Wham! returned with “Everything She Wants” and made sure “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” would have to be remembered because, after one week, it was a thing of the past.

Then, one of my favorite 1980s groups hit the Number One spot. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears was, in my opinion, the best song of the year.

Unfortunately, it was soon replaced by the overrated Bryan Adams with “Heaven”.

“Sussudio” by Phil Collins made sure that Bryan Adams went away. Although, I still have not figured out who or what Sussudio is supposed to be.

James Bond could save the world, but he could also put a theme song at the top of the carts. “A View to a Kill” by Duran Duran held the Number One spot for two weeks. They did it despite being connected to Roger Moore, one of my least favorite 007s.

Paul Young and “Everytime You Go Away” accomplished what no villain could. He defeated James Bond. However, he did not hold on for long.

Tears for Fears returned with “Shout”, which was not as good as their previous hit. I have no idea how it stayed at the top longer than the other one.

I admit that the 1980s were cheesy. That cheesiness was defined by Huey Lewis and the News, a group that hit Number One with “The Power of Love”.

Unfortunately for Huey, the Brat Pack would not be denied. They drove Simple Minds to the top. Now, they did the same thing for John Parr. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” was the theme song for the movie with the same name.

The fire was doused by one of the greatest videos of the 1980s. “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits provided a regular person’s view of music superstardom. The video was early computerization at its best. The song was Number One for three weeks and was followed by a string of one-week wonders.

“Oh Sheila” by Ready for the World started the trend. That was followed by “Take On Me” by a-ha, a song that was driven by its awesome video.

Whitney Houston had a Number One song with “Saving All My Love for You” and was followed by Stevie Wonder with “Part-Time Lover”. It looks as if those songs have two different philosophies.

Another theme song reached the peak of the charts. “Miami Vice Theme” by Jan Hammer was an instrumental that took the country by storm. Of course, Miami Vice also took the country by storm and influenced 1980s lifestyle and fashion. This is where I should admit that I have never seen an episode of Miami Vice. I may be a product of the 1980s, but I still have television taste. Give me The Equalizer and The A-Team anytime.

Jefferson Airplane? Jefferson Starship? Starship? They need to make up their minds. Anyway, Starship had a hit called “We Built This City”.

The year could not end without another Phil Collins hit. However, “Separate Lives” was a duet with Marilyn Martin.

Another typical 1980s group replaced the work of Phil and Marilyn. “Broken Wings” by Mr. Mister held the top position for two weeks. However, the year ended with the return of Lionel Richie and “Say You, Say Me”.

Did you have any favorites that did not reach Number One? Let me know.

 

 

 

 

The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1984

6 Apr

The year when people who had never heard of George Orwell suddenly knew all about him. The year I got my first car and could cruise the Main with my radio blaring. Yep, 1984 was an interesting year. It was also a good year for some new artists and for some artists who had been around for a while.1984

The year began the way 1983 ended. “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson was at the top of the charts and would stay there for a couple of more weeks.

They were knocked out of that spot by Yes. This band had been around for years and hit the top with “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. The song stayed on top for two weeks but was overtaken by a new group that became one of the definitions of the 1980s.

Culture Club, led by Boy George, gained everyone’s attention with “Karma Chameleon”. They held the Number One position for three weeks. Then, they found themselves up against a band that liked to be called hard rock, but I am not sure about that.

“Jump” by Van Halen remained Number One for five weeks in February and March. I like a good Hard Rock hair band, but this bunch was too cheesy for my taste. This was never one of my favorite songs.

Thankfully, they were jumped by someone else. Less thankfully, it was another cheesy song. It was also from a cheesy movie. “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins proved that he had moved on from his days Jim Messina. It also proved that teenagers will watch any dumb movie with music and dancing.

Interestingly, “Footloose” was replaced by another song from another soundtrack. “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” by Phil Collins came from a movie of the same name. It was another typical 198s movie but was geared towards adults rather than kids. It was also one of the last films of Richard Widmark, one of the all time great actors.

Phil Collins had been a member of Genesis before going on to a solo career. He lost the top spot to another singer who was doing the same thing. Lionel Richie had been a member of The Commodores. Now, he had another hit song with “Hello”.

“Let’s Here It for the Boy” by Deniece Williams was Number One for a couple of weeks and was followed by a string of performers who typified the music of the 1980s. In fact, the summer of 1984 was dominated by three artists.

It began with “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper and continued with one of my favorite groups, Duran Duran. How can you go wrong with a group named after a character in Barbarella? Anyway, they saw “The Reflex” go to Number One.

Duran Duran stayed there for a couple of weeks. Then, they were replaced by the biggest hit of 1984. “When Doves Cry” by Prince is an awesome song that stayed at the top of the charts for five weeks, including the entire month of July.

It gave way to another song from a movie. However, this was not just any movie. Ghostbusters was about a group of guys who rid New York City of apparitions. Then, they almost met their match went they went up against a gigantic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Oh yeah, “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, Jr. went Number One.

Then, the music world saw the triumphant return of a 1960s icon. After a life filled with struggle, Tina Turner, from Nutbush, Tennessee, returned to the charts with “What’s Love Got to Do with It”. She stayed at Number One for three weeks.

For one week, “Missing You” by John Waite reached the peak of the charts. However, it feel away under the power of Prince, who had his second Number One song with “Let’s Go Crazy”.

Another star of the 1960s and 1970s returned to the charts in October. “I Just Called to Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder was Number One for three weeks.

“Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)” by Billy Ocean was next in line. Here is something interesting. Depending on the region of the world, the title and lyrics changed.

Another quintessential 1980s act reached the top in November. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” took Wham! to the top of the charts.

They were overtaken by another duo but one that had several hits. Hall and Oates returned to Number One with “Out of Touch” and remained there for two weeks.

Another newcomer replaced them, but this newcomer was taking her first step toward becoming a trendsetter and superstar. She would do that through music and lifestyle. The year 1984 ended with the introduction of Madonna. “Like A Virgin” spent the last two weeks of the year at Number One. I am sure it was played at a ton of New Years Eve parties.

Those are the Number One songs of 1984. Obviously, those were not all of the artists putting out music. What were some of your favorite 1984 songs?

The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1983

5 Apr

When we get into the car, my stepdaughter hooks her iPod up to the system, and the sounds of the 2010s come blasting through the speakers. She sings and can tell us anything we want to know about the people who are singing. Without her, my pop culture knowledge would be zero.

Some of the music is good, and some of it is less desirable. However, it is always fun to see how much enjoyment she gets out of it.

The other day, we were riding and jamming when I started thinking about the effect of music on our formative years. These are the songs we grow up with, and they stick with us throughout our lives. I came to age in the 1980s and, like others my age, feel a connection to the music of that time. I am not saying it was the best of all time, but it belongs to us.

The songs of the 1980s are the soundtrack of our youth just as the songs of the 2010s are the soundtrack of my stepdaughter’s youth. Because of that, each generation holds its music in a little higher esteem than everyone else does.

With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to look back at my high school years and see what was at the top of the charts. I entered high school in 1983, and that will be our starting point. I will also use the Billboard Top 100. Obviously, there are other charts for other genres, but we do not want to go down a rabbit hole and never get out.1983

“Maneater” by Hall and Oates held the spot for the first two weeks of the year. These days, John Oates does a lot of work in Nashville.

The next three weeks were dominated by “Down Under” by Men at Work. This is one of my favorite songs from that year.

For one week, Toto’s “Africa” hit the top spot. It is interesting that two songs about other parts of the world made their way to the top of the American charts. It is also interesting that Men at Work returned to the top place after this one week.

Patti Austin and James Ingram hit it big with “Baby, Come to Me”, but were soon overwhelmed by a 1980s superstar.

In March, “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson became the Number One song and stayed there for seven weeks.

Here is a good trivia question. Who knocked “Billie Jean” out of the top spot? It was Dexys Midnight Runners with “Come On Eileen”. However, their success was short-lived.

After one week, Michael Jackson came back by putting “Beat It” in the top spot. It would stay there for three weeks.

The next week, “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie made its way to Number One, but it did not hold on for long.

Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What a Feeling” was a hit on the radio and on the big screen. For six weeks, guys listened to this song and pictured a dancer pouring water on herself.

A song about stalking was next on the list. “Every Breath You Take” by The Police is a good song, but it gets weird as you listen closer to the lyrics. Actually, it was the biggest hit of 1983 and stayed Number One for eight weeks.

Eurythmics rode “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” up the charts. In my mind, this is also one of the best songs of the year.

Then, we have “Maniac” by Michael Sembello. This is the second song from the Flashdance soundtrack to make it to the top of the charts.

Billy Joel was on top with “Tell Her About It” for one week and was overtaken by “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler. This is also one of my favorites and held its position for four weeks.

The country went the Pop Country route with “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. They are both in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

They were at the top for two weeks before Lionel Richie came through with “All Night Long (All Night)” in November. He stayed there for four weeks.

The year ended with a four-week stay at the top by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. “Say Say Say” was a duet that proves McCartney is not new to collaboration. His recent work with Kanye West and Rihanna is just the most recent example.

That is it for 1983. In the next post, we will look at 1984 and find out which of these performers kept their momentum into the next year.

Obviously, these are not the only songs of the year. What were some of your favorites?

 

 

 

Saturday Night Ramblings

11 Aug

This is another one of those nights where nothing is coming to my mind. The house is mostly quiet because I am the only one around. The television is on ESPN, but the sound is turned down. The only sounds are the air conditioning and the wine cooler.

Speaking of wine, I just poured a glass, but I’m not big on having a drink when I am alone. Actually, having a drink is not at the top of my list at any time. I will have a glass of something at dinner, but then it will probably be only one. I know that a lot of people will have a cocktail or glass of wine to relax, but I have never had a problem relaxing. I don’t know. Maybe, it is all about control. I like being in that state and completely feeling what is going on around me. That’s hard to do while ingesting a depressant.

So, here I sit with the hum of cooling devices and a glass of wine that is going to be dumped in the sink. All of the rooms are dark except for the one I am sitting in. Obviously, it is an exciting Saturday night. It is so exciting that my mind has emptied itself of anything to write about. To fix that problem, I will throw some random thoughts out there as they pop in my head.

My nephew moved back to college today. He attends to University of Tennessee.

As I tweeted earlier, The Refreshments should have been a bigger band.

Ned Beatty’s speech in Network is awesome.

I miss my wife and will be glad when she gets home tomorrow.

College football will start in a few weeks. The most exciting game I ever attended was Tennessee’s victory over the Miami Hurricanes in the 1986 Sugar Bowl. Man, that has been a long time ago.

Wright Thompson is my new favorite person to follow on Twitter.

The Commodores only had one good song after Lionel Richie left, but Nightshift was one of my favorites.

For some reason, Sports Illustrated does not interest me that much anymore.

I really want to go back to Monument Valley.

Jerry Reed was the best real life person to make an appearance on Scooby Doo.

If you do an image search of Lebanon, Tennessee, then this is the first picture that pops up.City Hall

If you do an image search of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, then this is the first image that pops up.Mt Juliet

If you do an image search of Watertown, Tennessee, then this is the first image that pops up.Watertown

That is all I have. Thanks for making it this far.