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.
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.