Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1984

You know, as time passed for these artists, there’s a lot of pain and resentment on this list…

Prince had his epic fight with his label, officially changing his name to Christopher/Glyph/whatever.

Van Halen had their falling out with David Lee Roth, kicking him from the band within a couple of years. Eddie’s battles with drug and alcohol addiction are well known, as is his tumultuous marriage to Valerie Bertinelli.

Ray Parker Jr. got successfully sued by Huey Lewis for plagiarism, with Huey successfully arguing that “Ghostbusters” was “I Want a New Drug” with different lyrics.

Tina Turner - do I need to go into her marriage with Ike?

But, other then Tina, none of the above is as tragic as Phil Collins. Suffering from nerve damage that prevents him from drumming, hearing loss as a result of that drumming, he has been struggling with depression for quite a number of years partly because of the pain from the nerve damage, but also because his 80s music became a punchline for so long. Was it his fault that over 100 million copies of his songs were purchased by fans, that radio stations played them endlessly? Is that even something to “blame” somebody for?

Serious question: Is there another musical artist, post-1955, whose reputation has suffered as much as Phil Collins precisely because they were so successful?

So, perhaps “When Doves Cry” is the coolest song on this list, perhaps “Time After Time” is the most enduring, perhaps “What’s Love Got to Do With It” is the most impressive comeback in years… but “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)”… in time, it became the most heartbreaking, and it gets my vote because it’s the best of Phil’s #1 songs and it’s a quality ballad in its own right.


Phil Collins will always be one of my favorite drummers. His solo work I’m not enamoured with, but I do like “Take a Look at Me Now” and “Calling in the Air Tonight.”

I love the video for it, too. They’re just having a good time goofing around.

So of course I voted for “Let’s Go Crazy.”

I went with “Jump” on this one. It’s not my favorite Van Halen song (that would be “Why Can’t This Be Love?” - I like the Hagar era better, sue me) but I’m just old enough to remember my parents blasting it on the stereo when I was little and obediently jumping into the air as high as I could whenever the chorus came around, and for that it has a special place in my heart.

A good year. For me, it came down to Prince, Yes, and Tina Turner. I tried to not focus on how Yes and Tina were late-career “comebacks,” and hear their songs for the fresh tracks they were in 1984. I finally voted for Yes. “Owner of a Lonely Heart” brings that year back to my heart, but doesn’t sound at all bad today (and was put to good use in the film The Breakup, about seven years ago).

I’m slightly surprised that “Like a Virgin” is my favorite thing here and somehow evokes that period of time the most vividly.

I remember quite clearly that the John Waite song got lots of respect for its song craft and it appealed to different age groups back in 1984; interesting that it’s not polling very strongly here.

Just goes to show how bad mainstream taste is.

Jump is the worst song on 1984, Owner of a Lonely Heart is the worst song on 90125. Phil Collins is one of the 10 best drummers of all time but seems to be in it for a paycheck only that year.

Gotta go with The Reflex.

I don’t know if Sting became such a punching bag as Collins, though, and he did have a bit of a comeback with his “Brand New Day” album. The Bee Gees may be a better answer for the question, imho, but they’ve gone through a bit of a reputational rehab over the past decade.

If “Jump” is the worst song on 1984, then that just shows how great of an album it was. It’s a departure for Van Halen (and exacerbates tensions in the band), but it’s a highly influential rock song and a great showcasing of synthesizers, one of the most famous synth riffs around. Just an all-around great rock song combining hard rock with early 80s analog synthesizers and pop songwriting sensibility. It’s my third favorite song on this list, behind “When Doves Cry” and “Time After Time.”

The same, but I voted the other way. :slight_smile: Prince and Lauper have two of the most emotive, sincere voices in pop music. Masters.

And really, so many songs on this list are phenomenal; I could happily choose 5 or 6 of these.

“When Doves Cry” was by far the most interesting #1 of the year, and the most interesting in a few years. Rock should be innovative.

His Purpleness runs away with this poll with “When Doves Cry.” A great song that was unusual for its time. It’s one where I actually turn the radio up if it comes on today.

I had a tough time choosing between the two Prince songs. I like “Let’s Go Crazy” just a skosh more than “When Doves Cry,” and I figured the later would win this poll anyway, so I voted for the former.

In dead-ass last place is Cyndi Lauper. Hers is the only song on this list I truly dislike.

“When Doves Cry” stands out in a field of crap. It’s no wonder I stopped listening to Top 40 radio and buried myself deep in the FM dial during the 80s.

I have tons of memories associated with these songs, but now I wouldn’t throw any of them a life jacket if they were drowning in my pool. Like Francisco Franco, radio is still dead.

This however was a great year for The Replacements, Husker Du, and the Minutemen.

I don’t know. I still have lots of respect for Phil Collins (although there are songs of his I can’t stand, like his cover of “True Colors.”) Sting? Not so much. I always think of this when I think of Sting.

Yup. One of the best songs, ever.

I am sure all those boatloads of money ease the pain a bit.

And you know, its not like he got all those ailments as a young man. Who doesn’t start getting health problems as they get into their sixties?

As for Tina, surely her story isn’t a tragedy but the reverse, a triumph over adversity. She got away from Ike and made a success on her own.

Money can’t buy you love.

Smapti, I just wanted to mention that I appreciate the effort you put into these introduction paragraphs!

Aaaand this is a very hard year. Possibly music reached its peak at this time. :wink:
I saw several songs on this list and instantly thought, This is the one! I could have voted for Owner of a Lonely Heart (as I had totally been planning to do for this year), Jump, Time After Time, or When Doves Cry…but I had to give it to Madonna’s Like A Virgin. That was the first album I ever bought. I still like it too.