Best #1 single of the year retrospective: 1985

“Springsteen, Madonna, way before Nirvana
There was U2, and Blondie, and music still on MTV”
-Bowling For Soup, “1985”

Our survey brings us now to 1985, perhaps the '80s-est year of the decade, one of the most tumultuous years we’ve seen since the mid-70s. With “Like A Virgin” carrying over, 27 songs topped the Hot 100 this year, with no song staying at #1 for longer than four weeks, and a number of acts scoring two or three #1s apiece.

You know the drill. What’s your favorite?

Previous polls: 1955-56 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 2012 2013

I had to give it to Paul Young. Daryl Hall wrote that song, and I still love it today.

I just watched a profile of Knopfler that OneCentStamp linked to in another thread. It’s one of DS’s most iconic songs, but I had to go for Madonna and Crazy for You. It’s a lush ballad and part of her era-defining run of hits and celebrity.

Lotta good stuff.

Per a comment in a different thread, as an SF Bay Area native, I look at the contributions from Starship and Huey Lewis on this list and just barf. The shame!

I was this close to voting for Starship, but after weighing it against about half the other songs on the list, I narrowly decided to vote for REO Speedwagon.

I had to vote for Duran Duran again – I happen to really like “A View To a Kill” as well.

But damn, “Don’t You Forget About Me” was my high school class song, and I love that as well. Also A-ha!

“We Are The World” annoyed the heck out of me, and I couldn’t put my finger on it until I ran across PJ O’Rourke’s deconstruction of the lyrics.

This was a tough decision between three songs:
“Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” a personal favorite.
“(Don’t You) Forget About Me”, an iconic movie song which really helped define the decade.
“Money for Nothing”, one of the best videos of the 80s.

I had to go with “(Don’t You) Forget About Me.”

Man, Phil Collins really was ubiquitous during this time period. I can see why people got so sick of him.

Money for Nothing just barely beating out Careless Whisper.

Say what you want about Wham! But that’s a great regretful ballad.

Ugh, we continue the slide*.

I selected Paul Young because of the Coral Sitar part.

*Ignore me, I can’t be satisfied.

I like the chord sequence in the Duran Duran song, and how it evokes Christopher Walken and Grace Jones. Mid-80s fashionista music.

The Simple Minds song* was a close second for me.

(*Technically a cover, if I recall correctly. But only in the way that, say, R.E.M.'s “Superman” is a cover.)

This year is a salute to mediocrity. There are few songs on this list that I really like, and few that I really dislike. 1985 may feature the smallest difference between first-place and dead-ass-last-place songs in the world-famous Ponch8 Music Rating System to date.

I picked “Take On Me” in a fairly tight contest over “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” and “Don’t You Forget About Me.” “Take On Me” wins because of its awesome synthesizers and music video. “Man in Motion” gets an honorable mention because I was obsessed with this song when I was 9 and it was at the top of the charts. Never mind that I thought it was called “Magic Motion.”

It’s pretty difficult to pick the song that finishes dead-ass last. I don’t remember “Separate Lives” at all. Finding it on YouTube, I can now see why nobody plays this song anymore. “Separate Lives” is my pick, even though it’s not terrible. And no matter what everybody says, “We Built This City” isn’t really that horrible either.

No vote. Due to a change in life circumstances in early 1985, I wasn’t exposed to Top 40 radio/MTV very much. I don’t recognize, or at least don’t remember, most of these songs, and the ones I do remember mean absolutely nothing to me. I was going to say that this is where I get off the bus, yet looking ahead to 1986 I see at least three really great songs that will be hard to choose from. Go figure.

The world of pop music is on the down escalator now. Everything on this list is terrible, except for Dire Straits. I worked in a manufacturing plant that played all of these songs every God damned day, over, and over, and over, and over. So maybe I’m just sick to death of hearing it all the time. Most of the list is just sugary, silly love songs. I, for one, have had enough of silly love songs.

Dire Straits: killer song with killer guitar work. His story of how he came by the lyrics is great: “I just hid behind the microwave ovens and wrote down what they were saying.” :smiley: “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” is one of the most representative songs from that era, and I still like it, but couldn’t vote for it.

“(Don’t You) Forget About Me” just ahead of the two Tears For Fears songs. Dire Straits was dad rock before the term was invented.

I don’t know. “Superman” was actually a '60s song recorded by an actual band - Simple Minds, IIRC, were the first to record “(Don’t You) Forget About Me” even though they didn’t write it.

…and after sitting at the bus stop with a scowl since 1980 or so, I went with Part Time Lover. It’s lyrically pretty dull, but way too bouncy to ignore.

No votes for “Theme to Miami Vice”? Shocking.

And this is the first time I’ll come on one of these threads and say, what a woeful, dreary list. I remember thinking similarly back in 1985 and constantly turning the radio dial to find something tolerable.

Screw it, I’m choosing the Miami Vice theme.

Dire Straits with Simple Minds a very close second.

I like Phil Collins/Genesis, but Sussudio annoyed the crap out of me. What is a Sussudio???

  1. The Cosby Show was #1, Gorbachev became head of the USSR, the US economy was on a rebound, and everyone loved Ronald Reagan until the Iran-Contra scandal. It seemed like all the world’s problems were being solved.

I’ll go with Take on Me, whose exuberance always reminds me of the 80s.

I thought “Careless Whisper” was George Michael solo,* but it’s a damn good record in any case, and gets my vote. I imagine “Money for Nothing” will win, though.

*From Wikipedia, it appears it was indeed originally released as a George Michael solo effort in Britain, but as by Wham! featuring George Michael (presumably for marketing reasons) in the USA and some other countries. What is more, Andrew Ridgeley apparently co-wrote it. This rather messes with my rule of thumb that Wham! was universally crap, but that, once he got shot of Ridgeley, George Michael on his own was sometimes very good.