“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.
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!
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.
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.” “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.
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.
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.