I’m a child of the 80’s. I was born in 1970 and graduated high school in 1988 so the bulk of my formative years were spent in what some consider to be the greatest decade known to man. It was right around 1983 that I started really listening to and escaping into music. Among other things, Casey Kasem and his American Top 40 did a fantastic job of helping inform my musical identity at the time. I consider myself somewhat of an 80’s music connoisseur and not a day goes by that I don’t listen to either my 80’s on 8 playlist (443 songs) or my Hair Nation playlist (241 songs). That’s almost 700 songs of 80’s goodness right there.
While those playlists span almost ten years of music, I’ve long contended that 1983 and 1984 were the pinnacle of 80’s music. A large percentage of the songs we consider quintessential 80’s tunes – the stuff that compilation and greatest hits albums are made of – came out of these two years. In an attempt to prove out my contention that those years were, in fact, the halcyon days of 80’s music, I’m going to take some time and walk through the weekly top 40 charts starting in 1983. I’ve built a Spotify playlist that I’ll update every week, I’ll point out some of the songs going up and down the charts and, since I’m a font of useless 80’s information, point out some interesting facts about a tune or two. We’ll try it for a while. If it works it works, if it’s a snoozer we’ll stop. Join me, won’t you?
US Top 40 Singles for the Week Ending February 12, 1983
- “Down Under” by Men At Work is the number one song. Two weeks ago, it was number one but fell to number two last week. This week, it claws its way back to number one.
- One of my favorite 80’s songs, “On The Loose” by Saga is climbing the charts.
- Michael Jackson is beginning his assault on the American music charts. The album Thriller was released in November of ’82 and the first huge single, “Billie Jean”, is climbing.
- “Mickey” by Toni Basil fell off the charts this week after peaking at number one. To be honest, I never knew it reached the top spot.
- “ Roboto” by Styx debuts this week. One of their biggest hits, they refuse to play it in concert now.
- Take a look up and down the chart and notice all the songs that are regarded as some of the most recognized (if not iconic) songs of the 80’s. This will happen all year long.