Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week I’m hopping into my time machine again, this time setting the coordinates for 37 years ago this week.
Touching down in November of ’82 I hear a lot of familiar tunes … but I was four years old back then, so why do I remember all of the music so well?
The answer is in the Billboard Hot 100 from this week in 1982, which features a plethora of incredibly memorable, era-defining, songs that everyone loves no matter how old they were at the time … or even if they weren’t alive yet!
So let’s get into this exploration of chart history. Of course, since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
4. Laura Branigan – Gloria
Although disco was pretty much dead by the time 1982 came around, you can still see the last remnants of it in the video for “Gloria,” which features an array of disco balls, and Laura Branigan belting out her biggest hit in a weirdly abandoned venue. Did they forget to tell an audience to show up? Who was in charge of casting? Better yet, who was in charge of the budget, and why did they blow it all on disco balls?
6. Men at Work – Who Can It Be Now?
There are a lot of people who label Men At Work a one hit wonder, because everyone knows and loves their mega-hit “Down Under,” which comes in at #43 on this week’s chart. What those people seem to forget is that “Who Can It Be Now?” was also a mega-hit for the band, reaching #1 in October of ’82.
As a bonus, “Who Can It Be Now?” features an ‘80s staple – a sax solo!
7. Toni Basil – Mickey
One of the most deadly earworms of all-time, just seeing the name of the song immediately puts the chorus in your head, where it will stay for weeks on end.
The simple cheerleader video is just as iconic as the song. I just have one issue with it – judging by the uniforms, Toni seems to be cheering for a totally different team than the other ladies!
8. Hall & Oates – Maneater
Hall & Oates had a ridiculous amount of hits, but if you’re like me, “Maneater” is one of the first songs that comes to mind when anyone mentions the band. It’s such a perfect ‘80s song, and much like Men at Work’s “Who Can It Be Now?,” it features a sax solo!
11. John Cougar Mellencamp – Jack & Diane
This was one of two John Cougar Mellencamp songs on this chart, as he was also at #44 with “Hand To Hold On To,” but with its hand claps, and lyrics painting a picture of teenage love in rural America, “Jack & Diane” was the song that would live on forever.
12. Stray Cats – Rock This Town
We’ll probably never be able to fully explain how a rockabilly song captured the imagination of America in 1982. Equally remarkable is the fact that Stray Cats frontman Brian Setzer would go on to form one of the great swing bands of the ‘90s – Brian Setzer Orchestra.
I think this is all the proof we need that great music is truly timeless.
21. Pat Benatar – Shadows of the Night
This is your friendly reminder that Pat Benatar f*cking rocks, and was a motherf*cking trailblazer in music.
Benatar is currently nominated for possible induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and she definitely deserves to be there.
33. The Pointer Sisters – I’m So Excited
This is the most iconic rendition of this song, and I’ll fight anyone who disagrees.
35. The Clash – Rock The Casbah
It’s pretty cool that amongst all the pop music of the early ‘80s we also had The Clash in there kickin’ ass and takin’ names. In ’82 they had everyone wanting to rock the Casbah.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.