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 40 years ago this week.
Touching down in June of 1980 I see a really interesting time in music. While it’s technically the start of the ‘80s, there are still plenty of remnants of the ‘70s in heavy rotation. It’s a transitionary period where disco, new wave, synth pop, and both ‘70s and ‘80s rock are all being played, and appreciated.
So let's take a look at what was hot on the Billboard Hot 100 this week back in 1980. Of course, since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
1. Lipps Inc. – Funkytown
If you needed any proof that in the summer of 1980 disco wasn’t quite dead yet, “Funkytown” was the biggest song in America. A song so remarkable that even Towlie on South Park could remember it, “Funkytown” can still get the party started four decades after its release.
5. Blondie – Call Me
Debbie Harry is a rock legend of the highest order, and to borrow a lyric from the song, she can call me anytime!
This Blondie classic is synonymous with the ‘80s, which is wild seeing as we just spoke about a song synonymous with the disco era. Like I said, the early ’80s had multiple musical identities.
9. Gary Numan – Cars
Gary Numan’s “Cars” was a bright, shining indicator of where the decade was going to go in regards to synths, and production. It’s actually kinda hard to believe this isn’t a mid-‘80s song, as it’s so prescient, musically, that it really feels like it belongs later in the decade.
14. Pretenders – Brass In Pocket (I’m Special)
The Pretenders, and Chrissie Hynde, made music so timeless you could put it into rotation in any decade and it would be appreciated.
“Brass In Pocket (I’m Special)” is one of those songs that’s just undeniably great, and when it gets stuck in your head it simply improves your day.
29. Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)
Pink Floyd couldn’t have possibly known that this song would end up being played on classic rock stations at least three times a day until the end of time, but I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to exist and to have not heard “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II).”
As an aside, back in the day the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame had a really cool installation based on this song/video. I’m not sure if it’s still up, but I sure hope it is.
38. The J. Geils Band – Love Stinks
An anti-love anthem for the ages, “Love Stinks” is a song single people of the world crank up on the radio whenever it comes on … and I say this as a single person who cranks it up on the radio whenever it comes on.
42. Joe Walsh – All Night Long
Here’s something you may not know about me – I think Joe Walsh is freakin’ fantastic. One of the most underrated guitarists of all-time, the man has always had some seriously amazing skills. Add to that his unmistakable voice, and wonderful ability to express emotion, and you have an artist that deserves to be talked about a heck of a lot more … perhaps all night long.
97. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Here Comes My Girl
Tom Petty is one of the greatest of all-time, and he is sorely missed. His greatest hits album should be required listening whenever someone buys their first stereo system (or whatever the equivalent of that is in 2020). It should be like, “Here’s your stereo, and here’s your copy of Tom Petty’s greatest hits.”
I know, I’m a visionary when it comes to retail.
98. The B-52’s – Rock Lobster
Speaking of legends, The B-52’s are basically a genre of their own, and for over 40 years they’ve been a ridiculously good time. I remember seeing them live a handful of years ago and they are still so much fun. As a bonus, this song definitely has more cowbell.
That’s all for this edition of Pop Shots, but come back next Monday for more shots on all things pop.