Saturday, July 26, 2014

#1 Songs on My Birthday: 1976-1986

So, Roger did this post, and I'm borrowing the premise from him because it seemed neat-o.

It starts with this list of #1 songs going back to 1959. You can go there and discover what the number 1 song was on your birthday. Roger did that and decided to make a series of posts.

Here's the idea: I list three songs per year--the song that was number one just before my birthday, the song that was number one on my birthday, and the number one song after. I'm going to link to the song of my birthday. As Roger explains it, the goal is to decide whether I'm happy with my birthday song. He challenged himself but not listening to the adjacent songs, so I shall do the same. If I know what they are, would I have been happier with those songs? I dunno, but any excuse to listen to music and noodle around online when I should be doing other things is a-ok with me.

Starting in the year of my birth, 1976...

5/29/76 Diana Ross "Love Hangover"
7/10/76 Starland Vocal Band "Afternoon Delight"
7/24/76 The Manhattans "Kiss and Say Goodbye"

I don't know the Diana Ross song. I'm sure I've heard it but just can't recall it. Look at the dates, though: that song must have been exceptionally popular, it was the number one song for over a month. I've never heard the Manhattans song, either. I like "Afternoon Delight." It's kind of fitting that I was brought into this world when America's number one song was not only really cheesy, but a cutesy ode to daytime sex. I don't know, I can't help it. It's that kind of happy cheesy that makes me feel good because it feels like nothing is that serious.

7/9/77 Alan O'Day "Undercover Angel"
7/16/77 Shaun Cassidy "Da Doo Ron Ron"
7/23/77 Barry Manilow "Looks Like We Made It"

Ugh. I've heard this one before, and it's not for me at all. This is an example of a bad kind of cheesy: overly cute covers of songs from the previous generation. I don't know why those almost always sound condescending to me. Shaun Cassidy doing "Da Doo Ron Ron" with those orchestral overdubs... No, please. As bad as it is, the Barry Manilow song is worse (it sounds like a Lionel Richie song that was left out in the sun so long that the sincerity melted out), and I've never heard the Alan O'Day song, but if these two are anything to go by, it's terrible.

6/10/78 John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John "You're the One That I Want"
6/17/78 Andy Gibb "Shadow Dancing"
8/5/78 The Rolling Stones "Miss You"

Jeez. This is like going through my Mom's collection of 45s so far. Damn, "Shadow Dancing" was a big hit. You know, "Shadow Dancing" was the uncoolest kind of thing to like when I was a kid, but it's got Barry Gibb all over it, and I can't bring myself to dislike it. Damn. My Dad would be rolling his eyes right now. Okay, I'm happy with this one. Incidentally, "You're the One That I Want" is the only song I like from Grease besides the title song, and I also like "Miss You," the Stones' concession to disco.

6/30/79 Anita Ward "Ring My Bell"
7/14/79 Donna Summer "Bad Girls"
8/18/79 Chic "Good Times"

Disco is really in full force here. All three songs are pretty good, but nothing that I'm really in love with. Just an unobjectionable group of music.

5/31/80 Lipps Inc. "Funky Town"
6/28/80 Paul McCartney "Coming Up"
7/19/80 Billy Joel "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me"

Dang, I missed out on Billy by two days! That would have been my pick. I like all three of these songs, but the Billy Joel song is my favorite of the three. I linked the live version of "Coming Up." The song was the lead-off single of McCartney II, but the record company loved the live version with Wings and it was included as a B-side, but was arguably more popular on the radio than the A-side. It sounds better and fuller.

5/16/81 Kim Carnes "Bette Davis Eyes"
6/20/81 Stars on 45 "Stars on 45"
7/25/81 Air Supply "The One That You Love"

Ugh, I hate this frigging thing. I always have. That early 80s medley craze is just cloying, cutesy and irritating. I always forget it's so Beatles-heavy, which makes it even more lame that they did a pandering "Beatles Medley" separately. No. Just no. I would take either song over this one, and when Air Supply is the better alternative, you know things are bad. Honestly, I'd pick the Kim Carnes song, even though it's not even my favorite version of "Bette Davis Eyes." (I like Jackie DeShannon's Dixieland/swing-inflected original.)

5/15/82 Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder "Ebony and Ivory"
7/3/82 The Human League "Don't You Want Me"
7/24/82 Survivor "Eye of the Tiger"

At last, New Wave is here, and this song is a New Wave classic. I love this one. Much to my wife's annoyance, I also love "Eye of the Tiger," but "Don't You Want Me" is so great, a long-time favorite, and now one of those songs that make me incredibly happy just because it takes me back to being a carefree kid. I really hate "Ebony and Ivory." Anvilicious, as they say on TV Tropes.

5/28/83 Irene Cara "Flashdance... What a Feeling"
7/9/83 The Police "Every Breath You Take"
9/3/83 Eurythmics "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This"

This song has been stalking me for decades. For a while, I heard this literally everywhere I went. And if I didn't hear it there, I would hear it on the way there. Look how long it was number one; now that, kids, is a song of the summer. It's a good song--actually, all three are songs I like in a great year for pop music. But I do like "Flashdance" best. Because of course I do, it's the cheesiest one. But awesome-cheesy.

6/23/84 Duran Duran "The Reflex"
7/7/84 Prince "When Doves Cry"
8/11/84 Ray Parker, Jr. "Ghostbusters"

YES. I love this song, I love this album, I love Prince, this is perfect. This is a great summer for music. That feeling I discussed before, of a song making me incredibly happy because it takes me back, is what I sometimes refer to as "my 1984 feeling," because that was a really fun year for me. Or my "Raspberry Beret" feeling, because that's the happiest I've ever felt listening to a song. That's my "I need to feel better NOW" song. I can take or leave the Duran Duran song (it's no "New Moon on Monday"), but I love "Ghostbusters." But if you can get Prince on your birthday, you take him.

(Note: I didn't even bother with a link because good luck trying to find a Prince song on YouTube.)

7/6/85 Phil Collins "Sussudio"
7/13/85 Duran Duran "A View to a Kill"
7/27/85 Paul Young "Every Time You Go Away"

Now here's a Duran Duran song I love. Possibly the last one I love, and I love it. The other two songs I can take or leave. Actually, "Sussudio" I might just leave.

7/5/86 Billy Ocean "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)"
7/12/86 Simply Red "Holding Back the Years"
7/19/86 Genesis "Invisible Touch"

Aw. man. I missed "Invisible Touch" by two days. That's a serious contender for my favorite album of the 1980s. That would be my pick of these three. The Simply Red song sounds kind of nice and nostalgic now; it got played for seemingly years, and it was just so depressing that I got very tired of it as a kid. Then again, times are about to get really depressing for me, so maybe I just consider the song too emblematic of a time when I felt too often the way this song feels. Can't really hold being "too effective" against it, can I?

Next Saturday, I'll do another ten. Check out Roger's original post!


Roger Owen Green said...

I LOVE the Manhattans song! And Love Hangover starts off slowly, but really builds; I'm surprised this one escaped, because it was all over the radio.

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, and you'll finish WAY before me. Next week I'm doing an original C post for ABCW, but the following week, NEW ten songs, my prime time list. (Also, you're, er, younger than I am...)

SamuraiFrog said...

Only just.

I decided to look up "Love Hangover." Not bad.