CHART ATTACK! #45: 8/25/84

1984, you never fail to disappoint me.  Here are the songs topping the charts on August 25, 1984!

10.  If Ever You’re In My Arms Again – Peabo Bryson  Amazon iTunes
9.  She Bop – Cyndi Lauper  Amazon iTunes
8.  Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart  Amazon iTunes
7.  State Of Shock – Jacksons  Amazon iTunes
6.  I Can Dream About You – Dan Hartman  Amazon iTunes
5.  Missing You – John Waite  Amazon iTunes
4.  When Doves Cry – Prince  Amazon iTunes
3.  Stuck On You – Lionel Richie  Amazon iTunes
2.  What’s Love Got To Do With it – Tina Turner  Amazon iTunes
1.  Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.  Amazon iTunes

10.  If Ever You’re In My Arms Again – Peabo Bryson

Something about Peabo Bryson makes me really happy.  I don’t know if it’s just the fact that his name is Peabo.  I kind of want to name my first child Peabo.  Peabo Hare.  It has a nice ring to it.  (Actually, it has a horrible ring to it, but so do most names that precede the last name Hare, and yes, no matter what you’re thinking, I’ve heard it.)  It may also be the fact that his voice is smooth as silk.  Peabo doesn’t get enough respect.  Sure, he’s had a ridiculous amount of hits on the R&B charts, but "If Ever You’re In My Arms Again" is the only Peabo solo song to make a dent in the Top 40.  (Every other Peabo song to reach the Top 40 has been a duet.) 

I hope my wife never gets wise and drops me (although the chances are increased exponentially if I insist on naming our child "Peabo"), but if she does, I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up huddled in the fetal position in the corner, weeping and singing this song to myself.  Which actually seems oddly comforting so long as I have Peabo to keep me warm.

Here’s a YouTube slideshow set to this song.  I was having a hard time finding anything on YouTube, actually, until, on a whim, I changed "you’re" to "your."  Bingo!

[youtube]1h4ridjFGSc[/youtube]

Jess, can I at least name our next pet Peabo?  Or rename one of the cats?  Or can I call you Peabo?

I love you, Peabo. 

9.  She Bop – Cyndi Lauper

Yes, blah blah blah, female masturbation, blah blah blah.  This song had some staying power (sorry, I couldn’t help it): we covered it back in our very first CHART ATTACK!, which looked at a chart from late September.  Maybe I should have chosen a different chart for this week.  Oh well, too late to turn back now.  Anyway, Lauper was intentionally vague in her lyrics for a couple of reasons: one, so the song could get airplay, and two, so kids could listen to it and think it was about dancing.  Well, as I mentioned, I was seven when I heard this song and I didn’t think it was about dancing.  And when I got older, I didn’t think it was about masturbating, either.  I didn’t think either of these things because I’ve never bothered to listen to the lyrics.  And I’m not about to start now.

Anyhoo, "She Bop" was declared obscene by the PMRC (remember the PMRC?) and rounded out their "Filthy Fifteen" list of dirty songs.  (#1?  "If Ever You’re In My Arms Again.")

8.  Sunglasses At Night – Corey Hart (download)

Is it just me, or is that opening synth part something of a rip-off from "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)?"  According to Wikipedia, the original idea for "Sunglasses" was for it to reflect "a totalitarian society that made everyone wear their sunglasses at night."  Such lofty ideas are not suited for hunks like you, Corey.  I like Corey.  Here are some words that rhyme with Corey:  Gory. Story. Allegory. Montessori.

I know you’ll all be shocked and amazed, but Hart re-did his vocal in 2002 for…wait for it…"Sunglasses At Night 2002."  You can hear a snippet at his website, but I wouldn’t bother if I were you: it’s 30 seconds, and it sucks.  However, Hart seems to be pretty well-grounded about his success and his place in history.  Here’s his stream-of-consciousness piece on his site:

I wrote and recorded "Sunglasses at Night" in the summer of 1983…I just turned 21…I was working in what was at the time my musical mecca, England. Eric Clapton had just played dobro guitar on one of my songs and I was hanging out at Pete Townsend’s house chatting with him about the best London studio rooms and his favorite vocal mic pre-amps…cool…Heady times for a kid from Montreal with a dream ……So "Sunglasses at Night" was my first ever single from my debut album "First Offense"…It was a last minute addition to the disc…After it was released in November 1983, my life and the world around me changed forever.A major hit song was born, International success…cool….Was it the melody? or the lyric? Was it the video driven imaging? Luck of the draw or simply the sound of the times?…I suppose it was all of the above and none at all….From Bob Hope to Wyclef Jean the song struck a chord and understanding this alchemy remains mystery to us all…

Okay, points off for misspelling Pete Townshend, but I like the rest of it.  Can someone tell me what Bob Hope has to do with it, though?

One more thing.  I know this is all much ado about nothing, but does that guitar riff in the chorus sound familiar to anyone else?

[audio:http://www.wwmmd.net/tunes/inline/sunglassesbeat.mp3]

Behold:  Corey Hart, in all his pouty-lipped glory!

[youtube]PXw4qqQqTrY[/youtube]

When I was a kid, I thought that Corey Hart was Han Solo after being unfrozen from carbonite.

7.  State Of Shock – Jacksons

"State of Shock" was the biggest single from The Jacksons’ Victory album, reaching #3, and the group’s last hit to reach the Top 10 – not surprising since Michael left the group shortly after "The Victory Tour," which was strolling through towns this summer in 1984.  As you probably know, "State of Shock" was a duet between Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger – and then, a year later, a duet between Jagger and Tina Turner at Live Aid.  However, didja know that the song was originally recorded by Jackson and Freddie Mercury?

It was rumored that Jackson (who owns the rights) was planning on releasing the track back in 2002, but it still hasn’t officially seen the light of day.

Michael Jackson & Freddie Mercury – State Of Shock (demo) (download)


6.  I Can Dream About You – Dan Hartman

How can you not love "I Can Dream About You?"  It starts with that great drum track (where I’m thisclose to singing Sheena Easton’s "Strut"), and doesn’t do any of this "we’ll do two verses before we reward you with our kick-ass chorus" bullshit.  There are three (three!) phrases before Hartman wisely jumps straight to the chorus!  40 seconds don’t even go by!  That’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Everybody should do this! 

What else do I love about this song?  Well, I love that nifty little guitar riff over that chorus.  I love that the lead vocal is doubled an octave lower.  I love the blue-eyed soul backing vocals.  I’m willing to bet that tons of people thought this was a Hall & Oates song.  And Hall & Oates actually did cover it, except it was an absolutely terrible cover (I refuse to even link to it).  However, all you ever cared to know about Dan Hartman can be found over at Ye Olde Jefitoblog, where Jeff covered the entire album a year ago this week!  (I asked Jeff to update the YouTube link, but he refuses to do anything for you if you’re coming to his site from mine.  I think he’s jealous.)

I should also mention that the always-awesome Retro Remixes is currently offering four versions of "I Can Dream About You."  A few of ’em have some skips, but still – like, totally awesome!

5.  Missing You – John Waite

Missing you!

Missing you!

Missing you!

Missing you!

(You’ll forgive me if I leave it at that.)

4.  When Doves Cry – Prince

There’s really nothing to say about "When Doves Cry" that hasn’t been said before. except when I was a kid, I thought the lyrics were: "maybe I’m just like my father, too cold" and "this is what it sounds like when she does cry."  Because why, as a kid, would I think he was fucking talking about doves?

My favorite thing about the song is not the fact that it manages to be incredibly funky without a single bass note, but its opening guitar riff and closing classically-influenced synth riff which, unfortunately, tends to be missing from the radio edit.  A song like this deserves better than a fade-out.

Mike and I performed this at our first Acoustic ’80s gig.  It fell flat on its face.  I also asked the crowd what it looked like for an animal to strike a curious pose, and if it looked anything like the look on my dog’s face when someone passes gas near him.  That joke also fell flat on its face.  We don’t perform "When Doves Cry" anymore.  But you know who does?  Barenaked Ladies.  They’ve been doing a quiet, classy version of it for years.  Here’s the best version I can find, taken from the Andrew Denton Breakfast Show, a popular Australian radio program.  (If anybody has the Denton CDs and wants to hook a brotha up, let me know.)  I’m not a big fan of the keyboards, but will deal with ’em just to hear Jim Creeggan on bass.

Barenaked Ladies – When Doves Cry (live) (download)

3.  Stuck On You – Lionel Richie (download)

Remember that episode of CMT Crossroads with Lionel and Kenny Rogers that I really, really love?  (I’ve mentioned it at least five times on here.)  Well, Lionel shared an anecdote before he played this song.  He recounted a tale of a trip he took down by his hometown of Tuskegee, Alabama (response from Kenny: "you live in Beverly Hills.") and took a break at a truck stop.  A trucker approached him, and told him how he really loved his song about "three times a woman" (laughter from audience) and said to him, "I have a woman too.  And you know, Lionel, I’m stuck on that woman."  And Lionel then knew what he had to do.  He went home and wrote "Stuck On You."

I recount this story because it’s the biggest pile of bullshit I’ve ever heard.  No way did this happen.  But it is a good lead-in for the song.  Just like when I saw him in concert and he said, "we’re going to party all night long!" and then played "Penny Lover."  (I’m totally kidding!  He played "All Night Long!")

Still, it’s hard to criticize Lionel when he’s playing live.  For example, here’s a live performance of "Stuck On You."  It’s on an untuned piano, and it still sounds awesome.  I love Lionel Richie.  Can’t help it.

[youtube]SuD7P1lUrjY[/youtube]

2.  What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner

I’m sure there are others, but at the moment, I can’t think of many artists who deserved a comeback more than Tina Turner.  It’s one of the biggest comebacks ever, and certainly the biggest of 1984.  It also almost didn’t happen.  Turner had just signed with Capitol Records.  Her manager, Roger Davies, presented her with a demo of this song, written by Terry Britten (one of her producers) and Graham Lyle.  Turner despised it, but Britten assured her that he’d change the arrangement to better suit her voice and style.  Davies convinced her to record it.  "What’s Love Got To Do With It" remains Turner’s only #1 single, and also set the record for longest gap between chart debut (with Ike) and #1 – 24 years, usurping poor old Robert John.  There are claims that the gap was 24 years to the exact week, but I’m calling bullshit on that one: "What’s Love" hit #1 on June 23, 1984, but as far as I can tell, her first single with Ike, "A Fool In Love," entered the charts on August 29, 1960.  I’m such a nerd.  It’s close enough, I guess.

By the way, back in CHART ATTACK! #1, I called the harmonica solo a "Korgmonica" solo.  Oh, how cute I was before I did research that nobody cared about!  The harmonica sound is actually from a Yamaha DX-7.

1.  Ghostbusters – Ray Parker, Jr.

In an interview with USA Today, Parker said that the hardest thing about writing "Ghostbusters" was rhyming the actual word.  "I figured the best thing to do was to have somebody shout, ‘Ghostbusters!’  In order for that to work, I had to have something come before or after it.  That’s when I came up with the line, ‘Who you gonna call?’"

Funny.  All this time, I thought the hardest thing about writing "Ghostbusters" was trying not to make it look like he blatantly ripped off "I Want A New Drug."  Or maybe the hardest thing was keeping the out-of-court settlement to Huey Lewis & The News quiet.  Or maybe it was his countersuit after Lewis revealed that Parker paid them off in an episode of Behind The Music.  It’s so hard to keep track! 

More on Parker’s "Ghostbusters" recording here.  I’ll just reproduce one part – my favorite part:

And who was the lively chorus shouting out “Ghostbusters!” with such gusto? Parker laughs: “I was 28 years old and I was dating this young girl — 17 years old — and I told her my idea and she quickly got a bunch of her high school friends to come by and yell on it. They were genuinely excited to be in there recording, and that was exactly what the track needed.”

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be ending on this note.  Have a great week and see you next time for another CHART ATTACK!

  • amy777

    i love this website and stumbled upon it a few months ago.  do you do many ’70s chart attacks?  just wondering…
    i concur with you about "shebop".  who listened to the lyrics or tried to dissect them at such a young age? its the beat that was good…

  • Hey, this is the always-awesome DJ D from Retro Remixes.  Thanks very much for the shoutout. Totally unexpected and totally appreciated.  Have enjoyed your site and Jefito’s for quite a while and that’s the main reason I got into the blogosphere to inflict my killer sense of musical tastes on everyone.  So far, so bad.
    Yes, a few of the vinyl rips that I post end up scratchy or with skips or pops.  That’s the downside of posting old-school stuff.  Some of it ain’t on CD (bastards!) so vinyl has to do. Be thankful the Dan Hartman stuff only had some skips.  The Animotion tracks I posted last month had an actual toilet flush on them.  How’s that for prophetic ?
    Thanks again !
    DJ D

  • "So far, so bad."  I’m totally stealing that one.  Glad to have you stop by.

    Amy, nice to hear form you.  I don’t do a lot of ’70s Chart Attacks – reason being that I’m way more familiar with tracks from the ’80s, which means that it’s easier to write about them without doing a lot of extra research.  On weeks where I know in advance that I’ll have more than one or two free evenings, I’ll try and tackle a ’70s chart.  As you can see from all the ’80s action, those weeks don’t surface too often!

  • We used to play Dan Hartman on the stations I work for. And in the "Song Notes" section of our database someone typed in "Died of from a brain tumor in 1994" — which we were suppose to use on the air as a trivia bit.  Sadly, that was the only "Song Note" for him.  Later I updated the database to say that it was featured in the movie "Streets of Fire" with Diane Lane and Willem Dafoe. But for the longest time I would often start conversations with my fellow "jocks" by saying "Hey, did you know that Dan Hartman died from a brain tumor in 1994?"  It’s a real conversation starter!

  • Dw Dunphy

    So, when is Lionel Richie releasing his next hit, "My Daughter Is Full Of Shit"? And when, of course, will Ray Parker Jr. be stuck on her?

  • Stephen

    I totally remember this week. But then I used to sit by the radio every Sunday with pen and paper tracking all my favourite songs on the Top 40. Lionel Richie was my first concert – my parents took me – and the Pointer Sisters opened. My first by choice was Cyndi Lauper with The Bangles. I didn’t win too many new friends showing up to school the next day wearing my concert T and the green spray-on dye still in my hair.

    Thanks for the Freddie duet. I’ve been wanting to hear this for a long time. One of MJ’s best, along with “Torture” from the same album.

    What a powerhouse week in the charts…

  • Dw Dunphy

    Actually, this IS a pretty good week of music… except for "Missing You". Since the only song I can tolerate from Waite is "Change", the omnipresence of "Missing You" makes me want to stand on the back of speeding pick-up trucks, throwing broken toasters at pedestrians and shouting, "Did I miss you that time?!"

  • amy777

    that’s ok, jason.  i don’t mind the chart attacks being from the 80s, as long as the mellow gold is from the 70s :) 

  • George

    Just curious….the top 5 on your site says ‘updated regularly’ but I’ve yet to see them updated in a really long time………..

  • An excellent point, George.  I mean to update them regularly, but many days it’s just enough that I have time to read a few fellow bloggers’ sites and write my own posts…!

  • jadeyrabbit

    I am completely skeeved out by Parker. Ew.
    I bet they were excited to be there… "Isn’t Lisa’s uncle so cool???"
    Ugh.

  • Being slightly older than you are, Jason, I’d be happy to help out with a ’70s chart attack one of these days.In the ’70s, my dear mom would drive me to the local AM radio station so they could hand me a printout of their top 40. They’re a talk radio station now, of course.

  • Rich

    I mumble "Corey, Story, Allegory" to myself all the time and no one ever gets it. 
    RE: State of Shock.  Is it strange that I can’t remember this song at all, but I <i>can</i> remember the Weird Al mega-medley that included 2 seconds of it (right before riffing on Yes, if I remember correctly)?  Come to think of it… that medley might have had half the songs mentioned in this post.
     

  • George

    No problem. I’m not complaining about the top 5…was just wondering. I also meant to add that Corey Hart plays outfield for the Milwaukee Brewers. I’m assuming it’s not the same guy.

  • Funny thing is, from all available evidence, Lionel Richie can slow down.
    Ray Parker Jr. may be skeezy. But Tony Bennett’s girlfriend is 40 years younger than he is. That man is my idol.

  • heather

    Corey Hart=Han Solo! Perfect.
    And I’m so calling my sister Peabo next time I think of it.

  • Good point, Richard — Richie slowed down as soon as his “Dancing on the Ceiling” tour ended in ’87, but for very good reasons (vocal troubles, very public marital problems and divorce, dad dying, etc., from what I remember). I still think “Do It to Me” was a great return to the charts in ’92, but he never regained the momentum he lost between ’87 and ’92. I actually think Richie’s story about the truck stop could be real, and I think he should’ve responded to Rogers’s crack about Beverly Hills by saying, “Which is where you’ve gotten all your plastic surgery done, right?”

    I had no idea Willem Dafoe is in “Streets of Fire.” I still haven’t seen it. He shows up in the strangest places (like my shower last week, which was totally uncool, Mr. Dafoe).

    I love that Beau’s mom drove him to the AM station to pick up a Top 40 printout. That’s real love.

    Maybe Corey Hart mentioned Bob Hope because Hope mentioned “Sunglasses at Night” on one of his NBC specials at that time? I used to watch those with my grandparents. Has Wyclef Jean sampled the song? I don’t know.

    Two years ago when I was in a sketch show that needed a name, the seven of us in the show threw out a bunch of suggestions; one of mine was “Placebo Bryson.” It got a laugh or two, but we agreed that it would work better as a name for an improv team. It’s still up for grabs, improv world! As a proofreader, I naturally found the “If Ever YOUR in My Arms Again” story funny. I laughed, but it was a sad laugh. Boo-fuckin’-hoo. But it wasn’t a sad laugh when you said Peabo’s hit song was on the PMRC’s list. Chill, Tipper, chill!

    Stick to your guns with that Tina Turner trivia, Jason! Twenty-three years and 10 months does not equal 24 years. That stuff bugs me too.

    I meant to go back and read the rest of that article about Ray Parker a few weeks ago. Do you think Parker’s manager requested before the interview that the reporter not bring up the “I Want a New Drug” lawsuit? I’ve always wondered how that sort of thing works.

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