30 songs turning 30 this year [Videos]

AKA: 30 reasons why 1984 may have been the best year of the 1980s

July 09, 2014|By Jordan Bartel | The Baltimore Sun

Sure, there were some big news events that happened in 1984: Ronald Regan was re-elected president, Mary Lou Retton rocked the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and, you know, Mark Zuckerberg was born.

But it was also a gigantic year for music, as Madonna, George Michael and Bruce Springsteen released now classics. 

And that's the beginning. Here's 30 songs released in 1984 that defined the year.

1. "I Just Called To Say I Love You," Stevie Wonder

Slightly cheesy? Maybe? But it's you-don't-need-Valentine's-Day-to-show-love message still really works. Plus, how 1980s is this: Wonder appeared on "The Cosby Show" to sing this with Claire Huxtable. Bonus video below!

2. "Magic," the Cars

1984 was solid year for the Cars, who also released "You Might Think" and "Drive" that year.

3. "Pride (In the Name of Love)," U2

I miss mullet Bono.

4. "Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run)," Billy Ocean

"Caribbean Queen" hit No. 1 in the U.S. and sold more than a million copies, but it was also released around the world with titles such as "European Queen" and "African Queen," the later of which was not apparently reworked to include a Katharine Hepburn reference.

5. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," Wham!

The first of two apparences by George Michael on our list — and the most jitterbuggy.

6. "Time After Time," Cyndi Lauper

Lauper released this single, which she co-wrote, between "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and "She Bop." Even Miles Davis was a fan — he covered it for his 1985 album "You're Under Arrest."

7. "Sister Christian," Night Ranger

Originally, drummer/vocalist Kelly Keagy wrote this about his sister Christy, but the band thought he was saying "Christian" and the (better, though odd) name stuck.

8. "Hallelujah," Leonard Cohen

Cohen's original version wasn't released as a single, but it did top Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart in 2008 — after an "American Idol" finalist sang it. Sigh.

9. "What's Love Got to Do With It," Tina Turner

Almost recorded by Donna Summer, Turner's huge comeback single not only hit No. 1, but won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Terry Britten, who co-wrote and produced this song, also wrote Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero."

10. "Born in the U.S.A," Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen's Vietnam War-themed lead single of Springsteen's album of the same name (his best-selling album ever) also rang in his tight blue-jeans era.

11. "Jump (For My Love)," the Pointer Sisters

One of two 1984 "Jump" songs, this one added the parentethical in its title to avoid confusion with ...

12. "Jump," Van Halen

Van Halen's "Jump" was released as a single earlier in the year.

13. "Relax," Frankie Goes to Hollywood

The song's about sex (and, depending on who you ask, specific types of sex), which did not go over well in 1984. It was banned by BBC Radio, though it went to No. 1 in the country.

14. "Like a Virgin," Madonna

Released in November 1984 (just in time for Thanksgiving), Madonna's eventual landmark hit was the follow-up to "Borderline," also released that year. Song co-writers Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg also penned Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors," the Bangles' "Eternal Flame" and Demi Lovato's "Give Your Heart a Break."

15. "Hello," Lionel Richie

The video is still epic — just take it all in.

16. "Footloose," Kenny Loggins

Loggin's only No. 1 hit, but when you write a song like "Footloose," do you need another one?

17. "I Feel for You," Chaka Khan

If you couldn't tell this was written (and originally recorded) by Prince. Speaking of Prince ...

18. "Purple Rain," Prince

Prince pretty much owned 1984 (with this song from the album of the same name — and the movie of the same name). YouTube makes no Prince versions available, so enjoy this nice cover by an "X Factor" hopeful.

19. "Rebel Yell," Billy Idol

Not to be confused with the Confederate call during the Civil War, but you can connect the song to the brand of whiskey of the same name. Idol has said that he say members of the Rolling Stones drinking it and kept the name in mind.

20. "The Killing Moon," Echo and the Bunnymen"

What the cool, slightly goth kids were listening to in 1984. Good taste. 

21. "Let's Hear it for the Boy," Deniece Williams

Yes, the "Footloose" soundtrack boasted two No. 1 singles.

22. "Careless Whisper," George Michael

Told you George Michael would be back. Michael's first solo hit was released when he was still a member of Wham!

23. "I Want a New Drug," Huey Lewis and the News

Lewis thought this song sounded so much like ....

24. "Ghostbusters." Ray Parker Jr.

.... that he sued Parker for plagiarism. It was settled out of court.

25. "We Belong," Pat Benatar

Weird music connection: Co-writer Dan Navarro is the brother of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro.

26. "You Think You're a Man," Divine

Yes, Baltimore's own Divine had a semi-successful dance music career. Enjoy the awesomeness.

27. "One Night in Bangkok," Murray Head

Yes, 1984 produced a song from a British actor, written by the guys from ABBA in featured on the concept album for the Broadway musical "Chess."

28. "The Longest Time," Billy Joel

Doo-wop Billy!

29. "Sunglasses at Night," Corey Hart

Unescessary intensity, thy name is Corey Hart

30. "Do They Know It's Christmas?," Band Aid

In case you forgot, this song benefitted victims of the Ethiopian famine. While it went to No. 1 in a large number of countries, it only reached No. 13 in the United States because we like famine.

 

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