“Mickey” is a 1981 song recorded by American singer and choreographer Toni Basil on her debut album Word of Mouth. Written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn as “Kitty”, it was first recorded by UK music group Racey during 1979 appearing on their debut album Smash and Grab.
Toni Basil changed the name from Kitty to Mickey to make the song about a man. For years, it had been rumored that the name was changed to Mickey because Basil was fond of The Monkees’ drummer and lead vocalist Micky Dolenz after meeting him on the set of their movie Head for which she was the choreographer; however, this claim has been denied by Basil, who said she didn’t know Dolenz that well. Rumors also circulated that the lines “any way you want to do it / I’ll take it like a man”, in the gender-swapped lyrics, referred to anal sex; Basil strenuously denies this interpretation, calling it “ridiculous”.
A music video for the song, featuring costuming and choreography inspired by cheerleader dance routines, was played heavily on MTV. Filmed in 1981, the video is considered the very first choreographed dance video, and the opening stunt, where a cheerleader jumps through the center of a human pyramid, is now illegal in competition.
The single scored number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for one week and number two in the UK Singles Chart. The song was Basil’s only Top 40 success, making her a “one-hit wonder”. It was named #5 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of All Time, #16 on 20 to 1’s Top 20 One Hit Wonders Countdown and #57 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’80s. It has also appeared on multiple greatest or best lists and countdowns.
“Truly” is the title of the debut solo single by singer-songwriter Lionel Richie. Resuming where he left off with D-flat major tunes “Sail On” and particularly “Still” when he was lead for the Commodores, Richie wrote the song and co-produced it with James Anthony Carmichael.
Released as the first single from his self-titled debut album in 1982, “Truly” debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on 9 October 1982 and climbed to No. 1 on 27 November – 4 December 1982. It also spent four weeks at No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart and logged nine weeks at No. 2 on the R&B chart. In addition, “Truly” made the Top 10 in United Kingdom, where the song peaked at No. 6. The song won a Grammy Award for Richie in the category Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
“Up Where We Belong” is a Platinum-certified, Grammy Award-winning hit song written by Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Will Jennings. It was recorded by Joe Cocker (lead vocals) and Jennifer Warnes (lead and background vocals) for the smash 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman.
Richard Gere balked at shooting the ending of the film, in which Zack arrives at Paula’s factory wearing his naval dress whites and carries her off the factory floor; he thought that wouldn’t work because it was too sentimental. Director Taylor Hackford agreed with Gere until, during a rehearsal, the extras playing the workers began to cheer and cry. When Gere saw the scene later, with the music added (“Up Where We Belong”), he said it gave him chills. Gere is now convinced Hackford made the right decision.
Producer Don Simpson unsuccessfully demanded “Up Where We Belong” be cut from An Officer and a Gentleman, saying, “The song is no good. It isn’t a hit.” He reportedly said of Warnes, “She has a sweet voice, but she’ll never have a hit song, and this definitely isn’t it” (which both overlooked that Warnes had had a modest hit with a previous Oscar-winning song and was proven wrong when she recorded the huge hit “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” only a few years later with Bill Medley). Simpson even made a bet with the film’s soundtrack supervisor that the song would flop and paid off his loss after the Oscars, where he still insisted the song was rotten and that it should never have become successful.
“Who Can It Be Now?” is a song recorded by Australian band Men at Work. It was first released as a single in Australia in June 1981, prior to the recording of their 1981 debut album Business as Usual, on which the track was later included.
“Who Can It Be Now?” reached no. 2 on the Australian singles chart in August that year, and also hit no. 45 in New Zealand. Released in Canada in early 1982, the track peaked at no. 8 in late July. This spurred an American release of the song, and the single, by now well over a year old, went on to hit no. 1 in the US in October 1982. “Who Can It Be Now?” was also a modest hit in the UK, reaching no. 45. As one of Men at Work’s biggest hits, it was featured on their later compilation albums, and a live version can be found on Brazil. The song remains a popular symbol of new wave music and has been featured on numerous 1980s compilations. The band performed both this song and “Down Under” live on Saturday Night Live on 23 October 1982.
“Jack & Diane” is a 1982 hit rock song written and performed by American singer-songwriter John Mellencamp, then performing as “John Cougar.” It appears on Mellencamp’s album American Fool. It was chosen by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as one of the Songs of the Century. The single spent four weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982, and, to date, is Mellencamp’s most successful hit single.
“Hard to Say I’m Sorry” is a song by American rock group Chicago. It was written by band member Peter Cetera and producer David Foster, and released on May 17, 1982 as the lead single from the album Chicago 16. The song hit number one for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on September 11 of that year. It was their first top 50 hit since “No Tell Lover” in 1978. In the fall of 1982, while it was moving down the Hot 100, it just left the top 50 within two weeks from #4.
“Abracadabra” is a song by American rock group Steve Miller Band, written by Steve Miller. The song was released as the first single from the 1982 album of the same name the same year (see 1982 in music). “Abracadabra” is listed at #70 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of all time. The song is said to have been inspired by the American singer Diana Ross with whom Miller had met while performing together on Hullabaloo in the 1960s
The song became a worldwide hit, charting in ten countries and topping the charts in six countries, and has become one of the band’s biggest hits, along with “The Joker” and “Rock’n Me”. In the U.S., the song was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two non-consecutive weeks. It was knocked off the top by Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry”, only to return to #1 two weeks later. A similar occurrence happened in 1976, when Steve Miller Band’s “Rock’n Me” knocked Chicago’s “If You Leave Me Now” out of the #1 spot.
The UK single version has never yet appeared on CD. It is 3:33 and is an exclusive edit where the chorus is edited back in at 3:06 and repeats to fade. The non-UK single version of the song appears in several Steve Miller Band compilation albums such as Young Hearts as well as on the Time-Life compilation Sounds of the Eighties: 1980–1982 and on a CD of songs hand-picked by Guy Fieri titled Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Road Songs That Rock. Capitol issued an alternative version on a promotional 12″ single (Capitol Records #SPRO 9797) for radio airplay; it featured a slightly slower tempo, removal of the second verse and first chorus, and a slightly earlier fade than the LP version. A live version of the song was released on Steve Miller Band Live! in 1983.
“Eye of the Tiger” is a song by American rock band Survivor. It was released on May 29, 1982 as a single from their third album Eye of the Tiger and was also the theme song for the film Rocky III, which was released a day before the single. The song was written by Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik and was done so at the request of Rocky III star, writer, and director Sylvester Stallone, after Queen denied him permission to use “Another One Bites the Dust”, the song Stallone intended to use as the Rocky III theme, in the film. The version of the song that appears in the movie is the demo version of the song. The movie version also contained tiger growls, something that did not appear on the album version. It features original Survivor singer Dave Bickler on lead vocals.
It gained tremendous MTV and radio airplay and topped charts worldwide during 1982. In the United States, it held number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six consecutive weeks and was the No. 2 single of 1982, behind Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical”. The band won a 1982 Grammy Award for “Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group With Vocal” at the 25th Annual Grammy Awards.
The song is also the title song to the 1986 film of the same name.
It was certified platinum in August 1982 by the RIAA, signifying sales of 2 million vinyl copies. The song had sold over 4.1 million in digital downloads in the United States alone by February 2015. It was voted VH1’s 63rd greatest hard rock song. Combined sales of original vinyl release and digital downloads total over 9 million copies.
The song was later recycled in various other movies, television programs and video games.
“Don’t You Want Me” is a single by British synthpop group The Human League, released on 27 November 1981 as the fourth single from their third studio album Dare (1981).
It is the band’s best known and most commercially successful recording and was the 1981 Christmas number one in the UK, where it has since sold over 1,560,000 copies, making it the 23rd most successful single in UK Singles Chart history. It later topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US on 3 July 1982 where it stayed for three weeks. In 2015 the song was voted by the British public as the nation’s 7th favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.
“Ebony and Ivory” is a 1982 number-one single by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. It was released on March 29 of that year. The song is featured on McCartney’s album Tug of War. A self-empowerment hit that tackles issues of racial equality, the song reached number one on both the UK and the U.S. charts. It reappears on McCartney’s All the Best! hits compilation (1987), and also on the UK two-disc version of Wonder’s The Definitive Collection greatest hits compilation (2002). In 2013, Billboard Magazine ranked the song as the 69th biggest hit of all-time on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
“Chariots of Fire” is an instrumental theme written and recorded by Vangelis for the soundtrack of the 1981 film of the same name. The recording has since been covered by numerous performers and used as theme music for various television programmes and sporting events.
On the film’s soundtrack album, the piece is called “Titles” because of its use in the movie’s opening titles sequence, but it widely became known as “Chariots of Fire”. According to AllMusic, the track title was listed as “Chariots of Fire – Titles” on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and simply as “Chariots of Fire” on the Adult Contemporary chart.
A 1989 CD single release also gave the title of the piece as “Chariots of Fire”. When the single debuted at #94 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the week ending December 12, 1981, it was known as “Titles.” Seven weeks later, when it moved to #68, the Hot 100 chart dated January 30, 1982, the single was now listed as “Chariots of Fire” and stayed with that name for the remainder of its chart run. The new title made it easier for both listeners and radio DJs to identify the piece.
“I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” is a rock song written in 1975 by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker of The Arrows, who recorded the first released version. The song was later made famous by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts in 1982. The only Arrows band member still living, Alan Merrill has been playing the song recently live in Europe, Japan and most often in his home town New York City.
The song was originally recorded and released by The Arrows in 1975 on RAK Records, with lead vocals, guitar, music & lyrics written by Alan Merrill and produced by Mickie Most. In an interview with Songfacts, Merrill said he wrote it as “a knee-jerk response to the Rolling Stones’ ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)’.” This version was first released as a B-side, but was soon re-recorded and flipped to A-side status on a subsequent pressing of the record. The Arrows performed the song in 1975 on the Muriel Young produced show “45,” after which Young offered the Arrows a weekly UK television series, Arrows, which was broadcast on ITV starting in March 1976.
“Centerfold” is a single released by The J. Geils Band from their album Freeze Frame. The song is about a man who is shocked to discover that his high school crush appeared in a centerfold spread for a men’s magazine. The singer cannot decide between his disappointment due to her loss of innocence, or his lust.
It was released in autumn 1981, and eventually went to Number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in February 1982, and stayed there for six weeks. It was the first single released from the album Freeze Frame and was an early staple on MTV.
In February 1982, after the song hit #1 in the US, “Centerfold” peaked at number three in the UK Top 40, earning The J. Geils Band their only major hit single in the UK, although follow-up “Freeze-Frame” was a minor hit.
The song lists at #52 on Billboard’s All Time Top Songs.
“I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” is a song by the American duo Hall & Oates. Written by Daryl Hall and John Oates, and co-written by Sara Allen, the song was released as the second single from their tenth studio album, Private Eyes (1981). The song became the fourth number-one hit single of their career on the Billboard Hot 100 and the second hit single from Private Eyes. It features Charles DeChant on saxello.
“I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)” is one of 14 Hall & Oates songs that have been played on the radio over one million times, according to BMI. The track appears in the film Aloha.
“Physical” is a song by British-born Australian recording artist Olivia Newton-John for her twelfth studio album Physical. It was released in September 1981, by MCA Records as the lead single from the project. The song was written by Steve Kipner and Terry Shaddick, who originally intended to offer it to British singer-songwriter Rod Stewart, while production was handled by John Farrar.
The song was an immediate success, shipping 2 million copies in the United States, being certified Platinum, and spending 10 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, ultimately becoming Newton-John’s biggest American hit. The song reached number 7 on the UK chart in November. The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and won the Billboard Award for Top Pop Single.