“All Night Long (All Night)” is a hit single by American singer-songwriter Lionel Richie from 1983. Taken from his second solo album, Can’t Slow Down, it combined Richie’s soulful Commodores style with Caribbean influences. This new, more dance music, pop-inspired approach proved popular, as the single reached number one on three Billboard charts (pop, R&B and adult contemporary).
In the UK, the song was kept off the top spot by Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks.
The song lyrics were written primarily in English, but Richie has admitted in at least one press interview that “African” lyrics in the song, such as “Tom bo li de say de moi ya,” and “Jambo jumbo,” were in fact made-up gibberish of his own invention. Richie has described these portions of the song as a “wonderful joke,” written when he discovered that he lacked the time to hire a translator to contribute the foreign language lyrics he wished to include in the song.
The song has achieved massive popularity in the Arab World, in which Richie is well known as much as if not more than in his native U.S. The Independent has referred to Richie as “a phenomenon” over the past decade or so in nations such as Iraq, with “Hello” also achieving much success.
“Islands in the Stream” is a song written by the Bee Gees and sung by American country music artists Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Named after the Ernest Hemingway novel, it was originally written for Marvin Gaye in an R&B style, only later to be changed for the Kenny Rogers album. It was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers’ album Eyes That See in the Dark.
The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, giving both Rogers and Parton their second pop number-one hit (after Rogers’ “Lady” in 1980 and Parton’s “9 to 5” in 1981). It also topped the Country and Adult Contemporary charts. It has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling over two million physical copies in the US. In 2005 the song topped CMT’s poll of the best country duets of all time; Parton and Rogers reunited to perform the song on the CMT special.
Rogers and Parton went on to record a Christmas album together, and had an additional hit with their 1985 duet “Real Love”.
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” is a song recorded by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler. It was written and produced by Jim Steinman, and released on Tyler’s fifth studio album, Faster Than the Speed of Night (1983). The song was released as a single by Columbia Records on 11 February 1983 in the United Kingdom and on 31 May 1983 in the United States.
“Total Eclipse of the Heart” became Tyler’s biggest career hit, hitting number one in several countries including the UK, where it was the fifth-best-selling single in 1983, and the US, making her the first and only Welsh singer to reach the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100. It was Billboard’s number-six song of the year for 1983.
Worldwide, the single has sales in excess of 6 million copies and has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for U.S. sales of more than one million copies.
“Tell Her About It” is a Gold-certified 1983 hit performed by Billy Joel, from the 7× Platinum album An Innocent Man. An apparent homage to the Motown Sound, the song was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for one week on September 24, 1983, replacing the Phil Ramone-produced song, “Maniac” by Michael Sembello. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA for US sales of over 500,000 copies. In interviews, Joel has indicated that the song, heard out of context of the An Innocent Man album, sounds more like a Tony Orlando and Dawn record than the Motown sound he intended.
“Maniac” is a song performed by Michael Sembello. The song was used in the 1983 film Flashdance.
“Maniac” appears during an early scene in Flashdance and is used as the backing track of a montage sequence showing Alex (Jennifer Beals) training strenuously in her converted warehouse.
The song was included in Flashdance after Sembello’s wife accidentally included it on a tape sent to executives at Paramount Pictures who were looking for music to use in the film.
A dance music version was released in 2000, by Irish DJ Mark McCabe, entitled “Maniac 2000”.
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is a song written and performed by the British new wave music duo Eurythmics. The song is the title track of their album of the same name and was released as the fourth and final single from the album in early 1983. The song became their breakthrough hit, establishing the duo worldwide. Its music video helped to propel the song to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was the first single released by Eurythmics in the US.
“Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is arguably Eurythmics’ signature song. Following its success, their previous single, “Love Is a Stranger”, was re-released and also became a worldwide hit. On Rolling Stone’s The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time issue in 2003, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” was ranked number 356. Eurythmics have regularly performed the song in all their live sets since 1982, and it is often performed by Lennox on her solo tours.
In 1991, the song was remixed and reissued to promote Eurythmics’ Greatest Hits album. It re-charted in the UK, reaching number 48, and was also a moderate hit in dance clubs. Another remix by Steve Angello was released in France in 2006, along with the track “I’ve Got a Life” (peaking at number 10).
“Every Breath You Take” is a song by English rock band The Police from their 1983 album Synchronicity. Written by Sting, the single was the biggest hit of 1983, topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for eight weeks (the band’s only number-one hit on that chart), and the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. It also topped the Billboard Top Tracks chart for nine weeks.
At the 26th Annual Grammy Awards the song was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and Record of the Year, winning in the first two categories. For the song, Sting received the 1983 British Academy’s Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
The song is considered to be both The Police’s and Sting’s signature song, and in 2010 was estimated to generate between a quarter and a third of Sting’s music publishing income. In the 1983 Rolling Stone critics and readers poll, it was voted “Song of the Year”. In the US, it was the best-selling single of 1983 and fifth-best-selling single of the decade. Billboard ranked it as the number-one song for 1983.
The song ranked number 84 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It also ranked number 25 on Billboard’s Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs. In 2015, the song was voted by the British public as the nation’s favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.
“Flashdance… What a Feeling” is a song from the 1983 film Flashdance, written by Giorgio Moroder, Keith Forsey, and Irene Cara, and performed by Cara.
In addition to topping the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Cara’s only #1 song, it earned a platinum record, the Academy Award for Best Original Song, the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, and the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. In 2004 it finished at #55 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. The song also kept Culture Club’s song “Time (Clock of the Heart)” off the number one spot.
The song was the #3 single of the year in 1983 on the Billboard year-end chart. In 2008, the song was ranked at #26 on Billboard’s All Time Top 100, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Billboard Hot 100.
In the United Kingdom, the song spent one week at #2 on the UK Singles Chart for the week ending date July 9, 1983.
“Let’s Dance” is the title song from English singer David Bowie’s 1983 album of the same name. It was also released as the first single from that album in 1983, and went on to become one of his biggest-selling tracks. Stevie Ray Vaughan played the guitar solo at the end of the song.
The single was one of Bowie’s fastest selling to date, entering the UK Singles Chart at number five on its first week of release, staying at the top of the charts for three weeks. Soon afterwards, the single topped the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Bowie’s second and last single to reach number 1 in the U.S. In Oceania, it narrowly missed topping the Australian charts, peaking at number two, but peaked at number one for 4 consecutive weeks in New Zealand. The single became one of the best selling of the year across North America, Central Europe and Oceania.
“Beat It” is a song written and performed by American singer Michael Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones (with co-production by Jackson). It is the third single from the singer’s sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). Following the successful chart performances of the Thriller singles “The Girl Is Mine” and “Billie Jean”, “Beat It” was released on February 3, 1983 as the album’s third single. The song was promoted with a short film that featured Jackson bringing two gangs together through the power of music and dance.
“Beat It” received the Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, as well as two American Music Awards. It was inducted into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame. The single, along with its music video, propelled Thriller into becoming the best-selling album of all time. The single was certified platinum in the United States in 1989. Rolling Stone placed “Beat It” on the 344th spot of its list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The song was also ranked number 81 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time”.
In the decades since its release, “Beat It” has been covered, parodied, and sampled by numerous artists including Pierce the Veil, Fall Out Boy, Pomplamoose, Justin Bieber, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Fergie, John 5, “Weird Al” Yankovic and Eminem. The song was also featured in the National Highway Safety Commission’s anti-drunk driving campaign.
“Come On Eileen” is a song by English group Dexys Midnight Runners (credited to Dexys Midnight Runners and the Emerald Express), released in the UK on 25 June 1982 as a single from their album Too-Rye-Ay. It was their second number one hit in the United Kingdom, following 1980’s “Geno”. The song was written by Kevin Rowland, Jim Paterson and Billy Adams; it was produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley.
“Come On Eileen” won Best British Single at the 1983 Brit Awards and in 2015 the song was voted by the British public as the nation’s sixth favourite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.
“Billie Jean” is a song by American singer Michael Jackson. It is the second single from the singer’s sixth solo album, Thriller (1982). It was written and composed by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. There are contradictory claims on the meaning of the song’s lyrics. One suggests that they are derived from a real-life experience, in which a female fan claimed that Jackson (or one of his brothers) had fathered one of her twins. However, Jackson himself stated that “Billie Jean” was based on groupies he had encountered. The song is well known for its distinctive bassline played by Louis Johnson, the standard drum beat heard in the beginning, the repetition of “Billie Jean is not my lover” towards the end of the song and Michael Jackson’s vocal hiccups. The song was mixed 91 times by audio engineer Bruce Swedien before it was finalized, though he reportedly went with the 2nd mix as the final product.
The song became a success; it was one of the best-selling singles of 1983 and is one of the best-selling singles worldwide. The song topped both the US and UK charts simultaneously. In other countries, it topped the charts of Switzerland and reached the top ten in Austria, Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. “Billie Jean” was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1989. Rolling Stone magazine placed the song in the 58th spot on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Awarded numerous honours—including two Grammy Awards, one American Music Award, and an induction into the Music Video Producers Hall of Fame—the song and corresponding music video helped propel Thriller to the status of best-selling album of all time. The song was promoted with a short film that broke down MTV’s racial barrier as the first video by a black artist to be aired in heavy rotation. Also, Jackson’s Emmy-nominated performance on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, in which Jackson premiered his “moonwalk”, helped to popularize the song. It was additionally promoted through Jackson’s Pepsi commercials; during the filming of one commercial, Jackson’s scalp was severely burned. Covered by modern artists, “Billie Jean” sealed Jackson’s status as an international pop icon.
“Baby, Come to Me” is a classic love ballad written by Rod Temperton (formerly of Heatwave) and sung in duet by Patti Austin and James Ingram.
The original version, performed by Patti Austin and James Ingram (with Michael McDonald contributing background vocals), and produced by Quincy Jones, appears on Austin’s 1981 album, Every Home Should Have One. When first released as a single, it had minor chart success in the spring 1982, spending one month on the pop singles chart and peaking at No. 73 on the Billboard Hot 100. It did, however, reach number 11 in the UK.
Later that year, it gained new exposure as the romantic theme song for Luke Spencer, a leading character on the ABC soap opera General Hospital. ABC received so many inquiries about the song that Warner Brothers decided to re-release “Baby, Come to Me” as a single in October. It then spent seven more months on the chart, reaching number one on the Hot 100 for two weeks, and also hit number one Adult Contemporary charts in early 1983.
Among artists who have covered the song are Alexander O’Neal and Cherrelle, the Captain and Tennille, Shirley Bassey, Dalida, Daryl Hall, Laura Fygi, and Stephanie Winslow.
“Africa” is a 1982 song by the American rock band Toto. It was included on their 1982 album Toto IV, and released as a single on September 30, 1982. It reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 5, 1983 and number three on the UK Singles Chart the same month. The song was written by the band’s keyboardist/vocalist David Paich and drummer Jeff Porcaro.
The initial idea and words for the song came from David Paich. Jeff Porcaro explains the idea behind the song: “a white boy is trying to write a song on Africa, but since he’s never been there, he can only tell what he’s seen on TV or remembers in the past.”
Songwriter David Paich said:
“At the beginning of the ’80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me, and the pictures just wouldn’t leave my head. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about if I was there and what I’d do.”
In 2015, lyricist Dave Paich explained the song is about a man’s love of a continent: Africa, rather than just a personal romance.
Musically, the song took quite some time to assemble, as Paich and Porcaro explain:
On “Africa” you hear a combination of marimba with GS 1. The kalimba is all done with the GS 1; it’s six tracks of GS 1 playing different rhythms. I wrote the song on CS-80, so that plays the main part of the entire tune.
So when we were doing “Africa” I set up a bass drum, snare drum and a hi-hat, and Lenny Castro set up right in front of me with a conga. We looked at each other and just started playing the basic groove. … The backbeat is on 3, so it’s a half-time feel, and it’s 16th notes on the hi-hat. Lenny started playing a conga pattern. We played for five minutes on tape, no click, no nothing. We just played. And I was singing the bass line for ‘Africa’ in my mind, so we had a relative tempo. Lenny and I went into the booth and listened back to the five minutes of that same boring pattern. We picked out the best two bars that we thought were grooving, and we marked those two bars on tape…Maybe it would have taken two minutes to program that in the Linn, and it took about half an hour to do this. But a Linn machine doesn’t feel like that!
“Down Under” (also known as “Land Down Under”) is a song recorded by Australian rock band Men at Work. It was originally released in 1980 as the B-side to their first local single titled “Keypunch Operator”, released before the band signed with Columbia Records. Both early songs were written by the group’s co-founders, Colin Hay and Ron Strykert. The early version of “Down Under” has a slightly different tempo and arrangement from the later Columbia release. The most well known version was then released on Columbia in October 1981 as the third single from their debut album Business as Usual (1981).
The hit song went to number one in their home country of Australia in December 1981, and then topped the New Zealand charts in February 1982. Released in North America in mid-1982, the song topped the Canadian charts in October. In the United States, the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on 6 November 1982 at No. 79, and reached No. 1 in January 1983 where it spent four non-consecutive weeks. It eventually sold over two million copies in the US alone. Billboard ranked it at No. 4 for 1983.
In the UK, the song topped the charts in January and February 1983, and is the only Men at Work song to make the UK top 20. The song also went No. 1 in Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Switzerland, and was a top 10 hit in many other countries. It remains a popular and patriotic song in Australia.
“Maneater” is a song by the American duo Hall & Oates, featured on their eleventh studio album, H2O (1982). It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on December 18, 1982. It remained in the top spot for four weeks, more than any of the duo’s five other number-one hits, including “Kiss on My List”, which remained in the top spot for three weeks.
In an interview with American Songwriter in 2009, Daryl Hall recalled,
John had written a prototype of “Maneater”; he was banging it around with Edgar Winter. It was like a reggae song. I said, “Well, the chords are interesting, but I think we should change the groove.” I changed it to that Motown kind of groove. So we did that, and I played it for Sara Allen and sang it for her…[Sings] “Oh here she comes / Watch out boy she’ll chew you up / Oh here she comes / She’s a maneater… and a…” I forget what the last line was. She said, “drop that shit at the end and go, ‘She’s a maneater,’ and stop! And I said, ‘No, you’re crazy, that’s messed up.'” Then I thought about it, and I realized she was right. And it made all the difference in the song.
Hall also opined, “We try and take chances. Our new single “Maneater” isn’t something that sounds like anything else on the radio. The idea is to make things better.”
John Oates has explained that while it is natural to assume the lyrics are about a woman, the song actually was originally written “about NYC in the ’80s. It’s about greed, avarice, and spoiled riches. But we have it in the setting of a girl because it’s more relatable. It’s something that people can understand. That’s what we do all of the time”, after describing how they took a similar approach with the earlier song “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”.