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The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #1 Super Freak


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Special thanks to @zambonifor suggesting the year. 

100. “Talk to Ya Later” The Tubes 

99. “Just Fade Away” Stiff Little Fingers

98. “Jimmie Jones” The Vapors 

97. “How Much More” The Go-Gos

96. “Since You’re Gone” The Cars 

95. “Letting You Go” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 

94. “Who’s Crying Now” Journey

93. “YYZ” Rush 

92. “The KKK Took My Baby Away” The Ramones 

91. “Mony Mony” Billy Idol 

90. “New Lace Sleeves” Elvis Costello 

89. “Prince Charming” Adam & the Ants 

88. “Be Good Johnny” Men at Work 

87. “Waiting For a Girl Like You” Foreigner

86. “Destroyer” The Kinks 

85. “The Best of Times” Styx 

84. “Harden My Heart” Quarterflash 

83. “Spirits in the Material World” The Police 

82. “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” April Wine 

81. “Freeze Frame” J Geils Band 

80. “Physical” Olivia Newton-John 

79. “Working For the Weekend” Loverboy

78. “Beautiful World” Devo

77. “This Little Girl” Gary U.S. Bonds 

76. “Shake It Up” The Cars 

75. “Insider” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers featuring Stevie Nicks

74. “Hang Fire” The Rolling Stones 

73. “Urgent” Foreigner

72. “Leather and Lace” Stevie Nicks and Don Henley

71. “My Kinda Lover” Billy Squire 

70. “Unchained” Van Halen 

69. “Just Between You and Me” April Wine 

68. “Too Much Time On My Hands” Styx 

67. “Stone In Love” Journey 

66. “Winning” Santana 

65. “867-5309/Jenny” Tommy Tutone 

64. “Ghost Town” The Specials 

63. “The Break Up Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” The Greg Kihn Band 

62. “Jessie’s Girl” Rick Springfield 

61. “Edge of Seventeen” Stevie Nicks 

60. “Fire and Ice” Pat Benatar

59. “Predictable” The Kinks 

58. “Hold On Loosely” .38 Special 

57. “Crimson and Clover” Joan Jett & The Blackhearts 

56. “The Stroke” Billy Squire 

55. “No Reply At All” Genesis

54. “Private Eyes” Daryl Hall & John Oates

53. “Little Girls” Oingo Boingo 

52. “History Never Repeats” Split Enz

51. “Tube Snake Boogie” ZZ Top 

50. “Controversy” Prince 

49. “Red Barchetta” Rush

48. “Who Can It Be Now?” Men At Work 

47. “A Life of Illusion” Joe Walsh 

46. “Kids in America” Kim Wilde 

45. “Girls On Film” Duran Duran

44. “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

43. “Every Grain of Sand” Bob Dylan 

42. “Watch Your Step” Elvis Costello

41. “You Better You Bet” The Who

40. “Waiting On a Friend” The Rolling Stones  

39. “Stand and Deliver” Adam & the Ants 

38. “Bette Davis Eyes” Kim Carnes 

37. “Leader of the Band” Dan Fogelberg

36. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)” AC/DC

35. “Don’t You Want Me” The Human League 

34. “Spellbound” Siouxie and the Banshees 

33. “Burnin’ For You” Blue Oyster Cult 

32. “I Love Rock ‘N Roll” Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

31. “Abacab” Genesis 

30. “Promises In the Dark” Pat Benatar

29. “Woody and Dutch On the Slow Train to Peking” Rickie Lee Jones

28. “A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me)” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers  

27. “Lady (You Bring Me Up)” The Commodores

26. “Magic Power” Triumph 

25. “Slow Hand” The Pointer Sisters

24. “Message of Love” Pretenders  

23. “Rock This Town” The Stray Cats 

22. “White Girl” X 

21. “Man On The Corner” Genesis 

20. “Limelight” Rush 

19. “In The Air Tonight” Phil Collins 

18. “Don’t Stop Believin’” Journey 

17. “Stray Cat Strut” The Stray Cats 

16. “Start Me Up” The Rolling Stones 

15. “Centerfold” J Geils Band 

14. “Dancing With Myself” Billy Idol 

13. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” The Police 

12. “Only A Lad” Oingo Boingo 

11. “We Got the Beat” The Go-Go’s 

10. “Down Under” Men At Work 

9. “Tainted Love” Soft Cell

8. “Pretty In Pink” The Psychedelic Furs 

7. “Under Pressure” Queen & David Bowie 

6. “Tom Sawyer” Rush 

5. “Our Lips Are Sealed” The Go-Go’s 

4. “Tempted” Squeeze 

3. “Just Can’t Get Enough” Depeche Mode 

2. “The Waiting” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 

1. “Super Freak” Rick James 

 

Edited by timschochet
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My prediction...pain.

 

 

(Personally) This was the year I went all in as a kid...I'm sure there'll be some stuff I love and some stuff I completely hate. The nature of the beast with these things...but as always, good on you for taking the time and doing it, Tim. always fun to see and remember the years :thumbup:

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Just now, El Floppo said:

 

 

 

(Personally) This was the year I went all in as a kid...I'm sure there'll be some stuff I love and some stuff I completely hate. The nature of the beast with these things...but as always, good on you for taking the time and doing it, Tim. always fun to see and remember the years :thumbup:

No album spotlighting s'il vous plait.

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100. The Tubes “Talk to Ya Later” (from The Complete Backwards Principle)

https://youtu.be/H-rEVVAw3-0

This song holds a special place in my heart because it was the first ever video I saw on MTV. (I want to say the network was about a month old.) After that I was hooked, and would be for the remainder of my teenage years. 
Two years later The Tubes would score their one and only huge hit with “She’s a Beauty” but they had some really fine tunes before then, notably this one and “Prime Time”, which I included in the 1979 list. 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #100. Talk to Ta Later
8 minutes ago, timschochet said:

100. The Tubes “Talk to Ya Later” (from The Complete Backwards Principle)

https://youtu.be/H-rEVVAw3-0

This song holds a special place in my heart because it was the first ever video I saw on MTV. (I want to say the network was about a month old.) After that I was hooked, and would be for the remainder of my teenage years. 
Two years later The Tubes would score their one and only huge hit with “She’s a Beauty” but they had some really fine tunes before then, notably this one and “Prime Time”, which I included in the 1979 list. 

Good start 👍

ETA: the things you learn. Song was co-written by Steve Lukather of Toto, who also performs the guitar solo.

Edited by zamboni
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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #100. Talk to Ya Later
9 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

so i gets to sit back and listen to ally'all's nostalgia stories now that it's your wheelhouses, right?

Our stories just won't compare GB, unless you want to hear about hours and hours of mastering Missile Command.

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #99. Just Fade Away
26 minutes ago, timschochet said:

99. Stiff Little Fingers “Just Fade Away” (from Go For It

https://youtu.be/NhzNPt6U9zQ

Forgotten Irish punk band here (though I think they’re still around.) This was one of the best efforts, a song that still sounds fresh 40 years later. 

Never heard this one before - pretty good tune.

Interesting outfits on the band: one looks like he's going to a black tie wedding, another a Bills game, and another one cross-country skiing.

Edited by zamboni
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16 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Never heard this one before - pretty good tune.

Interesting outfits on the band: one looks like he's going to a black tie wedding, another a Bills game, and another one cross-country skiing.

I second this.  Never heard of them either.  

81-82 was my senior year in HS, will follow closely.  

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1 hour ago, zamboni said:

Never heard this one before - pretty good tune.

Interesting outfits on the band: one looks like he's going to a black tie wedding, another a Bills game, and another one cross-country skiing.

For some reason they never really turned my crank back innaday...but yeah- that's a fun tune. And lol at their outfits.

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98. The Vapors “Jimmie Jones” (from Magnets

https://youtu.be/4vofi42-F8M

I realize I’m starting out with a few lesser known tunes here but they’re so good I had to do it. Of course the Vapors were best known for the one hit wonder “Turning Japanese” which was released in 1980 on the album New Clear Days, which is filled with excellent pop tunes. Their second and final effort, Magnets, wasn’t nearly as good, except for this brilliant song about cult leader Jim Jones- it might be the best thing this band ever did. 

 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #98. Jimmie Jones
8 hours ago, timschochet said:

99. Stiff Little Fingers “Just Fade Away” (from Go For It

https://youtu.be/NhzNPt6U9zQ

Forgotten Irish punk band here (though I think they’re still around.) This was one of the best efforts, a song that still sounds fresh 40 years later. 

Just taken by Karma Police in the punk rock category for Genrepalooza. Not forgotten at all.

Don't believe them
Don't believe them
Don't get bitten twice
You've got a sus-sus-sus-suspected
Sus-Sus-Suspect device

Edited by rockaction
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10 hours ago, wikkidpissah said:

so i gets to sit back and listen to ally'all's nostalgia stories now that it's your wheelhouses, right?

"Take a hit or I'll kick your ###."

 

ETA: From 79-81 I lived in Navy housing in Bucks County, PA.  We were widely regarded as white trash by the surrounding community, but I have nothing but fond memories.  See link below, I lived on Corsair Dr., but I LIVED in The Woods. It was all pot and tobacco; nobody drank, except our parents.

https://imgur.com/LfLV4H8

Edited by Mister CIA
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15 hours ago, timschochet said:

98. The Vapors “Jimmie Jones” (from Magnets

https://youtu.be/4vofi42-F8M

I realize I’m starting out with a few lesser known tunes here but they’re so good I had to do it. Of course the Vapors were best known for the one hit wonder “Turning Japanese” which was released in 1980 on the album New Clear Days, which is filled with excellent pop tunes. Their second and final effort, Magnets, wasn’t nearly as good, except for this brilliant song about cult leader Jim Jones- it might be the best thing this band ever did. 

 

Back then my radio market was only enlightened enough to play one song per "new wave" artist,  so if you didn't buy the records you missed out on songs like this. Meanwhile the traditional rock stations would play multiple songs from an artist, giving you a better idea of how good they really were.

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #97. How Much More

97. The Go-Gos “How Much More” (from Beauty and the Beat

https://youtu.be/taLIdF97VFA

This tune, written by Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin, is the oldest song on the album; it comes from the days when the band was more punk than pop. But it still has that fresh, happy sound that made this group The Beach Boys of the early 80s. The link is to a live version which doesn’t quite have the sound quality of the original, but it shows what an energetic and charming performer young Belinda Carlisle was onstage. 

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Great song. Love it. Probably should be higher. But they were "The Beach Boys" of the early '80s? That sounds wild. Where was the black tar heroin and 300 lb. lead singer locking herself in her room in mental anguish requesting cheeseburger upon cheeseburger?

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Not that making it means a whole lot anymore, but it's a sham that the Go-Go's are not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  How Much More is a fun little tune, and I suspect their best song from the same album (not the one featured in Fast Times) will be very high up on this list, or at least it better be. :P

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50 minutes ago, rockaction said:

Great song. Love it. Probably should be higher. But they were "The Beach Boys" of the early '80s? That sounds wild. Where was the black tar heroin and 300 lb. lead singer locking herself in her room in mental anguish requesting cheeseburger upon cheeseburger?

Well, Belinda did gain a little weight after a while and she did have a drug thing later in the decade so...

But hey at least the drummer wasn’t hanging out with Charles Manson, right? So perhaps your point is well taken. 

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Just now, timschochet said:

Well, Belinda did gain a little weight after a while and she did have a drug thing later in the decade so...

But hey at least the drummer wasn’t hanging out with Charles Manson, right? So perhaps your point is well taken. 

Speaking of the drummer, Gina Schock was really good at her craft. Really anchored their sound.

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3 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Well, Belinda did gain a little weight after a while and she did have a drug thing later in the decade so...

I thought that as I was typing it out. "Mad About You" has her at her plumpest, IIRC. "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" is a close second. Lots of overhead angles. Slimming effect.

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1 minute ago, rockaction said:

I thought that as I was typing it out. "Mad About You" has her at her plumpest, IIRC. "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" is a close second. Lots of overhead angles. Slimming effect.

I thought she got slimmer in the later solo years from all that coke.

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5 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Speaking of the drummer, Gina Schock was really good at her craft. Really anchored their sound.

I had never checked out any of their stuff other than the hits, but I saw their new special on Showtime a while back, and was impressed with some of the deeper cuts on those records.  Better musicians than they are giving credit for, and they rocked pretty hard at times. See: that riffage in Turn to You. 

3 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I thought that as I was typing it out. "Mad About You" has her at her plumpest, IIRC. "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" is a close second. Lots of overhead angles. Slimming effect.

Circle in the Sand has held up extremely well as a great song, IMO. 

1 minute ago, zamboni said:

I thought she got slimmer in the later solo years from all that coke.

I thought that, too. She looked more glamorous and trimmer when she went solo. 

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2 hours ago, rockaction said:

I thought that as I was typing it out. "Mad About You" has her at her plumpest, IIRC. "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" is a close second. Lots of overhead angles. Slimming effect.

You are certifiably insane, sir.

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On 2/19/2021 at 11:00 AM, zamboni said:

Good start 👍

ETA: the things you learn. Song was co-written by Steve Lukather of Toto, who also performs the guitar solo.

:shrug:

Horrible start. No way in hell is this not in the top 50 with all the fantastic crap that will follow.

Awesome drumming by Prairie Prince 

 

As I mentioned near the close of the last record, this record you are now playing is another example of the completion backward principle. If you can possibly manage the time, please play both sides at one meeting

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9 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

I can barely even remember what Belinda looks like, much less what her weight was doing at any given time. 

Really? The Dottie Danger? She was a slightly older dream for a teenager. The jury is in. She was bigger when she was in the Go-Go's.

Edited by rockaction
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20 hours ago, timschochet said:

98. The Vapors “Jimmie Jones” (from Magnets

https://youtu.be/4vofi42-F8M

I realize I’m starting out with a few lesser known tunes here but they’re so good I had to do it. Of course the Vapors were best known for the one hit wonder “Turning Japanese” which was released in 1980 on the album New Clear Days, which is filled with excellent pop tunes. Their second and final effort, Magnets, wasn’t nearly as good, except for this brilliant song about cult leader Jim Jones- it might be the best thing this band ever did. 

 

New Clear Days was The Matrix , Magnets was Matrix. 2 & 3.

:toilet:
 

Magnets led directly to the band ending 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #1 Super Freak

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