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The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #1 Super Freak


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36 minutes ago, timschochet said:

15. J Geils Band “Centerfold” (from Freeze Frame

https://youtu.be/BqDjMZKf-wg

Peter Wolf and company had been around a long time before 1981 but it took MTV and this hilarious tune to turn them into huge stars for a short while. Yes the video has a bunch of scantily clad women in it but Wolf’s personality (and dancing skills) also feature; plus its a very catchy song. 

Best milk-filled drum ever at the 2:50 mark.

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86. The Kinks “Destroyer” (from Give the People What They Want)  https://youtu.be/_WJ6FbcWYRU The Kinks were actually a pretty good 80s band, as Ray Davies still had some songwriting chops l

67. Journey “Stone In Love” (from Escape)  https://youtu.be/kFqXFE8OSG4 Sorry @wikkidpissah there’s going to be a few more standard type rockers coming up here. What can I say? They were big i

44. Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (from Bella Donna)  https://youtu.be/H5i7j0VhEHw The music to this song was written by Mike Campbell (l

4 hours ago, zamboni said:
4 hours ago, wikkidpissah said:

her kid view of the vid, with ol boneyass lipflab wavin his finger & syllablather at the camera, is 103% of why she's such a big Beatles fan

Yeah, his chicken clucking gyrations here are a bit much even for him.

All so creepy.

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2 hours ago, massraider said:

There is no year you can pull up of the Billboard Hot 100 where you will say, man, what great music!

It's the reflection of the stuff that appeals to the widest spectrum of people. It's always ####. 

*Theme  from Greatest American Hero at #11 is a great snapshot of 1981 musical purgatory. 


 

Believe it or not, it happened.

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On 3/12/2021 at 2:57 PM, timschochet said:

Stay Doc! I enjoy your commentary. 

We don’t have similar tastes in music (obviously) but I appreciate all the work that goes into these lists.   I don’t know how you find the time.  It was a basketball ball tournament weekend for my daughter so I wasn’t around much.  I will catch back up but am not going to comment.  I don’t need to ruffle feathers.  

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4 minutes ago, DocHolliday said:

We don’t have similar tastes in music (obviously) but I appreciate all the work that goes into these lists.   I don’t know how you find the time.  It was a basketball ball tournament weekend for my daughter so I wasn’t around much.  I will catch back up but am not going to comment.  I don’t need to ruffle feathers.  

I like your commentary - keep on keepin’ on.

Edited by zamboni
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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #14 Dancing With Myself
2 hours ago, zamboni said:
2 hours ago, DocHolliday said:

We don’t have similar tastes in music (obviously) but I appreciate all the work that goes into these lists.   I don’t know how you find the time.  It was a basketball ball tournament weekend for my daughter so I wasn’t around much.  I will catch back up but am not going to comment.  I don’t need to ruffle feathers.  

I like your commentary - keep on keepin’ on.

Edited 2 hours ago by zamboni

It was my feathers you ruffled.

But I'm a moron- so please ignore me and keep posting your commentary.

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10 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

Some of Billy Idol's songs have not aged well, IMO, but Dancing with Myself still kicks ###.  Eyes Without a Face is still pretty tasty as well.  

Blue Highway remains his best IMO.

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It's stupid, but I think better of your career if you looked good as you got older. 

Billy idol aged really well.

Brian Setzer too, come to think of it. 

Edited by massraider
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11 hours ago, timschochet said:

16. The Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” (from Tattoo You

https://youtu.be/SGyOaCXr8Lw

The last truly great Stones song, with a classic opening guitar riff. It’s anthemic, meant to be played loud. I’ve always loved the video too. 

Undercover of the Night.

But this is one of their most iconic rockers, and it's amazing that it was pieced together from one attempt at a rock arrangement during the Black and Blue sessions. The other takes were reggae. 

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7 hours ago, Bracie Smathers said:

Holy crap.

Not single song from the Stones made the list.

Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1981

I have no idea how that is possible.  I have to imagine Tatoo You came out later in the year or they have an OAR hot-100 list because Start Me Up was a ubiquitous tune whenever we were cruising around.

Nope.  Not on 82's hot-100 either.  Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1982

At least waiting on a friend cracked the list at #94.  Wow.

Especially once MTV came into play, what was ubiquitous and what was on the Hot 100 didn't always correlate. 

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2 hours ago, El Floppo said:

It was my feathers you ruffled.

But I'm a moron- so please ignore me and keep posting your commentary.

Oh no, Flop, a kerfuffle to ruffle?

Come, join the moron brigade. I happen to have procured a permanent seat here on the SS Nadir. The vessel leaves at about 12 AM and returns around 5 AM EST, but until then there's plenty of room for company. Perhaps a spot of tea?  

Edited by rockaction
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2 hours ago, timschochet said:

one of the best post punk songs ever written. 

This simply isn’t true and the distinctive guitar sound was a combo mix of New, Steve Jones of the Pistols and Danny Kustow but credit Jonesy with the solo

 

FUNFACT: Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones recorded the song with Idol. After recording the song, Jones had a seizure due to drug usage. Jones was rolled out of the studio on a stretcher.

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #13 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

13. The Police “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (from Ghost In The Machine

https://youtu.be/aENX1Sf3fgQ

This song predates The Police, as Sting wrote it back in 1976. He had trouble convincing them to record it; Summers and Copeland thought it was too soft. 
For me, it might be the loveliest composition of Sting’s entire career. That piano in particular is so gorgeous, as is the end of the verse, the bridge, the chorus- one major critic called this “pop brilliance” and I agree. 

 

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16 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

It’s no wonder that this band imploded when two of the three thought a melodic gem like this was too soft. Great song. One of their best. 

i have two choreographers in the family and buzz gets back on shows. from what i hear about Mr Sumner's dealings with showfolk in the staging of his highly unsuccessful (tho musically compelling) The Last Ship musical, any interruption of the Sting vision can lead to disastrous contretemps.

Edited by wikkidpissah
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11 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

i have two choreographers in the family and buzz gets back on shows. from what i hear about Mr Sumner's dealings with showfolk in the staging of his highly unsuccessful (tho musically compelling) The Last Ship musical, any interruption of the Sting vision can lead to disastrous contretemps.

And the tantric sex

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On 3/13/2021 at 2:48 PM, timschochet said:

18. Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’” (from Escape

https://youtu.be/1k8craCGpgs

My oldest daughter was in 8th grade band. They were absolutely dreadful and they played this song over and over. In fact, we have the Huntington Beach Marathon here, and my daughter and her band serenaded them as they ran past- I’m sure it speeded them up, exhausted as they were, to run by as fast as possible. 
I have no other thoughts about this. 

 

You're going to need to bring some serious Rock & Roll Hall of Fame stuff in the next 17 selections to justify such a low ranking for this 80's anthem. I'm watching you tim.

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8 minutes ago, beer 30 said:

You're going to need to bring some serious Rock & Roll Hall of Fame stuff in the next 17 selections to justify such a low ranking for this 80's anthem. I'm watching you tim.

Good. 
This is as high as I could rank such a mediocre, annoying song. I knew I had to have it in my top 20. 
I honestly considered starting this thread out with a bang by ranking this song as #100, but that would have been unfair. 

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2 minutes ago, timschochet said:

Good. 
This is as high as I could rank such a mediocre, annoying song. I knew I had to have it in my top 20. 
I honestly considered starting this thread out with a bang by ranking this song as #100, but that would have been unfair. 

:lmao: the hate is palpable.

It was the song our football team used as theme music for the 82 season when we went to the playoffs and I loved Journey, they were my go to in the 80's. Saw them 2-3 times during their heyday. 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #12. Only A Lad

12. Oingo Boingo “Only A Lad” (from Only A Lad

https://youtu.be/Js4yGcgO6hk

In the illustrious musical career of Danny Elfman, which spans 4 decades and includes movie scores, musicals, and a legendary TV show theme, “Only A Lad” might still be his most brilliant achievement. Borrowing his theme from Stephen Sondheim’s “Gee Officer Krupke” (West Side Story) and Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy”, Elfman savagely skewers liberal guilt by presenting the tale of Johnny, a pyromaniac and generally rotten kid whom liberals keep trying to forgive. An example of Elfman’s searing, biting lyrics: 

Its not his fault that he can’t behave, society has made him go astray, perhaps if we’re nice he’ll go away

And Elfman offers his own perspective at the end of the song: 

Hey there Johnny, you really don’t fool me, you get away with murder and you think it’s funny, you don’t give a damn if you live or if you die, hey there Johnny boy I hope you fry! 
 

Of course all of this is set to a well-crafted, catchy new wave tune of the era. Just a fantastic work of art.  

 

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21 minutes ago, timschochet said:

12. Oingo Boingo “Only A Lad” (from Only A Lad

https://youtu.be/Js4yGcgO6hk

In the illustrious musical career of Danny Elfman, which spans 4 decades and includes movie scores, musicals, and a legendary TV show theme, “Only A Lad” might still be his most brilliant achievement. Borrowing his theme from Stephen Sondheim’s “Gee Officer Krupke” (West Side Story) and Warren Zevon’s “Excitable Boy”, Elfman savagely skewers liberal guilt by presenting the tale of Johnny, a pyromaniac and generally rotten kid whom liberals keep trying to forgive. An example of Elfman’s searing, biting lyrics: 

Its not his fault that he can’t behave, society has made him go astray, perhaps if we’re nice he’ll go away

And Elfman offers his own perspective at the end of the song: 

Hey there Johnny, you really don’t fool me, you get away with murder and you think it’s funny, you don’t give a damn if you live or if you die, hey there Johnny boy I hope you fry! 
 

Of course all of this is set to a well-crafted, catchy new wave tune of the era. Just a fantastic work of art.  

 

I know you’re infatuated with oingo boingo but they are a band from this era that I don’t get. Too “ choreographed & theatrical “ for me. Elfman never seemed genuine at least to me. Different tastes and all that
 
I do like Just Another Day by them a few years later

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1 hour ago, HellToupee said:

I know you’re infatuated with oingo boingo but they are a band from this era that I don’t get. Too “ choreographed & theatrical “ for me. Elfman never seemed genuine at least to me. Different tastes and all that
 
I do like Just Another Day by them a few years later

I was a huge fan of theirs too and saw them every time they came up from LA to SF. And you're dead on about the theatrics- but they were a tight, fun band with a great stage show and front man in elfman.

Iirc, they started as a performance art group -mystical knights of oingo boingo...or something like that. I still regret not buying their vinyl offering I found buried in a crate somewhere in HS. Plus they were on the gong show...

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Just now, El Floppo said:

I was a huge fan of theirs too and saw them every time they came up from LA to SF. And you're dead on about the theatrics- but they were a tight, fun band with a great stage show and front man in elfman.

Iirc, they started as a performance art group -mystical knights of oingo boingo...or something like that. I still regret not buying their vinyl offering I found buried in a crate somewhere in HS. Plus they were on the gong show...

He was scheduled to perform at Coachella before it got cancelled last year.  Probably one of the few acts that would motivate me to brave a musical festival, even though he probably sucks at this point.  Saw Boingo numerous times at the Warfield, Greek Amphitheater in Berkeley, and the Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz.

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14 minutes ago, Navin Johnson said:

Probably one of the few acts that would motivate me to brave a musical festival, even though he probably sucks at this point.

I don't know you well enough to tell you this, but I will anyway. You're probably too old. Or something like that. I found out the hard way. Boston Calling. Retching all over the place into the outdoor garbage cans to young girls going "eewww."

It's not pretty. Don't relive it.

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8 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I don't know you well enough to tell you this, but I will anyway. You're probably too old. Or something like that. I found out the hard way. Boston Calling. Retching all over the place into the outdoor garbage cans to young girls going "eewww."

It's not pretty. Don't relive it.

💯 

Yeah, that's a young man's game. 

Did the non-rapey Woodstock 94, was there for 3 full days, left with a pair of shorts on and nothing else. Amazing time, the idea of doing it now makes me lie downdown. 

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9 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I don't know you well enough to tell you this, but I will anyway. You're probably too old. Or something like that. I found out the hard way. Boston Calling. Retching all over the place into the outdoor garbage cans to young girls going "eewww."

It's not pretty. Don't relive it.

Yeah, probably a good thing it was cancelled, or even that it was sold out so quickly.  Thought they would tour forever and wish I could have seen them one last time.  I think it's pretty safe to say anyone who is a fan of Boingo is probably too old for that scene.

 

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Just now, Navin Johnson said:

Yeah, probably a good thing it was cancelled, or even that it was sold out so quickly.  Thought they would tour forever and wish I could have seen them one last time.  I think it's pretty safe to say anyone who is a fan of Boingo is probably too old for that scene.

Yeah, especially if you're old enough to have dug Boingo. I didn't even think of that. I was more commiserating than anything, regardless. There are going to be some shows that I'd like to see, everything permitting of course, but that I likely can't just due to age alone. Like I'd love to see Run The Jewels at a festival. But I don't think I'm ever gonna get to check that out, though they're nearly as old as I am.

As far as Coachella goes, Indio is 70 miles from where I live, so it's easily doable, but I think not only would I be sick, I'd stick out like a sore thumb among all the glitterati. Air conditioning and free water sound so good when you're without either.

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2 hours ago, HellToupee said:

I know you’re infatuated with oingo boingo but they are a band from this era that I don’t get. Too “ choreographed & theatrical “ for me. Elfman never seemed genuine at least to me. Different tastes and all that
 
 

Gong 

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8 minutes ago, Andy Dufresne said:

I'd thought about taking a swing at 1982. But I don't want to "culturally appropriate" Tim's shtick.

Seriously. I won't do it if it's bad form. 

I’d say have at it.

I mentioned earlier I may do a next 100 for 1981. Have a lot in mind but don’t/won’t have the time to draw something up. I think @Gr00vusor someone else was talking about doing one, so have at it before we find ourselves in ‘82.

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #11. We Got the Beat
12 minutes ago, zamboni said:

I’d say have at it.

I mentioned earlier I may do a next 100 for 1981. Have a lot in mind but don’t/won’t have the time to draw something up. I think @Gr00vusor someone else was talking about doing one, so have at it before we find ourselves in ‘82.

At the beginning of the thread, I culled a quick 1981 playlist on spotify without much thought. had planned on revisiting that to further edit a list or playlist...or likely just post the playlist. I can add that to your next 100 or here...don't want to step on your toes if you're doing one. It's stuff I liked during and/or came to like later...definitely not meant as an objective list of greatest hits- just stuff in my wheelhouse from the year. 

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11. The Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat” (from Beauty and the Beat

https://youtu.be/f55KlPe81Yw

This is actually a re-recorded version; the original was produced the year before and released only in England for some reason. 

I can still remember how this song overtook the radio stations of America: it was fresh, it was energetic, and they were so cute and likable. And above all of that, it was great rock and roll. Loved them. 

 

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30 minutes ago, Andy Dufresne said:

I'd thought about taking a swing at 1982. But I don't want to "culturally appropriate" Tim's shtick.

Seriously. I won't do it if it's bad form. 

Go for it. I have no problem at all. 
 

My next list will be 1970 but I need to take a break. 

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2 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

At the beginning of the thread, I culled a quick 1981 playlist on spotify without much thought. had planned on revisiting that to further edit a list or playlist...or likely just post the playlist. I can add that to your next 100 or here...don't want to step on your toes if you're doing one. It's stuff I liked during and/or came to like later...definitely not meant as an objective list of greatest hits- just stuff in my wheelhouse from the year. 

Thanks - as mentioned, I won’t be doing a next 100. If no one else steps up, feel free to post your your list and I’ll chime in with my own that weren’t mentioned.

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2 minutes ago, timschochet said:

11. The Go-Go’s “We Got the Beat” (from Beauty and the Beat

https://youtu.be/f55KlPe81Yw

This is actually a re-recorded version; the original was produced the year before and released only in England for some reason. 

I can still remember how this song overtook the radio stations of America: it was fresh, it was energetic, and they were so cute and likable. And above all of that, it was great rock and roll. Loved them. 

 

Have the Go-Go’s movie/documentary on the DVR. Have to get around to watching it one if these days.

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25 minutes ago, zamboni said:

I’d say have at it.

I mentioned earlier I may do a next 100 for 1981. Have a lot in mind but don’t/won’t have the time to draw something up. I think @Gr00vusor someone else was talking about doing one, so have at it before we find ourselves in ‘82.

Not I. Maybe @Bracie Smathers?

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4 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Have the Go-Go’s movie/documentary on the DVR. Have to get around to watching it one if these days.

I really enjoyed it. 

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13 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Have the Go-Go’s movie/documentary on the DVR. Have to get around to watching it one if these days.

I'll have to watch that also, pretty interesting career.

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16 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Thanks - as mentioned, I won’t be doing a next 100. If no one else steps up, feel free to post your your list and I’ll chime in with my own that weren’t mentioned.

I picked 10 I knew wouldn't get chosen for 81.

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19 minutes ago, zamboni said:

Have the Go-Go’s movie/documentary on the DVR. Have to get around to watching it one if these days.

It was quite good, enlightening. It was interesting to note how short of a time they were together, barely four years.

Belinda Carlisle had an under-the-radar solo career. In just two years she had four Top Ten singles, with a #1 (Heaven Is A Place On Earth). That's pretty good. 

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24 minutes ago, FairWarning said:

I picked 10 I knew wouldn't get chosen for 81.

:popcorn:

 

I was thinking that I know nothing about country...would be interesting to hear what was in trend that year, if anybody knows about country.

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3 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

:popcorn:

 

I was thinking that I know nothing about country...would be interesting to hear what was in trend that year, if anybody knows about country.

Kind of bummed I won’t do my top 100, but what I briefly did put together has country, metal, New Wave, punk, ska, R&B, prog/classic rock, and more. Looking forward to see what others came up with.

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

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