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The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #1 Super Freak


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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

1 hour 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. 

Do it.  

4 hours ago, timschochet said:

Oingo Boingo “Only A Lad

Girl from work went nutz over Only A Lad and Dead Man's Party.  I originally hated Oingo, they grew on me but I hadn't heard Only A Lad in decades.  Now after a second listen my original take wasn't 'that far' off.  

49 minutes ago, Gr00vus said:

Not I. Maybe @Bracie Smathers?

Yeah, I'm putting together a Next-100 for 81 but other years are open AFIK.

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16 minutes ago, El Floppo said:
42 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.

81 was a big year musically for me.  Graduated HS, moved out west, all sorts of musical influences and big changes tend to hard-wire music.

I confess that I have a 'few' cross-over country tunes in my list and maybe one or two very pop tunes that would go with my taste as an 18 year old.  Should be eclectic enough, lol.

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43 minutes ago, Bracie Smathers said:

81 was a big year musically for me.  Graduated HS, moved out west, all sorts of musical influences and big changes tend to hard-wire music.

I confess that I have a 'few' cross-over country tunes in my list and maybe one or two very pop tunes that would go with my taste as an 18 year old.  Should be eclectic enough, lol.

Graduated in 82 but 81 was much better musically.  MTV started in 81, so that really changed the music landscape.

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #10. Down Under

10. Men At Work “Down Under” (from Business As Usual)

https://youtu.be/XfR9iY5y94s

Our top ten begins with the song that made many people, including me, wonder what the heck a vegemite sandwich was. 

Years later Colin Hay recorded an acoustic version of the song with a Latin edge to it. It’s terrific: 

https://youtu.be/p2S7mqhDBg0

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2 hours ago, timschochet said:

10. Men At Work “Down Under” (from Business As Usual)

https://youtu.be/XfR9iY5y94s

Our top ten begins with the song that made many people, including me, wonder what the heck a vegemite sandwich was. 

Years later Colin Hay recorded an acoustic version of the song with a Latin edge to it. It’s terrific: 

https://youtu.be/p2S7mqhDBg0

My first sales job was with Kraft Foods in the late 80s. They are the makers of Vegemite (and Marmite the British version). I had the chance to try both and was told it was "an acquired taste".  That's one way of putting it. 🤢

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19 hours 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. 

 

I have never been a fan of this song. Having to play it constantly while working as a DJ at weddings,etc.  didn't make me enjoy it any more.

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34 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

10-year-old me had definitely never heard of vegemite until this song came out. 

Hadn't a clue what it meant when it came out.  A few years later a gf from NZ not only explained it to me.  Somehow she got some marmite which it 'similar' to vegemite.

Wasn't that bad as I recall.  

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54 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

10-year-old me had definitely never heard of vegemite until this song came out. 

Vegemite is made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract (a by-product of beer manufacture) and various vegetable and spice additives. 

Hard to imagine why anyone wouldn't like that. :yucky:

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which is more a conundrum - what bands were crowded out to allow for three Men & Work (as well as nine April Wine) songs or how the song which made "Down Under" possible is 38 spots behind it in Mr Timmy's Chunder Line?

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37 minutes ago, Bracie Smathers said:

Hadn't a clue what it meant when it came out.  A few years later a gf from NZ not only explained it to me.  Somehow she got some marmite which it 'similar' to vegemite.

Wasn't that bad as I recall.  

A roomate in Marin County announced that his cousin was coming to visit from Capetown SA many years ago. Turns out his cousin was a hot af young woman. He couldn't get off work so I took a day off and we went up the coast to Bolinas (shout out to @El Floppo). About five minutes after leaving the house she pulls a bottle of red wine out of her bag and a couple plastic cups. Okay, gameday player. Fast forward an hour or so and she whips a jar of vegimite out of her bag. Mind blown.

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21 minutes ago, wikkidpissah said:

which is more a conundrum - what bands were crowded out to allow for three Men & Work (as well as nine April Wine) songs or how the song which made "Down Under" possible is 38 spots behind it in Mr Timmy's Chunder Line?

But down under has the best flute solo Tim's ever heard, ergo, top 10 song.

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #9 Tainted Love

9. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (from Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

https://youtu.be/XZVpR3Pk-r8

A throwaway cover of an obscure 60s song by an even more obscure New Wave group became one of the biggest selling hits of all time, thanks to its timeless pop sound. A longer version also included a snippet of “Where Did Our Love Go?” 

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2 minutes ago, timschochet said:

9. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (from Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

https://youtu.be/XZVpR3Pk-r8

A throwaway cover of an obscure 60s song by an even more obscure New Wave group became one of the biggest selling hits of all time, thanks to its timeless pop sound. A longer version also included a snippet of “Where Did Our Love Go?” 

This is one of those songs that I have a lot of respect for, but can't stand listening to.

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3 minutes ago, zamboni said:

This is one of those songs that I have a lot of respect for, but can't stand listening to.

Its an insidious song that burrows into your soul till you toss and turn and can't sleep at night.

Now I know I've got to. . . run away,
I've got to. . . get away.

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6 minutes ago, Bracie Smathers said:
10 minutes ago, zamboni said:

This is one of those songs that I have a lot of respect for, but can't stand listening to.

Its an insidious song that burrows into your soul till you toss and turn and can't sleep at night.

Now I know I've got to. . . run away,
I've got to. . . get away.

Radio stations have tried the hard sell as well as the soft cell - never worked. 

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15 minutes ago, zamboni said:

This is one of those songs that I have a lot of respect for, but can't stand listening to.

I like it but it’s kind of the opposite of Rush. Every person I’ve ever known who absolutely loved this tune was either a woman or a gay man. 

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16 minutes ago, timschochet said:

9. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (from Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

https://youtu.be/XZVpR3Pk-r8

A throwaway cover of an obscure 60s song by an even more obscure New Wave group became one of the biggest selling hits of all time, thanks to its timeless pop sound. A longer version also included a snippet of “Where Did Our Love Go?” 

And there's an eight+ minute extended dance version.

I had this as the #3 song in the '82 list as I'm going by the US release date. 

I use the synthesizer sound as my notification sound on my phone. 

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4 minutes ago, timschochet said:

I like it but it’s kind of the opposite of Rush. Every person I’ve ever known who absolutely loved this tune was either a woman or a gay man. 

Sure I'm in touch with my feminine side and sometimes dress flamboyantly but...

Edit: And let me pro-actively apologize for the stereotyping.

Edited by Andy Dufresne
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19 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

So I guess Sex Dwarf isn't making it into the top 10. 

he'll be humping Diana Ross's leg in the group photo

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2 hours ago, Bracie Smathers said:

Its an insidious song that burrows into your soul till you toss and turn and can't sleep at night.

Now I know I've got to. . . run away,
I've got to. . . get away.

you son of a ...

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2 hours ago, timschochet said:

I like it but it’s kind of the opposite of Rush. Every person I’ve ever known who absolutely loved this tune was either a woman or a gay man. 

Back then, no - today, highly likely.  

I can't remember the first time I heard Soft Cell on the radio.  I'm guessing when alternative became mainstream (Nirvana era).  Chicago never played this or other any other alt like early Cure, New Order, etc.   A lot of these bands got their big break on MTV (REM, U2, Depeche Mode etc), even though they had huge college radio followings.

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #8 Pretty In Pink

8. The Psychedelic Furs “Pretty In Pink” (from Talk Talk Talk)

https://youtu.be/RuWmsg-ihLg

This is the original version of the song and it was a video hit for the band and got a lot of play during the early days of MTV- I clearly remember watching it and liking it very much. Then a few years later the John Hughes movie came out and the band released a newer version, adding an overlaying guitar sound which I didn’t like nearly as much. Anyhow, the link here is to the original. 

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3 hours ago, timschochet said:

9. Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (from Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

https://youtu.be/XZVpR3Pk-r8

A throwaway cover of an obscure 60s song by an even more obscure New Wave group became one of the biggest selling hits of all time, thanks to its timeless pop sound. A longer version also included a snippet of “Where Did Our Love Go?” 

a) they were synthpop

b) they were huge in the UK

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #7 Under Pressure
Posted (edited)

7. Queen & David Bowie “Under Pressure” (released as a single) 

https://youtu.be/a01QQZyl-_I

Another song that I have trouble accepting is 40 years old. And both the singers are gone. 

I remember thinking at the time that it was an odd match- Bowie was, for me, part of the New Wave movement (I was not aware of his history in 1981), and Queen was classic rock. I didn’t get the glam connection. Even the way they sang the song was so different. That of course was part of the appeal. 

Edited by timschochet
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6 hours ago, El Floppo said:

So I guess Sex Dwarf isn't making it into the top 10. 

:goodposting:

Edited by Osaurus
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13 minutes ago, timschochet said:

7. Queen & David Bowie “Under Pressure” (released as a single) 

https://youtu.be/a01QQZyl-_I

Another song that I have trouble accepting is 40 years old. And both the singers are gone. 

I remember thinking at the time that it was an odd match- Bowie was, for me, part of the New Wave movement (I was not aware of his history in 1981), and Queen was classic rock. I didn’t get the glam connection. Even the way they sang the song was so different. That of course was part of the appeal. 

You mean the Vanilla Ice song, right?

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There's a great story somewhere about the conception of Under Pressure, which involved everyone involved all gakked up in the studio, and a coked up Bowie pushing his ideas on everyone. 

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17 minutes ago, timschochet said:

7. Queen & David Bowie “Under Pressure” (released as a single) 

https://youtu.be/a01QQZyl-_I

Another song that I have trouble accepting is 40 years old. And both the singers are gone. 
 

And yet Vanilla Ice still roams the Earth.

ETA: Flop beat me to it.

Edited by zamboni
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We Got the Beat is a fun little tune. Always makes me think of Fast Times.

Down Under is still a killer tune.  Loved it the first time I heard, and still love it. 

Tainted Love was never much to my liking. 

The greatness of Under Pressure goes without saying. 

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43 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

Tainted Love was never much to my liking. 

You’re just saying that because tim said only women and gay men like it.

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12 hours ago, timschochet said:

I remember thinking at the time that it was an odd match- Bowie was, for me, part of the New Wave movement (I was not aware of his history in 1981), and Queen was classic rock.

Their was no such thing as 'classic rock' back in 81.  Labels like that weren't used till the late 80s and were applied to heavy guitar 70s bands.  

Early 80s music drifted from the heavy guitar sound to a synthetic sound with that awful electric drum sound that some love but I truly hated and still do with some groups of that era.  

Took me years to come around on that sound like THIS classic 80s tune that came out a year later in 82.  Ohh how I hated that tune when it came out.  Love it now but at the time... ugh.

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58 minutes ago, Bracie Smathers said:

Their was no such thing as 'classic rock' back in 81. 

Yes, it was just called "rock" considering much of the music from that genre was not even a decade old. 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #6 Tom Sawyer

6. Rush “Tom Sawyer” (from Moving Pictures

https://youtu.be/auLBLk4ibAk

I actually attended a Rush concert once: at the Pacific Amphitheater. The year must have been 1986, because it was the “Big Money” tour. This is not a band I would have gone to see because I was only familiar with the radio hits (this remains generally the case) but a friend of mine from work, huge fan, had an extra ticket so he invited me. 
So I stood through (we were on the grass part and you generally stand) a lot of music I didn’t know, waiting for the “hits” and especially “Tom Sawyer” which I really loved (still do!) Eventually they played it rather late in the evening and I was a little shocked by the tepid response. The crowd cheered mildly, but not in the way they had for other tunes I had never heard before. Years later I mentioned this to another friend of mine, a diehard Rush fan, and here’s what he said: “Oh, REAL Rush fans don’t even like Tom Sawyer. When they play it, that’s when we go to the john or get a beer.” This always makes me laugh. 

Anyhow I think this a great great song, one of the true “classics” of what is NOW known as classic rock (thanks for the correction @Bracie Smathers!) 

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6 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

Your friend was dumb to say that. Plenty of Rush fans love Tom Sawyer. It’s their most popular song for a reason. It’s awesome. 

I was startled to read that quote from Lifeson on the Wiki page, that he winged the guitar solo, basically in 2 takes. That’s pretty amazing. 

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26 minutes ago, timschochet said:

6. Rush “Tom Sawyer” (from Moving Pictures

https://youtu.be/auLBLk4ibAk

I actually attended a Rush concert once: at the Pacific Amphitheater. The year must have been 1986, because it was the “Big Money” tour. This is not a band I would have gone to see because I was only familiar with the radio hits (this remains generally the case) but a friend of mine from work, huge fan, had an extra ticket so he invited me. 
So I stood through (we were on the grass part and you generally stand) a lot of music I didn’t know, waiting for the “hits” and especially “Tom Sawyer” which I really loved (still do!) Eventually they played it rather late in the evening and I was a little shocked by the tepid response. The crowd cheered mildly, but not in the way they had for other tunes I had never heard before. Years later I mentioned this to another friend of mine, a diehard Rush fan, and here’s what he said: “Oh, REAL Rush fans don’t even like Tom Sawyer. When they play it, that’s when we go to the john or get a beer.” This always makes me laugh. 

Anyhow I think this a great great song, one of the true “classics” of what is NOW known as classic rock (thanks for the correction @Bracie Smathers!) 

Another one of their videos filmed (and recorded) at the picturesque Le Studio in Quebec.

Many diehard fans don't like "Tom Sawyer" because they don't view it  as "their" song, but rather a popular tune that everyone knows. Much like "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)" or "Bohemian Rhapsody". It's disingenuous, however, because they're still great tunes that have gotten overplayed - but as Ghost says, for good reason.

Edited by zamboni
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For me, Rush is the case where the lead singer has an annoying voice that gets old way too quickly.

It was especially bad on Tom Sawyer (not as bad on Limelight).

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

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