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The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #1 Super Freak


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1 minute ago, Ghost Rider said:

I was a big Cars fan in '84 thanks to the Heartbeat City hits, but never was never overly wild about Shake It Up.  Solid tune, and that guitar solo is surprisingly good, but it's not a song I ever seek out. I always enjoy it if I hear it somewhere, but I would never turn it on intentionally. 

I looked at it as it could have been a great song if it wasn't done by the Cars.   They had so many great ones early, this was just another solid release.  By the time this came out, new wave was going full steam thanks to MTV, and it wasn't hard enough for the rockers.  To me, it was the last of their great albums.  The follow-up Heartbeat City was a huge success for them, thanks to MTV - I thought it was fluff at its worst.  

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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

Just now, FairWarning said:

I looked at it as it could have been a great song if it wasn't done by the Cars.   They had so many great ones early, this was just another solid release.  By the time this came out, new wave was going full steam thanks to MTV, and it wasn't hard enough for the rockers.  To me, it was the last of their great albums.  The follow-up Heartbeat City was a huge success for them, thanks to MTV - I thought it was fluff at its worst.  

I was a huge fan of You Might Think when I was 10, but while I still like it, I would argue that it has not aged particularly well.  Nostalgia is probably the only reason I still like it at all.  On the flip side, I still love Drive and Magic just as much as I ever did. 

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5 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

I was a huge fan of You Might Think when I was 10, but while I still like it, I would argue that it has not aged particularly well.  Nostalgia is probably the only reason I still like it at all.  On the flip side, I still love Drive and Magic just as much as I ever did. 

I liked Magic the best.  You Might Think was the first single, but was a million miles away from anything from the debut album.  Tough standards when you are compared to that.  YMT was one of the first songs  I can remember that really used MTV to sell records.  

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37 minutes ago, Ghost Rider said:

I was a huge fan of You Might Think when I was 10, but while I still like it, I would argue that it has not aged particularly well.  Nostalgia is probably the only reason I still like it at all.  On the flip side, I still love Drive and Magic just as much as I ever did. 

The power of MTV. Hard to hear “Magic” and not visualize Ric Ocasek walking on a swimming pool. Or “Hello Again” from the album and not think of Andy Warhol. And so on...

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2 hours ago, Ghost Rider said:

I was a huge fan of You Might Think when I was 10, but while I still like it, I would argue that it has not aged particularly well.  Nostalgia is probably the only reason I still like it at all.  On the flip side, I still love Drive and Magic just as much as I ever did. 

I think Drive sounds fantastic today , wasnt a big fan at the time. Too soft.

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75. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers featuring Stevie Nicks “Insider” (from Hard Promises

https://youtu.be/x7bjXWzms5I

Two great collaborations between these two artists in 1981, both written by Tom Petty, this one appearing on his album, the other appearing on Nick’s solo effort Bella Donna. “Insider” is an achingly beautiful ballad which Petty originally meant for Bella Donna, and then decided it was too good and he had to keep it on his own album. So he gave Stevie the second song he’d written, which became a huge hit- we’ll get to it later. 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #75. Insider
14 minutes ago, timschochet said:

75. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers featuring Stevie Nicks “Insider” (from Hard Promises

https://youtu.be/x7bjXWzms5I

Two great collaborations between these two artists in 1981, both written by Tom Petty, this one appearing on his album, the other appearing on Nick’s solo effort Bella Donna. “Insider” is an achingly beautiful ballad which Petty originally meant for Bella Donna, and then decided it was too good and he had to keep it on his own album. So he gave Stevie the second song he’d written, which became a huge hit- we’ll get to it later. 

Haven’t heard this in a long time - nice. Didn’t know there was a video for it - looks like the same set used for the other one. 

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1 hour ago, zamboni said:

Haven’t heard this in a long time - nice. Didn’t know there was a video for it - looks like the same set used for the other one. 

I've never seen this either.  

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20 hours ago, northern exposure said:

Neil Finn and Tim Finn of Crowded House is one less letter than the guys in Loverboy.

They were only both in Crowded House for one album. Gotta give props to Split Enz. 

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15 hours ago, El Floppo said:

Lots of good to great tunes from this year. I don't blame Tim for putting up the fromage instead.

Well, I guess I do...but I'm not the one making the list and still completely support Tims choices even though I don't like and didn't like a lot of the tunes even back then. I've started a playlist of 1981 stuff I've been throwing together as the songs come to me...I'm playing by memory, so some may be the wrong year. I also am all over the place with choices- most of the time I'm not including the "obvious" bigger song from an album, some times I do. I'm also not including stuff I didn't like listening to then or own, which covers a lot of the bigger, best selling tunes and bands. But I'm sure, or at least hope there will be overlap with Tim.

I'll happily provide the spotify link for anybody interested via pm. Will post it here once Tim is done so no spoilers. Will also continue to add to it as I remember more.

Send a link to Tim, por favor.

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35 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Was that Insider tune a hit? Don't know that I've ever heard it...doubt I'll hear it again, tbh.

Wasn't released as a single and don't recall hearing it at all on the radio, so I'd call it a deep track. Hadn't heard it in forever from when I owned the actual album. 

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37 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

Was that Insider tune a hit? Don't know that I've ever heard it...doubt I'll hear it again, tbh.

Petty (and Stevie Nicks) fans know it very well, but non-fans probably wouldn't. 

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10 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

I'll be honest...I like Petty and I like Nicks. Figured the two together would be magic, which for me was far from the case here.

I think most would agree that the other one they did is much better.

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13 hours ago, zamboni said:

Haven’t heard this in a long time - nice. Didn’t know there was a video for it - looks like the same set used for the other one. 

That's because you bailed on Genrepalooza. I picked it for the Tom Petty Channel.

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20 minutes ago, zamboni said:
31 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

I'll be honest...I like Petty and I like Nicks. Figured the two together would be magic, which for me was far from the case here.

I think most would agree that the other one they did is much better.

The verse trade-offs on the 'other one' make a big difference, with both vocalists moving around in their vocal ranges a lot more. I'd be interested to hear "Insider" arranged with some alternating verses. As recorded, "Insider" is a pretty, heartfelt tune while the 'other one' has some power behind it and it reaches another level IMHO.

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74. The Rolling Stones “Hang Fire” (from Tattoo You

https://youtu.be/3xbtlW16Gts

Tattoo You was, IMO, the last really good Stones album- not great by any means, but still really good with several memorable songs. They’ve released several albums in the years since 1981 and they’re all basically crap, sorry to say. This is one of those memorable songs. Supposedly the lyrics have some kind of social importance but I don’t pay a lot of attention to those; in fact for years I thought thy were singing “Hang five!” Mick Jagger is very amusing in the video (as usual). 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #74. Hang Fire
2 minutes ago, timschochet said:

74. The Rolling Stones “Hang Fire” (from Tattoo You

https://youtu.be/3xbtlW16Gts

Tattoo You was, IMO, the last really good Stones album- not great by any means, but still really good with several memorable songs. They’ve released several albums in the years since 1981 and they’re all basically crap, sorry to say. This is one of those memorable songs. Supposedly the lyrics have some kind of social importance but I don’t pay a lot of attention to those; in fact for years I thought thy were singing “Hang five!” Mick Jagger is very amusing in the video (as usual). 

4 of my 5 BarMitvah albums represented. :thumbup: I really don't think the 5th will show up in this countdown...

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13 minutes ago, timschochet said:

74. The Rolling Stones “Hang Fire” (from Tattoo You

https://youtu.be/3xbtlW16Gts

Tattoo You was, IMO, the last really good Stones album- not great by any means, but still really good with several memorable songs. They’ve released several albums in the years since 1981 and they’re all basically crap, sorry to say. This is one of those memorable songs. Supposedly the lyrics have some kind of social importance but I don’t pay a lot of attention to those; in fact for years I thought thy were singing “Hang five!” Mick Jagger is very amusing in the video (as usual). 

The lyrics take a bleak look at the unemployed working class citizens of England and the politicians that created the situation.

The term “hang fire” is slang for doing nothing.

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39 minutes ago, timschochet said:

74. The Rolling Stones “Hang Fire” (from Tattoo You

https://youtu.be/3xbtlW16Gts

Tattoo You was, IMO, the last really good Stones album- not great by any means, but still really good with several memorable songs. They’ve released several albums in the years since 1981 and they’re all basically crap, sorry to say. This is one of those memorable songs. Supposedly the lyrics have some kind of social importance but I don’t pay a lot of attention to those; in fact for years I thought thy were singing “Hang five!” Mick Jagger is very amusing in the video (as usual). 

The Stones' last good album IMO. So basically their resume consists of 17 years of high-end material and 40 years of occasional blech output/tons of touring.

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46 minutes ago, zamboni said:

The Stones' last good album IMO. So basically their resume consists of 17 years of high-end material and 40 years of occasional blech output/tons of touring.

I choose to ignore any Stones music from the last few (several) decades.  They're still cashing in, good for them, but I don't need to have my image of this great band ruined by a 70 year old scarecrow dancing onstage.  

How many bands have 17 years of good material, and how many of those bands can match their stuff with the Stones?  

Rockers, if they don't die young, tend to not age well, right?  There's only so many Bowies and Princes.  

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10 minutes ago, massraider said:

I choose to ignore any Stones music from the last few (several) decades.  They're still cashing in, good for them, but I don't need to have my image of this great band ruined by a 70 year old scarecrow dancing onstage.  

How many bands have 17 years of good material, and how many of those bands can match their stuff with the Stones?  

Rockers, if they don't die young, tend to not age well, right?  There's only so many Bowies and Princes.  

I think the Stones listened to Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My"/"My My, Hey Hey" and applied the lyrics in reverse.

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1 hour ago, zamboni said:

The Stones' last good album IMO. So basically their resume consists of 17 years of high-end material and 40 years of occasional blech output/tons of touring.

I thought Bridges To Babylon was good and can usually find at least 2 or 3 songs I like from their more recent albums. But they are just recycling stuff they've already done (& in most cases, better) before. 

It's really strange because, where many of their peers realized they had enough good will banked to try all kinds of whacky stuff (Paul, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, Bowie, Prince, etc...), the Stones have almost completely relied on rewriting their hits. I don't know if it's fear or laziness, but it's pretty much all rote now.

God bless 'em, though - they're richer than God doing it their way.

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27 minutes ago, zamboni said:

I think the Stones listened to Neil Young's "Hey Hey, My My"/"My My, Hey Hey" and applied the lyrics in reverse.

Johnny Rotten's advertising agency (himself) called in today to central processing for further evaluation. We re-routed.

https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/sex-pistols-gamble-debut-ad-soundtrack/1028152 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #73. Urgent

73. Foreigner “Urgent” (from 4

https://youtu.be/FHnNIoNUZig

Another terrific rocker from this band that, between 1978 and 1984 had so many of these. That opening guitar lead is so great and iconic. 
ETA I forgot to mention that incredible saxophone by the legendary Junior Walker. 

Edited by timschochet
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5 minutes ago, timschochet said:

73. Foreigner “Urgent” (from 4

https://youtu.be/FHnNIoNUZig

Another terrific rocker from this band that, between 1978 and 1984 had so many of these. That opening guitar lead is so great and iconic. 
ETA I forgot to mention that incredible saxophone by the legendary Junior Walker. 

Yeah...this is one of those omnipresent tunes that definitely holds up, but have heard so much I don't feel a need to ever hear again. I know that's my own thing- absolutely a good song.

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3 hours ago, Ghost Rider said:

I had never heard Insider till just now. It was okay.  Kind of weird as I thought Tim was not putting deep cuts in these countdowns, but I won't quibble. 

I'd rather listen to a decent song I've never heard than one I've heard too much.

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Just to diffuse the current tension concerning the list, let me share a story from a few summers ago.  I'm sitting on my front porch at night and suddenly I hear the voice of Lou Gramm wafting from the nearby  downtown area.  Turns out he was the headliner for a July outdoor festival.  Actually sounded pretty good through the lemonade/vodka haze.

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On 2/23/2021 at 8:53 AM, timschochet said:

87. Foreigner “Waiting For a Girl Like You” (from 4)

https://youtu.be/5jhocSCSZzk

Very nice power ballad. One thing I learned for the first time when reading up on this song: that very distinctive synthesizer is by Thomas Dolby, then unknown. 
Earlier I praised Steve Perry as being one of traditional rock’s greatest vocalists, but Lou Gramm is certainly up there as well. Just a fantastic voice. 

Going back a bit here when reading up on Urgent.  Turns out also Bob Mayo on keyboards. Bob Mayo. 

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  • timschochet changed the title to The 100 Greatest Songs of 1981 #72. Leather and Lace
9 hours ago, Uruk-Hai said:

I thought Bridges To Babylon was good and can usually find at least 2 or 3 songs I like from their more recent albums. But they are just recycling stuff they've already done (& in most cases, better) before. 

It's really strange because, where many of their peers realized they had enough good will banked to try all kinds of whacky stuff (Paul, Neil Young, Stevie Wonder, Bowie, Prince, etc...), the Stones have almost completely relied on rewriting their hits. I don't know if it's fear or laziness, but it's pretty much all rote now.

God bless 'em, though - they're richer than God doing it their way.

Mick is a businessman as much as he is a musician. Why Keith went along that path too, dunno.

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2 minutes ago, Pip's Invitation said:

Mick is a businessman as much as he is a musician. Why Keith went along that path too, dunno.

Keith isn’t a bad businessman either. Learned a lot hanging out with Andrew Carnegie.

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8 hours ago, wikkidpissah said:

ooo, what's the next fetid & festering, poprox hair drivel, Mr. Man?

Sadly Wikipedia indicates that Mr. Mister did not grace our presence until 1982.  My optimism just died.

ETA: Probably died in your arms.

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

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