Top 10 Pop/Rock Songs of the 80’s – 1982

For the reasons I decided to do these lists, the rules I used, and the 1980 list see this post. For the list for 1981 see this one.

Whittling 1982 down to 10 was actually a lot easier than the previous years. Mainly because 1982 had several songs that were immediately recognizable as above the rest…

10. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, The Police – One of the more upbeat and romantic police songs, “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” has a very infectious melody. It almost has a Caribbean feel to it. The song was very easy to relate to since, in my early years of negotiations with the fairer sex, I was awkward and pretty shy. This song also is unique in that there’s a line in it – “Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met? It’s a big enough umbrella, but it’s always me that ends up getting wet” – that’s used in at least one other Police song, “O My God” from Synchronicity, and at least one Sting solo song, “Seven Days” from Ten Summoner’s Tales.

9. Workin’ For The Weekend, Loverboy – Like “Jessie’s Girl” from ’81, this song just sounds like the 80’s. It has the generic DX7 keyboard part and the 80’s guitar sound. This song has a really driving beat and would sound like a good early 70’s classic rock song if not for the keyboards. This song was a big player at the roller skating rink that I used to go to during the summer, and all the hot shot skaters would start doing their various tricks during it. This song, probably more than any other, reminds me of middle school and all that that entails.

8. Heat of the Moment, Asia – I struggled with putting this at number 8 or “Open Arms” by Jouney. In the end, this won out because of nostalgia. As I’ve mentioned before, in my early childhood I listened to what my parents listened to which was Country, Gospel and Elvis. Around 6th grade I started listening to top 40 stuff because that’s what my friends listened to. “Heat of the Moment” really struck a chord with me because it sounded so different than anything I had hear up to that point. The heavy reverb on the vocals and the drums. The interplay between the guitar and synths. The lush backing vocals. All these elements combine to create a classic 80’s one hit wonder.

7. Ebony And Ivory, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder – When I was a kid the only music I listened to was Country, Gospel and Elvis because that was what my parents listened to. The only pop/rock music I was exposed to was from my aunt. I distinctly remember that she had a copy of Wings at the Speed of Sound and remember listening to it at her house. So when “Ebony and Ivory” came out, my first reaction was, “Hey, that’s that keyboard player from Wings.” I’m still embarrassed by that. A duet sung by two certified rock legends, this song was a huge hit in ’82. The lyrics are a bit simplistic and trite but are still pretty good for a pop song taking on a tough subject. I read that this song was recorded live in the studio which, if true, makes the song even more impressive because it has a really great sound to it.

6. Rosanna, Toto – When I first started listening to top 40 music I was instantly drawn to Toto. In general, all their songs are very melodic but their production is a step above easy listening. This song is mellow but the arrangement has enough guitar to be on the rock side of pop music. The song is marred by the incredibly, almost unbearable synth solo. But the horn section and the melody more than make up for it.

5. Do You Believe In Love, Huey Lewis & The News – There was a girl in middle school that I had a huge crush on who was a big Huey Lewis fan. We eventually “went together” for a while and during that time, I bought all of the Huey Lewis albums that were out to date. I didn’t really get into this song until the stuff from Sports was popular. This song is classic Huey Lewis. It has a real doo-wop feel to it updated with the ubiquitous 80’s snyth sound. Lewis is one of the better song writers to come out of the 80’s. He is also one of the most distinctive vocalists.

4. I Love Rock & Roll, Joan Jett – I don’t know why I remember this, but the first time I ever heard this song was on a jukebox at a restaurant that my Aunt and Uncle owned. The only thing I remember about the restaurant is that they had awesome coconut cream pie. But I instantly liked this song. Having listened to Country music most of my life, this song had a somewhat sinister feel to it – in a good way. Joan Jett’s voice was also a complete 180 from any woman I had ever heard sing, she sounded sexy and dangerous. It was almost too much for an 11-year old boy to take. My friend and I were talking about this song and about how, when we were young, we both thought that Jett was hot. When I look at pictures of her from back then she definitely does not seem hot. I think that voice is what made her seem that way. This song was another roller rink staple and has one of the classic guitar riffs of rock and roll.

3. Centerfold, J Geils Band – It’s hard to know where to begin with this song. First off, I challenge you to listen to this song and sit still. You just have to move when you hear it. The melody is infectious and the guitars are understated but awesome. It has a bouncy quality to it and the lyrics are hilarious. Like others on this list this song was a big roller rink player. And though tame by today’s standards, the girls in negligees in the video made my 11-year-old pants go crazy. Nah, nah, na-na-na-nah indeed.

2. Hard To Say I’m Sorry, Chicago – I am a sucker for a sappy love ballad. This song basically started a new career for Chicago. Before this album, Chicago 16, most of Chicago’s hits had been really jazz influenced. This album was their first foray into mainstream pop music. There’s not much to say about this song. It’s a straightforward love ballad with a great melody and lots of 80’s synth on it. My favorite part is the end where it segues into another short song “Get Away”, which has a fast tempo, driving guitars and piano and a great horn arrangement. It’s such a contrast to the first part, but it really works…pure genius.

1. Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor – Even now that I am older and fat this song still makes me want to put on a gray sweat suit and run through the streets of a cold city. I don’t do it – but I want to. However, when I’m on my treadmill and it’s set to 3 miles an hour and this song comes on, I push it up to 3.2 miles an hour. Survivor didn’t have a lot of hits in the 80’s but the few they did have were monsters. This song has a driving feel to it and great vocals. It’s definitive 80’s.


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