The Hits of 1983

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S1: The following recording may contain explicit language I can’t get more explicit than May with literal say it may.

S2: Friday, January 24th, 2020 from Slate, it’s the gist. I’m Mike PESCA. When Wells Fargo hired John Stumpf over 15 years ago as CEO, they did experience. Yes, they did experience these stump bumps. But then it was revealed that what was fueling these stump bumf was Wells Fargo employees signing up consumers for credit cards.

S3: They didn’t know about where to hit, quote, guys. So these Stumpf bumph cratered. Wells Fargo genuinely actually had a clean record before then sullied the name of a pretty good bank. And Wells Fargo brought on a new CEO. His name is Charlie. And thanks to the Air PSATs stump bumf, Wells Fargo was fined and coughed up almost 200 million dollars. You could call it the Schaff Bath today. Stumpf himself was personally fined seventeen point five million dollars, and Stumpf was barred from ever working in the banking sector again. Who, of course, he did get paid one hundred thirty four million dollars upon retirement, according to a USA Today investigation. To this day, Wells Fargo is still pitching their services as the champion of the little guy.

S4: It’s the housing crisis. No one is talking about millions of hardworking families are struggling to find homes in their own communities. Take first responder officer Ramal.

S1: Actually, it’s not the housing crisis everyone is talking about. Isn’t that the housing crisis? That people can’t afford houses or can’t afford mortgages for their houses? What’s the housing crisis, if not that? For some reason there is just something about Wells Fargo that I find hard to take on face value. And it’s not the covered wagon on the show today. I shpiel about a grab bag of insights and it all ends in doom. The Doomsday Clock? Or is it the doomsday crock? It is. But first, the year 1983, the invasion U.S. into Grenada. The unemployment rate 9.6 percent. The last episode of m*a*s*h widely watched. And if bellbottoms were totally eclipsed by Jordache, another eclipse was occurring one of the heart. Every now and then I fall apart when Chris Mowlam stops by to count down the hits from a year. And this is such a time. The number one hits of 1983. Up next. 1983 was a year of the new and the familiar and things that were new that would become familiar. Well, it seems profound. Also, Pride describes every year anyway. In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger took its first flight. The DeLorean stopped production. But a couple of things started that are around us every day, like the first Target store opened and the movie A Christmas Story debuted. It’s there probably right now on t._b._s. But we’re talking about the music of 1983 and we’re doing so with Chris Mowlam FFE every so often Chris will come by. We’ll take a year. We’ll talk about all the Billboard number one singles of that year. Chris Hosts Hit Parade, great podcast from Slate and writes the Why is this song number one column also for Slate. Chris, thanks for coming by again anytime. Good to be here. All right. Counting down the hits, as Casey used to say. Right. Whoa, whoa. Let’s go. Ah, here we go. Maneater Hallen OT’s starts the year at number one. We’re Hollman OT’s, are they at their songwriting pop icon height, they are around 1983.

S5: They absolutely are there at their imperial peak. This is a holdover from late 1982. It’s the lead off single from their H2O album, which is their best selling and best charting album. It is one of many hits over the years that has borrowed or you might say stolen the baseline from the classic Motown Supremes single You Can’t Hurry Love That Bassline recurs in a town called Malice Spied The Jam vallerie, that remake of the town song with the Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse that appeared in the aughts. It’s an unstoppable bassline, and probably nobody made more out of that bassline or had a bigger hit with that bassline that James Jamerson Motown bassline than Daryl Hall and John Oates did with Maneater at the final weeks of 1982 and early weeks of 1983.

S1: The next big song. I don’t know if the kids these days realize how big men at work were schwag or euge. Colin Hay was euge and the phrase Vegemite sandwich was injected into our consciousness with the song under.

S6: Yes, Downunder, their second number one hit. People forget that they were coming off of an earlier number one hit from late 82. Who can it be now? And by this point, the Business as Usual album was in the middle of a 15 week fifteen week run. At number one on the album chart. Men at work were legitimately huge at the turn of 1983.

S5: And Downunder is filled with fun little phrases, you know, everything from a fried out cambie, which by the way, is a VW bus or on a hippie trail head full of zombie zombie is a form of Australian weed. You know, that makes sense. Now I’m now obviously the the Vegemite sandwich men chunder chunder is basically just a word for puke. So yeah, before, you know, genius lyric sites existed and allowed you to translate all of these fun little phrases. Downunder was there confounding pop listeners in early 1983.

S1: So since we’re globe trotting, apparently, or at least the pop charts were in between downwinders, I think that forweeks number one. But it was broken up by Africa, by Toto. What a great song.

S7: What crazy lyrics as the business. I must do what’s right. Sure. The majo is like go above the.

S8: Wow. Tell me how. Tell me you toto were, were, was and how this why this song was number one, this song was only number one for one week.

S6: However, it arguably is the song that casts the longest shadow. Thirty six years later is from Toto’s Grammy winning album of the year, Toto, for it is Toto’s only number one hit. It was not the first single released from Toto, for that would be Rosanna, which was a number two hit in the summer of 1982. And to this day, when the members of Toto who still tour, by the way, are interviewed, they often say that if you had told them that the song that would have the longest legacy of theirs would be this strange song that their keyboardist David P-H brought to them that had these bizarre lyrics about, you know, Mount Olympus in the Serengeti, they would’ve said you were crazy. And yet it is kind of the ultimate Gen Z generation Z 80 song is the song that my stepchildren can recite every word of sing along with. It is the song that a young fan implored the band Weezer to please cover in a tweet in 2018. And Rivers Cuomo complied and it became weezer’s biggest alternative rock hit in more than a decade. And you know, it’s become the standard for Toto, who are a band whose fingerprints are actually all over the top of the charts. In 1983, they played on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. They were kind of Quincy Jones’s Go-To Backing band, even when they weren’t credited. And it was known as great session musician. That was a side dart highjacked. Yes, exactly. Toto was sort of a band that formed out of a bunch of session musicians on the West Coast who were just being called into sessions left, right and center. And they were all white-hot players.

S1: You know, Jeff Porcaro, one of the best drummers, studio drummers of his generation, for example, Thriller comes out in 1983, Thriller comes out in late 80s, made it to the video for Thriller comes the song. Thriller comes out in 83, late 83. That’s actually the final single. Yeah, but Billie Jean is on the charts for weeks and weeks, weeks. And then come on, Eileen takes it off for a week and then beat it is on the chart for weeks and weeks and weeks.

S5: Right. Well, we have to talk about Michael Jackson if we’re going to talk about a 1983 because he dominated the year. Thriller was number one for literally months out of the year. I believe it’s 37 weeks in total spread across 83 and 84. Billie Jean, which spent seven weeks at number one, is not actually the first single from Thriller. I don’t know if you remember, Mike, what the first single from Thriller was. The Girl is mine. The Girl is mine. The duet with Paul McCartney, because Michael Jackson in the worst way wanted to crossover with white and black audiences. And even though I think everybody agrees the girl is mine is not only the weakest single, but the weakest track period on Thriller, he leads off the entire campaign for Thriller in the fall of 82 with The Girl is Mine. And then he releases Billie Jean, which is just an inevitable hit. It borrows its baseline from the classic Hall and Oates hits. Speaking of Hall and Oates again, I can’t go for that. No can do. Michael Jackson privately admitted to Daryl Hall. Yeah, I kind of stole your baseline.

S1: But my God, not worth like $30 million to $80 million. That admission?

S5: Yeah, probably. Probably. But you know, what Michael does with it is make an utterly immortal single that is basically about paternity disputes that Michael had been the subject of throughout. He and his brother’s career.

S1: Well, we skipped over it, but I don’t want to those there’s overall the Irishman of Dixie’s midnight runners. And. Come on, Eileen. This I mean, talk about one hit wonder. I. I have total one on Sept of any other Dixie’s Midnight Runner song.

S5: Well, let me be fair to dexia’s Midnight Runners and their lead singer slash mastermind slash only corps member Kevin Roland. They were not a one hit wonder band in England. In America. dexia’s Midnight Runners were absolutely a one hit wonder if you are a strict definition illest on the term one hit wonder they did make the lower rungs of the hot one hundred one more time with follow up single, but it peaked in the 80s. It barely counts. They never saw the inside of the top 40 again. And yet kind of like Africa by Toto. Come on. Eileen is probably playing on an oldies radio station right now.

S1: It is is kind of an enduring hit of Flashdance was a huge movie in 83 and the title track by Irene Cara went to number one.

S5: It won an Oscar for Giorgio Moroder, who produced and co-wrote the song with Irene Cara and Keith Fawzy, who, by the way, is kind of a quiet journeyman in the 80s. If that name doesn’t ring any bells. He wrote Everything from the Heat is On from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack for Glen Fry, too. Don’t You Forget About Me, which was a number one hit in 85 for Simple Minds. So Keith Forde’s, he was this kind of Zelig figure who co-wrote a lot of big, big hits. But, you know, it has been said for decades that Flashdance, what a feeling given Giorgio Moroder is history with Donna Summer, could easily have been a Donna Summer hit. But let’s give Irene power up her props. She was, frankly, a bigger artist in 1983 for a very brief moment. And famously, they never say the word Flashdance in the song Flashdance. Dot, dot, dot. What a feeling. But they had to get the title of the movie into the title of the song.

S1: The Eurythmics made number one with Sweet Dreams are made of this. We’ve got a cello in a field. We’ve got a cow eye. We’ve got Annie Lennox. We’ve got Dave Stewart. Yep. Great song. Great song.

S9: Eurythmics were Cynthy and daring and very, I think, interesting, influential band, two great musicians together.

S5: I mean, you’ve got Annie Lennox, who’s just an amazing vocalist. You got Dave Stewart, who goes on to produce any number of, you know, smash albums from the likes of everybody from Tom Petty to Mick Jagger. So they’re two consummate musicians to begin with, but they were perceived as really quirky and left field and MTV ESC in 1983. Yeah, Annie was at the height of her androgyny at this point. You know, she’s got this buzz cut that’s, you know, dyed red and she’s got this very severe look and paired with this amazing soulful voice that she’s got. This record has been sampled in hip hop records. It’s been, you know, covered over the years. And it’s, again, another record from 83 that is probably playing on an oldie station as I speak.

S1: Mohammod a disagree a song that remained that number one, for weeks and weeks and weeks. I think it probably. Well, let’s check this. I think this song was at number one for longer than even Billie Jean was. Every breath you take by the police.

S5: Well, and it’s the number one record of 1983, which is remarkable in the year that Michael Jackson otherwise dominates you. You have to realize that, you know, Sting was at the height of his powers as a rock star, as a songwriter. It’s really of quite a simple song, at least musically. I once heard a musicologist tell me that it’s basically an inversion of old 50 songs like Teenager in Love. You can you can kind of play, you know, 50s lyrics to that very simple but baseline that the song is based around. But the simplicity of every breath you take is part of what makes it work. And of course, that lyric, which let’s say it again, Sting has said this in multiple interviews. It is not a romantic lyric. It is a song about paranoia and surveillance. You know, every breath you take, I’ll be watching you. I would argue that what makes the song great, that the song would kind of be Ambien if it weren’t for the fact that it has that wonderful bridge in the middle. The since you’ve gone, I’ve been lost without a trace. Which, by the way, was the part of the song that was not sampled 14 years later on Puff Daddy’s I’ll Be Missing You. But it’s it’s, in my opinion, the best part of the song and also the way that sample was just I mean, I guess we talked about this sound in the 97 show, but. Yeah. Yeah, it was not. It was it’s a rip off. It was just a rip off. It was the Jelen biggie. We miss you OK? Yeah, pretty much. And it must also be said that every breath you take out an iconic black and white music video, I believe was directed by Kevin Godley and Lall Cream, who were both video directors and musicians themselves. It’s a stunning video, half in shadow, frankly, if you took the, you know, the Beatles album with the Beatles where their faces are half in shadow and turned that into a music video and put in Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers and Sting. You would have the every breath you take video. And it was played round the clock on MTV in 1983.

S1: Here’s the last song we haven’t talked about, a mainstay of all sorts of genres, a mainstay. You go to 1:16 and you’ll hear it. I would call it karaoke instead of.

S10: And non-gay.

S11: Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler. Very much the Jim Steinman bat out of hell are feeling.

S1: It’s almost as if he you know, Jim Steinman wrote those two great albums and then had some leftover material and total Eclipse of the Heart. And then Celine Dion took became his muse. So in between Meatloaf and Celine Dion, I guess Bonnie Tyler was Jim’s Diamond’s muse, at least for this song.

S5: And this is probably the biggest hit. Jim Steinman, famed for writing Bat out of Hell for Meatloaf. The man of melodrama, the man who wrote Making Love Out of Nothing at All for air supply. If you’ve ever wondered why making love out of nothing at all and most of Meat Loaf’s hits and this Bonnie Tyler record. Yeah, kind of sound the same is all coming back to me now. It’s all of a piece. If you’ve if you’ve ever wondered why these records all sound the same. It’s because they are written by and produced by the melodrama King himself, Jim Steinman, who never met a crescendo he didn’t love. And so this is probably the biggest Jim Steinman hit. It spends a month at number one. Bonnie Tyler is a Welsh singer with this incredibly raspy voice. Some have called her the female Rod Stewart. This song just utterly reinvents her career. Right after this. She scores a top 10 hit with another Jim Steinmann song called Holding Out for a Hero from the Footloose soundtrack. Right. And so this kind of epic melodrama kind of becomes her bag for a couple of years and makes her a hitmaker.

S1: Now, Chris, do you think 1983 was a bonafide great year for pop singles or was it that you and I were twelve when these when the idea of the number one singles very much impressed upon a person? All right.

S6: I’m going to say a simple yes to all of your questions. We were twelve. So, yes, we have very fond memories of this period. However, we’re looking at several songs here that have very seriously endured on the radio. Like I said, how many times did I say this episode? You’re probably going to hear that on the radio and, you know, in your drugstore, in your oldies radio station, from every breath you take to Africa by toto to sweet dreams are made of this to total eclipse of the heart, to islands in the stream, to even down under which I still hear on oldies radio to Maneater by Hall and Oates. Right. These are totemic 80s pop records. And also, let’s also think about where the music business was in 1983, the post disco backlash that happens in 80, 81, 82. The music industry takes a bad hit coming out of that period. And those are fallow periods both for hit making and for songs that endure. I mean, we can name records from 81 and 82 that are still on the radio like, say, Jack and Diane by John Cougar. But there are way more iconic centrists. I’ll say it monocultural hits from 1983 when critics talk about the monoculture, the moment when we had fewer television channels and fewer radio stations and Top 40 radio was sort of enjoyed by a wide swath of listeners. They’re pretty much talking about 1983 and 1984. And there’s a reason why a lot of these songs, even the goofy ones, even the total eclipse of the hearts, even the Africans are still on the radio to this day.

S1: Chris Mowlam Fee is the host of the Hit Parade podcast on Slate. That is the publication for which he writes. Why is this song number one? Chris, thank you so much. Thank you, Mike. And now the schpiel. I have thoughts. So many, many thoughts, so many thoughts, so many thoughts. So rather than delight you with one argument. Unspooled over several minutes, a normal spiel, I shall give you a grab bag of my thoughts because I have. Perhaps you’ve heard so many thoughts, thought one. Have you seen the numbers on impeachment? The public’s opinion on impeachment and removal. This poll was conducted right before the impeachment trial and very likely acquittal of Donald Trump. This was the CNN poll here announced with great BREO by David Chalian.

S12: Take a look. This is the big number on the main question. Should the Senate vote to convict and remove President Trump from office? A slim majority of Americans in this poll, Brianna. Fifty one percent say yes. Forty five percent say no.

S1: What does that number, 51 percent, tell you? I think it’s meant to convey I think it’s being used to communicate. You know, removal is what most people want. And you can caveat that in a lot of ways, like you can caveat so many public opinion polls. But I want to highlight a way to consider this number that’s been thrown around a lot that almost no one, as far as I could hear is considering, which is this 51 percent in favor of removal. So what you’re actually saying is it’s 16 percent short of the threshold for removal since a two thirds vote is necessary for removal for actual removal.

S8: This poll is showing you’re far, far short of the requirement. Now, of course, if every senator were a perfect representation of every person in their district and the Senate were designed to actually be a representative body, and every voter represented in this poll was unwavering in his or her opinion and will definitely vote against any senator who doesn’t adhere to that opinion. Well, the 51 percent figure, if absolutely accurate, would matter. But they’re not. It’s not. They won’t and it doesn’t. I like polls that one particular poll doesn’t tell us what it seems to be telling us. I also give you for free because I have so many thoughts. Another bit of analysis within the findings of that poll. Once again, David Chalian.

S12: Sixty nine percent in this poll say, yes, witnesses should be included Brianna.

S8: That’s right, Brianna. And if I got analysis for you, the reason that 48 percent and I’ve actually seen polls that put this number higher, but the reason that a lot of Republicans, even Republicans want to see witnesses is this. The Republican voter believes elected Republican leaders and unelected Republican Fox hosts who tell them that it’s a witch hunt. There was a perfect phone call. It’s a hoax. There was nothing wrong. So when asked should they call witnesses, they say sheriff can’t possibly hurt our side. But maybe 8 percent of Republican senators feel that way. Why? I would say because they know it could hurt their side. Anyway, that’s my thought. And did you know I have so many of them? Here’s another stray thought. This is held over from my deep dive into the choice where in The New York Times chose a personal item and a carry on in clear violation of airline policy. They endorsed two presidential candidates. But I did notice this thing they said about a few of the candidates here from their Hulu’s special is editorial board member Jesse Wegman.

S13: Biden and Warren percenters are the three big fighters in this. They’re the fighters. They’re the ones who I can best see standing on that stage with Trump and hitting right back.

S8: All right. And here was their discussion of Amy Klobuchar from the podcast, The Sick Choice. When it’s time, she will go for the jugular.

S14: Yeah, I think that you can see that’s what surprised me is like I liked her more than I expected to and felt that more than I expected to. Right. Felt like I could see her on a debate stage with Trump, like holding her own.

S1: And I when I’ve watched her in the bigger debates, I did not feel that amongst so many of my thoughts as this thought, the power of a Democrat in a presidential debate, vastly, vastly overrated data. Point one, Hillary won all the debates handily. Data point to Trump’s, you know, 40 to 40 percent of voters do not see the debates like the rest of us see the debates slash. They take his terrible performance in the debate more as a sign of his unvarnished truthfulness. 3. They’re pretty much just looking to make Meemaw’s about the moderators. All right. Here’s data point three. It’s today’s New York Times headline Trump May Skip Debates or seek new host if process isn’t fair. I’ve got to say, Jim Lehrer is turning over in his grave if he’s buried yet. Why do people elevate the power of debates? Is the question. I have a few theories, so many thoughts and a few theories. One, wish fulfillment to projection. We know what we would say in that debate to that idiot. So we wish someone else would say it for us free of misplaced belief. In the fairness of debates, that they’re really good ways to see into the soul of a candidate and your fellow voter will see things the way you do. It all rests on an assumptions that are less true than they once were and really weren’t that true to begin with. Now, speaking once more of The New York Times editorial board and my thoughts not elevating their power, but I did hear this stray sentiment that is widely echoed about one of their two presidential choices. Here is Kathleen Kingsbury talking about Elizabeth Warren.

S15: It just comes off condescending. And there just as this riskin in a lot of the ways that she talks like if you don’t agree with her, you’re dumb.

S1: I guess to some people she does come off as condescending, if you want to say that. Sexist. Sure. There are plenty of men like Barack Obama who are seen as condescending by people who want to see them as condescending. But what she’s supposed to do, supposed to drop her G’s and talk about her brothers in Oklahoma and her mama, she does that. She has really strong opinions about what she thinks are the right policy prescriptions. How much apologizing to us and hand-holding of us. Is she supposed to do about that? Is she supposed to defend her ideas with less passion? Look, I’m a person who doesn’t agree with a fair number of her ideas. I don’t find that I’m condescended to. I find that she’s a person with a set of ideas that she could defend and that I disagree with. It’s all fair. I don’t judge her personally on that. It seems the charge of condescension is a ready remark made against any intellectual who doesn’t perform aw shucks ism. And I hate it. Ideas or ideas. No one should be ding for having ideas they really believe in and acting like those are the best ideas to have. Defend the ideas. And finally of my so many, many thoughts, we come to an end. By the end I mean the end of humanity in the world. Here is Rachel Bronson, president and CEO of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

S16: About the time of the Doomsday Clock. Today, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the hands of the Doomsday Clock. It is one hundred seconds to midnight. The Doomsday Clock is stupid.

S1: Though the name scientists is in the title of the Watchmakers, there is no real science or rigour to the process. They always move it close to midnight and now they’re running out of room because they’ve alarmed us for years with their fears. OK, I want to be clear. They don’t always literally every year move it closer to midnight. But in general, that’s the overall trend. At the end of the Soviet Union, late 80s, early 90s, the clock actually moved away from midnight, which is not really have a clockworks except during daylight savings time. Then every year for the last 30 years, with one exception, they moved it closer to midnight because the point of the doomsday clock is to scare us and no one will come to the group’s press conference if they don’t ratchet up the scariness. In 1960, the Doomsday Clock was seven minutes to midnight months, pretty exact. Then in 1965, it actually moved back to 12 minutes to midnight. What happened during the safe period between 60 and 65 0? The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis. We got safer than. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Doom. But the doom never came. There are reasons why they feel the doom. But there is no rigor to how they set the clock. And if we’re running out of time on the planet, they’re running out of space to scare us. So what they do is they now say climate change is part of the doom. It is. Climate change is part of the doom. But I got to say, during the period when the climate wasn’t warming, the Doomsday Clock was getting do. Then during the 80s, when scientists say we first began to see the signs of global warming during that decade, the doomsday clock went from 7 to 4 to 3 to 14. All this as the earth was heating up. It got further away from midnight. Why? Because it’s make believe it’s imaginary global warming, real and a crisis and not imaginary. Atomic weapons present and an ongoing threat and not imaginary clock metaphore imaginary. Imaginary combined with the stupid unveiling ceremony and the impossible to disprove. Quote unquote time. Here’s what I want to do. I want to take a phenomenon, a real phenomenon that’s a bad phenomenon and make my own metaphor. Surveillance, capitalism. I’ve got the doomsday binoculars. And based on the widening or closure of the aperture, we’re being spied on more or less or child home safety. Today, the jagged living room is 97 percent dangerous. There are three sharp coffee-table edges and three exposed outlets. That is worse than last year’s 94 percent dangerous when one of the outlets was actually plugged. What you’re saying? I’m making it up. You must not care about the safety of children. You sense that the Doomsday Clock. People thought that they had the market cornered on fear. Atomic weapons. That was the existential fear until Wham-O climate change. They were gonna concentrate on climate change. They definitely have had a thermometer, but it’s a clock. It’s counting down like a missile counts down to one day of doom, which is to say a sudden cataclysm that does not fit the doomsday model slash myth. I guess who cares? Right. I mean, if BP can rebrand itself as beyond petroleum, the doomsday clock. People can be a climate clock, too. You know what, guys? I think we can fit the climate thing into our oh, so rigorous peer reviewed model of where to put the big hand doomsday clock for all incinerated in a nuclear Armageddon. It will. I’ll say it. It’ll be mostly downside, but at least we’ll rid ourselves of the Doomsday Clock.

S16: And these have been I think you will agree to many thoughts.

S2: And that’s it for today’s show, the just associate producer is Priscilla, a lobby. She proposes a doomsday sundial, which shows how many SPF we have left before the exposed legs and arms. That is all flora and fauna on the earth.

S1: Byrne Daniel Schrader produces the gist. He maintains the doomsday ceaselessly clapping monkey with symbols to symbolize how long we have until the annoying monkey claps again with those damn symbols.

S9: The gist? Perhaps you’ve heard of our doomsday Newton’s cradle, where the balls on one end of a five ball set swing, transferring kinetic energy to potential energy and then back to kinetic. Click, click, click. It demonstrates how close we are to tearing ourselves apart over a left wing and right wing. Extremism, crime and overincarceration, lawlessness and oppression. Or it’s just the thing ants give their nephews for graduation whom were desperate to Peru. And thanks for listening.