Throwback Thursday: The Year In Music, 1984!

Michael Jackson’s hair catches fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. Later in the year, he wins eight Grammy awards (out of 12 nominations), including one for Best Children's Album for his work on E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial Storybook.

Upon hearing Prince’s “Darling Nikki” blaring out of her daughter’s bedroom, Tipper Gore forms the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Center) in order to seek censorship of rock music based on the ideology that it is responsible for an increase in rape, teenage pregnancy and suicide. Among other actions, the PMRC creates what they call “The Filthy Fifteen”; the fifteen songs they find most offensive. The list is as follows:

# Artist Song title Lyrical content
1 Prince "Darling Nikki" Sex/Masturbation
2 Sheena Easton "Sugar Walls" Sex
3 Judas Priest "Eat Me Alive" Sex
4 Vanity "Strap on Robbie Baby" Sex
5 Mötley Crüe "Bastard" Violence
6 AC/DC "Let Me Put My Love into You" Sex
7 Twisted Sister "We're Not Gonna Take It" Violence
8 Madonna "Dress You Up" Sex
9 W.A.S.P. "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)" Sex/Language
10 Def Leppard "High 'n' Dry" Drug and Alcohol Use
11 Mercyful Fate "Into the Coven" Occult
12 Black Sabbath "Trashed" Drug and Alcohol Use
13 Mary Jane Girls "In My House" Sex
14 Venom "Possessed" Occult
15 Cyndi Lauper "She Bop" Sex/Masturbation

Canada’s music television channel Much Music debuts in August. The first video played is Rush’s “The Enemy Within”.

Eddie Van Halen provides music for the film, “The Wild Life”, an unofficial sequel to “Fast Times At Ridgmont High” starring Sean Penn’s younger brother Chris.

Marvin Gaye dies from gunshot wounds sustained during a heated argument between he and his father.

In the wake of Tommy Shaw quitting Styx earlier in the year, Dennis DeYoung releases his first solo album, “Desert Moon” (#24), from which the title track would become a Top 10 single. Tommy Shaw’s solo album, “Girls With Guns” (#33) is also released that year, with the album’s title track peaking at #33 on the singles chart.

The Cars released their fifth and most successful album, Heartbeat City, which included the massive chart hits “Drive” (#3), “Hello Again” (#20), “Magic” (#12), and “You Might Think" (#4).

Duran Duran released the live album “Arena” (#4), which included the hit single “The Wild Boys” (#2). {Check out this version of “Is There Something I Should Know?” from the 1984 tour.]

Robert Fripp disbands King Crimson v 2.0 (the version featuring Adrian Belew and Tony Levin).

The Cure release the noticeably upbeat album The Top in May, a buoyant follow-up to the dark and brooding Pornography. [Check out “The Caterpillar (live ’84)”.]

Depeche Mode score their first Top 20 single with “People Are People” from the album Some Great Reward.

Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour releases About Face, his second solo album, in March. It includes two songs co-written by Who guitarist Pete Townshend, as well as musical backing from Steve Winwood, and members of Toto and Deep Purple.

Foreigner release the rock cred-killing album Agent Provocateur, which includes the massive #1 hit single, “I Want To Know What Love Is”.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood reach #1 with the single “Relax”. The song carries the honor of being banned from BBC airplay. The ban extended to TV show Top Of The Pops who, instead of playing a snippet of the #1 song during each weeks’ show, only showed a still photo and played music from another group’s song during the five weeks the song was #1. As their second single “Two Tribes” begins its own chart climb, “Relax” falls to the lower reaches of the chart. The week that “Two Tribes” hits #1, “Relax” rebounds to the #2 position.

Former Clash guitarist Mick Jones forms Big Audio Dynamite.

Hall & Oates release the album Big Bam Boom and score what is most likely the final #1 single of their career with “Out Of Touch”.

Don Henley releases his second solo album, Building the Perfect Beast. It features the Top 10 singles “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” and “The Boys Of Summer”.

Two words: Purple Rain. Prince’s sixth album is also the soundtrack to the film of the same name. The album contains two #1 singles, “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy”. The title track would hit #1, with “I Would Die 4 U” landing at #4. The album would sell over 13 million copies in the US alone.

In October, the Jesus & Mary Chain release their first single, “Upside Down”. It failed to chart, but the band’s shows, which were often only ten or twenty-minutes long, were well-publicized in the British press.

Cyndi Lauper, whose She’s So Unusual had been released the year before, continues her chart run with Top 10 singles “All Through The Night” (#5), “She Bop” (#3), and “Time After Time” (#1).

Talk Talk release the pivotal “It’s My Life” album, which goes Top 5 across much of Europe. The album’s title track was a moderate chart hit in the US and UK, later covered by No Doubt. [Check out “It’s My Life” from Talk Talk’s ’84 tour.]

Madonna’s album Like A Virgin propels her to household name status thanks to glorious pop hooks and just enough sexuality to rile up conservative America. The title track becomes her first #1 single. Subsequent singles “Dress You Up”, “Angel” and “Material Girl” each hit the Top 5.

In October, Tina Turner’s breakthrough comeback album, Private Dancer, is released. It contains the hit singles “Better be Good To Me” (#5), “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (#1), and the title track (which peaked at #7 and was written by Dire Straits singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler).

The Replacements release the critically-lauded album Let It Be in October. The critical acclaim this album received would lead to the band’s major label deal with Sire Records. Peter Buck appears on the album, having originally been the band’s first choice to produce the album. [Check out “Answering Machine” from an ’89 gig.]

Journey singer Steve Perry releases his first solo album, Street Talk.

Billy Ocean releases the album Suddenly, which spawns the #1 hit single “Caribbean Queen” as well as the Top 5 hit “Suddenly”.

Despite the drug-related deaths of two key members (James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon), Chrissie Hynde keeps the Pretenders alive and releases their third studio album, “Learning To Crawl”, in January. The album would go to #5 on the charts, thanks to widespread MTV and radio rotation of singles “Back On The Chain Gang” (#5) and “Middle of The Road” (#20).

The Minutemen release the seminal alt. rock album “Double Nickels On The Dime” on SST Records. The album's name, which I’ve always personally dug, was a response to Sammy Hagar’s cheesily-defiant single “I Can’t Drive 55” and refers to driving the newly-imposed lower federal speed limit on California’s Interstate 10 freeway, which the band travelled repeatedly between L.A. and their home of San Pedro.

The Band-Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” is released in December, featuring the likes of Phil Collins, Paul Young, Sting, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Duran Duran, Bananarama, U2, Spandau Ballet, Big Country, and Kool & The Gang(!). The song would go to #1 during its first week of release in the UK and Australia. However, in the US, where both airplay and sales are used to calculate chart position, it peaked at #13 despite outselling the #1 single by a four-to-one margin.

In December, Vince Neil is involved in an auto accident that claims the life of passenger Razzle (drummer for Hanoi Rocks).

Ratt storm Out of The Cellar with their first full-length album (and major label debut for Atlantic Records). The album would peak at #7 on the U.S. Album charts while the single “Round And Round” would get heavy MTV rotation and land at a respectable #12 position.

In June, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in The U.S.A.” is released. Aside from being one of the year’s most successful albums, featuring the Top 10 hits “Dancing In The Dark” (#2), “Cover Me” (#7), “I’m On Fire” (#6), “Glory Days” (#5),“I’m Goin’ Down” (#9), “My Hometown” (#6), and the title track (#9), it has the distinction of being the first compact disc manufactured in America for commercial release. It has gone on to sellf over 15 million albums in the U.S. alone.

That same month, Rick Allen of Def Leppard loses his arm in an auto accident.

R.E.M. release their second full-length album, Reckoning, in April.

The “Beverly Hills Cop” motion picture soundtrack goes to #1, driven by hit songs “New Attitude” (Patti LaBelle), “The Heat Is On” (Glenn Frey), “Neutron Dance” (Pointer Sisters) and, of course, “Axel F” (Harold Faltermeyer).

John Waite releases his second solo album, “No Brakes”, which briefly lands in the Top 10 and includes his first #1 hit single, “Missing You”.

The Smiths release their self-titled debut album in February. Hatful Of Hollow, a collection of BBC sessions and B-sides, is released in November in the UK, but the band’s U.S. label, Sire Records, chooses not to issue it stateside. [Check out “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” from their ’84 tour.]

Dwight Yoakam releases “Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.” on the California indie label Oak Records. It was an EP, but later expanded to an LP and re-released two years later by Reprise Records. That version would go on to hit #1 on the country charts, driven by the hits “Guitars, Cadillacs” and “Honky Tonk Man”.

Slade’s “Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply” is an unexpected US Top 40 hit album and includes the Top 40 singles “Run Runaway” and “My Oh My”.

The Ramones release “Too Tough To Die”, their eighth studio album and first to feature new drummer Richie Ramone. [Check out this live version of “Chasing The Night”.]

Yanni “Optimystique, recorded in 1980, is released by Atlantic Records four years later. Little-known fact: John Tesh was once a member of Yanni’s live band.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

No comments:

Post a Comment