1984 was supposed to be the year that we would all be under the thumb of ‘Big Brother’ (at least according to author George Orwell). That didn’t happen thirty years ago, but it certainly is happening now. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, cell phones and the internet are being monitored by government agencies, all in the name of security. But hey, 1984 has its upside too. It was the year Apple introduced the Macintosh personal computer and that turned out pretty well.
In the music world in 1984, 5 albums and only 5 albums dominated the # 1 spot on Billboard magazine’s Top 100 Album chart for the entire year. It all works out rather neatly since we have exactly 5 questions, so each question will be about one of the 1984 # 1 albums. I love it when a plan comes together. So have at it, y’all.
1. From the week of January 7th until the week of April 14th, 1984, this album had a lock on the # 1 spot. It was the first # 1 album for this performer as a solo artist. This legendary superstar ‘performed’ his latest song on the Billboard Awards last Sunday despite the fact that he’s been dead since June of 2009. OK, I suspect you know who the performer is. What’s the name of his ‘rhymes-with-killer’ 1984 # 1 album?
2. The album that replaced the answer to question # 1 stayed on top for 10 straight weeks. It was the soundtrack to a movie about a small American town that had banned dancing and one transplanted big city kid tried to change the town’s thinking. If you know the name of the movie, then you can easily name the # 1 soundtrack album since the names are identical. So what is it already?
3. Following the # 1 run of the album that’s the answer to question # 2, this album jumped into the # 1 spot for only one week. It’s from a San Francisco area group that up to that point, had not had a # 1 single or album. The number one singles starting happening in 1985 and ’86 when the group had three. They first charted in 1982 with a Top Ten hit called “Do You Believe In Love” (written by Shania Twain’s ex-husband Mutt Lange). In ’83 and ’84, they made the Top Ten singles chart four more times. Then came their big # 1 album in June of 1984. Be a ‘sport’ and see if you can come up with the name of the album and the group.
4. Replacing the album that’s the answer to question # 3 was the latest from a New Jersey native who’d already been at the top of Billboards’ Album chart once before. Near the beginning of his career, he was on the cover of both Newsweek and Time magazines simultaneously for the week of October 27, 1975, and was heralded as ‘rock and roll’s future’. His 1984 # 1 album spawned 7 Top Ten singles. The video for one of those songs from the summer of ’84 featuring a young actress/dancer named Courtney Cox (10 years before she landed the part of Monica on the TV series “Friends”). Who’s the singer/songwriter and what’s the name of his 1984 # 1 album?
5. From the first week in August 1984 until the end of the year (that’s 21 consecutive weeks), this album was # 1. It continued to sit at the top of the album chart for the first two weeks in 1985 as well, until it was knocked off by the album IT had knocked out of #1 in August of ’84. Up to this point, this artist had had only one Top Ten album in early 1983. If you knew the answer to last week’s question # 5, then you also know the answer to this week’s question # 5. So out with it, who is this guy who liked to party like it was 1999?
1. 1984’s “Thriller” was Michael Jackson’s very first # 1 album. It had a lock on the # 1 spot for the first 15 weeks of the year. Quincy Jones produced “Thriller” and “Thriller” produced 3 # 1 singles, “Billie Jean”, “Beat It” and “Say Say Say” (a duet with Paul McCartney). “Thriller” had originally been released in November 1982 and spent 17 weeks at # 1 through February, March, April, May and June of 1983 but returned to the top of the album chart in late December. Michael went on to have three more # 1 albums, “1987’s “Bad”, 1991’s “Dangerous” and a greatest hits package in ’95 called “HIStory: Past, Present & Future (Book 1). From 1994 to 1996, Michael Jackson was married to Elvis Presley’s daughter, Lisa Marie. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Michael died on June 25, 2009. A hologram of Michael Jackson performing “Slave To The Rhythm” from his latest album “XSCAPE” was one of the highlights of the recent Billboard Music Awards. “XSCAPE” just debuted at # 1 on the U.K. album chart.
2. “Footloose” is the name of the soundtrack album. Kenny Loggins had a # 1 single for three weeks in March and April of 1984 with the title song. It was his only solo # 1 hit. In 2011, Hollywood, for some unknown reason (see: greed), re-made “Footloose”. The new version starred Julianna Huff, Dennis Quaid, Andie MacDowell and Kenny Wormald in the Kevin Bacon role. Wormald had been born in 1984, the year the original movie had been released.
3. For the week of June 30th, 1984 Huey Lewis & The News had the # 1 album in North America with “Sports”. Prior to forming Huey Lewis & The News, Huey Lewis and keyboard player Sean Hopper had been in the band Clover. The other ‘News’ men, Johnny Colla (sax & guitar), Mario Cipollina (bass) and Bill Gibson on drums had been in a Bay area group called Soundhole. In 1978, those five musicians came together and became Huey Lewis & the American Express. In ’79, they added Chris Hayes on guitar and changed their name to Huey Lewis & The News (American Express had complained). Their # 1 singles were: 1985’s “The Power Of Love” (featured in the first “Back To The Future” movie. Huey Lewis had a cameo role in that film), “Stuck With You” in 1986 and ‘87’s “Jacob’s Ladder”, a song written by Bruce Hornsby. In 1986, Huey Lewis & The News had another # 1 album with “Fore”.
4. That would be Bruce Springsteen with “Born In The U.S.A.”. Bruce had previously had a # 1 album in 1980 with “The River”. ‘84’s “Born In The U.S.A.” was his second # 1 album. The 7 Top Top singles that came from “Born In The U.S.A.” were: “Dancing In The Dark” (# 2) and “Cover Me (# 7), both from ’84. Those were followed by “Born In The U.S.A.” (# 9), “I’m On Fire” (# 6), “Glory Days” (# 5), “I’m Goin’ Down” (# 9) and “My Hometown” (# 6), all of whom peaked in ’85 except for “My Hometown”, which peaked in January of ’86.
5. The answer is: Prince with the soundtrack from “Purple Rain”. As we mentioned last week, Prince has sold over a hundred million records. His first album, “For You”, didn’t do too well as it ‘bubbled under’ the Top 100 at # 163 in 1978. It was his 5th album, “1999” that finally cracked the Top Ten, climbing to # 9 in May of ’83. Then came Prince’s first # 1 album, “Purple Rain” in ’84, followed by his next # 1, 1985’s “Around The World In A Day”. The purple one’s third # 1 album was the soundtrack to “Batman” in 1989.