January 08, 2013

The best year ever

2013 is the 30th anniversary of . . . 1983.

And 1983 is, simply put, the best year ever for pop music. I intend to prove this over the next 52 Tuesdays. (Well, 51, anyway—while I was planning this project, I let the first Billboard chart of 1983, released on Jan. 1, skip by me. Holidays will do that.)

For most of 1983, I was 12 years old in grade 7 and 8, just starting to attend school dances, and just beginning to get interested in popular music. It would really be the summer of 1984 that I would receive the lethal dose of AM radio waves that turned me into who I am today, but at this point, I was starting out.

What I intend to do is post each Tuesday about the Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit on the chart released on the corresponding day back in 1983. Where a particular hit topped the chart for more than on week, I'll post about something interesting farther down the chart—or ignore Billboard entirely to showcase something else 1983-related that deserves attention.

1983 began with "Maneater," by the blue-eyed soul duo, Hall & Oates. Technically, I suppose this is a 1982 single, since it was originally released the previous October and hit #1 in late December. But it stayed there for the next four weeks, including the first two chart weeks of 1983. (So even if I did skip Jan. 1, you didn't miss anything.)

"Maneater" was Hall & Oates' fifth #1; their previous chart topper was "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)" in 1981.

For a few years in the mid-80s, Boston talk-radio station WBZ used something that sounded suspiciously like "Maneater's" bass line as bumper music for their evening programming.