March 12, 2013

Time for a 1983bie

I've been slack with the music over the last few weeks. Had a few other things on my mind, I guess. However, I did pretty much promise 52 tunes over 52 weeks, which means that tonight you get not one, not two, but three tunes from 1983 to make up for it. Huzzah!

Back when we last left this series, on February 19, the #1 song 30 years earlier was "Baby Come to Me," an R&B duet by Patti Austin and James Ingram. They held the top spot for two consecutive weeks.

Meanwhile, however, the first hit from a new British band was starting its rise up the charts. That song was "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," from Kissing to be Clever, the debut album of Culture Club. After their first two singles failed to chart, this release became a global #1 hit, although it peaked at #2 on the Billboard chart in the U.S. The reggae-ish "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" thrust the New Wave band with their androgynous, cross-dressing front man Boy George into the mainstream.

After two weeks topping the charts, Austin and Ingram were displaced by another R&B hit. This one is likely more familiar: "Billie Jean," by the one and only Michael Jackson. Really, what more need be said?

"Billie Jean" spent 7 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Journey were not exactly an 80s' band, as they arguably had their best success in the late 1970s. This is not to say they didn't have some major success in the 1980s; in fact, their best-known song, "Don't Stop Believin'" was a 1982 hit, and the 1983 album Frontiers was one of their highest charting. The lead single from Frontiers was the rocker "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)":

The video for "Separate Ways" has gained a reputation as one of the worst ever, particularly for the instrument miming and the dated fashion. Really, it just doesn't make any sense to me.

Thanks to the success of Frontiers, Journey became one of the few rock bands to have their own licensed arcade game. The background music during gameplay was a loop of "Separate Ways." Coincidentally, or perhaps not, Midway Games also manufactured the (considerably more successful) movie tie-in games Tron and Discs of Tron—and "Separate Ways" has a prominent place in the arcade scene in 2010's Tron: Legacy.