American Top 40 PastBlast, 7/28/84: Laura Branigan, “Self Control”

This past weekend I had a great time hanging out with four of my HS classmates. We met up just outside of Nashville, using Airbnb to get a house a few miles away from where one of them lives. It’s not like I haven’t seen Tony, Frank, Bill, and Dwayne occasionally over the years (some more than others), but this was the first time since, oh, the spring of 82 the five of us had spent any extended time together. It was a solid mix of taking advantage of our location, reliving glory days (hearing some stories for perhaps the twentieth time, others for the first), and catching each other up on highlights and lowlights of the past 37 trips around the sun. One of us noted the paradox that those times felt as if they simultaneously occurred both yesterday and in a completely different lifetime. Not surprisingly, there’s interest in having this sort of thing happen again in the not-too-distant future. Many kudos go to Frank for the idea and for organizing it.

One of the tales that got re-told was the time that Tony, Bill, and I went to Daytona Beach in early August of 84. And one of the songs that always plays in my head when I think about that trip is Laura Branigan’s “Self Control.” Branigan is on her way down the chart on this show from a peak of #4, stopping off at #17.  It was her third (and final) Top 10 hit; all were European imports, but unlike “Gloria” and “Solitaire,” “Self Control” was originally written in English. Branigan’s version competed with that of Italian co-writer Raffaelle “Raf” Riefoli in various countries across Europe during the summer of 84, and hers was generally the bigger hit (in Germany, Branigan kept Raf from reaching #1).

I don’t recall ever seeing the video for “Self Control” (by The Exorcist director William Friedkin) on MTV. The network asked for some edits before they’d play it, and that didn’t happen immediately. The clip below intersperses scenes from the original vid with those of Branigan performing it before an audience.

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