American Top 40 PastBlast, 1/15/83: Juice Newton, “Heart of the Night”

A few thoughts on the first third of this past weekend’s 80s Premiere rebroadcast:

–Leading off the show is Ray Parker Jr.’s “Bad Boy,” a sequel to the previous spring’s #4 hit, “The Other Woman.” Refreshing myself on the lyrics of “Bad Boy” it’s pretty clear the title character is seeking pleasure to go with his pain. As much as I liked most Raydio tunes, Parker Jr.’s solo hits, with I suppose the exception of “Ghostbusters,” leave me completely cold.

–Call me a member of the grammar police, but when I sing along with Air Supply at #38, it’s always “Two Fewer Lonely People in the World.” Though I’ll admit I expect our two lovebirds are indeed both less lonely, say what you mean, guys!

–I know exactly where I was when I first heard “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” which is debuting at #35: the song came over the PA while I was in a cheap import store at the long-defunct Turfland Mall in Lexington. It was likely finals week at Transy, around a month before this show.

I’ve come to be convinced that my college years, fall of 82 to spring of 86, were the prime time for pop music in the 80s (I understand I’m being U.S.-centric in this statement). An important part of this was the Second British Invasion which arose throughout 83. We’re on the precipice of that moment: Culture Club first appearing now, Duran Duran coming on board the following week. That’s not to ignore A Flock of Seagulls (#37), Peter Gabriel (#32), or ABC (#18), but C^2 and D^2 were just about to blow everything up.

–I’ve written before about those few weeks I first got to play DJ at WTLX in the spring of 83. The station manager hadn’t bought too many 45s for us to weave into our shows; based on what I recall seeing in the studio, what little she’d done probably occurred at the very beginning of the term. One of those I played, at least once, was “Heart of the Night,” the sixth of Juice Newton’s seven Top 40 hits. It’s at #29 on this show and would reach #25 the following month. I’ve always liked “Angel of the Morning” and “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me” pretty well, but “Heart of the Night” communicates its atmosphere, its sense of anticipation and desire, so well that I wonder if it isn’t her best single.

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