This series has made only one visit to 1985 to date, so let’s take another trip there. Many of these songs I knew pretty well back in the day, and one is a contender for my top ten of the year. Let’s roll it…
#93. Alphaville, “Forever Young”
Classic fear-of-nuclear-annihilation cut, not to be confused of course with songs of the same title by Dylan or Rod. I’m amazed now this didn’t climb any higher at the time, though it was one of those songs given a second chance in the late 80s, reaching #65 in December 1988.
#89. Maze, “Back in Stride”
Maze, led by Frankie Beverly, had been hitting the R&B charts regularly since 1977. This was the first of two #1 songs they had there, and it would turn out to be their fourth and final song to reach the Hot 100, getting just to #88. Nice jam.
#79. Los Lobos, “Will the Wolf Survive?”
Title-ish track from their well-received major label debut, on its way to a peak one position higher; I remember both it and “Don’t Worry Baby” getting play on MTV. I’m glad for the success they enjoyed a couple of years later with songs from the La Bamba soundtrack, but I absolutely adore their underappreciated early 90s albums The Neighborhood and Kiko.
#64. Alan Parsons Project, “Let’s Talk About Me”
The Top 40 days had ended for the APP the previous year with the #34-peaking “Prime Time.” The video for this first single from Vulture Culture is completely over the top, but I still find it, as well as the song itself, a little disquieting. The clip’s message about the cost of addiction to electronics rings true to this day. But I’ve always wondered about the song’s narrator: are his complaints justified, or is he just wallowing in self-pity?
I didn’t realize at the time that I’d heard David Paton, the vocalist on “Let’s Talk About Me,” singing the line “Leaning on my pillow in the morning light” ten years earlier.
#55. John Waite, “Change”
Another second-chance tune. “Change” was originally a single that stiffed from Waite’s 1982 solo album Ignition. The folks putting together the Vision Quest soundtrack thought it should get another try, but alas, it was soon to stall out at #54. This is right up there with “Isn’t It Time” for me in terms of Waite-sung songs; love the video, too.
#51. Go West, “We Close Our Eyes”
Given how much I saw this vid, on MTV, I’m a little surprised “We Close Our Eyes” topped out at #41. The British duo of Peter Cox and Richard Drummie got theirs a few years later, though, with the Top 10 “King of Wishful Thinking” and a high-performing AC cover of “What You Won’t Do for Love.”