1982: My Top 100 (At The Time)

If you’ve been checking things out here for a while, you likely recall that I kept track of my personal Top 50 from early Spring 1980 through the end of 1982. One requirement I had in place from the beginning was that any song on AT40 had to have a place on my chart–this meant that big hits in real life that didn’t float my boat as much often languished in the teens and twenties while I was waiting for them to begin their tumbles back down.

A few weeks after I left for college in September 1982, I stopped making my formal weekly AT40 charts, though I have evidence that I was keeping notes on it until March 1983. I dropped doing my own list over the winter break, though–forty years ago today was a Saturday, the day that broke that streak, I suppose.

I left some unfinished business. At the end of 1981, I’d painstakingly tabulated points for dozens of songs based on their positions on my charts over the calendar year and drawn up a list of my Top 100 songs. That didn’t happen for the 1982 charts as the new year dawned. One of my resolutions for 2022 was to go back and compile that list; going in, I didn’t know which of three or four songs would wind up on top.

I could reconstruct the formula I’d used for the 1981 summary from the work I’d kept, so that was employed again: 50 points for being #1, 49 for #2, 48 for #3, etc., 10 points for each week on the chart, plus some bonuses thrown in if a song stayed at #1 for more than two weeks. I used Excel for my calculations this time around–pretty painless other than the data entry, of course.

Anyway, without further adieu, the results–I won’t even keep you in suspense by starting at #100:

2Don’t You Want Me948222
4Only the Lonely8771(3)19
5Do You Believe in Love8431(5)17
6Sweet Dreams8391(3)18
7Hard To Say I’m Sorry8311(2)18
8Hurts So Good825522
8Who Can It Be Now?825418
10Caught Up in You8181(1)18
11Don’t Talk to Strangers8171(2)18
12Take It Easy on Me*814217
13Kids in America810418
14Shake It Up*8081(3)17
16Theme from ‘Chariots of Fire’8001(1)17
17I Love Rock ‘n Roll797317
18Eye in the Sky7881(3)17
19The One You Love**7831(3)15
20You Should Hear How She Talks About You777317
20You Can Do Magic777217
22Open Arms775216
24Tainted Love7721(1)17
25’65 Love Affair759317
26Never Been in Love7161(4)15
28Key Largo7111018
29Somebody’s Baby705316
30Always on My Mind688417
31Man on Your Mind666315
32Heat of the Moment663615
34Ebony and Ivory645916
35Love Is Alright Tonite620516
35You Don’t Want Me Anymore620614
37Hot in the City617715
38Did It in a Minute614414
39Under Pressure*6101(2)13
39Spirits in the Material World610615
41Hold Me606915
42Nobody Said It Was Easy599414
44Eye of the Tiger5861518
45Our Lips Are Sealed*5841(2)12
46Think I’m in Love583513
47The Other Woman580714
48My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)*5761(1)12
49We Got the Beat5721115
50Jack and Diane5661117
51Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me)544713
52That Girl542913
53You Could Have Been with Me*526815
54I Ran (So Far Away)525813
55Keep the Fire Burnin’521713
56I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)*5141313
57Someday, Someway5121214
58Steppin’ Out**511210
59Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me510814
61Blue Eyes4991013
62Cool Night*4981012
62Make a Move on Me498912
64Up Where We Belong**497912
65Pac-Man Fever4961114
65Even the Nights Are Better4961314
67Waiting for a Girl Like You*495310
69Wasted on the Way4931113
71Through the Years484613
72Harden My Heart*480912
73I’ve Never Been To Me4741514
74Take Me Down473912
75Empty Garden4721012
76Sweet Time467912
77Angel in Blue4641113
79Leader of the Band*4601915
80New World Man459811
81Goin’ Down458712
82Play the Game Tonight4561012
84Turn Your Love Around*4451411
85Let It Whip4422016
86Without You (Not Another Lonely Night)4411312
86I Keep Forgettin’4411513
88Get Down on It430911
89Love Will Turn You Around420911
90Body Language4121211
91Waiting on a Friend*4071511
92Heart Attack4051613
93Hooked on Classics*3961410
93Let Me Tickle Your Fancy3961512
95Break It Up3951311
96Love in the First Degree3841712
97Bobbie Sue3831311
98Hold On3811611
98Shadows of the Night**3811(3)8
100It’s Raining Again**37978

*was on the chart for at least one week in 1981
**would have been on the chart for at least one week in 1983

It turned out not to be that close for the top spot. Overall I can’t complain too much about how the top ten turned out, though I think Huey was probably top 3 in my heart, and I wouldn’t have Johnny Cougar nearly so high now.

I’m a tiny bit surprised to see “Don’t You Want Me” all the way up at #2. That said, I’ve come to recognize over the last couple of years its importance (yes, along with “Tainted Love”) in being the leading edge of the Second British Invasion. I just finished reading Tom Breihan’s The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal the History of Pop Music, in which he devotes a chapter to “Don’t You Want Me” for essentially that reason (with immense credit to MTV for its role in it all).

The song that lost out the most due to bad timing was Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” which was #1 the last week of December 1981 and the first week of January 1982, and didn’t make the Top 100 either year. On the other hand, both “Physical” and “Waiting for a Girl Like You” were on both Top 100s, due to their chart longevity. It’d perhaps be worthwhile to take a cue from the AT40 staff and include more (or all) of a song’s run in this exercise–of course, that couldn’t be done with songs that hung on into some of 1983…

Anyway, laugh as you will at the results; I’m glad to have ranked them at last. Here’s to the best for all of us in 2023.

I am still on Twitter, though a) I’m enjoying it less all the time, and b) I completely understand why some folks have chosen to bail. That said, I’ve begun exploring other social media outlets. Here are the coordinates of my extremely minimal presence at two other places:

Mastodon: @wmharris@mstdn.plus
Post.News: @wmharris

You’re more than welcome to follow me and/or to let me know where/how to find you in those or other spaces.

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