Songs that peaked at #6: 1981-1984

Desperate, glimmering, and deeply horny, the first five songs on my list rank among my best of the decade. Sean Ross’ recent analyses of what has gone wrong with them in recent rotation hasn’t informed this chart much, yet I want to cite two forgotten 1985 songs: Thompson Twins’ Nile Rodgers-produced “Lay Your Hands on Me” and the Duran side project Arcadia, which required Nick Rhodes to mousse his hair as if were a Carrington in Dynasty. One bit of twaddle makes sense in South Florida now: “We’re sacred and bound/To suffer the heat wave.”

The Hague

Stevie Nicks and Don Henley – Leather and Lace
Paul Davis – 65 Love Affair
Styx – Don’t Let It End
Gino Vannelli – Living Inside Myself


Rod Stewart – Infatuation
The Kinks – Come Dancing
Thompson Twins – Lay Your Hands on Me
John Cougar Mellencamp – Small Town
Neil Diamond – Hello Again
Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton – We’ve Got Tonight

Sound, Solid

Bryan Adams – Run to You
DeBarge – Who’s Holding Donna Now
Little River Band – The Night Owls
The Pointer Sisters – Neutron Dance
Arcadia – Election Day
Huey Lewis and the News – I Want a New Drug
The Power Station – Some Like It Hot

Good to Great

Prince – Little Red Corvette
Dan Hartman – I Can Dream About You
Joe Jackson – Steppin’ Out
Paul McCartney – No More Lonely Nights
Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire
Genesis – That’s All
Huey Lewis and the News – If This is It
John Cougar Mellencamp – Lonely Ol’ Night
Hall & Oates – Family Man

5 thoughts on “Songs that peaked at #6: 1981-1984

  1. I love Small Town’s arrangements. Need to check again lyrics but that’s his best melody and use of harmonica in Scarecrow, bar none.
    Happy to see the love of Dan Hartman. He’s always had a black soul anda sense of rythm in spite of trying to recreate the stompin sound of “Out of Touch”. He came up with a better song as a result. Daryl Hall must have been flattered.

    1. It’s funny, because in doing so he didn’t sound “retro” like Billy Jooel’s album of the same year. “I Can Dream About You” it’s pretty much 1984 Soundscape Inc. I like the extended remix.

    2. I can’t stand “Small Town,” actually — one of his weaker singles and the receiver of heavy recurrent airplay as we speak.

      1. Must be the lyrics. I’ve always loved everything else about it (but when I revisit the 80s I’ll decide) If it receives recurrent airplay it’s because there must be something about it people like it, still. I heard it in a high profile NYC radio when I lived there in 97-98, so it’s hardly a rural phenomenon. I like “Paper In Fire” best and here’s missing from radio since 1987. Too bluesy?
        Never been a fan of “American Fool” even though I bought it in vynil.

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