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'80s Survivor: 1981


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Rod Stewart

"Young Turks"

Tonight I'm Yours (Warner Bros.)

Writer(s): Rod Stewart, Carmine Appice, Duane Hitchings, Kevin Savigar

Producer(s): Jim Cregan, Rod Stewart

Hot 100 Peak: 5

 

Rod Stewart exits the competition as the bouncy Young Turks claims fifth place. The second single released from Stewart's eleventh studio album Tonight I'm Yours, Young Turks saw Rod the Mod adopt current musical trends like synthpop and new wave, whilst still remaining true to his soft rock roots. The term "Young Turk", which originates from the same-named secular nationalist reform party of the early 20th century, is slang for a rebellious youth who acts contrary to what is deemed normal by society. The phrase "Young Turks" is never heard in the actual song, the chorus instead centering on the phrase "young hearts be free tonight", leading to the song frequently being misidentified as Young Hearts or Young Hearts Be Free. The track was a No. 1 success in Canada and Israel, while peaking at No. 3 in Australia and No. 11 in the UK.

 

List of songs (in alphabetical order):

Morning Train (Nine To Five) - Sheena Easton
Rapture - Blondie
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around - Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
The Tide Is High - Blondie

____________________


The Tide Is High - Blondie

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Sheena Easton

"Morning Train (Nine To Five)"

Take My Time (EMI)

Writer(s): Florrie Palmer

Producer(s): Christopher Neil

Hot 100 Peak: 1

 

Scottish singer and actress Sheena Easton surrenders in fourth place with the sickeningly catchy Morning Train (Nine To Five). Originally titled just 9 To 5, the song charted as such in the UK in August of 1980 where it reached No. 3. Early in 1981, EMI Records decided to launch Easton in the US and released 9 To 5 as her debut single. The title of the song was changed to Morning Train (Nine to Five) to avoid confusion with the Dolly Parton song of the same name, which charted nearly simultaneously with Easton's record. Easton's song went to No. 1 on both the US pop and adult contemporary charts; it remained at the top for two weeks on Billboard's pop chart. On Billboard's 1981 year-end charts, it came in as the twelfth-biggest pop and thirteenth-biggest AC hit of the year 1981. It also topped the RPM magazine pop and AC charts in Canada, reigning over the former for two weeks in May 1981. The song's wild success lead Easton to be selected to perform the theme tune for the 12th James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, beating out the likes of Blondie, Donna Summer and Dusty Springfield for the honour. Easton's US success culminated in her winning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist of 1981. Later in the decade Easton would feature several times alongside Prince on both record and screen. In 1987 she appeared in Prince's concert film Sign O' The Times, during which they dueted on U Got The Look, which became a No. 2 hit in the US for Prince and Easton, leading to the duo being Grammy nominated twice for Best R&B Vocal, Duo or Group and Best R&B Song in 1987. The track also returned Easton to the UK hit parade for the first time in nearly 4 years. The two would later team again for The Arms of Orion written by Easton and featured on Prince's soundtrack to the movie Batman in 1989, reaching No. 36 in the US and No. 27 in the UK. They also co-wrote a song for Patti LaBelle's album that year titled Love '89. In addition they co-wrote La, La, La, He, He, Hee, which Prince recorded for the B-Side of the single Sign O' The Times. Tabloid press linked the two romantically, which she has always denied. As well as topping the Hot 100, Morning Train also reached No. 1 in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

 

And we have reached our three finalists for 1981! Be sure to PM me your vote for the winner to be announced soon. :D

 

Rapture - Blondie
Stop Draggin' My Heart Around - Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
The Tide Is High - Blondie

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The results are in!

 

We have a tie for second place between...

 

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Blondie

"The Tide Is High"

Autoamerican (Chrysalis)

Writer(s): John Holt, Howard Barrett, Tyrone Evans

Producer(s): Mike Chapman

Hot 100 Peak: 1

 

Jamaican group The Paragons released The Tide Is High in 1967 featuring its writer John Holt on lead vocals. The song was largely untouched in the rest of the world until rediscovered by Blondie in 1980 who took it all the way to number one in the US and the UK. Debbie Harry says of the tune: "I first heard The Tide Is High on a compilation tape that someone had given me while we were in London. Chris (Stein) and I both fell in love with the song and decided it was too good to resist." Blondie wanted to give the song a Jamaican feel, so they hired 3 percussion players and created a new string and horn arrangement to give it an authentic sound. According to Chris Stein, the percussion includes "8 tracks of drum sticks tapping on a piano bench." Despite several more covers over the years from the likes of Atomic Kitten, Billie Piper and Keri Hilson, Blondie's version remains an unsurpassed classic.

 

Voted for by: Bu

 

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Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

"Stop Draggin' My Heart Around"

Bella Donna (Modern/Atco)

Writer(s): Tom Petty, Mike Campbell

Producer(s): Jimmy Iovine, Tom Petty

Hot 100 Peak: 3

 

Stop Draggin' My Heart Around was the first single from Stevie Nicks' debut solo album Bella Donna. The album's only song that was neither written nor co-written by Nicks, she had asked Petty half-jokingly if he could write her a song that she could record for her first solo album. Petty didn't take her request seriously at first. Nicks reiterated her request a year later as Petty was putting together his Hard Promises album. Petty wrote a ballad called Insider at his home, played it to the Heartbreakers, recorded a demo with his band, and sent it to Nicks. After listening to it, Nicks visited Petty at his studio and taped the song with him and the Heartbreakers, then gave the tape to Petty, saying, "You love this so much... YOU take the song." He did, and included it on Hard Promises. Shortly after Insider was finished, Petty and company recorded a song that he and guitarist Mike Campbell composed about a year earlier - Stop Draggin' My Heart Around - and sent that demo to Nicks. She loved it, saying, "That's what I wanted all along." Eventually Nicks and Petty decided to do it as a duet and recorded their voices over the demo's instrumental track. In the liner notes to her TimeSpace album, Nicks said: "Jimmy (Iovine) played this song to me while he was still finishing Tom's album; it was one of those songs that Tom was not going to do, and he told Jim that I could do it. I wasn't used to doing other people's songs, so I didn't really like the idea at first, but I loved Tom Petty, so I agreed to try. So we went into the studio and sang it live, together. I was completely entranced, and I instantly fell into love with the song. Duets were the things I loved the most... maybe this was a second beginning. And we would sing like no one else, and nobody else would ever sing like us." Stop Draggin' My Heart Around spent six weeks at No. 3 on the Hot 100, whilst peaking at No. 10 in Australia and No. 50 in the UK.

 

Voted for by: Reyna

 

And our winner...

 

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Blondie

"Rapture"

Autoamerican (Chrysalis)

Writer(s): Deborah Harry, Chris Stein

Producer(s): Mike Chapman

Hot 100 Peak: 1

 

Claiming victory for 1981 is the beloved Blondie with the too cool Rapture. Surprisingly one of only two songs lifted from the band's fifth album Autoamerican, Rapture was the first No. 1 on the Hot 100 to feature rapping. Hip-Hop promoter Fab 5 Freddie is in the video and is mentioned in the song. He was part of the early rap scene and is credited with helping bring it into the mainstream. Blondie originally met Fab Five Freddy and his crew at a club. They all became friends, and one day Freddy jokingly suggested that Debbie Harry should write a song about them. She did, and the result was the rap that is the second half of the song. She sent it to Freddy, he and his crew loved it and she ended up recording it. The lyrics are also notable for referencing fellow pioneer Grandmaster Flash. The song has been covered and sample many times over the years, most notably by Justin Timberlake and Kylie Minogue at the 2003 Brit Awards and Alicia Keys who recorded a version for the Sex And The City 2 soundtrack. Blondie's Rapture was a Top 5 hit in both Australia and the UK.

 

Voted for by: RedSimba, TwistedElegance

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