Each post I choose a random year in a particular decade, now you could cheat and go directly to the end of the post to find out what year in music the post is about or you could try and guess as your reading.
So, what happened in my chosen year for this post?
American blues singer Willie Dixon sued Led Zeppelin over the song “Whole Lotta Love”, on the grounds that it contained too many similarities to his own song “You Need Love”. The lawsuit was settled out of court.
Also, this year after months of arguing, David Lee Roth left Van Halen to begin a solo career and Wham! became the first Western pop group to perform in China when they played a concert in Beijing’s Workers Stadium during an historic 10-day visit.
Bands and groups that formed this year included Arcadia, The Christians, The Communards and Guns N’ Roses.
From the concept album and subsequent musical Chess by Tim Rice, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. British actor and singer Murray Head raps the verses, while the chorus is sung by Anders Glenmark, a Swedish singer, songwriter and producer.
The release topped the charts in many countries, including South Africa, West Germany, Switzerland and Australia. It peaked at number 3 in both Canada and the United States and at number 12 in Head’s native UK.
SONG - 2. Bill Sharpe & Gary Numan - Change Your Mind
Written by Shakatak members Bill Sharpe and Roger Odell and featuring lead vocals by Gary Numan, it was released as a single in February and was a Top 20 hit on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 17 in March.
All songs on the single are included on Bill Sharpe’s solo album Famous People released the same year. The A-side Change Your Mind also appears on the Sharpe & Numan album Automatic, released in four years later.
SONG - 3. Howard Jones - Things Can Only Get Better
Things Can Only Get Better was released as the first single from Howard Jones’ album Dream Into Action, reaching #6 in the UK Singles Chart and number 5 in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Curiously, the song also crossed over to the R&B charts in America, peaking at number 54.
A typically upbeat Jones composition, it was one of two songs from the album to feature all-female singing group Afrodiziak on backing vocals.
SONG - 4. Paul Hardcastle – 19
19 has a strong anti-war message, focusing on America’s involvement in the Vietnam War and the effect it had on the soldiers who served.
The track was notable for early use of sampled and processed speech, in particular a synthesized stutter effect used on the words ‘nineteen’ and ‘destruction’. It also includes various non-speech, re-dubbed sampling, such as crowd noise and a military bugle call.
19 had huge international success in the charts; it went to number 1 in the UK for five weeks and became the top-selling single in 13 countries in its year of release.
SONG - 5. The Clash - This Is England
This Is England a song by the English punk rock band The Clash, released in September from their sixth, final, and critically maligned studio album Cut the Crap.
Unlike the album, which continues to receive criticism and in some cases ridicule, “This Is England” is often praised. Joe Strummer the bands frontman described it as his “last great Clash song”.
It peaked at number 24 in the UK.
SONG - 6. Tina Turner - We Don’t Need Another Hero
On the heels of Turner’s multiplatinum album Private Dancer, We Don’t Need Another Hero was released as a 7″ single, an extended version was released as a 12″ single and on the soundtrack album for the film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, the final instalment of the Mad Max films starring Mel Gibson.
Turner also starred in the film with Gibson.
The single peaked at number 3 in the UK and number 2 in the US.
SONG - 7. Jan Hammer - Miami Vice Theme
Miami Vice Theme is a musical piece composed and performed by Jan Hammer as the theme to the television series Miami Vice. It was first presented as part of the television broadcast of the show in September before its release as a single.,
It peaked hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and was the last instrumental to top the Hot 100 until 2013, when “Harlem Shake” by Baauer reached number one.
It also peaked at number five in the UK and number four in Canada.
SONG - 8. Freddie Mercury - I Was Born To Love You
Released as a single and on the Mr. Bad Guy album.
After Mercury’s death, Queen re-worked this song for their album Made in Heaven in 1995, by having the other members play their instrumental parts over the original track, transforming the song from a disco song to a rock song. The Queen version from the Made in Heaven album also includes samples of Mercury’s ad-lib vocals taken from “A Kind of Magic” and from “Living on My Own”.
The original version by Mercury peaked at number 11 in the UK and number 76 in the US.
SONG - 9. Big Audio Dynamite - E=MC2
The second single from their debut album This Is Big Audio Dynamite. The song was the group’s first Top 40 hit on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 11. Additionally, it peaked at number 37 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in the US.
The song features prominent dialogue samples from the 1970 film Performance.
The last track for today is from Arcadia with Election Day.
Before we finish this post let’s reveal the year – did you get it?
Other notable things from this year were …
Various artists, under the group name USA For Africa, including Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Cyndi Lauper, Steve Perry, Kenny Loggins, Willie Nelson, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Tina Turner, Sheila E., Harry Belafonte, Lindsey Buckingham, Kim Carnes, Dionne Warwick, Waylon Jennings, Bob Geldof and Stevie Wonder, record the song “We Are the World”, written by Jackson and Ritchie.
Later in the year Bob Geldof and Midge Ure from Ultravox would organise the now legendary Live Aid concert at London’s Wembley Stadium and Philadelphia’s John F. Kennedy Stadium.
As I’ve already mentioned our last track in this post is from Arcadia with Election Day.
SONG - 10. Arcadia - Election Day
Election Day was the first single released by the Duran Duran offshoot band, Arcadia.
It hit the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic, peaking at number 6 in the US and number 7 in the UK. Along with the Arcadia members, “Election Day” features Grace Jones on vocals and speech segments.
I hope you enjoyed our trip into the Music Time Warp today looking at the year 1985.
Be sure to check back for weekly posts looking back into the Music Time Warp.