Way Back Wednesday: The Top Music of December 16, 1983

This Week In 1983: The Top Music of December 16, 1983

Not a ton of movement on the chart this week. The biggest drop of the week belongs to Michael Jackson as “P.Y.T” drops 16 spots to #36. While he occupies the top spot for the next couple of weeks with Sir Paul McCartney, the next time you’ll see him on the chart as a solo act will be the first of February next year (1984) when “Thriller” debuts on the chart at #20. The odd detail about “Thriller” is that the blockbuster video debuted on MTV two months earlier in December of 1983. The lag between video release and radio release is said to have contributed to the fact that the song only reached #4.

The song that will eventually unseat Jackson and McCartney in a few weeks, “Owner of A Lonely Heart” from Yes, makes a move into the Top 10. When choosing a featured song for this week, it was a hard choice between Yes and Duran Duran. So you know what? We’re going to feature them both. What are you gonna do, fire me? I’ve only got two weeks left. 🙂

Song Story: “Owner of A Lonely Heart” by Yes

One of the more memorable guitar intros of the 80’s, this is the bands first single from their album 90215 and their only #1 hit. The song and album area gigantic departure from the band’s progressive sound of the 70’s. Thanks to the video getting massive airplay on MTV they found a new audience who were shocked to find out that the band’s back catalog consisted of pieces that weren’t so radio friendly and, at times, lasted over ten minutes (the band once released a double album that contained just four songs).

While MTV played the condensed version of the video, the original video lasted almost seven minutes. The song is possibly the first song to use a sample. The drums at the beginning of the song are from the 1971 Funk, Inc. song “Kool Is Back”. The album cover for 90215 is also believed to be the first album cover to use a computer generated graphic (an Apple IIe).

“Union of The Snake” by Duran Duran

This song was inspired by Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, and his lyrics. Duran lead singer, Simon Le Bon, said in an interview: “There are times when I get into books and things and some of that comes up on the record or I’ll get into a certain artist. ‘Union of The Snake’ and ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ are very much related to Jim Morrison and his lyrical ideas.”

It’s the lead single from the bands album Seven and The Ragged Tiger which will propel the band into mega stardom next year (1984). The videos use of expensive sets, costumes and makeup foreshadowed the type of videos to come from the band, including the 15-minute mini-movie for “New Moon on Monday”, the massively expensive video for “The Wild Boys”.

About Eric Vardeman 115 Articles
80's lover. Screenwriter. Cohost of The Greatest Lists podcast. Christmas enthusiast. Tulsa Curling Club founder. Cherokee. Guitar player. Boomer Sooner. Curator of 80's playlists (https://open.spotify.com/user/127168733)

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