Way Back Wednesday: The Top Music of December 23, 1983

This Week In 1983: The Top Music of December 23, 1983

Well, folks…here we are. The last charting week of 1983. Big jumps this week by Matthew Wilder (who climbs nine spots to land at #10), The Romantics (who’ll top out at #5 early next year) and Culture Club who jump ten spots to #17 on their way to #1 next month. Elton John and “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” move up eight spots on his way to #4. A ridiculously goofy but equally as funny song owns the biggest move of the week though. Moving up twelve spots to #32 on it’s way to a peak of #15 in a couple of months is “The Curly Shuffle”. Seriously you should look it up. Holding steady at #1 for the third week in a row is “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. It’s also our last featured song of the week.

Song Story: “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson

According to Sir Paul, the majority of the song’s lyrics were written by Jackson overnight after hearing the song for the first time. George Martin, who had worked with the Beatles and produced the song, said of his experience with Jackson: “He actually does radiate an aura when he comes into the studio, there’s no question about it. He’s not a musician in the sense that Paul is (Paul played multiple instruments on the song) but he does know what he wants musically and has very precise ideas.”

Jackson also spoke of the recording experience in his autobiography, Moonwalk. He stated that working with McCartney actually boosted his confidence, as Quincy Jones—producer of Thriller—was not present to correct his mistakes. Jackson’s Thriller album was still cranking out singles when this song was released. When “Say Say Say” went to #1, it gave him seven Top 10 singles in 1983 including three #1 songs.

Jackson and McCartney’s budding friendship was derailed in 1985 when Jackson outbid McCartney for the publishing rights to a collection of Beatles songs, leaving McCartney to negotiate royalty rates with Jackson, who now could decide how the songs were used for commercial purposes (he let Panasonic use “All You Need Is Love” and Nike use “Revolution”). When Jackson needed to raise cash in 1995, he sold much of his stake to Sony’s publishing division. After Jackson died in 2009, McCartney released a statement recalling fond memories of Jackson, notably their work on this song. “He became very friendly with my family and we had lots of great times together,” McCartney wrote.

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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