Way Back Wednesday: The Top Music of February 19, 1983

The top 40 songs for the week of February 19, 1983...

This Week In 1983: February 19th

We have a new #1 song this week. Patti Austin and James Ingram move into the top spot with “Baby, Come To Me”. The top 20 remains largely unchanged with many songs staying in the same position they were in last week. After spending thirteen weeks slowly climbing the charts, one of my favorite songs from the 80’s, “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring, finally moves into the top 20. Notable drops are “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye dropping from #3 to #23, “Maneater” by Hall & Oates sliding down to #25 from #6, and “Rock The Casbah” which plummets from #8 to #31 (it’ll fall completely out of the countdown next week). Two big jumps this week are “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, which vaults into the top 10 (up to #6 from #23) and Duran Duran who move up to #9 from #19 with “Hungry Like The Wolf”.

Song Story: “Hungry Like The Wolf” by Duran Duran

In 1982, new synthesizers and sequencers were changing the landscape of pop music, as groups like The Eurythmics and The Human League were using them to create new sounds. Duran Duran guitarist Andy Taylor was able to take advantage of the new technology on this song, creating the track by linking a Roland 808 drum machine with a sequencer and a Roland Jupiter 8 keyboard. Taylor explained that the track “just came from fiddling with the new technology. It was almost by accident, really.” Lead singer Simon LeBon claims that the lyrics are loosely based on the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood”.

This was the band’s breakthrough hit in the US. The song’s success originated from MTV, which had just come on the air. In a pre-MTV world where Duran Duran could be heard but not seen, it is unlikely that they would have broken through in America. LeBon said “It worked for us. Video made it possible to create a cult of personality across the globe. You arrive on a tour bus and they’d already seen us on a yacht in a video.” The first Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video was given at the 1984 ceremony, and it was given to Duran Duran as a joint award for “Hungry Like The Wolf” together with their previous video “Girls On Film.”

One other item of interest: the outfit bassist John Taylor wore in the video was used as the basis for styling the character Sonny Crockett, played by Don Johnson on 80’s TV show Miami Vice.

About Eric Vardeman 31 Articles
Curator of 80's playlists. Tulsa Curling Club founder. Known to play guitar and sing at times. Boomer Sooner. Los Lakers. Dallas Cowboys. Star Wars nerd. Olympic enthusiast. Christmas nut.