Way Back Wednesday: The Top Music of October 14, 1983

This Week In 1983: The Top Music of October 14, 1983

Big debuts on the chart this week. “Everyday People” from Joan Jett, “Everyday I Write The Book” by Elvis Costello, Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield” and Quiet Riot with “Cum On Feel The Noize”. Our biggest debut of the week, however, is “Say Say Say” from Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson which debuts on the chart at #26. It will end the year at #1. In fact, there will only be three different #1 songs after Bonnie Tyler finishes her current stint in the top spot. One of those three will be “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie. It’s also our featured song of the week.

Song Story: “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie

This is Richie’s third number one song since leaving The Commodores.

The title was inadvertently inspired by a Jamaican friend of Lionel’s. “It was the first time I’ve ever written a song where I didn’t have a hook. It took me months to find one,” says Richie. “If the song is called ‘Easy,’ you write ‘easy’ first. Then you work from there. I wrote everything — ‘Well my friend, the time has come,’ ‘Fiesta, forever’ — and I still didn’t have a hook.” After nearly three months of struggle, the singer had a eureka moment when dining with one of his Jamaican-born friends.

“I was leaving his house, and I said [in a Jamaican accent], ‘I’m going back to work all night long.’ Then I said, ‘Wait a minute’ and got all excited. He looked at me like I was nuts. Sometimes, by not thinking, you find exactly what you want.”

The African sounding lyrics in the middle of the song, “Tambo liteh sette mo-jah! Yo! Jambo jambo”, while resembling actual words in certain African dialects, are actually just made up words and phrases due to the fact that Richie didn’t have time to hire a translator to help him write ACTUAL African lyrics. The video for this song along with videos from Prince and Michael Jackson help break racial barrier on MTV at a time when the top brass didn’t think black performers were “rock n roll” enough.

One last interesting item of note: an as-yet-undiscovered Richard Marx was a member of the background vocals for this record.

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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