Way Back Wednesday: The Top Music of September 9, 1983

This Week In 1983: The Top Music of September 9, 1983

This week’s biggest tumble happens for David Bowie and “China Girl” (a song originally released by Iggy Pop in the late 70’s) which tumbles eleven spots to #23. This week’s big jump belongs to Bonnie Tyler, up seven spots to #8, on her way to an extended stay at the top in just a few weeks. One recognizable newcomer this week: The Fixx and “One Thing Leads To Another” debut on the countdown at #38. And after one week in the top spot, The Eurythmics give way to Michael Sembello and his only #1 song, “Maniac”. It’s also our featured song of the week.

Song Story: “Maniac” by Michael Sembello

This song was accidentally included on a tape of songs that Michael Sembello’s wife sent to Paramount for consideration. Sembello originally wrote the song after watching a slasher movie titled Maniac. The temporary lyrics that were on that tape were as follows:

He’s a maniac, maniac for sure
He will kill your cat and nail him to the door

Phil Ramone, producer of the Flashdance soundtrack, saw potential in the song (despite the lyrics) and asked Sembello to change the direction of the song which he did. However, due to this minor technicality, the song was disqualified from its Academy Award nomination because it was not originally written solely for the film but altered to fit. The award for best song that year went to another song on the same soundtrack, “Flashdance…What A Feeling” by Irene Cara.

The video for this song was the first to use shots of the movie exclusively and not include any shots of the artist. This essentially made it a trailer for the movie but nobody knew what Sembello looked like. Over the next few years, this would become common for soundtrack songs (Footloose, Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing to name a few).

About Eric Vardeman 114 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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