Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Counting down the top 82 of '82 - Albums #19 - 11

A breakdown of my favorite albums from my favorite year in pop music

Good Clean Fun
Bonnie Hayes with the Wild Combo
Peak on Billboard 200: Bubbled under at 206
Peak in Cashbox: Did not chart
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Girls Like Me"

A neglected '80s pop masterpiece - classic SoCal New Wave.  Evidence of how good it is: I didn't discover all this album's goodness until this past year (which is unfortunate for me) but it still cracked the top twenty on this list.

As We Speak
David Sanborn
Peak on Billboard 200: 70
Peak in Cashbox: 75
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Straight to the Heart"

More instrumental pop than smooth jazz, this is the album that made me a Sanborn fan.  I've always enjoyed any of the albums that have stemmed from Sanborn's longtime collaboration with writer/producer/bassist Marcus Miller.

Friend or Foe
Adam Ant
Peak on Billboard 200: 16
Peak in Cashbox:  17
Top 40 pop singles: "Goody Two Shoes"
Top track: "Goody Two Shoes"

A fun set of tongue-in-cheek pop songs with over-the-top production.  One of the very few albums I've ever bought on the day it was released.  I probably wore more Adam Ant pinbacks on my Ocean Pacific t-shirts than those of any other recording act.

The Lexicon of Love
Peak on Billboard 200: 24
Peak in Cashbox: 27
Top 40 pop singles:"Poison Arrow," "The Look of Love"
Top track: "All of My Heart"

Who got the look??  Martin Frye + Trevor Horn = a classic New Romantic synthpop album.  One of the great debut albums, the band never released another album as good as this one.  Most tracks shoulda been Top 40 hits, but shoulda woulda coulda.

New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)
Simple Minds
Peak on Billboard 200: 69
Peak in Cashbox: 86
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Someone Up There Likes You"

Simply gorgeous.  The lush synth sounds, lyrics, and imagery all comes together here.  I'm as fascinated by it all now just as much as I was back in 1982.  The band would go on to much greater commercial success, but I'm not sure they'd go on to greater artistic success than this album.

Tug of War
Paul McCartney
Peak on Billboard 200: 1
Peak in Cashbox: 1
Top 40 pop singles: "Ebony and Ivory," "Take It Away"
Top track: "Take It Away"

Reteaming with Beatles producer George Martin, McCartney gives us yet another solid set of pop songs.  I even liked "Ebony and Ivory" the first 2,000 times I heard it.  This didn't exactly fit in with the New Wave synthpop releases I tended to favor in 1982, but I thought it gave me some old school street cred because of McCartney's pedigree.  In the end, it didn't really matter because the songs were so good I couldn't resist them.

Heaven 17
Heaven 17
Peak on Billboard 200: 68
Peak in Cashbox: 52
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Who Will Stop the Rain?

Heaven 17 was singer Glenn Gregory with producers, synth players and former Human League members Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh.  Back in '82, I didn't know anything about this group, but I took a chance on a used cassette (which I still have).  I never looked back.  Granted, the genre of British synthfunk is relatively small, but it doesn't get better than this group.

CD Project

Michael Jackson
Peak on Billboard 200: 1
Peak in Cashbox: 1
Top 40 pop singles: "The Girl is Mine," "Billie Jean," "Beat It," "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Human Nature," "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," "Thriller"
Top track: "Human Nature"

A perfect storm of dance & pop goodness.  7 of the album's 9 tracks hit the Top 40 and I'm not sure "The Lady in My Life" wouldn't have done the same if it had been released.  I never owned a copy of this album back in the '80s.  Back then, you didn't need to - all the songs could be heard in heavy rotation on the radio and on MTV.

Sweets from a Stranger

Peak on Billboard 200: 32
Peak in Cashbox: 43
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "I Can't Hold On"

A great collection of New Wave power pop tunes.  I wore out the grooves of my LP.  So good that I actually thought about starting a cover band that would play mostly Squeeze tunes (I didn't).

These are my personal top 82 albums released in 1982.  The following criteria was used on a very slippery sliding scale:
  • How often I enjoyed the album at the time of release
  • How often I've enjoyed the album over the past 30+ years
  • Overall quality of the album
Chart information is from the US Billboard charts for the top albums and "Hot 100" pop singles.  The top track for each album is solely my opinion.


  1. You have three of my Top 5 including numbers One and Two at 15-17 on your list and it hurts.

    I just want to offer a sincere apology if any of my picks made you feel this way. That we can remain friends in light of this travesty is a testament to our levels of maturity and perspective. Well, yours at least. I'm feeling petty and juvenile so I'm signing off.

  2. Mark, what Herc said. :p

    just kidding...enjoying the differences.