Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Counting down the Top 82 of '82 - Albums #73 - 65

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

Long After Dark
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Peak on Billboard 200: 9
Peak in Cashbox: 10
Top 40 pop singles: "You Got Lucky," "Change of Heart"
Top track: "Change of Heart"

The video for "You Got Lucky" was played on MTV so much that it almost drove me away from this one. Like most Tom Petty albums, this rockin' stuff is best heard out on the open road with the top down.

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A Flock of Seagulls
A Flock of Seagulls
Peak on Billboard 200: 10
Peak in Cashbox: 19
Top 40 pop singles: "I Ran (So Far Away)," "Space Age Love Song"
Top track: "Space Age Love Song"

I thought their act (and music) got old very quickly, except for "Space Age Love Song" which is a fantastic synth-pop concoction.

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Peak on Billboard 200: 84
Peak in Cashbox:  93
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: Feet Don't Fail Me Now

Like most of Todd Rundgren's music, these songs take several listenings before you can fully appreciate how good they are.  More from Rundgren later - despite what he probably thinks, it was a good year for him.

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Talk Talk
The Party's Over
Peak on Billboard 200: 132
Peak in Cashbox: 138
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Talk Talk"

I knew of Talk Talk back in '82, but didn't really become a fan until later.  My loss.  I always found the cover art of this album to be unsettling.

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Primitive Man
Peak on Billboard 200: 129
Peak in Cashbox: 137
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: "Street Café

An appropriate title as Iva Davies was still discovering his voice on this release.  It plays as a moody, ambient knock-off of Roxy Music, but there are some good tunes in here.

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Built for Speed
Stray Cats
Peak on Billboard 200: 2
Peak in Cashbox: 1
Top 40 pop singles: "Rock This Town," "Stray Cat Strut"
Top track: "Rock This Town"

I didn't understand the whole rockabilly revival in '82, but I eventually came to appreciate Setzer's guitar playing and what these boys were doing.

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Get Closer
Linda Ronstadt
Peak on Billboard 200: 31
Peak in Cashbox: 11
Top 40 pop singles: "Get Closer," "I Knew You When"
Top track: "Get Closer"

This would have been a top 5 album in 1976, but it was strangely out of place in 1982.  Ronstadt had an amazing voice and does the best she can with the material; I think the title track is one of her better songs.

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Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis
Peak on Billboard 200: 165
Peak in Cashbox: 115
Top 40 pop singles: None
Top track: Hesitation

Marsalis makes his Columbia debut.  Heavily influenced by 1960's Miles Davis, this is a strong showing, especially for a 19 year old kid.  Back in '82, people were saying this guy was an up-and-comer.  Boy, were they ever right.

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Picture This

Huey Lewis and the News
Peak on Billboard 200: 13
Peak in Cashbox: 33
Top 40 pop singles: "Do You Believe In Love"
Top track: "Workin' for a Livin'"

Huge success was still to come, but this album is mostly fun rock n' roll with lots of energy.  I always enjoy the background harmonies. 

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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. Mark, continuing to enjoy your list. I like seeing ones I did not consider along side those that made my list as well. You are giving me more to look into in the future.

  2. So I totally spaced on Huey's album on my list. If I had to wedge it in, it would be at least Top 40 on my list. Next time. In penance, I'm listening to that album once a day all week. Never realized "Do You Believe In Love?" was a Mutt Lange track.

    Featured 68-73 higher on my own - well, not Utopia (#71 on your lists, #80 on mine) which was bought solely because it was a three sided double album novelty and it had "Hammer In My Heart" which I first heard at the planetarium during one of my first laser shows. Also heard The Fixx's "Stand Or Fall" and Billy Idol's "White Wedding (The Shotgun Mix)" was also heard that night.

    I'll go to my grave preaching that Seagulls guitarist Paul Reynolds is one of the criminally underrated gutiarists of his time. In a sea of synthisizers, his riffs, leads and fills more than held their own.