With the lead-off smash “Jump” and its instantly recognizable synthesizer riff (that so outraged many of their older fans) soaring to #1, “1984” became the biggest hit of Van Halen’s career, and was the last album with David Lee Roth as lead singer until he returned for the reunion album “A Different Kind of Truth” in 2012. “1984” launched several hits, including “I’ll Wait” (#13), “Panama” (#13) and “Hot for Teacher” (#56) which featured an iconic video. “1984” reached #2 on the US album chart and has sold over 12 million copies to date.
British band Wang Chung released their second (and best) album in January, 1984 (the US was a bit behind on this album — it had been out in the UK since the summer of ’83). “Points on a Curve” is a terrific new wave album that featured the hits “Don’t Let Go” (#38) and the classic “Dance Hall Days” (#16) plus two singles that didn’t make the US Top 40 but were hits on the dance chart (“Don’t Be My Enemy” and “Wait”). Wang Chung would later of course have their biggest hit “Everybody Have Fun Tonight” in 1986. “Points on a Curve” reached #30 on the US album chart.
The stellar third album from The Pretenders hit stores this month 30 years ago. It featured the classic single “Back on the Chain Gang” (which had hit #5 in the US almost a full year earlier), as well as the fantastic rocker “Middle of the Road” (#19), “Show Me” (#28), and their cover of “Thin Line Between Love and Hate (#83). “Time the Avenger” didn’t become a pop hit but it was a Top 10 track on the Mainstream Rock Chart. “Learning to Crawl” reached #5 on the US album chart.
Four years after his death, and his final recording sessions, Yoko Ono compiled the leftover demos that Lennon had recording during the “Double Fantasy” era and released “Milk and Honey,” a sequel of sorts to “Double Fantasy” that, like its predecessor, featured half Lennon tracks and half by Ono. It launched the posthumous smash single “Nobody Told Me (#5), a song that was originally a demo to be used by Ringo Starr for one of his albums. Also singles were “I’m Steppin’ Out” (#55) and “Borrowed Time,” which missed the U.S. charts. Of the Yoko Ono material, the strongest track is “You’re the One,” which would later become a #1 dance track in 2007 when it was remixed by numerous producers as part of her continuing series of highly successful dance singles. “Milk and Honey” reached #11 on the US album chart.
The legendary Fleetwood Mac vocalist/keyboardist, in the wake of solo success by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, finally released her first post-Fleetwood Mac solo album with her self-titled January 1984 release. It spawned the smash “Got a Hold on Me” (#10) which received heavy MTV airply, as well as “Love Will Show Us How” (#30). The album features several guest spots by members of Fleetwood Mac, and includes the drumming of the outstanding Steve Ferrone, formerly of the Average White Band. The album reached #26 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.
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