Metro Weekly

Flashback: Top 10 singles this week in 1985

This week we look back at the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week 28 years ago, in the September 28, 1985 edition of Billboard magazine. 


10.  John Mellencamp – “Lonely Ol’ Night”

This was the first single from what would become Mellencamp’s biggest album, “Scarecrow”.  It would eventually hit #6, and was the first of several major hits including the title track, “Small Town,” and “R.O.C.K. in the USA” which hit #2. 


9.  Whitney Houston – “Saving All My Love For You”

This elegant ballad was Whitney’s second hit from her debut album, the follow-up to “You Give Good Love,” and would become the first of multiple #1 singles ont he pop charts.


8.  John Parr – “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)”

John Parr wasn’t quite a one-hit-wonder (he also hit the Top 40 with the track “Naughty Naughty,” but “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” was by far his biggest success.  It was a #1 single and theme song from Joel Schumacher’s famous coming-of-age film of the same name.  An ’80s staple. 


7.  a-ha – “Take on Me”

One of the most iconic singles and videos of the decade, and a number one hit for Norwegian trio a-ha.  Their success in America would be fleeting and they’d mostly become known for this song, but internationally they had scores of hits up until their retirement as a-ha only a few years ago. “Take on Me” is from their debut album “Hunting High and Low.”


6.  Madonna – “Dress You Up”

The third single from her “Like a Virgin” album, the Nile Rodgers-produced “Dress You Up” would peak at #5 on the Hot 100 and remains a fan favorite.  


5.  Ready for the World – “Oh Sheila”

“Oh Sheila” was the biggest hit for Michigan group Ready for the World, and a reflection of the influence Prince was having on popular music at the time.  “Oh Sheila” would end up hitting #1 not only on the Hot 100 but also on the Billboard R&B Charts and Dance Charts.


4.  Phil Collins – “Don’t Lose My Number”

Phil Collins had already hit #1 twice from his “No Jacket Required” album with “One More Night” and “Sussuido”.   Third single “Don’t Lose My Number” featured a clever video with parodies of multiple popular videos of the era.


3.  Wham! – “Freedom”

After hitting the top with “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Careless Whisper,” Wham!’s third big hit in America was “Freedom” (not to be confused with George Michael’s later hit “Freedom ’90”). The video for “Freedom” incorporates scenes from the duo’s historic tour of China. 


2.  Kool & The Gang – “Cherish”

“Cherish” is a romantic ballad from a band mostly known for their uptempo dance/funk sound. It was the biggest of three top-ten pop hits from the album “Emergency,” and was a #1 hit on the Billboard R&B Charts.


1.  Dire Straits – “Money for Nothing”

Dire Straits’ 1985 album “Brothers in Arms” became the most successful of their career, led by the #1 single “Money for Nothing,” known for its iconic video, famous guitar riff, and guest-artist Sting’s falsetto introduction singing “I Want My MTV.” The lyrics, which are sung from the point of view of laborers having a conversation about the easy life of rock stars, remain somewhat controversial because of the use of the word “faggot” as the worker describes one of the millionaire rock stars.  

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