RIFF Rewind: Shake your body, baby, to the top songs of 1985

A-ha, Take On Me

Hey baby, you look a little pale.

The year 1985 was a momentous year in music: It marked the release of Night Rocker, David Hasselhoff’s debut album.

It also marked the release of basically every song they played on VH-1 in the ’90s, which makes sense since VH-1 first went on the air on New Year’s Day 1985. So I guess they just dug into their own archives? I don’t know; it’s just what I put on when my mom said the songs on MTV were too loud—and because Spotify didn’t exist yet.

John Fogerty — “Centerfield”

I love Creedence Clearwater Revival, and I love baseball, so obviously I love “Centerfield.” Norman Rockwell could paint Captain America baking an apple pie on the engine block of a 1957 Bel Air, and it wouldn’t be as American as “Centerfield.”

I dare you not to clap along with the “clap clapclap” in the chorus. I dare you.

Dead or Alive — “You Spin Me Round”

I have mixed feelings about this song. On the one hand it’s one of the catchiest songs ever written. On the other hand … it’s one of the catchiest songs ever written, so it gets stuck in my head every time I even remember it exists. A friend of mine will say, “You spin me right round, baby, right round, like a record, baby,” in a monotone deadpan out of malice because that’s all it takes to insert the song into my brain for weeks.

What I’m saying is, just finding the video to embed corrupted my mind for the rest of the month. I hope you appreciate it.

A-ha — “Take On Me”

The video for “Take On Me”—that never seems to happen to me when I’m reading a comic book at a diner.

Fun Fact: Attempting to sing the chorus of “Take On Me” is a surefire way to make every dog on your block howl. Go ahead and try it!

Tears for Fears — “Shout”

I was never sure if the idea that Tears for Fears and most of their songs, “Shout” included, were inspired by the then-trendy Primal Scream therapy. It took this column to look it up and, according to a 1985 People Magazine article, it is inspired by Arthur Janov’s short-lived fad quackery.

See? You and I are learning together.

Miami Sound Machine — “Conga”

You may look at the honorable mentions below this entry and wonder how “Conga” made the cut. “Walking on Sunshine,” for example, is a great song despite Futurama making it profoundly depressing!

The tiebreaker? I am a dance-averse person; I have the rhythm of a member of Chuck E. Cheese’s band with a broken actuator, but “Conga” always makes me move involuntarily. That’s miraculous! Bless you, Miami Sound Machine.

Honorable Mentions

Run-DMC — “King of Rock”
Tom Petty — “Don’t Come Around Here No More”
Katrina and the Waves — “Walking on Sunshine”
Dire Straits — “Money for Nothing”
Corey Hart — “Never Surrender”
“Weird Al” Yankovic — “Hooked on Polkas”
David Bowie and Mick Jagger — “Dancing in the Street”
LL Cool J — “Rock the Bells”
Mr. Mister — “Broken Wings”
Robert Palmer — “Addicted to Love”

Follow editor Daniel J. Willis at Twitter.com/BayAreaData

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