Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, December 21st

On this day in 1985: Bruce Springsteen’s album, ‘Born in the USA’ passed Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ to become the second longest-lasting album on the Billboard U.S. Top 10. It stayed there for 79 weeks. Only ‘The Sound of Music’ with Julie Andrews lasted longer at 109 weeks.

‘Born in the U.S.A.’ is the seventh studio album by American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released by Columbia Records on June 4, 1984. The album’s music was written by Springsteen and recorded with his E. Street Band and producers Chuck Plotkin and Jon Landau at The Power Station and The Hit Factory in New York City.

‘Born in the U.S.A.’ was met with positive reviews and massive commercial success. It produced seven top-10 hit singles and was promoted with a worldwide concert tour by Springsteen. ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ became his most commercially successful album and one of the highest-selling records ever, having sold 30 million copies by 2012. It has also been cited by critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. The album received a nomination for Album of the Year at the 1985 Grammy Awards.

The title track has become one of the most misunderstood songs in popular music. The chorus of the song gave the feel of a positive, patriotic anthem, but the lyrics depicted the difficulties and marginalization working-class Vietnam Veterans had to face returning to their country. Written during the early 80s recession in the United States, the downhearted verses mock the empty slogan in the chorus. Because the lyrics were overlooked, the song was used by politicians during rallies, campaign events, and victory speeches.

Also on this day in 1985: Lionel Richie started a four week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Say You, Say Me.’

It was written and recorded by Lionel Richie for the film ‘White Nights’, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines. The single hit #1 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the R&B singles in December 1985. It became Richie’s ninth #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The track is not available on the film’s soundtrack album, as Motown did not want Richie’s first single following the massive success of his 1983 album ‘Can’t Slow Down’ to appear on another label. It was included by Motown on Richie’s 1986 release ‘Dancing On the Ceiling.’

The track won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. A music video was made for the song that featured inserted clips from ‘White Nights.’

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1985:

1 3 SAY YOU, SAY ME –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-7 (1 Week at #1) (1)
2 1 BROKEN WINGS –•– Mr. Mister (RCA)-14 (1)
3 4 PARTY ALL THE TIME –•– Eddie Murphy (Columbia)-12 (3)
4 7 ALIVE AND KICKING –•– Simple Minds (A&M)-10 (4)
5 2 SEPARATE LIVES –•– Phil Collins & Marilyn Martin (Atlantic)-12 (1)
6 6 ELECTION DAY –•– Arcadia (Capitol)-9 (6)
7 9 I MISS YOU –•– Klymaxx (Constellation)-15 (7)
8 14 THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR –•– Dionne & Friends (Arista)-7 (8)
9 12 SMALL TOWN –•– John Cougar Mellencamp (Riva)-8 (9)
10 8 SLEEPING BAG –•– ZZ Top (Warner Brothers)-10 (8)

11 13 PERFECT WAY –•– Scritti Politti (Warner Brothers)-16 (11)
12 16 TONIGHT SHE COMES –•– The Cars (Elektra)-8 (12)
13 5 NEVER –•– Heart (Capitol)-15 (4)
14 18 WALK OF LIFE –•– Dire Straits (Warner Brothers)-8 (14)
15 10 WE BUILT THIS CITY –•– Starship (Grunt)-16 (1)
16 19 TALK TO ME –•– Stevie Nicks (Modern)-6 (16)
17 22 BURNING HEART –•– Survivor (Scotti Brothers)-8 (17)
18 11 WHO’S ZOOMIN’ WHO –•– Aretha Franklin (Arista)-13 (7)
19 21 EMERGENCY –•– Kool & The Gang (De-Lite)-9 (19)
20 23 LOVE IS THE SEVENTH WAVE –•– Sting (A&M)-7 (20)

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