Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, January 21st

On this day in 1984: Yes went to #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Owner of A Lonely Heart.’ It would spend two weeks in the top spot.

It is the first track and single from their eleventh studio album 90125, which was released in November 1983. Written primarily by guitarist and singer Trevor Rabin, contributions were made to the final version by singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, and producer Trevor Horn.

“Owner of a Lonely Heart” was released in October 1983, ahead of the album’s November release, as the album’s first single. It was a commercial success in the United States, becoming the band’s first and only single to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Mainstream Rock Chart. Billboard ranked ‘Owner of A Lonely Heart’ as the #8 song for the entire year of 1984 on its year-end chart.

The song originated from South African musician, singer-songwriter, and producer Trevor Rabin, in 1979 during his three years living in London. He recalled one morning when he was on the toilet, and wrote “the whole thing, from beginning to end”. Rabin then put down his ideas onto tape using his home equipment which included a 4-track tape machine. One of the recordings consisted of the main verse and chorus riff played on an acoustic guitar with some vocals. A developed version with drums, keyboards, and a complete set of lyrics was completed in 1980. For the full version, Rabin used the first and second tracks to record the instruments and vocals before mixing the song onto the third. He added: “You would be making decisions based on what was coming, and sometimes those decisions would be wrong – but you couldn’t undo them. One of the things, a happy accident, was that all of the brass stabs and those weird things that happen on the record – they were just a product of what happened with the demo.”

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1984:

1 2 OWNER OF A LONELY HEART –•– Yes (Atco)-12 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 1 SAY SAY SAY –•– Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson (Columbia)-15 (1)
3 9 KARMA CHAMELEON –•– Culture Club (Virgin)-8 (3)
4 6 TALKING IN YOUR SLEEP –•– The Romantics (Nemperor)-16 (4)
5 7 BREAK MY STRIDE –•– Matthew Wilder (Private I)-19 (5)
6 8 I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES –•– Elton John (Geffen)-13 (6)
7 5 TWIST OF FATE –•– Olivia Newton-John (MCA)-12 (5)
8 13 JOANNA –•– Kool & The Gang (De-Lite)-12 (8)
9 10 RUNNING WITH THE NIGHT –•– Lionel Richie (Motown)-9 (9)
10 3 SAY IT ISN’T SO –•– Daryl Hall & John Oates (RCA)-13 (2)

11 4 UNION OF THE SNAKE –•– Duran Duran (Capitol)-12 (3)
12 17 THAT’S ALL –•– Genesis (Atlantic)-9 (12)
13 22 PINK HOUSES –•– John Cougar Mellencamp (Riva)-7 (13)
14 21 THINK OF LAURA –•– Christopher Cross (Warner Brothers)-7 (14)
15 16 THE CURLY SHUFFLE –•– Jump ‘N The Saddle (Atlantic)-8 (15)
16 20 I STILL CAN’T GET OVER LOVING YOU –•Ray Parker, Jr. (Arista)-11 (16)
17 25 HOLIDAY –•– Madonna (Sire)-13 (17)
18 24 TIME WILL REVEAL –•– DeBarge (Gordy)-15 (18)
19 23 IF I’D BEEN THE ONE –•– 38 Special (Capitol)-11 (19)
20 12 UNDERCOVER OF THE NIGHT –•– The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones)-11 (9)

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