Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, September 10th

On this day in 1983: Former Stevie Wonder guitarist Michael Sembello, started a two week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Maniac’. The track was featured in the film ‘Flashdance’. The song was written by Dennis Matkosky and its performer Michael Sembello.

The original idea for the song came to Matkosky while watching a news report on a serial killer, which inspired gruesome lyrics that he and Sembello expanded upon after finding a 1980 horror film with the same name. When Flashdance director Adrian Lyne grew attached to the demo of the song used during filming, his music supervisor Phil Ramone requested lyrics more appropriate for their story of a dancer and worked with Sembello to produce a new version for the soundtrack. The new recording was used for a scene in which the main character trains rigorously at home.

After the film became a surprise success, a music video was made using scenes from the film and began airing on the cable channel MTV in May 1983, coinciding with the release of the single. The song spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and performed well in several countries. Because its video was shown extensively on MTV and Flashdance became the third highest-grossing film of 1983 in the US, Hollywood began to see music videos as a profitable way to market films.

The song thrust Sembello into the spotlight for the first time with personal appearances to promote it and even won Matkosky and him a Grammy for their composition. He included “Maniac” on his debut album but made it clear that he would not be putting out a similar song just to capitalize on its success and that he wanted people to forget his hit record and focus on his latest material. 

Here’s the entire Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1983:

1 2 MANIAC –•– Michael Sembello (Casablanca)-15 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 1 SWEET DREAMS (Are Made Of This) –•– The Eurythmics (RCA)-18 (1)
3 6 THE SAFETY DANCE –•– Men Without Hats (Backstreet)-12 (3)
4 4 PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ –•– Taco (RCA)-12 (4)
5 7 TELL HER ABOUT IT –•– Billy Joel (Columbia)-7 (5)
6 3 EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE –•– The Police (A&M)-15 (1)
7 5 SHE WORKS HARD FOR THE MONEY –•– Donna Summer (Mercury)-16 (3)
8 15 TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART –•– Bonnie Tyler (Columbia)-9 (8)
9 10 HUMAN NATURE –•– Michael Jackson (Epic)-8 (9)
10 9 I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA –•– Culture Club (Virgin)-11 (9)

11 13 DON’T CRY –•– Asia (Geffen)-7 (11)
12 11 (Keep Feeling) FASCINATION –•– The Human League (A&M)-16 (8)
13 14 LAWYERS IN LOVE –•– Jackson Browne (Asylum)-10 (13)
14 17 (She’s) SEXY + 17 –•– The Stray Cats (EMI-America)-6 (14)
15 18 MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL –•– Air Supply (Arista)-7 (15)
16 8 IT’S A MISTAKE –•– Men At Work (Columbia)-11 (6)
17 22 FAR FROM OVER –•– Frank Stallone (RSO)-7 (17)
18 20 HUMAN TOUCH –•– Rick Springfield (RCA)-10 (18)
19 21 PROMISES, PROMISES –•– Naked Eyes (EMI-America)-9 (19)
20 23 HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITHOUT YOU –•– Laura Branigan (Atlantic)-11 (20)

On this day in 1988: Guns N’ Roses started a two week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, the group’s first and only U.S. #1. It appeared on their debut album Appetite for Destruction. The song was released in June 1988 as the album’s third single, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart., becoming the band’s only #1 U.S. single. 

The “Sweet Child o’ Mine” video depicts the band rehearsing in the Mendiola’s Ballroom at Huntington Park, surrounded by crew members. All of the band members’ girlfriends at the time were shown in the clip: Rose’s girlfriend Erin Everly, whose father is Don Everly of The Everly Brothers; McKagan’s girlfriend Mandy Brix, from the all-female rock band the Lame Flames; Stradlin’s girlfriend Angela Nicoletti; Adler’s girlfriend Cheryl Swiderski; and Slash’s girlfriend Sally McLaughlin. Stradlin’s dog was also featured. The video was successful on MTV and helped launch the song to success on mainstream radio.

To make “Sweet Child o’ Mine” more marketable to MTV and radio stations, the song was edited down from 5:56 to 4:13, for the radio edit/remix, with much of Slash’s guitar solo removed. This drew the ire of the band, including Rose, who commented on it in a 1989 interview with Rolling Stone: “I hate the edit of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine.’ Radio stations said, ‘Well, your vocals aren’t cut.’ My favorite part of the song is Slash’s slow solo; it’s the heaviest part for me. There’s no reason for it to be missing except to create more space for commercials, so the radio-station owners can get more advertising dollars. When you get the chopped version of ‘Paradise City’ or half of ‘Sweet Child’ and Patience’ cut, you’re getting screwed.”

Here’s the entire Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1988:

1 2 SWEET CHILD O’ MINE –•– Guns N’ Roses – 12 (1)
2 3 SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE –•– Robert Palmer – 11 (2)
3 6 PERFECT WORLD –•– Huey Lewis & The News – 9 (3)
4 1 MONKEY –•– George Michael – 10 (1)
5 8 WHEN IT’S LOVE –•– Van Halen – 11 (5)
6 7 FAST CAR –•– Tracy Chapman – 15 (6)
7 10 I’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU –•– Taylor Dayne – 14 (7)
8 9 IF IT ISN’T LOVE –•– New Edition – 11 (8)
9 15 DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY –•– Bobby McFerrin – 7 (9)
10 13 NOBODY’S FOOL –•– Kenny Loggins – 10 (10)

11 12 ANOTHER PART OF ME –•– Michael Jackson – 8 (11)
12 4 I DON’T WANNA GO ON WITH YOU LIKE THAT –•– Elton John – 13 (2)
13 14 IT WOULD TAKE A STRONG STRONG MAN –•– Rick Astley – 9 (13)
14 17 ONE GOOD WOMAN –•– Peter Cetera – 8 (14)
15 5 I DON’T WANNA LIVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE –•– Chicago – 15 (3)
16 24 LOVE BITES –•– Def Leppard – 5 (16)
17 21 I HATE MYSELF FOR LOVING YOU –Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – 12 (17)
18 26 DON’T BE CRUEL –•– Cheap Trick – 7 (18)
19 28 A NIGHTMARE ON MY STREET –•– D.J. Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – 7 (19)
20 23 HERE WITH ME –•– REO Speedwagon – 12 (20)

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