Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, October 20th

On this day in 1984: Wham! started a three week run at #1 on the UK singles chart with ‘Freedom’, the duo’s second UK #1. The song was later used in a Japanese commercial for Maxell audio cassettes, with altered lyrics.

Also on this day in 1984: On this day in 1984: Stevie Wonder started his second of three weeks at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’, his 7th U.S. #1. It was written, produced, and performed by Stevie Wonder and remains Wonder’s best-selling single to date, having topped a record 19 charts.

The song was the lead single from the 1984 soundtrack album ‘The Woman In Red’ along with two other songs by Wonder, and went to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks beginning October 13, 1984. It also became his tenth #1 on the R&B chart, and his fourth on the Adult Contemporary chart; it spent three weeks at the top of both charts, the same amount of weeks as it was on top of the Hot 100. The song also became Wonder’s only solo U.K. #1 success, staying at the top of the U.K. singles chart for six weeks, in the process also becoming Motown Records’ biggest-selling single in the U.K., a distinction it still holds. In addition, the song won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. The song also received three nominations at the 27th Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Instrumental Performance. 

The song’s lyrics have Wonder surprising his love interest with an unexpected telephone call. Throughout the song, Wonder lists events in a yearly calendar that might prompt someone to call a loved one. Yet he explains no special annual event such as New Year’s Day or Halloween spurred the call. He simply wants to tell her he loves her from the bottom of his heart.

There was a dispute among Wonder, his former writing partner Lee Garrett, and Lloyd Chiate as to who actually wrote the song. Chiate claimed in a lawsuit that he and Garrett wrote the song years before its 1984 release. However, a jury ultimately sided with Wonder.

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

1 1 I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU –•– Stevie Wonder (Motown)-10 (2 Weeks at #1) (1)
2 6 CARIBBEAN QUEEN (No More Love On The Run) –•– Billy Ocean (Jive)-11 (2)
3 4 HARD HABIT TO BREAK –•– Chicago (Full Moon / Warner Brothers)-12 (3)
4 5 LUCKY STAR –•– Madonna (Sire)-9 (4)
5 2 LET’S GO CRAZY –•– Prince & The Revolution (Warner Brothers)-12 (1)
6 3 DRIVE –•– The Cars (Elektra)-12 (3)
7 8 COVER ME –•– Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)-11 (7)
8 12 ON THE DARK SIDE –•– Eddie & The Cruisers / John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band (Scotti Brothers)-19 (8)
9 18 PURPLE RAIN –•– Prince & The Revolution (Warner Brothers)-3 (9)
10 13 I’M SO EXCITED –•– The Pointer Sisters (Planet)-28 (10)

11 9 THE GLAMOROUS LIFE –•– Sheila E. (Warner Brothers)-19 (7)
12 7 MISSING YOU –•– John Waite (EMI-America)-18 (1)
13 26 WAKE ME UP BEFORE YOU GO-GO –•– Wham! (Columbia)-7 (13)
14 17 SOME GUYS HAVE ALL THE LUCK –•– Rod Stewart (Warner Brothers)-9 (14)
15 16 ARE WE OURSELVES? –•– The Fixx (MCA)-10 (15)
16 20 BLUE JEAN –•– David Bowie (EMI-America)-6 (16)
17 10 SHE BOP –•– Cyndi Lauper (Portrait)-14 (3)
18 25 WHO WEARS THESE SHOES? –•– Elton John (Geffen)-7 (18)
19 27 DESERT MOON –•– Dennis DeYoung (A&M)-7 (19)
20 22 BOP ‘TIL YOU DROP –•– Rick Springfield (RCA)-10 (20)