Ten songs from 1984 that stood the test of time.
Nineteen eighty four wasn’t just a landmark year for the film industry. Many classic songs from the 1980s were actually released in 1984. From Wake Me Up Before You Go Go to What’s Love Got To Do With It, some of these songs were the soundtrack of the lives for many who grew up in that era.
Here are 10 songs from 1984 that defined the year and stood the test of time. You can watch all the music videos on our YouTube playlist.
What’s Love Got To Do With It by Tina Turner
What’s Love got to do with it? Everything, it seems, for Tina Turner. After years of abuse (by husband and band member Ike Turner) and down on her lucks, What’s Love Got To Do With It was Turner’s comeback to the music scene.
At 45 years old, Turner – with her spiky wig, short dress and high heels – returned to the top. This song also won her three Grammys in 1985 for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. And to think Cliff Richards and Donna Summer who had first dibs turned down this song.
Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
One of the most recognised hits from the shoulder pad era, it is surprising that Girls Just Want To Have Fun never clinched the top spot. The highest position Lauper’s single went was No. 2 on Billboard Hot 100. However, the song (as well as Lauper’s penchant for brightly-coloured hair and bizzare outfits) made her a household name.
Girls Just Want To Have Fun has since been covered by a bevy of top female singers of today including Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Jessie J.
Hello by Lionel Richie
How does one follow the success of a party tune such as All Night Long? With a slow-burn ballad like Hello, that’s how Lionel Richie did it. The single is still being featured in soundtrack of movies as recent as 2010’s Shrek Forever After. Goes to show, a good song never goes out of style.
Careless Whisper by George Michael
In hindsight, we should have seen the imminent split of Wham! with the release of Careless Whisper – George Michael’s debut solo single – two years before it happened. It is interesting to note that the other half of Wham!, Andrew Rigeley, actually co-wrote this song with Michael. This No. 1 ballad went on to sell six million copies worldwide.
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now) by Phil Collins
Against All Odds is one of those songs which became bigger than the movie it was featured in. The Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 song won the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1985 for Phil Collins and was also nominated Best Original Song at the the Oscars. The ballad was revived in 2000 in an unlikely duet between Mariah Carey and Westlife.
I Just Called To Say I Love You by Stevie Wonder
Just like Against All Odds, I Just Called To Say I Love You, written specifically for the movie The Woman In Red, became more popular than the film itself. It became the Motown wonder’s most successful single to date and won him both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Thriller by Michael Jackson
Still widely played till today, especially around Halloween, Michael Jackson’s Thriller was the seventh single from the album of the same name. MJ was already on the zombie trail before the undead became a pop culture reference thanks to the (expensive) music video directed by John Landis. With spectacular dance moves and spooky makeup, the music video scared the bejeezus out of many young viewers.
Like A Virgin by Madonna
Like A Virgin is a definitive single for Madonna as it signals her rise as an icon in the music scene; it would be the first of her 12 No. 1 hits (in the US) of her illustrous career. The title of the song, like the singer, was controversial upon release. But that would be exactly how Madonna eventually build her empire – based on shock value.
When asked about her thoughts of Like A Virgin when she first heard the song, Madonna said in an earlier interview: “How can you be like a virgin? I liked the play on words; I thought they were clever. They’re so geeky, they’re cool. I never realised (it) would become my signature song.”
Karma Chameleon by Culture Club
Back when gender bender wasn’t exactly a mainstream (yet), Culture Club’s lead singer Boy George took the world by storm with his heavily-made up face and an infectious tune titled Karma Chameleon.
The single hit the top spot in the US in early 1984 and went on to sell five million copies worldwide. It also made red, gold and green the favourite colours for the year.
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Wham!
“I just wanted to make a really energetic pop record that had all the best elements of 1950s and 1960s records,” George Michael said of Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. That explains the reference to Doris Day in the lyrics.
Needless to say, this song – which still gets airplay till today – became a signature tune for Wham! in their five-year career.