The Number One Hits Of 1983
|December 18, 1982 – January 14, 1983
Daryl Hall and John Oates
A little-known fact about the song “Maneater” by Hall & Oates is that an encounter inspired it with a New York City club scene. The lyrics of “Maneater” were written after Daryl Hall and John Oates observed the predatory nature of certain women they encountered while frequenting nightclubs in the city.
The song’s lyrics, with lines such as “The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar,” convey the seductive and dangerous nature of the character portrayed in the song. It became one of Hall & Oates’ biggest hits, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1982.
|January 15, 1983 – February 4, 1983
Men at Work
Down Under by Men at Work is that it features a distinct musical reference to the children’s song “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.” The iconic flute melody heard throughout “Down Under” includes a two-bar snippet from the melody of “Kookaburra.”
Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree is an Australian nursery rhyme by Marion Sinclair in 1932. The inclusion of this melody in “Down Under” was not initially recognized by Men at Work, and it later became the subject of a copyright dispute.
In 2009, Larrikin Music, who held the copyright to “Kookaburra,” filed a lawsuit claiming that the flute riff used in “Down Under” infringed upon their rights. The court ruled in favor of Larrikin Music, resulting in a settlement and a share of the song’s royalties being awarded to the owners of the “Kookaburra” copyright.
|February 5, 1983 – February 18, 1983
Africa was not initially intended to be a single. The band members of Toto considered “Africa” to be more of a deep cut on their 1982 album “Toto IV,” and they had other songs in mind for potential singles.
However, “Africa” gained significant popularity and quickly became a fan favorite. It received positive feedback from listeners and started receiving substantial airplay on radio stations, which led to the song’s official release as a single. Many consider the song to be one of the most enduring of the 1980s.
|February 19, 1983 – March 4, 1983
Patti Austin and James Ingram
Baby, Come to Me
Patti Austin is an American R&B and jazz singer, while James Ingram was an American singer-songwriter and record producer.
Baby, Come to Me is a smooth, romantic duet that gained popularity after being featured on the TV show “General Hospital.”
|March 5, 1983 – April 22, 1983
The iconic bassline was created using a unique musical instrument called a Synclavier. The Synclavier was a state-of-the-art digital synthesizer and music workstation known for its advanced sound synthesis and sampling capabilities. Quincy Jones, the producer of Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller,” wanted a distinctive bassline for Billie Jean that would stand out and drive the song’s rhythm. To achieve this, they turned to the Synclavier.
Randy Hansen, a musician, and programmer who worked with Quincy Jones, programmed the iconic bassline into the Synclavier using a combination of synthesized and sampled sounds. The result was a powerful and instantly recognizable bassline that became a signature element of “Billie Jean.”
|April 23, 1983 – April 29, 1983
Dexys Midnight Runners
Come On Eileen
Dexys Midnight Runners is a British pop group formed in 1978, known for their soulful sound and distinctive fashion style.
Come On Eileen is an upbeat, infectious song that fuses Celtic folk influences with a new-wave sensibility.
|April 30, 1983 – May 20, 1983
The guitar solo in the song was performed by none other than Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist of the rock band Van Halen.
Initially, Eddie Van Halen was hesitant because he didn’t want to appear on a pop album. However, after realizing that Jackson’s request was a sincere invitation to collaborate, Van Halen agreed to contribute to the song.
Van Halen’s guitar solo in Beat It added a rock edge to the track and elevated it to new heights. His distinctive guitar playing and energetic solo became one of the most memorable moments of the song, enhancing its overall appeal.
The collaboration between Michael Jackson and Eddie Van Halen was a groundbreaking moment in music history, as it brought together two different genres and showcased the power of blending styles. The inclusion of Van Halen’s guitar solo in “Beat It” helped the song transcend boundaries and became one of the defining moments of both artists’ careers.
|May 21, 1983 – May 27, 1983
David Bowie was an influential English musician, actor, and record producer known for his distinctive voice and innovative approach to music.
Let’s Dance is a dance-pop track with a catchy groove that marked a stylistic departure for Bowie.
|May 28, 1983 – July 8, 1983
Flashdance… What a Feeling
Irene Cara is an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actress.
Flashdance… What a Feeling is the energetic theme song from the 1983 film “Flashdance” and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
|July 9, 1983 – September 2, 1983
Every Breath You Take
The Police was an English rock band formed in 1977 featuring Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland.
Every Breath You Take is a haunting, timeless ballad with a distinctive guitar riff that has become one of the band’s most popular songs.
|September 3, 1983 – September 9, 1983
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
When Lennox and Stewart first composed Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), they temporarily used a simple synth riff to guide the melody. They intended to replace it with a more polished and refined sound later. However, as they continued working on the track, they found that the raw and distinctive quality of the original synth riff added a certain charm to the song that they couldn’t replicate with other sounds.
The decision to keep the original synth sound was a brilliant move. The riff became one of pop music’s most recognizable and iconic synth melodies. It helped define the song’s distinct character and contributed to its enduring popularity.
|September 10, 1983 – September 23, 1983
Michael Sembello is an American musician and composer who has worked with various artists in different genres.
Maniac is an energetic dance-pop song featured in the 1983 film “Flashdance,” and a news report about a serial killer inspired its memorable chorus.
|September 24, 1983 – September 30, 1983
Tell Her About It
In writing Tell Her About It, Joel drew inspiration from artists like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder, and The Four Tops. He aimed to recreate the energy, rhythm, and romantic sentiments characteristic of the Motown sound.
By infusing elements of Motown into “Tell Her About It,” Billy Joel paid tribute to the soulful sound that influenced him as a musician. The song served as a testament to the timeless appeal of Motown and showcased Joel’s ability to capture the essence of different musical genres in his own unique style.
The song’s upbeat tempo, catchy melody, and nostalgic vibe resonated with listeners, appealing to both longtime fans of Motown and a new generation of music enthusiasts.
|October 1, 1983 – October 28, 1983
Total Eclipse of the Heart
Bonnie Tyler is a Welsh singer known for her distinctive raspy voice and powerful ballads.
Total Eclipse of the Heart is a dramatic, emotional song written and produced by Jim Steinman, known for its memorable music video and powerful vocal performance.
|October 29, 1983 – November 11, 1983
Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton
Islands in the Stream
The Bee Gees originally wrote Islands in the Stream as an R&B ballad. The Bee Gees, known for their success in the disco genre, initially composed the song to record it themselves.
However, when producer Barry Gibb played the song’s demo for country music superstar Kenny Rogers, Rogers saw its potential as a duet and expressed his interest in recording it as a collaboration. The Bee Gees agreed, and the song was reworked into a country-pop duet.
Islands in the Stream was released in 1983 as a single from Kenny Rogers’ album “Eyes That See in the Dark,” featuring Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton vocals. The song was an instant hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming one of the most successful duets in music history.
|November 12, 1983 – December 9, 1983
All Night Long (All Night)
Lionel Richie drew inspiration from his travels and experiences with different cultures worldwide. He wanted to capture the joyful and festive spirit of international celebrations and create a song that would bring people from diverse backgrounds together on the dance floor.
To achieve this, Richie incorporated phrases and words from various languages into All NIght Long’s lyrics. The most prominent example is the chorus, where he sings “Tom bo li de se de moi ya, yeah, jambo jumbo” – a phrase that does not have a specific meaning but adds to the song’s overall exuberance and global flavor.
The inclusion of multiple languages in “All Night Long” reinforces the universal language of music and serves as a reminder of the power of music to transcend cultural boundaries. It also reflects Richie’s commitment to promoting unity and celebrating diversity through his music.
|December 10, 1983 – January 20, 1984
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
Say, Say, Say
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson collaborated on the track during recording sessions in 1981. Initially, the song had a slower tempo and a different feel. However, as they continued to work on it, McCartney and Jackson decided to revamp the song, speeding up the tempo and giving it a more energetic and infectious pop sound.
The decision to transform “Say Say Say” into an uptempo track allowed the song to become more radio-friendly and suited the dynamic chemistry between McCartney and Jackson. The revised version retained the catchy melody and memorable hooks, resulting in a chart-topping hit
The Biggest Pop Artists of 1983 include:
(HPS music data is compiled from charts, including Billboard’s Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance, and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)