Generation X finds their groove much like their parents did with British artists.
“If you can't handle the responsibility of a hit single, don't write one.” – Joe Elliot, lead singer, Def Leppard
As the tight grip of Adult Contemporary music kept soft rock and mellow favorites in the upper reaches of the charts from 1979 through 1982, cracks began to emerge. There were three significant forces that brought exciting, new, and sometimes loud music to what would be called Generation X in 1982:
- Thriller, by Michael Jackson, was released.
- MTV expanding it’s reach beyond New York City.
- A wave of British Rock and Dance acts slowly finding an audience.
This is what is referred to as the Second British Invasion, which lasted until the end of the decade. This show will focus on the week of July 16th, 1983, where the seemingly impossible happened: 20 spots of the Billboard Top 40 were by British acts, which eclipsed the previous record set in May of 1965, led by The Beatles. Numerous other acts from the U.K. occupied many places on the remainder of the Hot 100, sharing space with other acts from around the globe, most notably Australia, Canada, The Netherlands and even Brazil. At no time in chart history did so few U.S. acts occupy the Billboard Hot 100 U.S. chart.
Culture Club, 1982: (l-r) Roy Hay, Mikey Craig, Boy George and Jon Moss. Photo by Eric Watson. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London, U.K.
This was not your parents music, right? Well, not exactly. Along with a whole new crop of Rock and Electronic acts, veteran British artists updated their sound, bringing acts like Elton John, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, The Kinks and Bonnie Tyler to a new fan base, the latter three scoring their biggest ever hit singles in the U.S. during this period. Almost all share one thing in common, though it isn’t noticeable at first: the tempos are faster and more beat driven, the result of a concurrent wave of underground dance acts who were becoming more visible.
The difference between 1982 and 1983 was immediately obvious in the music industry as well: thanks to the Second British Invasion and Thriller, record sales were up in the double digits and 30% of all records sold were by British acts. Of course, it is easy to surmise that none of this would have been possible without MTV. But, as Boy George of Culture Club once stated, “I knew style and content went hand in hand.”
Our tracks this week: Title, Artist, Source, Hot 100 Chart Position
1. White Wedding, Billy Idol, Billy Idol, #41
2. (Keep Feeling) Fascination, The Human League, Fascination!, #24
3. Every Breath You Take, The Police, Synchronicity, #1
4. Come Dancing, The Kinks, State of Confusion, #6
5. I’m Still Standing, Elton John, Too Low for Zero, #12
6. Is There Something I Should Know?, Duran Duran, Duran Duran (re-issue), #9
7. Rock of Ages, Def Leppard, Pyromania, #29
8. Saved By Zero, The Fixx, Reach The Beach, #28
9. China Girl, David Bowie, Let’s Dance, #31
10. Too Shy, Kajagoogoo, White Feathers, #7
11. Baby Jane, Rod Stewart, Body Wishes, #16
12. I’ll Tumble 4 Ya, Culture Club, Kissing to Be Clever, #35
13. Our House, Madness, The Rise and Fall, #8
14. Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler, Faster Than The Speed of Night, #75
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
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