It was a leap year in which the predictions of George Orwell’s critically acclaimed novel did not come to pass. The Macintosh computer first appeared on shelves in stores across America, while the Soviet Union did not appear, boycotting the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. In Great Britain, the music initiative known as Band Aid recorded the single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money and awareness for overwhelming famine in Ethiopia, which killed over one million people by the end of 1984.
In 1984 we lost comedian Andy Kaufman, novelist Truman Capote, and music greats Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson, Count Basie and Big Mama Thornton. In that same year Marl Zuckerberg, Prince Harry, Katie Perry, Calvin Harris, Scarlett Johanson and LeBron James were born.
As far as love songs went, 1984 came up short on slow ballads but remarkably long on more upbeat love songs with the feel-good love theme. For those of you who were there, some of these tunes might be cringe-worthy, but for anyone born in 1984 or early 1985, these songs may be responsible for your very existence.
“I Want A New Drug” by Huey Lewis and The News
The first song on this love song list became certified gold, entering the Top 40 in January of 1984. Huey Lewis – a fixture of the 1980s – received heavy airplay with this tune on both radio and MTV. “I Want A New Drug” cleverly compares love to the intoxicating nature of love, without the bad side effects. The lyrics are clever, witty and fun, and all about getting high on love.
“Got A Hold On Me” by Christine McVie
This was the first Top 40 hit for Fleetwood Mac songstress Christine McVie. “Got A Hold On Me” was written by McVie, but was not her first great upbeat love song, as she charted with another “You Make Loving Fun” – also penned by McVie – in late 1977 while still with Fleetwood Mac.
“Head Over Heels” by The Go Go’s
Enter the all-girl 80s group the Go Go’s into our love song list with this upbeat rocker. Like the Huey Lewis’s “I Want A New Drug”, “Head Over Heels” is not a ballad, but a song about love itself, and the feeling love gives (hence the cliché title). This tune was the fourth Top 40 chart hit for the Go Go’s, reaching the number eleven spot in mid 1984.
“Almost Paradise” by Mike Reno and Ann Wilson
This love song had all the makings of a #1 hit in 1984. It was from the soundtrack of a mega- hit movie (Footloose), a power duet by two mega-rockers, and one degree of Kevin Bacon. Yet “Almost Paradise” fell short of the top spot, climbing to a peak position of #7 on the Billboard Hot 100. At the same time, as a love song, a ballad, and a duet it makes for the perfect wedding first dance, and is a nostalgic classic.
“Stuck On You” by Lionel Richie
Lionel Richie crafted love song after love song in the early to mid 1980s, and “Stuck On You” is no exception. This tender ballad broke the Top 10, settling in at #3 on the Top 40 chart and #1 on the Adult Contemporary. Like so many other Lionel Richie hits, the title says it all.
“Lucky Star” by Madonna
Madonna made her Top 40 debut in late 1983 with “Holiday”, making “Lucky Star” her third Top 40 chart appearance and highest chart position to that point peaking at #3. Her next hit, “Like A Virgin”, became her first #1 later in 1984, but I digress… “Lucky Star” was a completely unexpected addition to this list, but after vetting the lyrics again and again, it made the love song cut. Although Madonna was considered somewhat risque for her time, the nursery rhyme lyric “star light, star bright, first star I see tonight adds innocent charm to this pop-fused dedication.
“All Through The Night” by Cyndi Lauper
Another great love song from 1984, this semi-slow dance ballad-ish love song is about as quirky as its singer. Like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper burst on the scene in 1984, and this was her fourth and lowest charting tune that year. “All Through The Night” is oddly charming and romantic, and reached #5 on the Billboard Top 40.
“No More Lonely Nights” by Paul McCartney
Our list of 1984 love songs concludes with former Beatle Paul McCartney, remaining relevant into yet another decade twenty years after The Beatles landed on U.S. shores. In spite of being from a fairly unremarkable movie soundtrack, “No More Lonely Nights” still reached #6 on the Pop charts, and is a somewhat melancholy tune, but a great love song all the same.
So there you have it; eight great love songs from 1984 in the order of their appearance on the Top 40 charts. Each song has been vetted, listened to (again and again) and evaluated with the lyrics read and scrutinized to weed out any proper nouns (girls/guys names) troubled love like breakups, infidelity, done-me-wrong or lost love lyrics or and sort of unrequited love (like when the person doesn’t love you back). They’re safe for a wedding first dance, or just to dedicate to someone you love .
Love the love…
Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.