In 1985, Coca Cola tried unsuccessfully to change their formula, branding it “New Coke”. This lasted three months before they re-released “Classic Coke” and later scrapped the new formula altogether due to overwhelming public outcry, a shining example of the power of love.
It was the year of Live Aid, the first Nintendo video game console, the launch of VH1, the discovery of the wreck of the RMS Titanic and the first time something called DNA was used in a criminal case. Bruno Mars and Carly Rae Jepsen were born, while we lost music artists like Ricky Nelson and Big Joe Turner, and actor Rock Hudson to a new disease called AIDS.
In regard to love songs, 1985 was an interesting year to say the least, with love songs by newer 80s artists like Madonna and Whitney Houston, as well as from veteran music artists like Chicago and Kool & The Gang, and as in any year, some awesome love songs. The songs on this list are presented in the chronological order of their appearance on the Billboard Top 40 charts for 1985.
“Sea of Love” by The Honeydrippers
The Honeydrippers were a super group assembled by Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun that included Robert Plant, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Nile Rodgers and Paul Shaffer. This tune, “Sea of Love”, was a remake of the 1959 Phil Phillips hit, and entered the charts in late 1984, peaking at #3 in early 1985, one position short of the Phil Phillips version.
“You’re The Inspiration” by Chicago
This love ballad made its appearance in the Top 40 in late 1984, but reached the peak position of #3 in early 1985. Written by Peter Cetera and David Foster, this tune actually started out as a song for Kenny Rogers, who ended up rejecting it, and the rest is history.
“I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner
Like the previous two tunes, this love song first appeared on the Top 40 charts in mid-December of 1984, and continued to climb in 1985 reaching the #1 spot and becoming certified Gold. Although the title might seem suspect in so far as being “good love”, the lyrics quickly dispel any suspicions, as the singer pleads with their newly beloved to show them what love is.
“Suddenly” by Billy Ocean
Billy Ocean came from Trinidad and ruled the airwaves in the 1980s with his Caribbean sounding smooth style, and disappeared off the charts as soon as the decade ended. “Suddenly” is an awesome and islandy-tender love song, and reached #4 on the Billboard Top 40 in mid 1985.
“Heaven” by Bryan Adams
Canadian singer Bryan Adams had his first #1 hit with this mega-hit in 1985, which was undoubtedly the most played song at both proms and weddings that year. Adams had been the opening act for Journey on their 1983 tour, and claims “Heaven” was heavily inspired by their 1983 hit “Faithfully”.
“Angel” by Madonna
Although perhaps not one of Madonna’s most memorable tunes, “Angel”, produced by Nile Rodgers and co-written by Madonna herself is an upbeat fun love song. It was the 5th in a string of hits that broke the Billboard Top 10 for the soon-to-be Queen of Pop.
“You Give Good Love” by Whitney Houston
This right here is the first Top 40 hit for what was then a relatively unknown artist, soon to become a household name and one of the consummate R&B Divas of all time. “You Give Good Love” went to #3 on the Top 40 chart (not too shabby for a debut), and is a truly heartfelt love song.
“The Power Of Love” by Huey Lewis and The News
With a little help from Marty McFly and a flux capacitor, this tune shot to the number one spot on the Billboard Pop charts in the United States and Canada in 1985, becoming certified Gold in the U.S. Although not a love ballad, it is unquestionably a song about love, and a powerful one at that!
“Cherish” by Kool and The Gang
While artists like Whitney Houston were making their Top 40 debut, this would be the last Top 10 appearance for Kool and The Gang. Not to be confused with “Cherish” by The Association or Madonna, this 1985 certified Gold #2 hit was destined for elevators and supermarkets from the day it was released.
“Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston
The second Whitney Houston song on this list is also the second Top 40 hit for Miss Houston, but unlike her debut, this love song cruised to the top spot – number one – on the Billboard Top 40 and earned Whitney her first Grammy Award.
“You Are My Lady” by Freddie Jackson
No relation to the other Jacksons, this was the biggest hit for Freddie Jackson. It reached #1 on the R&B charts and #12 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1985. This slow ballad is a beautiful dedication from a man to a woman, and an awesome love song.
“Say You, Say Me” by Lionel Richie
Certainly one of Lionel Richie’s more cryptic love songs, but from the perspective of the title and chorus, “Say you, say me” means “Us’, and as the lyric goes on, “that’s the way it should be”. This was just one of a continuing string of great love songs from Mr. Richie, going to the #1 spot and becoming certified Gold in 1985.
So there you have it; twelve great love songs from 1985 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.