In 1982, the Commodore 64 8-bit computer became the best-selling personal computer of its time, E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial was released, becoming the biggest box-office hit to date, and remained so for the rest of the decade (and beyond) while the Sony Corporation launched the first consumer compact disc (CD) player.
In music, Michael Jackson releases “Thriller”, soon to become (and remain) the greatest selling album of all time, Ozzy Osbourne bites off the head of a live bat and a newcomer named Madonna released her debut single “Everybody”. While 1982 was the year that Kelly Clarkson. LeAnn Rimes and Lil Wayne were born; it was also the year we lost Jazz greats Thelonious Monk and Art Pepper, along with guitarist Randy Rhoads and comedian/Blues Brother John Belushi.
Although the list of love songs for 1982 is a short one, there was still love; it’s a pretty solid list, many of which are ideal for a wedding first dance. The eight love songs on this list are void of any “you done me wrong” or “why did you hurt me” or “please notice me I’m a stalker” nonsense, but just good love songs about the best kind of love… reciprocal love.
“Leather And Lace” by Stevie Nicks (with Don Henley)
The first of two duets on this list, “Leather And Lace” first appeared on the Billboard Top 40 in late 1981, topping off at #6 in early 1982. This tune essentially pairs two great singers from epic 1970s Rock bands (Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles) making it a true Rock ballad. This was not Stevie’s first great Top 40 duet love song, her first being “Whenever I Call You Friend” with Kenny Loggins in 1978.
“Yesterday’s Songs” by Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond began charting hits in 1966, and would continue until 1983. Like “Leather And Lace”, this tune debuted on the Billboard charts in late 1981, but reached its peak position of #11 in early 1982. The lyrics reflect on how love itself outlasts the fleeting nature of love songs themselves.
“Through The Years” by Kenny Rogers
This Kenny Rogers classic has become a standard at weddings and anniversaries ever since its release in 1982. The lyrics of this timeless love song speak of a more mature, tried and tested love, which is likely why it reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts, while only reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Kenny would go on to have yet another great hit love song/duet the following year.
“Making Love” by Roberta Flack
Another 1970s songstress crossing over into the unknown 80s, Roberta Flack’s unmistakable voice delivers a beautiful ballad in this 1982 hit. “Making Love” reached #13 on the Billboard Top 40 chart mid-year in 1982. The message in the lyrics here seems to suggest in the most eloquent of ways that there is far more to love than just sex. Food for thought?
“Caught Up In You” by 38 Special
This upbeat love song was the second Top 40 hit for the Southern Rock band 38 Special, fronted by Donnie Van Zant, brother of the late Ronnie Van Zant, former front man for Lynyrd Skynyrd. This #10 Billboard Top 40 hit is by far the most upbeat rocker of a love song on this 1982 list.
“Even The Nights Are Better” by Air Supply
The Australian band Air Supply seems to have a knack for making a love song sound melancholy, so much so that I had to re-read and re-review the lyrics several times and I’m still scratching my head. In the end, “Even The Nights Are Better’ makes the love song cut, charting at #5 on the Top 40 charts in the late summer of 1982. Again, the elevators of the world owe a massive debt to this Aussie band.
“Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
“Up Where We Belong” is from the soundtrack of the movie An Officer And A Gentleman, which gave birth to the movie genre known today as “chick flicks”. This is the second duet on our 1982 love song list, and was the first and only #1 hit for Joe Cocker. The lesser known Jennifer Warnes would go on to record another chick flick duet with former Righteous Brother Bill Medley.
“Truly” by Lionel Richie
Former Commodore Lionel Richie’s solo career was built on the back of love songs, and “Truly” is no exception. The lyrics of this tender slow ballad are a powerful pledge of love, and it’s no surprise that it was a popular request for the first dance of brides and grooms at weddings in the early 80s. “Truly” went gold, and reached #1 on the Top 40 charts in 1982.
These are some of the best kind of feel-good fuzzy love songs from 1982. Each song on this list has been vetted for proper nouns (girls/guys names), or any hint of bad love like breakups, infidelity and/or done-me-wrong themes, 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 without your girlfriend saying something like, “But my name isn’t Rosanna!!!”
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.