Snarky Snippets – Number one hits of 1980-1982

I love 80s music. I mean, I really love 80s music. But the first part of the 80s had kind of an existential crisis going down. The sounds of the 70s were hanging on for dear life as they duked it out with the upcoming young and hip new wave bands. Meanwhile, the boomers were still relevant in pop music, and they were getting tired of that whole hippy music thing. No, they wanted the sweet, soothing sounds of adult contemporary. This made quite a hodgepodge of music on the Billboard top 100. The number one hits of 1980-1982 went from The Captain and Tennille to Queen to Dolly Parton to Billy Joel. It was quite the ride.

While the top hits of 1980-1982 don’t have a lot in common, they all have one thing they share. Every single one of these songs is ripe for parody. So, that’s what I’ve done here. I take the number one song in chronological order and write a dismissive, snarky, one-liner. In the event of a song hitting number one twice, it gets parodied twice. Why? Because why not? Seriously, what else do I have to do? So here we go! The top hits of 1980-1982 are gonna get lambasted!

1980

Mt St Helens eruption was not one of the hits of 1980-1982.
Photograph of Mount St. Helens taken on May 18, 1980, by Joseph Rosenbaum. Courtesy of USGS.

Please Don’t Go – KC and the Sunshine Band: This is the song we start the 80s with? Seriously? I am already so damned bored.

The Piña Colada Song – Rupert Holmes: Back then, they didn’t have Tinder. They had to set their hook-up ads to music.

Rock With You – Michael Jackson: Hey look, Michael Jackson is all grown up!

Do That To Me One More Time – The Captain and Tennille: Yawn.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen: Queen could never settle on a genre. This week, they’re a 50s swing band!

Another Brick In The Wall part 2 – Pink Floyd: Hey teacher, LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE!!!!!!!

Call Me – Blondie: Finally, the 80s are starting to rock!

Funkytown – Lipps Inc.: Oooh, those keys sounds so futuristic! (Sarcasm)

Coming Up – Paul McCartney: Does anyone actually remember this song? Because I sure as hell don’t.

It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me – Billy Joel: Ok boomer.

Magic – Olivia Newton-John: I’m sorry, I have nothing negative to say about this song! It’s such a masterpiece!

Sailing – Cristopher Cross: If your yacht rock playlist lacks this song, you’re doing it wrong!

Upside Down – Diana Ross: It’s the 80s, Diana, disco is dead!

Another One Bites the Dust – Queen: And this time, Queen is a funk band!

Woman in Love – Barbara Streisand: Is it me, or does Babs sound like the Spice Girls on this one?

Lady – Kenny Rogers: This was your grandma’s favorite song.

(Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon: Imagine if John Lennon could still write a song without sounding like the Beach Boys.

1981

The first Space Shuttle mission was one of thehits of 1980-1982.
Space Shuttle Columbia landing on Rogers dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force Base, after the completion of STS-1.

The Tide is High – Blondie: Blondie rocked with Call Me, but not so much with The Tide is High.

Celebration – Kool & The Gang: Thus making sports playlists insufferable from here on out.

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton: Thus making every work-related playlist insufferable from here out.

I Love a Rainy Night – Eddie Rabbit: I just read the lyrics – nothing but boring boring bores here.

9 to 5 – Dolly Parton: Again?

Keep on Loving You – REO Speedwagon: REO Speedwagon got their name from a truck made in 1915. Which is their way of telling you your grandma is going to love this song!

Rapture – Blondie: Hey, this new-fangled rap thing seems hip. Let’s try it!

Kiss is on My List – Hall and Oates: That’s not creepy at all!

9 to 5 (Morning Train) – Sheena Easton: Ten Bucks says people called up radio stations to request Dolly Parton again, but the DJs were stoned and put this on instead.

Betty Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes: For heaven’s sake, give Betty back her eyes!

Stars on 45 – Stars on 45: How did they not get their asses sued by the Beatles?

Bette Davis Eyes – Kim Carnes: I don’t believe I have to repeat myself! Give Betty back her eyes, dammit!

The One that You Love – Air Supply: The national birth rate skyrocketed 9 months after this song. True story!

Jessie’s Girl – Rick Springfield: Hey Rick, she doesn’t want you! Move on!

Endless Love – Diana Ross & Lionel Richie: Two amazing and talented performers get together – to record this boring song.

Aurthur’s Theme (The Best That You Can Do) – Christopher Cross: If the best that you can do is sing about a drunken, womanizing, man-child, maybe it’s time to rethink your career.

Private Eyes – Hall & Oates: See Kim? Hall & Oates get it. Betty’s eyes are private! Give them back!

Physical – Olivia Newton-John: This song was popular during the holidays. Nothing like a song about exercising while gorging on a fourth helping of grandma’s sweet potato pie.

1982

The commercial release of the compact disc paved the way for the hits of 1980-1982 and beyond!
SONY CDP-101, released in 1982. Image credit: Atreyu – Own work, CC BY 3.0

I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do) – Hall & Oates: Most awkward-sounding song title ever!

I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll – Joan Jett and the Blackhawks: More songs like this, please?

Chariots of Fire – Vangelis: You rocked a little too hard with Joan Jett, so your punishment shall be Vangelis.

Ebony and Ivory – Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder: All we are saying, is give peace a chance. Oh, wait, wrong Beatle.

Don’t You Want Me – The Human League: No, no she doesn’t want you. If you’d listen to the second verse, you’d freaking know that!

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor: It’s bad enough someone stole Betty Davis’ eyes. Now they’re stealing eyes from tigers?

Abracadabra – Steve Miller Band: Steve Miller wrote a lot of bad songs, but none suck as bad as this song!

Hard to Say I’m Sorry – Chicago: Steve Miller’s song was so bad, Chicago felt like they needed to apologize for it!

Abracadabra – Steve Miller Band: Seriously? Again? Dammit!

Jack & Diane – John Cougar Mellencamp: This song is pretty bad too, but it’s freeking Beethoven compared to Steve Miller!

Who Can it Be Now? – Men at Work: Maybe instead of singing for three and half minutes, you could just – you know – open the door and find out!

Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes: Up Where We Belong? More like upchucking my dinner!

Truly – Lionel Richie: You’ve heard of a banger? This one’s a snoozer!

Mickey – Toni Basil: Let’s get physical, again!

Maneater – Hall & Oates: Oh, so that’s why she wanted Betty Davis’ eyes. Wait, ewww! No! Wrong! Evil!

That’s all for the number-one hits of 1980-1982

This was fun, I must say. And if you were really offended by any of these, well, know that I actually really love a bunch of these songs. This was all written in good fun. Well, the snarks against Steve Miller were real – but come on. The guy thinks he’s a rock god but sounds like a middle schooler (the lyric “black panties and an angel’s face” proves my point).

In any case, this is part one of a new series called snarky snippets. The top hits of 1980-1982 are just the beginning. I’m going to do this to ALL the years. Ok, maybe not all the years. Once we get into the early 90s, I start to not know enough about pop-40 hits to really know what I’m saying. But all the 80s for certain, as well as the 70s. Oooo, that decade is going to be fun! And it won’t be just the number one hits either. No, we’re going to rip apart lesser hits as well. So I hope you liked this article because there’s so much more to come.

Until next time all, rock on and rock steady! And if you’re rocking out to Steve Miller, well bless your heart.

Scroll to Top