Four 30 year old pop songs we can’t forget

Published October 17th 2015

Time really just slips away, but the classics remain. The year 1985 was now, 30 years ago exactly. It was around this time that I fully emerged myself in pop music and actually spend my pocket money on buying my very first single. These are the classics, that we still love today.

Careless Whisper – George Michael

Officially still credited to ‘Wham! featuring George Michael, but everyone considers this to be his first solo single. “Careless Whisper” showed the world there was more to George Michael than being a member of a funloving Boyband and it also marked the beginning of the end for Wham! Funny enough though, this song was actually co-written by Andrew Ridgeley, the other Wham! member.

In particular the saxophone bits sparked respect by peers and found love with a wide audience, selling 6 millions copies worldwide. The track went through various rewrites and rerecords and was eventually even completely reproduced by George Michael. All together it took about three years before the song saw the light of day.

Later down the line George let it slip in an interview that he still finds the lyrics really weak, but the song reached number one in various countries nevertheless.

Private Dancer – Tina Turner

Written by Mark Knofler from the Dire Straits, who also were responsible for the classic “Money For Nothing” 30 years ago. In fact, the music for this song was actually recorded for their album two years earlier, without vocals, but was cut at the last moment. Knofler rewrote the song especially for Tina Turner.

Despite on what you might expect, it’s not Mark Knofler playing on the track. It’s Jeff Beck.

Tina Turner loved the song so much she made it the title track for her first solo album. She received a crystal album when the album sales went in the excess of 15 million copies.

The lyrics are about a dancer (stripper) who’s discontent with her work and hopes for a better life. Many people believe it’s a synonym for the life’s tale of a hooker.

Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams

With the sound of his raw voice, you would almost expect that Bryan Adams really was remembering his summer of 69, but he was actually too young to have experienced a summer back then. The original version of the song, he and Jim Vallance wrote, was called “Best Days Of My Life”. The line ‘summer of 69′ only came by once or twice. It was later, that it had changed.

Jimmy and Jody, who are mentioned in the lyrics at the beginning of the song, are really referring to real people, who left Bryan Adams’ band early in his career.

In many countries it’s his break through song.

We Are The World – USA for Africa

The best of the best from the music business got together to help out Africa’s need for food. Based on the Band Aid (“Do They Know It’s Christmas?”) initiative in the UK, Harry Belafonte and fundraiser Ken Krager, wanted to do the same. Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson got involved, originally with Stevie Wonder, and wrote “We Are The World”. Quincy Jones produced it.

Stevie Wonder had to drop out of writing the track due to other commitments.

All the artists who recorded on the track were personally invited by Quincy Jones via a letter and a top secret cassette with a recording of the song

The song sold over 20 million copies worldwide. All proceeds went to to feed people in Africa. The song won a Grammy for Song Of The Year, a People’s Choice Award and an American Music Award in 1985.

On a personal note, this was the first single I ever bought.

The song was re-recorded by a different group of artists 25 years later to raise money for Haiti, after an earthquake had hit.

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