The History of Pop Music – 1983

Featured song:

Spandau Ballet – True

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So, on we go with memories from 1983: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about:  Breakfast and daytime TV. Greenham Common, Murderer Denis Neilson, more IRA bombings.  Landslide General Election victory for Margaret Thatcher.  Hot summer.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 27, finished up in Tidworth, was promoted to acting sergeant and posted to Hameln again.  My proudest moment in the Army was walking through the front door of the WO’s & Sergeants Mess.  It is quite an exclusive club.  It was a good year for me, and eventually my family joined me.  Eldest child starting his second school late that year.

TV programmes included:

17 January – At 6.30am, Britain’s first-ever breakfast television show, Breakfast Time, launches on BBC1.  1 February – TV-am launches on ITV, with Good Morning Britain.  Minipops premieres on Channel 4. Though a ratings success, it is axed after only one series due to heavy media criticism (It was rather sickening).  Deirdre dumped Mike Baldwin and went back to Ken.  Roland Rat.  The first episode of The Black Adder, I know it is written by a twat, but it is excellent comedy.  The “A” team.  Blockbusters (All together now, I’ll have P please Bob).  Farewell to Len Fairclough and Annie Walker. Last episode of the Sale Of The Century.  One of my all-time favourites comedy drama Auf Wiedersehen, Pet starts.


Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)

17 January – First British breakfast time television programme, Breakfast Time, broadcast on BBC1.

23 January – The prohibition on non-British boats fishing in British waters is lifted as the European Economic Community’s Common Fisheries Policy comes into effect. (Surrender as we call it)

26 January – Red rain falls in the UK, caused by sand from the Sahara Desert in the droplets.

31 January – Seat-belt use for drivers and front seat passengers becomes mandatory, 11 years after becoming compulsory equipment in new cars.  One of the few nanny state things that made sense.

1 February – TV-am broadcasts for the first time.

10 February – The dismembered remains of at least fifteen young men are found at a house in Muswell Hill, North London, victims of Dennis Nilsen.

24 February – Labour candidate Peter Tatchell loses the Bermondsey by-election to the Liberal Party’s Simon Hughes. The Official Monster Raving Loony Party first contests an election under this label.

March – The compact disc (CD) goes on sale in the United Kingdom.  Everyone has to buy their record collection again following vinyl then tapes for their Walkman.

21 April – The one-pound coin introduced in England and Wales.

9 May – Margaret Thatcher calls a general election for 9 June. Opinion polls show her on course for victory with the Tories 8–12 points ahead of Labour, and they are widely expected to form a significant overall majority due to the split in left-wing votes caused by the Alliance, who are now aiming to take Labour’s place in opposition.

16 May – Wheel clamps are first used to combat illegal parking in London.

9 June – Margaret Thatcher, Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 1979, wins a landslide victory with a majority of 144 seats (through just 42% of the popular vote) over Michael Foot, who led a highly divided and weakened Labour Party which earned only 28% of the vote.  Among the new members of parliament are three Labour MP’s, Tony Blair for Sedgefield in County Durham, Gordon Brown for Dunfermline East in Scotland and Jeremy Corbyn for Islington North in London. The election is also a disappointment for the SDP-Liberal Alliance, who come close behind Labour in votes but are left with a mere 23 MPs in the new parliament compared to Labour’s 209. The new 650-seat parliament will have 397 Conservative MP’s, whereas Labour now has just 209. The election also sees the retirement of former prime minister Harold Wilson after 38 years as a Labour MP.

15 July – Much of the country embraces a heatwave as temperatures reach 33 °C in London.

1 August – The new A-prefix car registration plates are launched, helping spur on the recovery in car sales following the slump at the start of the decade caused by the recession.

5 August – 22 Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) members receive sentences totaling over 4,000 years from a Belfast Court.

19 August – Temperatures reach 30 °C in London, as hot weather embraces the United Kingdom.

25 September – Maze Prison escape: 38 IRA prisoners armed with six guns hijack a lorry and escape from HM Prison Maze in County Antrim, Northern Ireland; one guard dies of a heart attack and 20 others are injured in the attempt to foil the escape, the largest prison escape since World War II and in British history. 19 escapees are later apprehended.

19 October – Shooting of Stephen Waldorf: The two Metropolitan policemen who mistakenly shot and wounded Stephen Waldorf in January are cleared of attempted murder.

4 November – Dennis Nilsen is sentenced to life imprisonment.

13 November – The first United States cruise missiles arrive at RAF Greenham Common in Berkshire amid protests from peace campaigners at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.

18 November – Walton sextuplets: 31-year-old Liverpool woman Janet Walton gives birth to female sextuplets following fertility treatment.

26 November – Brink’s-Mat robbery: In London, 6,800 gold bars worth nearly £26 million are taken from the Brink’s-Mat vault at Heathrow Airport. Only a fraction of the gold is ever recovered, and only two men are convicted of the crime.

17 December – An IRA car bomb kills six, three police and three members of the public, and injures 90 outside Harrods in London.

25 December (Christmas Day) – a second IRA bomb explodes in Oxford Street, but this time nobody is injured.

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Hits of 1983
   1 Culture Club Karma Chameleon
   2 Billy Joel Uptown Girl
   3 UB40 Red Red Wine
   4 David Bowie Let’s Dance
   5 Bonnie Tyler Total Eclipse Of The Heart
   6 Men At Work Down Under
   7 Michael Jackson Billie Jean
   8 Spandau Ballet True
   9 Lionel Richie All Night Long (All Night)
   10 Phil Collins You Can’t Hurry Love

Great year for Culture club with 3 hits.  3 hits also for Paul Young and for Wham, Rod had a couple of big hits.  Spandau Ballet had “Gold” and “True”.  I also loved David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, which almost made the featured song as could Duran Duran.

It should be noted that I have linked Phil Collins “You Can’t Hurry Love”.  It just brings back some good memories.  This is a one-off though, promise.

“True” is a song by the English band Spandau Ballet. It was released on 11 April 1983 as the third single from their third studio album of the same name. The song was written by band member Gary Kemp.

The song was a huge worldwide hit, peaking at number one in the UK Singles Chart on 30 April 1983 for four weeks, becoming the sixth-biggest-selling single of the year, and charting highly in 20 other countries. It is Spandau Ballet’s biggest hit and their only major hit in the U.S.

More writings on this band here:  Spandau Ballet – True

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track and most of the above top ten are below (best to right-click and open in a new tab)

David Bowie – Let’s Dance

David Bowie – Modern Love

David Bowie – China Girl

Slade – My Oh My – One of their finest.

Men Without Hats – Safety Dance – As good today as ever.

Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams Are Made of This – Classic, one their best and they made a lot of really great tunes.

Eurythmics – Who’s That Girl?

Paul Young – Come Back and Stay – I do not think he recorded one bad song at all.

Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know

Duran Duran – Union Of The Snake

Paul Young – Love of the Common People – Best version of a great song

Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now

The Police – Every Breath You Take – Always great to listen to.

Irene Cara – Flashdance… What A Feeling

Rod Stewart – Baby Jane – Still belting them out.

Spandau Ballet – Gold

The Style Council – Speak Like A Child

The Style Council – Long Hot Summer

Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes – Up where we belong – I still cannot sing a Joe Cocker song without doing the stiff arms movement. Awesome as ever.

The Beat – Can’t Get Used To Losing You

Mighty Wah – Story of the Blues Part 1 & 2 (Talking Blues)

Yazoo – Nobody’s Diary – Wonderful voice.

Toto – Africa

Madness – Wings of a Dove

JoBoxers – Boxerbeat

Kajagoogoo – Too Shy – Limahl was still touring a couple of years ago with a wig.

New Order – Blue Monday – Not a big lover of techno music, but Brett likes it, so this is in a vain hope he does not post more.

Flying Pickets – Only You – I have always liked most things a cappella, this is a superb version of a great song.

The Cure – The Lovecats

The Assembly – Never Never – Most nice tune from Fergal Sharkey and Vince Clarke.

Laura Branigan – Gloria

Tina Turner  – Let’s Stay Together

Culture Club – Church Of The Poisoned Mind

FR. David – Words – Awful miming and he still sounds like Demis Roussos

Depeche Mode – Everything Counts

Malcolm Mclaren Presents Double Dutch – Wow, great dancing, great tune.

Bananarama — Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

Fleetwood Mac – Oh Diane. – I am a big lover of Fleetwood Mac.  This is probably their cheesiest song ever. Lindsay is looking like a proper 80’s diva and trying to sound like Elvis and Cliff at the same time.

Freeez – IOU – Still sounds like Wham to me, but a pleasant disco tune.

Lionel Richie – All Night Long (All Night)

Marilyn – Calling Your Name – Not very good, but as it is #FF

Public Image Limited – This Is Not A Love Song – Getting towards the last of the angry shouty man attempting to sing punk shite.  Only included in another vain hope of no one posting more like it.

Fun Song: Black Lace – Superman – Go on admit it, you bought the album as well.  If you are on your own, you can play this now and do the dance.  No pics please.

43 songs for 1983 in my favourite lists.

Hat tips to:  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year   these give the top 10 songs for each year  you know them.

Next Time 1984.

© Phil the test manager 2019

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file