The History of Pop Music – 1985

Featured song:

David Bowie & Mick Jagger – Dancing In The Street

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 1985: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about: Riots, lots of them.  Live Aid, miners strike coming to an end.

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 30, still in Germany, but we had decided to leave the Army, the kids were growing up, been too far too many schools.  I managed a posting back to Tidworth for my last of 13 years in the army, we wanted Maidstone, but you take what you are given.

TV programmes included:

Channel 4 achieves its highest ever audience as 13.8 million viewers tune in for the final part of the mini-series A Woman of Substance.  The BBC ends its experiment with afternoon broadcasting and from this date afternoon Pages from Ceefax is shown on BBC1 between the end of lunchtime programmes and the start of children’s programmes and on BBC2 Ceefax pages are shown continuously between 9am and 5.25pm apart from when Daytime on Two is in season and when sporting events are being shown.  The Cosby Show, Victoria Wood as seen on TV (liked that).  A debate in the House of Lords is televised for the first time.  ITV poached the rights to Dallas from the BBC (£55k per episode), much hurty feelz and ITV had to sell the rights back to BBC at a loss.  Miami Vice (rolled up sleeves on coats).  Eastenders started, dismal stuff, they set a very low standard and have failed to maintain it.  Last episode of Play School.  The World Snooker Championship Final between Dennis Taylor and Steve Davis draws BBC2’s highest ever rating of 18.5 million viewers, I watched it, gripping stuff.  David Dundas, who composed the Channel 4 theme, wins a legal battle to retain all rights to the music, and £1000 a week in royalties (nice little earner).  Live Aid, Howards Way.  Last episode of World of Sport (I miss the grappling action)


Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)

1 January – The first mobile phone calls in the UK are made.

7 January – Nine striking miners are jailed for arson.

10 January – The Sinclair C5, a battery-assisted recumbent tricycle, designed by the British inventor Clive Sinclair is launched.

29 January – Margaret Thatcher becomes the first post-war Prime Minister to be publicly refused an honorary degree by Oxford University.

25 February – Nearly 4,000 striking miners return to work, meaning that only just over half of the miners are now on strike.

3 March – The UK Miners’ Strike, involving at its peak 142,000 mine workers; ends after one year.

13 May – The Dire Straits Album Brothers In Arms is released; it becomes the first compact disc to sell over 1,000,000 copies.

29 May – In the Heysel Stadium disaster at the European Cup final in Brussels, 39 football fans die, and hundreds are injured. Despite the tragedy, the match is played, and Juventus beat Liverpool 1-0.

31 May – The Football Association bans all English football clubs from playing in Europe until further notice in response to the Heysel riots. Thatcher supports the ban and calls for judges to hand out stiffer sentences to convicted football hooligans.

2 June – In response to the Heysel Stadium disaster four days ago, UEFA bans all English football clubs from European competitions for an indefinite period, recommending that Liverpool should serve an extra three years of exclusion once all other English clubs have been reinstated.

13 July – Live Aid pop concerts in London and Philadelphia raise over £50,000,000 for famine relief in Ethiopia.

13 August – The Sinclair C5 ceases production after just seven months and fewer than 17,000 units.

11 September – The rioting in Handsworth ended, with the final casualty toll standing at 35 injuries and two deaths. A further two people are unaccounted for.

11 September – Enoch Powell, the controversial former-Conservative MP who was dismissed from the Shadow Cabinet seventeen years earlier for his Rivers of Blood speech on immigration, states that the riots in Handsworth were a vindication of the warnings he voiced in 1968.

28 September – A riot in Brixton erupts after an accidental shooting of a woman by police. One person dies in the riot, fifty are injured and more than 200 are arrested.

6 October – PC Keith Blakelock is fatally stabbed during the Broadwater Farm Riot in Tottenham, London, which began after the death of Cynthia Jarrett yesterday. Two of his colleagues are treated in hospital for gunshot wounds, as are three journalists.

1 November – The Queen Mother commissions aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.

27 November – Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock suspends the Liverpool District Labour Party amid allegations that the Trotskist Militant group was attempting to control it.  Remember Degsy?  He is still the same.

Special mention for the death on 5 April – Arthur Negus, broadcaster and antiques specialist (born 1903).  Used to really like him and the programme.

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

Top tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Hits of 1985
   1 Jennifer Rush The Power Of Love
   2 Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson I Know Him So Well
   3 Madonna Into The Groove
   4 Paul Hardcastle 19
   5 Sister Sledge Frankie
   6 David Bowie & Mick Jagger Dancing In The Street
   7 Phyllis Nelson Move Closer
   8 A-Ha Take On Me
   9 Feargal Sharkey A Good Heart
   10 Foreigner I Want To Know What Love Is

Great year for Jennifer Rush, could easily have been my featured song as it is so awesome, but she did not do too much after that.  Bowie and Jagger have done so much for music over the decades.  Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Dire Straits obvious favourites as well.

“Dancing in the Street” is a song written by Marvin Gaye, William “Mickey” Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter. It first became popular in 1964 when recorded by Martha and the Vandellas.  It has been covered by many artists since.

The song took on a different meaning when riots in inner-city America led to many young black demonstrators citing the song as a civil rights anthem to social change which also led to some radio stations taking the song off its play list because certain black advocates such as H. Rap Brown began playing the song while organising demonstrations.

“Dancing in the Street” had two meanings. The first is the one Martha Reeves asserted to reporters in England. “The British press aggravated Reeves when someone put a microphone in her face and asked her if she was a militant leader. The British journalist wanted to know if Reeves agreed, as many people had claimed, that “Dancing in the Street” was a call to riot. To Reeves, the query was patently absurd. ‘My Lord, it was a party song,’ she remarked in retrospect”.

The David Bowie and Mick Jagger recording of “Dancing in the Street” was issued as a single on EMI, with all profits going to the charity. The song topped the UK Singles Chart for four weeks.

More writings on this song here:  Dancing In the Street

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):

Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls – Classic

Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In the Dark – Always liked him, in my view this is one of his best.  Yes, it is Monica Gellar that has a dance on stage with him.

Bruce Springsteen – I’m on Fire

Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A.

Dire Straits / Sting – Money For Nothing – I have linked ti Live Aid one, as it was rather special at the time, probably still is.

Bronski Beat & Marc Almond – I Feel Love – Gheyness personified, but it is good.  (The song, not the other bit)

UB40 and Chrissie Hynde – I Got You Babe – Not a big UB40 fan, but Chrissie is lovely.

Dead Or Alive – You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)

Madonna – Crazy For You

Eurythmics – There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart) – Awesome.

Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World – Bit of a dirge, but of its time and well worth a listen to again.

Duran Duran – A view to a Kill – Certainly one of the better Bond theme tunes.

Marillion – Kayleigh

Bonnie Tyler – Holding Out For A Hero

The Crowd – You’ll Never Walk Alone – remembering the 54 Bradford City fans and 2 Lincoln City fans who died.  Includes Gerry of course.  I have something in my eye now.

Elton John – Nikita – I probably should post more Elton.

Amii Stewart – Knock On Wood – Keeping disco going, good girl.

Red Box – Lean On Me (ah-li-ayo) – Play it, you will know it.

Alison Moyet  – That Ole Devil Called Love – She really does have a superb voice.

Tina Turner – We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) – 79 she is.

Baltimora – Tarzan Boy

Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasuredome – I have given you the full 12” one.

Billy Ocean – Suddenly – Bit slow, nice last dance one.

Commodores – Nightshift

Bryan Adams – Run To You

Kirsty MacColl – A New England – I shall not miss an opportunity to post this lady, wonderful voice, sorely missed.

Dee C Lee – See The Day – Most pleasant little ditty.

Strawberry Switchblade – Since Yesterday – Love this

The Cars – Drive

Madonna – Like A Virgin

Madonna – Material Girl

Opus – Life Is Life (Live) – Herwig Rüdisser on vocals, Austrian, looking every inch a scouser with a Miami Vice suit.

Billy Idol – White Wedding Pt 1

Billy Idol – White Wedding part 2 – Not much difference but good tune.

Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

Kate Bush – Running up that Hill – pretty rare live version.

Paul Young – Every Time You Go Away – Never did a bad song, deserves lots more recognition.

John Parr – St Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)

Jimmy Nail – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore – It was so weird finding out Oz could really sing.  This also has Roger Taylor on drums and Rick Parfitt on lead guitar.

Mai Tai – History

Denise Lasalle – My Toot Toot

Gary Moore ft. Philip Lynott – Out In The Fields – Phil was taken ill end of this year died 4th Jan 86.  Gary died 2011.  Much missed.

Royalty time:

Queen – Radio GaGa

King – Love & Pride

Princess – Say I’m Your Number One

Prince – 1999

OK, I cheated a bit Queen was 84, but the link is for 85.

Fun Song: Ray Parker Jr. – Ghostbusters

47 songs for 1985 in my favourite lists. I am surprised there are that many, but there you go.

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 1986.

© Phil the test manager 2019

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file