Top 10 Flashback: July 4, 1984 – WPRO-FM Providence, RI


All right, loyal readers, it’s the Fourth of July, and we’re off to a late start tonight because I’m doing this:

Well, OK, it’s my brother-in-law that’s actually the family “fireworks guy.”  My sister’s back yard borders an easement owned by the power company, and that’s where everyone from the two surrounding streets lights off their fireworks.  It’s pretty much the unofficial secondary fireworks display of the city she lives in.  So after you’ve barbecued, drank a bunch of beer, and lit off your fireworks, what do you do?  Have another beer and a Top 10 flashback!

Since it is the Fourth, let’s go to one of the Original Thirteen.  WPRO-AM 630 and FM 92.3 in Providence, Rhode Island can claim over a half century of Top 40 heritage, 40 years on the FM alone.  The AM went to talk long ago, but 92 Pro FM is still playing the hits today, so we’ll just step back 30 years and listen to them on the Fourth of July in 1984.  Somebody was kind enough to post a composite aircheck of this station from back then – listen to it here:

Good, tight, professional Top 40 sound.  The folks there knew what they were doing – it sounds like a much larger market.

So steal a car and go to Las Vegas!  Survey actually dated July 3, 1984.  Deal with it.

Thompson Twins – Doctor! Doctor!

Their names weren’t Thompson, and they weren’t twins.  They were lying to us!  This song was good enough to keep me tuned to whatever station it was on, but not good enough to make me stop if I was scanning the dial.

ZZ Top – Legs

Thank God this song exists or I wouldn’t have had anything to play when the groom removed the garter.  I prefer the earlier bluesy, rootsy ZZ Top to this iteration of the group.  Fun fact:  The one member of ZZ Top without a beard is Frank Beard.

Jacksons feat. Mick Jagger – State Of Shock

This had to have been the most anticipated hyped single of the year.  The Jacksons were kicking off their Victory Tour, Michael had just been crowned the King Of Pop, and they even got Mick Jagger to sing along.  The makings of a classic, right?  OK, raise your hand if you’ve heard this song even once since 1984.  That’s what I thought.  This song is a whole lot less than the sum of its parts – lots of hype, little substance.

Cars – Magic

There have been NO good Cars albums since “Candy-O.”

Laura Branigan – Self Control

All right, I’m not going to repeat my unkind remarks about her song “Gloria” (if you want to know, go to ).  I’ll just say that this song sucks somewhat less, and the video’s kinda sexy.  There!  That wasn’t so bad.

Elton John – Sad Songs (Say So Much)

It’s a holiday weekend and I’m feeling lazy, so I’ll just copy/paste my remarks for Sir Elton’s earlier hit “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues,”  found here:

Sir Elton has done nothing interesting since 1975.  The song itself isn’t really terrible, but there’s nothing special about it; nothing that says “this is an Elton John song.”  It’s just a mediocre pop song that he happens to be singing.  What makes this so disappointing is the fact that Bernie Taupin co-wrote it with Elton, and it marked the reunion of most of the original band.  All that talent, and this is what they gave us?  For shame.

So another song that doesn’t measure up to the sum of its parts.

Billy Idol – Eyes Without A Face

It’s time to answer this burning question:  “What’s T10FB Guy’s favorite song from Billy Idol?”  I know you’ve been wondering for a long time.  Well, now you know.  Sounds perfect on a sweltering summer day, doesn’t it?

Mike Reno & Ann Wilson – Almost Paradise

The love theme from “Footloose.” (Captain Obvious says “you’re welcome.”) How many couples who hooked up 30 years ago called this their song?  All of them.

Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark

The song and album that elevated Springsteen to the upper echelon of stardom.  Hey, this was when my mother finally discovered him – it only took her ten years.

Now it’s time for the “oh, wow” song of the week.  Usually this means a great song that radio forgot about, but this time I chose something better described as an artifact.  1984 was not only the year of the Tigers (we’re talkin’ baseball!), but the year breakdancing went mainstream.  You gotta admit, it takes a lot of stamina and athletic ability, along with a certain kind of talent, to bust those kinds of moves.  Let’s watch some old-school breakdancing as we hear this week’s #18 song, “Breakin’…There’s No Stopping Us” by Ollie & Jerry.

I’d rather hear Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” but this is what was on the chart.

Well, wondering what WPRO’s #1 song was this week?  I’m afraid we will be unable to bring you the video because it’s “When Doves Cry” by Prince, and his crack team is very good at keeping his stuff off YouTube.  So just pretend you’re hearing it and know that this is Prince at his peak.  Note also the lack of bass – that’s on purpose.

All right, y’all, enjoy your long weekend!

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