T10FB Redux: August 2, 1983 – WHTZ Newark/New York


Originally written July 30, 2013.

Good Friday night, loyal readers, and welcome to Top 10 Flashback!  This week, we’re going with a little more, um, recent time than we have lately as we look at the biggest hits from 30 years ago this week.

By 1983, Top 40 had virtually disappeared from the AM dial, and the only people listening to those remaining had cars with AM-only radios.  The great WABC in New York had switched to talk the year before, and all the action was now on the FM band.  Meanwhile, the Top 40 format itself was being made over into CHR, or Contemporary Hit Radio, and something called MTV was redefining what it took to succeed in music.  The listening audience had been fragmenting for years, and no station would dominate the Big Apple the way WABC did.  The biggest thing to hit NYC in the late 1970’s was all-disco WKTU, but there had not been a high-energy hit music station on FM since 99X.  That was about to change.

The summer of ’83 brought WHTZ, better known as Z100, to New York.  It quickly became one of the most influential CHR stations in the country, and still is today.  So, in tribute to the 30th anniversary of Z100, we present the top ten songs from their very first music survey, dated August 2, 1983.

On with the countdown!

Too Shy – Kajagoogoo

This song was a little, um, fruity, but not bad.  Fit in well with the era.

Come Dancing – Kinks

Of the original British Invasion groups, I’d say the Kinks were the ones who most successfully stayed up to date.  If you ever looked forward to being old enough to do something, only to have the option taken away before you grew up, this song will speak to you.

Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant

This is shaping up to be a better countdown than I expected.  This song still holds up well today.

How Do You Keep the Music Playing – James Ingram/Patti Austin

Well, if you like romantic schmaltz that turns your speakers to complete mush, here’s one for you.  Generic 80’s soul ballad duet.

Sweet Dreams – Eurythmics

This one’s considered a classic today.  Never did much for me, but it’s OK.  I assume Annie Lennox is genetically female.

She Works Hard for the Money – Donna Summer

I suppose she had to do something after disco crashed and burned.

Maniac – Michael Sembello

One of those goddamn cheesy-ass fucking songs from “Flashdance.”

Flashdance (What A Feeling) – Irene Cara

Another one of those goddamn cheesy-ass fucking songs from “Flashdance.”

Never Gonna Let You Go – Sergio Mendes

Did I say something about schmaltzy, generic 80’s love ballads?  Then I’ll say it again.  For some reason, this song was used in a commercial for some food product; I think it was Oscar Meyer lunch meat.

And now…the number one song 30 years ago this week:

Hey, they ripped off Puff Daddy!

Join us again next week for another Top 10 Flashback!  As always, your comments are welcome and encouraged.  Thanks for listening!

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