Many songs that are still played up and down today date from 1984, so they are now 40 years old. These include "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder, the homoerotic hit "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, "When the Rain Begins to Fall" by Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora as well as "People Are People" and " Master and Servant" by Depeche Mode.
The Alphaville hits “Big in Japan”, “Sounds Like a Melody” and “Forever Young” are also from '84. The band Alphaville, which was once founded in Münster, Westphalia around Marian Gold, is currently on a "40th Anniversary" tour - with symphonic versions of their world hits.
Rolling Stone called '84 "Pop's Greatest Year": "From Prince to Madonna and Michael Jackson to Bruce Springsteen and Cyndi Lauper: 1984 was the year in which pop reached its peak," wrote the music magazine.
And in fact: many other evergreens were released as singles back then. A small selection:
"When Doves Cry"
Legendary song by Prince and the Revolution that landed in the German charts in August '84. The superstar Prince, who died in 2016 at the age of 57, liked to push boundaries both lyrically and sexually (as in the video clip). In this song, sounds and instruments flow seamlessly into one another. The Prince hit “Purple Rain,” which later won an Oscar and Grammy, was also released in ’84.
Song by Madonna (written by Reggie Lucas) about an unhealthy relationship where the singer feels like love is falling apart and she fears she's going crazy. "Borderline" comes from Madonna's debut album, released in 1983, but was only released as a single the following year. Madonna's single "Like A Virgin" was also released in 1984.
Michael Jackson's hit only entered the German charts as a single in February '84, even though the album was released in 1982. The song works with effects such as creaking doors and footsteps on wooden floorboards. The horror film-like video (1983) by director John Landis ("American Werewolf") made pop history.
"Born in the U.S.A."
Rock song by Bruce Springsteen that some initially misunderstood as a patriotic anthem. But it's actually about a Vietnam veteran who is abandoned by society. A reckoning with the neoconservative Reagan administration.
"Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
Snare drum, bebop, good mood. Cyndi Lauper says that the lyrics were initially about a macho guy singing about how lucky he is that all the girls want to have fun with him. Through work on the song, it became an anthem for all women who want to have fun the way they see fit. Entered the German charts in March '84 and rose to number six.
The epitome of saxophone-heavy cozy rock. Sade's catchy tune comes from their hit album "Diamond Life", which was number one in Germany for ten weeks. The text is about an ice-cold womanizer who breaks hearts and rips off women. The song was played a lot on the radio during the day and constantly in bedrooms at night.
"The Never Ending Story"
Film song for Wolfgang Petersen's Michael Ende film adaptation "The Neverending Story" from 1984 (released in West German cinemas on April 6th). Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey wrote the song, Limahl (now 65) sang it. The singer's trademark was the two-tone mullet hairstyle. A number two hit in Germany in October '84.
"Sunglasses at Night"
In Canadian pop musician Corey Hart's signature new wave hit, the lyrical self wears sunglasses at night to watch his allegedly unfaithful lover. Became a classic in commercials and video games ("Grand Theft Auto: Vice City").
A self-empowerment hit from Bronski Beat with autobiographical features from gay singer Jimmy Somerville. The text is about a boy who leaves home after coming out and doesn't feel understood by his parents.
"Such A Shame"
Song by the British band Talk Talk, the lyrics of which are about making important decisions with dice, which is actually a shame. The anthem hit is known, among other things, for its unique synthesizer sound, which is reminiscent of an elephant call.
"Do They Know It's Christmas?"
The benefit song, which was written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, was released shortly before Advent 1984. Artists such as Bono, George Michael, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Holly Johnson, Boy George, Duran Duran, Phil Collins and Spandau Ballet sang or took part in the Band Aid project. The song has since received a lot of criticism for being Western-centric and condescending towards Africa.
It's hard to imagine the repertoire of radio stations and Christmas markets without a long-lasting catchy tune written by George Michael, who died in 2016. It's about an infatuation that was disappointed at the last Christmas. The snowy music video was shot in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Only 37 years after its release (2021) did the song by the pop duo Wham! (George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley) at number one in Germany, in Great Britain only after 39 years (2023).