July 13, 1985, was a very special day. The world watched Live Aid. I turned 18. And for the very first time, the theme song from a James Bond movie ascended to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Paul McCartney couldn’t do it. Carly Simon couldn’t do it. But in 1985, Duran Duran could do anything they wanted to.
I must have done something special for my 18th birthday, right? You’re damn right I did: I got up at 6 AM and watched MTV. I watched MTV all day long. It was obvious that Live Aid was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I wasn’t going to miss even a second of it, I still own the videotape I made that day of all my favorite artists. It even has a U2 sticker on it that I pulled out of a box of Frosted Flakes that day (very progressive, Kellogg’s!).
I didn’t go out to dinner that night. I didn’t have a beer. I didn’t even spend any real quality time with my family, although I am pretty sure that my sister spent a good chunk of the day watching with me. I think she fell in love with U2 that day, as did a lot of other people around the world. I had already long been under U2’s spell, and their set was the highlight of the day for me up to that point.
And then this guy took over:
To this day, Queen’s 20-minute set remains the best live performance I have ever seen. It was one hell of a birthday present.
Duran Duran played a set in Philadelphia later that night, and included “A View To A Kill” on the actual day that it hit #1 on the charts. They might have had a better day than I did, but not by much.
In remembrance of that amazing 18th birthday, let’s take a look at the Billboard Hot 100 Top 5 songs on July 13, 1985. If you don’t mind, I’m going to have that long-overdue beer while we do so…
Eurythmics: “Would I Lie To You? [ET Mix]” (Annie Lennox/Dave Stewart)
From the 12″ single Would I Lie To You?
Original version from the album Be Yourself Tonight
RCA Records, 1985
This was the song that finally made me admit how much I loved the Eurythmics. When “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This” hit MTV in the summer of ’83, I didn’t know quite what to make of the orange hair and the cow. At one point during the summer, I came down with a horrible case of the flu and spent two delirious days in bed with that cow and that synth riff on auto-repeat in my brain. I still can’t hear “Sweet Dreams” without breaking into a cold sweat.
I’ll be honest: in 1983, I was stuck in classic rock mode. My notebooks at school were covered with handwritten Scorpions and Iron Maiden logos. I looked at Annie and Dave and said, “I can’t like this. There’s no guitar.”
“Would I Lie To You?” had guitar. And horns. And a killer soulful Lennox vocal. I bought Be Yourself Tonight immediately, and everything the duo have put out (both together and solo) ever since.
Survivor: “The Search Is Over” (Frankie Sullivan/Jim Peterik)
From the album Vital Signs
Scotti Brothers Records, 1984
“The Search Is Over” was the third top 20 single from Vital Signs, the first Survivor album with Jimi Jamison on vocals. Original vocalist Dave Bickler had to leave the band due to vocal problems, and Jamison stepped in for what became the band’s biggest record. Don’t feel too bad for Bickler, though. His voice got better and he eventually made what I assume to be a boatload of money as the voice of the Budweiser “Real Men Of Genius” campaign.
Supposedly, both Bickler and Jamison are currently back in Survivor and a tour is being planned featuring both singers. Here’s to you, Mr. Van-Halen-Could-Never-Pull-Off-This-Two-Singer-Shit Man!
Prince & The Revolution: “Raspberry Beret [12″ Version]” (Prince)
From the 12″ single Raspberry Beret
Original version from the album Around The World In A Day
Paisley Park Records, 1985
I love Prince. I’ve been lucky enough to see him live five times, and he is easily the most dynamic performer I have ever seen in person. He’s also the best guitar player I’ve ever seen– I just wish he would play more of it these days. Back in 1985, though, I changed the station whenever Prince came on TV or the radio. I think I was still mad at him for keeping “Dancing In The Dark” out of the #1 slot a year earlier. My sister, who was 14 at the time, listened to him constantly and it drove me nuts. She loves to remind me of this. Yes, my dear sister, you were correct: Prince is a God. This fantastic 12″ remix of “Raspberry Beret” is for you.
Phil Collins: “Sussudio” (Phil Collins)
From the album No Jacket Required
Atlantic Records, 1985
David Letterman spent the summer of 1985 asking the same question every night: what in the hell does “Su-su-sudio” mean? He finally got Phil on his show to answer the question. I was so excited that I videotaped it. I just wish I could remember what the answer was…
“Sussudio” had hit #1 the week before, becoming Collins’ second chart-topping single in America (“Against All Odds” was the first). I was actually very upset with Phil on July 13, 1985. Who plays a set at Live Aid in London, flies across the Atlantic on the Concorde, and then plays the exact same set on stage in Philadelphia? Phil Collins, that’s who.
Was Phil even punished for this seemingly ridiculous act of self-promotion? No, he was not punished. Quite the opposite, in fact: he got behind the kit and played drums for Led Zeppelin’s reunion set later that night. Maybe “Sussudio” is Italian for bullshit.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Led Zeppelin had two drummers on stage at their Live Aid performance. Phil Collins was obviously one– who was the other? Put your answer in the comments section!
Duran Duran: “A View To A Kill” (Duran Duran/John Barry)
From the 7″ single A View To A Kill
Capitol Records, 1985
“A VIew To A Kill” was the first James Bond theme to hit #1, and it was also the last. Earlier I said that Duran Duran could do anything they wanted in 1985, but that really wasn’t true: they couldn’t get along. Guitarist Andy Taylor and bassist John Taylor had already released The Power Station with Robert Palmer, and tension in the band was high. In fact, their performance at Live Aid turned out to be the final performance of the original lineup until their long-awaited reunion in 2003. I was one of the lucky few who saw a show on the small club tour that served as their reintroduction, and it remains one of my all-time favorite concerts. It’s hard for me to believe now, but back in 1985 I wasn’t really a big fan of Duran Duran.
I know, I know. But gimme a break, will ya? After all, I had just turned eighteen.
The first rule of The Analog Kid blog is that if you write about a song on the Analog Kid blog, you share the song on the Analog Kid blog.
Paul McCartney & Wings: “Live And Let Die” (Paul & Linda McCartney)
From the 7″ single Live And Let Die
Apple Records, 1973
Carly Simon: “Nobody Does It Better” (Marvin Hamlisch/Carole Bayer Sager)
From the album The Spy Who Loved Me
United Artists Records, 1977
U2: “Bad” (Lyrics by Bono/Music By U2)
Recorded at Live Aid in London on July 13, 1985
Original version from the album The Unforgettable Fire
Island Records, 1984
Eurythmics: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” (Written By Dave Stewart & Annie Lennox)
From the album Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
RCA Records, 1983
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Bruce Springsteen: “Dancing In The Dark” (Bruce Springsteen)
From the album Born In The USA
Columbia Records, 1984
Phil Collins: “Against All Odds (Take A look At Me Now)” (Phil Collins)
From the soundtrack Against All Odds
Atlantic Records, 1984
Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
Queen: Their Entire Performance At Live Aid
Recorded At Live Aid in London on July 13, 1985
“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Freddie Mercury)
“Radio Ga-Ga” (Roger Taylor)
“Hammer To Fall” (Brian May)
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (Freddie Mercury)
Crazy Little Thing Called Love
“We Will Rock You” (Brian May)
“We Are The Champions” (Freddie Mercury)
If I recall, the answer to the Sususudio question was that the band hadn’t come up with what they wanted in there yet. So, they used a made up word. And it stuck.
I think you’re right– it was just nonsense, and they liked it and ended up leaving it in!
I do remember the U2 set that day. I was a mere lad of 13. I didn’t know about U2 before then. But, after hearing “Bad” and seeing Bono jump down and save those women from being crushed, it was the start of for me and the boys from Dublin. The Queen set was also just as memorable. The scene from behind the band toward the crowd during “Radio Ga Ga” was pretty cool. All of their hands clapping in unison with the song.
The other drummer wouldn’t have been a member of Chic or the Power Station, would he?
Correct! You may have noticed that I intentionally left his name out when discussing The Power Station– can’t give away the answer that easily!
Was Jason Bonham the other drummer?
Mercury not only had Wembley Stadium in his hands but JFK and just about everyone else who was watching. Just a fantastic performance. I still get chills watching it on youtube.
WTF Pancakes got it right– it was Tony Thompson. Jason was still a little young at the time I think, but he did play with them at the Atlantic Records 40th anniversary party (’88 I think?).
I remember those days… Trying to convince you of the greatness that was Duran Duran. Alas, being a number of years your junior, you were more of an influence on me… Teaching the gospels of Rush and Iron Maiden among others. I’m the only guy I know who, in the 80’s, favorite band was Duran Duran followed closely by everything metal. I blame you Analog Kid!
That was a hugely important day to me. Just finished my first year of college and was deeply down in the dumps. My insane pal Andrew (“Peckerhead”) shows up at my crappy summer job (Channel Hardware) the night before the show and tells me “Dude, we’re going!” I’m stunned. I have to work. It’s in Philly and we’re in Danbury, CT. How did you get tickets? “I don’t have tickets. I figure we borrow money and take off down there and try to get in, right?” Such are the plans of crazed teenaged guys. He convinced me by reminding me of the rumors that Zeppelin were reforming just to play there. So, first thing in the morning, Peck, me and our pal Ray hit FoodBag (to get our junk food) and race to Philly. I mean race. Peck was playing Pole Position at like 90 mph the whole way so we didn’t miss any acts. Get to Philly, troll outside the arena hoping for scalper tickets. Buy three tickets for $75 a piece. Woohoo! Get in line… and our tickets look nothing like everyone else’s. D’oh! Minor heart attack, but the tickets fly and we’re in. We push and cram ourselves up to the front of the stage. It’s boiling hot, they’re spraying the crowd with water hose things, and there are a million gals in bikinis. Then the bands fire up and it’s like rock and roll nirvana. Being a Brit Rock fanatic, I wished I was on the other side of the pond (and my boys The Who got screwed by a satellite snafu that cut off half their act; the legendary Bill Graham was apologizing loudly to the crowd, which called him every name in the book.) And I agree, Queen, who was pseudo-passe at that point, stormed the barricades and stole the day. From U2, Bowie, and even the Who. Next to Queen, U2’s performance was legendary and I’d never heard “Heroes” before, which rocked me to my core. But in Philly there were two moments I’ll never forget. We were right up against the stage when Robert Plant, smoking a cigarette, poked his head out from beneath the stage curtain while Phil Collins was playing. Those of us who saw him went crazy and the arena took up the cheer. Phil thought it was for him and rocked harder. Zeppelin was unreal live. But the moment of moments was Clapton with Collins on drums. As I say, I came out of my first year of college in a deep funk and nothing yet had taken me out of it. Then Clapton started playing “Layla” and as he got to that bittersweet coda, the sun was just going down over the edge of the arena. I welled up, grateful I was here to experience such a perfect magical moment. My funk evaporated into the summer night. Thank you Derek!
I’ve been telling my wife about this cool guy who appears to be going backwards through my blog, and how much we seem to have in common. And then I saw this comment, and now I want to kick your ass. I can’t believe you were there. I am in awe.
Chills running all over my body… as I read the above comments,