This continuing series on the Analog Kid blog takes a look back at some of the best AOR songs from the ’70s and ’80s. All of these songs were radio favorites from my teenage years in Texas, but for some reason you just don’t seem to hear them much any more. I hope to change that.

Texas Radio & The Big Beat: 1982 (Part 2)

I usually only feature five songs per post on my Texas Radio & The Big Beat series, but I made an exception last January when I featured the classic rock of 1982. 1982 is my favorite year ever for music, so I doubled down and featured ten songs because I just couldn’t choose five.  You can check out that post here:

Well, now it’s time to visit 1982 a second time– and once again, I’m going big. Here are ten more classic AOR tracks from 1982 that you may have forgotten about!


High Adventure

Kenny Loggins & Steve Perry: “Don’t Fight It” (Pitchford/Loggins/Perry)

From the album High Adventure

Columbia Records, 1982

Don’t Fight It

Hey look– Kenny Loggins had a hit in the ’80s that wasn’t from a movie soundtrack! “Don’t Fight It” reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, due in no small part to the presence of Journey’s Steve Perry on vocals. For me, though, it’s Neil Giraldo’s blistering guitar that really makes “Don’t Fight It” an ’80s classic.


Opus X

Chilliwack: “Whatcha Gonna Do (When I’m Gone)” (Henderson/MacLeod)

From the album Opus X

Millennium Records, 1982

Whatcha Gonna Do

The Canadian band Chilliwack only had two Top 40 singles in the U.S., and “Whatcha Gonna Do (When I’m Gone)” wasn’t one of them– it peaked at #41 in 1982. Dallas station Q102 loved the band, though, and this song was in regular rotation throughout the year. Make no mistake: you’re going to be singing this chorus in your head for the rest of the day. Sorry about that.


All Four One

The Motels: “Mission Of Mercy” (Davis/Jourard)

From the album All Four One

Capitol Records, 1982

Mission Of Mercy

The Motels were under a tremendous amount of pressure from their label to deliver a hit album in the States, and the situation only worsened when Capitol rejected the band’s first attempt at a new record. Unfazed, the revamped Motels re-recorded the songs from the shelved Apocalyso and released All Four One, one of my favorite albums of the ’80s. “Mission Of Mercy” wasn’t a huge hit on the pop charts, but it did reach #23 on the Album Rock chart.


Jump Up!

Elton John: “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” (John/Taupin)

From the album Jump Up!

Geffen Records, 1982

Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)

Elton has rarely played “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” in concert over the years, as he says it’s just too emotional for him. I understand this completely, as Elton’s tribute to his dear friend John Lennon still chokes me up every time I hear it. “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” only reached #13 on the Hot 100, but in my eyes it is easily the best Elton John song of the ’80s.


No Fun Aloud

Glenn Frey: “I Found Somebody” (Frey/Tempchin)

From the album No Fun Aloud

Asylum Records, 1982

Vinyl rip courtesy of the Analog Kid

I Found Somebody

No Fun Aloud was Glenn Frey’s first solo album, and it had a much more soulful swing than his work with The Eagles. “I Found Somebody” almost made the Top 30, but anyone with MTV in the summer of 1982 will remember the video:

I can assure you that the Analog Kid has very fond memories of the lovely young lady in the video!


Private Audition

Heart: “City’s Burning” (A. Wilson/N. Wilson/Ennis)

From the album Private Audition

Epic Records, 1982

“City’s Burning” was another MTV staple during that summer of ’82. Private Audition didn’t do very well on the charts, but it did re-awaken my love for Heart. I had “Magic Man” and “Barracuda” on 45 when I was a kid, and “City’s Burning” helped remind me just how much I loved Ann Wilson’s voice. I spent that summer in Irvine visiting my Dad, and I can still remember begging him to take me to see Heart and John Cougar at the nearby Irvine Meadows Amphitheater. I think we went to see The World According To Garp instead. I am still slightly traumatized from the incident.


Get Closer

Linda Ronstadt: “Get Closer” (Carroll)

From the album Get Closer

Asylum Records, 1982

Get Closer

Speaking of great voices…

I just finished reading Simple Dreams, the Linda Ronstadt autobiography that came out a few years ago. If you love music, it’s a must-read. Linda could have filled the book with crazy rock and roll stories, but instead she focuses on the music itself (what a novel concept!). She spends as much time talking about The Pirates Of Penzance and Nelson Riddle as she does on Heart Like A Wheel, and the book is all the better for it. Simple Dreams was released before Linda announced that Parkinson’s disease had robbed her of her beautiful voice, and that knowledge makes the book even more profound.


Three Sides Live [Disc 2]

Genesis: “Paperlate” (Banks/Collins/Rutherford)

From the album Three Sides Live

Atlantic Records, 1982


“Paperlate” was a Top 40 hit for Genesis in 1982, but I can’t remember the last time I heard it on the radio. “Paperlate” was initially released on the U.K. EP 3×3 in May of 1982, and was finally released in the U.S. on side four of the Three Sides Live album. Overseas, the Three Sides Live album actually had four full sides of live music. Isn’t that confusing? No more confusing, I suppose, than a middle-aged balding drummer becoming the biggest pop star in the world in the mid-’80s, right?



Greg Kihn Band: “Testify” (Kihn/Lynch/Wright/Carpenter/Phillips)

From the album Kihntinued

Beserkley Records, 1982


The Greg Kihn Band had been making great records for years before finally hitting the Top 20 with the 1981 classic “The Breakup Song.” 1982’s “Testify” didn’t even chart on the Hot 100, but it was a Top 5 single on the Mainstream Rock chart and an AOR staple. Add 1984’s “Reunited” to the list, and you have a power-pop trifecta that would make even the Raspberries and Big Star proud.


Eye To Eye

Eye To Eye: “Nice Girls” (Berg/Marshall)

From the album Eye To Eye

Warner Brothers Records, 1982

Nice Girls

I had forgotten all about Eye To Eye until I stumbled upon a vinyl copy of their debut LP at a record shop in the late ’90s. The cover looked familiar to me, so I took a chance and bought it. If that happened today, I would have just googled it on my phone and realized, “Oh yeah, “Nice Girls” was a #37 hit in 1982.” But back then, I had to take a chance. And that chance was rewarded.

If “Nice Girls” reminds you of Steely Dan in any way, you’re not alone. The record was produced by Gary Katz, Steely Dan’s long-time producer.


Bonus Tracks!

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.

Wanna Be A Star

Chilliwack: “My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)” (Henderson/MacLeod)

From the album Wanna Be A Star

Millennium Records, 1981

My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)



The Motels: “Mission Of Mercy” (Davis/Jourard)

From the album Apocalypso

Omnivore Recordings, 2011

Mission Of Mercy


The Long Run

The Eagles: “Heartache Tonight” (Frey/Henley/Souther/Seger)

From the album The Long Run

Asylum Records, 1979

Heartache Tonight


Dreamboat Annie

Heart: “Magic Man” (A. Wilson/N. Wilson)

From the album Dreamboat Annie

Mushroom Records, 1976

Magic Man


American Fool

John Cougar: “Hand To Hold On To” (Mellencamp)

From the album American Fool

Riva Records, 1982

Hand To Hold On To


Little Queen

Heart: “Barracuda” (A. Wilson/N. Wilson/Fisher/DeRosier)

From the album Little Queen

Portrait Records, 1977



What's New

Linda Ronstadt & The Nelson Riddle Orchestra: “What’s New” (Burke/Haggart)

From the album What’s New

Asylum Records, 1983

What’s New


Heart Like A Wheel

Linda Ronstadt: “You’re No Good” (Ballard, Jr.)

From the album Heart Like A Wheel

Capitol Records, 1974

You’re No Good



Greg Kihn Band: “The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)” (Kihn/Wright)

From the album Rockihnroll

Beserkley Records, 1981

The Breakup Song (They Don’t Write ‘Em)



Greg Kihn Band: “Reunited” (Kihn/Wright/Phillips)

From the album Kihntagious

Beserkley Records, 1984



#1 Record

Big Star: “Feel” (Bell/Chilton)

From the album #1 Record

Ardent Records, 1972




Raspberries: “Go All The Way” (Carmen/Bryson)

From the album Raspberries

Capitol Records, 1972

Go All The Way



Steely Dan: “Babylon Sisters” (Becker/Fagan)

From the album Gaucho

MCA Records, 1980

Babylon Sisters



About The Analog Kid

"I'm 5-foot-8, 123 pounds. I have, uh, brown hair, blue eyes. I enjoy surfing, backgammon and men who aren't afraid to cry."

One response »

  1. patsandsox says:

    Great selection and I owned most of the vinyl’s at the time

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