It’s worth noting that 1982 was an amazing year for two sub-genres of music; new wave/pop (as typified by the inclusion of definitive tracks from Soft Cell and Human League) and R&B. Despite soul music’s most pathetic showing on the pop charts as anti-disco sentiment reached its height, the year brought forward Evelyn King’s “Love Come Down”, Aretha’s “Jump To It”, and Diana’s “Muscles”. You can add two epochal hip-hop songs to the mix: “Planet Rock” and “The Message”. Then, there was the onslaught of great music that arrived in the last three months of the year. Marvin returned with Midnight Love. Lionel made his debut as a solo artist. Vanity 6, What Time Is It? and 1999 hit our speakers via the Prince camp. And, of course, there was a little album called Thriller. More on that a little later (and even more of that in 1983.)
-1982 was a big Stevie year. There are three Stevie-related songs on the playlist. He’s represented as a solo artist with “That Girl”, as a duet partner with “Ebony And Ivory” (the first 45 I can remember picking out on my own), and as a producer via Third World’s “Try Jah Love”. Stevie didn’t release a studio album in 1982, delivering Original Musicquarium Vol. 1, a hits-plus-new-tracks compilation. In the midst of the first of many “discovery” phases, I remember asking one of my uncle’s baby mommas if she could buy me a copy. She instead gifted me with her personal copy of 1973’s Innervisions. Even though I was a little hot that I didn’t receive what I asked for, the album I was given became a constant part of my rotation. I was way too young to understand the lyrics of “Too High” or “He’s Misstra Know-It-All”, but there was something about the music that got under my skin. To this day, Innervisions is my favorite album of all time.
-Shortly after, I started buying 45s with my own money (which was placed in a piggy bank that looked like a sneaker). First one of those was “I Really Don’t Need No Light” by Jeffrey Osborne, which in retrospect is a really odd purchase for a 6 year old. There would be a bit more age-appropriateness when it came to future purchases.
-I’m pretty sure 1982 was the year I discovered American Top 40. Sunday mornings were intermittently dedicated to church, but when my grandparents or my aunt didn’t feel like having me tag along, I was left to my own devices and wound up discovering a show that extended the premise of countdown programs like Solid Gold and America’s Top Ten. I was already a budding chart nerd, cutting album covers out of newspapers and magazines and arranging my own musical lists. Spending four hours with Casey Kasem every Sunday only increased the addiction.
-Yaz’s “Situation” was a huge club hit in 1982. My youngest uncle (who would’ve been 22 at this time and thus in the midst of peak clubgoing years) loved this song and bought the 12″. Yaz was known as Yazoo at the time. I don’t remember when the name change took place. I do remember not realizing that the lead singer of Yaz was a) a woman and b) Allison Moyet (who I became knowledgeable of a few years later) until maybe 1993?
-It’s worth mentioning that the only two Christmas presents I remember from my childhood were music-related. I mentioned the record player to you in the 1981 entry. Among my presents this year (and I remember specifically asking for these) were two 45s: Janet Jackson’s “Young Love” (her very first single) and Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney’s “The Girl Is Mine”. This might explain why I have a soft spot for the latter song, despite its objective awfulness.