#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “U” is for “Urgent”


I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Released in June 1981, “Urgent” is the first single from Foreigner’s album 4. A mix of rock and soul, it has lead singer’s Lou Gramm’s distinctive vocals. Featured also are Thomas Dolby’s synthesizer and Junior Walker’s saxophone. Here it is:

#AtoZ 1981 BONUS SUNDAY!


It’s the last bonus Sunday of the month, and I wanted to feature a song that did make it big. Issued in January 1981 by the Dutch pop group Stars on 45, the song is called “Stars on 45 Medley” and was a medley of hits (you’ll see). It reached #1 in the Netherlands in February, #2 in the UK in April, and #1 in the US in June 1981.

The song kind of kicked off a craze of various medleys. Copyright issues? I have no idea.

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “T” is for “Tainted Love”


I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Did you know that “Tainted Love” was originally recorded by singer Gloria Jones in 1964? I did not know!! It really became famous after it was reworked by the British synthpop duo Soft Cell in 1981. Let’s watch and listen to the 1981 hit first:

And here’s the original 1964 version by Gloria Jones:

Which version do you like better?

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “S” is for “Start Me Up”


I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

From their album Tattoo You, “Start Me Up” was the lead single released off the album, and reached #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1981. It was the biggest hit of the 80s for The Rolling Stones in the US.

Music critic Stewart Mason noted, “There were hits after ‘Start Me Up,’ but…it’s undeniable that this…was the last great Rolling Stones song.” Here are The Stones live in 2006:

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “R” is for “Rapture”


I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Released in January 1981 on Blondie’s fifth album Autoamerican, “Rapture” combines new wave with disco with hip hop, and really symbolizes the changing genres of music in the early 1980s.

Lead singer Debbie Harry and guitarist Chris Stein attended a rap event in the Bronx in 1978, and were impressed. The title of the song is both a play on words and an homage to rap.

This video was the first ever rap video ever broadcast on MTV. Here it is:

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “Q” is for “Queen of Hearts”


I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Written by Emmylou Harris’s pedal steel guitarist Hank DeVito, “Queen of Hearts” was a #2 hit for country-rock singer Juice Newton. The following year, in 1982, Newton won a Grammy for Best Female Vocalist (Country and Western category).

“Queen of Hearts” was featured in the 1986 film Salvador and the 1997 film Boogie Nights. It also appears in a 1998 King of the Hill episode and a 2017 South Park episode. Here’s the video:

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “P” is for “Physical”


I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Are you ready for this? “Physical,” by Olivia Newton-John, was the lead single on her eleventh album, released in September 1981. The song was originally offered to Tina Turner, who declined it (but Tina had plenty of big hits). “Physical” was a huge success and spent ten weeks at #1 on the charts. The suggestive lyrics even caused it to be banned in some areas, but check out the video.

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “O” is for “One of Us”


I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Released in 1981 on ABBA’s eighth album, The Visitors, “One of Us” would be ABBA’s last #1 single of their career.

ABBA, if you didn’t already know, took the names of the two women in the group (Agnetha and Anni-Frid) and the names of the two men in the group (Björn and Benny) to form the group’s name.

Fans of the musical Mamma Mia will recall this number in Act II, sung by Donna.

#AtoZ 1981 BONUS SUNDAY!


It’s Sunday (and Happy Easter to those who celebrate). Another Bonus Sunday to cram in a few extra 1981 songs for you.

Written and sung by Rosanne Cash, “Seven Year Ache” was released in February 1981 on Cash’s album of the same name. Yes, she’s the daughter of Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian.

This was Rosanne Cash’s first music video, filmed in Nashville and features Cash singing live to a crowd.

#AtoZ 1981 Songs to Remember – “N” is for “(The) Night Owls”


I chose 1981 music as my theme this year. My newest novel The Summer of Princess Diana is set in the summer of 1981, and oh! the music! Let’s take a look back at a pivotal time in the music industry.

Little River Band was an Australian group originally formed in 1975. Probably best known in the US for their hit “Reminiscing” (1978), this song, “The Night Owls,” was released in September 1981 as the lead single from their album Time Exposure.

Little River Band is considered to be one of Australia’s most significant bands. As of 2004 they had sold more than 30 million records and had 13 US Top 40 hits.