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1984 in Rock & Roll History
The first MTV Video Music Awards are held in New York City. Madonna's suggestive performance of "Like A Virgin" draws attention. Marvin Gaye is shot and killed in an argument with his father. Sting leaves the Police. The Band Aid single "Do They Know It's Christmas" organized by Bob Geldof and featuring Bono, Sting, Simon LeBon, Paul Weller and many others, is released to aid Ethiopian famine victims. Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses his left arm in a New Year's Eve car accident.
Top 40 Singles of 1984
1 Stevie Wonder
I Just Called to Say I Love You
2 George Michael - Careless Whisper
3 Prince - When Doves Cry
4 Cyndi Lauper
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
5 Tina Turner
What's Love Got to Do With It?
Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
7 Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Relax
8 Phil Collins - Against All Odds
9 Van Halen - Jump
10 Madonna - Like a Virgin
11 Ray Parker Jr - Ghostbusters
12 Kenny Loggins - Footloose
13 Lionel Richie - Hello
14 Michael Jackson - Thriller
15 Bruce Springsteen
Dancing in the Dark
16 Prince - Purple Rain
17 Cyndi Lauper - Time After Time
18 Duran Duran - Wild Boys
19 Chaka Khan - I Feel For You
20 Frankie Goes To Hollywood
21 Laura Branigan - Self Control
22 Duran Duran - The Reflex
23 Queen - Radio Ga Ga
24 Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me
25 U2 - Pride (In the Name of Love)
26 Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart
27 The Cars - Drive
28 Denise Williams
Let's Hear it For the Boy
29 Billy Ocean - Caribbean Queen
30 Wham! - Last Christmas
31 Alphaville - Big in Japan
32 Prince - Let's Go Crazy
33 Sade - Smooth Operator
34 Queen - I Want to Break Free
35 Wham! - Freedom
36 Madonna - Borderline
37 Cyndi Lauper - She Bop
38 Madonna - Holiday
39 Bronski Beat - Smalltown Boy
40 The Romantics
Talking in Your Sleep
Top 50 Albums of 1984
1 Bruce Springsteen - Born In The USA
2 Prince - Purple Rain
3 Madonna - Like A Virgin
4 Bob Marley - Legend
5 Original Soundtrack - Footloose
6 U2 - The Unforgettable Fire
7 Wham! - Make It Big
8 Tina Turner - Private Dancer
9 Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
10 Sade - Diamond Life
11 Van Halen - 1984 (mcmlxxxiv)
12 Huey Lewis & The News - Sports
13 Frankie Goes To Hollywood Welcome To The Pleasuredome 14 Stevie Wonder & Dionne Warwick The Woman In Red
15 The Smiths - The Smiths
16 Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
17 The Pretenders - Learning To Crawl
18 Madonna - The First Album
19 Duran Duran - Arena
20 Queen - The Works
21 Elton John - Breaking Hearts
22 Metallica - Ride The Lightning
23 Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers
24 The Alan Parsons Project Ammonia Avenue
25 Duran Duran
Seven & The Ragged Tiger
26 Iron Maiden - Powerslave
27 Chicago - Chicago 17
28 Julio Iglesias - 1100 Bel Air Place
29 The Cars - Heartbeat City
30 John Lennon - Milk & Honey
31 David Bowie - Tonight
32 The Scorpions - Love At First Sting
33 Simple Minds - Sparkle In The Rain
34 The Thompson Twins - Into The Gap
35 Dire Straits
Alchemy, Dire Straits Live
36 The Jackson 5 - Victory
37 Billy Idol - Rebel Yell
38 Don Henley
Building The Perfect Beast
39 Mike Oldfield - Discovery
40 Echo & The Bunnymen - Ocean Rain
41 Culture Club
Waking Up With The House On Fire
42 Depeche Mode - Some Great Reward
43 Original Soundtrack - Ghostbusters
44 REM - Reckoning
45 Alison Moyet - Alf
46 Bronski Beat - The Age Of Consent
Double Nickels on the Dime
48 Matt Bianco
Whose Side Are You On
49 Paul McCartney
Give My Regards To Broad Street
50 Rush - Grace Under Pressure
All chart information above is from Tsort and uses a formula based on splitting the world into four regions based on sales, the USA (about 35%), other English speaking countries (about 20%), the rest of Europe (about 25%) and the rest of the world (about 20%). We feel this is the best methodology available to show the global impact of a song or album. More detailed chart info is available on the Tsort website. Actual US & UK charts are linked at the bottom of each year timeline on this site. Reformulated 1970's superstars Yes have a #1 US, #28 UK hit single with "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and the best selling album of their career. (more) Liverpool dance/pop band Frankie Goes To Hollywood have a #1 UK, #10 US hit single with "Relax" off their debut album. (more) The debut album from New Jersey band Bon Jovi is released and the single "Runaway" squeaks into the Top 40 at #39. (more) Liverpool postpunk band Echo & the Bunnymen have their second top ten single in the UK with "Killing Moon" from the bands #4 UK LP Ocean Rain. (more) After losing two band members to drug overdoses, The Pretenders return with the #5 US album Learning To Crawl and have a #5 US single with "Back On The Chain Gang". (more) Michael Jackson is rushed to the hospital after his hair catches fire from the pyrotechnics used during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. (more)
Manchester UK band The Smiths release their debut album which goes to #2 in the UK. In the US their impact is limited to college radio.
Van Halen have the only #1 single of their career with the synth heavy "Jump". The album, 1984, is their sixth and goes to #2 US, #15 UK. (more)
Wierd Al Yankovic hits #12 US with his single "Eat It". The shot-for-shot parody video of Michael Jackson's "Beat It" gets heavy MTV rotation.
The soundtrack to the movie Footloose is released, generating two #1 singles. The album goes to #1 US for nine weeks.
Queens, NY rappers Run DMC release their debut album which charts at #53 US. The album features a groundbreaking mix of hip-hop and hard rock that would prove influential.
The movie This Is Spinal Tap is released. The mockumentary about a fictional english band does poorly in initial release, but grows in popularity on video in the 90's. (more)
UK synth band Depeche Mode release the single "People are People" and have a worldwide hit #4 UK, #13 US.
LA glam metal band Ratt have a #12 single "Round and Round" and a top ten album in the US with their debut. (more)
Boston band The Cars release their fifth album Heartbeat City. The album goes to #3 in the US led by the #1 single "Drive".
Marvin Gaye is shot to death by his father in his Los Angeles home following an argument.
Tina Turner releases her comeback album, Private Dancer, which goes to #3 US, #2 UK. She also becomes the oldest female artist to have a #1 single with "Whats Love Got to Do With It" at 44 years old. (more)
The single "For All The Girls I've Loved Before" goes to #5 US and #1 on the country charts, in this unlikely collaboration between Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias.
German heavy metal band The Scorpions have a top ten album with Love At First Sting, driven by the single "Rock You Like A Hurricane". (more)
The third album by NY metal band Twisted Sister goes to #15 US, following heavy MTV play for the videos "We're Not Gonna Take It" and "I Wanna Rock".
Prince releases the album Purple Rain which goes #1 for 25 weeks. The LP contains four top ten singles, including two number ones, "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy". (more) Born In The USA is the seventh album by Bruce Springsteen and spends the year trading the #1 spot with Purple Rain. The album generates seven top ten singles in the US. (more) The single White Lines (Don't Do It) is released by Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel and goes to #7 UK, #47 US R&B. (more) Minneapolis, MN trio Husker Du release the two record concept album Zen Arcade. An influential album in the move from punk to alternative rock.
NYC band Scandal have a top ten single with "The Warrior" off their second album.
San Pedro, CA punk band The Minutemen release their fourth album on SST Records, Double Nickles On The Dime. (more) LA band the Red Hot Chili Peppers release their debut album, produced by Gang of Four's Andy Gill. The album enjoys college radio success. Canadian singer Corey Hart releases his debut album and has a top ten hit with "Suglasses at Night". (more) The Stevie Wonder produced soundtrack for the movie The Woman in Red gives him a #1 hit with "I Just Called To Say I Love You". (more)
English rock veteran John Waite scores a #1 single as a solo artist with "Missing You".
The Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense is released featuring lead singer David Byrne in the big suit. (more) Madonna causes a stir at the first annual MTV Video Music Awards with her suggestive performance of "Like a Virgin". (more) John Lennon's son Julian Lennon has two top ten singles off his debut album "Valotte" and "Too Late For Goodbyes". (more) English pop duo Wham! make it big with their second album #1 US and UK. They have three #1 singles and four top five. (more) Minneapolis, MN punk band The Replacements diversify their sound on their third album Let It Be on Twintone. (more) Madonna's second album Like A Virgin is released and goes right to the top in both the US and UK. (more) Bob Geldof and Midge Ure organize a charity supergroup to raise money for Ethopian famine relief and score a #1 single with "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (more) UK R&B singer Billy Ocean goes to #4 in the US and UK with the single "Caribean Queen". (more) Political wife Tipper Gore is offended by her young daughters Purple Rain album and organizes the Parents Music Resource Council to advocate for warning stickers on albums. (more) Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen loses his arm in a car crash. He spends the next year learning to drum on a custom set with extensive foot pedals.(more) Boston boy band, New Edition, break into the top ten with their second album featuring the #4 US single "Cool It Now". Unforgettable Fire goes #1 UK, #12 US. (more)
"Despite all of the cliches, rock & roll, when it's great, is amazing. It changes your life; it changed our life."
U2 guitarist The Edge
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