9 to 5 by Dolly Parton was released on November 29, 1980, with Sing for the Common Man as the B side. The song appeared on the soundtrack album for the film of the same name, which starred Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin. It also appeared on Parton’s album 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs.
The song was a No. 1 hit in the United States, reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, Hot Country Songs, and Adult Contemporary charts. It was also nominated for an Academy Award and four Grammy Awards, winning for Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. Continue reading
I Would Die 4 U by Prince and the Revolution was released November 28, 1984, with Another Lonely Christmas as the B side. It was the fourth single from the album Purple Rain.
The song reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, the last Top 10 single from Purple Rain. It re-charted after Prince’s death, reaching No. 39 on the Hot 100 the week of May 14, 2016.
Picture sleeve for the US 7″ release
Don’t You Want Me by The Human League was released November 27, 1981, with Seconds as the B side. It was the fourth single from the band’s fourth studio album Dare.
In the United Kingdom, the song was the 1981 Christmas number one. The Human League’s first single released in the United States, Don’t You Want Me topped the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks in July 1982. Continue reading
Christmas in Hollis by Run-DMC was released November 25, 1987, with Peter Piper as the B side. It was originally released as a single from the Christmas compilation album A Very Special Christmas, which included artists such as Madonna, Pretenders, U2, Sting, and Whitney Houston. Proceeds from the sales of the album were donated to the Special Olympics. Christmas in Hollis was the only original composition on the album.
Christmas in Hollis, which refers to the Hollis, Queens neighborhood where Run-DMC grew up, samples Back Door Santa, a 1968 release by Clarence Carter, as well as holiday classics Frosty the Snowman, Joy to the World, and Jingle Bells.
The song didn’t chart upon its original release. In 2000, it reached No. 78 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Fresh by Kool and the Gang was released November 24, 1984, with In the Heart as the B side. It was a single from the band’s sixteenth studio album Emergency, which would become their biggest selling album.
Although it wasn’t released until 1984, Fresh dates back to 1978. According to Wikipedia and Songfacts.com, the song is credited for coining the slang “fresh” to mean “cool.”
The song peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was a No. 1 hit on the R&B and dance charts. In the United Kingdom, it reached No. 11 on the UK Singles chart.
Obsession by Animotion was released November 23, 1984, with Turn Around as the B side. It was the debut single from the group’s self-titled debut album.
The song originally was written and recorded by Holly Knight and Michael Des Barres in 1983. This version was featured in the 1983 film A Night in Heaven; however, Animotion’s version was by far the big success of the two. It reached No. 5 in the United Kingdom and No. 6 in the United States. Continue reading
Straight Up By Paula Abdul was released November 22, 1988, with Cold Hearted as the B side. It was a single from Abdul’s debut album Forever Your Girl. Before launching her singing career, Abdul was a cheerleader and dancer for the Los Angeles Lakers and choreographed several popular music videos for artists like Janet Jackson, Debbie Gibson, and Duran Duran.
Straight Up was a No. 1 hit in the United States and the best-selling single of 1989. A huge hit internationally, the song also went to No. 1 in Norway and Canada and was a Top 5 hit in several other countries, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The music video was directed by now famous movie director David Fincher (Seven, Fight Club, The Social Network) and featured comedian Arsenio Hall, whose talk show had premiered a few weeks prior to the video shoot. The video went on to win four 1989 MTV Video Music Awards, including for Best Female Video, Best Dance, Best Choreography, and Best Editing.
My Hometown by Bruce Springsteen was released November 21, 1985, with Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town as the B side. My Hometown, about Springsteen’s experiences growing up in Freehold, New Jersey, was a single from the album Born in the U.S.A. The B side was a live recording from a December 12, 1975, Springsteen concert on Long Island, New York. Springsteen’s version of the popular Christmas song was previously released in 1981 on a children’s album In Harmony 2.
My Hometown reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the seventh and last Top 10 single from Born in the U.S.A. — a record for the most top 10 singles from an album that stands today, tied with Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. In the United Kingdom, My Hometown reached No. 9 on the UK Singles chart.
The music video featured a live performance of the song from a concert on the Born in the U.S.A. tour.
The picture sleeve of the UK 7″ release.
Come Dancing by The Kinks was released in the United Kingdom on November 19, 1982, with Noise as the B side. It was a single from the band’s nineteenth studio album State of Confusion.
The song failed to chart in the UK upon its initial release. When it was released months later in the United States, it was propelled by frequent airplay of the song’s music video on MTV. As a result, Come Dancing reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band’s highest US charting single in over a decade. Continue reading
867-5309/Jenny by Tommy Tutone was released November 16, 1981, with Not Say Goodbye as the B side. It was a single from the band’s album Tommy Tutone 2.
The song reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100, but perhaps a larger footnote in pop culture history is the movement of prank phone calls it inspired to the number in the song’s title. If you grew up in the 80s and didn’t dial 867-5309 and ask for Jenny at least once, you clearly were not utilizing your rotary phone to its fullest capacity. Those who had the number in various area codes were flooded with calls. For instance:
- In 1982, WLS radio obtained the number from a Chicago woman, receiving 22,000 calls in four days.
- In 1982, Southwest Junior High School received up to two hundred calls daily asking for Jenny in area code 704.
Check out Wikipedia for a continuation of this list and, if you still can’t quite remember the phenomenon that was 867-5309 back in the early 80s, read this very cool 1982 People magazine article about it, complete with interviews with members of the band.