Welcome back to The Fantastic 40:
The artists whose work dominated Billboard’s Top 40 for a calendar year between 1980 and 1991.
This time around, we’re looking at 1982.
What were the stories of 1983’s Fantastic 40?
• The trend: MTV makes a difference.
The channel, which debuted a year earlier, boosted the career of 1981’s top artists, Daryl Hall and John Oates.
But its influence was inescapable in 1982, with at least seven of the Top 10 (led by John Cougar, Rick Springfield and, again, Hall and Oates) having a memorable video garnering MTV attention.
Survivor rode their “Rocky III” smash “Eye of the Tiger” and its follow-up to a Number 16 spot.
Huey Lewis and the News came in at Number 36 via their first two Top 40 hits…
The Human League made it to Number 25 solely on the 21-week chart run of one song, the chart-topping smash “Don’t You Want Me?”
And at Number 38, Laura Branigan made it in on the strength of “Gloria,” a song that was still in Billboard’s Top 5 on the final weekly chart of 1982.
After making their Fantastic 40 debut the preceding year, The Alan Parsons Project eke out a Number 39 placement in 1982. They would have a few more Top 40 singles, but not a sustained streak to return them to the list.
Say goodbye, too, to the Steve Miller Band (32), Crosby, Stills and Nash (24), Paul Davis (21), The Rolling Stones (29), and several mainstays of the Fantastic 40 in 1980-82: Kenny Rogers (23), Neil Diamond (18), and Dan Fogelberg (10).
Another shocker: Number 7: Olivia Newton-John wouldn’t pull together another streak to make the list after 1982.
Only in 1982:
After blasting into the Fantastic 40 with three pop-rockers each, neither Number 5 Joan Jett and the Blackhearts…
…. nor Number 13 The Go-Gos returned – although both acts had additional Top 40 hits later in the decade.
Number 40: Bertie Higgins was a true one-hit wonder with “Key Largo,” while the acts in positions 33-35 (Alabama, Willie Nelson and Quarterflash) had at least one more Top 40 hit up their sleeves.
Time and again:
Ray Parker Jr. comes in as a solo act at Number 37 after making the list in 1981 with Raydio.
Elton John, absent in 1981, returns at Number 26…
… And Stevie Wonder does the same, placing 22nd on the strength of two hits.
After two of its members hit the Top 40 solo, Fleetwood Mac returned in 1982, and they will be back for another go-around.
The Pointer Sisters leap to Number 19 with three songs, the last of which will contribute to another placement for them in a couple of years.
And Kool and the Gang just keep on hitting – 16th in 1980 and 21st in 1981, they’re Number 17 for 1982. And nowhere near stopping.
Air Supply makes the Top 40 with five different hits in 1982. The first three capped a streak of seven consecutive Top 5 hits before they cooled off, with a pair of singles that barely made the Top 40.
Anyone impressed by that five-hit streak – or by Hall and Oates’ similar streak the year before – will be stunned in 1983…
Hint: More than one act will pull off that trick.
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