As promised here, we'll continue itemizing years back through the entire rock era. Cycling through the decades in randomized order (1995, 1972, 1988), we're brought around to 1982.
I was 12 years old in 1982. Mtv was huge, and I wouldn't discover punk rock for another few years. So, I listened to a lot of pop music at the time. Actually, I was listening to a lot of Genesis in 1982, having recently discovered Abacab (1981) and Three Sides Live (1982, no major US hits) but not having plunged into the Gabriel era. Regardless...
The '70s hadn't quite ended (both Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are here), and that distinct '80s sound was just gaining traction (hey, Flock of Seagulls). Michael Jackson hadn't begun gathering together all of pop music under a separate umbrella than rock. I tried to avoid absolute crap that was hot stuff at the time (Men At Work, Toto), and also better stuff that I wasn't even aware of (Iron Maiden, Violent Femmes).
Song names link to YouTube, preferably the original Mtv video. Peak chart position and artist are provided, and even a Wikipedia link to more info on the hitsong itself. My comments are limited...
So here they are: the Top 40 pop songs from 1982 that I think hold up reasonably well today. (Here's an aggregated album list, for what it's worth.)
#1 "Our Lips Are Sealed" (#20) – The Go-Go's - wiki
A lot of the better stuff has its links to punk and post-punk, or new wave I guess.
#2 "867-5309/Jenny (live)" (#4) – Tommy Tutone - wiki
From "Fridays" tv show. I wonder if Tommy Tutone has any other good songs.
#3 "Shake It Up" (#4) – The Cars - wiki
The Cars became pretty bad not too much after they were really good.
#4 "You Got Lucky" (#20) – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - wiki
This was probably my favorite video of 1982. It has a video game in it!
#5 "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" (#1) – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - wiki
It's like an anthem - for rock 'n' roll!
#6 "Back on the Chain Gang" (#5) – The Pretenders - wiki
Lots of great Pretenders songs, they should have had more US hits.
#7 "Steppin' Out" (#6) – Joe Jackson - wiki
I remember how distinctly this song stood out from the rest of Mtv, and it still stands out from most '80s pop.
#8 "Shock the Monkey" (#29) – Peter Gabriel - wiki
I liked this, I liked current Genesis, but I'm pretty sure I hadn't put them together. Seems like something that would have been mentioned a lot at the time.
#9 "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" (#45) – The Clash - wiki
I'm a Combat Rock supporter, including the hits.
#10 "You Dropped a Bomb on Me" (#31) – The Gap Band - wiki
It's like an anthem - for synthfunk!!
#11 "Rock the Casbah" (#8) – The Clash - wiki
Timely, as always.
#12 "Rio" (#14) – Duran Duran - wiki
This is a pretty quality album from what I remember, but I haven't heard the whole thing in many years.
#13 "1999" (#12) – Prince - wiki
Same here. I had the 2xLP way back in the day.
#14 "Freeze-Frame" (#4) - J. Geils Band - wiki
Iconic early-Mtv video/band/song.
#15 "Eminence Front" (#68) – The Who - wiki
From the first post-Keith album, It's Hard. Listened to it a lot on cassette before I'd have known much beyond "My Generation." Oh yeah, it was a Columbia House 12-for-1¢ tape.
#16 "Hang Fire" (#20) – The Rolling Stones - wiki
Similar story to The Who, I probably could have only identified "Satisfaction" as another Stones song.
#17 "Southern Cross" (#18) – Crosby, Stills & Nash - wiki
I actually had listened to quite a bit of CSN/Y in the '70s, due to my mom having Greatest Hits, So Far on the original vinyl edition. Which I dug a lot.
#18 "Someday, Someway" (#36) – Marshall Crenshaw - wiki
Who knows? I like this song.
#19 "Always on my Mind" (#5) – Willie Nelson - wiki
I just checked: only Texan on the list. Sadly.
#20 "We Got the Beat (live)" (#2) – The Go-Go's - wiki
From Urgh! A Music War (1981). Good band.
#21 "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go" (#8) – Soft Cell - wiki
Catchy, transgressive, British Invasion III.
#22 "Rock This Town" (#9) – The Stray Cats - wiki
I'm glad this didn't catch on as a big trend.
#23 "Don't You Want Me" (#1) – The Human League - wiki
Some review I read talked about how the vocals were more machine-like than the synthesizers.
#24 "White Wedding" (#36) – Billy Idol - wiki
Punk. (I mean Billy, not the song.)
#25 "Let It Whip" (#5) – Dazz Band - wiki
Getting close to hip-hop (for early-'80s hit music).
#26 "I Ran" (#9) – Flock of Seagulls - wiki
This one is suprisingly fun to play on Guitar Hero.
#27 "Centerfold" (#1) – J. Geils Band - wiki
I'm still convinced Martha Quinn is in this video.
#28 "Atlantic City" (#10) – Bruce Springsteen - wiki
Like Joe Jackson, this one always distinguished itself at the time. I don't think I especially liked the song, but was fascinated by the idea of this kind of music and a B&W video invading my cable-box.
#29 "Spirits in the Material World" (#11) – The Police - wiki
The Police at the height of their powers. Arguments can be made for the earlier, punkier stuff. And some will actually argue for Synchronicity, but that's bunk.
#30 "Come on Eileen" (#1) – Dexy’s Midnight Runners - wiki
Glad this didn't turn into a big trend either.
#31 "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" (#67) – David Bowie - wiki
Sometimes I like this a lot, sometimes it's just okay.
#32 "No One Like You" (#65) – The Scorpions - wiki
Now that I think of it, I'm surprised there's not more metal here. Was it all bad, or was very little very popular. I honestly don't remember...
#33 "Edge of Seventeen (live)" (#11) – Stevie Nicks - wiki
From the Us Festival, which was some kind of big deal. Stevie!!!!!
#34 "Trouble" (#9) – Lindsey Buckingham - wiki
I'd totally forgotten this song. Not a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, but I do like Lindsey Buckingham's writing and guitar playing.
#35 "I Want Candy" (#62) – Bow Wow Wow - wiki
Malcolm McClaren's post-Pistols attempt at storming the media castle, with The Ants and some underage girl.
#36 "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (#3) – The Police - wiki
And I actually saw The Police on the Synchronicity tour, but Ghost in the Machine is superior.
#37 "Sex (I'm A...)" (#62) - Berlin - wiki
Crazy, and then they had some huge ballad hit later. That was weird.
#38 "Heat of the Moment" (#4) – Asia - wiki
I always remember that Asia was a prog supergroup, but always forget who they were. It was Steve Howe (guitarist from Yes), Carl Palmer (drummer from ELP), the keyboardist from The Buggles, and a bassist who played in King Crimson, Uriah Heep, Roxy Music and Wishbone Ash.
#39 "Somebody's Baby" (#7) – Jackson Browne - wiki
Clearly getting towards the bottom.
#40 "She's Tight" (#65) – Cheap Trick - wiki
I had access to older Cheap Trick cassettes, so I wasn't amazed by this record. But it was good, and this was probably their last hurrah.