#atozchallenge Top Ten: WLS (890 AM, Chicago, IL), 1/26/85

From the time I got my first radio until Mary and I moved to Georgia, WLS was the station I turned to for Top 40 music. Even after WCFL went Top 40, I mostly listened to "The Big 89," though I switched back and forth between WLS and WCFL through high school. By the end of the ’70’s "Super CFL" was playing "beautiful music" and WLS was the only game in town, at least on the AM dial. Meanwhile, almost a dozen rock and Top 40 stations had started up on FM (including WDAI, which had started as WLS-FM and is that today), and WLS was losing its listeners to those stations. So they transitioned themselves into a news-talk station, completely dropping Top 40 by the early ’90’s. Here’s their Top Ten from January 26, 1985.

#10 – Chaka Khan, "I Feel For You": Chicago native Chaka Khan had been with The American Breed when they morphed into the band Rufus, and by 1983 that band had broken up. "I Feel For You" was written by Prince and appeared in his eponymous 1979 album. Chaka’s version included a rap by Grandmaster Melle Mel and harmonica by Stevie Wonder. It reached #3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the R&B and Dance charts, and was an international Top Ten hit.

#9 – Bryan Adams, "Run To You": The lead single from his 1984 album Reckless, it’s considered a "cheating classic." Nevertheless, it reached #6 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Top Rock Tracks chart, #4 in Canada and #8 in Ireland.

#8 – Chicago, "You’re The Inspiration": From the 1984 album Chicago 17, a song written by Peter Cetera and David Foster. This was the midst of Chicago’s "power ballads" days, with Cetera doing the vocals and about half the band playing keyboards of some kind. Nevertheless, it reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts in the US and Canada, #3 in the US, and #5 in Canada. Peter left Chicago for a solo career after he finished this album.

#7 – Prince, "I Would Die 4 U": The fourth single from 1984’s Purple Rain, it reached #8 on the Hot 100.

#6 – New Edition, "Cool It Now": The first single from their eponymous 1984 album, the song peaked at #4 on the Hot 100 and topped the Hot Black Singles chart.

#5 – Foreigner, "I Want To Know What Love Is": A power ballad and first single from Foreigner’s fifth album, 1984’s Agent Provocateur. It reached #1 in both the US and the UK, their highest-ranked single in either country to date. Rolling Stone magazine has ranked this #479 in their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

#4 – Band Aid, "Do They Know It’s Christmas": Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wrote this as a reply to the 1983-85 famines in Ethiopia and recorded by the supergroup Band Aid, which Geldof and Ure assembled from the cream of the British and Irish groups. It was sold during the 1984 Christmas season and was one of the fastest-selling singles of all time, reaching #1 in many countries and started the fad of charity singles, including "We Are The World" by the supergroup USA for Africa. Lack of airplay in the US resulted in it not reaching the Top Ten on the Hot 100.

#3 – Jack Wagner, "All I Need": Wagner, a soap opera star in the US (at the time, he played Frisco Jones on the long-running General Hospital), wrote and recorded this as the title track on his 1984 debut album. It reached #1 on the US and Canadian Adult Contemporary charts, #2 on the Hot 100 (where it stayed behind Madonna’s "Like A Virgin") and #3 in Canada. To date, he hasn’t had another Top 40 single…

#2 – Philip Bailey & Phil Collins, "Easy Lover": Bailey, from Earth Wind & Fire, and Collins, from Genesis, got together and recorded this after Collins was hired to produce Bailey’s album. It was a great song and even greater video, with the two of them shown clowning around and having a great time recording this. Naturally, it was also stuck behind…

#1 – Madonna, "Like A Virgin": A song written by Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg (who said it is based on personal experience) and produced by Nile Rodgers. It’s a dance-oriented song and contrasts Madonna’s high register with the bass line. It was the title track from Madonna’s second album from 1984, and established her as a pop culture icon.

Back tomorrow with M!

21 thoughts on “#atozchallenge Top Ten: WLS (890 AM, Chicago, IL), 1/26/85

    1. I only had an AM radio in my first car (an ’84 Cavalier–I started driving late), so I listened to a lot of WLS. Eventually “The Loop” (WLUP-FM) started simulcasting on AM 1000 where WCFL used to be, so there was a choice.


  1. I Feel for You is one of the songs on a Jazzercise video I have. Every time I hear that song, I feel like I should be exercising. πŸ™‚ Thankfully, I don’t hear it often!


  2. Oooh, some really good ones in this list. It was tricky to pick my favourite, so I had to go with the only artist on the list whose concert I went to and that would be #9 Bryan Adams. Fabulous concert – didn’t rely on anything flashy, he just got up and sang. I think that was back in about 1993.


  3. All are so great and love to dance to them except the Cool It Now. I had to do a double take because I thought it has to be a young girl or a boy and when I saw this man singing with that voice..i started to laugh…sorry. I wonder if an elephant stepped on his nuts.


  4. John,

    Foreigner, Phil Collins, and Madonna are my favorites from the 80s. Lovely playlist to listen to while doing return visits today!

    I have another Looney Tunes A-Z Art Sketch to share with you, check it out my illustration I named, Lunch. Happy A2Zing!


  5. Hi John – thanks … another interesting collection … I’m enjoying them – cheers Hilary


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