30 Years of Albums in My Wheelhouse: 1984

Looking back, my goodness! Was 1984 ever a whirlwind!?!?

I began the year still dating a young lady with whom the cracks in our relationship were beginning to show up to most of the world except for us. By March, we were drifting apart, until I finally ended the relationship in May, only for her to keep trying to get me back for a month longer before giving up. Yet, by the time she threw in the towel on us, I had met the love of my life and moving full steam ahead with her, the woman who ended up being my wife.


Before meeting my soon-to-be-bride, I was living the life of a carefree college junior man-in-training. That first half of the year, I was my fraternity’s president, co-captain of the fraternity bicycling team that qualified 13th in the field of 33 team in Ball State’s version of Indiana University’s “Little 500,” which was called by the uninspiring name of “Bike-a-Thon.,” and was voted 1st runner-up in the “Trike-a-Thon” (we have a way with names at Ball State) King Contest (I was supposed to dress up like Boy George for the photo session but chickened out at the last moment – thank goodness my friends used their coins collected throughout the year to vote for me, otherwise I would have never gotten a vote).


Additionally, I played on a dormitory basketball team that wasn’t too good but was moved up to the “A” team right before the tournament. Before my arrival, the “A” team had won only 5 games. But, for some reason, we jelled together quickly and won the whole thing. It helps when your frontline includes two guys who were drafted in the NFL draft back in 1986 or 1987 and were 6’8″ and 6’5″ respectively. The difference was that I was a consistent outside shooter who could keep the opponents from packing their defense in on them. I hit enough shots to open things up for our studs to win every game for us.

Tina Turner

That summer, I took summer school classes only because I did not want to go home anymore. So, I took a single day each month to visit Mom and my brother that summer. Little did I realize that those visits were nearly my last as a single person. Now, if you really want to have fun college, then take summer school classes. The classes last longer and meet every day, but you are done with them in six weeks or so. Perfect for the person with ADHD, like me. Then, you spend your evening drinking beer on the front porch, with the TV pulled out there to watch the NBA Finals (Celtics vs. Lakers – Bird vs. Magic!) or baseball (game of the week or the All Star Game), music blaring to attract people to stop by to talk or hanging out with the girls who moved in next door that summer, one who ended up becoming my wife.

Prince & the Revolution

When the fall rolled around, I was busy getting ready for graduation (I did not participate – I hate those ceremonies!) and interviewing for my medical technology internship at an area hospital. The only class I really remember much about from college was my immunology class that year, which was the most challenging class but the most interesting at the same time, all because we learned about the immune system by studying a new virus that was causing a silent pandemic at the time, human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. Today, students probably have been studying the immune response to COVID-19, which only makes the course so much more pertinent to you at the time.

The Style Council

For the most part, the music of 1984 was impeccable. Let’s name drop a few of the artists whose careers exploded into the stratosphere that year with critically acclaimed albums: Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Wham! and Van Halen. And while all of that was happening, these artists were debuting with outstanding music: The Smiths, Sade, Los Lobos (technically, their second release but their first full-length album), Sheila E. and Run-D.M.C., just to get the ball rolling.

The Smiths

Falling a year like 1983 is difficult, but the mega-selling album was the big story of the year. Purple Rain, Born in the U.S.A., Private Dancer, Can’t Slow Down and Make It Big were just a few of the titles that dominated the album chart. Plus, there were so many great singles in 1984 that it becomes difficult to narrow one’s list to 50 songs. Finally, I got to see some great artists live in concert like Genesis, Billy Idol, Stray Cats and The Cars.

As I said, I was living the dream in 1984. That means it’s time for the countdown!

50. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry

49. Simple Minds – Sparkle in the Rain

48. Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast

47. Ratt – Out of the Cellar

46. Julian Lennon – Valotte

45. Chicago – Chicago 17

44. The Art of Noise – Who’s Afraid of The Art of Noise

43. The Bronski Beat – The Age of Consent

42. Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II

41. Glenn Frey – The Allnighter

40. INXS – The Swing

39. Joe Jackson – Body and Soul

38. Thompson Twins – Into the Gap

37. The Jacksons – Triumph

36. New Edition – New Edition

35. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasuredome

34. Whodini – Escape

33. Sheila E. – The Glamorous Life

32. Stevie Ray Vaughan – Couldn’t Stand the Rain

31. The Cocteau Twins – Treasure

30. Steve Perry – Street Talk

29. Bryan Adams – Reckless

28. Lindsey Buckingham – Go Insane

27. The Bangles – All Over the Place

26. Depeche Mode – Some Great Reward

25. Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

24. The Time – Ice Cream Castles

23. Wham! – Make It Big

22. General Public – …All the Rage

21. The Replacements – Let It Be

20. Run-D.M.C. – Run-D.M.C.

19. Metallica – Ride the Lightning

18. Los Lobos – How Will the Wolf Survive?

17. The Cars – Heartbeat City

16. Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime

15. Chaka Khan – I Feel for You

14. Hüsker Dü – Zen Arcade

13. The Pretenders – Learning to Crawl

12. U2 – The Unforgettable Fire

11. Echo & the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain

10. Tina Turner – Private Dancer

9. Sade – Diamond Life

8. Van Halen – 1984

7. The Smiths – The Smiths

6. R.E.M. – Reckoning

5. Daryl Hall & John Oates – Big Bam Boom

4. Madonna – Like a Virgin

3. The Style Council – My Ever Changing Moods

2. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A.

1. Prince & the Revolution – Purple Rain

Author: ifmyalbumscouldtalk

I am just a long-time music fan who used to be a high school science teacher and a varsity coach of several high school athletic teams. Before that, I worked as a medical technologist at three hospitals in their labs, mainly as a microbiologist. I am retired/disabled (Failed Back Surgery Syndrome), and this is my attempt to remain a human. Additionally, I am a serious vinyl aficionado, with a CD addiction and a love of reading about rock history. Finally, I am a fan of Prince, Cheap Trick, Tom Petty, R.E.M., Hall & Oates, Springsteen, Paul Weller & his bands and Power Pop music.

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