1. “Chiquitita,” Abba
A lot better than “Dancing Queen,” in my opinion, even though the latter is the song you usually hear in the radio. Agnetha and Anni-Frid sing English like they don’t understand a word they’re saying, which I suppose they didn’t. The “Spanish” rhythm is hokey at best, but it still has a certain…zip to it.
2. “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” Rod Stewart
Say it ain’t so, Rod! Stewart’s foray into disco actually kinda holds up. Of course, this was long before he got into the Great American Songbook crap. Blonde roach-haired (please pardon the expression) cock-rock at its best.
3. “Making Love Out of Nothing At All,” Air Supply
And yet another Jim Steinman over-the-top blast of piano crunch and background-singer bombast. He uses the same formula over and over (repeated in Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” as well as nearly all of Meat Loaf’s catalog) and somehow it continues to work.
4. “Rock Soldiers,” Ace Frehley
He speaks the verses rather than sings, but it sure as heck ain’t rap. True story of Frehley’s “near-fatal wreck,” and proof positive why KISS was just a bunch of poseurs without him.
5. “Danger Zone,” Kenny Loggins
For a while there, Kenny was “Mr. Soundtrack.” This, of course, comes from Top Gun. While I can certainly do without Tom Cruise’s still-creepy pre-Scientology smirk, Steve Stevens’ tremendous guitar work almost makes up for it.
6. “We Built This City,” Starship
Once proclaimed “The Worst Rock Song Ever,” I beg to differ…somewhat. Yes, some of the lyrics sound like they were written during a combination Vicodin/peyote trip, but Grace Slick’s voice–what a loss when this woman decided to stop singing.
7. “Bette Davis Eyes,” Kim Carnes
Lightweight 80’s keyboard fluff, to say the least. Still, this song spent how many weeks at No. 1? Twelve or sixteen, if I remember correctly. More than enough, even if she never had another hit, to set her up for life. (However, I remember during the height of this song’s fame, Kim appeared on the old ABC late-night sketch show “Fridays.” She did “Bette Davis Eyes” and also a kickass version of the Stones’ “Under My Thumb,” with the gender, of course, reversed. I wish I could find an MP3 of that.)
8. “All Or Nothing,” O-Town
One of the fast-disappearing Boy Bands, O-Town hardly hung around long enough to make any sort of impression. Well, they made an impression on me. So sue me.
9. “Baker Street,” Gerry Rafferty
I don’t even know what to say about this–he thinks a saxophone gives a song a gritty, urban texture? Nah. He doesn’t even qualify as a lightweight Billy Joel. The guitar solo isn’t too bad though.
10. “Jeopardy,” Greg Kihn
This is a case where the video is more memorable than the song that inspired it. Talk about a cheesy three-minute paper-mache zombie horrorfest. In fact, let’s see if I can embed the silly thing:
BONUS: W.A.S.P., “Blind in Texas.” This is an underrated 80’s heavy-metal band who made a career out of fake onstage blood and exploding codpieces. The band, led by the seemingly ageless Blackie Lawless, is still around (and so, presumably, are his naughty bits). They have a sense of humor a lot of other metal bands lack.
UPDATE: And OOPS, IT’S NOT FRIDAY!! For some reason, I’ve been thinking it was all day. Oh well.