Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

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The summer of 1983. It’s a summer I’ll always remember for many reasons, although the tunes are what I remember most. I was 13 that summer, and it was when I first discovered the music that I still love today. When I think of that summer, Def Leppard’s ‘Pyromania’ album and Loverboy’s ‘Get Lucky’ album come to mind. Although ‘Get Lucky’ was released in 1981, I bought the cassette with my allowance that summer. And the ‘Pyromania’ album was THE album of 1983. It was the soundtrack to that summer. 

Brains work in crazy ways! I can’t remember what I ate for lunch last week, but I remember the summer of 1983. That summer was one of my favorites. I went from a shy tomboy to being a bit more girly. I went on my first beach trip with a friend, had my first kiss, and met a group of girls that I’m still best friends with today, 40 years later. It was a summer of happiness, no stress, and fun. I miss that!

Ultimate Classic Rock has compiled the best tunes of that summer with their list of the ’30 Totally Radical Hits From the Summer of 1983.’ I have memories that go with lots of these songs, and I could rant about the 80’s all day! I picked just a few of my favorites from this list. In 1983, MTV was in full swing and was extremely popular. Not only did we hear tunes on the radio, we associated faces with the songs watching videos on MTV. That summer gave us an array of music from different genres. For me, it was the year I really go into rock. That summer was the beginning of my love affair with loud guitar and screaming vocals. I got into rock, and then in 1984 I got into heavy metal. And that’s still my true love to date. 

The list that Ultimate Classic Rock has is solid. There are songs from so many different artists, all of them amazing in their own way. Although I’m personally not a fan of every song on the list, I totally understand how each of these songs shaped that summer. They were all hits! 

The tunes on the list are according to the date they were released and when you scroll through the list, you’ll hear almost every song in your head. I think there are only two songs that I’m not that familiar with, but I was never really into New Wave. 

I’ve come up with my personal favorites from this list and these are the songs that truly make me think of 1983. These are the songs that help to shape my love for music. I’ve been listening to these tunes for 40 years, and they still sound freaking awesome! I’ve been really lucky to have met some of the artists on this list during my career in radio. And 13-year-old me thinks that kicks ass! 

  • Def Leppard 'Rock of Ages'

    Def Leppard’s ‘Pyromania’ album is still one of my favorites. It will always been in my ‘Top 10 Best Albums’ list. There’s not a bad song on that album! In 1983, I bought this cassette with my own money and it was the very first cassette I owned. I did rock radio for most of my career, and I’ve probably played ‘Photograph’ thousands of times. Yet, when I hear it, I still smile. But ‘Rock of Ages’, especially the beginning, is a classic!

  • DIO 'Holy Diver'

    Ronnie James Dio is and will always be one of the BEST vocalists of all time. In 1988, when I was still in high school, a friend of mine managed the local record store at the mall and got backstage passes to the DIO show at the old Charlotte Coliseum. She took me. It was 3 days after my 18th birthday. I got to meet RJD and the band and I still have the pictures from that show. RJD signed an autograph for me, which I also still have. A few years ago, after he passed away, I got part of the autograph tattooed on my arm. I’ve met a lot of rock stars during my time in radio, but still to this day, RJD was one of the sweetest and coolest people I’ve met. HUGE fan to this day. And this song totally got me into him and the beginning still gives me chills!


  • Iron Maiden 'The Trooper'

    Heavy metal wasn’t something you heard on the radio around here in 1983. My love of metal came from MTV. Although I didn’t really get into Iron Maiden until 1985, when I first saw them live, there are one of my all time favorite bands to this day. My dog Eddy is named after the bands mascot Eddie. Her full name is Eddy Maiden Van Halen, after Iron Maiden and Van Halen. I LOVE Maiden! Unfortunately, they’re one of the bands I’ve never been able to meet. I saw the band in 1985 and in 1988, and I’ve seen them lots since the 80’s. This is a band that gets better with age! They’re one of THE best bands I’ve ever seen live, and this song is a classic. From the first notes of the song, you get into it.

  • Quiet Riot 'Cum on Feel the Noise'

    Although this song is a cover, Quiet Riot made it their own and this tune help to launch the band into heavy metal history. The band Slade released the song in 1973, and it was a hit in the U.K. But when Quiet Riot covered the tune 10 years later, it helped the band’s ‘Metal Health’ album sell big time. The album was the first heavy metal album to reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Because of the album’s success, many think it opened the door to the overwhelming popularity of metal and hair metal in the 80’s.

  • Twisted Sister 'You Can't Stop Rock 'N' Roll'

    Seeing this band for the first time in the 80’s on MTV was a trip! They were so crazy looking and a bit scary. But when you focused on the music, the looks of the band weren’t important. This is the song that introduced me to the band. In 1984 the band became a staple of MTV and lead singer Dee Snider went on to be the poster boy for musical freedom in the 80’s, as he addressed the Senate in 85 and took on the PMRC, lead by Tipper Gore.

  • ZZ Top 'Sharped Dressed Man'

    There’s no question that ZZ Top had some of the BEST videos on MTV in the 80’s. They had it all! Hot women, fast cars, and loud guitar. I first heard the band in the late 70’s…my mom was a fan. The band was already popular in the early 80’s, but their ‘Eliminator’ album which came out in 1983, threw them into superstardom. All the videos for the tunes off that album were huge on MTV and a favorite of mine to watch. And you have to love the band’s signature look!

  • Stevie Nicks 'Stand Back'

    Although rock and metal are the genres of music I love most and know the most about, I love all types of music. And how can you not love Stevie! My mom is a huge Fleetwood Mac fan, so I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s listening to the band. The ‘Rumors’ album was one of the first albums I remember hearing as a kid. Stevie Nicks has a voice that’s distinct and amazing, and although she found fame with Fleetwood Mac, she became more popular because of her solo tunes. And her magical beauty is hard to turn away from.


  • Loverboy 'Hot Girls In Love'

    Watching this video now, I realize how cheesy it is, but damnit! Loverboy had some hooky songs that stayed in your head. When I saw the video to this song at 13, it made me wanna be one of those ‘pretty video girls’. Didn’t happen but it was at this age that I became envious of all the chicks that hung out with bands. Years later, while in radio, I met Loverboy and intro’d them at Speed Street in uptown Charlotte. Sadly, they were not as cool as I’d hoped they would be, but their tunes are still a big part of my early teen years. I do love the beginning of this song though!