1. Prince, "Let's Go Crazy." Dearly beloved ... check out the video. It's very short. Apparently, Prince or someone representing him is muting the sound on all Prince videos on YouTube. They are also muting the sound on any videos of anyone else doing a cover version of a Prince song. [Ed. note: the last time I checked, the video link didn't work, which seems appropriate.]
2. Run-D.M.C.,"Rock Box." This Random Ten features some of the greatest popular artists of all time: Prince, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen. None of them had as big an impact on the sound of the music's future as Run-D.M.C. did with their first album, most specifically, "Rock Box." Take the loose joy of early hip-hop, strip it down even further, clamp on a monster gee-tar riff, and voila! Pop music would never be the same. And they put Professor Irwin Corey in the video!
3. Madonna, "Like a Virgin." What do you say about someone when everyone has already said everything, and then some? You fall back on Wikitrivia. The director of the video for this song, Mary Lambert, went on to direct Pet Sematary and Pet Sematary II. Her sister is a Senator considered a possible running mate for Barack Obama.
4. Lou Reed, "Turn to Me." Remember, I'm the one who loves you. You can always give me a call! (The video features other songs from the same period ... can't find me no "Turn to Me.")
5. The Replacements, "Unsatisfied." I suppose you never know when an area will start cranking out great music. I don't know enough about Minneapolis to explain what happened there in the early 80s, but the Replacements are only the second of three Minneapolis acts on this Random Ten, and there isn't a dud amongst them. This is probably my favorite of their songs.
6. The Bangles, "Going Down to Liverpool." There's something odd about this L.A. Band singing about English unemployment forms. Kinda like Joe Cocker singing about Catfish Hunter.
7. Hüsker Dü, "Pink Turns to Blue." Our third Minneapolis artists. I always seem to have a second-favorite artist. None of them are first-favorites because that place is reserved for Bruce. At various times, Lou Reed and Prince were my second-favorites. Hüsker Dü was always in there, as well ... to explain it to people who've come to know me in more recent times, they were my Sleater-Kinney of the 80s.
8. Deniece Williams, "Let's Hear It for the Boy." Shuffle play can only cough up what's on the hard drive, and my tastes in 1984 didn't necessarily match up with what was popular. Actually, that doesn't make sense ... shuffle play isn't a time machine, it doesn't go back to what I listened to in 1984, it picks from the 1984 songs I'm interested in today. Whatever ... this song hit #1 and was featured in the hit movie Footloose. I never saw the movie, and I didn't care about the song back then ... it's the only song on this list that I didn't play at least occasionally in 1984. Doesn't sound so bad, now. The video moves things up a coupla decades.
9. Bruce Springsteen, "No Surrender." Our friend and fellow Bruce-fan Maureen died this year after a long struggle with cancer. This was her favorite Bruce song ... sorta. The last time I saw her was at the San Jose show back in April. I told her I thought of her whenever this song was played, and I told her it had never been a favorite of mine, but now I associate it with her. She said it hadn't been her favorite, either, until it took on extra meaning for her personally. Now it will always be her song, and I'll always think of her when I hear it. And so it's a favorite of mine in ways it never was before.
10. Alison Moyet, "Love Resurrection." We all need a love resurrection, just a little divine intervention.
[Edited to add Spotify playlist]