Billboard #1s for the Week Ending August 31, 1985

This week’s Time Capsule!

Chart Title Act Weeks
Hot 100 The Power of Love Huey Lewis and the News 2
R & B Freeway of Love Aretha Franklin 5
Country Love Is Alive The Judds 1
Adult Contemporary Cherish Kool and the Gang 2
Rock Fortress Around Your Heart Sting 2
Album Brothers In Arms Dire Straits 1

JaggerBowieDancingThis week sees a superstar duo launch the third Top 40 version of a Motown classic. William “Mickey” Stevenson had the basic idea for Dancing In the Street, which he framed as a ballad. He shared it with Marvin Gaye, who helped craft it into a dance number. Gaye recorded a demo which the pair offered to Stevenson’s wife, Kim Weston. She passed, so they took it to Martha Reeves. Reeves was underwhelmed, but the track stuck in her head. She asked to rewrite the vocal arrangements to fit her style. With musical contributions from frequent Stevenson collaborator Ivy Jo Hunter, the song came together; Reeves and her group the Vandellas recorded it and had a 1964 smash hit.

Martha and the Vandellas’ rendition remains the quintessential interpretation of the song. With two weeks at #2 (behind Manfred Mann’s Do Wah Diddy Diddy), it’s also the most successful on the charts. The joyous anthem has become a pop standard with dozens of cover versions, many of them released as singles. The Mamas and the Papas, Ramsey Lewis, and Teri DeSario (with KC) all took the song into the lower reaches of the Hot 100. Van Halen released it as their third cover single and eased up to #38.

The most recent Top 40 version was recorded as part of the Live Aid charity concerts. Mick Jagger and David Bowie intended to perform the song as an intercontinental duet, with Jagger in New York and Bowie in London. Satellite delays made that impractical and neither singer was willing to lip sync, so they got together before the concert and made a video to show between acts. It was a hit, and the pair agreed to release it as a single with all the proceeds going to charity. Their version danced onto the Hot 100 at an impressive #47 this week; it blasted up to #7, becoming one of Bowie’s biggest hits and Jagger’s most successful recording away from the Stones.


About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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