DAILY DIRT: No surprise who is No. 1 from the 1980s

Prince-and-Michael-Jackson-1 (1)

Yes, Michael sold more records, but Prince was just ... Prince.

Daily Dirt for Tuesday, June 11, 2024

My favorite Michael Jackson song? Might just be “Human Nature” from the “Thriller” album … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 975 of The Daily Dirt.

1. If you think of music in the 1980s, No. 1 on any list — I would think — would have to be Michael Jackson.

This was a great, great decade for music — and Michael simply dominated all rivals. He turned the likes of Madonna, Phil Collins, U2, Queen, Prince, The Boss and others into also-rans.

Here’s a look at what artists sold the most albums in The Big ’80s: 


  • 1. Michael Jackson – 181 million: The “Thriller” album was released in late November 1982 and was certified platinum by the following January. That album and the song, “Billie Jean,” made Jackson the first artist to simultaneously have a No. 1 pop single, pop album, R&B single and R&B album.
  • 2. Madonna – 131 million: She once dated rapper Vanilla Ice. Wow. (PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Who HASN’T Madonna dated? JRG)
  • 3. Phil Collins – 119 million: One of the highlights of Collins’ career was his performance at the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
  • 4. U2 – 111 million: U2 was once known as Feedback and later as The Hype.
  • 5. Queen – 107 million: The name “Queen” was chosen, according to band members, because it sounded “regal”. (PUBLISHER’S NOTE: That’s their story and they’re sticking to it. JRG)
  • 6. Prince – 93 million: Prince also composed music for other artists, including “Manic Monday” for the Bangles, “I Feel For You” for Chaka Khan and “Nothing Compares 2 U” for Sinéad O’Connor. 7. AC/DC – 84 million: The band has been with us since 1973, and continues to tour.
  • 8. Bruce Springsteen – 82 million: Mildly surprising. I figured The Boss would be top five at least, possibly top three.
  • 9. Bon Jovi – 79 million: Bon Jovi’s 1986 breakthrough album, “Slippery When Wet,” went platinum — 12 times over.
  • 10. George Michael & Wham! – 69 million: George Michael’s actual name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou.

Coming tomorrow: 1990s.

2. Did you know (Part 35)

  • That before they became famous, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were extras at Fenway Park in “Field of Dreams.”
  • That Tom Selleck’s commitment to “Magnum P.I.” cost him the chance to play Indiana Jones in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.
  • That Bill Murray and Eddie Murphy were among those actors considered for the 1989 “Batman” movie. Murray as Batman, Murphy as Robin. 
  • That this year marks the 25th anniversary of Pokemon trading cards.
  • That Japan has one vending machine for every 40 people.

3. Was there ever a more ionic list of top songs from any year in the 1960s than the following?

Take a look at the songs, and then we’ll tell you what year:

  • 1. “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” by the Rolling Stones
  • 2. “Like A Rolling Stone,” by Bob Dylan
  • 3. “In the Midnight Hour,” by Wilson Pickett
  • 4. “Papa’s Got A Brand new Bag,” by James Brown
  • 5. “My Generation,” by the Who
  • 6. “Mr. Tambourine Man,” by the Byrds
  • 7. “Yesterday,” by the Beatles
  • 8. “The Sound of Silence,” by Simon and Garfunkel
  • 9. “Ticket To Ride,” by the Beatles
  • 10. “Tracks Of My Tears,” by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

The year was 1965, and we had just entered the modern era of rock and roll. And 59 years later, I don’t think we’ve ever looked back.

Steve Thought O’ The Day — Of those top 10 songs from 1965, I’d have to say my favorite was/is “My Generation” by The Who.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He’s never hosted Macaulay Culkin for a sleepover.

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