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Cool Summers: The Summer of 1985's greatest hits

Whitney Houston

When we last broke down a hot music summer, it was the legendary Summer of 1984. If you know your pop culture, you know that was a massively important summer for music. The following Summer of 1985 was a big one as well. It wasn’t a historic one like ‘84, but it had its smashes, and also one very notable debut from an all-time talent. So, break out the hair gel and your high-top sneakers for a fun ride through the Summer of 1985.

1. Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears

These guys put up two mega-hits on Billboard (and this list) in the Summer of ’85. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in June of 1985, and gave us one of the catchiest hooks of the season (song number four on this list has it beat, and song six is really close.)

2. Sussudio - Phil Collins

A song that’s actually a bit controversial. "Sussudio" was thought by many to have sounded way too close to Prince’s 1999 single due to their synth parts sounding… kinda identical. Also, Prince’s song was released three years earlier, which could support the theory that Collins was ‘influenced’ by a song that dropped some time before his. Despite the hubbub, "Sussudio" was a massive hit, reaching the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in July of ’85. The album that "Sussudio" came from, No Jacket Required, sold 12 million copies in the same year.

3. Every Time You Go Away - Paul Young

A neo-Blue-Eyed Soul classic. This cut blew up on Top 40 radio and the adult contemporary charts pretty much simultaneously. In other words, it was the summer hit you sang along with your mom when she was driving you (and your siblings if you had any) to the mall. Young’s remake of an unreleased Hall & Oates deep cut became the number one song in America in July, and a hit with real legs, as it stayed popular and on the radio for much the rest of 1985.

4. Shout - Tears for Fears

The second smash hit from this English group. This song was released before its first American hit (the first song on this list), but hit number one after "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" did. "Shout" was a rarity (back in 1985), because it simultaneously raced up Billboard’s Hot Black Singles chart as it did major damage on the Hot 100. "Shout's" epic drum thunderclaps, and its ridiculously catchy chorus made it possibly the most fun song to rock out and sing along to that year. Those legendary drums were the sound of the Summer of ’85.

5. The Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News

This song couldn’t have arrived at a better time for Huey and his crew. The group conquered America with its cosmic level hit album Sports. They were arguably the hottest rock band in the country. So, when they hit us with "The Power of Love", which was from the soundtrack of the titanic hit movie, Back to the Future, we were more than willing to hear it. And we loved it. "The Power of Love" debuted in June of ’85 and rampaged through the remainder of the summer. It ascended to the top of the Billboard 100 chart, and became another legendary hit in this group’s fantastic catalogue.

6. Raspberry Beret – Prince

This was the super anticipated lead single from Prince’s post Purple Rain album, Around the World in a Day. "Raspberry Beret" dropped on May 15th in 1985, and soon reached the number two spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While not a seismic hit like any of the cuts on the Purple Rain album, "Raspberry Beret" became one of the biggest sing-along songs of the Summer of ‘85, with that earworm of a hook. It also has become one of Prince’s most loved songs by his die-hard fans: years later, after Prince died, "Raspberry Beret" re-entered the pop charts at number 33 on May 14th, 2016.

7. You Give Good Love - Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston’s debut single. It wasn’t a world-beater like the songs she’d later make in her career, but it was a hell of a start. "You Give Good Love" vaporized the Billboard Hot Black Singles chart. It had been a while since Black America had heard a new artist, and collectively asked “Who is this?” (Although, they would be asking the same question one year later when Anita Baker’s second album Rapture dropped.) It then made its way to the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at number three. Houston gave notice to the world that there was an amazing new voice to hear, and she also gave us a great slow jam that got played at tons of BBQ’s and parties in the Summer of ‘85.

So, what were your favorite songs of the Summer of 1985? Give us your jams! Talk to us, and then go and stream your beloved summer hits of yesteryear.

Greg Simms Jr. is a veteran content creator and cultural expert who's worked for numerous digital publications over the years. He's a resident of Greene County, but he's always aware of social-cultural events happening all over the Miami Valley. To contact Greg, email him at: grgsmmsjr@gmail.com