Aside from its unique distinction of becoming a substantial pop hit during both the first and last calendar years of the '80s, this highly emotive soft rock classic undoubtedly features one of the decade's most vein-popping vocal performances. Singer-songwriter Mardones was a bona fide one-hit wonder, but it's certainly notable that he performed that feat twice, taking this tune to No. 11 on the Billboard pop charts in 1980 and to No. 20 in 1989. The song's subject matter fits Mardones' blaring style perfectly, presenting an over-the-top portrayal of forbidden but unstoppable romance. If you had any question previously about what I meant by "blustery vocal performances," this tune aptly serves as a solid template.
Even if you never watched the show, you're probably at least marginally aware of the flamboyant character Jack from TV's Will & Grace. And if he made fun of Cher's vocal mannerisms on this song, then it must be indisputable that the performance is particularly and memorably bombastic. In fact, throughout a long career of entertainment excess, this moment certainly ranks as one of the legendary diva's most overwrought, as her muscular, pliable tremolo works overtime to transmit waves of unbridled emotion. Sometimes even as far back as her '70s stardom in the duo Sonny & Cher, the latter's voice has been the sonic equivalent of assless nylons anyway, so I guess the singer's place on this list is nothing short of entirely appropriate.
The passion with which both detractors and supporters of this soft rock balladeer have spoken of him has always been remarkably consistent, and if nothing else all can probably agree that Bolton certainly sings the hell out of this one. This almost power ballad, one of the singer's earlier compositions written before he built a successful solo career, appeared first as a sizable hit for Laura Branigan in 1983 before climbing to the pinnacle of the Billboard charts in 1989 for Bolton himself. This crooner's booming, slightly gravelly voice has always seemed overly loud and invasive to me, but that narcissistic style shouldn't obscure the fact that Bolton sports some seriously powerful pipes. All in the ear of the beholder, I suppose.
Already blessed with a background in operatic vocal styles, early MTV icon Pat Benatar put her pipes to spectactularly over-the-top use on this deeply righteous 1980 track about child abuse. The singer (also a co-writer here) chooses to demonstrate her anger by placing particular emphasis on the word "hell" as if to spotlight whatever shock value might have by some crazy chance remained in the word three decades ago. That may not do the job alone, but Benatar's remarkably passionate vocal style makes up the difference quite effectively. Ultimately, this arena rock classic is far from Benatar's finest or most tuneful work, depending on punch and fury rather than the singer's patented grasp on pop/rock melody.
This Bruce Springsteen bar band clone got a lot of mileage in 1983, as this heartland rock track bounced around on the Billboard pop charts and peaked eventually at No. 7. It was a flashpoint moment for an artist that could never quite break through thereafter despite repeated attempts, and as one-hit wonders go, it's a fairly memorable one. Cafferty surely must have resented the constant comparisons, but the fact is that he often sounds like he's trying so hard to sound like Springsteen that he's in danger of herniating himself. This isn't the first or last time that a pop music artist has employed imitation (consciously or unconsciously), but the song's association with the outlandish film Eddie & the Cruisers maximized the artifice.