An Innocent Man, Billy Joel’s tribute to the R&P, soul and doo wop music of his youth, is my #7 album of 1983.
A Innocent Man was Joel’s follow-up to the excellent, but under-performing (by his standards), The Nylon Curtain. While Nylon went “only” double-Platinum, this album went 7x Platinum and ties with 52nd Street and Glass Houses as his second most successful album, behind the Diamond-level The Stranger.
Yes, Billy Joel was a freaking juggernaut.
David Bowie’s Let’s Dance comes in at #9 on my list of best 1983 albums. I knew the hits from this album at the time of release but I never heard the whole thing through until I spent some time exploring Bowie’s catalog after his death.
Let’s Dance was Bowie’s most successful album, selling nearly 11 million copies worldwide. Hits ‘Let’s Dance,’ ‘Modern Love’ and ‘China Girl’ are among his top-selling singles. Critically, its reception was mixed, though over time its reputation has grown.
This is surely the first and only list on which I’ll ever have a Lionel Richie album ahead of a Bob Dylan album, but I can’t deny the consistent excellence of Richie’s Can’t Slow Down, my #10 album of 1983.
Can’t Slow Down enjoyed considerable critical and commercial success, and even bested Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. and Prince’s Purple Rain for the Album of the Year Grammy. I can’t say I agree with that particular outcome, but it’s certainly a notch in this album’s belt.
Infidels is probably my 16th or 17th favorite Bob Dylan album, but that’s enough to make it my 10th favorite album of 1983.
I didn’t discover this album until I did a Dylan deep-dive on the blog in 2010. As big a Dylan fan as I am, I had a blind spot for his work between 1976’s Desire and 1989’s Oh Mercy. Oh Mercy was the first Dylan album I bought upon its release, while I had gobbled up his pre-Desire albums (almost all classics) as a younger teen.
I slotted Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut in the #11 spot on my list of the best albums of 1983 because it has been so far off my radar for so long that I couldn’t justify it cracking the top ten.
If I’d made this list in 1990, this album might have occupied the top spot. That’s in part because I hadn’t yet discovered many of the albums to come on this list. But it’s mostly because Pink Floyd meant the world to me when I was in high school.
My 12th favorite 1983 album is one I definitely listened to at the time. Huey Lewis and the News were a big hit in my house, and I vividly remember listening to my older sister’s vinyl copy of the album Sports.
This baby has one hell of a tracklist. It could be mistaken for a greatest hits collection, boasting songs such as ‘The Heart of Rock and Roll,’ ‘Heart and Soul,’ ‘I Want a New Drug,’ ‘Walking On a Thin Line’ and today’s SOTD, ‘If This Is It,’ a favorite of mine.
Journey’s Frontiers claims the 13th spot on my list of 1983 albums. Like all of the albums toward the bottom of this list, Frontiers earns its spot on the strength of a few songs.
In this case, those songs are ‘Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),’ ‘Send Her My Love’ and especially the lovely road song ‘Faithfully.’ Solid tracks such as ‘Chain Reaction’ and ‘After the Fall’ flesh out the album nicely. Power ballads performed in Steve Perry’s terrific voice — that’s always a winning formula.