If you’re too young to have been around for the 80s, think Kevin Hart. With his success in stand-up comedy and the big screen, I suppose Hart’s the modern day equivalent to Eddie Murphy, although personally I don’t think Hart holds a candle to Murphy’s popularity back in the day.
Murphy pretty much saved Saturday Night Life from extinction and was a massive movie star through most the decade, starring in Trading Places, 48 Hours and Beverly Hills Cop while also filming his stand-up comedy special Delirious in early 80s. In the later half of the decade Murphy made Beverly Hills Cop II, Coming to America, Harlem Nights and Another 48 Hours while filming what many argue is the greatest feature-length, stand-up special ever, Raw.
In between all that Murphy became a huge singing star in 1985, at least temporarily with the release of Party All The Time.
Those of us who grew up or were adults in this era weren’t stunned to see Murphy record a hit pop song, as everything he touched back then turn to gold. Party All The Time was written, produced and arranged by Buffalo native Rick James, which made the song a little extra special for us fellow Western New Yorkers.
Speaking candidly, the song’s way too contradictory for some. One of the keys to a great tune lies in its authenticity yet there Murphy was—one of the most notoriously celebrated bachelors on the face of this earth grieving his girlfriend’s partying ways, sitting home alone each night home wondering where she is. The Eddie Murphy we knew would’ve been out banging anything that moves to gain revenge on his trifling girlfriend, not mourning her fondness for being away from home.
Party All The Time could also be the poster child musically for all that is cheesy in the 80s—from the overused synthesizers to the wash-rinse-repeat formula of the song itself.
None of that matters. It’s a ridiculous song, sure—yet so God damn catchy. Even if I don’t want to get reeled in by the hook I can’t resist. It’s so consummately listenable.
I probably should be ashamed at having this anywhere on my countdown let alone so high but I’m not. I embrace the wonderful cheesiness of this classic—and like it or don’t that’s exactly what it is—an 80s classic.
Chart Success: Because it was relentlessly played on the radio seemingly each minute of every day, Party All The Time rose all the way to number-two on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed on the charts for 22 weeks. It finished 1986 seventh on the year-end Billboard Hot 100.
Great Lyrics: As mentioned, James did everything for this song except sing all the lyrics himself. Perhaps he should’ve, as Party All The Time charted higher than any song James ever recorded himself, including Superfreak.
“I’ve seen you in clubs just hanging out and dancing.
You give your number to every man you see.
You never come home at night because you’re out romancing.
I wish you bring some of your love home to me.
But my girl wants to party all the time
My girl wants to party all the time”
Fun Facts: Murphy, perhaps unfortunately was a pioneer of sorts for celebrities making “hit” records in the 1980s. Not long after Party All The Time came Miami Vice star Don Johnson with “Heartbeat” and about a year later Moonlighting star Bruce Willis recorded “Respect Yourself.” By comparison, Murphy’s song was a John Lennon’esque masterpiece.
100. Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)
99. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgetting
97. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Does Is Magic
96. Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
94. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
93. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
92. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
89. Journey – Don’t Stop Believing
87. Debbie Gibson – Foolish Beat
86. Glen Mederios – Nothing’s Going To Change My Love For You
85. John Cougar – Jack and Diane
81. Billy Squier – Everybody Wants You
79. Shelia E. – The Glamorous Life
77. Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All
76. Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – Say Say Say
75. Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
74. Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
73. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
72. The Police – Every Breathe You Take
71. Survivor – The Search Is Over
70. REO Speedwagon – Keep On Loving You
68. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
67. Kenny Loggins – Meet Me Halfway
66. Irene Cara – Flashdance…What A Feeling
65. Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
64. Phil Collins – One More Night
63. Europe – The Final Countdown
62. Patrick Swazye – She’s Like The Wind
61. Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride
60. Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
59. Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
58. Huey Lewis & The News – Power Of Love
55. Styx – Too Much Time On My Hands
53. Olivia Newton John – Physical
49. Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing
48. Huey Lewis & The News – Do You Believe In Love
44. New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man
43. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
42. Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
41. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody
39. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark
38. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
37. Christopher Cross – Sailing
34. Foreigner – I Want To Know What Love Is
33. Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield
32. USA For Africa- We Are The World
30. Kenny Loggins – I’m Free (Heaven Helps The Man)
29. Dexys Midnite Runners – Come On Eileen
28. J. Geils Band – Centerfold
27. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes
24. Men At Work – Who Can It Be Now