First Hit #1: November 7, 1981
It was mentioned in a comment elsewhere, but I think I might have to declare 1981 as the year of the hand clap. Jessie’s Girl, Bette Davis Eyes, this song, it was as though suddenly musicians around the world realized that a great way to add a bit of punch to a chorus was to get some clapping in there.
I don’t blame them, Private Eyes has a boost in the silly fun factor just by shoving a bit of clapping in there, and it’s a pretty fun song as it is, an uptempo little number that encourages singing along. Of course, it’s a song that is probably about stalking, which makes the sing and clap along factor seem kind of weird if you think too hard about it, but the lyrics are all over the place anyway so it doesn’t matter that much. Whatever is being sung, at the core it’s just good, simple pop music, and if Hall and Oates played within the rulebook of 80s production trends, they also managed to make simple, catchy songs out of them. Plenty of recording artists did the same tinny piano and clap-laden style, but these two made it work.