Let’s jump back into the Top 40 from February 20, 1988:
34. Twilight World-Swing Out Sister
The follow-up to their smash, Breakout, so Not-A-One-Hit-Wonder [NAOHW], which is probably why this jazzy pop number made it in. Its cool sophisticated 60s martini and spies vibe masks the fact that the song is about fighting depression. Great production and smooth vocals by Corrine Drewery.
NAOHW [And I’m not including Tempted which missed the Top 40] A gimmicky yet catchy pop songs from the masters Difford & Tilbrook from an LP, Babylon & On that I wore the grooves down to dust. Funny how dated the tale of a catching a possible cheater is when framed around an answering machine.
32. Rocket 2 U-The Jets
Not many Mormons in Minneapolis, but all 8 of them gathered together to form the family act, The Jets and have 5 Top 10’s in the 80s, including this one with a spelling nod to Prince. 8 kids? How did anyone make any money on this deal?
31. Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay-Michael Bolton
For my money, I don’t know if it gets any better than when he sings When a Man Loves a Woman. So I’ll pass.
30. Pop Goes The World-Men Without Hats
NAOHW – This Canadian trio featuring two brothers proved that simple and dumb can be catchy and fun. Love the call back to The Safety Dance during the bridge.
29. Because of You-The Cover Girls
Because of the success of another 3rd generation copy of the Supremes called Expose. Because the gimmick was a “Latin” take on Motown. Because it generated even blander faceless trios [Sweet Sensation, Seduction, other S groups…] This forgettable trend in dance music was because of you, Lewis A. Martinee.
28. Hysteria-Def Leppard
After the 1984 car accident where drummer Rick Allen lost one of his arms, many never believed he would play again or that the band Def Leppard would continue. But after 3 long years of learning how to drum with his legs, DL released Hysteria, which spawned 6 Top 40 hits. What a nice comeback. And that’s where it should end.
By the way, they should not be in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame – case in the point, this song. Also, they are not nor never were heavy metal – case in point, this song.
27. Man In The Mirror-Michael Jackson
If the faux gospel and preachiness don’t get you then maybe the irony of Michael looking in a mirror and wanting to make a change does.
26. I Want Her-Keith Sweat
The former stockbroker who only knew six notes sang the hell out of them into a long new jack career. We used to have a local classified paper around here called Iwanna. Had they licensed this song for commercials they’d still be around.
25. Be Still My Beating Heart-Sting
I love The Police and can’t argue with them for going out on top. But had Sting brought this song to the band, they would have replaced the mellow with tension and stripped it down to the bone, turning it from a song to fall asleep to one you’d fight alongside in a pub. Wait Andy Summers places on this? So it was Stewart he had to get away from?
24. Out Of The Blue-Debbie Gibson
“When did we start listening to pre-pubescent white girls? I must have missed that meeting. We have at our fingertips the greatest minds of all time, the knowledge and history of the great thinkers, of all fucking time. But no, what’s that little white girl saying?” I miss Bill Hicks.
23. I Live For Your Love-Natalie Cole
In 1967 the Grammy for Best Female R&B vocal was created. Aretha Franklin won the first eight. Who stopped that streak? Miss Natalie Cole. She was a badass with an amazing voice. We should be praising her more. Why don’t we? Because of aural Nyquil like this. Song choice is everything.
22. Love Overboard-Gladys Knight & the Pips
Now we’re talking. Another great soul singer who knew the sweet spots in every song. This was their first Top 40 hits in 13 years. What did I just say about song choice? The Pips “retired” right after this hit. I met her once around this time and she was pure joy.
21. Tunnel Of Love-Bruce Springsteen
It’s amazing how quickly Bruce came down from his high between 1984-85. Born in The USA had 7 Top 10 hits but his followup only generated 2 Top 10 hits, the title track being one of them. And that’s just how he planned it. Because now he could do what he wanted for the rest of his career, write and play whatever he felt and still be the Boss, even if that includes a solo show on Broadway for $500 a seat.