What were you doing on the precipice of Spring 1986? Did any of these 45s enter your bag at Record World’s check out? Let’s peruse the Top 40 from March 1, 1986, and find out.
40. Calling America-Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra had quite a run on the Pop charts with this their 20th & final Top 40 hit, eventually reaching #18. Had Jeff Lynne not split them up to become a future Wilbury, there’s no telling how many more hits they might have had.
39. Tender Love-Force MDs
OHW – From the soundtrack to Krush Groove, here’s a Top 10 slow jam from a former hip hop turned doo-wop vocal group called Force MDs. Written by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis the song is effectually over in two minutes but somehow they stretch that piano riff out for another two. Someone, please explain why.
38. No Easy Way Out-Robert Tepper
One of the more stereotypical 80s sounding hits from the Rocky IV soundtrack. Just by listening to this song you can imagine those revenge training montages. Robert also co-wrote the Benny Mardones hit, Into The Night, so is that two strikes?
37. Needles & Pins-Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers & Stevie Nicks
Stevie is an honorary Heartbreaker in more ways that one and she donned the scarves again joining Petty and the band on stage during their Southern Accents tour for a live duet cover from the other Liverpool band, The Searchers. Needles & Pins was originally a hit in 1964 and in 1979 they recorded a Tom Petty track, Lost In Her Eyes, so this was life coming full circle.
36. Goodbye Is Forever-Arcadia
Duran Duran was so big that even their offshoots had multiple hits. Between the studio albums Seven & the Ragged Tiger & Notorious, there racked up a total of 7 Top 40 hits from Arcadia (the most Duran-sounding) along with the Power Station, and John & Andy Taylor solo. That doesn’t count the 3 Duran Duran releases that were hits too. This was the 2nd Top 40 hit from So Red The Rose peaking at #33.
35. He’ll Never Love You (Like I Do)-Freddie Jackson
The most successful Jackson on the Soul charts after Michael was Freddie racking up 8 #1s between 1985-1988. That only translated to minimal crossover action for the former Mystic Merlin singer as this rare upbeat jam was FJ’s 3rd Top 40 out of a total of 4.
34. Night Moves-Marilyn Martin
Marilyn Martin’s career was red hot as the year turned to 1986. She was coming off of a duet with Phil Collins called Separate Lives which hit #1. She sang backup on Stevie Nicks’ newly released LP, Rock A Little, including I Can’t Wait which was one week away from entering the Top 40. Plus Marilyn had her first solo Top 40, a song she co-wrote with John Parr & Jon Astley, which would peak at #28. Bu then the fickle record industry cast her aside replacing her with far less talented substitutes, though she’d team up again with Stevie singing on her 24 Carat Gold world tour in 2016.
33. Manic Monday-The Bangles
The story goes that Prince saw this band play in L.A. after the release of their first album, went home, wrote this song and offered it to them, which became their first hit, topping out at #2 while Prince’s Kiss was #1. Who’s the boss? Although I can’t imagine Prince ever had a scenario where he had to worry about being late to anything. The man knew no time. I’m sure 9AM on Monday felt the same to him as 3AM on Thursday.
32. The Sun Always Shines On TV-A-Ha
NAOHW – It’s the favorite Norwegian band of the old white guy who hangs out at My-T-Sharp barber shop in Queens.
31. Another Night-Aretha Franklin
What amazed me about the 60’s nostalgia in the 80s, the music always seemed to favor the soul artists, starting with The Big Chill soundtrack. The week features James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick and Miss Aretha Franklin in the midst of her glorious 80s comeback delivering her 4th Top 40 single from Freeway of Love.
30. Let’s Go All The Way-Sly Fox
A rare blast of ’70s inspired P-Funk in 1986 mixed in with some old school hip-hop, courtesy of the Boogie Boys. Damn, how did that happen?
29. Rock Me Amadeus-Falco
Our 80s obsession with Mozart culminated with this Austrian rap “rock” hybrid tribute from Falco whose Der Kommisar was a hit for After The Fire 3 years previous. Depending on which side of the 45 you played, you either got the German rap with the ‘Ama-deus, Ama-deus‘ chorus or some mildly interested narrator giving a quick biography on Amadeus’ life. This went to #1 for 3 weeks and no doubt led to countless Baby Mozart CDs all of whose importance in making children smarter has been debunked.
28. Digital Display-Ready For The World
The pride of Flint, MI (and they need some) followed up their #1 hit Oh Sheila with this ode to a full figured girlfriend, whose digital display they were fond of playing with. What the hell does that even mean? Actually, I’m feeling some of that pride disappear.
27. (How To Be A) Millionaire-ABC
A Top 20 hit during and for one of the greediest decades. A little over a decade later we had a game show that answered this question.
26. Beat’s So Lonely-Charlie Sexton
This Top 20 song has been lost to time, even sounding out of place in 1986. Charlie, looking a cross between Matt Dillon & Edward Scissorhands, released his debut album, Pictures For Pleasure, when he was only 17. Beat’s So Lonely was his only charted Hot 100 hit.
25. This Could Be The Night-Loverboy
After releasing lots of high energy rock at the beginning of the decade, Loverboy starting slowing down, releasing more ballads and with every one it made you wish that this was your last night.
24. I’m Your Man-Wham!
Wham! kept up their string of Top 10’s with 45 release of the Motown stomp I’m Your Man. Then topped off its success with a George Michael solo record and an announcement that they were splitting up. We’ll also hear George later sing backup on Elton John’s Nikita.
23. What You Need-INXS
I was surprised when this song hit the top 40, not because it wasn’t good but because US radio had been ignoring some of the better singles of theirs, like Original Sin and This Time, the lead release from Listen Like Thieves.
22. Stages-ZZ Top
A forgotten Top 40 for a set on cruise control, writing and recording the same song over and over in the 80s. It might be about being on tour. It might be about an everchanging relationship. It might be about their portfolio growth. At least they were 30 years ahead of their time on beard grooming.
21. Sanctify Yourself-Simple Minds
Every time I heard a priest say the word sanctify in church, I immediately starting singing this song in my head. By the time I was done, so was church. Halleluiah!
So we end the first 20 with some blessings from above. Will there be more divine intervention in the final 20? I’ll write about that later in the week.