Get out your bowling balls and let’s knock down the last 10.
10. You’re Not Alone – Chicago
There’s a reason why one of the most successful American bands in rock history was kept out of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for so long, beyond the fact that Jan Wenner & Rolling Stone magazine have always had hatred for the band (and anything resembling horn rock) It’s the fact that they abandoned their signature sound in the 80s for treacly ballads like this one to pad their 401Ks.
9. Roni – Bobby Brown
Roni, short for tenderoni, was Bobby’s 3rd straight Top 10 from his smash album, Don’t Be Cruel. What should have been a promising career turned out to be one disaster after another. And if ever there were two people that shouldn’t have gotten together, it was he and Whitney. But like Ralph once said, “If I like the girl, who cares who you like?”
8. Walk The Dinosaur – Was (Not Was)
NAOHW – The answer to how do you write a song about The Flintstones without mentioning Fred or Barney. This may be the only band with parenthesis in their name to hit the Top 10. How did a song with a bridge about Elvis landing in a rocketship and healing some lepers sung by a homeless drunk get this far?
Was (Not Was) was definitely a quirky ensemble mixing rock, jazz, new wave and funk fronted by two distinct R&B singers with some far-out conceptual lyrics and collaborations as wide-ranging as Mel Torme and Ozzy Osborne.
7. She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals
When the English Beat split, Dave Wakeling & Ranking Roger formed General Public. The other 2 members, Andy Cox & David Steele put together the Fine Young Cannibals, recruiting singer Roland Gift who sounds like a mashup of Michael McDonald and Charlie Brown’s teacher funneled through a wah-wah pedal. Their debut didn’t do well in the States, but their 2nd album The Raw & the Cooked hit #1 and spawned 2 #1 singles, Good Thing and this one. And then, poof, they disappeared, never to be heard from again.
6. Lost In Your Eyes – Debbie Gibson
You can discuss whether Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill is a great album or whether it still holds up. But it was a tremendous upgrade over irritating babysitter pop like this. We should be hunting down the person who gave little Debbie the keys to a recording studio because we are the real victims. Also, see the movie Welcome To The Dollhouse.
5. My Heart Can’t Tell You No – Rod Stewart
Robert Palmer was offered this song but rather than record it himself, passed it on to his mate, Rod thinking he would be perfect for him. He was right. It was Rod’s first Top 10 in three years and tenth to that point. Meanwhile, Robert never had another Top 10 hit again.
4. The Look – Roxette
We all love Swedish pop but after ABBA broke up, we didn’t know where to get our fix. Then before the 80s ended, Roxette showed up. How much did we like them? Between 1989 and 1991, we helped to push 4 of their songs to #1 and two of them to #2. As they started fading like a flower in 1992, we didn’t know what to do. And that’s when Ace of Base came in. And on it goes. Uff da!
3. Girl You Know It’s True – Milli Vanilli
Milli Vanilli ended up having 5 Top Ten hits from “their” debut, 3 of them reaching #1. This was the first, which hit #2. Everyone knows their story of fortune and fraud, so let me turn your attention to who wrote and released the original version of the song. Because while it may have ended the careers of Rob & Fab, it propelled others.
In 1987, a Baltimore, MD group of rappers & DJs called NuMarx released a 12′ single called Girl You Know It’s True, written by the group and including the keyboardist for Starpoint. It was a regional hit but eventually found its way over to Europe, specifically to Germany where Milli Vanilli producer Frank Farian heard it.
One songwriter, DJ Spen aka Sean Spencer joined the Basement Boys who were heavy players in the house music scene of the 90s and produced and/or remixed hits for Michael Jackson, Paula Abdul, Crystal Waters and Erykah Badu. Bill Petteway ended up writing songs for Sweet Sensation, Starpoint and Linear. I don’t how much if anything the writers received but I hope it was ample.
One of the original vocalists on the Milli Vanilli track was Charles Shaw who was supposedly paid $6000 for his “rap”.
2. Eternal Flame – Bangles
This number one song, The Bangles’ second, kept the other Girl as a bridesmaid when it hit the top. They were the first non-Motown girl group to have multiple #1s in the US. The song was also a big hit in Sweden as part of our Bangles-Roxette international music ambassador series.
1. The Living Years – Mike + The Mechanics
And now we’ve finally risen to the top because it truly sucks up here. The other Genesis spin-off not named Phil Collins to score themselves a number one hit, one I’m sure is not played much in June. Isn’t there a rule against church choirs in pop songs? There’s definitely a rule against an album credit for a choirmaster in your liner notes. I’m not sure anyone asked God to borrow them and you know he hates devil music like this. That’s probably why Mike & The Mechanics would never have another hit after this one, at least thus far in their living years.
Oh well, now that the final pin is down I’m gonna lay down in the gutter. We’ll see if 1987 picks me up next week and buys me a Caucasian.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder
PFK – Perfect for karaoke
RAR – Rite-Aid Rock