April 26, 1986 – that must have been a beautiful Spring day here in the States. And as the flowers bloomed we were listening to some great pop songs. Let’s see what the fallout is for the first 20 of 40.
40. Tomorrow Doesn’t Matter Tonight – Starship
Starship followed up their streak of two #1s with another single from Knee Deep In The Hoopla that hit #26 and featured backing vocals by Player’s Peter Beckett & J.C. Crowley.
39. For America – Jackson Browne
Jackson’s final Top 40 hit flips the nation’s 80s jingoistic vibe on its head by asking Is America Dead? So the public had a meltdown and sent this hippie Commie pinko away.
38. Feel It Again – Honeymoon Suite
OHW – Traveling thru the door that Bryan Adams opened here’s some Canadian rock from a band formed in Niagara Falls, hence the name. They had one Top 40 here reaching #34, but had several hits in Canada, because you know, CanCon.
37. Stick Around – Julian Lennon
The fourth and final Top 40 single from Julian is on its way up to its high #32. The video features cameos from Jami Gertz, who can’t spare a square, Michael J. Fox, Joe Piscopo (can you imagine there was a time when someone thought that would be cool?) and a Playboy playmate running around like a Benny Hill sketch with Stick Around substituting for Yakety Sax.
36. These Dreams – Heart
Even if the record label didn’t present a new sexed-up version of Wilson sisters with hair teased to the moon, the songs still would have found an audience. But then again we might not have been able to witness Nancy’s fierce leg kicks on a regular basis.
35. Overjoyed – Stevie Wonder
This is a hard damn song to sing with multiple key changes and chord modulations but Stevie sings it so smoothly and effortlessly, it’s easy to forget with all his talents he is one hell of a singer.
34. Be Good To Yourself – Journey
Probably one of the least remembered Top 10 Journey songs, most likely because there was no video to go along with it. Or because it’s generic and bland.
33. Move Away – Culture Club
Even though I bought this 45 when it came out I was underwhelmed compared to their other tracks. Over time I’ve grown to like it and have enjoyed its simplicity and maturing sound. And it is was produced by Arif Mardin, so it had that going for it.
32. Never As Good As The First Time – Sade
I can’t believe this song only hit #20. I guess I should be grateful that it got played it all as most unique and sophisticated music was sent to VH1 hell. You had to listen to R&B radio to hear it on repeat as it hit #8 on those charts. They knew what was up.
31. Rough Boy – ZZ Top
The absolute worst drum intro I’ve ever heard. It sounds like a 2-year-old playing with a TR808. ZZ was raking in the bucks in the mid 80s but watering down their sound like a bartender at a wedding factory. Was this from the album Recycler cause I swear I heard that guitar solo before?
30. Secret Lovers – Atlantic Starr
Atlantic Starr’s first Top 10 single is leaking its way out of the Top 40 like a cheater in the dark. I have confirmed from a friend that this song was played at his prom. WTF?
29. I Can’t Wait – Stevie Nicks
The first of two different songs with the same title on the countdown by the only woman in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Twice.
28. Is It Love – Mr. Mister
Ricahrd Page and the gang were riding a wave of momentum after two #1s and followed it up with this Top 10 from Welcome To The Real World. I had the cassette which I wore down but for some reason was compelled to buy the 12” single as well. Maybe I couldn’t get enough of that dramatic power drum fill from Pat Mastelotto.
Currently, there is a K-pop boy band named Mr. Mr.
27. R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A. – John Cougar Mellencamp
JCM’s Salute to 60’s rock comes complete with a flute solo. Shouldn’t he have saved that for the salute to 70’s prog rock?
26. Saturday Love – Cherrelle & Alexander O’Neal
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis were on a freakin’ roll in 1986, the year their career exploded. They’ve written three songs on this countdown and would have more by Robert Palmer & Human League as well as the Janet Jackson hit-a-thon. But this is the jam. Sung as a duet with the former lead singer of the Tiem before he pissed off Prince, this track would make the Top 30 pop and Top 10 soul.
25. All I Need Is A Miracle – Mike & The Mechanics
This has mayonnaise commercial written all over it.
24. Live To Tell – Madonna
People were jonesing hard for new Madonna material, so the leadoff single from her True Blue LP shot all the up to #1. Although she’s not the best singer in the world, I find this is her best-sung ballad, simple and understated as her delivery adds tension to cryptic lyrics.
23. I Do What I Do – John Taylor
OHW – After 1983’s Seven & the Ragged Tiger, Duran Duran members took off in so many directions it was hard to keep track of who was doing what. This single is the theme from the 9 1/2 Weeks movie soundtrack, which sounded like a hot and nasty movie, but mostly just turned me off to strawberries.
Speaking of fruit and disasters, this song was also nominated for Worst Original Song in 1986 at the annual hater’s convention called Golden Raspberries.
On another note, what the hell is wrong with Sirius XM’s music department? I’m about to go nuclear on them. They have been playing this really weak rerecorded version rather than the original for years. I can buy the track at Amazon for $1.29. SXM – ridiculously cheap and lazy.
22. I Can’t Wait – Nu Shooz
NAOHW – Man, Portland churns out the husband-wife outfits. First Quarterflash, now Nu Shooz, whose original version of this song was on their 1985 EP Tha’s Right. The single that became a hit was the result of a remix by Dutch producer Pieder Slaghuis whose version became a dance hit around Europe in late 1985, garnering the band a record contract with Atlantic Records. Nothing like an unsolicited remix to kick off your career.
21. On My Own – Patti Labelle & Michael McDonald
Taking the title to heart, Patti recorded her vocals on her own. Then writers Burt Bacharach & Carole Bayer Sager thought it should be a duet. So Michael did his vocals on his own. After this was a #1 hit, Burt & Carole split up and they were on their own.
I came up with on my own.
Now I need to evacuate my mind while I review the final 20 of the week.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder
PFK – Perfect for karaoke
RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia