I calculate that I had purchased roughly 40% of the songs on this June 6, 1987 countdown on 45 or 12” when they were new, although the closer we get to #1, the lower the odds that I bought it. Still, there are a few good ones still in this Top 20.
20. Heart – Alone
Songwriters Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly wrote a bunch of song together in the early 80s and decided to record them under the band name, i-Ten. On that 1983 release, the first recorded version of this song was featured. Heart got a hold of it for their Bad Animals LP and gave it some much-needed muscle with Ann Wilson’s passionate vocals and Ron Nevison dramatic production. It will eventually hit #1 for three weeks.
19. Chicago – If She Would Have Been Faithful…
Chicago continued to trade on their past with overwrought ballads like this one, although this is light years better than what was to come with Chicago 19. This is sliding down from a high of #17.
18. Jody Watley – Looking For A New Love
Jody said hasta la vista, baby to the number two spot a few weeks ago and has been tumbling ever since. But don’t worry Jody, there’s a Best New Artist Grammy awaiting you next year.
17. Kenny G – Songbird
This is the song that crossed Kenny over from R&B fusion to quiet storm pop, making him millions in the process but accruing heaps of scorn from jazz artists and fans alike. Alan Hunter on the Big 80s countdown mentions that this is the first instrumental to hit the Top 40 since the Miami Vice Theme. I didn’t believe him, but I looked it up and sure enough, there weren’t any instrumentals in the Top 40 since then, including all of 1986.
16. Bryan Adams – Heat Of The Night
This Top Ten hit was the leadoff release from his new LP Into The Fire. He would have two more Top 40 singles from the album. None of them are very memorable or remembered or played anymore (except in Canada…CanCon.)
15. Kenny Loggins – Meet Me Half Way
Movie Kenny! From the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling flick, Over The Top, it was co-written by Giorgio Moroder. Not one of his best but it will still reach #11 in a few weeks.
14. Huey Lewis & The News – I Know What I Like
An oddball track from Huey and the guys off of Fore, but their radio popularity and momentum carried it into the Top 10 up to #9 where it was last week. When Huey sings, “I like the sound of breaking glass. And if you don’t believe me, why did you ask?” I imagine that line as a future post reply on a Nick Lowe fan club Reddit page.
13. Smokey Robinson – Just To See Her
12. Glenn Medeiros – Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You
Although first recorded my George Benson for his 20/20 album, 16-year-old Hawaiian singer Glenn Medieros recorded his version after winning a local radio contest. A mainland DJ heard and brought it back to his Phoenix radio station and spread from market to market until it became a #12 hit. Gleen would have a #1 new jack hit in 1990 with She Ain’t Worth It.
11. Breakfast Club – Right On Track
OHW – Now this is a dance song. Bout damn time too – this one should fill your floor. I was definitely into this when it came out. Too bad the band, which once featured Madonna as a member, couldn’t properly follow it up. Their second single Kiss And Tell was a slow shuffler that peaked at #48. The band mostly got back togerther and put out some new material in 2016.
10. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
The lead-off single from Whitney’s second album was the first of four number ones off of that disc and the rare dance track from her. Also someone please explain why folks, primarily women, go absolutely bonkers when this song gets played at a party? I would hold this song off at a wedding until the last few played and people would lose their shit.
9. Herb Alpert – Diamonds
Twenty-five years after his first Top 10, Herb blows his way back in, this time with help from Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Janet Jackson. Most people forget that this is a Herb song and that’s because Jam, Lewis & Jackson had created such an identifiable sound so quickly that anything they put their stamp on sounded like them. It also gave Herb his sixth Top 40 and first #1 on the Soul charts.
8. Fleetwood Mac – Big Love
What began as a Lindsey Buckingham solo album became Tango In The Night, Fleetwood Mac’s followup to Mirage and this was the lead single, peaking at #5. I don’t believe Stevie is even on this track and those uh-ahs are all Lindsey played at different frequencies. By the way, I always wondered what Isaac Hayes would sound like singing this track with a little hot buttered soul, so I came up with this.
7. Bon Jovi – Wanted Dead Or Alive
A cowboy on a steel horse, I ride conjures up lots of images but none of them is a musician. Please work harder on your metaphors, Jon.
6. Genesis – In Too Deep
“The most moving pop song of the 1980s, about monogamy and commitment. The song is extremely uplifting. The lyrics are as positive and affirmative as anything I’ve heard in rock.” – Patrick Bateman, American Psycho
5. U2 – With Or Without You
The Joshua Tree is the album that turned U2 into superstars. It’s the best album in their catalog, but more importantly, this Daniel Lanois/ Brian Eno production is exceptional compared to all rock albums. Lanois/Eno figured out a way to accentuate each band member’s strength and there is not a single wasted note or second on this. It would garner the band two number ones, this being the first.
4. Chris de Burgh – The Lady In Red
NAOHW – Four of the Top five songs have been or will be number one. Except for this dud. JK. Chris supposedly wrote this as a love letter to his wife. It is quite charming that he would put himself out like this.
I’ve always wondered why they left his cracking voice on the first nobody here in the song’s chorus. Was that done to make it sound authentic or sound emotional? Or was he grossly over budget and the producer told him he was out of money and the first take was the last take?
3. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – Head To Toe
The last time we heard Lisa Lisa she was with Cult Jam and Full Force. That’s a lot of muscle, maybe too much. Lisa gave Full Force Samantha Fox’s phone number then decamped with Cult Jam, so including Lisa, only a trio. With less of a posse, their next album was lighter and more fun, producing two number ones.
I never did understand the phrase head-to-toe. Shouldn’t it be head-to-toes? Otherwise, you’re talking about a sloth.
2. Atlantic Starr – Always
This sounds like it was written by an eleven-year-old, sponsored by Hallmark. If this was your wedding song, I’m betting it didn’t last.
1. Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin’ On
NAOHW – Kim broke into the States with Kids In America in 1982, a Top 30 New Wave hit. Then nothing else ever clicked while she continued to have smashes in the UK. Then in late 1986 her version of the Supremes’ classic starting hitting number one all over Europe, eventually jumping the pond and replicating that success here. That was it for Kim as she never hit again, although she continues to record and put out fine music to date.
One of a handful of #1s to be covered and hit #1 a second time.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder
PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
ML – Misheard Lyrics
STA – Second Time Around