The Bones Of Last Week’s News


As Ric Ocasek once said, “Summer. Summer. Summer.” Let’s continue on with the June 17th, 1989 countodwn.

25. Doobie Brothers – The Doctor

The Doobies got back together in 1989. And if you like them China Grove-style, then you’re gonna love The Doctor. It’s as if Michael McDonald never joined the band. Actually they would have welcomed him back if he wanted but since he didn’t, they decided to go back to creating biker bar music. This would eventually get into the Top 10.

24. Madonna – Express Yourself

Madonna’s marriage to Sean Penn did not last long. Whether in response to that or the want to write an inspirational anthem, she wrote this feminist call to arms that should be the song she’s remembered most for. It was kept out of the top spot by Martika’s Toy Soldiers. One of my favorite Madonna all-time tracks.

RFW – Big 80’s countdown reads the following as they intro the song – “Express Yourself” was the first song that Madonna and producer Stephen Bray collaborated on for Like a Prayer. Written and produced by them, the song was a tribute to American funk and soul band Sly and the Family Stone.”

23. Elvis Costello – Veronica

NAOHW – This is Elvis’ second and last Top 40 hit on its way up to #19 and #1 on the Modern Rock charts. Another colloboration with Paul McCartney, who provided more on the musical side, while Elvis wrote the bulk of the lyrics inspired by his grandmother [who’s confirmation name was Veronica] who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. It’s an extremely well written song on the subject, a loving tribute that’s equally heartbreaking.

Paul played his Hofner bass on the recording.

22. Expose – What You Don’t Know

The lead off single from their second album will soon be their fifth Top 10 single in a row. But their success would quickly wane as lots of freestyle copycats, such as Sweet Sensation, Seduction and the Cover Girls would soon flood the charts.

21. Cinderella – Coming Home

I do not hate glam metal. I think there were a few artists that did some catchy well=played songs [and if they come up on a countodwn, I’ll mention that.] Cinderella was not one of those bands. It’s not that they weren’t particularly strong, it’s that I cannot take Tom Keifer’s voice screeching through these songs. My ears physically hurt listening to him. He eventually paid the price by having throat surgery to repair his vocal cords in 1991.

Lesson #1: Take care of your instrument.

20. Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl

This song spent two weeks at #1 in May and was the second of four from her 1988 debut album of the same name. It was written by guitaist Ollie Leiber who was in Ta Mara & The Seen and whose dad was Jerry Leiber, making them one of the few father-son combinations to each a write number one song.

19. Donny Osmond – Soldier Of Love

In th early 70s, the Doobie Brothers, Bee Gees and Donny Osmond were all on the charts together. In 1989 each artist would hit the Top 10.

This song was packaged to radio stations as Soldier of Love by a “mystery artist”. When stations started to play it, the record company revealed the singer to be Donny Osmond. So DJs were tricked into ignoring their prejudices and made to play a song that sounded like everything else they were playing. Alright, Donny!

BTW Donny was only 31 years old when this peaked at #2. Katy Perry is 34.

18. Tom Petty – I Won’t Back Down

This is Tom’s first solo hit but he still kept his partner in crime Mike Campbell close by as he co-wrote this track and plays the slide guitar fills. His new buddy Jeff Lynne produced and played bass and he also had his fellow Wilbury, George Harrison play acoustic guitar, with both providing background vocals as well.

At the time I thought, Cool, a solid new Tom Petty track. I bought the album but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me that it existed nor that the Heartbreakers weren’t much involved. Time and Petty’s death have considerably changed my thinking on this and it’s gained a new improtance to me. I will crank this iup and sing along any time I hear it now. A lot of folks have admitted that it’s been a mantra for change in their lives. I’m in the middle of writing my story about it. Maybe I’ll share it when it ends.

17. Simply Red – If You Don’t Know Me By Now

Simply Red is going to the dance again, this time courtesy of a cover of some Philly Soul by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes from 1972. Pretty ballsy to try and tackle Teddy Pendergrass but Mick Hucknall was up to the challenge.

16. Jimmy Harnen with Synch – Where Are You Now?

OHW, STA – Rather than discover new hits DJs and radio stations during the late 80s were in competition trying to find the next forgotten 45 and turn it into a hit. The Pennsylvania band, Synch recorded and released this song written and sung by their drummer Jimmy Harnen and it peaked at #77 in 1986, probably for good reason. If REO Speedwagon is too edgy for you, then this is your cup of tea.

Then one day a DJ started playing it again and it received lots of requests. Another DJ heard about its success and did the same with the equal results and it spread all over the country until the single was re-released under Jimmy Harnen with Synch becoming a Top 10 hit.

15. John Cougar Mellencamp – Pop Singer

Forget the irony of a song complaining about never wanting to be a pop singer hitting #15 on the Pop charts, this song can’t bother to raise any decipherable emotion about what it’s complaining about. Hence you get a chorus of Pop singer, writing of pop song. Someone call the Cougar a waaaaambulance.

14. Guns ‘N’ Roses – Patience

Don’t let the acoustic guitars and whistling fool you. Axl Rose is a homophobic racist, who needs way more therapy than patience. Actually we need patience to deal with that mouthbreather.


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

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