Now I remembered why I hesitated to tackle this countdown which is looking more and more like a bad cocaine hangover. What the hell happened? I wonder how much of this sap was spurred on by proms, wedding season and misplaced emotions? Or was it just indifferent record company robots? Thankfully grunge and hip hop were just around the corner, ready to make their mark. But until then, these were the top songs the week of June 17th, 1989.
13. Cyndi Lauper – I Drove All Night
This will be Cyndi Lauper’s last Top 10/40 hit as this climbs up to #6. Even though this Billy Steinberg/ Tom Kelly song has had strong recordings by Roy Orbison & Celine Dion, Cyndi’s remains as the most successful US version.
12. Natalie Cole – Miss You Like Crazy
PFK – Natalie, what are you doing? Leave songs like this to Whitney Houston. We want more of those sultry ballads like Our Love and I’ve Got Love On My Mind, not this Yamaha DX7 tripe.
Fun fact: Bruno from the movie and TV show, Fame plays piano and synths on her album Good to Be Back. He is gonna live forever!
11. Michael Damian – Rock On
NAOHW – The name says it all – he’s the devil. This soap opera lifer bubbled up to poorly interpret, nay, destroy a classic. This knocked Paula Abdul’s Forever Your Girl out of the number one spot. So I guess payola still existed in 1989.
10. Waterfront – Cry
OHW – Here’s a pleasant little faux soul-pop hit, in the vein of Breathe, from the Welsh duo of Chris Duffy & Phil Cilla, resting at its peak of #10. I never thought much of it until I read the lyrics of the second verse:
I know you’re just sixteen, but looking all of twenty-one.
(Twenty-one, you’ll be married with a gun.)
Daddy would go to jail for you,
If he thought you were having the wrong sort of fun.
Now I finally get it. This is a emotionally complex song about two folks ready to get busy until the singer realizes that he’s messing with jailbait. And his decision to stop embarrasses her, so she starts crying, prompting him to plead not to. Well, at least he’s got more restraint than ol’ Benny M. [don’t click that link.]
9. Donna Summer – This Time I Know It’s For Real
The class of ’79 is riding high again with one of its star pupils in the Top 10, after a five-year absence. It would be her last Top 40 hit produced by the buzzSAW known as Stock Aiken Waterman.
To experience an endless Summer, check out My Favorite Decade 1976-1985 where it’s the Summer of Summer.
8. Lita Ford & Ozzy Osbourne – Close My Eyes Forever
NAOHW – The Prince of Darkness finally makes the Top 10 sitting at its peak of #8. [I guess it makes sense that it’s with a power ballad rather than something like Crazy Train.] And for extra strength, he teams up with ex-Runaway Lita Ford, who was managed by Ozzy’s wife, Sharon at that point. Ozzy & Lita would also have one other solo Top 40 hit. A heavy metal pairing in heaven.
7. Fine Young Cannibals – Good Thing
The second single from The Raw & the Cooked is going to reach number one just like their first single, She Drives Me Crazy. But more importantly, on that fine Summer day in July, they will knock the next song up out of the top spot.
6. Milli Vanilli – Baby Don’t Forget My Number
Didn’t they already release this once and call it Girl You Know It’s True? It’s the same damn song with the same damn drum sample. We’re the ones that made Milli Vanilli. We should be apologizing to them.
5. Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
The daughter of jazz trumpeter Don Cherry redeems this whole Top 10 with one the best songs from the best albums of 1989, Raw Like Sushi. That album carried me through the Summer.
Buffalo Stance originated as a B-side to a 12″ by Morgan-McVey called Looking Good Diving and was originally titled Looking Good Diving with the Wild Bunch. Neneh sings the lead on that track. When Neneh got a recording contract she along with producer Tim Simonen took the best bits, polished them up, rearranged them and tightened them up into this funky little jam. This will keep pushing its way up to #3.
Her next album, Homebrew was even better.
4. Richard Marx – Satisfied
Richard is back in the Top 10 with this fifth straight Top 5 hit. This debuted on the Hot 100 at #39 and will reach number one next week.
Fun fact: Randy Jackson plays bass on this. So with him & Paula in the Top 40, all we’re missing is Simon, that miserable bastard.
3. Bobby Brown – Every Little Step
Finally some good dance music. Bobby B. is in the middle of crushing it in 1989. This is the fourth Top 10 single, which they remixed for radio release, from his Don’t Be Cruel album. He’d have two more big ones before the year was out.
2. Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings
For as ballsy and baudy as Bette is, it’s a shame that she’s most remembered for somber, dour ballads like From A Distance and this one from her movie Beaches, which is like a sobered up version of The Rose. Originally intended and recorded as a country song, a few Soul artists such as Lou Rawls & Gladys Knight tackled it as well before Bette got her Midler mitts on it. It was last weeks #1. Remember we sent The Living Years there only months before.
Fun fact: Between Bette & Glenn Medeiros we had back to back years with number ones by Hawaiian born artists.
1. New Kids On The Block – I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)
This is called limping to the finish line, like Michael Douglas in Running. Five white boys from Boston pretending to be the Delfonics (probably didn’t know who they were either) gets one of my newest awards – WPWFU – White People, We F(_)cked Up. You might see this again the next time Michael Bolton is on the charts.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
NAOHW – Not A One-Hit-Wonder
PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
STA – Second Time Around
WPWFU – White People, We F(_)cked Up