During the Summer I used to go to an ice skating rink and hang out. Sometimes we skated but mostly we chilled. One of the guys in charge of playing music asked if I’d make a would make mixtapes to play for the skaters, something that had a lot of current hits. One of the tapes I gave him that July made up a bulk of this countdown from August 2nd, 1986.
40. Klymaxx – Man Size Love
This Top 40 is bookended with soundtrack songs. Here’s the first of two from the Gregory Hines/ Billy Crystal buddy cop flick Running Scared by an all-female R&B act from Los Angeles. They were coming off of their first Top hit, I Miss You which peaked at #5 earlier in the year. This Rod Temperton track would rise all the way up to #15.
39. Device – Hanging On A Heart Attack
OHW – This is the second one-hit-wonder that features Singer/songwriter Holly Knight on lead vocals, the first being Spider’s New Romance back in 1980. Her she teams up with Paul Engemann who will take over lead duties in Animotion and have a Top 10 in 1989. This one is four spots away from its peak. Holly & third member Gene Black wrote another song that’s further up the chart.
Fun fact: Paul recorded a song with his sister Shawn called For Your Love which peaked at #91 in 1975. Shawn would eventually be one of Larry King’s last wives. They got married at a hospital in L.A. while Larry was hanging on a heart attack. Bada-bing!
38. Mike & the Mechanics – Taken In
Mike Rutherford did not dig the solo career lifestyle like his buddy Phil the Shill did. But he still yearned to write and record mellower music than Genesis in a collaborative way. So he formed the Mechanics as a quietly subversive supergroup hiring Sad Cafe’s Paul Young and everyone’s favorite utility player Paul Carrack to provide lead vocals as well as former Van Morrison drummer Peter Van Hooke. The results were pleasing if not quite challenging fare such as this one. Their third Top 40 single will top out at #32. I love taking a Summer nap to this song.
37. Howard Jones – No One Is To Blame
Inspired by a car accident in a no-fault insurance state, Phil the Shill produced and plays drums on this song that HoJo fought to salvage from his Dream Into Action LP. It would be his biggest international hit.
36. The Monkees – That Was Then, This Is Now
It is ironic that a video channel heavily inspired by Mike Nesmith’s company Pacific Arts would be responsible for reigniting Monkeemania in 1986, to the point that they rereleased a new greatest hit collection and a new recording. Too bad this song was a hunk of crap and only featured 50% of the group. Had they waited, got all four together and teamed them up with good writers and producers you might have a better, more interesting recording such as Good Times! the one they released in 2015.
35. John Cougar Mellencamp – Rumbleseat
That Scarecrow LP was still churning our singles in the Summer of 86 with this as number five. Was everyone missing Springsteen that much?
34. David Lee Roth – Yankee Rose
David shows the world that he still hasn’t grown up and is still the funniest guy you’ve ever met. From his hilarious album cover where he dresses up like a Native American to the album name, which is the slogan of a racist candy company in South Dakota. Oh, don’t worry he’s got your sexism and ethnic stereotypes covered too. It’s all packed into the first minute of the video to his third Top 40 hit, Yankee Rose, an ode to getting it on with the Statue of Liberty and watching her rockets glare..
33. Miami Sound Machine – Words Get In The Way
The Miami Sound Machine formula works like this. They have two tempos – too fast to dance to, and too slow to dance to. This is in camp number two. If the word didn’t get in the way, the narcolepsy would.
32. GTR – When The Heart Rules The Mind
OHW – Can you believe it? A prog-rock supergroup with a Top 40 in 1986. Well, when you xerox Yes and then xerox Asia which is a xerox of Yes, you get GTR with a lead singer that wishes he was Jon Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe, who played in both of the former groups and wishes he didn’t invest all of his money in Wacky Packages futures. You also have guitarist Steve Hackett which makes the third appearance in this Top 40 of former or current Genesis member. Wonder if there will be any more?
31. Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson – Friends And Lovers
OHW – Soap operas should never spawn pop music. Ever.
30. Regina – Baby Love
OHW – Supposedly this song was written for Madonna, but she passed. If that’s true, I know why she declined it. She didn’t want to repeat her debut over and over. She’s up at #4 with a more mature version of baby love. Instead, she threw the scraps to the co-writer Regina Richards who sang it and became a one-hit-wonder with an unoriginal sound.
I bought Regina’s Curiosity CD at a Woolworth’s in 1990 for a dollar in a sealed longbox. To this day, the album and the song Baby Love are unavailable digitally.
[UPDATE: Spotify and ITunes recently made Curiosity avalaible to stream/download. CD is still out of print.]
29. Billy Ocean – There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)
Billy trivia – He had three #1 songs. Each had eight words in the title. This is one of them. Next.
28. Gavin Christopher – One Step Closer To You
OHW – I was really into this 45 from the first time I heard it. To me, it sounds like the spiritual heir of the Manhattans’ Shining Star. The singer in that song becomes the protagonist in this one where he realizes how much he screwed up the relationship but was meant to put that shining star back in his arms. I also think Gavin sounds a lot like Gerald Alston.
This would shuffle its way up to #22 and never get one more step closer.
27. El Debarge – Who’s Johnny
OHW – Another soundtrack song, this one from Short Circuit which is what happened to everyone’s career who was involved with it, including El who never had another Top 40 hit, solo or with Debarge. [Sorry, Quincy Jones’ The Secret Garden doesn’t count.]
If you are El fan, check out 1992’s In The Storm, his retro ode to early 70s soul and funk.
26. The Outfield – All The Love In The World
The Outfield was a British band with no UK success whatsoever. Nice to see the reverse happen every now and then. That’s probably because they tried their hardest to sound as American as they could [or at least like the Police.] Their second Top hit will make the Top 20 in a few weeks. Nice to see they have some love saved up for Josie for when she gets back from her faraway vacation. [Actually, I heard they’re just gonna put it in the mail and get back to using some of your love tonight.]
25. The Fixx – Secret Separation
A secret Fixx song, meaning it doesn’t get into the 80s classic rotation even though it reached #19, so not many remember it. The Music of My Life elaborated on it last month.
24. Andy Taylor – Take It Easy
OHW – [all pretentious British accents] “I’m Andy Taylor. I’m done with Duran Duran and Power Station. Time to be a star and do my own thing.”
“OK, Andy what do you have for us.”
“This. [starts playing Take It Easy.]”
“Ummm that’s Bang A Gong. By T-Rex. You covered that already.”
“Right. Hit record, mate.”
From the soundtrack to American Anthem featuring gymnast Mitch Gaylord, this one-hit-wonder track is peaking this week at #24.
23. Berlin – Take My Breath Away
THW – Here’s the first of two songs from the Top Gun soundtrack produced by Giorgio Moroder. We’ll hear the other one later, but this will be the bigger of the two, on its way to #1.
22. Simply Red – Holding Back The Years
PFK – I was and still am a big Simply Red, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure this out back then, what it was that made it so popular, enough to go all the way to the top. But as I got older it started to make a lot more sense and then sadness became soothing.
21. Journey – Suzanne
I think Journey benefitted from Steve Perry’s success with his first solo album. His collaborations with Jonathan Cain & Neil Schon are stronger and catchier on Raised on Radio and this is a good example. This future #17 is climbing up and features Randy Jackson on bass. Yes that Randy Jackson, the guy who signed Brennan’s samurai sword.
OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
ML – Misheard Lyrics
PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
STA – Second Time Around