The Top 20 from August 19th, 1989 has a few gems. Very few. So buckle in. We’re about to hit a rough patch.
20. Skid Row – 18 and Life
THW – One of the main reasons I never liked pop metal from the late 80s and early 90s was that it was such an obvious con. These bands had such a disdain for their audience that they barely even pandered to them. Here’s a song supposed to be about a kid who accidentally kills a friend with a gun he didn’t think was loaded and then they proceed to blame that “accident” on the kid’s upbringing. But there’s no understanding about what happened, no insight or empathy for either kid, so the song just comes off as exploitation. They figured their fans were too stupid for anything with depth.
Sebastian Bach makes Axl Rose seem like Kurt Vonnegut.
19. Winger – Headed For A Heartbreak
THW – Here’s another band that just plugged themselves into the hair metal club with a recommendation letter from Alice Cooper because Kip played bass for him. That and a case of Aqua Net got them two Top 20 hits. But as soon as they were discovered to be metal frauds, they were banished for life onto this t-shirt.
18. Bon Jovi – Lay Your Hands On Me
Speaking of disdain for your audience….I still can’t believe folks deemed them worthy for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame over folks like Todd Rundgren, Kate Bush, King Crimson or even Iron Maiden (the list goes on…)
17. Surface – Shower Me With Your Love
That’s your title? Really? How hard did the producer laugh when you told them the name of your new song? Has anyone found the mystery tape?
16. Martika – Toy Soldiers
I mentioned some fun facts about this song back in my June 17 post, so I’ll mention this instead. I never understood why the snare drum hits on the two and the and before the four. I would think that toy soldiers would fall one by one making them hit each other on the beat rather than off of it. Because once you’re off the beat, you’ll never get back on it. Am I thinking too much about this?
15. Soul II Soul – Keep On Movin’
THW – Hell yeah. Thank God for this song or 1989 would have been hell. Just a casual listen transports me in a bubble back to life covered in yellow sun rays. There was nothing that sounded like this on the radio back then.
Nelle Hooper and Jazz B were soon all over the place after this broke big. It was huge all over the world, reaching #1 on the Soul charts but somehow will only peak at #11 on the pop charts.
14. Donny Osmond – Sacred Emotion
In 1989 we were feeling the Blizzard of Os. It took us over as if it was 1971 all over again. At least Donny was gentle about it doing his best version of a Mormon soul brother, preaching his way up to a #13 high.
13. The Jeff Healy Band – Angel Eyes
OHW – Blues guitarist released his debut, See The Light in the Fall of 1988. But it wasn’t until this single’s inclusion in the Partick Swayze redneck revenge fest, Road House, that it became a hit reaching #5 in early September 1989.
12. Jody Watley with Eric B. and Rakim – Friends
Bless you, Jody Watley for having Rakim, one of the best MCs of all time, rap on your song thereby exposing him to millions of new fans. Also, don’t let the title of this future Top 10 fool you. Jody isn’t talking about friends that will be there for you. She’s basically making the point that friends suck. You too, Ross.
11. Don Henley – The End of The Innocence
Don Henley had to find a way to followup the success to his 1985 LP, Building The Perfect Beast. So his solution was to surgically remove all joy from his life. Because if he was super serious, we would all take him super seriously. This isn’t fun folks. It’s a job.
Also, Bruce Hornsby co-wrote and played piano on this Top 10. Stop smiling.
10. Love and Rockets – So Alive
OHW – OK breathe out and relax. L&R got you covered. You can even move a bit if you want. This made it to #3? Praise Jesus.
9. Karyn White – Secret Rendezvous
In the late 80s, Babyface & L.A. Reid started to turn out one earworm after another and before you knew it, we were living in the musical world they created. This was Karyn’s third straight Top 10 pop smash.
8. Prince – Batdance
The first single from Prince’s Batman soundtrack hit #1 on the Pop, Soul and dance charts and is one of the oddest tunes in his catalog (and that’s saying something.) It starts off with a fast electro-disco beat before breaking down a la The Payback into a jerky funk groove full of movie snippets and musical collages from other songs on the soundtrack. It also showcases Prince’s humor as when he sings Ooh yeah, I wanna bust that body, he follows it up with Batman saying I’d like to.
I wonder if Michael Keaton ever thought he’d be on a #1 record.
7. Dino – I Like It
We’ve already had That’s The Way on the countdown. Now here’s I Like It, which is fitting because this song is plainly just a rewrite of KC’s disco #1, even with some uh-huh, uh-huhs thrown in. Plus I like the way he was always excited to see Fred when he came home.
6. New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough
There’s no way I would ever be able to fight my way out of a 5 on 1 situation. Except if I ever encountered these pussies chilling in Cape Cawd eatin’ a Wahlburga.
5. Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy
THW – I would feel bad for Ian Hunter that a band like Great White got the big hit with a song he wrote. But then I remember he let Drew Carey use Cleveland Rocks for his show, so I’m sure he would be wiping his tears with Franklins.
4. Gloria Estefan – Don’t Wanna Lose You
Gloria finally Mellancamped the Miami Sound Machine and went out of her own. Even though this song is at #4 it will still take her another month to hit #1.
3. Paula Abdul – Cold Hearted
Paula Abdul in 1988: failure.
Paula Abdul in 1989: biggest selling artist on Virgin Records (still holds that record to this day).
I don’t care much for the song but big props for the Fosse tribute in the video.
2. Bobby Brown – On Our Own (From “Ghostbusters II”)
More Babyface And LA. What did I tell you? Those guys were everywhere. They might have written the theme song to my wedding for all I know. Or in Bobby’s case, post-wedding.
1. Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting (3 wks at #1)
I’m sure this got played at a lot of proms, which is why it has been sitting at the top for three weeks now. How many Seniors played this for their partner before they embarked on a long-distance relationship? Hate to tell you, they ain’t coming back. See #3.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
- STA – Second Time Around