Here’s the Top 20 for the week of September 17th, 1988. It’s not as bad as I thought.
20. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
I think if suitor purchases fancy cars and diamond rings for someone and they cannot even be bothered to clink their champagne flute during a toast with said purchaser, that’s not cruel. It’s just bad taste, per Emily Post.
19. UB40 – Red, Red Wine
STA – UB40 released an album of covers called Labour Of Love in 1983. And on that LP was a version of an obscure Neil Diamond song through the artist Tony Tribe. It reached #34 in early 1984. Jump to 1988 and UB40 has a new album, but radio is playing this song including Astro’s toast like they’ve never heard before. It is currently zooming up the charts and will reach #1 in the Fall. UB40 will continue to just record covers for the rest of their career.
SXMFU – On the Big 80s countdown, they call this UB40’s biggest hit. Wrong. That would be their cover of Can’t Help Falling In Love which stayed at #1 for 7 weeks in 1993.
18. New Kids On The Block – Please Don’t Go Girl
Do you know who Jamie Kelly is? He’s the Pete Best of NKOTB. His Ringo was Little Joe. I imagine him being wicked pissed from this point in his life in 1988 to whenever Walhburgers files for bankruptcy.
17. DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – A Nightmare On My Street
We’re still in the period where hip-hop was not going to cross over unless there was a novelty to it. Just for context, these were some of the classic rap albums released at the time this was climbing the charts: Eric B & Rakim’s Follow The Leader, Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, EPMDs’ Strictly Business and NWA’s Straight Outta Compton.
16. Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
THW – This song and album came out of nowhere and saved music as far as I’m concerned. Because I think its success helped widen the narrow-minded visions of record company executives that were only trying to create the next Madonna or Whitney. Having it come from an African American woman playing folk music helped to open the doors for a genre-varied 90s female music revolution.
15. Cheap Trick – Don’t Be Cruel
Back in May, I wrote a post about how rare it was for two songs with the same title to be in the Top 40 at the same time. You guys schooled me and gave me some other instances. Here’s Victor’s chance to shine with this countdown in which two songs called Don’t Be Cruel are hanging in the Top 20 together, 5 spaces apart.
14. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts – I Hate Myself For Loving You
Good to see Pat Benatar and Joan Jett kicking ass in the dance-heavy, reverb-laden late 80s. Joan’s gonna take this up to #8 for her first Top 10 in six years. But more importantly, in 2006 she lent this song to the NFL [and they bastardized the hell out of it] for the Sunday Night Football theme. In 2019, they actually let her sing it with Carrie Underwood, which is way better of a public relations attempt than the trainwreck Meghan Trainor was.
13. George Michael – Monkey
The forgotten #1 hit from George Michael’s Faith LP also hit the Top on the R&B charts due to the Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis single remix. The song is so oddly constructed that it benefits greatly from their help. For some reason, I was so into this back then that I copied his black & white look from the video, minus the stubble when my band (playing modern rock covers) made their debut at a night club.
12. Michael Jackson – Another Part Of Me
I got to see the Francis Ford Copolla-directed short film, Captain EO at Epcot in July of 1987. I remember it being pretty hokey especially the special effects. But it featured two new songs from Michael. This was one of them and it broke his Top 10 streak (I don’t count the re-release of Farewell My Summer Love) of 13 in a row by peaking at #11. He’d start a new one with Smooth Criminal.
11. Peter Cetera – One Good Woman
Eric Cartman Peter Cetera is besting his former band Chicago as this cruises up the charts destined to be his third Top 10 solo hit. At least this one has a little more bite than his 1986 chart-toppers, Glory Of Love & The Next Time I Fall.
10. Rick Astley – It Would Take A Strong Strong Man
WPWFU – True soul music is not determined by skin color or ethnicity. It’s about knowing who you are, where you came from and using your body as a vessel to let it naturally flow through you. This is why most soul music when sung by white people sounds so forced because we are wrapped so tight. And Rick’s a prime example. But if the only good thing he accidentally contributes to the world is Rickrolling, I forgive him.
9. Def Leppard – Love Bites
This future and only #1 from Dep Leppard tells you all you need to know about it in the title. This version is way better.
8. Kenny Loggins – Nobody’s Fool
Movie Kenny! If it worked for the first Caddyshack film, bring him back for the sequel. This will be Kenny’s last Top 40 hit and it’s sitting at its peak this week.
7. New Edition – If It Isn’t Love
Former member Bobby Brown is at #20 and protegees NKOTB are at #17. But New Edition is reigning supreme this week with their second Top 10 hit. Unfortunately, that would be it for a while as the band began to splinter into solo and side projects, But between all of those entities they would rack up 11 Top 40 in the early 90s before regrouping again in 1996. That’s called divide and conquer.
6. Van Halen – When It’s Love
After 1984, Van Halen just became a vehicle for Eddie to try out his new synthesizers and come up with album titles that six-year-olds would enjoy. Eddie uses a Yamaha KX88 on their second single from OU812 and it’s one notch off its peak of #5.
5. Taylor Dayne – I’ll Always Love You
WPWFU – You can see that we f’d up a lot more with songs like this as the decade wore on. Thankfully R&B and hip hop were about to explode and send us back to our listening stations.
4. Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry, Be Happy
OHW – This song might have gotten on people’s nerves after a while and I understand that, due to its childlike simplicity. But Bobby is an incredibly talented musician and this is a very difficult song to pull off in its arrangement and vocalization. It will hit #1 in a few weeks.
3. Huey Lewis & The News – Perfect World
Huey’s former bandmate in Clover, Alex Call wrote this #3 hit for the band, which had matured into a tight unit even as their success began to wane. It would be their last Top 10 hit.
2. Robert Palmer – Simply Irresistible
This song has all the subtlety of a piledriver with a plodding rhyme scheme lifted from The Logical Song, but give this to me 100 times over the rest of the Top 10.
1. Guns ‘N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine (2 wks at #1)
What started as a guitar exercise for Slash ended up as GNR’s signature hit. Axl wrote the lyrics about his then-girlfriend and future wife Erin Everly who he’d eventually abuse. Think about that the next time you hear the line I’d hate to look into those eyes and see an ounce of pain.
Enjoy this instead.
- OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
- THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
- PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
- RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
- RFW – Ripped from Wikipedia
- STA – Second Time Around
- WPWFU – White People, We F(_)cked Up