When Explanations Make No Sense

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From November 7th, 1987, here are the Top 20 songs that they say we were listening to most.

20. Sting – We’ll Be Together

After proving he could be a successful solo star, Sting-a-ling-a-ding-dong started to wear cable-knit sweaters and crawl up his own butt. I’m assuming it’s a tantric position. He still kept me as a fan, because he made such instantly catchy tracks like this one on its way up to the Top 10.

19. Poison – I Won’t Forget You

I prefer Goodbye Stranger. Cause if you’re gonna bullshit me, make it sound good.

18. R.E.M. – The One I Love

The first songs I ever learned to play on a guitar were R.E.M. songs – Driver 8So. Central Rain and this one. It was simple chord driven rock, perfect to throw in an amateur band’s playlist. But simple does not mean easy nor does it mean shallow and it took me years to figure out how screwed up this future Top 10 hit was.

17. Prince – U Got The Look

PD – This is the second collaboration with Sheena Easton to result in a Top 10 hit, with the first being Sugar Walls. Although this is a duet, she is not credited as such on the artist title. Maybe it was a record company thing, but it’s a glaring omission.

16. Cutting Crew – I’ve Been In Love Before

Any time I see an Asplundh truck coming down my street, I break into I just died in your arms tonight. But they had another Top 10 hit and this mellow number is slicing its way up to #9.

15. Kenny G – Don’t Make Me Wait For Love

STA – I’m not gonna crap on Kenny G. You either like his sound or not. I don’t care for it, but the dude is talented. I mean he played with the Love Unlimited Orchestra when he was still a teenager. When he has vocalists, such as Tower Of Power’s Lenny Williams sing on his songs, it helps to minimize the saxiness. This was the first single from Duotones which flamed out at #77 on the Soul charts. On its re-release, it will get to #17 and #15 pop, where it peaks this week.

14. Richard Marx – Should’ve Known Better

If you don’t like Richard Marx music, then at least read his Twitter feed. It’s very entertaining and only lasts 2-3 seconds at a clip.

13. U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name

The third single from The Joshua Tree is at its high this week. And if you enjoy this song, you’ll be surprised to know that the album version is made up of edits from various takes because it was so hard to get one perfect continuous recording. Even though I had the album, I bought the 45 because it had two killer B-sides: Silver & Gold and Sweetest Thing, both of which got significant airplay on WLIR in New York.

Pet Shop Boys did a medley of this and Frankie Valli’s Can’t Take My Eyes Off You in 1991.

12. Levert – Casanova

OHW, PD – This falls out of the Top 10 this week after a peak of #5. This New Jack beat would be ripped off many times for songs such as Paula Abdul’s Straight Up and Donny Somond’s Soldier Of Love.

11. Belinda Carlisle – Heaven Is A Place On Earth

Belinda Carlisle’s ode to atheism will be a future number one. Also, do I know what what’s worth?

10. Pet Shop Boys – It’s A Sin

Pet Shop Boys’ ode to the uselessness of Catholicism is on its way to #9. It will be their third Top 10 in just about a year and a half’s time.

Also, DJ, child molester and general piece of shit, Jonathan King accused PSB of ripping off Cat Stevens’ Wild World on this song. He went as far as recording Wild World with a synth arrangement to prove his point, debasing both tunes in the process. PSB sued him, won and donated the money to charity.

9. Expose – Let Me Be The One

PD – Fine, you’re the one. Now come go with me to the point of no return before the seasons change.

8. Bruce Springsteen – Brilliant Disguise

After the ridiculous success of Born in The USA, Bruce was now set up to do the exact kind of music he wanted for the rest of his life – personal, unflinching looks at life in chaos and repair. This isn’t quite Nebraska, but he was on his way with this #5 gem.

7. Swing Out Sister – Breakout

THW, RAR – This song had already made the UK Top 10 a year previous to its US Top 10 appearance. It will eventually top out at #6. It’s another song that I was rocking during the Summer when radio is still too slow in picking up new artists. One of the reasons this song still gets heard besides its very pleasant and uplifting vibe is the fact that it was #1 on the AC charts.

6. Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes – I’ve Had The Time Of My Life

This will be #1 by Thanksgiving. I still can’t believe this B-movie and music were successful. They’re both so hackneyed and cheesy, way more than anything the real Borscht Belt could have ever produced. But somehow the public ate this up. The song will even win an Oscar the following year.

One weekend when I was traveling to Lake Lure, I stumbled upon a Dirty Dancing festival, as this was where the film was primarily shot. I peaked into a room of about 12-15 senior citizens shagging to this song at full volume. Nobody put anything in the corner.

5. Michael Jackson – Bad

By the time this album came out, no one was saying bad as in good anymore. Even white folk like Huey Lewis was clarifying that bad is bad as to not be confused with good, back in 1983. Even though MJ would rack up five #1s, including this one, it started to feel like he was behind the curve rather than innovating anymore.

Also, who could forget this? You ain’t nothin’!

4. Fleetwood Mac – Little Lies

RAR – F Mac settled in nicely to their new role as adult contemporaries with the Tango In The Night LP and Christine McVie-sung track which will be their last Top 10 hit in the US, although they will continue to have AC hits into the early 2000s.

3. Billy Idol – Mony Mony

I’ve always hated Billy’s cover of this song which was one of the first things he recorded in 1981. It bombed back then, but I guess enough people were playing it at parties that he thought to release a live version in 1987. It will go to #1 in two weeks, completing the rare feat of swapping one Tommy James cover for another. Get laid. Get f—d!

2. Madonna – Causing A Commotion

Only Madonna can pull off the rare accomplishment of having songs that almost went to #1 be forgotten by most of the public. Maybe it’s because’s it’s never been released on any of her greatest hits collections. And maybe Madonna has tried to pretend this song doesn’t exist because it reminds her of her volatile and violent relationship with Sean Penn.

1. Tiffany – I Think We’re Alone Now (1 wk at #1)

Children be-haaaave. And start saving up your babysitting money. Because Tiffany’s is appearing this Saturday just outside of the Jeans Junction next to the Ah!Nuts! kiosk at the Valley View Mall in Sunny Grove. She’ll be butchering your favorite 60s classics from the Beatles and Tommy James & the Shondells. No one over eleven will be allowed at this event.

KEY

  • OHW – One-Hit-Wonder
  • THW – Two-Hit-Wonder
  • PD – Previously Discussed
  • PFK – Perfect for Karaoke
  • RAR – Rite-Aid Rock
  • STA – Second Time Around
  • WPWFU – White People, We F(_)cked Up

 

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