No matter how deep I reflect, I don’t have a lot of great memories that I associate with the music of 1988, which is why I don’t get jazzed about these songs. Maybe in time, that will change. And hey, that’s just me. If you feel differently, then dig the first twenty of the Top 40 from November 19th of that year.
40. Tracie Spencer – Symptoms Of True Love
12-year-old Tracie, a Star Search winner, enters the Top 40 with her first hit. It will only peak at #38, but she will get a #3 hit, This House in early 1991.
39. Kenny G – Silhouette
RAR – We’re entering casino spa background music. You can blame Kenny all you want, but the real culprit is the producer for giving the session musicians nothing to do. They’re barely even there. Oh, I just looked at the 45. Guess who the producer is?
38. Boys Club – I Remember Holding You
RAR – When you’re in an eight-piece band such as The Jets, it’s hard to stick out. More than that, success can breed resentment. This is why we have Boys Club starring Eugene Wolgramm, who changed his name to Gene Hunt against his parent’s wishes. He formed the duo with a Minnesota pal of his Joe Pasquale, and they promptly recorded an album which spawned this hit barrel up to #8. In two years, he’ll break up the band and rejoin the Jets.
37. Erasure – Chains Of Love
THW, PD – Down tumble the broken links of the love chain, falling from its zenith of #12 a few weeks back.
36. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
PD – When you want someone not to be cruel to you, but you insist on telling them there’s a lot of girls out there that won’t say no, you’re just sending mixed messages.
35. Ivan Neville – Not Just Another Girl
OHW – Aaron’s son, Ivan garnered his only Top 40 hit from his debut If My Ancestors Could See Me Now, making he & his dad one of a handful of father/son duos to have separate Top 40 hits, such as John & Julian Lennon and Julio & Enrique Iglesias. If you want to see Ivan play today, check out his band Dumpstaphunk, which has been around for the past two decades.
34. Robert Palmer – Early In The Morning
Robert usually liked to cover obscure contemporary Soul songs. So I’m not sure what the thinking was on doing a version of this Gap band hit, especially when he diminishes the funk and doesn’t replace it with enough rock. He will take it five notches higher than TGB’s showing when it tops out at #19.
33. Steve Winwood – Don’t You Know What The Night Can Do?
PD – The second big hit from Roll With It drops down from its best showing of #6. Strange that this song bombed in the UK. Or do they not get Michelob over there?
32. Barbra Streisand & Don Johnson – Till I Loved You
Love will make you do idiotic things. I called Don Johnson a one-hit-wonder and completely forgot about this duet with Babs. I’ve already scheduled new hypnotherapy sessions.
31. Bangles – In Your Room
Here’s a future Top 5 single released from the Bangles’ new album Everything. They are the first of two all-female bands in the countdown. How rare is that? I could not find another instance where two self-contained groups made up of only women shared the Top 40 at the same time. Can you prove me wrong?
30. UB40 – Red Red Wine
STA, PD – Funny that a band named after an unemployment form has a big hit with a song about drinking until you can’t do anything else, including showing up for work.
29. Was (Not Was) – Spy In The House Of Love
THW – Don & David Was had been writing and recording songs with a mix of soul, punk, rock, and funk. Their LP, What Up Dog has them collaborating with Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra Jr., and Marshall Crenshaw and features their most accessible singles such as this one, even as it was lyrically offbeat. It’s on its way to a #16 high.
Even though they did not produce this album, they went to produce other artists such as Rickie Lee Jones, Bob Dylan, and k.d. Lang. Don went on to win a Grammy for Album of the Year for producing Bonnie Raitt’s 1989 album, Nick Of Time.
28. Information Society – What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)
PD – Running out of energy, this former #3 hit is sputtering off the charts, although it spent nearly a year on Dance charts.
27. Huey Lewis & The News – Small World (Pt. 1)
This will be the first Top 40 hit for the band to not make the Top 10 since Walking On A Thin Line in 1984. They will never hit the Top 10 again. Stan Getz performs the sax solo.
26. Vixen – Edge Of A Broken Heart
THW – Here’s the second all-female group, Vixen. It’s the glam metal band’s first hit, written by Richard Marx and The Tubes’ Fee Waybill, sitting at its peak. If you ever watched the movie 1984 Hardbodies (and who hasn’t) you would have noticed the ladies appearing in the film as the band Diaper Rash.
25. Van Halen – Finish What Ya Started
One of Sammy Hagar’s influences on Eddie was to have him rock more gently, which is what they do on this #13 hit. Nothing showy on this one and no need for spandex tights during the show.
24. Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing
PSB had six Top 40 hits, five of them went Top 10, but this is the only one that didn’t. This Latin-tinged number is heading up to a stop at #18. It was lyrically inspired by the fall of communist countries around the world or maybe a veiled attempt at trying to come out.
23. Poison – Every Rose Has Its Thorn
This will be Poison’s only #1 song. And if you really want to torture yourself, listen to Miley Cyrus’ version.
22. Bobby Brown – My Prerogative
Bobby B’s only number one smash is heading towards the top this week. This New Jack classic was the last one recorded for his second album, Don’t Be Cruel, which is beginning to crush it on the charts.
21. INXS – Never Tear Us Apart
PD – This synth-heavy ballad is sliding down from its #7 high a few weeks ago. It will be played at the end of Michael Hutchence’s funeral in 1997.
- 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