As we review the second half of the decade during chart week twenty-five, I feel like most of these songs deserved their title of The Other Sixty, with a few exceptions. Let’s take a look at the debuts between 1985 and 1989.
June 22nd, 1985
Madonna was huge in 1985, so a parody of Like A Virgin made sense. But like most novelty records, they don’t have much time before they become annoying. Al’s time was at #47.
Sade’s follow up to Smooth Operator was actually the first single that the band released in the UK where it went to #6. This song goes down like butter melting in a hot pan. It probably fogged up too many Pop programmers’ glasses. R&B radio had no problem with it sit reached #35. Naturally, it became a Top 10 AC hit, but the king was overthrown on the Hot 100 at #54.
June 28th, 1986
John scored an invitation to sing a song written by JD Souther & Danny Kortchmar on the soundtrack of About Last Night, a Rob Lowe/Demi Moore rom-com. If anybody had a heart, they’d tell John he should have turned it down. #76 was its zenith.
The 80s were not kind to the Beach Boys. If you’re following the movie, Love & Mercy, this song would have been recorded during the scenes that Brian was getting financially fleeced, randomly drugged and yelled at for eating matza ball soup by Eugene Landy. It was originally recorded for Made In U.S.A., yet another band compilation, this one with a grammatically-challenged title. The search party will give up at #68.
Here’s something from Minneapolis that doesn’t sound like Prince. After winning Star Search in 1985, this pop-rock quintet recorded their only album. This was the lead single. We demanded our money back at #79.
Dennis’ post-Styx career was not going the way he had hoped it would. Maybe he needed someone like Tommy Shaw to give him constant ratings on the cheese-o-meter. Without that, you get limp ballads like this one that barely gets out of the starting gate. This #93 single was also on the Karate Kid II soundtrack.
Cavin Yarbrough & Alicia Peoples are here to remind you that they once wrote the hit, Don’t Stop the Music, by recording a faster version of it with a new title. Someone’s pants catch on fire at #93.
June 27th, 1987
Bob Rosenberg was a DJ for the R&B/dance music station WQHT in Miami in the mid-80s,which inspired him to record some of his own jams. He recorded this song as a tribute to his sister who had recently passed away. Epic Records picked it up and released it as a single. It only reached #50 but was a Top 20 Club hit, and it netted his project a full-length album which would be released a year later.
Fun fact: Bob’s mom was Gloria Mann, who recorded a pair of Top 20 hits in the mid-50s: Earth Angel and Teen Age Prayer.
Jon was a British record producer (and Garry Shandling doppelganger) who had worked with Eric Clapton, the Eagles, and specifically on the Who’s Who Are You LP with Glyn Johns. He is also well-known for his album remastering. After co-writing and producing Marilyn Martin’s Top 40 hit, Night Moves, Atlantic Records gave him a chance to record his own album, Everyone Loves The Pilot (Except The Crew). It’s basically a 45-minute ad for the Fairlight III. I would never call this a New Wave song, but it did get a lot of airplay on WLIR, and that’s where I first heard it. Even with a guitar solo by Slowhand himself, this single only made a #77 showing. Also, Len O’Kelly talked about this song as one of his Greatest Misses on one of my favorite blogs to read, 45 Ruminations Per Megabyte.
This song breaks an eleven song Top 40 chart streak for these former funkateers. There’s a good reason why, as this song is overproduced to the point where you can’t hear any of the performances on it. They will start a non-Top 40 streak, which they continue to this day when it takes the day off at #66.
June 25th, 1988
It sounds like the guys who wrote this song were looking for an instant wedding classic ballad and used Freddie Jackson’s You Are My Lady as a base, changing it just enough not to get sued. Unfortunately, Tony does not have Freddie’s charm or vocal presence and thus forever ends at #80.
This was a trio that featured two brothers, but Bros doesn’t rhyme with hose. It’s pronounced bross and rhymes with Goss, the brothers’ last name. It makes no sense to me either. Their song asks a question that will be answered at #83 in the States. But in the UK, they were so ridiculously popular. They even headlined a concert at Wembley Stadium in 1989, playing for over 75000 people.
June 24th, 1989
How prophetic. Don Barnes had been replaced by Max Carl for the band’s Rock & Roll Strategy in 1988. Would you have known that if I hadn’t told you? Would it have made a difference? I’m not sure I would have cared either.
I don’t think so. It’s more Latin freestyle dance music starting the market. Don’t we have enough? Apparently not as it’s starting to fill up the back end of the charts as well, specifically up to #71.
No problem there. Now here’s your pink tanktop. Please slither out of the room with your last chart hit after you reach #58.
A hair metal from Brooklyn – what’s not to love? Well, most of it actually. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for Stuart, the little fighter on Beavis & Butthead, to wear a White Lion t-shirt rather than a Winger one? The struggle is over at #52.
Finally, we get to the good stuff. This is what the next generation who grew up on Dionne Warwick sounds like, the Bacharach/David years, not the Psychic Friends hotline era. This was Mica’s (mi-sha) debut single recorded when she was 19, but her voice sounded much older and wiser. And I love those muted trumpet licks. Of course, something this good in 1989 will not catch on, which is why it debuts at its peak. By the way, Prince heard this and immediately collaborated with Mica on her next album.