Friday, December 13, 2019

Milestone! The Year in Review: 1986

Wow. It is hard to believe that I've been at this for a little over seven years now. Things have changed since I first started in September of 2012. There is more info available on artists from the decade and the availability of tunes on streaming services has significantly increased. Years ago when I first started the blog, there were times I had to purchase a vinyl copy of a 45 or album in order to hear the song. I haven't had to do that in a long while as most significant artists are all on Spotify. There were major artists who were resistant to streaming for years (Prince, Bob Seger), but they are all on services now. There are still a few obscure tunes not available there, but thus far I've been able to find them on YouTube. I'm sure in another seven years things will have changed again.

As for 1986, it was a good transition year. Run-D.M.C. and Beastie Boys raised the rap game while the Stock Aitken Waterman production team developed their dance-pop formula via Bananarama and were on their way to Rickrolling us in '87. Janet Jackson came into her own as her producers/co-writers Jam & Lewis started their string of hits for Jackson and other artists like the Human League. Madonna matured a bit yet still courted controversy via "Papa Don't Preach." Hard rock and hair metal kept edging its way up the chart. Peter Gabriel and his former band Genesis went head-to-head and both came out with #1 songs. MTV was still going strong as music videos were becoming more elaborate (Gabriel's award-winning "Sledgehammer") and essential.

For me, '86 was pretty much on par with '85. There were definitely a lot of quality songs that made the year enjoyable. However, I didn't own as much Top 10's as I had in previous years. I believe at one point I only owned five songs in the Top 10 for a few weeks, which was low. I rated eight songs at a ten, which was the same as '85, but I'd have to say that even though the tunes deserved the rating, I'm not sure if any of them will make my Top 20 list for the decade. I have a suspicion that '87 will prove to be slightly better as classics from U2, Michael Jackson, and George Michael will shake things up.

I'm still enjoying this project and I hope anyone who encounters the blog will have fun as well. Keep reading, pass it along to friends, feel free to send comments, and don't forget to "Rate It!" at the bottom of each post. Here is a recap of 1986:

Number of charted songs in 1986:  401  (405 in 1985)
Time it took listen/post all songs:  1 year, 36 days  (1 year, 39 days for 1985)
Number of songs that debuted in 1986 to hit #1:  30  (28 in 1985)
Number of songs that debuted in 1986 to reach the Top 10 (excluding #1's):  81  (74 in 1985)
Number of gold singles:  17  (17 in 1985)
Number of platinum singles: 1  (2 in 1985)
Number of songs that won a Grammy:  6  (8 in 1985)
Number of One-Hit Wonders:  6  (5 in 1985)
Number of Rated 10 songs:  8  (8 for 1985)
Number of Rated 1 songs:  0  (1 for 1985)

Top 5 favorite chart songs of the year:
  1. "Human" by The Human League
  2. "Like Flames" by Berlin
  3. "On My Own" by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald
  4. "What Have You Done for Me Lately" by Janet Jackson
  5. "Live to Tell" by Madonna
Worst song of the year:  "Lead a Double Life" by Loverboy
Best song I didn't know existed:  "Stay True" by Sly Fox
Favorite discovery:  Wax

A few other fun stats:

Highest debut:  #40 - "Dancing on the Ceiling" by Lionel Richie (peaked at #2) and
                                  "True Blue" by Madonna (peaked at #3)
Lowest debut:  #99 - "In Between Days (Without You)" by The Cure (peaked at #99)

Longest climb to peak position:  Both "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin and "At This Moment" by Billy Vera & the Beaters climbed 95 positions from #96 to #1

Longest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1986:  "Holding Back the Years" by Simply Red took 15 weeks to reach #1
Quickest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1986:  "Amanda" by Boston took 7 weeks to reach #1.
Most weeks at #1 for a song debuting in 1986:  4 - for two songs, "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles and "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi

Most weeks on the chart for a song debuting in 1986:  27 - "Something About You" by Level 42 (it peaked at #7).

Average number of weeks a song spent on the chart:  13
Position on chart where the most songs debuted:  #88, #94, #95 - 23 songs debuted at those spots (11 hit Top 10, 3 made it to #1)
Longest song title:  "One Sunny Day/Duelling Bikes from Quicksilver " by Ray Parker, Jr. and Helen Terry
Shortest song title:  "Bop" by Dan Seals and "War" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

A few artists who got their first chart single in 1986:  Falco, The Cure, Pet Shop Boys, Fine Young Cannibals, The Jets, George Michael (solo), Belinda Carlisle (solo), Bruce Hornsby & the Range, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam (with Full Force), Run-D.M.C., The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Cinderella, Anita Baker, The Art of Noise.

Runners-Up:  13 songs peaked at #2, 1 songs peaked at #11, and 5 songs peaked at #41

Some interesting things learned (click links for more details in previous posts):
  • The story of Peter Frampton's lost guitar is pretty amazing.
  •  John Cougar Mellencamp's "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." mentions a musician whose death is clouded in mystery.
  • Partridge Family member Danny Bonaduce sort of recorded a solo album during the show's run.
  • Solo hit maker and Wax band member Andrew Gold's mother was a singer who made significant contributions to a few classic films.
  • Writers of the Whitney Houston's hit "Greatest Love of All" were nearly sued for plagiarism by another famous artist.
  • A member of the Aussie band the Models won a bunch of money on a game show.
  • A now-famous Oscar-nominated director got his start making 80s music videos including one for Jermaine Stewart
  • Kenny Loggins was the fifth artist asked to record the Top Gun soundtrack hit "Danger Zone."
  • Also not the first choice - Berlin on "Take My Breath Away."
  • Actor Danny Aiello, who appeared in Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" video, recorded an answer song to the hit.
  • Before becoming a charting artist himself, Bruce Hornsby was a member of Sheena Easton's backing band an appeared in a couple of her videos.
  • Heart's rockin' track "If Looks Could Kill" was original a charting dance tune.
  • Steve Perry's parents owned a radio station.
  • Don Johnson's hit "Heartbeat" was originally recorded by a hit making 70s AC artist.
  • A Bonnie Tyler track was repurposed for Bon Jovi's breakthrough hit "You Give Love a Bad Name."
  • The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde wrote "Don't Get Me Wrong" for a tennis pro with a bad boy image.
  • Wang Chung's "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" was originally demoed as a mid-tempo ballad.
  • Elton John wrote a song with Cher...well, sort of.
  • A hit for The Jets was written by an artist who had a couple of Top 10s at the turn of the 80s.
  • Debbie Harry's "French Kissin'" was written by a now-famous TV writer/producer.
According to the year-end chart for 1986, these were the year's Top 10 singles:
  1. "That's What Friends Are For" by Dionne & Friends
  2. "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie
  3. "I Miss You" by Klymaxx
  4. "On My Own" by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald
  5. "Broken Wings" by Mr. Mister
  6. "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston
  7. "Party All the Time" by Eddie Murphy
  8. "Burning Heart" by Survivor
  9. "Kyrie" by Mr. Mister
  10. "Addicted to Love" by Robert Palmer

So long '86! I'm pretty sure you will be eclipsed by '87, but I ain't mad atcha!


1 comment:

  1. I thought 1986 was a slightly better year for Top 40 music than 1985 was but it's not quite in the same league as 1983-84 (IMO 2 of the best years for 80's music) was, I also thought 1987 was another strong year for music, I'm really glad you created this site, I also like how you rate your songs.