Saturday, February 19, 2022

Milestone! The Year in Review: 1988

Nine years down. Seriously? I can't believe I've been at this for so long. Yet it is still fun, interesting, exciting, and rewarding. Just one more year to go!
As for 1988, there were some new trends happening. Rap was evolving and moving into more serious territory with ballads and the advent of gangsta rap. Freestyle was still on the rise while the Stock Aitken Waterman machine was still crankin' out the hits. Def Leppard and Guns N' Roses were taking hard rock to new levels. Sampling was becoming more prevalent with house music starting to break through in a bigger way. Michael Jackson's Bad run came to an end while Whitney Houston's third album was setting records with its singles. Paula Abdul began to break through while some long lasting artists grabbed their final Pop chart hits (Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton-John). The boy band craze was about to set in with New Edition and New Kids on the Block becoming the leaders. The year also saw the recording debut by a future star. Although she wouldn't make the charts, Tori Amos' band Y Kant Tori Read would be issued out in July of '88. 

According to my personal stats, it was a year that had several low rated songs including two that were rated zero - a first. There was also a steep decrease in tunes rated 10. I think a lot of what I loved about 80s music was beginning to transition in new directions and I wasn't necessarily a fan of what was going on. There was still a lot to like about the last couple years of the 80s, but the material and artists just couldn't compare to those of the early 80s. It was also an odd year in that two artists each had two rated 10 songs and the artists couldn't be more different (Erasure and Guns N' Roses). The final chart of the year kind of says it all as at the time I only owned four songs that were in the Top 10. That was a new low for me. I'm hoping the last year of the 80s perks up a bit, but I have a feeling that it may stay long the tepid lines of '88.

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, and feel free to send comments. Here is a recap of 1988:

Number of charted songs in 1988:  385  (392 in 1987)
Time it took listen/post all songs:  1 year, 37 days  (1 year, 31 days for 1987)
Number of songs that debuted in 1988 to hit #1:  29  (32 in 1987)
Number of songs that debuted in 1988 to reach the Top 10 (excluding #1's):  85  (79 in 1987)
Number of gold singles:  26  (14 in 1987)
Number of platinum singles: 3  (3 in 1987)
Number of double-platinum singles: 1  (0 in 1987)
Number of songs that won a Grammy:  8  (6 in 1987)
Number of One-Hit Wonders:  5  (7 in 1987)
Number of Rated 10 songs:  5  (12 for 1987)
Number of Rated 1 songs:  2  (1 for 1987)
Number of Rated 0 songs:  2  (0 for 1987)
Top 5 favorite chart songs of the year (two artists both had two rated 10 songs, so I chose to combine them as one entry):
  1. "Chains of Love" / "A Little Respect" by Erasure
  2. "Sweet Child O' Mine" / "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses
  3. "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)" by Information Society
  4. "Waiting for a Star to Fall" by Boy Meets Girl
  5. "In Your Room" by The Bangles
Worst song of the year:  "I Saw Him Standing There" by Tiffany
Best song I didn't know existed:  "Wishing I Was Lucky" by Wet Wet Wet
Favorite discovery:  Jon Astley's The Compleat Angler album
 A few other fun stats:

Highest debut:  #40 - "One More Try" by George Michael (peaked at #1)
Lowest debut:  #100 - "Long Way to Love" by Britny Fox  (peaked at #100), "You're Not My Kind of Girl" by New Edition (peaked at #95), and "Only a Memory" by The Smithereens (peaked at #92)

Longest climb to peak position:  "The Lover in Me" by Sheena Easton climbed 97 positions from #99 to #2

Longest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1987:  "Wishing Well" by Terence Trent D'Arby took 17 weeks to reach #1
Quickest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1987:  "Father Figure" and "One More Try" both by George Michael each took 7 weeks to reach #1.
Most weeks at #1 for a song debuting in 1987:  4 - "Roll with It" by Steve Winwood

Most weeks on the chart for a song debuting in 1987:  30 - "I'll Always Love You" by Taylor Dayne (it peaked at #3).

Average number of weeks a song spent on the chart:  13
Position on chart where the most songs debuted:  #92 - 21 songs debuted at that spot (6 hit the Top 10, 1 got to #1)
Longest song title:  "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M.
Shortest song title:  "Yes" by Merry Clayton, "Joy" by Teddy Pendergrass, and "Fat" by "Weird Al" Yankovic

A few artists who got their first chart single in 1988: 10,000 Maniacs, Basia, Erasure, Guns N' Roses, Keith Sweat, Kylie Minogue, Martika, New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul, Tracy Chapman, Vanessa Williams

Runners-Up:  12 songs peaked at #2, songs peaked at #11, and songs peaked at #41

Some interesting things learned (click links for more details in previous posts): 
  • Jody Watley's younger sister was an adult film star.
  • Whitney Houston had to be coaxed into recording one of her #1 hits.
  • R&B singer SuavĂ© was sentenced to life in prison for murder.
  • Bette Midler tried to record Bruce Springsteen's "Pink Cadillac" before Natalie Cole.
  • Cheap Trick had a choice to record one of two songs. Both would be #1 hits.
  • Brenda K. Starr's "I Still Believe" featured a future superstar on background vocals who would later cover the tune.
  • Steve Winwood's #1 hit "Roll with It" became the subject of a lawsuit.
  • Paula Abdul's first recording experience did not go well.
  • White Lion's leader Mike Tramp was once a Eurovision contestant.
  • The samples from Star Trek on Information Society's "What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)" came about via one of the show's stars.
  • Kings of the Sun unfortunately learned that pissing off the band you are opening for is not a good idea.
  • Lisa Stansfield hit the Pop chart as part of a group prior to her solo career.
  • Phil Collins was a child actor.
  • The hilarious Taylor Dayne sightings by Tig Notaro.
  • Martika spent three seasons on an 80s kids TV show.
According to the year-end chart for 1988, these were the year's Top 10 singles:
  1. "Faith" by George Michael
  2. "Need You Tonight" by INXS
  3. "Got My Mind Set on You" by George Harrison
  4. "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Ashley
  5. "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses
  6. "So Emotional" by Whitney Houston
  7. "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle
  8. "Could've Been" by Tiffany
  9. "Hands to Heaven" by Breathe
  10. "Roll with It" by Steve Winwood
So long '88! I'll be heading into the final charting year for this project. I'm sure '89 will keep me entertained. Although I'll be sad as the last chart approaches. Then what's next? Stay tuned!


  1. I think your "1987"s need to be "1988". Glad to hear there's more when you're done with '89. Enjoy reading every one of your posts...even when I don't agree with them!

  2. As you know, I'd like to see an "appendix," going back to the beginning with all songs on the Jan.5, 1980 chart that debuted earlier and you did not cover. This includes SiriusXM 80s channel regular songs like "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."

    1. That would be an extra 95 tunes! Might be fun to do, but have to think about it as some may have had their days in the 80s, while some remain planted in the 70s. However, my next venture will most likely be doing the same thing for the 70s charts, so they would end up getting covered anyway - just maybe 10 yrs down the road!