Friday, June 16, 2023

Milestone! The Year in Review: 1989

The final year of the decade is in the books!
There was plenty happening as the new decade loomed. Freestyle was reaching its heyday as was glam metal and new jack swing. Rap was transitioning from old school to gangsta and if that wasn't controversial enough, 2 Live Crew came along and battled censorship and even arrests. House music began to break through on the Pop chart as did several alternative rock artists that ruled the college crowd. Several long standing artists reached new heights including The Cure, The B-52's, Luther Vandross, and Michael Bolton. There was even a very unexpected comeback via Donny Osmond.  

In the previous chart year of '88, I set a new low by giving two songs a zero rating. Sadly, it ended up that zeroes for '89 matched that pace. What is worse is that I set a new record for the amount of songs rated a 1 with seven of them. I doubled the amount of 10s from '88, but still more than half of the songs in '89 were rated six or less. That was most likely due to me losing interest in some artists and genres. I know I grew tired of freestyle as the material became average and it all started to sound the same. Plus there was some highly successful artists that I didn't fall for like Michael Bolton and New Kids on the Block.

I most certainly enjoyed doing this blog and I'm sad that I've reached the end of the decade and it is over. However, it is the internet, so I hope folks will continue to discover, read, and pass it along. Here is a recap of 1989:

Number of charted songs in 1989:  392  (385 in 1988)
Time it took to listen/post all songs:  1 year, 76 days  (1 year, 37 days for 1988)
Number of songs that debuted in 1989 to hit #1:  31  (29 in 1988)
Number of songs that debuted in 1989 to reach the Top 10 (excluding #1's):  86  (85 in 1988)
Number of gold singles:  51  (26 in 1988)
Number of platinum singles: 14  (3 in 1988)
Number of double-platinum singles: (1 in 1988)
Number of songs that won a Grammy:  14  (8 in 1988)
Number of One-Hit Wonders:  (5 in 1988)
Number of Rated 10 songs:  10  (5 for 1988)
Number of Rated 1 songs:  (2 for 1988)
Number of Rated 0 songs:  2  (2 for 1988)
Top 5 favorite chart songs of the year:
  1. "Like a Prayer" by Madonna
  2. "Woman in Chains" by Tears for Fears
  3. "Love Shack" by The B-52's
  4. "Closer to Fine" by Indigo Girls
  5. "This Time I Know It's for Real" by Donna Summer
Worst song of the year:  "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind)" by New Kids on the Block
Best song I didn't know existed:  "Right Next to Me" by Whistle
Favorite discovery:  Q-Feel's "Dancing in Heaven (Orbital Be-Bop)" and its eyebrow raising (quite literally) video.
 A few other fun stats:

Highest debut:  #37 - "Cherish" by Madonna (peaked at #2)
Lowest debut:  #100 - "Walkin' Shoes" by Tora Tora  (peaked at #86) and "That's When I Think of You" by 1927 (peaked at #100, and is one of the rare singles to spend one week on the chart at the #100 spot)

Longest climb to peak position:  "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler and "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals climbed 96 positions from #97 to #1

Longest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1989:  "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler took 16 weeks to reach #1
Quickest trip to #1 for a song debuting in 1989:  "Like a Prayer" by Madonna, "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx, and "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson each took 6 weeks to reach #1.
Most weeks at #1 for a song debuting in 1989:  4 - "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson and "Another Day in Paradise" by Phil Collins

Most weeks on the chart for a song debuting in 1989:  39 - "Bust a Move" by Young MC (it peaked at #7).

Average number of weeks a song spent on the chart:  13
Position on chart where the most songs debuted:  #93 - 27 songs debuted at that spot (none made the Top 10)

Longest song title:  "Puss N' Boots/These Boots (Are Made for Walkin')" by Kon Kan

Shortest song title:  "One" by Bee Gees, "One" by Metallica, "Cry" by Waterfront

A few artists who got their first chart single in 1989: Cathy Dennis, Enya, Indigo Girls, Roxette, Metallica, Melissa Etheridge

Runners-Up:  15 songs peaked at #2, 10 songs peaked at #11, and 3 songs peaked at #41

Some interesting things learned (click links for more details in previous posts): 
  • "A Girl Like You" was originally written for a classic Cameron Crowe flick and it was supposed to feature vocals by a newly minted icon.
  • Arsenio Hall created a rap character and recorded an album.
  • The Kiss song "Hide Your Heart" was released by four different artists in the same year. And all of those were remakes.
  • A rebuffed come-on by a popular actress was the inspiration for Don Henley's "The Last Worthless Evening."
  • A new band formed by a former member of the Go-Go's included an artist that would go on to be a solo one-hit wonder in the late 90s.
  • A band with a classic 80s hit would later go on to win the Eurovision Song Contest.
  • A songwriter begged and practically forced a superstar to record her song. It turned into a big signature hit for the artist.
  • The second album by an 80s freestyle artist contained a song written by a pair of superstars from different generations.
  • While it wasn't a remake, a hit by Cyndi Lauper was first recorded by an early rock pioneer.
  • A teen phenom helped to inspire the backstory of a character on a hit TV show.
According to the year-end chart for 1989, these were the year's Top 10 singles:
  1. "Look Away" by Chicago
  2. "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown
  3. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison
  4. "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul
  5. "Miss You Much" by Janet Jackson
  6. "Cold Hearted" by Paula Abdul
  7. "Wind Beneath My Wings" by Bette Midler
  8. "Girl You Know It's True" by Milli Vanilli
  9. "Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird" by Will to Power
  10. "Giving You the Best That I Got" by Anita Baker
So long '89! And actually, adios to the whole decade! As always it was another fun years on the charts.



  1. I discovered your site approximately four and a half years ago and I feel like I've gained a new insight and perspective on these songs along with me learning something new, while there were some clunkers for 1989 I thought it was an improvement over 1988 when it came to Top 40 music.

    1. Thanks! Great to have you along for the ride.

  2. Are you going to do blogs about every song charted of Billboard Hot 100 of the 1970s and 1990s charts?

    1. I might do 70s. Wasn't a fan of the 90s, so probably won't cover that decade.

    2. The early 90's was a great era of music, wasn't a big fan of the late 90's at all despite me graduating from high school in 1999.

  3. Thank you so much for going all the way with this blog. It's been my favorite amongst all the things I read for years and years (I think I discovered it somewhere around your 1984 posts). This is also my favorite decade of music, probably because I graduated in 1988. I learned a ton, discovered and purchased artists that I'd missed the first time around, and just steeped myself in the nostalgia every week. Again, sincerely -- thank you.

    1. Appreciate you following along! Nice to hear that the blog brought some new artists and tunes to folks. Easily my favorite decade of music (obviously)! Thanks for your nice comments.

  4. Also can you do Top 10 singles of the 1970's? I'd be very interested in hearing your reviews/perspectives of these songs.

    1. I might be covering the 70s next. Not sure as of yet. I'll post on this site if/when I do!

  5. What an accomplishment this blog is! And I stuck with you through to the end although I too was losing interest in some of the music by then. I wish someone would do this with the 70's.

    1. Thanks so much! I'm thinking about doing the 70s next. Will post here if that happens. It was another great decade of music.

  6. What were your Top 20 favorite songs of the 1980's? I'd be very interested in finding that out, also what were your 3 favorite years for 80's music? Mine are 1982 through 1984.

    1. I'll be posting a Top 10 on the decade wrap up along with favorite year(s). Should be up soon. Thanks!