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.


Thursday, June 15, 2023

"Price of Love" by Bad English

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  4149
Date:  12/23/1989
Debut:  68
Peak:  5
Weeks:  19
Genre:  Rock

**This is the last song to be covered in this blog. It was the highest debuting song on the very last Pop chart of 1989 wrapping up the decade. I made it! I covered all songs to enter the Pop chart in the 80s. Thanks to any and all who followed along or even dropped in for an entry or two.

Pop Bits:  This glam rock supergroup fronted by John Waite was able to score a #1 Pop gold record with the Diane Warren-penned power ballad "When I See You Smile." It was the second single from the band's self-titled debut album. For a follow up, the label selected another power ballad from the album, "Price of Love," which was written by band member Waite and Jonathan Cain. It would do well enough to become the band's second Pop Top 10 hit (#30 Rock/#38 AC). The pair of hits would help send the album to #21 and it would become a platinum seller. Two other singles from the LP would make the Pop chart. "Heaven Is a 4 Letter Word" would get to #66 (#12 Rock) while "Possession" would make it to #21 (#42 AC).

ReduxReview:  With perhaps the most single worthy rock track already released ("Forget Me Not," #45), it wasn't surprising that the label chose to push out another power ballad in hopes of a second hit. The ploy worked, but at what price? <pun intended> With their only other Top 40 entry another power ballad, it sort of painted the band in a corner. Obviously they could rock out, but it seemed all folks wanted was big ballads featuring Waite's voice. It kind of put the band at odds. Were they a hard rock supergroup or commercial balladeers? It all would lead to a breakup after their second album, which wasn't surprising as that tends to happen with supergroups like this. But before all that they scored one last Top 10 with this tune. It was a nicely done, but really wasn't all that memorable. I think it had just enough radio ready flare to ride the coattails of "When I See You Smile." Had it been released first, I don't think it would have done nearly as well. It didn't have legs either as I haven't heard this song since its chart days.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  With the debut album becoming a success, the band needed to record a follow up. They did so and in 1991 their second album Backlash was ready. Unfortunately, it seems tensions rose in the band during the recording of the LP concerning the direction of the band, so they were on shaky ground even before the LP's release. Then it all came crashing down when the LP's first single, "Straight to Your Heart," stalled at #42 Pop (#9 Rock) and a second single failed to chart. In turn the album stalled at #72 and couldn't even go gold. With those results, the band called it quits. John Wait would return to a solo career while Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain would eventually reform Journey along with Bad English drummer Deen Castronovo. Bassist Ricky Phillip would mainly return to session work while later joining an iteration of Styx.


Wednesday, June 14, 2023

"Here and Now" by Luther Vandross

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  4148
Date:  12/23/1989
Debut:  78
Peak:  6
Weeks:  27
Genre:  R&B, Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  Six albums into his career (all platinum/double-platinum sellers), Vandross still had yet to have a single reach the Pop Top 10. The closest he got was the #15 "Stop to Love," which was from his '86 album Give Me the Reason. His popularity was so great that his '88 album Any Love would be his first to make the Pop Top 10 (#9) despite not containing a major hit. After that effort, Vandross' label chose to close out the decade with a compilation album. The double disc set The Best of Luther Vandross...The Best of Love would be issued out in the fall of '89. It contained hits and key tracks from Vandross including tracks from when he fronted the group Change. It also featured two new tracks including this single, which was released to help promote the set. The song would be Vandross' fifth to top the R&B chart. It would cross over to Pop where the tune would take a leisurely climb up the chart finally peaking at #6 in its 18th week. It would also get to #3 at AC. Not only would the song earn Vandross his first Pop Top 10 hit, but it would win him his first Grammy (Best Male R&B Vocal Performance). The single would also go gold (it would receive a platinum certification in 2021). The compilation would get to #2 R&B/#26 Pop and eventually hit the triple platinum mark.

ReduxReview:  Finally! After having a few terrific songs unable to crack the Pop Top 10, this ballad finally did the trick for Vandross. It would lead to more Top 10s (see below) and kick off what was arguably Vandross' most successful period. Vandross was an excellent songwriter, but unfortunately he did not have a hand in this one. It was written by Terry Steele and David L. Elliott (Dionne Warwick's eldest son). Regardless, it was a beautiful song that was worthy of its Top 10 placement. It took a long while to get there, but with folks finally realizing the goods Vandross had to offer, it eventually became a big crossover hit. The Vandross catalog is chock full of great songs and performances that are essential listening. That first compilation album, which had to be made into a double disc due to all his hits and key tracks, ended up being the tip of the iceberg with more classics to follow. At minimum, folks should go and listen to that comp at least once. Whether you become a fan from it or not doesn't matter. You just have to appreciate the talent that was Luther Vandross.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  With plenty of momentum following this hit, Vandross would return in '91 with his next studio album Power of Love. Its lead single, "Power of Love/Love Power," would be a #1 R&B/#3 AC/#4 Pop hit, Its follow up, "Don't Want to Be a Fool," would be another winner getting to #4 R&B/#5 AC/#9 Pop. The album would be a #1 R&B/#7 Pop double platinum seller. Vandross would earn a fourth Pop Top 10 with the collaboration soundtrack single "The Best Things in Life Are Free" (#10 Pop/#1 R&B/#3 Dance). Used in the 1992 film Mo' Money, the song would be a duet between Vandross and Janet Jackson, and would featured supporting vocals by Bell Biv DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant. Vandross' final Pop Top 10 hit would come in 1994 via a remake of the 1981 Diana Ross/Lionel Richie #1 classic "Endless Love." Mariah Carey would join Vandross on the track, which peaked at #2 Pop/#7 R&B/#11 AC. Vandross would continue to record albums over the years with all of them at least hitting the gold mark. He would have one last significant hit in his career. In 2004, Vandross would release the album Dance with My Father. The title track, written by Vandross and Richard Marx, would go on to be a sentimental hit reaching #4 AC/#28 R&B/#38 Pop. However, its popularity rose when the tune won two Grammys, one for Song of the Year and one for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. The album would debut at #1, become a double platinum seller, and would win the Grammy for Best R&B Album. Prior to its release, Vandross had suffered a stroke and was in a coma for about two months. He would recover enough to do a video thank you when he won the Grammy for Song of the Year. However, just over a year later in 2005 Vandross would die from a heart attack.


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

"Roam" by The B-52's

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  4147
Date:  12/23/1989
Debut:  88
Peak:  3
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The B-52's scored their first Pop Top 10 hit with "Love Shack," the second single from their album Cosmic Thing. It would be a #3 gold seller that took the band to new heights of popularity. For a follow up, this next single was selected. It would basically replicate the results of their previous hit by getting to #3 and going gold (#10 Dance, #6 Modern Rock). In turn, the album would reach #4 and eventually reach the 4x platinum mark. A fourth single, "Deadbeat Club," would be a modest hit just cracking the Pop Top 30 at #30.

ReduxReview:  For this song, vocalist Fred Schneider stepped to the side and let Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson take full charge of the song. It turned into a great showcase for their vocals and harmonies. Both singers had interesting voices, but when put together they created something unique and memorable, which when paired with Schneider made the B-52's sound. However, the two on their own were awesome and this hit proved it. This was a fun, catchy pop tune that was perfect for driving with the windows down on a warm summer day. Wherever you were headed, this song provided a wonderful soundtrack for the trip.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  After everything wrapped up with Cosmic Thing and the associated tour, original member Cindy Wilson chose to go on hiatus from the band. The remaining trio decided to carry on and would record their next album Good Stuff with producers Nile Rodgers and Don Was. Both had produced tracks for Cosmic Thing. The LP was highly anticipated, but then the title track first single surprisingly stalled at #28 on the Pop chart (#1 Modern Rock) and that left the album stalling at #16. It would go gold, but it was a disappointment after the multi-platinum success of their previous LP. The band would have one last Pop chart entry in 1994 with "(Meet) The Flintsones," the theme song to the live action movie version of the 60s animated TV show The Flintstones. For the single, they were billed as The BC-52's. Wilson would rejoin the band soon after and they would tour and work on various projects as a group and individually. They wouldn't record another album until 2008's Funplex, which peaked at #11.


Monday, June 12, 2023

"Too Hot" by Loverboy

Song#:  4146
Date:  12/23/1989
Debut:  90
Peak:  84
Weeks:  5
Genre:  Glam Rock

Pop Bits:  After a run of four consecutive double platinum albums, Loverboy's career hit a bump with their fifth effort, '87's Wildside. It would be their lowest peaking studio album (#42) and would only reach gold level sales. With the band's popularity on the decline combined with tensions arising among the members, Loverboy decided to split in '88. The breakup would prove to be brief due to the band needing one more album to fulfill their label contract. A compilation package titled Big Ones would be put together and nestled among hits would be three new tracks including this first single. The song would peak at a minor #27 at Rock and was nearly a non-starter at Pop where it fizzled after a few weeks on the chart. The compilation would stall at a minor #189. Following some supporting tour dates, Loverboy would once again call it a day.

ReduxReview:  I think Loverboy had learned that their earlier 80s arena/synth rock wasn't going to cut it anymore in the late 80s and consciously amped up their sound with this song to try and compete with the glam metal of the day. It was a valiant attempt, but it was too little too late. For me, this just didn't sound like Loverboy. Even lead singer Mike Reno seemed to be trying to metal up his vocal and it was a bit too much of a stretch. It didn't help that the song wasn't all that memorable. Loverboy were a product of a certain time period and they were able to toss out some terrific radio hits that are still in rotation. It gave them the fodder to have a long lasting career. They really didn't need to reinvent the wheel.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  As before, the band's breakup wouldn't last all that long. In 1991, the band was asked to perform at a benefit show for Brian MacLeod, a member of the popular Canadian group Chilliwack who was fighting cancer. In the US, Chilliwack was known for their 1981 #22 hit "My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)." The reunion worked out so well that the band decided to continue on and do a few tour dates. From that point on, Loverboy would remain together. They would tour and issue out a few albums along the way. Loverboy would be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2009.