Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Best Of 1989 - part 4

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

What was going on in the world in 1989? In the fashion of one of the year's biggest hits - Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" (which doesn't rank in my top 200) - here's a rundown:

Berlin War, Simpsons, Tiananmen Square, Game Boy, Hillsborough, George Bush, Switzerland invents the internet.
Guildford Four, Seinfeld, Menendez brothers, Alan Bond, Rebecca Schaeffer, Neptune, Ayatollah Khomeini. 

Martika got off to a great start in 1989

I could go on but I'm worried I'll have "We Didn't Start The Fire" stuck in my head if I don't stop singing world events to its melody. 

The Billy Joel song wasn't the only big single from 1989 that I didn't like, with Australian chart-toppers by The Beach Boys, The Proclaimers, Mike + The Mechanics and Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers among my most hated songs that year.

What did I like? Well, since you ask, here are my top 25 songs for the year...

Number 25 "Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)" by Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler
Every so often, I'm really impressed with my high school self for showing such good taste. This is one of those occasions, since I bought the 7" single of this UK number 1 as a 14-year-old. I distinctly remember being undecided about the purchase since the song was like nothing else on the Australian chart at the time, and it took me a little while to wrap my head around the Soul II Soul sound. Ground-breaking at the time, the R&B collective led by Jazzie B quickly became one of my favourite groups with "Keep On Movin'" (number 99 on this list) another great track.

Number 24 "Every Little Step" by Bobby Brown
It had taken him a few years to get his post-New Edition solo career up and running, but 1989 was definitely Bobby Brown's year. He released hit after hit off the Don't Be Cruel album - including 1988's "My Prerogative", "Roni" (number 164 on this list), "Rock Witcha" (number 191) and the title track (number 91). This was my favourite, and even cracked the Australian top 10, one of the only big R&B songs from the era to make an impression locally - no doubt thanks to Bobby's running man moves and lopsided hair, and despite those bike shorts. Bobby rounded out the year by recording the theme song to Ghostbusters II, "On Our Own" (number 100 on this list).

Number 23 "It's No Crime" by Babyface
Next up: one half of the songwriting and production duo responsible for many of Bobby's hits. Like his partner in song, LA Reid, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds had been a member of The Deele throughout the '80s before leaving to concentrate on the pair's flourishing behind-the-scenes career. While LA really did take a backseat, Babyface kept his hand in as a performer, releasing the Tender Lover album in 1989. This was the album's lead single and featured the same new jack swing sound given to the plethora of artists that worked with LaFace.

Number 22 "Straight Up" by Paula Abdul
Long before she was "the crazy one" on American Idol, Paula was one of the most successful singers in the States in the late '80s/early '90s - and this was her breakthrough single. Janet Jackson's one-time choreographer was soon competing with her former client in the charts - with each releasing multiple hits from their 1989 albums. For Paula, "Straight Up" was followed by "Forever Your Girl" (number 55 on this list), "Cold Hearted" (number 86), "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me" (number 156) and "Knocked Out" (number 185). In Australia, things would really kick into gear with the release of "Opposites Attract", the final single from Forever Your Girl, in 1990.

Number 21 "Lost In Your Eyes" by Debbie Gibson
Mentioned below

Number 20 "Round & Round" by New Order
A song by the enduring group that's often forgotten, "Round & Round" was the second single from Technique, an album that I didn't own until many years later. Until their 2000s albums, I was always a much bigger fan of New Order's singles than their albums. In fact, sometimes their '80s singles didn't even appear on albums until greatest hits collections came along. But, Technique is the first of their albums where I like some of the album tracks better than some of the singles chosen - although nothing outranks "Round & Round".

Number 19 "Love Pains" by Hazell Dean
1989 was a time of transition for Hazell, who changed record label and released this cover of the 1979 Yvonne Elliman single. It wasn't a hit, and had to compete with a rival version on Liza Minelli's album (which itself would be a single in 1990). Still, I liked it - and it was another song I bought on 7" single at the time. Looking back over my lists of favourite songs from each year of the 1980s, Hazell fared quite well - much better, in fact, than she did on the actual charts (UK or Australian), which makes me wonder why she wasn't more consistently successful.

Number 18 "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles
They just don't write them like this anymore - an '80s ballad that's been covered innumerable times ever since The Bangles took it to number 1 around the world. Written by The Bangles' frontwoman Susannah Hoffs with songwriting duo Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly (who had also been responsible for "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper and "Alone" by Heart), "Eternal Flame" returned the all-girl group to chart success after the relative disappointment of the Everything album's lead single, "In Your Room". "Be With You" (number 115) would follow "Eternal Flame", but it and the next single, "I'll Set You Free", would struggle in the charts. It hardly mattered since the group split by the end of the year, with Susannah going on to a solo career.

Number 17 "Kisses On The Wind" by Neneh Cherry
"Buffalo Stance" and "Manchild" (number 58 on this list) were much bigger hits, but this is far and away my favourite single from Raw Like Sushi, one of the best albums of 1989. At the time, Neneh seemed like she'd have a bright future ahead of her - and with subsequent singles, "Heart" (number 123 on this list) and "Inna City Mama", she kept the quality songs coming. But, it was three years until her follow-up album - Homebrew, which I was a big fan of but which ultimately wasn't that commercially successful - and another four years until Man. For years after that, Neneh went quiet and, although she's recommenced making music in recent years, I've always thought it was a bit disappointing she didn't sustain her early brilliance.

Number 16 "Touch Me" by 49ers
As we'll see further down (or should that be up) this list, Italo house took off in 1989. Diva samples (in this case, from Aretha Franklin's "Rock-a-Lott"), big keyboard riffs and miming models were the order of the day - and 49ers, a group created by producer Gianfranco Bortolotti (who was also behind Cappella), were one of the most internationally successful of the genre. Just sneaking into the decade due to its December 1989 release, "Touch Me" would be a hit in Australia in 1990 - and I ended up buying the album on import (a huge splurge) a couple of months into the new decade.

Number 15 "I Feel The Earth Move" by Martika
Mentioned below

Number 14 "Get Out Of The House" by Boom Crash Opera
My favourite Australian pop/rock group of all time followed up their excellent self-titled debut album with the even better These Here Are Crazy Times, which included this track, "Onion Skin" (number 62 on this list) and "The Best Thing" (number 142), as well as a few more singles in 1990. BCO definitely put the pop into pop/rock - in the sense that their songs were undeniably catchy and I always thought they should have been as big as Icehouse or 1927. Between this album and 1993's Fabulous Beast, founding member Richard Pleasance departed the group after he was diagnosed with tinnitus, and although the group continued releasing music for some time (and still tour today), they didn't enjoy quite the same level of success without him.

Number 13 "Love's About To Change My Heart" by Donna Summer
Mentioned below

Number 12 "Too Many Broken Hearts" by Jason Donovan
Mentioned in Part 3 and previously featured here

Number 11 "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" by Sonia
I distinctly remember hearing about this song long before I ever heard it or saw the clip - probably on a countdown of the UK top 5 - and I also recall being quite surprised when I eventually saw who Sonia was. A perky young redhead was not at all what I had pictured in my head. The latest artist produced by Stock Aitken Waterman gave the producers another number 1 in the UK, but I actually preferred her third single, "Listen To Your Heart" (number 6 on this list) and also enjoyed second single "Can't Forget You" (number 49). Her UK success would be short-lived and Sonia would go on to a career in musical theatre and also represent her country in Eurovision in 1993.

Number 10 "Electric Youth" by Debbie Gibson
I was fairly obsessed with Debbie Gibson in 1988 and 1989, and I quickly snapped up the Electric Youth album. At over five minutes, this title track was Debbie's magnus opus, and its positive message was matched by her wholesome image. No tramping around in barely there clothes for this teen singer! Other singles from the album also make this list: "Lost In Your Eyes" (number 21) and "We Could Be Together" (number 132), and although Debbie released albums I enjoyed in 1991 and 1993, the singles released didn't fare so well (either commercially or in my books).

Number 9 "Cherish" by Madonna
Mentioned below

Number 8 "Hand On Your Heart" by Kylie Minogue
Previously featured here

Number 7 "More Than You Know" by Martika
A few months ago, a tour by Martika was announced - her first ever performances in Australia. I dutifully bought a ticket to her Sydney show, only for the date to be moved and then, ultimately, cancelled. I struggled to see what the point of any of it was - especially since nothing had been seen or heard of Martika for close to two decades. Back in 1989, I became a huge fan of the former Kids Incorporated performer and even though "Toy Soldiers" was the big hit single, it was actually her upbeat tracks like this and "I Feel The Earth Move" (number 15 on this list) I was more interested in. Although it charted in Australia in 1990, "More Than You Know" actually preceded "Toy Soldiers" - and I recall badgering my local record shop to order me in a copy when "Toy Soldiers" was just taking off.

Number 6 "Listen To Your Heart" by Sonia
Mentioned above and previously featured here

Number 5 "Like A Prayer" by Madonna
After a Madonna-free 1988, the reigning Queen of Pop stormed back onto the scene in 1989 - surrounded, as ever, by controversy. The title track to her fourth studio album came complete with a "shocking" clip that featured a black Jesus figure, who engaged in some intimate moments with Ms Ciccone, and the appearance of stigmata in the hands of the singer herself. Throw in some burning crosses, a new hairdo and a gospel choir, and you had all the ingredients for a massive hit. The song itself was one of Madonna's best of the decade - showing more depth than some of her more disposable pop tracks while still being immediately catchy. More hits from Like A Prayer quickly followed, including (in order) "Express Yourself" (number 27 on this list), "Cherish" (number 9), "Dear Jessie" (number 127) and "Oh Father" (number 111).

Number 4 "This Time I Know It's For Real" by Donna Summer
What a match made in pop heaven - the Queen of '70s era disco teamed up with the kings of '80s high energy for Another Place And Time, an album that remains the best thing producers Stock Aitken Waterman ever did. Sure, they might have churned out some rubbish for lesser artists, but they gave Donna their very best work, including this UK and US top 10 hit, "Love's About To Change My Heart" (number 13 on this list) and "When Love Takes Over You" (number 88). My favourite of them all was also my favourite track for 1989, second single "I Don't Wanna Get Hurt", although as I've noted before, the single version was far inferior to the album version.

Number 3 "Ride On Time" by Black Box
The highest-selling single in the UK in 1989 was this Italo house concoction, which famously used samples from Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation" without crediting her. The song was re-recorded for subsequent use with, as it turns out, future M-People singer Heather Small on vocals, but I have an original 12" with the troublesome samples on it. Model Katrin Quinol appeared in music videos and on record covers for this song and the string of Black Box hits to come, despite those later vocals being performed by Martha Wash, who also went uncredited. Naturally, legal wranglings ensued, but despite all the lawsuits, the Italian group still kept coming up with the goods until 1991 (and even the odd single beyond that). The brains behind Black Box were also responsible for songs by Starlight (number 131 on this list), DJ Lelewel (number 133) and Mixmaster (number 187).

Number 2 "Wouldn't Change A Thing" by Kylie Minogue
Previously featured here

Number 1 "I Don't Wanna Get Hurt" by Donna Summer
Mentioned above and previously featured here

My top 200 for 1989 in full:

1          I DON'T WANNA GET HURT Donna Summer
2          WOULDN'T CHANGE A THING Kylie Minogue
3          RIDE ON TIME Black Box
4          THIS TIME I KNOW IT'S FOR REAL Donna Summer
5          LIKE A PRAYER Madonna
6          LISTEN TO YOUR HEART Sonia
7          MORE THAN YOU KNOW Martika
8          HAND ON YOUR HEART Kylie Minogue
9          CHERISH Madonna
10        ELECTRIC YOUTH Debbie Gibson
12        TOO MANY BROKEN HEARTS Jason Donovan
13        LOVE'S ABOUT TO CHANGE MY HEART Donna Summer
14        GET OUT OF THE HOUSE Boom Crash Opera
15        I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE Martika
16        TOUCH ME 49ers
17        KISSES ON THE WIND Neneh Cherry
18        ETERNAL FLAME The Bangles
19        LOVE PAINS Hazell Dean
20        ROUND & ROUND New Order
21        LOST IN YOUR EYES Debbie Gibson
22        STRAIGHT UP Paula Abdul
23        IT'S NO CRIME Babyface
24        EVERY LITTLE STEP Bobby Brown
25        BACK TO LIFE (HOWEVER DO YOU WANT ME) Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler
26        GETTING AWAY WITH IT Electronic
27        EXPRESS YOURSELF Madonna
29        THE LOOK Roxette
30        SECRET RENDEZVOUS Karyn White
31        BEDROOM EYES Kate Ceberano
33        MISS YOU MUCH Janet Jackson
34        LONDON NIGHTS London Boys
36        SHE DRIVES ME CRAZY Fine Young Cannibals
37        REQUIEM London Boys
38        COME HOME WITH ME BABY Dead Or Alive
39        DRAMA! Erasure
40        BE THERE Clive Griffin
41        LEAVE A LIGHT ON Belinda Carlisle
42        ALL AROUND THE WORLD Lisa Stansfield
43        AFFAIR Cherrelle
44        TELL HIM I CALLED Sequal
45        WHEN YOU COME BACK TO ME Jason Donovan
46        NEVER TOO LATE Kylie Minogue
47        AIN'T NOBODY BETTER Inner City
48        HELP! Bananarama
49        CAN'T FORGET YOU Sonia
50        PERSONAL JESUS Depeche Mode
51        HEY DJ / I CAN'T DANCE TO THAT MUSIC YOU'RE PLAYING Beatmasters featuring Betty Boo
52        PUMP UP THE JAM Technotronic featuring Felly
53        HEY MUSIC LOVER S'Xpress
54        I JUST DON'T HAVE THE HEART Cliff Richard
55        FOREVER YOUR GIRL Paula Abdul
56        EVERYDAY (I LOVE YOU MORE) Jason Donovan
57        C'MON AND GET MY LOVE D-Mob introducing Cathy Dennis
58        MANCHILD Neneh Cherry
59        SAY GOODBYE Indecent Obsession
60        I GO TO PIECES Shooting Party
61        BABY DON'T FORGET MY NUMBER Milli Vanilli
62        ONION SKIN Boom Crash Opera
63        HOOKED ON YOU Sweet Sensation
64        LISTEN TO YOUR HEART Roxette
65        I ONLY WANNA BE WITH YOU Samantha Fox
66        TELL ME SOMETHING Indecent Obsession
67        THIS IS THE RIGHT TIME Lisa Stansfield
68        BABY I DON'T CARE Transvision Vamp
69        CUDDLY TOY Roachford
70        A NEW FLAME Simply Red
71        DON'T KNOW MUCH Linda Ronstadt /Aaron Neville
72        SHE BANGS THE DRUM Stone Roses
73        I BEG YOUR PARDON Kon Kan
74        LOVE SHACK The B-52's
76        GOOD THING Fine Young Cannibals
77        MY SPARK AND ME Robyne Dunn
78        POISON Alice Cooper
79        1-2-3 The Chimes
80        WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART Taylor Dayne
81        SHE HAS TO BE LOVED Jenny Morris
82        YOU ON MY MIND Swing Out Sister
83        NEVER TOO MUCH (JUSTIN STRAUSS MIX) Luther Vandross
84        HEALING HANDS Elton John
85        PEOPLE HOLD ON Coldcut featuring Lisa Stansfield
86        COLD HEARTED Paula Abdul
87        THE WAY YOU LOVE ME Karyn White
88        WHEN LOVE TAKES OVER YOU Donna Summer
89        RHYTHM NATION Janet Jackson
90        REAL LOVE Jody Watley
91        DON'T BE CRUEL Bobby Brown
93        LOSING MY MIND Liza Minnelli
95        LICENCE TO CHILL Billy Ocean
96        IT'S ALRIGHT Pet Shop Boys
97        FAMILY MAN Roachford
98        MUSICAL FREEDOM Paul Simpson featuring Adeva
99        KEEP ON MOVIN' Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler
100      ON OUR OWN Bobby Brown
102      BUST A MOVE Young MC
103      VOICE OF REASON Noiseworks
104      LA LUNA Belinda Carlisle
105      TREN DE AMOR Jermaine Stewart
106      GOT TO GET Rob 'n' Raz featuring Leila K
107      GET ON YOUR FEET Gloria Estefan
108      WAIT! Robert Howard / Kym Mazelle
109      FERRY 'CROSS THE MERSEY Christians/Holly Johnson/Gerry Marsden/Paul McCartney/SAW
110      STOP! Sam Brown
111      OH FATHER Madonna
112      EVERLASTING LOVE Howard Jones
113      MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY Natalie Cole
114      IN PRIVATE Dusty Springfield
115      BE WITH YOU The Bangles
116      LEAVE ME ALONE Michael Jackson
117      LOVE DIMENSION Kate Ceberano
118      DO YOU LOVE WHAT YOU FEEL Inner City
119      FERGUS SINGS THE BLUES Deacon Blue
120      SWEET SURRENDER Wet Wet Wet
121      SIT AND WAIT Sydney Youngblood
122      I WANT THAT MAN Deborah Harry
123      HEART Neneh Cherry
124      SOWING THE SEEDS OF LOVE Tears For Fears
125      LOVESONG The Cure
126      ROOM IN YOUR HEART Living In A Box
127      DEAR JESSIE Madonna
128      DON'T MAKE ME OVER Sybil
129      WARNING Adeva
130      HEAVEN The Chimes
131      NUMERO UNO Starlight
132      WE COULD BE TOGETHER Debbie Gibson
133      MAGIC ATTO II DJ Lelewel
134      DON’T TELL ME LIES Breathe
135      I THANK YOU Adeva
136      DON’T SHUT ME OUT Kevin Paige
137      GET A LIFE Soul II Soul
138      DAYS LIKE THIS Sheena Easton
140      TAKE IT WHILE IT'S HOT Sweet Sensation
141      HELYOM HALIB Cappella
142      THE BEST THING Boom Crash Opera
143      TOO MUCH Bros
144      WALKING AWAY Information Society
145      THE PRISONER Howard Jones
146      WE’LL BE TOGETHER Sandra
147      COME ANYTIME Hoodoo Gurus
148      TUCKER’S DAUGHTER Ian Moss
149      DON’T LOOK BACK Fine Young Cannibals
150      STREET TUFF Rebel MC and Double Trouble
151      SATISFIED Richard Marx
152      CHANCES Roxette
153      WHEN THE RIVER RUNS DRY Hunters & Collectors
154      WHERE IS THE LOVE Mica Paris / Will Downing
155      LAY ME DOWN EASY Sinitta
156      (IT'S JUST) THE WAY THAT YOU LOVE Paula Abdul
157      FRIENDS Jody Watley featuring Erik B & Rakim
158      YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) New Kids On The Block
159      ONE SUMMER Daryl Braithwaite
160      KATHLEEN Roachford
161      YOU GOT IT Roy Orbison
162      BLUSH Hummingbirds
163      SINCERELY YOURS Sweet Sensation
164      RONI Bobby Brown
167      TURNED AWAY Chuckii  Booker
168      DUMB THINGS Paul Kelly & The Coloured Girls
169      VERONICA Elvis Costello
170      IKO IKO The Belle Stars
171      DOWNTOWN One 2 Many
172      YOU’RE HISTORY Shakespear’s Sister
173      MUSIC GOES ROUND MY HEAD The Saints
174      IF ONLY I COULD Sydney Youngblood
175      YOU SURROUND ME Erasure
176      WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW Expose
177      DRESSED FOR SUCCESS Roxette
178      PURE Lightning Seeds
179      ROCKET Def Leppard
180      AMERICANOS Holly Johnson
181      NOW YOU’RE IN HEAVEN Julian Lennon
182      WAY OF THE WORLD Max Q
183      AFTER ALL Peter Cetera and Cher
184      BLAME IT ON THE RAIN Milli Vanilli
185      KNOCKED OUT Paula Abdul
186      HARLEM DESIRE London Boys
187      GRAND PIANO Mixmaster
188      WHO'S IN THE HOUSE Beatmasters with Merlin
189      CHOICE? The Blow Monkeys
190      DON'T DROP BOMBS Liza Minnelli
191      ROCK WIT'CHA Bobby Brown
192      CAN YOU STAND THE RAIN New Edition
193      SUPERWOMAN Karyn White
194      LOVE TRAIN Holly Johnson
195      NAME AND NUMBER Curiosity Killed The Cat
196      SOMETHING’S GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART Marc Almond and Gene Pitney
197      PARTYMAN Prince
198      I'LL BE GOOD TO YOU Quincy Jones featuring Ray Charles & Chaka Khan
199      HEARSAY ’89 Alexander O’Neal
200      LET THE RIVER RUN Carly Simon

There we have it: my favourite songs for the last year of the best decade in music. In 2013, I'll start the process with my top songs from the 1990s, but before that I'll recap some of the other '80s songs and artists I didn't get around to discussing so far.

As always, this Thursday, I'll look at the ARIA chart from 25 years ago. I'll also countdown my favourite songs from 2012 around the New Year.

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