Welcome back as we continue this week’s Top 40 countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out Songs 40-31 and Songs 30-21. A lot of times, this is the part of the countdown I love because there are great songs that may not have landed in the Top 10, which means that they don’t get much airplay on the ’80s radio stations and shows. This countdown does not disappoint.
If you’d like to listen to the song, you can click on the song title to get the YouTube video and click on the album cover to get the song on Amazon.
Now, let’s Return to the week ending November 8, 1986, and continue the countdown!
Wow, Corey Hart had another song besides “Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender“?! You would never know it, but he actually had nine Top 40 hits in the U.S. This one, off of his Fields of Fire album, would peak at #18.
This was the third single released from the iconic Control album, and was the first #1 song for Janet (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty). It made her and her brother Michael Jackson the first, and so far only, siblings to both have solo number-one hits on the Hot 100. At the time she was 20 years old, making Janet the youngest artist since Stevie Wonder to top the Billboard Hot 100.
Climbing up from #27 to #18, this Bruce Hornsby & The Range tune would go on to be a #1 hit. This was the second single released from their debut album, The Way It Is. I was never a fan of this song, but some things will never change. That’s just the way it is.
This ballad would be Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam With Full Force’s first Top 10 hit, peaking at #8. They would later top the charts with “Head to Toe” and “Lost in Emotion“. We may not have heard the last of Lisa Lisa. In June of 2019 Lisa Lisa signed with Snoop Dogg’s Army, part of the Snoop Dogg Entertainment Company.
Great ballad by the recently deceased Ric Ocasek. This was the only solo hit by The Cars frontman. The song jumped from #22 to #16 this week, and would top out at #15. After the Cars released their Greatest Hits album in 1985, the group split up to pursue solo careers. Just as Ocasek had this one Top 40 hit, singer/bassist Benjamin Orr did the same with “Stay the Night“.
Huey Lewis & The News did not rest on their laurels after their Sports album. They followed that classic album with another great one – Fore!. This was the second song released from that album, and would top out at #3. Fun fact: the song features Pro Football Hall of Famers and then-San Francisco 49ers Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott singing backup vocals.
Lionel Richie has so many smash hits that some get lost in the mix. This is one of them. I totally forgot about this one. It was a Top 10 hit, topping out at #9 on the Hot 100. It would also be Richie’s tenth number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.
Great ballad by Toto with legendary guitarist Steve Lukather on lead vocals along with guest vocalist Michael McDonald. Lukather recently published a book called The Gospel According to Luke which I would love to check out.
Former Chicago bassist/singer Peter Cetera followed up his smash hit “The Glory of Love” with this awesome duet with Amy Grant. It was also a success, becoming another #1 hit. Bobby Caldwell and Paul Gordon wrote the song for Peter Cetera to sing, and did not know, at the time, that he was leaving the band Chicago. According to Caldwell, “We did indeed write the song for Chicago and their lead vocalist Peter Cetera. We had his voice in mind, but Paul and I were unaware that he was leaving Chicago at that time, and when we heard the news our hopes were dashed. However, a short time later, I got a call at home from Cetera himself who stumbled upon our demo cassette tape of the song in producer/arranger David Foster’s office. He loved the tune and wanted to record it as a duet. It was simply meant to be—the song landed with the singer we wanted.” This song would bring Contemporary Christian music artist Amy Grant to the mainstream.
This song was Anita Baker’s first big hit single, peaking at number two on the US Billboard R&B chart, number three on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100. This song won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song at the 29th Annual Grammy Awards.
That wraps things up for today. As the numbers get smaller, the hits get bigger! So, come back tomorrow, and see what the Top 10 hits of the week are from this week in 1986.
There are several songs in this list that I could have easily put at the top, but this one gets that spot. I saw Bruce Hornsby and the Range in November of 1986 when the band opened for Huey Lewis and News; this was the only song that I knew by them, but their performance blew me away. They ended their set with this song and it sounded as good as it does recorded (with a little longer piano solo). In this song Hornsby present situations and prejudices in American society. The first is:
Standing in line marking time–
Waiting for the welfare dime
‘Cause they can’t buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies’ eyes
Just for fun he says “Get a job”
Today, I am still extremely upset at this rich guy who has the audacity to say this to the unfortunates just trying to get by. Wait, it’s not done yet:
They say hey little boy you can’t go
Where the others go
‘Cause you don’t look like they do
Now, in addition to economic biases, we add racial prejudice – lovely. Now check out how Hornsby combines the two situations:
Well they passed a law in ’64
To give those who ain’t got a little more
But it only goes so far
Because the law another’s mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the color bar
All of these verses are framed with an answer, no a cope out, really. Unfortunately, these situations and occurrences exist – and the answer lies in the chorus. The way many people excuse these deplorable situations is simply with the excuse, “That’s just the way it is.” As Hornsby recognizes, this is not an answer and we should not settle for such a response. Things do not have to be this way and we do not have to accept it. If we continue to accept these things because it has always been that way – if we settle for this, then nothing will even change, nothing will ever improve, we will never truly be equal.
There it is, my first list in a series of list. These are my top ten favorite ‘80s songs that have a social conscience. It is a reminder that in the ‘80s, just like today, we need to slow down and look out for others in the world. Not everyone is living in a great situation and these songs remind me that I am very lucky. I grew up lucky and still lead a life that is fortunate. I play these songs for my children so they can see that not everyone is like them or as fortunate as they are.