On this day (September 9) in 1989, New Kids on the Block hit #1 in the U.S. It would also go on to be a #1 hit in the U.K., and Ireland. It is their only No. 1 single in Ireland and reached the top 10 in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. This was the fourth single released off of their Hangin’ Tough album.
There are conflicting reports of how the song came about.
The New Kid’s producer and writer Maurice Starr wrote this song with the tough time the boy band had getting things off the ground in mind. He recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh: “We needed a song that symbolized what we had been through, so I came up with this title, Hangin Tough.”
However, Donnie Wahlberg, who sings lead on the track, says this was written with the Boston Celtics in mind. “We literally set out to do a song that could be a theme song for the Celtics. That was the idea: blatantly trying to sound like Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You.'”
They both sound legit, so who knows (and I’m glad that Donnie said they were “trying” to sound like ‘We Will Rock You) ? Either way, I am not exactly a boy-band fan. But, I have to admit this is a fun song.
Welcome back to this week’s countdown! If you still need to see what the previous songs were, you can check out songs 40-31, and 30-21. I would also like to point out that T.G. Monahan and I started a new Return to the ’80s series called, Return to 1989. This will be a monthly series, going through all the news events, movies, and music from 30 years ago. So, if you’d like to Return to the glory days of 1989, you can check out our inaugural episode about January 1989.
Now, let’s Return to the week ending February 11, 1989, and continue this week’s countdown.
And don’t forget, you can click on the song title to listen to/watch the video on YouTube, and you can click on the album cover to get the song from Amazon.
We’ll start off today’s songs with a little synth-pop action. There is no mistaking that this is an 80s song. Erasure had some awesome hits in the U.S. in the late 80s. And they were even bigger in the U.K., as they had 24 straight Top 40 hits there. And by 2009, 34 of their 37 chart-eligible singles and EPs had made the UK Top 40, with 17 climbing into the Top 10. They are still very active, and are constantly releasing new albums. The latest was 2018’s World Beyond.
This was the fourth single released from Taylor Dayne’s awesome debut album, Tell It to My Heart. This joins a list of songs about not rushing, such as this, “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off”, and “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”.
This is one of those songs that did not look familiar to me at all. But once I heard the chorus, it all came back to me. This is a cute, fun R&B song. It would peak at #13 on this chart, and it was a #1 hit on the Billboard R&B singles chart.
In a decade full of incredible duets, this was one of my favorites. It doesn’t hurt that it is Ann Wilson from Heart and Robin Zander from Cheap Trick that are singing it. Also, it was written by Richard Marx, who knows his way around a power ballad. This was featured on the soundtrack to the 1988 film Tequila Sunrise starring Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kurt Russell.
The second boy band entry on today’s list. I hate to admit it, but this song is kind of catchy. And the New Kids are local to me, so I won’t trash them. You can’t argue with their success. But, I’d rather watch an episode of Blue Bloods, starring Donnie, instead. They have been touring in recent years, and it sounds like they have been very successful tours. If anybody is willing to admit that they have seen them, please let me know how they are singing these songs. I don’t know if it would be cool and fun, or just weird.
This was the lead single from Karyn White’s debut, self-titled album. Even though I was definitely more into rock in these days, I still liked Karyn White a lot for some reason. This song was written and produced by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Daryl Simmons, and it was the first of four Top 10 singles from Karyn White.
80s CRUSH ALERT!!!! This would be Debbie’s biggest hit, staying at the top of the charts for 3 straight weeks. This was the first single released from her Electric Youth album, ensuring that there would be no sophomore slump. And this was the third song on today’s list for the teen crowd.
Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 Countdown! Yesterday’s countdown had quite the variety of music. Today is no different. A lot of these songs are new to me. So, let’s Return to the week ending August 11, 1990, and continue the countdown.
Even though the New Kids are local to me, I never paid much attention to them. I do love Donnie Wahlberg in the television show, Blue Bloods. And the show, Wahlburgers is a guilty pleasure for me. But, I am not the target audience for the group. That being said, I actually like this song a little. It reminds me of the pre-disco Bee Gees. I’m not going to hurry up and buy the Step by Step album, from which this song came from, but I don’t mind this song.
Ugh! It’s songs like this that make me regret dabbling into 1990! This song, which samples Santana’s “No One To Depend On“, and “Evil Ways“, was Mellow Man Ace’s only hit (I’m shocked). It reached all the way up to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 (I’m shocked).
[The first “I’m shocked” was sarcastic. The second one was not sarcastic]
You can’t see me, but I am beating my head against my desk as I listen to this. Oh my God, this song is so stupid! And it doesn’t help that he samples “Owner of a Lonely Heart” by Yes. Blasphemous! It’s slightly better than the last song, but it’s so stupid! Let’s put this in perspective – this song could probably be a hit today. So, if you like the music of today, you might like this song.
OK, this is a little better. Like I’ve said before, I’m a sucker for the Freestyle music of this period. I had never heard this song before. I don’t know if it’s because of the two crap songs before this, but, I’m liking this song.
FINALLY!!! Now, this is the music I was really into back then. I love Aerosmith’s album Pump way more than Permanent Vacation. There were so many great songs on that album, and this was one of my favorites. I remember buying Pump the day it came out. When my roomates and I were listening to the album, and this song came on, I told them that this would be released as a single, and would be a hit. I was right.
Brigade was another great album that I owned. Heart was on a hot streak from the mid-’80s through the early ’90s. This song was the second single released from Brigade. It was written by Diane Warren, who was one of the most successful writers of the ’80s and ’90s.
Madonna was indeed ahead of her time. Two decades before the Fifty Shades of Grey craze, Madonna was singing about spanking. This isn’t one of my favorite songs by her, but it is a fun song from the Dick Tracy soundtrack album, I’m Breathless.
Today’s list of songs is turning out to be a pretty good! This is a ballad by the supergroup (and Journey spinoff) Bad English, that is not “The Price of Love” or “When I See You Smile“. If your tired of hearing those other two songs, then “Possession” is a good alternative. If you want to know more about Bad English, and their debut album, check out the article that Robert wrote on it.
Just as they do on Casey’s American Top 40 station on iHeart Radio, let’s listen to a bonus song. I love the band Vixen. Every song, on each of their albums, is great. This week, their song “How Much Love” debuted on the Hot 100, charting at #95.
Oh man, this band was still around at this time?! Ugh! Not a fan. This would be Hornsby’s last significant hit single. It was off of the third and final album by Bruce Hornsby and the Range. Bruce Hornsby went solo after that. Well, this song isn’t as horrible as some of his other songs. I kind of like the chorus.
This is the third rap song today. And it is the third rap song that samples another song. This time, it is “Born in the U.S.A.” Bruce Springsteen actually gave the 2 Live Crew permission to use his song. Unlike the first two rap songs from today, I actually like this one. The song title refers to the decision in a court case that 2 Live Crew’s album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be, was obscene. Record store owners would actually be arrested for selling the album. The decision was eventually overturned on appeal. With all the social issues going on in the world today, I think it would be nice if some artists had the guts to sing and protest. Listening to this song makes me feel that it is nice and refreshing to hear somebody standing up for themselves and speaking out in a very cool way.
That wraps up today’s list of songs. It definitely gets mixed reviews from me. But, now that we got past this hump, the countdown is going to get better. As usual, please feel free to leave your thoughts and memories from 1990.
Hi Everybody! Welcome back to this week’s countdown! If you missed the previous posts, you can check out songs 40-31 and 30-21. Once again, we have a crazy diverse day. We have hair bands, R&B, and pop. And, we also have a Long Distance Dedication! So, let’s Return to the week ending March 25, 1989, and continue the countdown.
We begin today with Poison’s cover of the Loggins and Messina hit, “Your Mama Don’t Dance”. The Loggins and Messina version reached all the way up to #4 in 1972. While Poison didn’t go as high with the song, they did manage to reach #10. This song was kind of a let down for me. But, next year, Poison would release what I feel was their best album – Flesh and Blood.
This is one of those songs that I didn’t recognize by the title, but remembered it when I heard it. This has that classic late-80s New Wavey synthpop sound. This song was a worldwide hit for the Canadian synthpop band.
Oh Good Lord!!! I forgot that we are now in a point in time where the New Kids were white hot. Well, I was never a part of their target audience, so this is not my thing. They are local to me, so I am happy for their success. Donnie is awesome in Blue Bloods, and I actually do enjoy the A&E show, Wahlburgers. I still haven’t been to one of those restaurants yet. By the way, who would have thought that 26 years after this song, New Kids On the Block would still be touring?!?
“Superwoman” is the second single from R&B singer Karyn White’s self-titled debut album, Karyn White (1988). It became her second U.S. top ten hit and second U.S. R&B number-one hit.
Here is a nice R&B song by Karyn White. She had a nice string of hits in the late ’80s through early ’90s. She then left the music business to start a family. In 2012, she released her first studio album in 17 years – Carpe Diem.
Here is the second song, of this list, titled “You Got It” (minus “The Right Stuff”). I remember this song very well, but thought this was an older song from the ’60s. This song reached #9, and was Orbison’s first Top 10 hit in 25 years. Unfortunately, Orbison never saw this return to the charts, as he died of a heart attack the previous December at the age of 52. A couple of his Traveling Wilburys played on this song – Jeff Lynne on backing vocals and electric guitar, and Tom Petty on backing vocals and acoustic guitar.
Ugh, I can’t “Stand” this song! I don’t know what it is about R.E.M., but they just irritate me. This song just sounds like an annoying children’s song. I will give them credit for having a unique sound.
Now we’re up to our Long Distance Dedication. This is the feature that reminds us what popular music is all about…songs helping us to express important feelings. Here is a letter from Robert from Nebraska:
This dedication is for the most important person in my life. I had the great experience of growing up in Frankfurt, Germany. I was part of military family and we moved quite a few times. I was a quiet, shy boy and I had a few good friends, but always had difficulty being comfortable in groups, especially if girls were present. I never really dated much – until the beginning of my senior year when I met Diana. I had signed up for the bus to take us to an away football game. The buses were crowded and I was forced to sit next to one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen. Naturally, I was nervous and had trouble even looking as her- not to mention talking to her. During the football game we gave each other side glances and on the trip home we again sat together- not because we had to this time. When we got back to the school, I somehow summoned enough courage to ask for her phone number. The rest, as they say, is history. We became inseparable and did everything together. Eventually, the time came to return to the U.S. for college. We decided to go to school in Nebraska – I just could not imagine being without her. I was leaving the first week of July and she would leave at the end of August. We spent every day until that week in June. These were the best days I had ever had. I was worried that things would not work out while we were apart and these could be the last days I would ever see her. Casey, would you please play “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx. This song reminds me of the great times I spent with Diana and how much she meant to me. Thank you.
P.S. Casey, everything did work out. This summer we will celebrate our 25th anniversary with our four wonderful children. Even today this song reminds me of her and that summer after our senior year.
Robert. Here is your long distance dedication
From 1987, that was “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx, a long distance dedication from Robert in Nebraska, to his wife Diana.
This is, by far, my favorite Guns N’ Roses tune! It is such a perfect rock song. From Steven Adler’s awesome drumming to Slash’s classic guitar sound, to Axl’s voice, which is perfect for this song. They are just firing on all cylinders at this point. I think that if they all got along, kept their s*!t together, they would have survived through the grunge era. Everybody has been waiting for the original lineup to get back together for years. And after Eddie Trunk’s recent interview with Steven Adler, there is a buzz about this happening. I’m not holding my breathe though.