Hi Everybody! Welcome back to this week’s countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31. At this time in 1985, I was in the middle of the 2nd quarter of my Freshman year of high school. Indoor track was in high gear. This also means I was doing horrible in school. For some reason, the 2nd quarter was always the time when I got my worst grades. Maybe it’s because the freshness wore off by now. Then the last 2 quarters I had to buckle down to get my grades back up. Why the hell am I talking about school?!? Let’s get to some music! Now, let’s Return to the week ending January 19, 1985, and continue the countdown.
Welcome back to this week’s Top 40 Countdown! If you missed the previous songs, you can go back and check out songs 40-31 and 30-21. While there have been really good songs scattered throughout this countdown, there have been a lot of songs that I’m not too crazy about. See, we’re only in 1990, with grunge being a little ways away, and I’m already missing the ’80s! Let’s battle though, and Return to the week ending August 11, 1990, and continue the countdown.
In the ’90s, Michael Bolton became a punchline in the music world. But early on, he had some pretty good songs – especially on his Soul Provider album. I like this one a lot. It doesn’t hurt that it was written by Diane Warren.
En Vogue was formed in Oakland in 1989 – the same time I was there! They wasted no time on hitting it big, as their debut single (from their debut album, Born to Sing) shot all the way up to #2 on the Billboard charts, and was a #1 hit on the Hot Black Singles chart and the U.S. Dance chart. It was also #1 on the Billboard Year-End chart for 1990.
This is another band (along with Nelson) that blew up just before I left for the Gulf War. I loved every song on their debut album. But, when I got home from the Gulf, just like Nelson, everybody was trashing them, and they had the reputation of being a “mall band”. I still liked them. The music is nice, and their harmonies are incredible. I highly recommend their 2004 album, California. It is an album of some pretty good covers. As far as “Release Me” goes, it was one of my favorite songs on their debut album, and spent 2 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
And now, it’s time for our Long Distance Dedication. This week, we received a letter from Robert. It says,
My long distance dedication is for someone who has always been one of the most important parts of my life. I grew up on army bases my whole life. My father was an army sergeant and we were forced to move around many times. Soon after high school and completing basic training, my father was sent sent overseas to Fountainbleu, France. After just a few months of my father’s arrival, the French government removed all U.S. troops and he was sent to Holland. This was lucky for me because this was where he met the woman he would marry and would become my mother. Shortly after I was born in Heerlen, the Netherlands. This was the beginning of what would become many moves. I have lived in New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Texas and Frankfurt, Germany. When I was 8, my father was sent to Korea for a year without us. This was when I started to realize how important he was to me. We were close and always made the best of any place we were living. We stayed in Germany for six years. Because my mother was Dutch, the military allowed my father to extend our stay overseas. We were supposed to move back to the States after my junior year of high school, but my father applied for and was granted one more extension – he knew how difficult it would be for me to go to a new school for just my senior year. I did not ask for this, he just did it. Eventually, we all moved back. I went to college in Nebraska as the rest of my family moved to central Missouri, Fort Leonard Wood. Things were going well for all of us: my father retired from the Army after 26 years of service, I finished my degree in education and started to teach high school English. Then tragedy struck. One night I received a call that my father had a heart attack and passed away instantly- he was only 50 years old. I still miss him. He was always an important part of my life. I have had to move on without him, but I have never forgotten him. Casey, would you please play “The Living Years” by Mike + Mechanics for my father Ron. This song captures how I feel about him and how much I miss him.
Robert, here is your long distance dedication…
That was “The Living Years” by Mike + The Mechanics from their 1988 album, Living Years. Thanks Robert.
Now, on with the countdown…
I always thought this song came out in the mid-nineties. It definitely has more of that ’90s rap/rock vibe than ’80s rock. This song would peak at #9, and be Faith No More’s biggest hit. I like this song, but can quickly get sick of it if I listen to it too often.
When I first saw this song title, even though I know who Keith Sweat is, I was expecting “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” by C + C Music Factory. Man, was I disappointed! I do like Keith Sweat’s voice, but I’m not crazy about this song.
This was the theme song from Young Guns II. I bought the soundtrack just before I left for the Gulf, and liked every song on the album. This song got kind of played out though. Supposedly, Jon Bon Jovi recorded this song because Young Guns II star, Emilio Estevez, requested that Bon Jovi’s song “Wanted Dead or Alive” be on the soundtrack. But, Bon Jovi did not think the lyrics, about the band constantly touring, fit the theme of the Western movie. However, the request inspired him to write “Blaze of Glory” with lyrics relevant for the movie.
It may be hard to believe, but at one time, M.C. Hammer was king of the rap world. He was very well respected. Then he had mainstream success with his huge album, Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em, which featured “U Can’t Touch This“. Then there was a shift in the rap world. It became more gritty and vulgar thanks to the likes of NWA and 2 Live Crew. M.C. Hammer’s clean lyrics and image was not cool anymore. But he did have a pretty good run for a while.
He followed the smash hit, “U Can’t Touch This”, with this cover of the Chi-Lites 1971 hit song, “Have You Seen Her”. I had forgotten about this song. But, it was another big hit for him, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #8 on the UK Singles Chart.
Time to get your funk on! This debut single from The Time’s album Pandemonium would go on to be a #1 R&B hit, and reach #9 on the Hot 100. This song was written by Prince, and you can hear him in this song.
Well, that wraps up today’s list of songs. We’ll be back to wrap up the countdown on Friday.
Welcome back to this week’s Countdown! If you missed the first 10 songs yesterday, you can go ahead and check them out. Some of these songs bring back memories. At this time in 1985, I was in the second half of my freshman year of high school. I enjoyed making new friends in high school, but did not do too well in classes. While I was struggling with my studies, there were some awesome songs to lean back on and use as an escape. Let’s enjoy some of this music now, by Returning to the week ending March 9, and move on with the countdown.
How about we start the countdown today with a little funk?!? The Time, led by Morris Day, was a pop-funk band which was put together by Prince. You can definitely hear the influence in this song. Not long after this, Morris Day left, and went on to a solo career. They would reunite and break up several more times over the years. Currently, they are known as The Original 7ven.
Oh boy, I’m torn on this song now. Before I started the Springsteen project (a.k.a. “Who’s the Boss?”), I would have said that a song with the word “Fire” in the title needs to have screaming in it.
[Possible Spoiler Alert: This song may or may not be on the Live 1975-85 album I’m reviewing right now. And I may or may not express that sentiment as my initial reaction on said review]
But, as I become a Springsteen student, I am beginning to like this song more each time I listen to it. I may not be on fire about this song, but I am warming up to it. What can I say? I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!
With this song, the Commodores finally showed that it may be possible to move on without Lionel Richie. It was their first hit after Richie went solo. “Nightshift” was written by the lead singer at that time, Walter Orange, (along with with Dennis Lambert and Franne Golde). It was a tribute to soul/R&B singers Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye, who both died in 1984. The Commodores won a Grammy Award in 1985 for Best Vocal R&B Performance by a Duo/Group for this song.
The husband and wife songwriting-production team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson had their biggest hit, as performers, with this song. It would go on to peak at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
What a great rocking song! This was John Parr’s first hit in the U.S. In 1985, he and his band, The Business, toured with Toto. At the end of the tour, he was approached by super-producer David Foster, who requested Parr to record a song for the film “St. Elmo’s Fire“. And the rest is history.
This hit came off of one of my favorite albums of the ’80s – Vital Signs. This wasn’t my favorite song from the album though. I feel that this song did get overplayed. But, years removed, I do enjoy hearing this once in a while.
We wrap up the countdown today with an interesting song. “Save a Prayer” was released in the U.K. in August of 1982 from the album, Rio. It had not been released in the U.S. as a single. The video did get play on MTV, though. Then in 1985, a special U.S. version of the song was cut with the live version from the Arena album on the flip side. This live version hit the charts, and climbed all the way up to #16.
Well, that’s the end of the countdown for today. I hope you’re enjoying this week’s songs so far. They are just going to keep on getting better! So, please come back tomorrow as we continue the countdown.