Back...back...back into time, these were the national top 10 singles from Wednesday, December 28, 1988.

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  • 10

    "Smooth Criminal" by Michael Jackson

    (#13 last week) The seventh and final single from the "Bad" album, this one didn't do quite as well at radio. Perhaps the questionable subject matter turned off some.

  • 9

    "Armageddon It" by Def Leppard

    (#12 last week) The sixth single off the huge "Hysteria" album, this was the second song from that LP to have a video taken from a live concert setting. The title is a riff on the phrase "I'm-A Gettin' It".

  • 8

    "Look Away" by Chicago

    (#3 last week) One of superstar songwriter Diane Warren's early smashes, this was Chicago's last #1 song. Peter Cetera had left the group in 1985, & this one was sung by Bill Champlin. It barely features Chicago's signature horn sound. By becoming adult contemporary kings, Chicago might have hurt their legacy and partially explains their continued exclusion from the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

  • 7

    "Waiting For A Star To Fall" by Boy Meets Girl

    (#5 last week) One of my all-time favorite one-hit wonders! Boy Meets Girl were (then) husband & wife duo George Merrill & Shannon Rubicam. They had already sung backup on one #1 hit (Deniece Williams's "Let's Hear It For The Boy") & written two #1 hits for Whitney Houston ("How Will I Know" & "I Wanna Dance With Somebody") when this sweeping pop song hit big. Interestingly, this had also been offered to Whitney but rejected by Clive Davis (I wonder if Miss Houston even knew that). Belinda Carlisle DID record this but then scrapped it for her second solo album. Worked out in the end, though. Postscript: Merrill & Rubicam divorced over a decade ago but still write & perform together.

  • 6

    "Don't Rush Me" by Taylor Dayne

    (#10 last week) The 4th single from Dayne's debut album "Tell It to My Heart". Her real name: Leslie Wunderman. She should have kept that! Dayne got her big break by being noticed singing Russian folk songs at a Brighton Beach, Brooklyn nightclub! The woman is very smart: She studied music theory & composition at Nassau Community College & also earned a degree of philosophy graduating at CW Post.

  • 5

    "In Your Room" by The Bangles

    (#8 last week) The Bangles were my favorite musical act of the 80s, with their jangly guitars & playful sexiness. We need more of their style of music back.

  • 4

    "Giving You The Best That I Got" by Anita Baker

    (#4 last week) A 4-week local #1 single, "Giving You the Best That I Got" was released prior to the Grammy Awards eligibility cutoff date of September 30, allowing it to be nominated for four awards at the Grammy Awards of 1989. The song won in the categories Best Female R&B Vocal performance and Best R&B Song; it was also nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The album "Giving You the Best That I Got" was released in October 1988, meaning that it would not be eligible for Grammy consideration until the 1990 ceremony. There, Baker's album won in the category Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, earning her the same award two years running for a song and album of the same title. Why can't the Grammy Awards be based on the calendar year?

     

  • 3

    "Two Hearts" by Phil Collins

    (#6 last week) One of two 1989 #1 hits that was a 60s Motown homage (the other: "Good Thing"--Fine Young Cannibals), this song from the "Buster" soundtrack (Collins starred in the movie) was co-written with Phil by the legendary Lamont Dozier, of Holland-Dozier-Holland fame. Collins went right to the source!

  • 2

    "My Prerogative" by Bobby Brown

    (#2 last week) Just about the biggest hit of the "New Jack Swing" sound, What was that sound, exactly? It merges hip hop beats with elements of synthpop & soul. "My Prerogative" was written by Brown as a response to the criticism he received for his departure from New Edition. Boy, has he fallen since then He & later-wife Whitney Houston were co-dependent addicts. Sad.

  • 1

    "Every Rose Has It's Thorn" by Poison

    (#1 last week; 3rd week at #1) Nowadays, Bret Michaels is more famous for appearing on reality TV shows, but in 1989 he was the lead singer of one of the hot "hair metal" bands, Poison, The band had been playing at a cowboy bar called "The Ritz" in Dallas, accounting for the song's noticable references to cowboys in the chorus, along with the twang in Bret Michaels' vocals, which give the song a country feel not often heard in power ballads composed by glam metal bands. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" was named #34 on VH1's "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s", #100 on their "100 Greatest Love Songs" and #7 on MTV & VH1 "Top 25 Power Ballads."