Late ’80s ‘Songs Of Summer’ — as seen in 1989
I picked up this "flier" in the overly salty snacks (potato chip) aisle in 1989!
Back then, there was no "instant access" to artist and music news via the internet.
What's an ... internet?
MTV was (still) the place to go for videos!
Music News was HOT...and everyone wanted in on it.
Even potato chips tied into the 1989 HIT MUSIC craze!
As we enjoy the last summer of the "tens," I thought it would be fun to "Flash Back" to the last summer of the "Big Decade!"
ENJOY the top Summer Songs, from a 1989 point-of-view:
Steve Winwood "Roll With It" (#1 for 4 weeks, starting July 30, 1988)
Steve Winwood got his start at an early age, as the lead singer of the British band(s) the Spencer Davis Group, Blind Faith and Traffic.
He would have a string of solo hits through the 1980s.
"Roll With It" was his second #1 hit...and his biggest, holding the top spot for a month...("Higher Love" went to #1 for a week in 1986).
The song is about dealing with obstacles...Steve Winwood dealing with several, including divorce, as his solo career was taking off.
"Roll With It" holds an interesting chart distinction: It was the last #1 that Casey Kasem would count down as the original host of "American Top 40" (he would return 10 years later). It was the first #1 for his successor, Shadoe Stevens!
Tears For Fears "Shout" (#1 for 3 weeks, starting August 3, 1985)
Adapting their band's name from Arthur Janov's book "Prisoners Of Pain," Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith were heavily into the practice of "Primal Scream Therapy."
This therapy treatment got people to confront their fears by shouting and screaming.
Hence, the song: "Shout."
Go ahead ... "shout ... shout ... let it all out!"
Paul Young "Everytime You Go Away" (#1 for week of July 27, 1985)
Paul Young is a British singer ... much better known in England than the USA ...
"Everytime You Go Away" would be his only #1 song ...
It was written by Daryl Hall.
"Everytime" has other "distinctions:"
It is one of the biggest rock hits to be grammatically incorrect...it should be "Every Time You Go Away."
In 2014, Daryl Hall called Paul Young's interpretation of his song...one of his favorite "cover versions" of a Hall and Oates song!
U2 "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (#1 for 2 weeks, starting August 8, 1987).
This is the Dublin-based band's second No. 1 hit ... in a row! Following up "With Or Without You."
The lyrics of "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" could be either spiritual in nature...or refer to looking for ... love.
The Edge came up with the title and melody. Bono wrote the lyrics.
Bono says this hit song is "an anthem of doubt more than faith."
Bono adds that he wanted the "Joshua Tree" album to reflect the many types of music that the band had found in America. Gospel music was his influence for this summer 1987 hit.
The "official" video:
U2 won the 1988 Grammy for "Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group."
One more fun fact: Bass Player Adam Clayton missed the statue presentation...because he was in the bathroom.
Timing is ... everything ... Adam!
Peter Cetera "The Glory Of Love" (#1 for 2 weeks, starting August 2, 1986)
I was a brand new baby DJ...when I played "The Glory Of Love" from a 45 rpm single...on AM radio...back when this song was "hit bound."
Peter Cetera grew up in the Chicago suburbs...and his interest in music started at the age of 11, when his parents gave him an accordion, instead of the guitar that he wanted!
Eventually, he got the guitar, and started playing in local bands. He was impressed by the horn section combined with rock sound, of a band called "The Big Thing"....which became "Chicago Transit Authority," and then "Chicago."
By 1984, Cetera was the face of Chicago...the following year, he split with the band to concentrate on a solo career.
"The Glory Of Love" would be the first single off Cetera's "Solitude/Solitaire" album/CD.
Written by Cetera, David Foster and Denise Nini, it was the theme song for the hit movie "The Karate Kid, Part II." Cetera says that it was originally written for "Rocky IV."
Besides rising to #1 on the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary charts in 1986, "The Glory Of Love" won an ASCAP award for Cetera for "Most Performed Songs from Motion Pictures," and a BMI Film & TV Award for David Foster for "Most Performed Song from a Film." It would be nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for "Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Male Artist."
My Millennial friends might be more familiar with the cover version of "The Glory Of Love" by the band "New Found Glory."
Bob Seger "Shakedown" (#1 for the week of August 1, 1987)
Bob Seger (along with the Silver Bullet Band) is a Hall Of Fame singer with numerous chart hits...but no #1 hit...until this song!
"Shakedown" was written for the movie "Beverly Hills Cop II."
Harold Faltermeyer, who wrote the film score, wrote the music for "Shakedown," along with Keith Forsey. Bob Seger wrote the final lyrics...which refer to Eddie Murphy's Axel Foley character.
Glenn Frey, who had a hit with "The Heat Is On," from the first Beverly Hills Cop movie...was originally slated to sing "Shakedown." But, two weeks before the recording session, Frey came down with laryngitis, and had to drop out! Bob Seger was asked to step in...but he didn't like some of the original lyrics....so, he rewrote some...and his "Shakedown" went to #1!
When Bob Seger released his first "Greatest Hits" collection in 1994, he did not include "Shakedown."
While it is his biggest chart hit...Seger feels that it isn't one if his greatest...and is not a signature song.
Madonna "Papa Don't Preach" (#1 for two weeks, starting August 16, 1986)
Madonna was born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City Michigan.
"Papa Don't Preach" would be Madonna's 4th #1 song....and her first that would tackle an issue.
This hit single focuses on teenage pregnancy, with Madonna taking on the voice of a confused teen, who is looking for advice from her father.
At the time, Madonna said that the song "just fit right in with with my own zeitgeist of standing up to male authorities."
The line "I've made up my mind, I'm keeping my baby," caused anti-abortion groups to praise Madonna...while abortion rights groups criticized her!
Madonna didn't publicly take a stand....and it is felt that all the media attention helped to make "Papa Don't Preach" a hit...and then keep it on the charts.
Producer Brian Elliott wrote the song for Christina Dent, a new artist he was working with...who happened to be on the same label as Madonna. When a record exec heard the song, he convinced Elliott to give the song to Madonna...because she was an established star!
Heart "Alone" (#1 for 3 weeks, starting July 11, 1987)
Heart is a band that formed in Seattle in the 1970's, around sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson.
"Magic Man" would be the group's first top-10 hit, in 1976...and while the band would be a rock radio mainstay into the early 1980's, Heart would be pop superstars by the mid '80's.
"Alone" was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, the team behind other #1 songs including "So Emotional," "Like A Virgin" and "Eternal Flame."
"Alone" was an early song for the duo, who put out an album under the name "i-Ten." The album didn't go anywhere...but "Alone" was the standout song, and the guys set the song aside.
With their later songs finding success with the likes of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper....Tom Kelly heard that "Heart" was looking for a ballad.
With a minor lyric change to the first line of the chorus...and a slight melody change..."Alone" was ready for presentation to "Heart."
And, a 1987 #1 Summer Song was born....or, is that re-born?
George Michael "I Want Your Sex" (#2 for 1 week in the summer of 1987)
This is an interesting pick for a "Biggest Summer Songs" list...as it didn't make it to #1!
But...like "Shakedown," it was a big summer hit, thanks, in part, to its inclusion in "Beverly Hills Cop II."
From Michael's debut solo album, "Faith," this would be his first solo hit.
It was also the first hit record to have the word "sex" in the title (Marvin Gaye 'flirted' with it, in the title "Sexual Healing" in 1982).
In hindsight, its possible that George Michael's clean-cut image with "Wham!" initially gave him 'the benefit of the doubt' with radio programmers who would have immediately rejected the song for its lyric content, if it had been sung by someone else....
Still, "I Want Your Sex" was controversial....with the BBC refusing airplay until after 9pm....
Initially, MTV passed on the video!
UNTIL George Michael issued a disclaimer (in part): "The media has divided love and sex incredibly...its missed...relationships...emotion...monogamy." He added that his song is about "attaching lust to love, not just to strangers."
And...the listeners (and music programmers) were satisfied.
Breathe "Hands To Heaven" (#2 for 2 weeks, around August 13,1988)
Once again, we have a #2 hit...this time, from a London-based pop band...
Breathe is a pop rarity...in the fact this English band had more success here in the U.S, than it had at home! They would rack up 5 top-40 hits here in New Jersey. This would be their only hit in the UK...
"Hands To Heaven" was held out of the top spot by Steve Winwood...and the song at the top of this summer hit list: "Roll With It."
So...that's the "Pringles" countdown list of Summer Hits from 1985-1988...
But...what were the biggest hits of the summer of 1989...the summer that this list was offered?
Strictly based on the number of weeks that each song spent at #1 in the summer of '89, I would say that it's either:
Martika "Toy Soldiers" (#1 for 2 weeks, starting July 22, 1989)
From Los Angeles, Marta Marrera was all of 19 when her song hit #1!
And, she's a multi-talent in the entertainment biz: singer/writer/actress/dancer.
More on that in a moment.
"Toy Soldiers" is about drug addiction...how drugs control a person, just like children control their toys. Martika says that she wrote the song about a friend who was hooked on cocaine.
Back to the talent: Martika was an actress before embarking on a singing career...she appeared in the 1982 film version of "Annie." She was also a regular on the TV show "Kids Incorporated," from 1984 til 1986.
One more "Toy Soldiers" fun fact: Stacy Ferguson was one of the backup singers...you now know her as "Fergie" of "Black Eyed Peas."
Richard Marx "Right Here Waiting" (#1 for 3 weeks, starting August 12, 1989)
Richard Marx was born to rock...and to sell!
His dad was in advertising...writing TV jingles for well-known products. Richard made his singing debut on some of his dad's TV jingles.
At 18, Marx headed to Los Angeles...where he hooked up with Lionel Richie!
After 5 years of singing harmony on several of Richie's hits...and having some of his own songs recorded by artists like Kenny Rogers and Chicago...Richard Marx got his own record deal. His first two albums spawned 9 hit records!
Marx says that he wrote "Right Here Waiting" for his then-girlfriend, actress Cynthia Rhodes. She was shooting a movie abroad, and Marx hadn't seen her in months. He wanted to go to her, but his visa application was rejected...
Marx says that he went home, and wrote the song in about 20 minutes.
And, it was more of a letter, than a song.
He recorded it, and sent it to Rhodes....with no intention of his words and music ever going public.
Marx's friends urged him to put "Right Here Waiting" on an album...and the rest is history!
As is Marx's marriage to Cynthia Rhodes. They married in 1989, and split in 2014.
Which would YOU choose as the top Summer Song for 1989?
Feel free to share your thoughts!
And, I hope you enjoyed my look back at the songs that meant summer in the latter part of "The Big Decade!"
I just KNEW that I had been saving this 1989-original pamphlet/list for a good reason.