It’s Friday, and here we are again for another edition of CHART ATTACK! As I’ve said before, 1988 is my favorite chart year of the ’80s; I know each of these songs (as well as songs 11-20, I’m sure) by heart. So let’s take a look at the charts as they appeared on January 16, 1988! Amazon iTunes
8. Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne Amazon iTunes
7. Candle In The Wind – Elton John Amazon iTunes
6. Hazy Shade Of Winter – Bangles Amazon iTunes
5. Could’ve Been – Tiffany Amazon iTunes
4. Need You Tonight – INXS Amazon iTunes
3. The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson Amazon iTunes
2. So Emotional – Whitney Houston Amazon iTunes
1. Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison Amazon
10. Is This Love – Whitesnake (download) Well, I’ll be damned. Although I’ve never heard a Whitesnake song other than this one and "Here I Go Again," I figured the band had other big hits on the Hot 100. These two are essentially their only big ones. I guess the reason I remember them being HUGE in 1987, and much more successful is because their 1987 album Whitesnake sold over 8 million copies – probably due in part to Geffen A&R man John Kalodner, responsible for a zillion successful records. Tawny Kitaen in the video probably didn’t hurt either.
9. Faith – George Michael This was the last week that "Faith" held a spot on the Top 10. But don’t feel bad for George Michael – "Faith" entered the Top 10 on November 21, 1987, nearly two months’ prior, and "Father Figure" entered the Top 10 only a few weeks following this one. We covered "Faith" in the week of its Top 10 debut in Chart Attack! #9, so head there if you’d like to read more about the song.
8. Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne So I’m at a party in…I guess it must have been ’98 or ’99. We’re up in the attic of this frat house, and the hosts have hired a DJ. He’s playing all the current songs ("Feels So Good" by Mase, por ejemplo), and "Tell It To My Heart" comes on. I sing every. single. word. And that was the first time that I truly realized: if I could only rid my brain of things like the lyrics to Taylor Dayne songs, I’d be so much more useful to the world.
"Tell It To My Heart" was Dayne’s first hit, and although it didn’t pass #7, her following five consecutive releases hit the Top 10. If you’d like a reminder of how some music videos are just locked in a time capsule, reminding us of all the things we’d like to forget about the ’80s, "Tell It To My Heart" is a good choice – watch it here. I remember hearing her singing voice and having no idea where she came from…but then I heard her speaking voice and realized this woman definitely grew up on Long Island.
Some people have encouraged me to rip Taylor Dayne to shreds. I’m not going to do it, but if you’d like to figure out their reasons, you can check out her website or her video blog at YouTube, specifically this video. I encourage you to watch it and randomly hit "pause" on any facial expression.
7. Candle In The Wind – Elton John Sadly, my first exposure to "Candle In The Wind" was through this version of the song – but I can’t be blamed. After all, the original wasn’t even released as a single in the U.S. back in 1973, when it was included on the excellent Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – only as a single in the U.K., where it reached #11. And it’s even more frightening to think that there’s a generation who only know "Candle In The Wind ’97." The version released here is from the album Live In Australia, which was recorded with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. It’s an interesting album, both excellent and terrible: excellent because in order to make full use of the orchestra, Elton went back into his early records and pulled out fantastic songs like "The King Must Die" and "The Greatest Discovery," and terrible because Elton never sounded so bad: years of drug abuse led to nodules on his vocal cords. I’m sure some of our readers in the radio biz can attest to "Candle’s" popularity in 1987 – I know it was played constantly in New York at the time, and eventually reached #7. 10 years later, the updated version topped the charts for a good 14 weeks.
6. Hazy Shade Of Winter – Bangles (download) What do they call it when you hear the cover before the original, and since it’s the cover you heard first, you wind up preferring it to the original? Oh yeah, in this case, that’s probably called "blasphemy." Sorry, folks, but it’s true. I heard the Bangles version before the Simon & Garfunkel version, and I really like the cover better. Produced by the Bangles themselves and included on the soundtrack to the movie Less Than Zero, the song became their third song to reach the Top 10. This remains one of my favorite covers.
5. Could’ve Been – Tiffany I had this album. I don’t want to talk about it, except to say that this song eventually hit #1 for two weeks, so it wasn’t just me.
4. Need You Tonight – INXS …but I also had this album, which kind of redeems me, doesn’t it? I always thought "Need You Tonight" was a freaking awesome song, from the drum part that sounded like nothing else on the radio, to that simple yet unquestionably catchy guitar riff. And I don’t think it should ever be played without "Mediate" directly following. This song hit #1 for just a week, as it was knocked off the top by…"Could’ve Been."
3. The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson In the comments section of last week’s Chart Attack!, we began discussing some of the better songs off of Thriller and Bad. This song wasn’t mentioned either way. Thoughts? Personally, I think it’s a great song, back when Jackson could still write, produce and record and not suck at all three simultaneously. This was also a period of time where you could see Michael Jackson lust after a woman in a video and almost believe him.
Speaking of the video, it’s pretty stupid. Michael chases after this hot girl who’s clearly not interested, and continues to pursue her at the insistence of his street buddies. It comes very close to an encouragement of gang rape. She resists his advances, even though she’s charmed by him, thanks to the support of her female friends (including LaToya, who Michael thankfully ignores this time). However, the final dance sequence, with Michael and his buddies gettin’ down under the streetlights, convinces her that he really is the right guy for her. She confirms it by meeting him under those lights, and…hugging him.
Like I said, a stupid video. However, as is often the case with Michael Jackson, once he starts dancing, it’s hard to focus on anything else. Say what you want about him – he’s still an unbelievable dancer. You can even forgive him for lip-syncing both "The Way You Make Me Feel" AND "Man In The Mirror" at the 1988 Grammies once you see him move.
2. So Emotional – Whitney Houston I don’t know why I like it. I just do. (Before you think this is some lame admission, you should know that’s the opening line of the song.) "So Emotional" hit #1 for one very brief week – the first week of the year – but it allowed Houston to tie the record for most consecutive #1 hits, which was six, held by the Bee Gees and the Beatles. With her following single, "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," she set the new record.
"So Emotional" was another result of Houston’s successful collaboration with producer Narada Michael Walden, who is responsible for so many of the songs you wish you could forget, such as Houston’s "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (among many), Starship’s "Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now," and…two songs with Taylor Dayne. Of course.
1. Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison Well, I think it’s safe to say that nobody saw this coming. Almost 24 years after he had his first chart-topping hit with The Beatles ("I Want To Hold Your Hand"), Harrison inexplicably found himself holding the top spot this week. Granted, it was only a week, but it remains the last #1 song in the U.S. by any Beatle to date.
A cover of the song released in 1962 by James Ray, "Got My Mind Set On You" was – like so many of the songs in the Top 10 during these years – assisted by a memorable video. Harrison wasn’t really the star of the video, in which he simply sat in a chair, in a mansion’s library, and strummed guitar directly to the camera; the library was the star, with moving furniture and animal heads. MTV played the hell out of this video, which was actually the third video produced for the song: version 1 focused on teens in an arcade, version 2 was a typical band video, and version 3 was the one that we all know and love. Plus, it has an obvious stunt double doing a dance break…although when I was 10 years old, I was very impressed with George Harrison for being a Beatle AND doing a back flip. Beat THAT, Ringo!
And that’s the end of another Top 10! Join me next week for yet another edition of CHART ATTACK!