Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Top 100 Songs of 1986*: #40-31

In 1986, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced two keywords in a speech, Glasnost (government transparency) and Perestroika (restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system).  Meanwhile, The Voyager 2 space probe came within 50,000 miles of Uranus and Pixar opened studios in California.  The Boston Celtics, whom many consider one of the best teams in National Basketball Association history, won a franchise record 67 games in the regular season, then topped the Houston Rockets in six games to win the NBA Championship.  Boston featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Bill Walton in their front court rotation.

In music, these 10 songs are among those that are still the strongest 30 years later:


Manic Monday

At #40, one of the best songs that the late Prince wrote.  The Bangles created quite a buzz with their album Different Light.  The group became arguably the biggest self-contained female group of the Rock Era (by self-contained, we mean a group that writes the majority of their songs and sings and plays all the instruments on their songs.)


The Sweetest Taboo
Here's a #5 song from early in the year that, like the artist who recorded it, continues to grow in popularity. Airplay, sales and YouTube numbers continue to be strong for Sade and "The Sweetest Taboo".


Small Town
John Cougar Mellencamp

1986 was a great year for this artist, who was in transition from his stage name of John Cougar to his real name of John Mellencamp.  In addition to the big hits at #38 and #34 below, the Cougar Man came up with the album of his career, Scarecrow.  Check out the four solid tracks from the album we featured in the Prelude*.  We believe that all four are better than many of the songs still ranked in The Top 100 for 1986*, a relatively weak year that could have perhaps been a little stronger if those tracks were well known.


The Next Time I Fall
Amy Grant & Peter Cetera

At #37, a #1 song from one of the most successful Gospel singers of all-time and the lead singer of one of the top groups of all-time.


True Colors
Cyndi Lauper

Here's one of the last big hits for this star from Queens, New York.  It sold over two million copies and earned Cyndi a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance.


Words Get In The Way
Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine

At #35, one of the most beloved female stars of our lifetime, a star so bright that after 1986, she received full billing while the Miami Sound Machine served as her backing band.  This is the song that largely catapulted her as a major recording artist.


R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.
John Cougar Mellencamp

At #34, Mellencamp's salute to '60s music.  He mentions several of the top acts of the decade in this big hit.


Life In A Northern Town
Dream Academy

Music is fascinating because each year, we get to hear completely new acts.  This group burst on the scene in 1986 and showed considerable promise.  Although they also gave us another quality song ("The Love Parade", heard in the Prelude*), they never generated anything as good as this one.


Dancing On The Ceiling
Lionel Richie

While this song has slipped over the years, Lionel Richie is still one of the biggest stars among adults in the Rock Era, and it is that support which continues to hold the song at #32.


Take Me Home
Phil Collins

When you combine his work with Genesis along with his solo releases, Phil Collins was as hot as nearly anyone in the '80s.  In the years that followed, it was the song of choice for encores from Collins in concert.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: May 26

1953:  Man, egg on the faces of the judges who ranked Elvis Presley second in the talent competition at the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Show in Meridian, Mississippi.  Whoever finished first came nowhere near having 18 #1 songs.
1958:  Jerry Lee Lewis played what would be his final concert in the U.K., booed off stage by angry British.  People found out that he had been married to his 13 year-old cousin and it was "Bye, Bye Jerry!"  When Lewis returned to the United States, he was blacklisted from radio stations, his record company mocked him, and he went from making $10,000 per performance to finding gigs for $250.

                                     Ray Charles was headed for the top...   

1962:  "Stranger On The Shore" from Mr. Acker Bilk landed at #1, displacing "Soldier Boy" by the Shirelles after three weeks.  Dee Dee Sharp held steady at #3 while Ray Charles loomed next after a 21-4 move for "I Can't Stop Loving You".
1963:  Elvis Presley recorded "(You're The) Devil In Disguise" at the RCA Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Note:  some websites report that Presley recorded the song over two days.  While he had recording sessions on both May 26 and 27, he finished "Devil In Disguise" on May 26, according  to the book 'Elvis Presley: A Life In Music' by Ernst Jorgensen.)1965:  The Rolling Stones, Sonny and Cher, Jackie DeShannon and Jimmy Rodgers appeared on the television show Shindig!
1966:  The Rolling Stones reached #1 in the U.K. with "Paint It Black".

The Top 100 Songs of 1986*: #50-41

In 1986, Halley's Comet became visible to Earth for the first time since 1910, IBM unveiled the PC Convertible, the world's first laptop computer and Intel introduced the 386 series microprocessor.  Also, The Oprah Winfrey Show debuted on television, Out of Africa captured Best Picture honors at the Academy Awards and the New York Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox in seven games to win the World Series.

In music, you could turn on your radio and hear these great songs:

Why Can't This Be Love
Van Halen

By 1986, the members of Van Halen had had enough of David Lee Roth; the same could probably be said for music fans.  The group released the album 5150, the first with new lead singer Sammy Hagar.

Mad About You
Belinda Carlisle

In the early part of the decade, this artist was with the all-female group the Go-Go's.  She established herself as a successful solo artist as well.

My Hometown
Bruce Springsteen

Released in 1984, the Born in the U.S.A. album was still going strong in '86.  Springsteen generated a record seven Top 10 songs from the album.  That's more from that one album than he had for the rest of his career.

All I Need Is A Miracle
Mike + the Mechanics

As Phil Collins was off doing several solo projects, fellow Genesis member Mike Rutherford decided to form this group, which featured one of the premier vocalists of the time, Paul Carrack.  Carrack started out with the group Ace, which enjoyed the 1975 hit "How Long", then was lead singer of Squeeze ("Tempted) before enjoying some solo success and then singing lead for Mike + the Mechanics.

Human League

Here's another song produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.  They wrote this one for British group the Human League and it went Top 10.

Throwing It All Away

This great group came up with the album of their career in 1986.  Invisible Touch eventually generated five Top Five songs.  This one peaked at #4, but continues to get stronger through the years.

Rock Me Amadeus

There are organizations that claim this is the #1 song of 1986.  Don't believe them; it's the reason Inside The Rock Era was started--too much misinformation out there regarding the Rock Era.  It was a #1 song, no doubt, but hasn't even sold over one million copies nor been played one million times 30 years later.  The grand total for Falco's album sales?  A mere 500,000.  So no, it is NOT the #1 song of 1986--not even close.

(No YouTube video available)
Here's another #1 song from 1986, hurt quite a bit by no presence at all on YouTube.  While YouTube views are not one of the main factors used in the Inside The Rock Era database, it's still important in the 21st century to have your material out there.

What Have You Done For Me Lately
Janet Jackson

At #42, a song from Janet Jackson's breakthrough album Control.  She whipped out no less than six Top 10 songs from the album.

Take Me Home Tonight
Eddie Money

This former policeman from New York City did alright for himself in the music business.  He continues to perform, and this no doubt is one of his most requested songs, his biggest career hit.