Saturday, October 25, 1986

Bon Jovi hit #1 with Slippery When Wet: October 25, 1986

Originally posted October 25, 2011.

Bon Jovi hit the rock scene in 1984. Their debut chart single, “Runaway”, cracked the top 40 on the pop charts and went top 5 at rock radio. However, the handful of singles which followed over the rest of that album and the next came and went with much less fanfare. It looked like Bon Jovi could well become an also-ran that would be lucky to be remembered beyond the ‘80s.

Then came the monster that was Slippery When Wet. The group tweaked its approach, bring professional songwriter Desmond Child on board. WK It worked – the band went “from minor-league poodle rockers to global superstars” RD thanks to two #1 songs (“You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer”) co-written by Child.

As “Name” was still climbing the charts, Wet found itself at #1 on the album chart. It abdicated the throne to Boston’s Third Stage the next week. After that album’s month-long stay on top, Bruce Springsteen grabbed the gold for seven weeks with his Live 1975-1975 box set. However, by the time “Prayer” became the band’s second #1 song in February 1987, the album returned to the top as well – for an additional seven weeks.

Wet went on to sell 12 million copies domestically and 28 million worldwide. While “lead singer Jon Bon Jovi’s mop of curls and winning smile” WR grabbed the girls’ attention, their “rock-as-mythology” WR attitude also meant “they had identified their audience – young white adolescent males – and were targeting it accurately.” WR “The album contained competent contemporary pop/rock from its Eddie Van Halen-inspired guitar solos to the singer’s enthusiastic, husky wail (which owed a lot to Bruce Springsteen).” WR Overall, the “album contains its fair share” RD of “consistently memorable tunes.” RD and while it “won’t change your world…it will, undoubtedly, rock it.” RD

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Monday, October 20, 1986

Crowded House released “Don’t Dream It’s Over”

First posted 10/23/2020; updated 10/25/2020.

Don’t Dream It’s Over

Crowded House

Writer(s): Neil Finn (see lyrics here)

Released: October 20, 1986

Peak: 2 US, 3 CB, 3 RR, 9 AC, 11 AR, 1 CO, 25 UK, 1 CN, 8 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.4 UK, 0.4 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 211.3 video, -- streaming


About the Song:

New Zealand-born singer/songwriter Neil Finn got his big break in the late ‘70s when older brother Tim invited him to join his band Split Enz. Over the next few years, Neil assumed co-frontman duties (most notably on 1980’s “I Got You”) and even led the band briefly before its demise when Tim left for a solo career. Neil and the drummer from Split Enz then formed the Mullanes in 1984, which later became Crowded House rounded out by bassist Nick Seymour, whose older brother was Mark, leader of Hunters & Collectors.

The trio released their self-titled debut in August 1986. It was preceded by singles “Mean to Me” and “World Where You Live,” which were minor hits in Australia. Third single “Now We’re Getting Somewhere,” sadly, went nowhere and it looked like Crowded House might be nothing more than an afterthought to the more successful Split Enz. However, the fourth single from the album was a hit. “Don’t Dream It’s Over” reached #2 in the U.S. in April 1987. It also went to #1 in New Zealand and Canada. It was a top-10 hit in Australia, Norway, and the Netherlands.

Finn said he wrote the “majestic ballad” WK on his brother’s piano and that it was “about, on the one hand feeling kind of lost, and on the other sort of urging myself on.” SF In 2016, he said “I’m super pleased and proud that the song that is almost the most identiable for us is, I think, one of my best songs.” SF Seymour said it was “about not giving up hope and succumbing to the effects of the mass media and consumerism.” WK Naturally it was used in commercials for the New Zealand Tourism Commission. SF

The video featured surreal images of household objects floating in the air. Finn plays guitar and walks through the house while his bandmates are doing chores or playing background instruments. At the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, it earned the group a Best New Artist award. It was also nominated for Best Group Video and Best Direction.

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Monday, October 6, 1986

Aha released Scoundrel Days

First posted 1/18/2009; updated 9/10/2020.

Scoundrel Days


Released: October 6, 1986

Peak: 74 US, 2 UK, -- CN, 17 AU

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.3 UK, 0.3 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: synth pop


Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Scoundrel Days
  2. The Swing of Things
  3. I’ve Been Losing You (9/22/86, 8 UK, 21 AU)
  4. October
  5. Manhattan Skyline (2/16/87, 13 UK)
  6. Cry Wolf (11/24/86, 50 US, 5 UK, 45 AU)
  7. We’re Looking for the Whales
  8. The Weight of the Wind
  9. Maybe, Maybe
  10. Soft Rains of April

Total Running Time: 38:41

The Players:

  • Morten Harket (vocals, guitar)
  • Magne Furuholmen (keyboards, guitar, bass)
  • Pål Waaktaar-Savoy (guitars, drums, percussion)


3.938 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)

About the Album:

“While not quite as strong as the band’s debut, Scoundrel Days is still a-ha succeeding as a marketed ‘pretty boy’ band which can connect musically and lyrically as much as any musical sacred cow. The opening two songs alone make for one of the best one-two opening punches around: the tense edge of the title track, featuring one of Morten Harket’s soaring vocals during the chorus and a crisp, pristine punch in the music, and The Swing of Things, a moody, elegant number with a beautiful synth/guitar arrangement (plus some fine drumming courtesy of studio pro Michael Sturgis) and utterly lovelorn lyrical sentiments that balance on the edge of being overheated without quite going over.” AMG

“Although the rest of the disc never quite hits as high as the opening, it comes close more often than not. A definite downturn is the band’s occasional attempts to try and prove themselves as a ‘real’ band by rocking out, as on I’ve Been Losing You; there’s really no need for it, and as a result they sound much more ‘fake,’ ironically enough.” AMG

“Other songs can perhaps only be explained by the need to translate lyrics – We’re Looking for the Whales isn’t an environmental anthem, and neither is Cry Wolf, but both also don’t really succeed in using nature as romantic metaphor.” AMG

“When a-ha are on, though, they’re on – October snakes along on a cool bass/keyboard arrangement and a whispery vocal from Harket; Maybe Maybe is a quirky little pop number that’s engagingly goofy; while Soft Rains of April captures the band at its most dramatic, with the string synths giving Harket a perfect bed to launch into a lovely vocal, concluding with a sudden, hushed whisper. The ‘80s may be long gone, but Scoundrel Days makes clear that not everything was bad back then.” AMG

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