Sunday, December 31, 1989

Top 100 Songs from 1980 to 1989

First posted 1/21/2011; last updated 3/23/2020.

Top 100 Songs of the Decade:


These are the top 100 songs from the 1980s according to Dave’s Music Database. Click here to see “Song of the Year” awards.

1. Billie Jean…Michael Jackson (1982)
2. Every Breath You Take…The Police (1983)
3. Sweet Child O’ Mine…Guns N’ Roses (1987)
4. I Love Rock and Roll…Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (1981)
5. When Doves Cry…Prince (1984)
6. Endless Love…Lionel Richie & Diana Ross (1981)
7. We Are the World…U.S.A. for Africa (1985)
8. Beat It…Michael Jackson (1983)
9. With or Without You…U2 (1987)
10. Bette Davis Eyes…Kim Carnes (1981)

11. Eye of the Tiger…Survivor (1982)
12. Don’t You Want Me?...The Human League (1981)
13. Like a Prayer…Madonna (1989)
14. Lady…Kenny Rogers (1980)
15. Love Will Tear Us Apart…Joy Division (1980)
16. Livin’ on a Prayer…Bon Jovi (1986)
17. Call Me…Blondie (1980)
18. Tainted Love…Soft Cell (1981)
19. Careless Whisper…George Michael (1984)
20. I Just Called to Say I Love You…Stevie Wonder (1984)

21. Flashdance...What a Feelin’…Irene Cara (1983)
22. Physical…Olivia Newton-John (1981)
23. I Wanna Dance with Somebody Who Loves Me…Whitney Houston (1987)
24. Take on Me…Aha (1984)
25. Another One Bites the Dust…Queen (1980)
26. Like a Virgin…Madonna (1984)
27. Jump…Van Halen (1984)
28. The Message…Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (1982)
29. Walk This Way…Run-D.M.C. with Steven Tyler & Joe Perry (1986)
30. What’s Love Got to Do with It?...Tina Turner (1984)

31. You Shook Me All Night Long…AC/DC (1980)
32. Girls Just Want to Have Fun…Cyndi Lauper (1983)
33. Blue Monday…New Order (1983)
34. Don’t Stop Believin’…Journey (1981)
35. That's What Friends Are For…Dionne & Friends (Dionne Warwick with Elton John, Gladys Knight, & Stevie Wonder) (1985)
36. Always on My Mind…Willie Nelson (1982)
37. Sweet Dreams Are Made of This…Eurythmics (1983)
38. Love Shack…The B-52’s (1989)
39. Relax…Frankie Goes to Hollywood (1983)
40. Come on Eileen…Dexy’s Midnight Runners (1982)

41. Celebration…Kool & the Gang (1980)
42. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For…U2 (1987)
43. Another Day in Paradise…Phil Collins (1989)
44. All Night Long (All Night)…Lionel Richie (1983)
45. Purple Rain…Prince & the Revolution (1984)
46. Do They Know It’s Christmas?…Band Aid (1984)
47. Funkytown…Lipps Inc. (1980)
48. Total Eclipse of the Heart…Bonnie Tyler (1983)
49. I Want to Know What Love Is…Foreigner (1984)
50. Never Gonna Give You Up…Rick Astley (1987)

51. Down Under…Men at Work (1982)
52. I’ve Had the Time of My Life…Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (1987)
53. Upside Down…Diana Ross (1980)
54. 9 to 5…Dolly Parton (1980)
55. Just Like Starting Over…John Lennon (1980)
56. Kiss…Prince (1986)
57. Fast Car…Tracy Chapman (1988)
58. Faith…George Michael (1987)
59. Ebony and Ivory…Paul McCartney & Stevie Wonder (1982)
60. Time after Time…Cyndi Lauper (1983)

61. Karma Chameleon…Culture Club (1983)
62. Wind Beneath My Wings…Bette Midler (1989)
63. Dancing in the Dark…Bruce Springsteen (1984)
64. Footloose…Kenny Loggins (1984)
65. Money for Nothing…Dire Straits (1985)
66. Sexual Healing…Marvin Gaye (1982)
67. Say You, Say Me…Lionel Richie (1985)
68. Thriller…Michael Jackson (1982)
69. Fight the Power…Public Enemy (1989)
70. Everybody Wants to Rule the World…Tears for Fears (1985)

71. Islands in the Stream…Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton (1983)
72. Sledgehammer…Peter Gabriel (1986)
73. Up Where We Belong…Joe Cocker with Jennifer Warnes (1982)
74. Pride (In the Name of Love)…U2 (1984)
75. In the Air Tonight…Phil Collins (1981)
76. Centerfold…J. Geils Band (1981)
77. Once in a Lifetime…Talking Heads (1980)
78. Don’t You Forget About Me…Simple Minds (1985)
79. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?...Culture Club (1982)
80. Back in Black…AC/DC (1980)

81. Born in the U.S.A….Bruce Springsteen (1984)
82. Hello…Lionel Richie (1984)
83. 1999…Prince (1982)
84. Take My Breath Away…Berlin (1985)
85. Jessie’s Girl…Rick Springfield (1981)
86. Ghostbusters…Ray Parker, Jr. (1984)
87. Say, Say, Say…Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson (1983)
88. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go!...Wham! (1984)
89. Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)…Phil Collins (1984)
90. Welcome to the Jungle…Guns N’ Roses (1987)

91. Maneater…Daryl Hall & John Oates (1982)
92. West End Girls…Pet Shop Boys (1985)
93. Pour Some Sugar on Me…Def Leppard (1987)
94. Start Me Up…The Rolling Stones (1981)
95. Walk Like an Egyptian…Bangles (1986)
\ 96. Africa…Toto (1982)
97. You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Party…Beastie Boys (1986) 98. Don’t Worry Be Happy…Bobby McFerrin (1988)
99. Into the Groove…Madonna (1985)
100. Jack and Diane…John Cougar Mellencamp (1982)

Saturday, December 30, 1989

Dave’s Faves: #1 Songs in the 1980s

First posted 4/4/2020; updated 4/28/2020.

Dave’s Faves:

#1’s: 1980-1989

September 18, 1982. I can peg my fascination with music charts to that date. After listening to a local radio station’s countdown of the hits of the summer, I decided to make my own list of favorites (see original list here). I ended up revising it every few days, eventually developing my own charts which I maintained into the ‘90s.

I’ve also projected before and after those lists to create speculative lists of #1 songs for eras not covered by those original charts. You can check out those links here, but this page is focused on the #1 songs that might have been for me in the 1980s.


  • Jan. 19: Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb” (2 wks)
  • Feb. 2: Pink Floyd “Mother” (1 wk)
  • Feb. 9: Rush “Free Will” (2 wks)
  • Feb. 23: Air Supply “Lost in Love” (3 wks)
  • Mar. 15: Eagles “I Can’t Tell You Why” (2 wks)
  • Mar. 29: Blondie “Call Me” (3 wks)
  • Apr. 19: Charlie Dore “Pilot of the Airwaves” (2 wks)
  • May 3: Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” (2 wks)
  • May 17: Mac Davis “It’s Hard to Be Humble” (2 wks)
  • May 31: Billy Joel “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me” (3 wks)
  • June 21: Olivia Newton-John “Magic” (4 wks)
  • July 19: Split Enz “I Hope I Never” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 2: Peter Gabriel “Family Snapshot” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 16: Queen “Another One Bites the Dust” (3 wks)
  • Sept. 6: Peter Gabriel “Biko” (4 wks)
  • Oct. 4: Kenny Rogers “Lady” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 25: The Police “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” (2 wks)
  • Nov. 8: Kool & the Gang “Celebration” (1 wk)
  • Nov. 15: Air Supply “American Hearts” (2 wks)
  • Nov. 29: REO Speedwagon “Keep on Loving You” (2 wks)
  • Dec. 13: The Alan Parsons Project “Games People Play” (2 wks)
  • Dec. 27: Eagles “Seven Bridges Road (live)” (3 wks)


  • Jan. 17: Styx “The Best of Times” (6 wks)
  • Feb. 28: Climax Blues Band “I Love You” (3 wks)
  • Mar. 21: Styx “Too Much Time on My Hands” (2 wks)
  • Apr. 4: Rush “Tom Sawyer” (3 wks)
  • Apr. 25: Kim Carnes “Bette Davis Eyes” (2 wks)
  • May 9: Stars on 45 “Medley I” (1 wk)
  • May 16: Neil Diamond “America” (4 wks)
  • June 13: Bruce Springsteen “The River” (2 wks)
  • June 27: Squeeze “Tempted” (4 wks)
  • July 25: Lionel Richie & Diana Ross “Endless Love” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 8: Journey “Who’s Crying Now” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 22: Foreigner “Juke Box Hero” (2 wks)
  • Sept. 5: Soft Cell “Tainted Love” (3 wks)
  • Sept. 26: Journey “Don’t Stop Believin’” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 10: Sting “Message in a Bottle (live)” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 24: Olivia Newton-John “Physical” (4 wks)
  • Nov. 21: Foreigner “Waiting for a Girl Like You” (4 wks)
  • Dec. 19: Triumph “Magic Power” (1 wk)
  • Dec. 26: The J. Geils Band “Centerfold” (2 wks)


  • Jan. 2: Queen with David Bowie “Under Pressure” (2 wks)
  • Jan. 23: Joan Jett & the Blackhearts “I Love Rock and Roll” (2 wks)
  • Feb. 6: Journey “Open Arms” (6 wks)
  • Mar. 20: Alabama “Mountain Music” (4 wks)
  • Apr. 17: Elton John “Empty Garden” (2 wks)
  • May 1: Squeeze “Black Coffee in Bed” (2 ws)
  • May 15: Sting “Roxanne (live)” (2 wks)
  • May 29: Queen “Body Language” (3 wks)
  • June 19: Steve Miller Band “Abracadabra” (2 wks)
  • July 10: John Mellencamp “Jack and Diane” (4 wks)
  • Aug. 7: The Alan Parsons Project “Eye in the Sky” (3 wks)
  • Aug. 28: Van Halen “Happy Trails” (2 wks)
  • Sept. 11: Olivia Newton-John “Heart Attack” (5 wks)
  • Oct. 16: Don Henley “Dirty Laundry” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 30: Toto “Africa” (6 wks)
  • Dec. 11: Charlene with Stevie Wonder “Used to Be” (3 wks)


  • Jan. 1: The Police “I Burn for You” (2 wks)
  • Jan. 15: The Alan Parsons Project “Old and Wise” (4 wks)
  • Feb. 12: Styx “Mr. Roboto” (8 wks)
  • Apr. 9: Marillion “Script for a Jester’s Tear” (2 wks)
  • Apr. 23: Pat Benatar “Anxiety (Get Nervous)” (3 wks)
  • May 14: U2 “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (3 wks)
  • June 4: The Police “Every Breath You Take” (8 wks)
  • July 30: The Police “King of Pain” (7 wks)
  • Sept. 17: Pat Benatar “Love Is a Battlefield” (4 wks)
  • Oct. 15: Berlin “Masquerade” (1 wk)
  • Oct. 22: Olivia Newton-John “Twist of Fate” (5 wks)
  • Nov. 26: Yes “Owner of a Lonely Heart” (2 wks)
  • Dec. 10: Journey “Ask the Lonely” (3 wks)
  • Dec. 31: Paul McCartney “Pipes of Peace” (2 wks)


  • Jan. 14: The Police “Wrapped Around Your Finger” (2 wks)
  • Jan. 28: Nena “99 Red Balloons” (3 wks)
  • Feb. 18: Genesis “Illegal Alien” (1 wk)
  • Feb. 25: Yes “Leave It” (2 wks)
  • Mar. 10: Night Ranger “Sister Christian” (1 wk)
  • Mar. 17: Marillion “Fugazi” (1 wk)
  • Mar. 24: Marillion “She Chameleon” (2 wks)
  • Apr. 7: Styx “Music Time” (5 wks)
  • May 12: Prince “When Doves Cry” (3 wks)
  • June 2: Bruce Springsteen “Dancing in the Dark” (4 wks)
  • June 30: Ray Parker, Jr. “Ghostbusters” (4 wks)
  • July 28: Bruce Springsteen “Born in the U.S.A.” (4 wks)
  • Aug. 25: Prince “Let’s Go Crazy” (2 wks)
  • Sept. 8: Dennis DeYoung “Desert Moon” (6 wks)
  • Oct. 20: Pat Benatar “We Belong” (1 wk)
  • Oct. 27: Toto “Stranger in Town” (4 wks)
  • Nov. 24: Don Henley “The Boys of Summer” (2 wks)
  • Dec. 8: Tears for Fears “Shout” (2 wks)
  • Dec. 22: Foreigner “I Want to Know What Love Is” (4 wks)


  • Jan. 19: Don Henley “Sunset Grill” (2 wks)
  • Feb. 2: Foreigner “That Was Yesterday” (1 wk)
  • Feb. 9: The Alan Parsons Project “Let’s Talk About Me” (3 wks)
  • Mar. 2: Sting “Moon Over Bourbon Street” (2 wks)
  • Mar. 16: Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” (2 wks)
  • Mar. 30: The Dream Academy “Life in a Northern Town” (2 wks)
  • Apr. 13: Marillion “Kayleigh” (3 wks)
  • May 4: Bruce Springsteen “Trapped” (2 wks)
  • May 18: Hooters “All You Zombies” (2 wks)
  • June 1: Bruce Springsteen “Glory Days” (2 wks)
  • June 15: Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” (2 wks)
  • June 29: Marillion “Childhood’s End?” (1 wk)
  • July 6: Tears for Fears “Head Over Heels” (5 wks)
  • Aug. 10: John Parr “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 24: U2 “Bad (live)” (3 wks)
  • Sept. 14: Squeeze “I Won’t Ever Go Drinking Again (?)” (2 wks)
  • Sept. 28: Prince “Purple Rain” (4 wks)
  • Oct. 26: Olivia Newton-John “Soul Kiss” (2 wks)
  • Nov. 9: Squeeze “Heartbreaking World” (4 wks)
  • Dec. 7: Bruce Springsteen “My Hometown” (2 wks)
  • Dec. 21: Sting “Russians” (3 wks)


  • Jan. 11: Tears for Fears “When in Love with a Blind Man” (2 wks)
  • Jan. 25: The Alan Parsons Project “Stereotomy” (4 wks)
  • Feb. 22: Tony Banks with Fish “Shortcut to Somewhere” (4 wks)
  • Mar. 22: Dennis DeYoung “Call Me” (5 wks)
  • Apr. 26: The Moody Blues “Your Wildest Dreams” (4 wks)
  • May 24: Roger Waters “Folded Flags” (2 wks)
  • June 7: Double “The Captain of Her Heart” (2 wks)
  • June 21: Furniture “Brilliant Mind” (4 wks)
  • July 19: Berlin “Take My Breath Away” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 2: Tom Cochrane with Red Rider “The Boy Inside the Man” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 16: Billy Joel with Ray Charles “Baby Grand” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 30: David + David “Welcome to the Boomtown” (6 wks)
  • Oct. 11: The Police “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ‘86” (6 wks)
  • Nov. 22: Bruce Springsteen “War (live)” (3 wks)
  • Dec. 13: Huey Lewis & the News “Naturally” (2 wks)
  • Dec. 27: The Bangles “Following” (4 wks)


  • Jan. 24: The Alan Parsons Project “Standing on Higher Ground” (4 wks)
  • Feb. 21: Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush “Don’t Give Up” (4 wks)
  • Mar. 14: U2 “With or Without You” (3 wks)
  • Apr. 4: XTC “Dear God” (6 wks)
  • May 16: Marillion “Incommunicado” (2 wks)
  • May 30: Marillion: “Going Under” (2 wks)
  • June 13: Indigo Girls “Hey Jesus” (1 wk)
  • June 20: Suzanne Vega “Luka” (4 wks)
  • July 18: Terence Trent D’Arby “Wonderful World” (1 wk)
  • July 25: Marillion “Sugar Mice” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 8: Marillion “Tux On” (2 wks)
  • Aug. 22: Marillion “Warm Wet Circles” (3 wks)
  • Sept. 12: Pink Floyd “Learning to Fly” (2 wks)
  • Sept. 26: R.E.M. “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 10: Pink Floyd “One Slip” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 24: Sting “Englishman in New York” (2 wks)
  • Nov. 7: Sting “They Dance Alone” (4 wks)
  • Dec. 5: Bruce Springsteen “Spare Parts” (2 wks)
  • Dec. 19: The Rainmakers “The Wages of Sin” (3 wks)


  • Jan. 9: Eurythmics “Brand New Day” (3 wks)
  • Jan. 30: Lyle Lovett “She’s No Lady” (3 wks)
  • Feb. 20: Lyle Lovett “Pontiac” (3 wks)
  • Mar. 12: Kate Bush “This Woman’s Work” (4 wks)
  • Apr. 9: Sting “Someone to Watch Over Me” (3 wks)
  • Apr. 30: Everything But the Girl “Apron Strings” (2 wks)
  • May 14: Tracy Chapman “Fast Car” (4 wks)
  • June 11: Melissa Etheridge “Bring Me Some Water” (2 wks)
  • June 25: Melissa Etheridge “Occasionally” (2 wks)
  • July 9: Crowded House “Better Be Home Soon” (6 wks)
  • Aug. 20: Rod Stewart “Forever Young” (3 wks)
  • Sept. 10: Everything But the Girl “Oxford Street” (2 wks)
  • Sept. 24: Everything But the Girl “The Night I Heard Caruso Sing” (1 wk)
  • Oct. 1: Olivia Newton-John “It’s Not Heaven” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 15: Shona Laing “Glad I’m Not a Kennedy” (3 wks)
  • Nov. 5: U2 “God Part II” (4 wks)
  • Dec. 3: Sting with Bruce Springsteen “Every Breath You Take (live)” (2 wk)
  • Dec. 17: Bruce Springsteen with Sting “The River (live)” (1 wk)
  • Dec. 24: The Bangles “Something to Believe In” (2 wks)


  • Jan. 7: Guns N’ Roses “Patience” (3 wks)
  • Jan. 28: Mike + the Mechanics “The Living Years” (2 wks)
  • Feb. 11: Night Ranger “Reason to Be’ (2 wks)
  • Feb. 25: Metallica “One” (5 wks)
  • Apr. 1: Shona Laing “South” (2 wks)
  • Apr. 15: Lyle Lovett “Nobody Knows Me” (2 wks)
  • Apr. 29: Elvis Costello “Veronica’ (3 wks)
  • May 20: Simple Minds “Biko” (3 wks)
  • June 10: Simple Minds “Mandela Day” (2 wks)
  • June 24: U2 “All I Want Is You” (2 wks)
  • July 8: The Call “Let the Day Begin” (2 wks)
  • July 22: Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine” (6 wks)
  • Sept. 2: Tears for Fears “Sowing the Seeds of Love” (3 wks)
  • Sept. 23: Melissa Etheridge “You Can Sleep While I Drive” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 7: Squeeze “Slaughtered, Gutted, and Heartbroken” (2 wks)
  • Oct. 21: Tracy Chapman “All That You Have Is Your Soul” (2 wks)
  • Nov. 4: Madonna “Oh Father” (6 wks)
  • Dec. 16: Tears for Fears “Woman in Chains” (3 wks)

Saturday, August 26, 1989

The B-52’s hit the chart with “Love Shack”

First posted 11/16/2019.

Love Shack

The B-52’s

Writer(s): Kate Pierson, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland, Cindy Wilson (see lyrics here)

Released: June 20, 1989

First Charted: August 26, 1989

Peak: 3 US, 4 CB, 5 RR, 14 MR, 2 UK, 5 CN, 19 AU
(Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 0.5 US, 0.2 UK, 0.84 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: 1.0

Video Airplay *: 29.6

Streaming *: --

* in millions


The B-52’s arrived on the scene a decade earlier with their debut album and became a definitive band of the new wave/post-punk era. They had a cult following primarily comprised of the gay community and college radio listeners. However, their relevance declined and in 1985, they considered calling it quits after guitarist Ricky Wilson died of AIDS. Instead, they soldiered on with drummer Keith Strickland recording guitar parts in Wilson’s style. SF

In 1989, they came back on the scene in a big way. The band wanted Nile Rodgers (best known for his band Chic) to produce their Cosmic Thing album, but he wasn’t available. They turned to Don Was who had his own group Was (Not Was), but had also worked with Bob Dylan, Elton John, and the Rolling Stones. Kate Pierson, one of the singers in the band, credits Was for making the song a hit. The band used to perform songs live before recording them, but Was helped them structure “Love Shack” and record it in the studio. SF It didn’t just put them back on the radar, but gave them their first taste of mainstream success and became their signature song. It topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand and hit the top 5 in the U.S., UK, and Canada. WK

The band was inspired by the club in the movie The Color Purple, as well as Hawaiian Ha-Le, a real club outside Athens, Georgia where the band hung out. The club drew a wide variety of hippies, scenesters, and University of Georgia students. Cindy Wilson, another of the band’s singers, described the club as “a really cool place – a run-down love shack kind of thing…It was a really interesting place.” SF The concept for the song was that the Love Shack was “a place where people of all stripes come together for a groovy time.” SF

The song was also inspired by a tin-roofed cabin – also in the Athens, Georgia area – where Pierson lived in the ‘70s. The band conceived their 1979 hit “Rock Lobster,” probably their best-known song prior to “Love Shack,” at the cabin. Wilson’s memorable line about “tin roof rusted” was actually an outtake from a jamming session. WK The line has been famously misinterpreted as “Hennn-ry, busted.” SF Wilson has said she was thinking of the rusty roof from the Hawaiian Ha-Le club. SF

Resources and Related Links:


Saturday, August 19, 1989

8/19/1989: Del Amitri charted with “Kiss This Thing Goodbye”

First posted 12/24/2019.

Kiss This Thing Goodbye

Del Amitri

Writer(s): Justin Currie, Iain Harvie, Mick Slaven (see lyrics here)

Released: July 1989

First Charted: August 19, 1989

Peak: 35 US, 35 CB, 28 RR, 17 AR, 13 MR, 43 UK, 28 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: --

Video Airplay *: 0.32

Streaming *: --

* in millions


Del Amitri were a Scottish band who got their start in the ‘80s. From then until their final release in 2002, they never featured the same lineup on any two records. WK Only singer/songwriter Justin Currie (the singer) and guitarist/songwriter Iain Harvie appeared on all their albums and keyboardist Andy Alston proved a stable member, having been with the band from 1989 on. While a changing lineup would certainly produce a different sound each time out, it was never more marked than it was from their 1985 self-titled debut to 1989’s Waking Hours. On the latter album, the band eschewed the post-punk sound of the first album for what was arguably “Del Amitri’s first ‘mature’ record.” WK

They also found their first taste of mainstream success. In the U.K., they recached #11 with “Nothing Ever Happens,” and then they hit the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 when “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” saw a re-release as a single. This time, they hit the top 40 and also took the song to the top 20 of the album rock and modern rock charts. In the U.S., they only hit the top 40 two more times – with 1992’s “Always the Last to Know” (#30) and 1995’s “Roll to Me” (#10), but they scored fifteen top-40 hits in the U.K. describes it as “one of the more resigned break-up songs, about a relationship that is not working and never will. The couple can barely even stand to share the same space, so there’s no point in prolonging the end of it.” SF The music, however, betrays the gloomy lyrical theme with its poppy, upbeat feel.

On a personal note, I repurposed the song in the early ‘90s. I played the song (then on a car tape deck) as a farewell to my first car – a used Mustang – when I bought a brand spankin’ new Grand Am.

Resources and Related Links:


Tuesday, August 15, 1989

Aug. 15, 1989: Rolling Stones' Singles Collection - The London Years released

Originally posted August 29, 2009. Last updated September 15, 2018.

Rolling Stones’ Compilations

Sorting out Stones’ compilations can be a bit of a chore. It’s not every band that’s had hits strewn over five decades. As a result, even this page, despite focusing on five Stones’ collections, only covers 1963-1971, so please also check out the 1971-2002 compilations page as well.

This page covers the years the band was on Decca in the U.K. and London Records in the U.S. During that era, two major single-disc collections were released – Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass) and Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits, Vol. 2). When the Stones formed their own label, two double compilations – Hot Rocks 1964-1971 and More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) – were released which essentially made the Big Hits collections obsolete. Only Little Red Rooster and You Better Move On didn’t make it to the Hot Rocks collections.

In 1989, the three-disc The Singles Collection – The London Years, was released to cover all the official singles of the 1963-1971 era. Consequently, it put most of the material from the Hot Rocks sets into one box set.

Finally, the Forty Licks set is a double disc career retrospective. Only the first disc is covered on this page. For disc two material,

Here are the collections featured on this page:

  1. Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass) (single-disc compilation: 1963-66)
  2. Through the Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) (single-disc compilation: 1963-69)
  3. Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (double-disc compilation: 1964-71)
  4. More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) (double-disc compilation: 1963-69)
  5. The Singles Collection – The London Years (box set: 1963-71)
  6. Forty Licks (double-disc compilation: 1963-2002)

Click here to see all the album tracks featured on the above collections.

Genre: rock

Related DMDB Link(s):

The Rolling Stones: Big Hits (High Tides and Green Grass)

Recorded: 1963-1966

Released: Mar. 28, 1966

Sales (in millions): US: 2.0, UK: --, IFPI: --, World: 5.5

Peak: US: 3, UK: 4, Canada: --, Australia: 7


Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass) proved to be a big smash and currently remains a popular Rolling Stones retrospective.” WK-BH The U.K. version “includes tracks released after the American edition appeared. The Rolling Stones’ debut 1963 single, a cover of Chuck Berry’s Come On, was included, but its more successful follow-up, I Wanna Be Your Man – composed by rivals (although in reality as friends) Lennon/ McCartney – was left off the album.” WK-BH “The album has been out of print in the UK for years, although it was officially released on CD in Japan for a time.” WK-BH

The Rolling Stones: Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2)

Recorded: 1963-1969

Released: Sept. 12, 1969

Sales (in millions): US: 1.0, UK: 0.6, IFPI: --, World: 4.5

Peak: US: 2, UK: 2, Canada: --, Australia: 9


Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) is The Rolling Stones’ second official compilation album, released in 1969 shortly following Brian Jones’ departure from the group and subsequent death.” WK-B2 “In the inside flap of the album, there is a tribute to Jones, which reads: ‘When this you see, remember me, and bear me in your mind. Let all the world say what they may, speak of me as you find.’” WK-B2

“Because their first compilation had been released in separate UK and US formats (with the Aftermath-era material appearing only on the UK edition), the American edition included hit singles from that period. The British track listing included the more obscure You Better Move On, from The Rolling Stones’ self-titled 1964 debut EP and Sittin’ on a Fence, an Aftermath outtake originally released in 1967 on the US-compiled Flowers album. In addition to those songs, many tracks, notably single-only releases, were collected for the first time on a UK Rolling Stones album: Let’s Spend the Night Together, Ruby Tuesday, We Love You, Dandelion and Honky Tonk Women.” WK-B2

“The name of the album is a play on a line from the KJV translation of I Corinthians 13: "For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face: . . .’, but it is more likely the Stones intended an homage to Ingmar Bergman and his 1961 film Through a Glass Darkly.” WK-B2

The Rolling Stones: Hot Rocks 1964-1971

Recorded: 1964-1971

Released: Dec. 15, 1971

Sales (in millions): US: 6.0, UK: 0.6, IFPI: --, World: 13.7

Peak: US: 4, UK: 3, Canada: --, Australia: 10



Hot Rocks 1964–1971 is the first compilation album of Rolling Stones music released by former manager Allen Klein’s ABKCO Records (who gained control of the band’s Decca/London material in 1970) after the band’s departure from Decca and Klein. Released in late 1971, it proved to be The Rolling Stones’ biggest-selling release of their career and an enduring and popular retrospective”WK-HR covering “seven years’ worth of mostly very high-charting – and all influential and important – songs.” AMG

“After reportedly having been duped by Klein to unknowingly sign over the recording copyrights to all of their material from 1963 to 1970, The Rolling Stones left Decca and formed their own label, Rolling Stones Records, with a new distributor. They recorded Sticky Fingers throughout 1970, releasing it the following spring. Although Klein – and now ABKCO – no longer had The Rolling Stones as clients, their fruitful catalogue was ripe for the picking and, thus, Hot Rocks 1964-1971 was quickly compiled as a double album greatest hits package.”WK-HR

“While the album carries most of the band’s biggest hits during their first decade, it does drop a few of them in order to include standout tracks such as Play with Fire, Under My Thumb and Gimme Shelter, giving listeners a more well-rounded impression of The Rolling Stones’ music in this era”WK-HR and “an overview…of their evolving image.” AMG

“One hears them change from loud R&B-inspired rockers covering others’ songs (Time Is on My Side) into originators in their own right (Satisfaction); then into tastemakers and style-setters with a particularly decadent air (Get Off of My Cloud, 19th Nervous Breakdown); and finally into self-actualized rebel-poets (Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Midnight Rambler) and Shaman-like symbols of chaos.” AMG

“Although Brown Sugar and Wild Horses are a part of Sticky Fingers, those two songs are co-owned by the band and Allen Klein due to the fact that The Rolling Stones owed Decca one more single in 1970, and the band responded by submitting the unreleasable ‘Cocksucker Blues.’” WK-HR

“The only flaw was that it didn’t give a good look at the Stones’ full musical history, ignoring their early blues period and the psychedelic era. There are also some anomalies in Hot Rocks’ history for the collector — the very first pressings included an outtake of ‘Brown Sugar’ featuring Eric Clapton that was promptly replaced; and the original European CD version, issued as two separate discs on the Decca label, was also different from its American counterpart, featuring a version of ‘Satisfaction’ mastered in stereo and putting the guitars on separate channels for the first time. Those musicologist concerns aside, this is still an exciting assembly of material.” AMG

“The UK release was delayed for many years, coming out on 21 May 1990, to coincide with the Urban Jungle Tour, reaching #3.”WK-HR

The Rolling Stones: More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)

Recorded: 1963-1969

Released: Dec. 11, 1972

Sales (in millions): US: 0.5, UK: --, IFPI: --, World: 1.5

Peak: US: 9, UK: --, Canada: --, Australia: --


“When Hot Rocks 1964–1971 proved to be a big seller, there was never any doubt that a successor would follow. However, initially – with Andrew Loog Oldham getting involved – the project was to feature previously unreleased (or more accurately, discarded) material and be titled Necrophilia. Artwork was prepared and the album made it as far as the mastering phase when it was recalled and something a little more practical was compiled (ABKCO would revisit this concept with 1975’s Metamorphosis). The result was More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies). Featuring the hits that could not be shoehorned onto its predecessor, as well as first-time release of many previously UK-only releases, the double album was quickly pressed and distributed into North American shops in December 1972, reaching #9 in the US and going gold. Like Hot Rocks 1964–1971, More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) would not see an official UK release until 21 May 1990.” WK-MH

An August 2002 reissue of More Hot Rocks added “three bonus tracks: Poison Ivy (Version 2), from The Rolling Stones; Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, from The Rolling Stones No. 2 (a different take from the version featured on The Rolling Stones, Now!); and I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, recorded in 1965, and later overdubbed with screams for the 1966 American-only live album Got Live If You Want It!.” WK-MH

The Rolling Stones: The Singles Collection – The London Years

Recorded: 1963-1971

Released: August 15, 1989

Sales (in millions): US: 1.0, UK: 0.1, IFPI: --, World: 2.0

Peak: US: 91, UK: --, Canada: --, Australia: --


“Released in 1989, Singles Collection: The London Years is a triple album of every Rolling Stones single – and their B-Sides – mostly in their original mono mixes (at least as of the 2002 reissue), in both the UK and US encompassing their entire era with Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States – hence the album’s title.” WK-SC

“With a range from 1963 to 1971, the set begins with their very first UK single, Chuck Berry’s ‘Come On,’ and runs to Sticky Fingers’s ‘Brown Sugar’ and ‘Wild Horses’…The only omissions are four B-sides from 1970 and 1971. ‘Bitch’ and ‘Let It Rock’ (released in the UK on the ‘Brown Sugar’ single) and ‘Sway’ (B-side to ‘Wild Horses’). Allen Klein did not have release rights to this material when this compilation was released. Also ‘Natural Magic,’ a Ry Cooder instrumental, released as the B-side to Memo from Turner, which features no members of the Rolling Stones performing. These are available on the box set Singles 1968–1971 except ‘Let It Rock’ which is only available on the Rarities 1971–2003 album.” WK-SC

“The set was released at a timely juncture, just a couple of weeks before The Rolling Stones’ comeback album Steel Wheels was due for release after a significant break, and months following their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Going platinum, the album reached #91 in the US. In 2007, Steven Van Zandt placed Singles Collection: The London Years #1 on his list of the most essential albums of all time.” WK-SC

The Rolling Stones: Forty Licks

Recorded: 1964-2002

Released: Oct. 1, 2002

Sales (in millions): US: 4.0, UK: 0.9, IFPI: 1.0, World: 10.1

Peak: US: 2, UK: 2, Canada: --, Australia: 3



“Forty Licks is a double compilation album by The Rolling Stones. A forty-year career-spanning retrospective, Forty Licks is notable for being the first retrospective to combine the band’s formative Decca/London era of the 1960s, now licensed by ABKCO Records (disc one), with their self-owned post-1970 material, currently distributed by Universal music (disc two).” FL This page only focuses on the material from disc one. For disc two material, check out the 1971-2002 compilations page.

Album Tracks – All Collections

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.


  1. Come On (6/7/63, #21 UK) BH-UK, MH, SC
  2. I Want to Be Loved SC
  3. Fortune Teller MH
  4. I Wanna Be Your Man (11/1/63, #12 UK) SC
  5. Stoned SC
  6. Bye Bye Johnny MH
  7. Money MH
  8. You Better Move On B2-UK
  9. Poison Ivy MH
  10. Not Fade Away (2/21/64, #48 US, #3 UK) BH-US, BH-UK, MH, SC, FL
  11. Little by Little SC
  12. It’s All Over Now (6/26/64, #26 US, #1 UK) BH-US, BH-UK, MH, SC, FL
  13. Good Times, Bad Times BH-US, MH, SC
  14. Tell Me (You’re Coming Back to Me) (6/13/64, #24 US) BH-US, MH, SC
  15. I Just Want to Make Love to You SC
  16. Time Is on My Side (9/26/64, #6 US, #62 UK) BH-UK, BH-US, HR, SC
  17. Congratulations SC
  18. Try a Little Harder SC
  19. Little Red Rooster (11/13/64, #1 UK) BH-UK, SC
  20. Off the Hook SC
  21. Heart of Stone (12/19/64, #19 US) BH-US, BH-UK, HR, SC
  22. What a Shame SC


  1. Surprise, Surprise SC
  2. I Can’t Be Sastisfied MH
  3. The Last Time (2/25/65, #9 US, #1 UK) BH-US, BH-UK, MH, SC, FL
  4. Play with Fire (2/25/65, #96 US) BH-US, HR, SC
  5. I Can’t Get No Satisfaction (6/6/65, #1 US, #1 UK, #19 RB, sales: 1 m, air: 6 m), BH-UK, BH-US, HR, SC, FL
  6. The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man SC
  7. The Spider and the Fly SC
  8. Get Off of My Cloud (9/25/65, #1 US, #1 UK, air: 3 m) BH-US, BH-UK, HR, SC, FL
  9. I’m Free MH, SC
  10. The Singer Not the Song SC
  11. As Tears Go By (12/18/65, #6 US, #10 AC, air: 2 m) BH-US, BH-UK, HR, SC
  12. Gotta Get Away SC
  13. Sittin’ on a Fence B2-UK, MH
  14. 19th Nervous Breakdown (2/4/66, #2 US, #2 UK, #32 RB) BH-US, BH-UK, HR, SC, FL
  15. Sad Day SC
  16. What to Do MH
  17. Paint It, Black (5/7/66, #1 US, #1 UK) BH-UK, B2-US, HR, SC, FL
  18. Stupid Girl SC
  19. Long, Long While MH, SC
  20. Mother’s Little Helper (7/2/66, #8 US) B2-UK, B2-US, HR, SC, FL
  21. Lady Jane (7/2/66, #24 US) BH-UK, MH, SC
  22. Under My Thumb HR, FL
  23. Out of Time (8/23/75, #81 US, #45 UK) MH, SC
  24. Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow? (9/23/66, #9 US, #5 UK) BH-UK, B2-US, MH, SC, FL


  1. Who’s Driving Your Plane? SC
  2. Let’s Spend the Night Together (1/13/67, #55 US, #3 UK, sales: 1 m) B2-UK, B2-US, HR, SC, FL
  3. Ruby Tuesday (1/13/67, #1 US, #3 UK, sales: 1 m, air: 3 m) B2-UK, B2-US, HR, SC, FL
  4. We Love You (8/18/67, #50 US, #8 UK) B2-UK, MH, SC
  5. Dandelion (8/18/67, #14 US, #8 UK) B2-UK, B2-US, MH, SC
  6. She’s a Rainbow (12/23/67, #25 US) B2-UK, B2-US, MH, SC, FL
  7. 2000 Light Years from Home B2-UK, B2-US, MH, SC
  8. In Another Land (BILL WYMAN, 12/2/67, #87 US) SC
  9. The Lantern SC
  10. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (5/24/68, #3 US, #1 UK, air: 4 m) B2-UK, B2-US, HR, SC, FL
  11. Child of the Moon MH, SC
  12. Memo from Turner (MICK JAGGER) SC
  13. Street Fighting Man B2-UK, B2-US, HR, SC, FL
  14. No Expectations MH, SC
  15. Sympathy for the Devil HR, SC, FL
  16. I Don’t Know Why (6/14/75, #42 US) SC
  17. Jiving Sister Fanny SC
  18. Honky Tonk Women (7/4/69, #1 US, #1 UK, sales: 1 m, air: 5 m) B2-UK, B2-US, HR, SC, FL
  19. You Can’t Always Get What You Want (7/4/69, #42 US, sales: 1 m) HR, SC, FL
  20. Gimme Shelter (live version: 11/28/98, #29 AR) HR, FL
  21. Let It Bleed MH
  22. Midnight Rambler (live) HR
  23. Brown Sugar (4/16/71, #1 US, #2 UK, air: 3 m) HR, SC
  24. Wild Horses (6/12/71, #28 US) HR, SC, FL

BH-US Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass (U.S. version) *

BH-UK Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass (U.K. version) *
B2-UK Through the Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2 (U.S. version)
B2-UK Through the Past Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2 (U.K. version)
HR Hot Rocks 1964-1971
MH More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies)
SC The Singles Collection – The London Years
FL Forty Licks **

Notes: * The track listings for the U.S. and U.K. versions of Big Hits and Through the Past Darkly was very different. In the track listing below, songs are noted as appearing on BH-US and/or BH-UK for the US/UK versions of the former and B2-US or B2-UK for the US/UK versions of the latter.

** Only disc one songs are covered on this page. Disc two songs are featured on the 1971-2002 compilations page.

Review Source(s):

Saturday, May 13, 1989

The Stone Roses’ debut album hit the charts: May 13, 1989

Originally posted May 13, 2012.

image from

Released: April 1989 Charted: 13 May 1989
Tracks (UK version): (Click for codes to singles charts.) I Wanna Be Adored (9/14/91, #20 UK, #18 MR) / She Bangs the Drums (7/29/89, #34 UK, #9 MR) / Waterfall (1/11/92, #27 UK) / Don’t Stop / Bye Bye Badman / Elizabeth My Dear / (Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister / Made of Stone (3/31/89, #20 UK) / Shoot You Down / This Is the One / I Am the Resurrection (4/11/92, #33 UK)

Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.6 UK, 0.8 world

Peak: 86 US, 9 UK


Review: “There’s almost no precedent for the Stone Roses…their debut was a fully formed gem that gave birth to an entire genre – Brit-pop.” TL “Pop hooks [are] one thing, and dance rhythms [are] another, but it’s also important to have dat swing, you know, and the band has it.” GS The album “ushered in the era of Madchester,” AZ “an indie rock phenomenon that fused guitar-pop with drug-fueled rave and dance culture.” AMG At the time, “British youth were abandoning rock music en masse for acid-house sounds and communal raves” BN “and the charts were looking less than healthy.” AD By bringing “dance music to an audience…previously obsessed with droning guitars,” AMG the Stone Roses “almost single-handedly made British rock music hip again.” BN

Through “classic psychedelia married with punk energy and rave swagger” BN, the Roses established themselves as “postmodern English, filtering folk-rock romanticism through Joy Division and Jesus and Mary Chain hyperromanticism.” RC “The repercussions…could be heard throughout the ‘90s” AMG as the band spawned the sound of the guitar-based pop of Oasis and Blur, “gave birth to shoegazer bands like My Bloody Valentine,” RV and were “a definite precursor of grunge.” JA

Frontman Ian Brown revived “the concept of classic pop songwriting.” AMG “Quietly melodic” PK “prime ‘sixties’ harmonies” AD “owe far more to, say, Simon & Garfunkel than to New Order.” PK The lyrics “flicked at epic romance…without veering into sentimentality.” TL The album “creates it’s own world and atmosphere whilst simultaneously reminding you of almost every great sixties English group.” AD It has “the lyrical sensibilities of John Lennon and Joe Strummer, mixes in Motown rhythms, adds a dash of Sex Pistols and tops it off with a purple haze of instrumentation and production reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix.” RV “The vocal melodies are well-written and sound fresh, sincere, and inspiring. And happy, too: this is one hell of a cheerful, optimistic record.” GS “Only The Beatles ever dared exhaust so many good tunes in the space of an hour.” IB Ultimately, the album is “a crystallization of everything there is to love about the last 40 years of pop music.” RV

Guitarist John Squire establishes himself as “a new hero for a new age,” AZ deftly heading into the world of “guitar heroism without the attendant pomp and egomania.” IB His “playing is endlessly inventive but never overwhelms the songs.” IB His “layers of simple, exceedingly catchy hooks” AMG are “a thing of magic,” AZ “recalling the British Invasion while suggesting the future with their phased, echoey effects.” AMG He “lingered over chords like the Byrds’ Roger McGuinn.” TL “Drummer Alan ‘Reni’ Wren’s galloping, hiphop-influenced beats [are] a sonic infusion that became a fixture of ‘90s alt rock.” JA Along with bassist ‘Mani’ Mounfield, the two “shift from charging beat-pop to fluid funkadelic grooves, sometimes in the space of a single song.” IB They “always imply dance rhythms without overtly going into the disco,” AMG establishing themselves as “one of the tightest British rhythm sections of the time.” GS “This is as good as guitars, bass and drums can sound together, and if you don’t get it, you probably have some disease that keeps you from liking music.” IB

I Wanna Be Adored

I Wanna Be Adored is “a perfect album opener” AD “with it’s slow, slow build up [and the] impeccably played musical backing” AD of Mani’s “creeping bassline,” AMG Squire’s “waves of cool guitar hooks” AMG and Reni’s “funky drummer shuffle.” QM Through it all, Brown “Brown sings with a vitriolic verve unheard since Johnny Rotten” RV as he “reveals the band is driven by the devil to make great music. ‘I don’t need to sell my soul,’ he sings. ‘He’s already in me.’ When he wails, ‘I wanna be adored,’ the sentiment doesn’t seem like an egotistical statement from a band in its infancy as much as it is a prelude to greatness.” RV

She Bangs the Drums

On She Bangs the Drums “the ‘60s hooks and the rolling beats manage to convey the colorful, neo-psychedelic world of acid house” AMG and “wind into the rhythm inseparably” AMG while displaying “a rush of guitars not heard since The Byrds invented folk rock.” AD Waterfall is “a luminous, druggy, Byrds-style ballad” JA “with it’s delicate repeating guitar figure and it’s dramatic ending.” AD By leaning on “sixties-influenced studio gimmicks like backwards tracks and phasing,” JA


Made of Stone is an “atmospheric” and “heartbreaking, swoon-some classic pop rock song.” AD “The band were justly proud of this and released it as a single.” AD It “depicts the destruction of Manchester under dwindling industrialization and Margaret Thatcher’s iron fist. ‘When the streets are cold and lonely / And the cars they burn below me / Are you all alone / Are you made of stone?’” RV

Made of Stone

While every song on the album “is knocking on the door of perfection…[the epic finale I Am the Resurrection] kicks it down, taking in bubblegum, Motown, and psychedelic funk on the way to a glorious instrumental climax that’ll having you shaking your head in disbelief.” IB It takes a certain amount of arrogance for a band to claim its [sic] the second coming, let alone an upstart. The Roses pull it off with ease. Brown snarls, ‘I am the resurrection and I am the light / I couldn’t ever bring myself to hate you as I fly,’ sounding more like a villain than the messiah…By the time the band reaches its instrumental climax, it’s easy to adore the Roses.” RV

I Am the Resurrection

The band would never find a way to equal their debut. With their fame came subsequent legal battles to move from independent status to a major label. They eventually signed with Geffen and, five years after their debut, “reemerged…with the stodgy and wrongly titled Second Coming. The Stone Roses, however, remains a stellar contribution to the canon of classic debuts.” BN It is “one of the finest records of the past 30 years.” CL “Some albums really can change the world, and in 1989 this was one of them.” AZ

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Tuesday, May 2, 1989

The Cure released Disintegration: May 2, 1989

Originally posted May 2, 2012.

“According to the kids on South Park, this is the best album ever made. According to many depressive Eighties-minded kids, it’s the only album ever made.” RS It “is essentially a refinement of everything that preceded it.” TB “Expanding the latent arena rock sensibilities that peppered Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me,” AZ The Cure crafted “a pop album realized on an epic scale” AZ “with the crawling, darkly seductive Disintegration.” AZ “The Cure were operating at some kind of peak level right about this time in their history.” AD

“Cure musical trademarks, such as the lengthy introductions, are taken to glorious extremes here.” AD The album is “comprised almost entirely of epics like the soaring, icy Pictures of YouAMG and other “long mood pieces that develop slowly around the listener.” AZ “The lyrical focus is intensely personal throughout, and, with the exception of” AZ “the concise and utterly charming Love SongAMG, “the mood is overwhelmingly dark and brooding.” AZ “This is exactly what Goths called romance in the ‘80s.” AD

Love Song

“The Cure’s gloomy soundscapes have rarely sounded so alluring, however, and the songs – from the pulsating, ominous Fascination StreetAMG – “a classic Cure track if ever there was one” AD – “to the eerie, string-laced Lullaby – have rarely been so well-constructed and memorable.” AMG “Robert Smith’s voice shakes like milk as he makes adolescent angst sound so wonderfully, wonderfully pretty.” RS “Here are songs of remembrance that, through their deep candor, transcend the individual level to explore universal longings and fears…Anyone who has experienced the joy and sorrow – especially the sorrow – of love will find his or her deepest sentiments, noble and petty alike, echoed poetically here.” AZ

Fascination Street

“It’s fitting that Disintegration was their commercial breakthrough, since, in many ways, the album is the culmination of all the musical directions the Cure were pursuing over the course of the ‘80s.” AMG “It scores over Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me slightly by sheer dint of its cohesion,” AD leaving the listener with an album “you can immerse yourself in.” AD


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Saturday, April 22, 1989

Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” hit #1

First posted 11/1/2019.

Like a Prayer


Writer(s): Patrick Leonard, Madonna (see lyrics here)

Released: February 27, 1989

First Charted: March 10, 1989

Peak: 13 US, 13 CB, 13 RR, 3 AC, 20, RB, 13 UK, 14 CN, 14 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales *: 2.1 US, 0.85 UK, 5.0 world (includes US + UK)

Radio Airplay *: 1.0

Video Airplay *: 88.61

Streaming *: --

* in millions


Madonna’s return to the Billboard Hot 100 charts after a nearly year-and-a-half absence was marked by her third collaboration on a #1 song with Patrick Leonard. He had also worked on her hits “Live to Tell” and “Who’s That Girl?” He remembers “Like a Prayer” initially having bongos and Latin percussion. They abandoned that and went with a gospel sound with church organ and a choir led by Andra√© Crouch instead. He also recalls that “it was written and the lead vocal was recorded within three hours.” BR1

The song was intended for a more adult audience, thematically focused on a girl’s love of God as the only male figure in her life. WK The song was generally well-received by critics. In a biography by Mary Cross, she says “the song is a mix of the sacred and the profane…[that] still sounds catchy and danceable.” WK Medium’s Richard LaBeau called it “one of the…best pop songs ever made.” WK Still, the song’s mix of sex and religion raised eyebrows for some. For example, in the first verse she sings, “When you call my name/ It’s like a little prayer/ I’m down on my knees/ I wana take you there.” Leonard suggested changing the words so it didn’t sound like a reference to fellatio, but Madonna was determined to keep the double entendres intact. WK

The video proved controversial as well. Madonna signed a $5 million deal with Pepsi and used a commercial during the Grammys – which Pepsi said was seen by 250 million people – to launch the song. SF However, the Vatican condemned the “Like a Prayer” video and fundamentalists threatened to boycott Pepsi because of what they considered blasphemous images. BR1 Pepsi ended up pulling the spot. The video, which included images of burning crosses and Madonna kissing a black saint, portrayed a forbidden interracial love affair and was steeped in religious symbolism. The video won the Viewers’ Choice MTV Video Music Award and in 2005 was voted the most groundbreaking music video of all time. WK

The song was the top-seller of the year in Australia and Canada. WK It hit #1 in those countries as well as the United States, the UK, Japan, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. WK

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