Monday, October 27, 1986

Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush “Don’t Give Up” released

Don’t Give Up

Peter Gabriel

Writer(s): Peter Gabriel (see lyrics here)

Released: October 27, 1986

First Charted: November 1, 1986

Peak: 72 US, 69 CB, 7 CO, 9 UK, 40 CN, 5 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 47.74 video, 36.64 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In his years since leaving progressive rock band Genesis in 1975, Peter Gabriel established himself as a critically-acclaimed artist with four albums from 1977 to 1982. All reached the top-10 in his native UK, but none cracked the top-20 in the United States. His fifth, album, 1986’s So, was a blockbuster success. It reached #1 in the UK and #2 in the U.S., where it sold more than five million copies. The lead single, “Sledgehammer,” was a #1 hit in the U.S. propelled by what became the most watched video in the history of MTV.

Other singles weren’t as successful, but “In Your Eyes” became an iconic song a few years later because of its use in the movie Say Anything and “Big Time” also reached the top 10. Those three songs, as well as “Red Rain,” all reached the top three on the Billboard album rock chart. Also from the album – the song “Don’t Give Up” was a minor hit in the United States, but a top-10 hit in the UK. The duet with Kate Bush

Gabriel was inspired by Dorothea Lange’s 1973 book, In This Proud Land, which was a collection of her photograhs of down-and-out Americans during the Dust Bowl of the Depression era. He saw parallels between that time and the current economic conditions in England. WK Gabriel also said he’d seen a TV show about unemployment and his then-wife, Jill, said she’d given him a newspaper article about a woman who killed herself. SF

Gabriel worked those ideas into a song about a man dealing with the stress of unemployment WK He also reflected on the support he received from his family after suffering a nervous breakdown in 1985. SF He said the song’s message was “that handling failure is one of the hardest things we have to learn to do.” SF It won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. Elton John attributed his sobriety to the song. WK

Because Gabriel wrote “Don’t Give Up” using American roots music as a reference point, he approached country singer Dolly Parton to sing it with him. She said no, and he asked his friend Kate Bush to duet on the song instead. She sings the chorus, which offers “words of hope and encouragement” WK while the verses, sung by Gabriel, “describe the man’s feelings of isolation, loneliness, and despair.” WK


Related Links:

First posted 10/29/2022.

XTC Skylarking released



Released: October 27, 1986

Peak: 70 US, 90 UK

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: new wave


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

  1. Summer’s Cauldron [3:15] (19 CO)
  2. Grass (Moulding) [3:05] (8/16/86, 35 CO, 100 UK)
  3. The Meeting Place (Moulding) [3:13] (2/2/87, 35 CO, 100 UK)
  4. That’s Really Super, Supergirl [3:22]
  5. Ballet for a Rainy Day [2:50]
  6. 1000 Umbrellas [3:44]
  7. Season Cycle [3:21]
  8. Earn Enough for Us [2:54]
  9. Big Day (Moulding) [3:32]
  10. Another Satellite [4:16]
  11. Dear God [3:36] (8/16/86, 37 AR, 1 CO, 99 UK)
  12. Dying (Moulding) [2:31]
  13. Sacrificial Bonfire (Moulding) [3:46]

Songs written by Andy Partridge unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 46:50

The Players:

  • Andy Patridge (vocals, guitar)
  • Colin Moulding (bass, vocals)
  • Dave Gregory (guitar, piano, snythesizers, vocals)
  • Todd Rundgren (producer, engineer, various instruments)


4.276 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)

Quotable: “A pop masterpiece…that has great ambitions and fulfills them with ease.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“Working with producer Todd Rundgren didn’t necessarily bring XTC a sense of sonic cohesion – after all, every record since English Settlement followed its own interior logic – but it did help the group sharpen its focus, making Skylarking its tightest record since Drums and Wires.” AMG

“Ironically, Skylarking had little to do with new wave and everything to do with the lush, post-psychedelic pop of the Beatles and Beach Boys. Combining the charming pastoral feel of Mummer with the classicist English pop of The Big Express, XTC expand their signature sound by enhancing their intelligently melodic pop with graceful, lyrical arrangements and sweeping, detailed instrumentation.” AMG

“Rundgren may have devised the sequencing, helping the record feel like a song cycle even if it doesn’t play like one, but what really impresses is the consistency and depth of Andy Partridge’s and Colin Moulding’s songs. Each song is a small gem, marrying sweet, catchy melodies to decidedly adult lyrical themes, from celebrations of love (Grass) and marriage (Big Day) to skepticism about maturation (Earn Enough for Us) and religion (Dear God).” AMG

“Moulding’s songs complement Partridge’s songs better than before, and each writer is at a melodic and lyrical peak, which Rundgren helps convey with his supple production. The result is a pop masterpiece – an album that has great ambitions and fulfills them with ease.” AMG

Notes: The original version of Skylarking featured the song “Mermaid Smile,” later replaced by “Dear God,” which was originally the B-side of “Grass.” Some versions of the album feature the original track listing plus “Dear God” tacked on to the end of the album.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 3/25/2008; last updated 9/5/2021.

Saturday, October 25, 1986

Bon Jovi hit #1 with Slippery When Wet

Slippery When Wet

Bon Jovi

Released: August 18, 1986

Peak: 18 US, 6 UK, 18 CN, 16 AU

Sales (in millions): 12.0 US, 1.0 UK, 28.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: pop metal/hair band


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

  1. Let It Rock
  2. You Give Love a Bad Name (8/9/86, 1 US, 14 UK, 9 AR)
  3. Livin’ on a Prayer (10/25/86, 1 US, 4 UK, 1 AR)
  4. Social Disease
  5. Wanted Dead or Alive (11/1/86, 6a US, 13 UK, 13 AR)
  6. Raise Your Hands
  7. Without Love
  8. I’d Die for You
  9. Never Say Goodbye (3/14/87, 28a US, 21 UK, 11 AR)
  10. Wild in the Streets

Total Running Time: 43:49

The Players:

  • Jon Bon Jovi (vocals, guitar)
  • Richie Sambora (guitar, harmony and backing vocals)
  • Alec John Such (bass, backing vocals)
  • Tico Torres (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
  • David Bryan (keyboards, backing vocals)


4.165 out of 5.00 (average of 26 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

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.

“The group wrote 30 songs and auditioned them for local New Jersey and New York teenagers.” WK While most of the album was written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Desmond Child lent his talents to You Give Love a Bad Name, Livin’ on a Prayer, and Without Love. Collaboration with an outside professional songwriter worked: two of those songs were #1 hits and the band went “from minor-league poodle rockers to global superstars” RD

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.

Bon Jovi may have “had little more on their minds than girls and rock-as-mythology (even the working-class anthem ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ featured a character who was forced to hock his ‘six string’), but that may only mean they had identified their audience – young white adolescent males – and were targeting it accurately.” WR “From the scantily clad car-wash girls on the inner sleeve to the ‘You lost more than that in my back seat / Yeah!’ lyrics, the album is blissfully untouched by irony and subtlety, which actually adds to its charm.” RD

Even the album title betrays the band’s aim at hormonal youth males. The band came up with the album title “Slippery When Wet after visiting strip clubs in Vancouver.” WK In addition, “the album originally was to feature a busty, 34DD woman in a wet yellow tee shirt with the album name on the front of the shirt. This original version of the cover was swapped for the wet plastic bag cover just prior to release, mainly due to the fact that Jon Bon Jovi hated the pink edging to the cover. The exception is in Japan, where most releases of the album do include the original cover art.” WK

Of course, the album wouldn’t have achieved such massive success if it were only targeted at horny male teenagers. “Lead singer Jon Bon Jovi’s mop of curls and winning smile” WR gave the group a healthy dose of sex appeal from the female front as well.

Ultimately, though, the album became a massive success because it “contains its fair share” RD of “consistently memorable tunes” RD and “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).” WRSlippery When Wet won’t change your world, but it will, undoubtedly, rock it.” RD


An import edition includes bonus tracks.

Resources and Related Links:

First posted 2/19/2008; last updated 2/28/2024.

Monday, October 20, 1986

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

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 GR, 3 RR, 9 AC, 11 AR, 1 CO, 25 UK, 1 CN, 8 AU, 1 DF (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, 252.92 streaming


Click on award for more details.

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.


Related Links:

First posted 10/23/2020; last updated 12/23/2022.

Saturday, October 18, 1986

Huey Lewis & the News hit #1 with Fore!

First posted 11/26/2020.


Huey Lewis & the News

Released: August 20, 1986

Peak: 11 US, 8 UK, 13 CN, 3 AU

Sales (in millions): 3 US, 0.6 UK, 4.57 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: mainstream pop rock


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

  1. Jacob’s Ladder (1/5/87, 1 US, 10 AR, 17 AC, 16 CN, 48 AU)
  2. Stuck with You (7/21/86, 1 US, 1 AR, 1 AC, 12 UK, 1 CN, 2 AU)
  3. Whole Lotta Lovin’
  4. Doing It All for My Baby (6/29/87, 6 US, 2 AC, 93 UK, 30 CN, 93 AU)
  5. Hip to Be Square (10/6/86, 3 US, 1 AR, 20 AC, 41 UK, 14 CN, 17 AU)
  6. I Know What I Like (3/23/87, 9 US, 25 AR, 30 AC, 30 CN)
  7. I Never Walk Alone
  8. Forest for the Trees
  9. Naturally
  10. Simple As That

Total Running Time: 41:40

The Players:

  • Huey Lewis (vocals, harmonica)
  • Mario Cipollina (bass)
  • Johnny Colla (guitar, saxophone, backing vocals)
  • Bill Gibson (drums, percussion, backing vocals)
  • Chris Hayes (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Sean Hopper (keyboards, backing vocals)


3.556 out of 5.00 (average of15 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Huey Lewis & the News became superstars with their third album, Sports. On the strength of four top-10 hits, the album reached #1 and multi-platinum status. All Music Guide’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted it was “one of the rare mainstream pop/rock albums where everything works – the songs were catch, the sound was inviting, and it all sounded perfect on the radio.” AMG

They’d set the bar high for themselves, but if 1985’s #1 hit “The Power of Love” from the Back to the Future was any indication, it looked like they could reach the same lofty heights a second time around. With their aptly named Fore! album, they did – depending on one’s measuring stick. Like its predecessor, it reached the pinnacle of the album chart. It bested Sports by achieving not four, but five, top-10 hits. None of the singles from Sports got above #6, but three of the singles from Fore! did – including the #1 songs Stuck with You and Jacob’s Ladder.

Fore! did, however, fall short of Sports was in sales. While both achieved multi-platinum status, Sports topped ten million while Fore! didn’t reach half that. Part of the problem is that “much of Fore! sounds labored” AMG and the songs just weren’t as catchy. In essence, once the band achieve major fame, they could “no longer sound like a working band,” AMG which was much of what drove their appeal with Sports.

The song Hip to Be Square garnered a rather odd second dose of fame more than a decade after its release when the main character in American Psycho discusses the song in terms of how it espouses “the pleasures of conformity.” WK While the song is perfectly inoffensive, it becames disturbing to hear a serial killer commending it for its virtues.

Notes: The European, Australian, and Japanese versions added “The Power of Love” to the album.

Resources and Related Links:

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

Resources and Related Links: