Tuesday, February 28, 1989

Indigo Girls released self-titled album

Indigo Girls

Indigo Girls

Released: February 28, 1989

Peak: 22 US, -- UK, -- CN, 64 AU

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 2.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: folk rock


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

  1. Closer to Fine (Saliers) [4:02] (6/17/89, 52 US, 48 AR, 26 MR)
  2. Secure Yourself (Ray) [3:35]
  3. Kid Fears (Ray) [4:34]
  4. Prince of Darkness (Saliers) [5:21]
  5. Blood and Fire (Ray) [4:38]
  6. Tried to Be True (Ray) [2:59]
  7. Love’s Recovery (Saliers) [4:23]
  8. Land of Canaan (Ray) [3:57]
  9. Center Stage (Ray) [4:46]
  10. History of Us (Saliers) [5:27]

Total Running Time: 44:36

The Players:

  • Amy Ray (vocals, guitar)
  • Emily Saliers (vocals, guitar)


4.097 out of 5.00 (average of 19 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

With their second studio album, but “first major label release, the Indigo Girls come on strong with an outstanding batch of tunes, watertight harmonies, impeccable musicianship, and flawless production.” KM “Crisp guitar work and haunting harmonies became the stock-in-trade of this powerful duo of "girls with guitars.’” LS

The duo “followed the lead of such greats as Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell…[and] pumped social conscience and self-esteem into ringing acoustic anthems.” LS “Entering the folk-rock music scene on the successful heels of R.E.M., Tracy Chapman, and 10,000 Maniacs,” KM the pair’s music was perfectly timed to “catch the rising tide of feminist rock.” LS Such timing “pushed their sales over the million mark and earned the duo a Grammy for Best Folk Recording” KM as well as a nomination for Best New Act.

“The eponymous release kicks off with the upbeat jangle bounce of Closer to Fine, a modest hit, all-time fan favorite written by Emily Saliers, and a tune the Girls still play at every concert. A particularly fascinating point is that the Indigo Girls never write songs together, but they compliment each other perfectly.” KM

“The difference in styles becomes immediately apparent when the more dark and brooding Amy Ray steps up. Her remarkable contributions include Secure Yourself, Kid Fears, and Blood and Fire, spiritual ruminations of life, love, pain, and faith which bury themselves deep inside your core whether invited or not.” KM

“Weighting the opposite scales, Saliers offers a tender balance to Ray with two beautiful ballads, Love's Recovery and History of Us. (Ray's Land of Canaan was once a ballad, but then she heard the Replacements and it became a bit of a rocker.) Chiming in with musical support are Hothouse Flowers, Luka Bloom, and fellow Georgians R.E.M.” KM

“This self-titled release captures the passion of their youth with voices that are a little cloudy, untamed, and raw, but the power that surges through them suggests a maturity far beyond their years.” KM “The songs on this CD resound with a profound sense of honesty and raw emotion.” LS “The same can be said of the songwriting – sheer poetry. To attempt examinations of these songs would not do them justice, for the layers of meaning and emotion unfold best upon repeated listening.” KM

Notes: A 2000 reissue added live versions of “Land of Canaan” and “Center Stage.”

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First posted 3/24/2008; last updated 8/22/2021.

Saturday, February 11, 1989

50 years ago: Larry Clinton took “Deep Purple” to #1 – for the first of two times

Deep Purple

Larry Clinton with Bea Wain

Writer(s): Peter DeRose/Mitchell Parish (see lyrics here)

First Charted: February 4, 1939

Peak: 19 US, 17 HP, 18 GA, 18 SM (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

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


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Peter DeRose wrote “Deep Purple” as a piano composition. It was published in 1933 and the following year it was arranged for orchestra by, depending on the account, either Domenico Savino TY1 or Paul Whiteman. WK Whiteman said, he was “making a lady out of jazz.” WK When the song became a hit via sheet music, Mitchell Parish added lyrics in 1938.

In 1939, five versions of the song charted, including top 10 hits by Jimmy Dorsey and Guy Lombardo and top 20 hits by Bing Crosby and Artie Shaw. PM The biggest version, however, was the one by Larry Clinton & His Orchestra featuring Bea Wain as vocalist. PM That year the song was the #3 jukebox selection of the year. TY1 A decade later, Paul Weston’s instrumental version hit #20. PM In 1957, The Dominoes revamped the song as a doo-wop hit. The 1976 version by the brother-and-sister act of Donny and Marie Osmond was a #14 hit. HT

They weren’t the only siblings to have success with the song. Nino Tempo and April Stevens took the song back to #1 in 1963. HT The brother and sister had worked separately before meeting Ahmet Ertegun and signing with Atlantic Records. The pair had gone into the studio to record “Paradise,” but with 14 minutes left of studio time, Ahmet encouraged them to tackle “Deep Purple.” Nino was supposed to sing the second chorus, but when he couldn’t remember the words, April spoke them. The “narration” stayed in and became part of the song. FB

The sentimental ballad was a favorite of Babe Ruth, who even had DeRose play the song at his birthday parties for roughly a decade. WK In addition, the song provided the heavy metal group Deep Purple with their name. Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore’s grandmother kept asking the group if they would perform the song because it was her favorite. WK


First posted 2/11/2013; last updated 2/27/2023.

Monday, February 6, 1989

Simple Minds “Mandela Day” released

Mandela Day

Simple Minds

Writer(s): Jim Kerr, Charlie Burchill, Mick MacNeil (see lyrics here)

Released: February 6, 1989

First Charted: April 1, 1989

Peak: 17 MR, 12 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 13.1 video, -- streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Scottish rock band Simple Minds released their debut album, Life in a Day, in 1979. It wasn’t until their sixth album, 1982’s New Gold Dream, that they achieved top-10 status in the UK. They wouldn’t reach that benchmark for three more years in the United States. Hot on the heels of the #1 song “Don’t You Forget About Me” 1985’s Once Upon a Time was the band’s only gold-selling album in the U.S. and far exceeded the chart peak of anything else they released.

In the UK, the band continued to find success after 1985, notably achieving their fourth consecutive #1 album in 1989 with Street Fighting Years. The album was preceded by the Ballad of the Streets EP, which featured a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” alongside original songs “Mandela Day” and “Belfast Child.” It was the most successful of eight top-10 singles in the UK, going all the way to #1.

The trio of songs all made strong political statements. “Mandela Day” referenced South African activist Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned in 1962 for his efforts in fighting against the racial segregation system known as apartheid in South Africa. He was finally freed in 1990 and became the country’s first president and black head of state from 1994 to 1999.

While he was still in prison in 1988, a concert celebration in honor of his 70th birthday was held at Wembeley Stadium in London on June 11. The concert, known as the Free Nelson Mandela Concert, was broadcast to 67 countries and an audience of 600 million. The bill included the Bee Gees, Tracy Chapman, Dire Straits, Eurythmics, Peter Gabriel, Whitney Houston, George Michael, Salt-N-Pepa, Simple Minds, Sting, UB40, and Stevie Wonder.

The Simple Minds’ set included familiar hits such as “Alive and Kicking,” “Sanctify Yourself,” and “Waterfront” as well as a cover of “Biko” alongside Peter Gabriel and Youssou N’Dour. They also premieried a new song known as “Mandela Day,” written specifically for the event. The song referenced Mandela’s quarter century in prison and celebrated the coming day when he would be free.


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First posted 9/3/2022.