Sunday, November 26, 1989

MTV Unplugged premiered.

November 26, 1989

MTV Unplugged premiered

The premise of MTV’s Unplugged was simple: popular artists performed generally acoustic sets. The show, created by producers Robert Small and Jim Burns, aired regularly on the cable music channel from 1989 to 1999 and less frequently from 2000 to 2009. More than 100 episodes of the show have been filmed. It was nominated for three Primetime Emmy awards and won a George Foster Peabody Award (given for enlightening and invigorating television programming).

The first episode was taped on October 31, 1989 and aired on November 26, 1989. It featured Squeeze, Syd Straw, and Elliot Easton. The first 13 episodes were hosted by singer/songwriter Jules Shear. The format evolved to a showcase for single artists with many of the performances resulting in album releases, including Grammys for Album of the Year for Eric Clapton (1992) and Tony Bennett (1994). Clapton’s Unplugged would become the best-selling live album of all time with 26 million copies.

Mariah Carey’s MTV Unplugged album was a platinum seller and produced the #1 cover of the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.” Nirvana’s 1994 MTV Unplugged in New York was a #1 album selling more than 10 million copies worldwide. The nine-million selling Hell Freezes Over live 1994 reunion album from the Eagles grew out of a special taped under the Unplugged banner.

Other notable artists to appear on the show included Bryan Adams, Alice in Chains, Phil Collins, the Cranberries, Duran Duran, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Kiss, Korn, Annie Lennox, Ricky Martin, Paul McCartney, George Michael, Alanis Morissette, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, Queensryche, Shakira, Rod Stewart, Stone Temple Pilots, Sting, and 10,000 Maniacs.

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First posted 11/24/2023.

Friday, November 24, 1989

Phil Collins’ But Seriously released

First posted 3/26/2008; updated 11/24/2020.

But Seriously

Phil Collins

Released: November 24, 1989

Peak: 13 US, 115 UK, 111 CN, 13 AU

Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 2.74 UK, 24.4 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: mainstream pop-rock

Tracks: Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Hang in Long Enough (10/6/90, 23 US, 11 CB, 38 AC, 34 UK)
  2. That’s Just the Way It Is (7/28/90, 26 UK)
  3. Do You Remember? (4/28/90, 4 US, 3 CB, 1 AC, 49 AR, 57 UK, airplay: 1 million)
  4. Something Happened on the Way to Heaven (4/28/90, 4 US, 3 CB, 2 AC, 34 AR, 15 UK)
  5. Colours
  6. I Wish It Would Rain Down (1/6/90, 3 US, 3 CB, 3AC, 5 AR, 7 UK)
  7. Another Day in Paradise (10/7/89, 1 US, 1 CB, 1 AC, 7 AR, 2 UK, gold single)
  8. Heat on the Street
  9. All of My Life
  10. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
  11. Father to Son
  12. Find a Way to My Heart

Total Running Time: 59:42


3.555 out of 5.00 (average of 11 ratings)

Quotable: --


About the Album:

Phil Collins was one of the hardest-working musicians in the ‘80s, racking up eight studio albums and fifteen top-ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with Genesis and as a solo act. Like 1985’s No Jacket Required, But Seriously topped the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Both albums also had four top-ten hits in the U.S. and sold more than 20 million copies, ranking them amongst the top 100 best-selling albums of all-time.

“While pursuing much of the same formula as on No Jacket Required, there was also a move toward more organic production as Collins abandoned some of the drum machines and prominent keyboards in the up-tempo numbers in favor of live instrumentation. The decision was a good one as there’s no doubt that tracks such as Find a Way to My Heart and Hang in Long Enough have enough bite to outlast his more dated sounding mid-80s material.” AMG

“The set also contains Collins’ finest batch of lost-love songs…since his first two albums, meaning, likely as not, that art was served at the expense of yet another relationship.” AZ One of those, Do You Remember?, was written from the perspective of a man in a failing relationship because of the neglect of his lover. It features Stephen Bishop on backing vocals. WK

I Wish It Would Rain Down is a “dramatic gospel-influenced” AMG song featuring Eric Clapton, with “staggering” results. AMG Collins said it is the closest he’s come to writing a blues song. WK

Something Happened on the Way to Heaven was the last song written for the album. He wrote it with Daryl Steurmer, his longtime touring guitarist, with the intent to give it to the Four Tops. By the time he was done with it, however, he opted to keep it for himself. WK

The songs “mirrored its title in a turn toward more pensive, socially conscious fare.” AZ Another Day in Paradise, the album’s lead single and a #1 hit, was about homelessness. He was inspired by a stay in Washington, D.C. while on tour. He was struck by the irony of homeless people trying to keep warm in the shadow of Capitol Hill. WK That’s Just the Way It Is, featuring David Crosby on backing vocals, is an anti-war ballad about conflict in Northern Ireland. WK

Notes: In 2016, a deluxe edition of the album was released with six live cuts, B-sides “That’s How I Feel” and “You’ve Been in Love That Little Bit Too Long” and demos for “Another Day in Paradise,” “That’s Just the Way It Is,” “Hang in Long Enough,” and “Do You Remember?”

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Thursday, November 23, 1989

Jukebox Hits: Top 40 All Time

Jukebox Hits:

Top 40 Songs All Time

This list was released by Amusement & Music Operators Association in America (AMOA) in 1989 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the jukebox. It was compiled by polling over 1,600 AMOA-member jukebox owners and operators.

Check other lists based on charts, sales, and airplay here.

1. Elvis Presley “Don’t Be Cruel” / “Hound Dog” (1956)
2. Patsy Cline “Crazy” (1961)
3. Bill Haley & His Comets “We’re Gonna Rock Around the Clock” (1954)
4. Otis Redding “(Sittin’ on) The Dock of the Bay” (1968)
5. Marvin Gaye “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1968)
6. Bobby Darin “Mack the Knife” (1959)
7. The Doors “Light My Fire” (1967)
8. Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill” (1956)
9. Bob Seger & Silver Bullet Band “Old Time Rock and Roll” (1978):
10. The Temptations “My Girl” (1965)

11. Lou Reed “Walk on the Wild Side” (1972)
12. The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Women” (1969)
13. The Beatles “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1964)
14. Frank Sinatra “Theme from New York, New York” (1980)
15. Steppenwolf “Born to Be Wild” (1968)
16. The Kingsmen “Louie Louie” (1963)
17. Chuck Berry “Maybellene” (1955)
18. The Beatles “Hey Jude” (1968)
19. The Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” (1966)
20. Aretha Franklin “Respect” (1967)

21. Tammy Wynette “Stand by Your Man” (1968)
22. The Animals “The House of the Rising Sun” (1964)
23. Glenn Miller “In the Mood” (1939)
24. The Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (1965)
25. Talking Heads “Take Me to the River” (1978)
26. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Proud Mary” (1969)
27. Creedence Clearwater Revival “Bad Moon Rising” (1969)
28. Elvis Presley “Jailhouse Rock” (1957)
29. Ray Price “For the Good Times” (1970)
30. Jerry Lee Lewis “Great Balls of Fire” (1957)

31. Patsy Cline “I Fall to Pieces” (1961)
32. Chuck Berry “Johnny B. Goode” (1958)
33. George Thorogood & the Destroyers “Bad to the Bone” (1982)
34. Buddy Holly & the Crickets “That’ll Be the Day” (1957)
35. Chubby Checker “The Twist” (1960)
36. Elvis Presley “All Shook Up (1957)
37. Buddy Holly “Peggy Sue” (1957)
38. Neil Young “Heart of Gold” (1972)
39. Percy Sledge “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1966)
40. Artie Shaw “Stardust” (1941)

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First posted 9/15/2023.

On This Day in Music (1889): The jukebox debuted

November 23, 1889

The jukebox debuted.

The jukebox became popular in the 1950s when there were an estimated 750,000 across America, but its origins actually go back more than 50 years earlier. The first jukebox was installed in the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco, although some accounts say the Palace Royal Hotel. The saloon, on 303 Sutter Street, was owned by Frederick Mergenthaler.

The Pacific Phonograph Company constructed the jukebox from an Edison Class M electric phonograph in an oak cabinet. The machine had no amplification, so four patrons at a time could listen via stethoscope-like tubes. A phonograph could only handle one song at a time, so it was only changed every day or so. At a nickel per play, the machine made $1000 in its first six months of operation. Incidentally, a nickel in 1889 would be more like a dollar today.

Louis T. Glass, the entrepreneur who patented the device, originally called it a nickel-in-the-slot player. The name evolved into nickelodeon. In 1879, Glass left his job as a Western Union telegraph operator. He turned his interest to being a general manager and investor in telephone and phonograph companies.

With the advance of technology, by 1906 John Gabel’s “Automatic Entertainer” could play 24 different songs stored on 10-inch discs. The jukebox eventually spelled doom for the player piano, or self-playing piano. As for the term jukebox, its origins aren’t clear, but it appeared in the 1930s in the southern U.S. and may derive from music played in a “juke house”, or brothel. The term “juke” was black American slang for dancing and brothels were some of the first places to install jukeboxes.

Meanwhile, the phonograph grew through 1920 to become a mass medium for playing music. In the mid-‘20s, the radio became prevalent and during the 1930s the jukebox became a popular means for sharing dance records. By 1949, Seeburg’s “Select-O-Matic” jukebox allowed for 100 selections.

For more about the development of the phonograph and gramophone, check out the Dave’s Music Database blog entry “Thomas Edison Invents the Phonograph: August 12, 1877.”

For more important days in music history, check out the Dave’s Music Database history page.

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First posted 11/23/2011; last updated 9/15/2023.

Monday, November 20, 1989

Today in Music (1889): Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 first performed

Symphony No. 1 in D major (Titan)

Gustav Mahler (composer)

First Performed: Novembrer 20, 1889

Composed: 1884-1888

Peak: --

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: classical > symphony


  1. Movement I: Langsam. Schleppend (Slowly. Dragging.)
  2. Movement II: Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell (Moving vigorously, but not too fast.)
  3. Movement III: Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen (Solemn and measured, without dragging)
  4. Movement IV: Stürmisch bewegt (Stormy)

Average Duration: 53:20


4.355 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)


(Click on award to learn more).

About This Work:

Gustav Mahler composed his first symphony based loosely on Jean Paul’s novel Titan. The four-volume work was published between 1800 and 1803 and tells “a convoluted tale…of a man who must discover his hidden past, find his ideal bride, and assume the throne of a small German principality.” US

Mahler completed it in March of 1988 while working as the second conductor of the Stadttheater (City Theater) in Leipzig. While he started composing it in 1884, it appears he did most of the work in the six weeks leading up to its completion. Two months later, Mahler became the Artistic Director of the Royal Hungarian Opera, where he conducted the first performance of his symphony. US

He referred to it not as a symphony but a “symphonic poem in two sections.” Originally the first section consisted of three movements, one which has since been removed, and a second section with two more movements. US

Part I: From the Days of Youth,” Music of Flowers, Fruit and Thorn

  1. Spring and No End
  2. Flowerine Chapter (Andante)
  3. In Full Sail (Scherzo)

Part II: Commedia umana (The Human Comedy)

  1. Stranded. A funeral march in the manner of Callot.
  2. D’all Inferno al’Paradiso (From Hell to Heaven).
“These titles were accompanied by more extensive programs describing the metaphorical content of each movement. In Jean Paul’s Titan we have a youth gifted with a burning artistic desire that the world has no use for, and who, finding no outlet or ability to adapt, gives way to despair and suicide. Mahler apparently saw himself in this figure, as he described this work as autobiographical in a very loose sense. On the other hand the music, some of which Mahler actually accumulated from various earlier works, contradicts this program in so many ways, especially in the triumphant conclusion, that Mahler later withdrew it. He eventually came to scorn the application of specific programs to his symphonies in general.” SC

He significantly revised the work before it was performed again in 1893. CR “The orchestra was expanded and the original second movement, entitled Blumine’ (Flowers) was dropped. This movement, the only surviving piece from Mahler’s incidental music to Scheffel’s Der Trompeter von Säkkingen, although having thematic ties to the rest of the symphony, is stylistically different, being scored for a much smaller orchestra.” SC

Despite the changes and the fact that Mahler conducted multiple performances of the work, he never thought it received the acclaim it deserved. He would be pleased to know that more than a century later, there are more than 150 recordings available of his first symphony. CR

“The primary source material for the remaining movements is…Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer). The material of these songs, specifically the first and second, is not only quoted but also used as thematic material in the symphony, creating additional programmatic implications. Mahler’s First Symphony is a stunning achievement for so young a composer, and despite its convoluted genesis is a fully mature, integrated and highly effective work.” SC

Movement I: Langsam. Schleppend (Slowly. Dragging.)

The movement “opens with an introduction invoking nature, eventually with cuckoo calls and distant fanfares. The principal theme is from the song Ging heut’ morgens übers Feld (I Went Out This Morning Through the Fields) and is developed in a standard sonata form.” SC

Movement II: Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell (Moving vigorously, but not too fast.)

“The second movement, Kräftig bewegt (Strongly moving), is a lusty and hearty Austrian Ländler replete with yodels and foot stomping. The slower and wistful Trio conjures feelings of nostalgia and longing.” CS

Movement III: Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen (Solemn and measured, without dragging)

“Based on a woodcut depicting animals carrying a hunter to his grave, the third-movement funeral march, Feierlich und gemessen (Solemnly and measured), is deeply ironic. Mahler uses the folk song "Frère Jacques" in a lugubrious minor, played by a muted double bass solo. The central Trio is an evocation of tawdry Viennese cabaret music.” SC

Movement IV: Stürmisch bewegt (Stormy)

“Mahler’s original program for the Stürmisch bewegt (Stormy) finale called the movement’s dramatic opening ‘the sudden outburst of a wounded heart.’ After a long and violent beginning invoking the torments of hell, including a vehement march derived from the first movement, the music subsides into a yearning theme. After a return to the march, Mahler interrupts the mood with a transformative fanfare that eventually leads to a triumphant conclusion.” SC

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First posted 7/2/2010; last updated 11/17/2023.

Monday, November 13, 1989

The Stone Roses released “Fools Gold”

Fools Gold

The Stone Roses

Writer(s): Ian Brown, John Squire (see lyrics here)

Released: November 13, 1989

First Charted: November 25, 1989

Peak: 5 AR, 8 UK, 13 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 20.5 video, 47.68 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Stone Roses formed in Manchester, England in 1983. They were considered a pioneering group of the indie-dance Madchester movement of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The primary members were singer Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Mani, and drummer Reni. Their 1989 debut album has been regarded as one of the most important in British history.

The band got locked into a legal battle with Silvertone, their record label, after the release of the album. It held up a follow-up, Second Coming, until 1994. In the interim, the band released a series of singles of which the most successful was “Fools Gold”/“What the World Is Waiting For.” The original plan was to release the latter as the A-side, but when Silvertone’s A&R man, Roddy Mckenna, urged the band to release “Fools Gold” as the A-side. Since the band wasn’t completely convinced, the decision was made to release it as a double-A-sided single. It became the UK’s biggest-selling independent single in 1989. SF

“From Mani’s seminal bassline to John Squire’s guitars, it already had the hallmarks of a belter, but when drummer Reni aped the beat of James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer,’ a true classic was born.” XFM It was Squire who discovered the cut. He told Q magazine that the band were signing copies of their single “She Bangs the Drums” at a record shop and the owner let them pick out a few albums as a thank you. Squire picked up a breakbeats album and that’s where he heard “Funky Drummer.” SF

The “masterful synthesis of rock and funk pioneered indie-dance and the re-mix dance craze of New Wave groups such as Primal Scream.” SF XFM called “Fools Gold” “the definitive Stone Roses song, the definitive baggy track and the tune that would define Madchester.” XFM Listeners at BBC Radio 5 concurred in 2007 when they voted it “the song that best summed up the city of Manchester.” SF

Brown said the lyrics hinted at trouble brewing amongst the band. The words were inspired by The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a 1948 Humphrey Bogart film. Brown said, “In the film the friends go up a mountain looking for gold. But as they go on, they start turning on one another. That's how it felt once the Roses started getting successful. Suddenly everyone was after their piece of gold.” SF


  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia
  • XFM Mike Walsh (editor) (2010). The XFM Top 1000 Songs of All Time. Elliott & Thompson Limited: London, England. Page 403.

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First posted 10/14/2021; last updated 10/26/2021.

Monday, November 6, 1989

Tears for Fears “Woman in Chains” released

Woman in Chains

Tears for Fears with Oleta Adams

Writer(s): Roland Orzabal (see lyrics here)

Released: November 6, 1989

First Charted: November 18, 1989

Peak: 36 US, 32 CN, 37 AC, 27 MR, 26 UK, 11 CN, 39 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

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

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 79.01 video, 83.79 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Tears for Fears came roaring out of the gate with the first single, “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” from their third album, The Seeds of Love. It went all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving the British duo its fourth song to hit the top 3 in the United States. Alas, it would be their last trip to the upper eschelon of the chart.

“Woman in Chains,” the follow-up single to “Sowing the Seeds of Love,” only reached #36 in the U.S. Despite its disappointing chart peak, it was a powerful feminist anthem with soaring guest vocals from Oleta Adams, a singer the duo saw perform in Kansas City. “We were both knocked out by her emotional power,” said singer Roland Orabal. It proved the catalyst for her to have a successful solo career. The song also featured Phil Collins on drums. He reported that “Tears for Fears just wanted me to do that big drum thing from ‘In the Air Tonight’…We want you to come in here in a big way.” WK

The song “is about a woman who is trapped in a relationship with a bullying, possessive man.” SF Orzabal explained that the song was about his mother, who was a stripper at one time. Orzabal’s father would send someone to spy on her and if she talked to another man, he would beat her up when she came home. WK

On a grander scale, Orzabal says “I’m singing about the oppression of women around the world.” SF In discussing feminist literature he was reading at the time, he explained “I discovered there are societies in the world…that are non-patriarchal. They don’t have the man at the top and the woman at the bottom. They’re matricentric – they have the woman at the centre and these societies are a lot less violent, a lot less greedy and there’s generally less animosity.” WK He also explained that the song is about men playing down their feminine side. WK


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First posted 8/5/2022.