Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week I’m hopping into my time machine again, this time setting the coordinates for 30 years ago this week.
Stepping out of my time machine I hear ... I hear songs that spark memories of good times. It was the summer before I turned 11, and all I really had to worry about was having fun, and not getting into too much trouble while doing so.
The #1 song in the nation this week back in 1989 was New Kids On The Block’s “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever).” Thank God for those parentheses, or who knows what kind of timetable NKOTB could’ve been working with!
Thankfully, this edition of the Billboard Hot 100 was filled with other, much more memorable, songs. So let’s get into this exploration of chart history! Of course, since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
3. Bobby Brown – Every Little Step
In 1989 Bobby Brown was on top the world, and “Every Little Step” would become one of his biggest hits of all-time. It’s an undeniably great song, so much so that hearing the beat come on will immediately make pretty much everybody smile.
Bobby pulled double duty on this chart, as “On Our Own,” his contribution to the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack, gave him a second song in the Top 50, coming in at #45.
5. Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
I hold the position that Neneh Cherry still doesn’t get the props she deserves.
Neneh Cherry holds the position of a “Buffalo Stance.”
Over the years there have been conflicting reports as to what that stance actually entails.
According to Urban Dictionary, it’s “to stand with your arms tightly crossed, looking over to (the) side at somebody. This comes from the pose struck by Bruce Smith of the Buffalo Bills in the late 1980s.” Coincidentally, Cherry was married to a different Bruce Smith from 1983 to 1984.
Sadly, the Bills Mafia doesn’t get to own this one, as it’s actually about The Buffalo Posse, which was a crew formed by fashion stylist Ray Petri that was made up of photographers, models, musicians, hair and makeup artists, and other creatives – a crew that included Cherry. Cherry confirmed this, saying in a 2007 interview with the New York Times, “The song is about our gang, our time, and our mentor, Ray, who is still behind every word and every melody. Buffalo meant classic. None of us were into here-today-gone-tomorrow fashion, which is why we gravitated toward each other.”
7. Fine Young Cannibals – Good Thing
For all those who thought Fine Young Cannibals were a one hit wonder, please allow me to remind you of their second monster hit, “Good Thing.”
A pop song with a musical feel reminiscent of a bygone era, “Good Thing” followed “She Drives Me Crazy,” which was also on this chart at #69. Yes, that’s right, “She Drives Me Crazy” was at 69. Nice.
It doesn’t happen often that a remake is better than the original, but this was the case with Damian’s version of the 1973 David Essex song. This is not to say the Essex version is bad, it’s just when you hear the cover you realize having an ‘80s spin on it brought it to another level.
26. Martika – Toy Soldiers
One of the great pop songs of the ‘80s, “Toy Soldiers” is off Martika’s self-titled debut, and with a hit like this, and a voice like hers, it’s kind of mind-boggling that she didn’t stay at the top of the charts for years to come. This gets even more confusing when you take a look at her sophomore album and see it featured four songs written and produced by Prince, yet, after that album there were no more Martika albums.
There was a resurgence in interest in “Toy Soldiers” in 2004 after Eminem sampled it for his song “Like Toy Soldiers,” and I’d like to call for a resurgence in interest in Martika in 2019. Can we hear what she’s been up to, yo???
40. Great White – Once Bitten Twice Shy
Rock music was peppered throughout this particular Billboard Hot 100, which included songs by Warrant, Ozzy Osbourne, Bon Jovi, Queen, Winger, Skid Row, Cinderella, and this memorable hit by Great White.
“Once Bitten Twice Shy” is a song that would probably cause an uproar on social media if it was released today. Lyrically it was … overt. Let’s go with overt. For example
You didn't know how rock and roll looked
Until you caught your sister with the guys from the group
Halfway home in the parking lot
By the look in her eye she was givin’ what she got
This is exactly why we should be happy it was released in the ‘80s, when it could become the timeless classic it absolutely deserves to be.
67. Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock – Joy and Pain
Everybody knows “It Takes Two,” and rightly so, it’s a classic, but Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock also gave us “Joy and Pain,” which was another fantastic song.
On a personal note, “Joy and Pain” was part of my summer camp soundtrack, so I’ll always associate it with good times.
Something tells me Rob Base didn’t write the song thinking it would end up the soundtrack to suburban lakeside hijinks, but I bet he’d be cool with it.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.