OK, everyone, time to find some clothes to put on!
24) On My Own -- Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald (1986): I've already picked this as one of my worst summer songs, so I won't bother to elaborate, except to say I haven't changed my mind. Maybe I just hate mellowness?
22) Sledgehammer -- Peter Gabriel (1986): No kidding, I thought this was a McDonald's commercial when I first heard it. I don't listen closely to words and often substitute the ones I want over the ones that are actually there. I'm cool with Peter Gabriel, but he should've let me handle this one. I can turn a superstar into a household name among old people!
20) Higher Love -- Steve Winwood (1986): There was a time when I liked Steve Winwood. I've even liked some of this later work. But I tuned in and turned off on this one. There's no sadder moment than when you have to turn to a prospective date and say, "I can't love you because I got V.D." I caught it from this song.
18) You Keep Me Hangin' On -- Kim Wilde (1987): Kim "Kids In America" Wilde took the videowaves by storm with that awesome hair that no young hormonally-functional teen could resist! But what's she doing with that Vanilla Fudge tune? She's acting like it's an old Motown song or something?
16) Alone -- Heart (1987): Adapting to the 1980s meant losing a piece of yourself and working out a grand compromise. It's always fascinated me how artists qualify their 1980s successes and their audiences often appreciate it with a wondrous laugh at those "crazy" times. Own it, people! Because it was obvious how ridiculous it was at the time. Time doesn't absolve all wounds. You're still on the hook!
14) La Bamba -- Los Lobos (1987): Hey, it worked for Ritchie Valens, surely it could work three decades later for Los Lobos. If this is what it takes to get people to pay attention to a legitimate rock 'n' roll band, who's to complain? And if people came out of the movie theater after viewing the movie of the same name with a fleeting interest in the old days of R 'n' R, then I hope they made a few impulse buys worth remembering.
12) Together Forever -- Rick Astley (1988): Any song by Rick Astley that isn't "Never Gonna Give You Up" makes me wish I was listening to that song and not whatever I'm hearing. I have no idea why and I don't think analyzing my feelings would be a wise use of my time. Next!
10) Dirty Diana -- Michael Jackson (1988): For those wondering why MJ rarely shows up on these summer lists, I can only figure it's because most of his albums were released in the Fall. So, when Bad saw release on August 31, 1987, it took until the next April for the album's fifth single, "Dirty Diana," to be released and rise to the top for the summer of 1988. It's all about timing!
8) Hold On To The Nights -- Richard Marx (1988): For anyone who thinks being a music critic or whatever it is you want to call this thing of ours, I point you to the many exhibits on display here. Do you think I woke up this evening and thought, "Boy, I can't wait to occupy my mind with Richard Marx today?"
6) Wind Beneath My Wings -- Bette Midler (1989): Fight the real enemy.
4) Baby Don't Forget My Number -- Milli Vanilli (1989): Did they sing this? Does it matter? Did we have to ruin the lives of two men doing things that are now common practice among the jet-set? Or have you climbed too high to see my point of view?
2) If You Don't Know Me By Now -- Simply Red (1989): Written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff and first made famous by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, "If You Don't Know Me By Now" was later made famous again by Ricky Gervais, who covered the song as "David Brent" from the UK version of The Office. Sometime in between, Simply Red ran it up to the top of the charts. Set your watch, Justin Bieber should be nailing this tune in about five years!
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