Saturday, May 28, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: May 29

1942:  Bing Crosby recorded "White Christmas".
1959:  There's nothing like a summer outdoor rock concert and on this date, one of the first outdoor rock concerts was at Herndon Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.  Ray Charles, B.B. King and Jimmy Reed performed in front of nine thousand people .
1961:  "Travelin' Man" became Ricky Nelson's only #1 besides "Poor Little Fool".  Shep & the Limelights had #2--"Daddy's Home".  Roy Orbison slid into third with "Running Scared".
1962:  "Moon River" by Henry Mancini won Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards.  Chubby Checker won a Grammy for Best Rock & Roll Recording for "Let's Twist Again".
1963:  Del Shannon's cover of "From Me To You" became the first Lennon & McCartney song to chart.
1965:  Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home was the #1 album in the U.K.

The Top 100 Songs of 1986*: #20-11

We're nearing the top of the crop in our salute to The Top 100 Songs of 1986*, just in time for the big 30-year class reunion.  1986 was the year that a mishandled safety test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Soviet Union killed over 4,000 people and damaged nearly $7 billion in property.  Traces of radioactive deposits from the disaster were found in nearly every country in the northern hemisphere.  Also that year, Microsoft Corporation held its initial public offering for shares of stock in the company.

These 10 songs from 1986 have stood the test of time and continue to be ranked high in 2016:

When I Think Of You
Janet Jackson

The Control album gave us the #20 song, the #29 song and the #42 song of the year.

Sweet Love
Anita Baker

This song originally peaked at #8, although it was a strong Adult Contemporary and R&B hit.  Time has treated "Sweet Love" strong, as it has gained much in popularity since.

You Give Love A Bad Name
Bon Jovi

This New Jersey group had been opening for .38 Special on concert, but quickly switched to headlining its own concerts after the release of this song.  It was their first hit, going to #1 in the U.S. and reaching the Top 10 in eight other countries.

West End Girls
Pet Shop Boys

This song was an even bigger international hit, as the Pet Shop Boys scored a Top 10 smash in 14 countries and a #1 song in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Finland.

Peter Gabriel

Although "In Your Eyes" fell just short of The Top 100* for Peter Gabriel, he lands at #16 with this one, which earned him Grammy nominations for Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.  Gabriel didn't win any of those awards, but the amazing video for the song captured a record nine MTV Music Video Awards.  As of 2011, "Sledgehammer" was the most-played video in the history of MTV.  It hit the Top 10 in 17 countries and was #1 in the United States and Canada.  

Holding Back The Years
Simply Red

Here's one of the top newcomers of the year, nominated for Best Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals at the Grammy Awards.  It sold over one million singles and helped to sell over one million albums.

Invisible Touch

We're into some of the power songs of the year now, and this one at #14 not only became the biggest career hit for Genesis; it started a string of five consecutive Top Five hits from the album of the same name.

Walk Like An Egyptian

At one time, this song ranked as Billboard's #1 song of the year and it was among The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  Fueled by an iconic video, it was nominated for Best Group Video at the MTV Video Music Awards.  "Walk Like An Egyptian" roared to the Top 10 in 14 countries and was #1 in the U.S., West Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and Belgium.

Glory Of Love
Peter Cetera

One of the biggest movies of 1986 was The Karate Kid, Part II, and from that soundtrack comes The #12 Song of 1986*.  It not only was #1 for two weeks on the Popular chart in the United States but #1 for five weeks on the more important Adult Contemporary chart, as adults dominated the Rock listening segment of the population.  Cetera was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Male Artist at the Grammy Awards and Best Original Song at both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.

Live To Tell

It reached the Top 10 in 12 countries, including hitting #1 in the U.S., Canada and Italy.  Madonna recorded it for then-husband Sean Penn's film At Close Range.

Friday, May 27, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: May 28

1955:  Elvis Presley performed in Fort Worth, Texas.
1957:  On this date the organization that would oversee the recording industry, look out for their interests and eventually organize the Grammy Awards, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) was created.
1965:  Elvis Presley's movie Tickle Me opened.
1966:  The Rolling Stones reached the top of the U.K. chart with "Paint It Black".

The Top 100 Songs of 1986*: #30-21

In 1986, the United States celebrated the 100th birthday of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor while Prince Andrew, Duke of York, married Sarah Ferguson at Westminster Abbey in London.  Also that year, Kurt Waldheim, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, was elected president of Austria and actors James Cagney and Ted Knight and famous songwriter Howard Greenfield died.

These 10 songs were among the heavyweights of the year:

Walk Of Life
Dire Straits

British group Dire Straits, which first emerged on the scene in 1978 with their amazing debut album, grabs a spot in the Top 30.

Janet Jackson

A superstar was born in 1986, as Janet Jackson placed "What Have You Done For Me Lately" at #42 and this song at #29.

Silent Running
Mike + the Mechanics

Mike Rutherford of Genesis with his side project the Mechanics also had a good year.

No One Is To Blame
Howard Jones

Phil Collins produced this song, adding drums and vocals to the track.  Howard Jones' great use of metaphors made the song click, giving him his biggest career hit at #4.


This fantastic group loved to take their time.  They released their landmark debut album in 1976, then did not release their follow-up until three years later.  And, their album Third Stage did not arrive until seven years after that.

Something About You
Level 42

This song only reached #7 at the time but continues to grow in popularity.  The group featured several multi-instrumentalists with instruments used on their albums and in live shows interchangeable.  They had achieved a following in their native Great Britain, but their 1986 album World Machine truly spread their music around the world.

Danger Zone
Kenny Loggins

This superstar did so well with the theme to the movie Footloose in 1980 that he was invited to record a song on the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun.  Kenny did not disappoint, with a #2 smash that winds up #24 for the year.


After the departure of Grace Slick and Marty Balin from Jefferson Starship in 1979, Mickey Thomas, the voice behind "Fooled Around And Fell In Love" by Elvin Bishop, was asked to join the group.  As Paul Kantner of Jefferson Starship retained the name when he left in 1984, the existing group had to choose a new one, so they renamed themselves simply Starship.

Mr. Mister

"Kyrie" means "Lord have mercy" in Greek.  Mr. Mister achieved a Top 10 hit in 10 countries, including a #1 in the U.S.  The group was nominated for two Grammy Awards:  Best New Artist of the Year and Best Pop Band.

There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)
Billy Ocean

This Trinidad-born star followed up the success of his breakthrough album Suddenly with this #1 smash, his fifth Top Five hit in three years, which continues to be strong 30 years later.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: May 27

1957:  A group from Lubbock, Texas released their first single for consideration on this date, and the world was about to discover one of the greatest talents ever known.  It was called "That'll Be the Day" and history was about to be made by Buddy Holly & the Crickets.

1957:  "All Shook Up" by Elvis Presley was the #1 R&B song for the fourth week in a row.

Another Great Featured Unknown/Underrated Song*: "I Believe" by Chilliwack

The radio stations which played this did very well with it.  It's one of those great songs that simply was ignored.

I Believe

Music and Lyrics by Bill Henderson

I was lost in time
Feelin' like the victim of a perfect crime
Until that night I met you.
How was I to know just what your love could do?

Now I believe there has been a change in me.
Yeah, I believe that it was meant to be.
Oh, can't you see I believe in you and me?

In the dark of night we can be
What we would like to be
And it's all right.

When it's you, you and me girl.
Well I feel like
We're the only people in the world.

I believe there has been a change in me.
Yeah, I believe that it was meant to be.
Can't you see I believe in you and me?

Oh it's so easy, so damn easy to see
The way I feel for you and you for me.

Now I believe there has been a change in me.
Yeah, I believe that it was meant to be.
Can't you see I believe in you and me?

Oh, can't you see I believe in you and me?
Oh, can't you see I believe in you and me?
Oh, can't you see I believe in you and me?
Oh, can't you see I believe in you and me?

The Top 100 Songs of 1986*: #40-31

In 1986, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced two keywords in a speech, Glasnost (government transparency) and Perestroika (restructuring of the Soviet political and economic system).  Meanwhile, The Voyager 2 space probe came within 50,000 miles of Uranus and Pixar opened studios in California.  The Boston Celtics, whom many consider one of the best teams in National Basketball Association history, won a franchise record 67 games in the regular season, then topped the Houston Rockets in six games to win the NBA Championship.  Boston featured Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Bill Walton in their front court rotation.

In music, these 10 songs are among those that are still the strongest 30 years later:


Manic Monday

At #40, one of the best songs that the late Prince wrote.  The Bangles created quite a buzz with their album Different Light.  The group became arguably the biggest self-contained female group of the Rock Era (by self-contained, we mean a group that writes the majority of their songs and sings and plays all the instruments on their songs.)


The Sweetest Taboo
Here's a #5 song from early in the year that, like the artist who recorded it, continues to grow in popularity. Airplay, sales and YouTube numbers continue to be strong for Sade and "The Sweetest Taboo".


Small Town
John Cougar Mellencamp

1986 was a great year for this artist, who was in transition from his stage name of John Cougar to his real name of John Mellencamp.  In addition to the big hits at #38 and #34 below, the Cougar Man came up with the album of his career, Scarecrow.  Check out the four solid tracks from the album we featured in the Prelude*.  We believe that all four are better than many of the songs still ranked in The Top 100 for 1986*, a relatively weak year that could have perhaps been a little stronger if those tracks were well known.


The Next Time I Fall
Amy Grant & Peter Cetera

At #37, a #1 song from one of the most successful Gospel singers of all-time and the lead singer of one of the top groups of all-time.


True Colors
Cyndi Lauper

Here's one of the last big hits for this star from Queens, New York.  It sold over two million copies and earned Cyndi a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Female Vocal Performance.


Words Get In The Way
Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine

At #35, one of the most beloved female stars of our lifetime, a star so bright that after 1986, she received full billing while the Miami Sound Machine served as her backing band.  This is the song that largely catapulted her as a major recording artist.


R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.
John Cougar Mellencamp

At #34, Mellencamp's salute to '60s music.  He mentions several of the top acts of the decade in this big hit.


Life In A Northern Town
Dream Academy

Music is fascinating because each year, we get to hear completely new acts.  This group burst on the scene in 1986 and showed considerable promise.  Although they also gave us another quality song ("The Love Parade", heard in the Prelude*), they never generated anything as good as this one.


Dancing On The Ceiling
Lionel Richie

While this song has slipped over the years, Lionel Richie is still one of the biggest stars among adults in the Rock Era, and it is that support which continues to hold the song at #32.


Take Me Home
Phil Collins

When you combine his work with Genesis along with his solo releases, Phil Collins was as hot as nearly anyone in the '80s.  In the years that followed, it was the song of choice for encores from Collins in concert.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: May 26

1953:  Man, egg on the faces of the judges who ranked Elvis Presley second in the talent competition at the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Show in Meridian, Mississippi.  Whoever finished first came nowhere near having 18 #1 songs.
1958:  Jerry Lee Lewis played what would be his final concert in the U.K., booed off stage by angry British.  People found out that he had been married to his 13 year-old cousin and it was "Bye, Bye Jerry!"  When Lewis returned to the United States, he was blacklisted from radio stations, his record company mocked him, and he went from making $10,000 per performance to finding gigs for $250.

                                     Ray Charles was headed for the top...   

1962:  "Stranger On The Shore" from Mr. Acker Bilk landed at #1, displacing "Soldier Boy" by the Shirelles after three weeks.  Dee Dee Sharp held steady at #3 while Ray Charles loomed next after a 21-4 move for "I Can't Stop Loving You".
1963:  Elvis Presley recorded "(You're The) Devil In Disguise" at the RCA Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Note:  some websites report that Presley recorded the song over two days.  While he had recording sessions on both May 26 and 27, he finished "Devil In Disguise" on May 26, according  to the book 'Elvis Presley: A Life In Music' by Ernst Jorgensen.)1965:  The Rolling Stones, Sonny and Cher, Jackie DeShannon and Jimmy Rodgers appeared on the television show Shindig!
1966:  The Rolling Stones reached #1 in the U.K. with "Paint It Black".

The Top 100 Songs of 1986*: #50-41

In 1986, Halley's Comet became visible to Earth for the first time since 1910, IBM unveiled the PC Convertible, the world's first laptop computer and Intel introduced the 386 series microprocessor.  Also, The Oprah Winfrey Show debuted on television, Out of Africa captured Best Picture honors at the Academy Awards and the New York Mets defeated the Boston Red Sox in seven games to win the World Series.

In music, you could turn on your radio and hear these great songs:

Why Can't This Be Love
Van Halen

By 1986, the members of Van Halen had had enough of David Lee Roth; the same could probably be said for music fans.  The group released the album 5150, the first with new lead singer Sammy Hagar.

Mad About You
Belinda Carlisle

In the early part of the decade, this artist was with the all-female group the Go-Go's.  She established herself as a successful solo artist as well.

My Hometown
Bruce Springsteen

Released in 1984, the Born in the U.S.A. album was still going strong in '86.  Springsteen generated a record seven Top 10 songs from the album.  That's more from that one album than he had for the rest of his career.

All I Need Is A Miracle
Mike + the Mechanics

As Phil Collins was off doing several solo projects, fellow Genesis member Mike Rutherford decided to form this group, which featured one of the premier vocalists of the time, Paul Carrack.  Carrack started out with the group Ace, which enjoyed the 1975 hit "How Long", then was lead singer of Squeeze ("Tempted) before enjoying some solo success and then singing lead for Mike + the Mechanics.

Human League

Here's another song produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.  They wrote this one for British group the Human League and it went Top 10.

Throwing It All Away

This great group came up with the album of their career in 1986.  Invisible Touch eventually generated five Top Five songs.  This one peaked at #4, but continues to get stronger through the years.

Rock Me Amadeus

There are organizations that claim this is the #1 song of 1986.  Don't believe them; it's the reason Inside The Rock Era was started--too much misinformation out there regarding the Rock Era.  It was a #1 song, no doubt, but hasn't even sold over one million copies nor been played one million times 30 years later.  The grand total for Falco's album sales?  A mere 500,000.  So no, it is NOT the #1 song of 1986--not even close.

(No YouTube video available)
Here's another #1 song from 1986, hurt quite a bit by no presence at all on YouTube.  While YouTube views are not one of the main factors used in the Inside The Rock Era database, it's still important in the 21st century to have your material out there.

What Have You Done For Me Lately
Janet Jackson

At #42, a song from Janet Jackson's breakthrough album Control.  She whipped out no less than six Top 10 songs from the album.

Take Me Home Tonight
Eddie Money

This former policeman from New York City did alright for himself in the music business.  He continues to perform, and this no doubt is one of his most requested songs, his biggest career hit.

The Top 100 Songs of 1986*: #60-51

In 1986, the U.S. Space Shuttle Challenger blew up 73 seconds after take-off, killing all seven crew members.  Tens of thousands of school children watched live as teacher Christa McAuliffe was the first civilian selected to be on a NASA flight.  It was later determined that two O-rings failed due to cold temperatures the day of the launch.

Also that year, Great Britain and France announced plans to build the Channel Tunnel, a 31.4-mile rail tunnel connecting Folkestone in the United Kingdom with Coquelles in northern France.  Top Gun, Crocodile Dundee and Platoon were among the top movies of the year, the Chicago Bears won Super Bowl XX while Boris Becker and Martina Navratilova won the men's and women's titles at Wimbledon.

In music, these 10 songs were among the year's best:

True Blue

The song at #60 hit #1 in the U.K., Canada and Ireland and the 10th of 17 consecutive Top 10 hits for Madonna.  Madonna took the title from a favorite expression of then-husband Sean Penn.

Burning Heart

After "Eye Of The Tiger" by Survivor was such an iconic hit in the movie Rocky II, actor Sylvester Stallone, who wrote, acted in and directed the Rocky series, once again tabbed Survivor to record a song for Rocky III.

If You Leave
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

This group, which had been recording since 1979, enjoyed their first worldwide hit in 1986 with a song written for the movie Pretty in Pink starring Molly Ringwald.

A Matter Of Trust
Billy Joel

This #10 hit of 1986 has picked up steam with huge album sales for Billy Joel in the 30 years since.

Your Wildest Dreams
Moody Blues

This comeback hit became the biggest song for the Moody Blues since their classic "Nights In White Satin" in 1972.  The group received a Billboard Award for Video of the Year.

Elton John

At #55, a song about a Soviet border guard whom the protagonist was in love with but never got to meet.  It was already Elton John's 43rd career hit.

Typical Male
Tina Turner

This artist, who had made a tremendous comeback in 1984, continued to enjoy success with this #2 song of three weeks.

Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone
Glass Tiger

Here's another #2 song that was helped greatly by the backing vocals of fellow Canadian Bryan Adams.  Glass Tiger was nominated for Best New Artist of the Year at the Grammy Awards.

Friends Andamp; Lovers
Carl Anderson & Gloria Loring

This song became popular when it aired on Days of Our Lives, a U.S. soap opera which both Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson appeared on.

I Can't Wait
Nu Shooz

This group from Portland, Oregon originally released this song in Portland in April of 1985.  It became a big local hit but Nu Shooz was turned down by every major label.  A copy of the song was remixed by Peter Slaghuis in the Netherlands and the remix came back to the U.S. on Dutch label Injection Records.  This version attracted the attention of Atlantic Records, which signed the group to a recording contract in January of 1986 and released the single.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This Date in Rock Music History: May 25

1959:  "Bongo Rock", the great instrumental from Preston Epps, was the biggest mover of the week, rising from 80 all the way to 48.

The Top 100 Songs of 1986*: #70-61

1986 was dubbed The Year of Peace by the United Nations, the same year that the United States celebrated Martin Luther King day for the first time.  The Reagan Administration sold secret arms to Iran in exchange for hostages, a scandal that was named the Iran-Contra Affair.

In music, these songs were among the 10 best for the year:

Who's Johnny

Here's a song from the movie Short Circuit starring Ally Sheedy.  El DeBarge led the family act from Detroit, Michigan, called DeBarge, which enjoyed success in the mid-'80s. El recorded this one solo


In our opinion, these next three songs are still underrated, as people are buying and wanting to hear songs ranked ahead of them.  This one stalled at #12 in 1986, but has gained strength over the last 30 years.

What You Need

This group from Australia was about to show the world what they were capable of with the album Kick in 1987.  They hit #5 with this one.

Everybody Have Fun Tonight
Wang Chung

Peter Wolf of the group the J. Geils Band was one of the co-writers of this song.  

Love Will Conquer All
Lionel Richie

The song at #66 is part of an incredible streak in which Lionel Richie reached the Top 10 with each of his first 13 solo releases.

Your Love

If you're a man and you like this song, it's probably not wise to admit that to any women friends.

Hip To Be Square
Huey Lewis & the News

At #64, one of the many great acts of the Rock Era to come from San Francisco.  They were red-hot in the '80s.

You Can Call Me Al
Paul Simon

This one-of-a-kind talent is still going strong at 70.  This song is part of the classic album Graceland.

Nothin' At All

Although this great group had great material in the '70s, their career stalled a bit from 1981-84.  They made a big comeback with their self-titled album--here is one of four Top 10's from that LP.

Sweet Freedom
Michael McDonald

The former lead singer of the Doobie Brothers gave us this great solo song at #61.