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CHART ATTACK! #15: 1/16/88

It’s Friday, and here we are again for another edition of CHART ATTACK!  As I’ve said before, 1988 is my favorite chart year of the ’80s; I know each of these songs (as well as songs 11-20, I’m sure) by heart.  So let’s take a look at the charts as they appeared on January 16, 1988!

10.  Is This Love – Whitesnake  Amazon iTunes
9.  Faith – George Michael
  Amazon iTunes
8.  Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne  Amazon iTunes
7.  Candle In The Wind – Elton John  Amazon iTunes
6.  Hazy Shade Of Winter – Bangles  Amazon iTunes
5.  Could’ve Been – Tiffany  Amazon iTunes
4.  Need You Tonight – INXS  Amazon iTunes
3.  The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson  Amazon iTunes
2.  So Emotional – Whitney Houston  Amazon iTunes
1.  Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison  Amazon

10.  Is This Love – Whitesnake (download)  Well, I’ll be damned.  Although I’ve never heard a Whitesnake song other than this one and "Here I Go Again," I figured the band had other big hits on the Hot 100.  These two are essentially their only big ones.  I guess the reason I remember them being HUGE in 1987, and much more successful is because their 1987 album Whitesnake sold over 8 million copies – probably due in part to Geffen A&R man John Kalodner, responsible for a zillion successful records.  Tawny Kitaen in the video probably didn’t hurt either.

9.  Faith – George Michael  This was the last week that "Faith" held a spot on the Top 10.  But don’t feel bad for George Michael – "Faith" entered the Top 10 on November 21, 1987, nearly two months’ prior, and "Father Figure" entered the Top 10 only a few weeks following this one.  We covered "Faith" in the week of its Top 10 debut in Chart Attack! #9, so head there if you’d like to read more about the song.

8.  Tell It To My Heart – Taylor Dayne  So I’m at a party in…I guess it must have been ’98 or ’99.  We’re up in the attic of this frat house, and the hosts have hired a DJ.  He’s playing all the current songs ("Feels So Good" by Mase, por ejemplo), and "Tell It To My Heart" comes on.  I sing every. single. word.  And that was the first time that I truly realized: if I could only rid my brain of things like the lyrics to Taylor Dayne songs, I’d be so much more useful to the world.

"Tell It To My Heart" was Dayne’s first hit, and although it didn’t pass #7, her following five consecutive releases hit the Top 10.  If you’d like a reminder of how some music videos are just locked in a time capsule, reminding us of all the things we’d like to forget about the ’80s, "Tell It To My Heart" is a good choice – watch it here.  I remember hearing her singing voice and having no idea where she came from…but then I heard her speaking voice and realized this woman definitely grew up on Long Island.

Some people have encouraged me to rip Taylor Dayne to shreds.  I’m not going to do it, but if you’d like to figure out their reasons, you can check out her website or her video blog at YouTube, specifically this video.  I encourage you to watch it and randomly hit "pause" on any facial expression.

7.  Candle In The Wind – Elton John  Sadly, my first exposure to "Candle In The Wind" was through this version of the song – but I can’t be blamed.  After all, the original wasn’t even released as a single in the U.S. back in 1973, when it was included on the excellent Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – only as a single in the U.K., where it reached #11.  And it’s even more frightening to think that there’s a generation who only know "Candle In The Wind ’97."  The version released here is from the album Live In Australia, which was recorded with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.  It’s an interesting album, both excellent and terrible: excellent because in order to make full use of the orchestra, Elton went back into his early records and pulled out fantastic songs like "The King Must Die" and "The Greatest Discovery," and terrible because Elton never sounded so bad: years of drug abuse led to nodules on his vocal cords.  I’m sure some of our readers in the radio biz can attest to "Candle’s" popularity in 1987 – I know it was played constantly in New York at the time, and eventually reached #7.  10 years later, the updated version topped the charts for a good 14 weeks.

6.  Hazy Shade Of Winter – Bangles (download)  What do they call it when you hear the cover before the original, and since it’s the cover you heard first, you wind up preferring it to the original?  Oh yeah, in this case, that’s probably called "blasphemy."  Sorry, folks, but it’s true.  I heard the Bangles version before the Simon & Garfunkel version, and I really like the cover better.  Produced by the Bangles themselves and included on the soundtrack to the movie Less Than Zero, the song became their third song to reach the Top 10.  This remains one of my favorite covers.

5.  Could’ve Been – Tiffany
  I had this album.  I don’t want to talk about it, except to say that this song eventually hit #1 for two weeks, so it wasn’t just me.

4.  Need You Tonight – INXS  …but I also had this album, which kind of redeems me, doesn’t it?  I always thought "Need You Tonight" was a freaking awesome song, from the drum part that sounded like nothing else on the radio, to that simple yet unquestionably catchy guitar riff.  And I don’t think it should ever be played without "Mediate" directly following.  This song hit #1 for just a week, as it was knocked off the top by…"Could’ve Been." 

3.  The Way You Make Me Feel – Michael Jackson  In the comments section of last week’s Chart Attack!, we began discussing some of the better songs off of Thriller and Bad.  This song wasn’t mentioned either way.  Thoughts?  Personally, I think it’s a great song, back when Jackson could still write, produce and record and not suck at all three simultaneously.  This was also a period of time where you could see Michael Jackson lust after a woman in a video and almost believe him. 

Speaking of the video, it’s pretty stupid.  Michael chases after this hot girl who’s clearly not interested, and continues to pursue her at the insistence of his street buddies.  It comes very close to an encouragement of gang rape.  She resists his advances, even though she’s charmed by him, thanks to the support of her female friends (including LaToya, who Michael thankfully ignores this time).  However, the final dance sequence, with Michael and his buddies gettin’ down under the streetlights, convinces her that he really is the right guy for her.  She confirms it by meeting him under those lights, and…hugging him.

Like I said, a stupid video.  However, as is often the case with Michael Jackson, once he starts dancing, it’s hard to focus on anything else.  Say what you want about him – he’s still an unbelievable dancer.  You can even forgive him for lip-syncing both "The Way You Make Me Feel" AND "Man In The Mirror" at the 1988 Grammies once you see him move.


2.  So Emotional – Whitney Houston
  I don’t know why I like it.  I just do.  (Before you think this is some lame admission, you should know that’s the opening line of the song.)  "So Emotional" hit #1 for one very brief week – the first week of the year – but it allowed Houston to tie the record for most consecutive #1 hits, which was six, held by the Bee Gees and the Beatles.  With her following single, "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," she set the new record.

"So Emotional" was another result of Houston’s successful collaboration with producer Narada Michael Walden, who is responsible for so many of the songs you wish you could forget, such as Houston’s "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (among many), Starship’s "Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now," and…two songs with Taylor Dayne.  Of course.

1.  Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison  Well, I think it’s safe to say that nobody saw this coming.  Almost 24 years after he had his first chart-topping hit with The Beatles ("I Want To Hold Your Hand"), Harrison inexplicably found himself holding the top spot this week.   Granted, it was only a week, but it remains the last #1 song in the U.S. by any Beatle to date.

A cover of the song released in 1962 by James Ray, "Got My Mind Set On You" was – like so many of the songs in the Top 10 during these years – assisted by a memorable video.  Harrison wasn’t really the star of the video, in which he simply sat in a chair, in a mansion’s library, and strummed guitar directly to the camera; the library was the star, with moving furniture and animal heads.  MTV played the hell out of this video, which was actually the third video produced for the song: version 1 focused on teens in an arcade, version 2 was a typical band video, and version 3 was the one that we all know and love.  Plus, it has an obvious stunt double doing a dance break…although when I was 10 years old, I was very impressed with George Harrison for being a Beatle AND doing a back flip.  Beat THAT, Ringo!

And that’s the end of another Top 10!  Join me next week for yet another edition of CHART ATTACK!

  • "but it remains the last #1 song in the U.S. by any Beatle to date"
    That just made me feel so sad. I’ve never thought about it like that.  So now, if the Beatles were to re-enter the #1 spot it’s either McCartney or Ringo… I’m not a McCartney-hater or anything, but… I don’t know… I just miss George, I guess. Such a cool guy.

  • David

    Re: Harrison … whoah! I didn’t even know there *was* a “version 1” of this video until I watched it, then I totally remembered it. Odd it didn’t hit me at the time that there were two versions (1 and 3) … isn’t “version 2” just the band footage worked into the B/W section of “version 1”? The timecode at the top argues against any actual airing …

    Harrison aside, I can’t feel the love for this list or this year (love your write-ups, nonetheless). When the *Bangles* have the most authenticity, grit and musicianship in the top ten … yikes. (1987-88 marks the official start of my radio hibernation. I would re-emerge in … uh … never.)

  • You’re right about Version 2, David – I doubt it aired, but the fact that it’s all been edited together leads me to believe there was at least talk about releasing it on its own.

  • I’m in the opposite position with "Hazy Shade of Winter": Simon & Garfunkle was the most-played music in our house growing up, and "Hazy Shade of Winter" is my favorite S&G song.  The Bangles version is great, but I have a hard time forgiving them for not just rearranging the parts of the song (which is fine) but cutting a part out (of an already short, punchy song).  Still, it beats the hell out of the Lemonheads covering "Mrs. Robinson".

  • Garfunkel, I mean.  Argh.

  • Narada Michael Walden produced and wrote many hits. He’s partly responsible for the Clarence Clemons/Jackson Browne song, “You’re A Friend of Mine.”

  • I wonder if he’s also responsible for Jackson Browne beating up Daryl Hannah.

  • "Still, it beats the hell out of the Lemonheads covering ‘Mrs. Robinson.’"

    But keep in mind that the Lemonheads were asked to record that cover for a 25th-anniversary reissue of "The Graduate" on video.  They weren’t crazy about the results themselves or the fact that it became their biggest hit.  They rarely played it in concert. (I’m a Lemonheads fan, obviously.)

    "I wonder if he’s also responsible for Jackson Browne beating up Daryl Hannah."

    He provided background vocals, e.g. "What the hell are you doing?!" and "For God’s sake, stop!" and "I thought you ’70s West Coast rockers were more laid-back than this.  Geez, I’d hate to see Glenn Frey on a bad day."  On a side note, a few months ago I ran across some gossip site on the Internet on which random people write random dirt about random celebrities (mostly B- and C-listers).  One person’s assessment of Daryl Hannah was that she’s "borderline retarded."  Yeah, but aren’t most actors?  Case dismissed!  (Just a little self-deprecation there, folks …)

    Jason, did you first hear Taylor Dayne speak on that VH1 show where former hitmakers tried to reinvent themselves for one night only?  That’s where I first heard her voice.  VH1 showed Dayne hanging out with her friend Leah Remini, from "The King of Queens."  Veeeery Noo Yawk.  I loved it.  I wish that show would’ve continued, although Vince Neil’s plastic surgery footage made me a little queasy.  And after all that surgery he STILL looked like Jon Lovitz with a blond wig.

    Like I said last week, "Bad" and "I Just Can’t Stop Loving You" are still the only two songs from Bad that I like.  "The Way You Make Me Feel" isn’t bad (ha? … nah), and it’s certainly better than "Man in the Mirror" and "Just Another Part of Me" (I used to sing it as "You look like Sidney Poitier" for some reason) and (shudder) "Dirty Diana," but it still doesn’t do much for me.  But maybe one day it will, especially now that I like "Remember the Time" and "You Rock My World" upon further inspection.

  • Oh yeah, I forgot — if you actually want to hear Narada Michael Walden doing some questionable, Puff Diddy-style background vocals, listen to "Gimme a Sign" at Ariel Ryder’s MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/arielryder .

    Did anyone here watch the CBS show "Now and Again" back in 1999 and 2000?  It starred Eric Close ("Without a Trace") and Dennis Haysbert ("24") and was created by Glenn Gordon Caron ("Moonlighting," "Medium").  Anyway, "Gimme a Sign" was the theme song.  It sounds better in its 30-second opening-credits incarnation than it does stretched out to almost four minutes, but I still like it.  Walden cowrote it with Sunny Hilden.

    I should probably do some work now.

  • I can’t remember where I first heard Taylor Dayne speak, but I’m betting it was back in the 1980s, when she was initially popular.  I’m always fascinated by musicians who talk and sing in different accents, like Elton.  In her case, though…horrified.

  • Steve

    Tiffany!My girlfriend at the time was absolutely bonkers for Tiffany when that album came out.  Between her playing it night and day and over-saturation on the radio, I can’t count how many times I had to listen to "I think we’re alone now".Although, it was always fun to inject a little family strife by getting her mother, who was a huge Beatles fan, to debate her on the relative merits of Tiffany’s cover of "I saw her standing there".But, she (Tiffany…and my girlfriend) was mighty cute in her day!

  • woofpop

    Hazy Shade Of Winter was on S&G’s album Bookends, which was in the young woofpop household, so I knew every note on it. Hazy Shade is one of my all-time favorite songs.
    The Bangles do a great job on the cover, though, I must say. They put a perfect punch on it.

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  • I guess I’m a pig (or was).
    I had the Tiffany album. I never bought it for the music.
    The shame.

  • EightE1

    Finally, someone else who recognizes Jacko’s lipsync performance on "Man in the Mirror!"  Huzzah!  I remember reading something about what an amazing live performance it was, and I wanted to scream, "He wasn’t singing!"  Another fine Chart Attack, Jason.  I was in the middle of my senior year of high school in January of ’88, so hearing any of these songs on the radio typically gives me pause (well, maybe not the Tiffany or Taylor Dayne).RobEightE1

  • Jeremy

    what a great time in life

  • BD

    The most recent comment on the Taylor Dayne video: "Taylor your eyes make you look always tore up, I suffer from the same problem. All though school the staff thought that I was high everyday."The Bangles version is infinitely superior to the original, akin to Jimi Hendrix covering All Along the Watchtower. Or Manfred Mann’s Blinded by the Light. Or the king of improvement-by-cover-version, Living Colour’s adrenalized take on the mediocre Talking Heads song Memories Can’t Wait.

  • JT

    You are on fi-yah with incorporating the song lyric,  "I don’t know why I like it. I just do." !! That was a fun surprise to read. G-d you’re good!

  • I’m with you – The Bangles version of Hazy Shade of Winter is the better version for me and it is also my favorite song by The Bangles.  Okay, maybe the only song by them I do like.
    What a shame that Need You Tonight was #1 for only one week because that song still sounds just as great today and yes, it just isn’t right to hear it without Mediate.  I have noticed that when XM Radio plays it, they play both songs.
    As for that Whitney song…it always annoyed me because it sounded she was singing that it was shucking what love can do, which made me think:  Yea, love is like corn.

  • Elaine

    Christy, "shucking what love can do" reminds me of when Animotion’s ‘Obsession’ came out.  We always sang it "like a butt fly, a wild butt fly."  Of course we knew it was butterfly, but the woman said butt fly.  What’re you gonna do when the woman’s singing about a butt fly?  I can’t hear the Bangles’ ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’ without thinking about the movie it was from.  Icky.  Poor Jami Gertz.  I’m not sure whether I’ve ever heard the original version of that song.  Anyway, here’s the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZvn4FAR07g  — yes, girls, tv’s ARE scary.

  • JP

    Back in the late eighties and early nineties when she was popular, I thought Taylor Dayne was hot. Just wish she’d ease up on the lipstick.

    After seeing that semi-scary Youtube vid of her singing the Xmas song, my opinion still stands.