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CHART ATTACK! #38: 7/1/89

Hi hi hi hi hi!  Welcome back to another fun-filled CHART ATTACK!  This week we’re heading back up to the end of the ’80s – July 1, 1989!

10.  I’ll Be Loving You (Forever) – New Kids On The Block  Amazon iTunes
9.  Miss You Like Crazy – Natalie Cole  Amazon iTunes
8.  I Drove All Night – Cyndi Lauper  Amazon iTunes
7.  This Time I Know It’s For Real – Donna Summer  Amazon iTunes
6.  Express Yourself – Madonna  Amazon iTunes
5.  If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red  Amazon iTunes
4.  Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry  Amazon iTunes
3.  Satisfied – Richard Marx  Amazon iTunes
2.  Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals  Amazon iTunes
1.  Baby Don’t Forget My Number – Milli Vanilli  Amazon iTunes

10.  I’ll Be Loving You (Forever) – New Kids On The Block

I know at least three women who can say their first concert was New Kids On The Block, including my wife – who, like the rest, spent most of the concert screeching at these five douchebags.  Every time I give her my "I’m disgusted with you" look over this fact, she reminds me that my first concert was Air Supply.  Whatever.  I was eight.

Listening to this song again, I’m reminded that they really were the white version of New Edition.  And they actually did have some talent – I don’t know who’s singing lead on this one (okay, yes I do, it’s Jordan, and I’ve always known that, and I hate myself), but he’s singing 98% of the song in falsetto and it’s really not that bad.

If you can’t remember how batshit everyone went over NKOTB back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, here’s the video so you can remind yourself.  Lots of shots of the guys engaging in some innocent activities with the ladies – shooting pool, eating pizza, etc.  I always thought it would have been funny to have one really quick shot of Donnie banging one of ’em from behind.


9.  Miss You Like Crazy – Natalie Cole 

Y’know, I have nothing against Natalie Cole, but it doesn’t get much more boring than "Miss You Like Crazy."  With bland lyrics like "I can see the love shining in your eyes," my mind starts to wander, and I wind up thinking about how much more interesting this song would be if she were a deranged stalker singing to a framed picture of Billy Dee Williams.  Maybe the last chorus is sung while she’s in an orange jumpsuit, being dragged backwards to her cell while the backs of her heels are dragging in the dirt.

What the hell is wrong with me?

8.  I Drove All Night – Cyndi Lauper (download)

This is the third time a tune by the songwriting duo of Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly has made a CHART ATTACK! appearance: the duo wrote "Like A Virgin" and "Eternal Flame," two songs we’ve covered before.  "I Drove All Night" was written with Roy Orbison in mind, and the duo actually succeeded in getting Orbison to record a demo with them; however, at the time, Orbison didn’t have a record contract, so there was no way for the song to be officially released.  Steinberg and Kelly passed the song on to Lauper, who had previously worked with the duo on her hit song "True Colors."  It was included on her album A Night To Remember, and peaked at #6.

I’m not a huge fan of Cyndi Lauper, but I do like this song – I appreciate the fact that she chose to sing it in her lower register, which wasn’t really where the money was, so to speak.


The Roy Orbison version is pretty good too, actually – completed by Jeff Lynne (as if you couldn’t tell from that snare drum) after his death.  And hey, the video features Jason Priestley and Jennifer Connelly.  I imagine at some point, this was a really big deal.


Of course, I suppose I need to mention the fact that Steinberg also wrote "Falling Into You" for Celine Dion, and when Chrysler was looking for a theme song for their campaign with her, he suggested "I Drove All Night."  You can find that video on your own.  I don’t enable readers when looking for Celine Dion videos.

7.  This Time I Know It’s For Real – Donna Summer 

You’re forgiven if, the first time you hear this, you go, "hey! Rick Astley!"  (Video here if you want to hear the song.)  After all, the song was written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, the Europop powerhouse trio that were responsible for the success of both Astley and Kylie Minogue.  Summer has always been smart enough to associate herself with successful writers and producers, and going to the S/A/W team was yet another wise move: this song gave Summer her first first Top 10 on the Hot 100 in six years.  She has yet to repeat that kind of success, although let’s give her credit for the 13 top 10 hits in her arsenal (including two that jumped 37 spots in a week’s time), and a staggering 14 singles at #1 on the Dance charts. (Not all at once, although wouldn’t that be really cool?)

6.  Express Yourself – Madonna 

It’s official: Madonna fans have absolutely nothing better to do but write the most detailed Wikipedia entries known to man.  So I invite you to check out the Wiki if you’d like to know why the song was only released as a max-single in France.  In the meantime, I’ll just say that like most of the songs on Like A Prayer (and I’ve already discussed how much I love that album), "Express Yourself" ranks among Madonna’s best, and it’s also one of her most powerful.  I feel like this is the vibe she was going for on "Music," which wasn’t nearly as effective.

5.  If You Don’t Know Me By Now – Simply Red 

This is a really good cover – Mick Hucknall doesn’t have anything on Teddy Pendergrass (who sang lead on the original, by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes), but he gives the song the passion it demands, and the ’80s blue-eyed soul sound of Simply Red works quite well.  That being said, I always seem to flip the station when this comes on the radio.  I tend to forget that it’s under four minutes long – I could have sworn that it clocked in at around six.

I also would have accepted a cover of this song by Natalie Cole.  You will never, never, never know me, Lando.

4.  Buffalo Stance – Neneh Cherry (download)

I love "Buffalo Stance."  I think the chorus is irresistable, especially the synth part.  I don’t know what a "buffalo stance" is and I don’t care.  I just feel like we should have given Neneh Cherry another chance at success.  Anybody who names an album Raw Like Sushi deserves more than one hit.  Instead, we got her freakin’ brother, Eagle Eye.  "Save Tonight" is another one of those annoying songs my college roommate would play 10 times in a row until I begged him to put on Chumbawumba or anything else.  They still play it at the gym, for reasons beyond me.

I think the director for "Buffalo Stance" probably called in sick on the day of the video shoot, and they just said, "fuck it, just put her in front of a green screen."


3.  Satisfied – Richard Marx 

Love this song.  I’m not going to defend my enjoyment of Richard Marx to you guys again.  (Actually, I was about to do it, but then I remembered I already defended him back in November.)   I’ll repeat, however, my belief that the man knows how to write a good hook – as evidenced by "Satisfied," which had topped the charts the week prior to this one.

So, you wanna hear a good Richard Marx story?  Too bad, I’m telling you anyway.  He told this one in concert last year.  (Yes, I went.  I took my mother.  Stop laughing.  We’re seeing Air Supply next month.)  So "Satisfied" was the first single off his highly successful sophomore effort, Repeat Offender.  While Marx was preparing for the tour, his management was figuring out how much money they could make in merchandising.  Marx came up with some ideas for products, but his greatest idea was, unfortunately, nixed: women’s panties with the words "Repeat Offender" on the back, and a photo of the back of his mullet on the front.  Heh!

2.  Good Thing – Fine Young Cannibals 

And the award for Least Accurate Title goes to this song.  Because "Good Thing" is, in fact, a very, very bad thing.  The beat and melody may have been somewhat unconventional, and certainly didn’t sound like anything else coming out of 1989, but that’s no excuse for the song reaching the #1 spot the week after this one.  No excuse at all.  Why did we let Roland Gift get away with singing like this?  At one point, he actually sounds like Jimmy Fallon when he tries to impersonate Barry Gibb.

On the bright side, I never have to say another word about Fine Young Cannibals again, since we pissed all over dissected "She Drives Me Crazy" a few months ago.  At the time, I said, "At least it’s not ‘Good Thing.’"  So there you go.

1.  Baby Don’t Forget My Number – Milli Vanilli 

You only have yourself to blame, Chart Attackers.  You helped Milli Vanilli reach the top of the charts.  Even if you didn’t buy the album or the singles, you know somebody who did.  (My friend Michele made a big poster out of oak tag dedicated to Milli Vanilli in 7th grade.)  Don’t be too hard on them, though: we were all fooled.  "Baby Don’t Forget My Number" was a catchy song, and the fact that they were complete poseurs does not take away from that, at least for me.  And that’s all I’m going to say on Milli Vanilli for the moment; let’s just say that a very special post is on the horizon.

That’ll do it for this time!  Thanks for reading, and see you next week for another CHART ATTACK!

  • mike

    Neneh Cherry actually has impeccable art-punk credentials – her dad is avant-jazz saxophonist Don Cherry, she was in a late version of The Slits, and she married a member of Bristol post-punkers the Pop Group. 

  • Steinberg/Kelly released an album in the early 80s under the band name i-Ten, which features a few songs that went on to be covered by other artists. Most notably, hearing a male take on Heart’s Alone is a surprise.

  • She was also in The Nails (i.e., "Home of the Brave" and "88 Lines about 44 Women" fame). 
    Newsflash!  I went to her website and found this on her bio page:
    "As a kid Neneh would make mud pies with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich while staying in Copenhagen, as a teen she prepared dinner with her mom when Youssou N’Dour came over to play at a Swedish barn happening. So what ever she did, music was a constant in Neneh’s life.Between travels, Neneh flirted briefly with the "pseudo-ska-punk" outfit The Nails, playing bass and singing backup on songs…"

  • thefax

    Neneh Cherry also sang for Pop Group offshoot Rip Rig and Panic, probably most famous in the US from “You’re My Kind of Climate”, usually known here as “the song they perform on The Young Ones.

    FWIW, “Buffalo Stance” is a response to Malcolm McLaren’s “Buffalo Girls”–McLaren imagines girls herding, like buffalo; Cherry flips the image and makes the “buffalo stance” a gesture of defiance in reation to the wack menfolk trying to mack on them.

    All of which is to say that Nenah is fabulously cool and she should have had Madonna’s career.

    Miscellany: I’d no idea “Good Thing” made it to #1; the 12″ remixes of FYC songs from this era are better than the originals, which is never a good sign.

    This seems to have been “don’t call it a comeback” week, with Lauper, Summer, and Simply Red returning after prolonged chart absences.

    Milli Vanilli were horrid, but their impact on popular music was substantial: I argue that the MV lipsync scandal reintroduced popular appeal for musical “authenticity”, which lead to, among other things, the emergence of “alternative music” and grunge as commercially distinct and viable genres; MTV unplugged; and the return of acts like Dylan, Neil Young, and Yes to their “roots”, which meant a turn away from the heavily synthesized sounds of their 80s albums. Discuss.

  • Simply Red’s version of that song has nothing on David Brent’s.(Note that these guys think it’s a Simply Red original.)

  • I’d always heard about that version of "If You Don’t Know Me by Now," but I’d never seen it.  Thanks, Beau.  I need to rent the British Office.

    Simply Red hadn’t been gone from the charts for that long: although "Holding Back the Years" was their only Top 10 hit (and #1) before "If You Don’t Know Me by Now," their 1987 album Men and Women did have the Top 40 hit "The Right Thing," and 1985’s Picture Book put "Money$ Too Tight (To Mention)," another cover song, into the Top 40 in the summer of ’86 after "Holding Back the Years" had peaked.  Don’t make me unleash a Complete Idiot’s Guide to Simply Red on all of you!

    I still don’t get the Fine Young Cannibals backlash.  I love ’em.

  • Tony Billoni

    I would’ve driven all night for some 1990 Jennifer Connelly, oh, yeah.  Those 90210 boys don’t know how good they had it!
    Also, Roy’s version is on his posthumously-released "King of Hearts" album, which is excellent.  It’s where you also can find his duet of "Crying" with kd lang.

  • bedheaded

    I remember Orbison’s "I Drove All Night" video, and I remember that whenever it played on MTV it said it was from an album of songs "Inspired by Nintendo" or something like that.  It was pretty confusing, because for the life of me I couldn’t understand how Roy or the supple Ms. Connelly had anything to do with Mario or Luigi.  This, apparently, was one of the first attempts that those geniuses on Madison Ave. made at releasing albums "Inspired By" some TV show, movie, etc. that seemed to have absolutely no logical relation to the "inspiration" in question (gosh…I guess they were just trying to sell some records or something…)


    Anyone remember Trixter?  Me neither.

  • Elaine

    Rob and Fab got a bum rap. Yes, their success was based on a ruse, as far as vocals, but their personas and audience rapport were a huge part of the MV popularity. And that’s not to be discounted. This isn’t even to mention the fact that the whole system is corrupt and full of various lies worse than their secret (at the time). They took 100% of the blame for a situation they didn’t even create, and neither was strong enough to plant their feet and spread the word. If I can understand it, then the people who cowered and let them be unfairly treated know it, too.

    thefax: good hypothesis. I bet it would pan out if we did the research.

  • Anything with Jennifer Connelly is a good thing. Back then, she was know as that girl from “The Rocketeer” and little else.

  • Dw Dunphy

    I did not know "I Drove All Night" actually charted. It’s a good song but, as you’d expect, I prefer Orbison’s version. Might I also add that I’d give up my left nut just so I could give my right nut to Jennifer Connelly? No? Too late! DwD

  • J

    I have the first two seasons of 90210 on DVD (hang head in shame, right?) And I have to say, that car Priestly’s driving in the video looks like the one from the show.  I wonder how they did that?

  • Bob

    The first time I heard Cyndi Lauper sing “I Drove All Night” was on the Letterman show shortly after its release. Even after all these years, I remember that she absolutely nailed the song and that I was shocked at how huge her voice was.

  • I do like that Milli Vanilli theory. Now whenever some hair-metal frontman blames his downfall on Nirvana and grunge, we can say, “Actually, it’s Milli Vanilli’s fault. But don’t blame them. They were pawns.” But they wanted that money, so they don’t deserve too much pity. Still, Frank Fabian, their producer, might as well be nicknamed “Faust Fucker.”

    Jason, you fucking dick! Always naysaying the Fine Young Cannibals! And here you are defending Richard Marx again! Sorry, but that pussy joke he told in concert in front of your mom is unacceptable. Shame shame, Mr. Marx.

    I’d forgotten that Jordan wears a huge “Batman” T-shirt in that New Kids video. Who didn’t have some sort of “Batman” T-shirt that summer? And when does “Batdance” appear in the Top 10? Later in July? I talked to a friend’s girlfriend last night about how she used to work at a jazz club in Minneapolis where Prince would eat and sometimes play with the house band. She said he’s as tiny and as eccentric as you would think. She even got invited back to Paisley Park by his handlers a few times but was too exhausted/annoyed after serving his entourage and putting straws in his wine glass to want to go.

    I loved the Donnie Wahlberg and Natalie Cole jokes, by the way. And I love “Miss You Like Crazy,” but I realize I can’t defend it.

    Anyone else seen Jennifer Connelly in “The Hot Spot”? Yowzah! It did take a long time for her career to take off, but I respect that she’s an Oscar-winning actress who will still take her clothes off if the part calls for it (or doesn’t). I salute you, Ms. Connelly. And Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman too. Linda Hunt, you’re on my shit list!

    The Top 40 station in Macon, GA, used to play the album version of “Express Yourself,” which featured horns, instead of the version heard in the video. Boo! I had to wait until I borrowed a friend’s copy of “The Immaculate Collection” so that I could have the horn-less remix on tape. But now I like both versions.

  • Jeremy

    Maybe it was just a happy time in college where everything I seemed to do created memories or experiences that seemed to go on forever, but something made me like the New Kids, Richard Marx, the Fine Young Cannibals, and Milli Vanilli. They were all good in their unique way. I was always hoping the band and vocals behind Rob and Fab would put out some more music. 
    Music always seems to be better when life is good and this was one time in life where it was definitely good. Trying to be objective, would I like it today as an almost 40 yr old guy with wife and kids. I like to think so. But the big question is would I like crap like Britney Spears if I was in college now or if she had arrived 20 years ago. No way. The crap that is top 40 music now is the worst in the past 10 years if you look at the entire history of music. I think my generation got on the back end of what was a great 40 year run of pop music and culture.
    As for 90210, as goofy as I may seem for still liking some of the music of that era, that show was horrible. The only time I ever watched it was when Valerie came on the scene and I would just watch it with the sound down. Nothing worse then a drop dead gorgeous girl killing the fantasy by talking or having to listen to the guys that got to bang her.

  • I now like “Buffalo Stance.” It only took 18 years.

  • KRL

    Yuck..In 89 I sold all of this stuff at Record Town in the mall..Where’s DIno? Every one came in looking for Milli Vanilli..I knew something was up here.. We used to have to play the crappy tapes that were sent from the Corp office to play over the store stero..We have the alt tape a ride as it had the new Cure Album, The Ramones, and the Godfathers…Plus we used to crack open a few cassettes and confuse the shoppers with Herb Alperts Whipped Cream and Other Delights
    I did meet my wife there 18 Years ago…Still going strong…I’ll be Loing you Forevvverrr…Just as long as you wnat me to    BEEE

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  • ‘"Why did we let Roland Gift get away with singing like this?  At one point, he actually sounds like Jimmy Fallon when he tries to impersonate Barry Gibb."
    Will someone bring me a towel for my keyboard please??  This shit made me laugh out loud.  So glad I found this site.  Mellow-Rock on, dude.