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The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
Top 100 Songs of 1986
Derived from Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits

The Bangles; "Greatest Love Of All," Whitney Houston; "The Next Time I Fall," Peter Cetera

1. "That's What Friends Are For".....Dionne & Friends
2. "Walk Like An Egyptian".....Bangles
3. "On My Own".....Patti Labelle & Michael McDonald
4. "The Way It Is".....Bruce Hornsby & The Range
5. "You Give Love A Bad Name".....Bon Jovi
6. "Greatest Love Of All".....Whitney Houston
7. "There'll Be Sad Songs".....Billy Ocean
8. "How Will I Know".....Whitney Houston
9. "Kyrie".....Mr. Mister
10. "Kiss".....Prince & The Revolution
11. "The Next Time I Fall".....Peter Cetera & Amy Grant
12. "Burning Heart".....Survivor
13. "Stuck With You".....Huey Lewis & The News
14. "When I Think Of You".....Janet Jackson
15. "Rock Me Amadeus".....Falco
16. "West End Girls".....Pet Shop Boys
17. "Sledgehammer".....Peter Gabriel
18. "Human".....Human League
19. "Sara".....Starship
20. "Higher Love".....Steve Winwood
21. "Glory Of Love".....Peter Cetera
22. "Everybody Have Fun Tonight".....Wang Chung
23. "Friends And Lovers".....Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson
24. "Conga".....Miami Sound Machine
25. "Secret Lovers".....Atlantic Starr
26. "Live To Tell".....Madonna
27. "Addicted To Love".....Robert Palmer
28. "I Can't Wait".....Nu Shooz
29. "What Have You Done For Me Lately".....Janet Jackson
30. "Venus".....Bananarama
31. "What You Need".....INXS
32. "Take My Breath Away".....Berlin
33. "These Dreams".....Heart
34. "Holding Back The Years".....Simply Red
35. "Walk Of Life".....Dire Straits
36. "Dancing On The Ceiling".....Lionel Richie
37. "Amanda".....Boston
38. "Papa Don't Preach".....Madonna
39. "True Colors".....Cyndi Lauper
40. "Talk To Me".....Stevie Nicks
41. "Mad About You".....Belinda Carlisle
42. "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)".....Glass Tiger
43. "When The Going Gets Tough".....Billy Ocean
44. "Why Can't This Be Love".....Van Halen
45. "Danger Zone".....Kenny Loggins
46. "Crush On You".....The Jets
47. "Hip To Be Square".....Huey Lewis & The News
48. "Manic Monday".....Bangles
49. "I'm Your Man".....Wham!
50. "If You Leave".....Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

"Everybody Have Fun Tonight," Wang Chung; "Danger Zone,"Kenny Loggins; "No One To Blame," Howard Jones

51. "Word Up".....Cameo
52. "Invisible Touch".....Genesis
53. "No One Is To Blame".....Howard Jones
54. "To Be A Lover".....Billy Idol
55. "Throwing It All Away".....Genesis
56. "Your Love".....The Outfield
57. "Something About You".....Level 42
58. "Let's Go All The Way".....Sly Fox
59. "Tonight She Comes".....The Cars
60. "Typical Male".....Tina Turner
61. "Nasty".....Janet Jackson
62. "R.O.C.K. In The USA".....John Cougar Mellencamp
63. "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On".....Robert Palmer
64. "Who's Johnny".....El DeBarge
65. "Two Of Hearts".....Stacey Q
67. "Stand By Me".....Ben E. King
68. "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off".....Jermaine Stewart
69. "Take Me Home Tonight".....Eddie Money
70. "Sweet Freedom".....Michael McDonald
71. "Walk This Way".....Run-D.M.C.
72. "Words Get In The Way".....Miami Sound Machine
73. "Love Touch".....Rod Stewart
74. "All I Need Is A Miracle".....Mike + The Mechanics
75. "Rumors".....Times Social Club
76. "Silent Running".....Mike + The Mechanics
77. "All Cried Out".....Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam w/ Full Force
78. "Don't Get Me Wrong".....Pretenders
79. "Baby Love".....Regina
80. "Spies Like Us".....Paul McCartney
81. "True Blue".....Madonna
82. "Living In America".....James Brown
83. "Take Me Home".....Phil Collins
84. "Dreamtime".....Daryl Hall
85. "Bad Boy".....Miami Sound Machine
86. "Heartbeat".....Don Johnson
87. "Nikita".....Elton John
88. "King For A Day".....Thompson Twins
89. "A Different Corner".....George Michael
90. "Love Will Conquer All".....Lionel Richie
91. "Life In A Northern Town".....The Dream Academy
92. "Go Home".....Stevie Wonder
93. "Sweet Love".....Anita Baker
94. "Your Wildest Dreams".....The Moody Blues
95. "Is It Love".....Mr. Mister
96. "You Should Be Mine".....Jeffrey Osborne
97. "Harlem Shuffle".....Rolling Stones
98. "My Hometown".....Bruce Springsteen
99. "Love Zone".....Billy Ocean
100. "The Rain".....Oran "Juice" Jones

"Word Up," Cameo; "Let's Go All The Way," Sly Fox


1986's Number Ones
(Includes the date the song reached the top of Billboard's Hot 100, and the duration of its stay there.)

"That's What Friends Are For," Dionne and Friends
18 January 1986/4 weeks
Originally penned by Burt Bacharach and  Carole Bayer Sager and recorded by Rod Stewart for the 1982 film Night Shift, this song was presented to Warwick three years later. Warwick and Stevie Wonder were in the studio recording the song as a duet when Sager got the idea to donate the proceeds to AmFar (American Foundation for AIDS Research); Gladys Knight and Elton John were brought on board virtually at the last minute.

"How Will I Know," Whitney Houston
15 February 1986/2 weeks
Songwriters George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam were signed to A&M Records as Boy Meets Girl when they were asked to submit songs for Janet Jackson. Jackson passed on "How Will I Know," but execs at Arista snapped it up for Whitney Houston's debut album as a likely pop crossover hit. Whitney's mother Cissy sang backing vocals, and the song knocked Houston's first cousin Dionne Warwick out of the # 1 spot -- only the third time in the rock era that an artist succeeded a blood relative at the top of the Hot 100.

"Kyrie," Mr. Mister
1 March 1986/2 weeks
Mr. Mister's second # 1 single (the first being "Broken Wings"), "Kyrie" was written a year before it was recorded, while the band was on tour with Adam Ant. Kyrie eleison is Greek for "Lord have mercy."

"Sara," Starship
15 March 1986/1 week
Originally named Jefferson Airplane, this band was formed in 1965 and, in the mid-Seventies was reincarnated as Jefferson Starship. The departure of Paul Kantner in 1984 led to a third name change. In all that time, the band never had a # 1 hit, until Knee Deep in the Hoopla produced two -- this one and "We Built This City."

"These Dreams," Heart
22 March 1986/1 week
After eight albums without a Top 10 hit, Heart was willing to listen to producer Ron Nevison's ideas for crafting a commercial record. For the first time, most of the songs on a Heart album were written by outsiders, in this case Martin Page and Bernie Taupin (who also wrote "We Built This City"). Heart had three consecutive Top 10 hits off the album (Heart), and "These Dreams" was the group's first # 1. It was dedicated to a fan who died of cancer at the age of 21.

"Rock Me Amadeus," Falco
29 March 1986/3 weeks
The Austrian musical prodigy was inspired to write a song about Wolfgang Mozart after watching Milo Forman's film Amadeus. Falco wrote "Der Kommissar" in 1981, which became an American chart hit for the British band After the Fire. "Rock Me Amadeus" was followed by another Top 20 song for Falco, "Vienna Calling."

"Kiss," Prince
19 April 1986/2 week
When "Kiss" hit the top of the Hot 100, Prince became the fifth songwriter to hold that chart's top two positions simultaneously; # 2 that week was "Manic Monday," performed by The Bangles but written by "Christopher" -- one of several Prince pseudonyms.

"Addicted To Love," Robert Palmer
3 May 1986/1 week
This was Palmer's first # 1 hit -- and it was almost a duet with Chaka Khan. They recorded the song together, but later her management decided against the project and her vocals were erased. The lyrics, according to Palmer (who wrote the tune), address the problems of an addictive personality.

"West End Girls," Pet Shop Boys
10 May 1986/1 week
This song became a hit in 1984 in Belgium and France, but failed to chart in Britain. The following year, the Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe), went back to the studio and recorded a new version, which soared to the top of the charts in both the UK and the U.S.

"Greatest Love Of All," Whitney Houston
17 May 1986/3 weeks
Originally written for a film about Muhammad Ali entitled The Greatest, this song was one of those performed by Houston during her audition for Clive Davis, president of Arista Records. It was done by George Benson on the soundtrack and issued as a single, but did not chart. On the B side of Houston's "You Give Good Love," the tune was never pegged as a single, but extensive radio airplay changed all that -- and Houston had three # 1 songs from her debut album, a first for a female solo artist.

"Live To Tell," Madonna
7 June 1986/1 week
Written by Patrick Leonard -- musical director for the Virgin tour -- and Madonna, this song was intended initially for the soundtrack of a movie called Fire With Fire. But Paramount Pictures passed on the tune, and Madonna arranged for it to be included in the score of boyfriend Sean Penn's film, At Close Range. "Live To Tell" was the fifth single to hit # 1 without being available on an album, and was Madonna's second chart-topper from a movie (the first being "Crazy For You" from Vision Quest.)

"On My Own," Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald
14 June 1986/2 weeks
Another # 1 hit from the songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and wife Carole Bayer Sager. After Patti LaBelle's producer Richard Perry failed to cut a track he liked, Bacharach and Sager produced it themselves. After LaBelle put her vocals on, Sager thought it would be a perfect song for a duet. Warner Brothers allowed Michael McDonald to add his vocals since "On My Own" wasn't intended as a single. Both the vocals and the subsequent video were done without LaBelle and McDonald ever actually working together.

"There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)," Billy Ocean
5 July 1986/1 week
Released before Ocean's second Jive Records album, Love Zone, reached the record stores, this tune became the artist's fifth Top 5 single in 20 months, and his second chart-topper -- the first being "Caribbean Queen" in 1984. With his collaborators Barry Eastmond and Wayne Brathwaite, Ocean wrote eight of the nine tracks on the album; four of them became Top 20 songs.

"Holding Back The Years," Simply Red
12 July 1986/1 week
Mick Hucknall wrote this song when he was 19 -- seven years before it became a chart-topper. Though the band's soulful sound did not endear it to the British press, Simply Red impressed people in the American soul music scene; the band was asked to open for James Brown, and Diana Ross requested that Hucknall write a song for her next album.

"Invisible Touch," Genesis
19 July 1986/1 week
Incredibly, past and present members of Genesis accounted for seven of the Hot 100 songs in the last week of July, 1986, as either artists or producers. Aside from "Invisible Touch" there was Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and the Phil Collins-produced hit "No One Is To Blame" by Howard Jones, there was Collins' "Take Me Home" and Mike Rutherford's two singles, "All I Need Is A Miracle" and "Taken In." The seventh was Steve Hackett and GTR's "When The Heart Rules The Mind." The Invisible Touch album produced five Top 10 songs, including two # 3's ("Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" and "In Too Deep") and two # 4's ("Throwing It All Away" and "Land Of Confusion").

"Sledgehammer," Peter Gabriel
26 July 1986/1 week
Written, according to Gabriel, as a salute to the '60s soul that had so inspired him as a teenager, "Sledgehammer" featured a brass section led by Wayne Jackson, whom Gabriel had seen perform, twenty years earlier, in South London's Ram Jam Club. Gabriel decided that very night that he "wanted to be a musician for life."

"Glory Of Love," Peter Cetera
2 August 1986/2 weeks
Peter Cetera had been with Chicago for 18 years, and penned both the band's chart-toppers ("If You Leave Me Now" and "Hard To Say I'm Sorry"), when he set out on a solo career. His wife Diane Nini helped him finish "Glory Of Love," which was chosen for The Karate Kid II soundtrack.

"Papa Don't Preach," Madonna
16 August 1986/2 weeks
Madonna knew she had a controversial song on her hands with "Papa Don't Preach," the story of an unwed and pregnant teenager, and she was right. The Pro-Life League adopted the song as its anthem, while pro-choice advocates criticized the artist for its message. Co-writer Brian Elliot commented that if Madonna influenced young girls to keep their babies, what was so bad about that?

"Higher Love," Steve Winwood
30 August 1986/1 week
Winwood and songwriter Will Jennings had collaborated on four songs for the former's second solo album, Arc of a Diver (1980), including the # 7 hit "While You See A Chance." On Back in the High Life, the two men wrote five of the eight tracks, including this, the first single. Chaka Khan provided backing vocals, while her drummer, John Robinson, provided the distinctive acoustic drums.

"Venus," Bananarama
6 September 1986/1 week
The original version, by the Dutch group Shocking Blue, was a # 1 hit in 1970, and it was one of the songs Siobahn Fahey, Keren Wood and Sarah Dallin would perform when they first started rehearsing together. The song was produced by the hitmakers Matt Aitkin, Mike Stock and Pete Waterman, who had produced hits by Dead or Alive and Rick Astley. "Venus" was only the fourth song of the rock era to be # 1 twice by two different artists.

"Take My Breath Away," Berlin
13 September 1986/1 week
This song won an Oscar for Best Original Song, and was the second tune written by Giorgio Morodor and Tom Whitlock for the film Top Gun. (The other was "Danger Zone," performed by Kenny Loggins; it peaked at # 2 on the Hot 100.) "Take My Breath Away" was Berlin's only hit song -- the group was always more interested in doing more album-oriented rock.

"Stuck With You," Huey Lewis and the News
20 September 1986/3 weeks
After the huge success of their Sports album, Huey Lewis and the News felt intense pressure to come up with another hit or two. After listening to six months worth of work on new material, manager Bob Brown told the group that they still didn't have that hit song. Lead guitarist Chris Hayes went home and wrote the music for "Stuck With You" in just a few hours, and the News had another chart-topper on their hands.

"When I Think Of You," Janet Jackson
11 October 1986/2 weeks
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, formerly of the Time (until Prince fired them), had written the tunes used on Janet Jackson's Control album even before they were signed on to produce it. The songs had originally been intended for the debut solo effort of Atlantic Starr vocalist Sharon Bryant. But Bryant thought the tracks weren't right for her. The first five singles from Control made it into the Top Five. Janet and Michael Jackson became the first siblings to both have solo # 1 singles.

"True Colors," Cyndi Lauper
25 October 1986/2 weeks
Lauper's first album had produced four consecutive Top Five songs in 1984, so the pressure was on when she went into the studio to create her sophomore album, True Colors. Written by the team of Tom Kelly and Billy Steinberg, who had penned Madonna's # 1, "Like A Virgin," "True Colors" was the only song on the album that Lauper didn't have a hand in writing. Kelly and Steinberg had previously pitched the tune to Kenny Rogers and Anne Murray.

"Amanda," Boston
8 November 1986/2 weeks
It took Boston six years to complete their third album, Third Stage -- so long, in fact, that CBS (which owned Epic Records) sued the band for breach of contract. A bootleg version of "Amanda" -- which was actually written by the band's founder, Tom Scholz, in 1980 -- circulated two or three years before the album was released.

"Human," Human League
22 November 1986/1 week
Dissatisfied after working for nine months with British producer Colin Thurston, Human League switched to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (see "When I Think Of You," above). Band member Phil Oakey wrote six of the ten songs on the Crash album, but it was Jimmy and Terry who penned "Human" -- a song that gave Human League their second chart-topper, four years after the first #1, "Don't You Want Me."

"You Give Love A Bad Name," Bon Jovi
29 November 1986/1 week
For their third album, Slippery When Wet, the New Jersey-based band turned to Loverboy producer Bruce Fairbairn and songwriter Desmond Child, who collaborated with band members Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora to pen this, the first release from the album, and the group's first chart-topper.

"The Next Time I Fall," Peter Cetera & Amy Grant
6 December 1986/1 week
Peter Cetera had two # 1 hits with his first two singles as a post-Chicago solo artist, the second this ballad written by Bobby Caldwell and Paul Gordon. The decision to make it a duet with Christian singer Amy Grant was a calculated career move that paid off, big time -- and launched Grant as a viable pop artist.

"The Way It Is," Bruce Hornsby and the Range
13 December 1986/1 week
Bruce Hornsby never thought his music would interest the major record labels. And he didn't thnk "The Way It Is," one of the four songs on the demo tape that sold RCA on the band, was hit single material. He was wrong on both counts. In fact, though the band would have great success throughout the late Eighties, this would be their only chart-topper.

"Walk Like An Egyptian," Bangles
20 December 1986/4 weeks
The third release from the Different Light album became, according to Billboard, the # 1 single for the year 1987. It was also the girl band's first of two chart-toppers. (The other was "Eternal Flame.")


1986's Top 50 in the UK
* Number One songs

The Communards, Mel & Kim, Berlin

1. "Don't Leave Me This Way," The Communards*
2. "Every Loser Wins," Nick Berry*
3. "I Want To Wake Up With You," Boris Gardiner*
4. "Living Doll," Cliff Richard & The Young Ones*
5. "Chain Reaction," Diana Ross*
6. "The Lady In Red," Chris De Burgh*
7. "When The Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going)," Billy Ocean*
8. "Papa Don't Preach," Madonna*
9. "Take My Breath Away," Berlin*
10. ""So Macho"/"Cruising," Sinitta
11. "True Blue," Madonna
12. "A Different Corner," George Michael*
13. "Rock Me Amadeus," Falco*
14. "We Don't Have To," Jermaine Stewart
15. "Spirit In The Sky," Dr & The Medics*
16. "The Final Countdown," Europe*
17. ""Real Petite (The Sweetest Girl In Town)," Jackie Wilson*
18. "Rain Or Shine," Five Star
19. "Caravan Of Love," The Housemartins*
20. "The Chicken Song," Spitting Image*
21. "The Sun Always Shines on T.V.," a-ha*
22. "On My Own," Patti LaBelle * Michael McDonald
23. "Walk Like An Egyptian," The Bangles
24. "In The Army Now," Status Quo
25. "Lesson In Love," Level 42
26. "Glory Of Love," Peter Cetera
27. "The Edge Of Heaven," Wham!*
28. "Sledgehammer," Peter Gabriel
29. "All I Ask Of You," Cliff Richard & Sarah Brightman
30. "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)," Samantha Fox
31. "Wonderful World," Sam Cooke
32. "A Kind Of Magic," Queen
33. "Holding Back The Years," Simply Red
34. "You Keep Me Hangin' On," Kim Wilde
35. "Let's Go All The Way," Sly Fox
36. "Word Up," Cameo
37. "Manic Monday," The Bangles
38. "I Can't Wait," Nu Shooz
39. "My Favourite Waste Of Time," Owen Paul
40. "You Can Call Me Al," Paul Simon
41. "Livin' On A Prayer," Bon Jovi
42. "Sometimes," Erasure
43. "Showing Out," Mel & Kim
44. "I Just Died In Your Arms," Cutting Crew
45. "You To Me Are Everything," The Real Thing
46. "Happy Hour," The Housemartins
47. "Starting Together," Su Pollard
48. "Thorn In My Side," The Eurythmics
49. "The Walk Of Life," Dire Straits
50. "Borderline," Madonna