The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1986

12 Apr

The summer of 1986 felt different from those that came before. It was between my junior and senior years of high school, and I sensed that one part of my life was going away and making room for a new one. If other people get that feeling, then I guess it would come the summer after graduation. However, the transition would then be complete.

The summer of 1986 was my last as a high schooler. I did the same things. Only, it felt like I was doing them for the last time under mantle of teenager with no responsibilities.

With all that begin written, what was the soundtrack of 1986?1986

January hit the calendar, and “Say You, Say Me” by Lionel Richie was still at the top. It would be followed by twenty-nine other songs. That, dear readers, is a lot of turnover.

For four weeks, Dionne and Friends dominated with “That’s What Friends Are For”. Obviously, Dionne was Dionne Warwick. Friends included Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder.

Dionne was knocked from the top of the charts by her cousin, Whitney Houston, who sang “How Will I Know”.

Next, “Kyrie” by Mr. Mister claimed Number One and stayed there for a couple of weeks.

Jefferson Airplane, er, Jefferson Starship, er, Starship hit the summit with “Sara”. They did not stay there long. It could be that no one ever figured out who recorded the song.

That opened the door for “These Dreams” by Heart. However, the could not hold off the juggernaut that dominated pop culture in March and April. “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco zoomed the trop and had people asking, “Who is this Amadeus dude?”

Prince and the Revolution were able to conquer the one hit wonder with “Kiss”, a song that is not about Gene Simmons and the gang.

“Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer had an awesome video that was supposedly inspired by Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets”.

The next Number One was supposedly inspired by T.S. Eliot. I must admit that “West End Girls” by Pet Shop Boys was one of my favorites.

“Went End Girls” could not stand up to the vocal force that was Whitney Houston. She had her second Number One of the year with “Greatest Love of All”.

“Greatest Love of All” could not stand up to the all around force that was Madonna. She hit the top with “Live to Tell”.

It would take two people to knock Madonna out of the box. Those two people were Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald with “On My Own”. A couple of years ago, we saw Michael McDonald in concert, and we were able to meet him before the show. You would have thought that my wife had seen the greatest person in the world. She just about freaked out.

“There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry” by Billy Ocean started a string of songs that could only hold on for a week. Next, there was “Holding Back the Years” by Simply Red. Then, there was “Invisible Touch” by Genesis.

Ironically, Genesis lost the top spot to Peter Gabriel, who used to be a member of Genesis. Honestly, I think “Sledgehammer” made it to Number One because of its video.

Peter Cetera, who had also been a member of a famous band, broke the one week chain by having “Glory of Love” stay on top for two weeks. Unfortunately for Peter, Madonna was waiting in the wings with “Papa Don’t Preach”.

Then, there was the teenage prodigy turn grownup genius named Steve Winwood. “Higher Love” took him as high up the charts as he could go.

How in the world could a group called Bananarama replace somebody like Steve Winwood? Well, they did with “Venus”. They did not stay long before being knocked into outer space by “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin.

Berlin fell to Huey Lewis and the News and “Stuck with You”. Of course, they were old news by the time Janet Jackson sang “When I Think of You”.

“True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper was special song. In fact, it was special enough that it became the theme to our Senior Night an entire year after it left the charts. How up to date were our planners?

Boston sang about “Amanda”, and The Human League sang about “Human”. I think Amanda was a human. However, I am certain that Bon Jovi thought “You Give Love a Bad Name”.

Peter Cetera came back with “The Next Time I Fall”. This time he had a partner in Amy Grant. I wonder if she was singing about Vince Gill.

“The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and the Range hit the top in December but did not stay for long.

The year of 1986 ended with everyone wanting to do like The Bangles and “Walk Like an Egyptian”. I did not want to walk like that, but I wanted to meet The Bangles girl with the big brown eyes.

Those were the top songs of 1986. Did you have any favorites from that year?




11 Responses to “The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1986”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong April 12, 2015 at 02:53 #

    You can really differentiate the generations by their music. When I was 16 and graduating from high school, it was all Joan Baez and Pete Seeger and the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals. As I type this, we’re watching the two-parter documentary on TCM on Sinatra. It’s more Garry’s generation than mine, but there’s a crossover. I think you and my son are the same age, or close, anyway. The year he was born — 1969 — was MY favorite year.

    • Rick April 12, 2015 at 03:02 #

      I’m watching the Sinatra show. I was born in 1968. It’s interesting to see how music is different through time.

      • Marilyn Armstrong April 12, 2015 at 03:06 #

        Interesting to me, too, that I like some of this stuff a lot more now than it did when it was new. Taste definitely changes.

  2. Andrew Petcher April 12, 2015 at 08:21 #

    My favourite in that list was Bruce Hornsby – I still play the album now and again.

    • Rick April 12, 2015 at 13:31 #

      It’s a good one. I saw his son play college basketball this year.

  3. sittingpugs April 12, 2015 at 15:39 #

    1986 was quite a year. I wonder how many people hadn’t heard of Prince’s “Kiss” or even liked it all that much until after Julia Roberts sang to it in Pretty Woman.

    • Rick April 12, 2015 at 15:55 #

      True. I wonder how many people knew there was a song called Pretty Woman.

  4. Bantering Ram April 13, 2015 at 08:00 #

    I love the Bruce Hornsby & The Range album. And their following one, “Scenes From The Southside”. Hornsby went on to play with The Grateful Dead for a while, produce and record music that was quite away from the signature sound of his early albums with The Range.

    • Rick April 13, 2015 at 12:34 #

      I didn’t know about his work with the Dead. I know that he put out a bunch of good songs.

      • Bantering Ram April 13, 2015 at 12:53 #

        He stood in for their keyboard/piano player at that time (I forget the name) who had died.


  1. The Soundtrack of My Youth – 1987 | Surrounded By Imbeciles - April 14, 2015

    […] you have it. The years of 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 were my time in high school, and the songs in these posts were the Number One hits of my […]

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