Tag Archives: Simply Red

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?





19 Nov

That’s a word that has been stuck in my mind, and I don’t know why. It keeps shooting around in my brain like a pinball, and, each time it hits a bumper, another question pops up. What does it mean? Does it really exist? Why do we hear it so often?

Here in the United States, people see freedom as one of the foundations of the nation’s structure. Freedom of Speech. Freedom of the Press. People fight to protect our freedom. Freedom is everywhere, but, then again, it’s not. People are not free from responsibilities. People are not free to pack up anytime they want and move. People are not free to drive on the left side of the road.

Some people say that our freedoms are being taken away because religion has been taken out of schools. Those same people believe that women should not be free to have an abortion. Can we pick and choose our freedoms? Who decides what freedoms are right?

Some people say that freedom used to exist but has been slowly eroded. They look into history to prove that the good old days were filled with something that has been lost. Often, they will point to my area of study, the American West, and use cowboys as examples. They had the freedom to get on their horses and ride the plains. They didn’t have a care in the world except where they were going to camp for the night.

Guess what. They weren’t free either. Cowboys worked difficult jobs for little pay. They would have done another job if they could have gotten the work. Cowboys didn’t have freedom. They had paychecks.

I don’t know what freedom is, but I know the following:

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose – written by Kris Kristofferson and famously sung by Janis Joplin

Freedom is defined as the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action – Merriam-Webster

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction – Ronald Reagan

A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – Jim Morrison

Nobody can give you freedom – Malcolm X

Freedom lies in being bold – Robert Frost

Punk is musical freedom – Kurt Cobain

Freedom to joke; Freedom to hope; Freedom to win; Freedom to be in – Simply Red

Freedom, that’s just some people talking. Your prison is walking through this world all alone – The Eagles

So, what is freedom? I reckoin freedom is being able to put all of that in a blog post.