Sunday, June 10, 2007


Ken "Ringwood" Lowery has tagged me with a meme. Hey, I don't have any better ideas lined up for the weekend, so here we go!

1. Go to
2. Find the year you turned 18.
3. Pick a random selection of hit songs from that year, and wax nostalgic on them.
3a. Special Ken Addendum: Heap scorn on a bunch of songs. Because most of them are worth no more than that. (Fine by me!)
I feel like I've done something similar to this before, but I can't find it in the archives. Sorry if I'm repeating myself.

First of all, that website is busy. Makes my eyes cross. A little less clutter, folks! I finally found the list I was looking for here: 1988 Hits. My #1 reaction to seeing this list: this was why I was getting into '60s and '70s music (Beatles, Doors, Hendrix, Floyd, Zeppelin, etc.) at the end of high school -- all the contemporary music sucked.

Here's the top ten:

1. "What A Wonderful World" -- Louis Armstrong

Stop. I call bullshit. I refuse to believe that this 1967 tune, great as it may be, was the biggest hit of 1988. I concede, following some research, the song achieved a revival in popularity due to the Good Morning, Vietnam soundtrack... but #1? Not a chance. How exactly was this list assembled? The website claims these are the "Most Requested Music Hits of 1988." What does that mean? Requested by whom? Of whom? By what authority is this claim made? This is so absurd, I almost want to quit right here. But, like I said, I've got nothing else. So....

2. "It Takes Two" -- Rob Base & E-Z Rock


3. "Da Butt" -- EU

What? I didn't listen to a lot of 1988 pop music, but I don't even know what the hell these two songs are. And I doubt they were #2 and #3 on any list.

4. "Pour Some Sugar On Me" -- Def Leppard

Ahhh. This seems more likely. This song has tremendous staying power among a very narrow, specific target group. Or, as I said recently at a poker game when this song came on the radio: "It feels weird listening to this when I'm not getting a lap dance." (That was a joke. Or was it??)

5. "I'll Always Love You" -- Taylor Dayne


6. "Sweet Child Of Mine" -- Guns N Roses

Okay, it's "Sweet Child O' Mine," by Guns N' Roses. Get your apostrophes straight, Pop Culture Madness! And I will add that not only is this most likely the best song of 1988 (on this list, anyway), it's one of the best songs of the entire decade. I imagine some will disagree, but Appetite For Destruction is a landmark album, and this is a fantastic song.

7. "Hot Hot Hot" -- Buster Poindexter

Just hearing the chorus in my head, I want to burn my ears off with an iron. Hated it.

8. "Just Got Paid" -- Johnny Kemp

No idea on this one.

9. "Paradise" -- Sade

I know Sade, but I can't call this song to mind. I almost certainly would not like it.

10. "Kokomo" -- Beach Boys

I actually liked this song at the time, a fact by which I am now duly embarrassed.

What a weak, and questionably valid, top ten. Here's the remaining 65 songs listed, with a few notes from me.

11. "Man In The Mirror" -- Michael Jackson
12. "Red Red Wine" -- UB40

I hated this song so much. Still do.

13. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" -- Bobby McFerrin

Bobby McFerrin raped my grandmother.

14. "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" -- Poison

I've said it before, but I always enjoy saying it again: when I first saw the cover to Poison's debut record, I said, "Oh, hey, does Heart have a new album out?" You see, because they all look like girls on the cover. Am I right? What with the hair... and makeup.... Moving on.

15. "Welcome To The Jungle" -- Guns N' Roses

When I hear this song these days, I find myself thinking less of Axl Rose and more of Jim Carrey performing it in character in the Dirty Harry movie, The Dead Pool. Is that just me?

16. "Pump Up The Volume" -- M/A/R/R/S
17. "One Moment In Time" -- Whitney Houston
18. "Wild, Wild West" -- Kool Moe Dee
19. "Roll With It" -- Steve Winwood

This era of Winwood is very hit-or-miss with me. This song was a miss.

20. "Push It" -- Salt N Pepa

I always liked Salt N Pepa in theory. Never enough to actually buy an album.

21. "The Flame" -- Cheap Trick
22. "Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird (Medley)" -- Will To Power

What the hell is this? Somebody combined Peter Frampton and Lynyrd Skynyrd? Really?? I find that hard to imagine.

23. "1 2 3" -- Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
24. "Power Of Love" -- Laura Branigan

This isn't a cover of the Huey Lewis Back To the Future song, is it?

25. "Need You Tonight" -- INXS

I've never liked INXS. Not for one song, not for one moment.

26. "One More Try" -- George Michael
27. "Can't Stay Away From You" -- Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
28. "Hot Hot Hot!!!" -- The Cure

Was this a Buster Poindexter cover?? I don't recognize this, even though I assume this comes from the album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, which I used to know fairly well. It's probably very good.

29. "The Promise" -- When In Rome
30. "Don't Be Cruel" -- Bobby Brown

Was this an Elvis cover??

31. "Nothin' But A Good Time" -- Poison
32. "Chains Of Love" -- Erasure
33. "Bad Medicine" -- Bon Jovi
34. "Honestly" -- Stryper
35. "The Way You Make Me Feel" -- Micheal [sic] Jackson
36. "Strangelove" -- Depeche Mode
37. "Angel" -- Aerosmith
38. "Always On My Mind" -- Pet Shop Boys

Was this a Willie Nelson cover?? Oh, wait -- it was. (Or at least a cover of the song Willie famously covered.)

39. "Candle In The Wind" -- Elton John

This was the live version, which I think destroyed the original in terms of power and feeling (though I still love the original).

40. "Tomorrow People" -- Ziggy Marley & The Melody Makers
41. "Forever Young" -- Alphaville

There are two "Hot Hot Hot"s and two "Forever Young"s on this list?? (See two items below.) That's a strange coincidence.

42. "Pink Cadillac" -- Natalie Cole

This is a cover of the Springsteen song, which I didn't realize until I looked it up. Lot of covers/remakes/re-releases on this list. I don't recall ever hearing this. Seems like it might be good.

43. "Forever Young" -- Rod Stewart

My mom is a big Rod Stewart fan these days. I think this single began his transition from sexy rocker to Cole Porter cover artist.

44. "Parents Just Don't Understand" -- DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
45. "Tall Cool One" -- Robert Plant
46. "Beds Are Burning" -- Midnight Oil

I love this song. Just wanted to point out one of the few remaining highlights I'm finding in this list.

47. "In God's Country" -- U2

Decent. One of their lesser hits, I'd say.

48. "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)" -- Information Society
49. "Just Like Heaven" -- The Cure

I think this is one of the loveliest songs ever written, haunting and filled with passion, with one of the greatest opening lines ever: "Show me show me show me how you do that trick/The one that makes me scream," she said.

50. "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" -- Moody Blues
51. "Wild Wild West" -- The Escape Club

Wait a minute. "Wild Wild West" by the Escape Club, and at #18, "Wild Wild West" by Kool Moe Dee? This list is just screwing with me now, isn't it? 1988 was not a big year for originality, it seems.

52. "So Emotional" -- Whitney Houston
53. "Girls Ain't Nothin' But Trouble" -- DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
54. "Wishing Well" -- Terence Trent D"Arby
55. "It's Money That Matters" -- Randy Newman

I would've thought I would recognize a Randy Newman song. Turns out, no.

56. "It's The End Of The World As We Know It" -- R.E.M.

I spent many hours transcribing the lyrics to this song in college, and then arguing with my friends over their differing transcriptions. I wish I still cared about music like that. Then again, I wish I could find more music worth caring about.

57. "Under The Milky Way" -- The Church
58. "Like The Weather" -- 10,000 Maniacs
59. "Tell It To My Heart" -- Taylor Dayne
60. "Kiss Me Deadly" -- Lita Ford
61. "Never Gonna Give You Up" -- Rick Astley
62. "Never Can Say Goodbye" -- Communards
63. "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" -- Robert Cray Band
64. "What's The Matter Here?" -- 10,000 Maniacs
65. "Groovy Kind Of Love" -- Phil Collins
66. "Fat" - Weird Al Yankovic

Now you're speaking my language. The language of awesome.


67. "Monkey" -- George Michael
68. "Rocket 2 U" -- Jets
69. "Hazy Shade of Winter" -- The Bangles

I always liked this song. But I can't believe it's yet another cover.

70. "Piano In The Dark" -- Brenda Russell
71. "Tell That Girl To Shut Up" -- Transvision Vamp
72. "I Found Someone" -- Cher
73. "Spotlight" -- Madonna
74. "When Will I Be Famous?" -- Bros
75. "Englishman In New York" -- Sting

A pretty little ditty, but I question its place on a chart like this. Which I guess is a good way to wrap up this whole questionable list.

I wonder if someone from this Pop Culture Madness site started this meme, because I don't know who else would have sought out and relied on such dubious lists of songs (I'm assuming the other years are as wonky as 1988). I'll skip tagging anyone with this meme, just because of my doubts on the site's reliability, but if any of you feel like taking a shot at it, don't let me stop you.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by