1989 was the year the first George Bush took office as president. It was also the year Madonna went from being a superstar to an icon, despite the major controversy over her “Like a Prayer” video. 1989’s “Like a Prayer” caused Pepsi to severe ties with the singer, despite paying her $5 million.
Besides Madonna’s top 1989 hit, there were a lot of other huge and memorable singles released that year. Let’s take a look at the biggest ones according to Billboard and reported on by Music Outfitters.
5. Janet Jackson, “Miss You Much”
Since one chart year ends in November and the next one begins the same month, Janet Jackson didn’t have enough time for “Miss You Much” to gather enough points to be the No. 1 song of 1989. It was released in August of 1989 and immediately proved that Janet’s first album Control wasn’t just a fluke.
“Miss You Much” spent four weeks at No. 1, and it would become one of the biggest hits of Jackson’s entire career. According to Songfacts, this top hit from 1989 was inspired by a breakup letter songwriter and producer Jimmy Jam received from one of his old girlfriends, who signed it with what would become this song’s title.
4. Paula Abdul, “Straight Up”
Speaking of Janet Jackson, her choreographer, Paula Abdul, broke out huge in 1989 with her multi-platinum album Forever Your Girl. The second single from that album, “Straight Up,” spent three weeks at No. 1 during February of 1989.
“Straight Up” was one of five huge hit singles from Forever Your Girl. It was actually the third release after “Knocked Out” and “The Way That You Love Me” failed to become hits in 1988. However, “The Way That You Love Me” was re-released in 1989 and hit No. 3.
3. Poison, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
“Every Rose Has Its Thorn” was released at the end of 1988 and was the very first No. 1 hit of 1989. It is Poison’s signature song. Before this 1989 top hit, Poison was known for hard-rocking heavy metal songs.
According to the Dallas Observer, Bret Michaels, the lead singer of Poison, wrote this 1989 hit in a Dallas laundromat while waiting for his clothes to dry. He had just been through a heartbreaking moment with his girlfriend and wrote the song about her.
2. Bobby Brown, “My Perogative”
“My Perogative,” taken from Brown’s hit album Don’t Be Cruel, hit No. 1 the week after Poison’s hit “Every Rose Has Its Thorn.” Though Brown’s first No. 1 hit only spent one week at the top, it spent enough time in the top 10 and top 40 to become the No. 2 hit of 1989.
Songfacts notes that “My Prerogative” helped Brown establish an image as a bad boy. This image was exploited when he eventually married Whitney Houston, and it hasn’t left him since.
“My Prerogative” was covered by Britney Spears’ greatest hits album My Prerogative in 2004, but wasn’t even close to being the hit Brown had released 15 years earlier.
1. Chicago, “Look Away”
Chicago had already been a veteran band before they scored this 1988 and 1989 top hit “Look Away.” The song hit No. 1 in December of 1988, which made it eligible for the 1989 chart year. Taken from the album Chicago 19, it would become the last major top hit for the classic rock band.
After Peter Cetera left the band in 1985, many thought Chicago was done. However, 1986’s “Glory of Love” and this top 1988 (and 89) hit proved people wrong. The song was written by Dianne Warren, who would write several hits in the future for Celine Dion, Aerosmith, Tony Braxton, and many others.
Remember — these are the biggest hits of 1989, not necessarily the best. What are your favorites from 1989? Let us know in the comments section.
[Featured Image by Bill Cooke/AP Images]