An Inquisitr article recently counted down the five biggest hits of 1989. Of course, the biggest doesn’t necessarily mean the best, which is really just a matter of opinion. Let’s take a look at the five best songs of 1989 – at least through the ears of this author.
5. The Jeff Healey Band, “Angel Eyes”
“Angel Eyes,” taken from the album See the Light, was a top five hit during the fall of 1989. The song might have been mistaken as a Bruce Springsteen song since the lead singer, Jeffrey Healey, has a similar husky voice. Healey impressed many with not only his voice, but the fact that he was able to do everything despite being blind.
As Songfacts notes, “Angel Eyes” was Healey’s only top 40 hit. The Jeff Healey Band appeared with the late Patrick Swayze in the film Road House.
4. Cher, “If I Could Turn Back Time”
Cher was a huge musical force in the late 1980s, and “If I Could Turn Back Time,” which peaked at No. 3 during the fall of 1989, represented her best work yet. The hard-rock song was written by Dianne Warren, who would later collaborate with Celine Dion, Aerosmith, and Lady Gaga. The song is about someone’s regrets at destroying a relationship.
According to the Huffington Post, Cher hated her 1989 hit single at first.
“If Cher could turn back time, she’d have second thoughts about one of her biggest hits. It turns out the singer hated ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ when songwriter Diane Warren presented it to her.”
The article adds that Diane Warren eventually convinced Cher to record it. It’s important to note that, at first, Cher also didn’t like “I Got You Babe.”
3. Roxette, “Listen to Your Heart”
Roxette’s late 1989 hit from the album Look Sharp! is not only the best song of their career, but it’s also one of the best hard rock ballads to ever exist. The song hit No. 1 in November of 1989, and it continued to be a hit throughout the first quarter of 1990. “The Look,” released earlier in 1989, was also a No. 1 hit for the Swedish rock group.
According to Songfacts, Roxette received an award from BMI for “Listen to Your Heart” being played over two million times on American radio. The song was remade by the Belgian group D.H.T. in 2005 and hit the top 10 in early 2006. You can bet we will hear even more remakes of this classic song in the near future.
2. Guns N’ Roses, “Patience”
“Patience,” released during the spring of 1989, was taken from the EP G’N’ R Lies. It peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100. It was the band’s very first hit ballad and proved how versatile Guns N’ Roses was. The acoustic guitars blend well with Axel Rose’s husky voice and produce a simple but emotional soft banger.
“Patience” is about being in love with somebody that is unattainable for now. However, because the eventual relationship is meant to be, things will work themselves out in the end.
1. Madonna, “Like a Prayer”
“Like a Prayer, released during the first week of March in 1989, is one of the best pop recordings ever made. However, it was first known as the jingle to what became one of the biggest entertainment scandals of all time. Madonna first released an innocent commercial clip to this 1989 hit for Pepsi, which was absolutely charming and adorable. Then, she released her own music video, which was harshly condemned by the religious right due to its religious imagery, not to mention the fact that it featured a black saint, a white woman kissing a black man, and other “black” things that made religious racists do backflips.
“Like a Prayer” eventually became one of the most critically acclaimed music videos of all time. It dealt with racism and police brutality at a time when doing so wasn’t considered “cool.” Madonna was able to keep the $5 million Pepsi gave her after they canceled their partnership. Despite the religious right predicting the controversy would end Madonna’s career, the Like a Prayer album became a huge hit, and the release of the album, single, and video is considered the point where Madonna went from being a megastar to an international cultural icon.
However, the song “Like a Prayer” stands on its own. Madonna’s imperfect but beautiful vocals soar above a gospel choir. Some have interpreted the song to be an ode to oral sex, but it’s really about a relationship so strong and meaningful that it’s spiritual. The song has stood the test of time and has become Madonna’s signature hit.
[Featured Image by Jimmy Rubio/AP Images]