Time really does fly by as you get older. I blinked my eyes in 1990 and suddenly 25 years had passed. Yes, it's been 25 years since I was an awkward teenager, screaming pop ballads out my car window on the way to my job at K-Mart. Like many people, the songs of my teen years hold a special place in my heart. So this week I'm taking the Delorean to 1990 and remembering what the Top Five Songs were on Billboard's Top 100 chart this week way back when.
5. "Black Velvet," by Alannah Myles. This was the number one song on the Billboard charts the week before. It's still one of the best-selling songs ever recorded by a Canadian artist. In fact, it can be heard on the hits compilation "No, really...Canadian?" Myles won a Grammy and Juno and many other awards, plus she racked up several nominations over the years. She never quite regained the popularity she received from this song, which seems to be still on constant rotation. If the royalty cheques are anything like I think they might be, Myles' house has shrine in it that is literally wall-to-wall black velvet. Because hell, yes.
4. "I Wish It Would Rain Down," by Phil Collins. This song features Eric Clapton on guitar and continued as part of Phil Collins' record deal with The Devil. Rumor has it that this tune was written when Collins saw some guy not help a friend who was stuck in the rain without an umbrella. So, he invited that jerk to his concert and then sang it while dropping buckets of water on him as the rest of the audience wore raincoats and hats. It was like a very dramatic episode of You Can't Do That On Television. Likely for that reason, this was the biggest song of 1990 in Canada.
3. "All Around The World," by Lisa Stansfield. A song that is partly romantic, partly funky, and partly about a stalker with plenty of disposable income. Think it's strange when an ex-girlfriend shows up at your office at lunchtime completely announced? Imagine that ex is literally chasing you all around the world. Stansfield was sexy and talented and made a truckload of money off this hit song. Makes you wonder why the lover in question was so terrified of her that he was literally hiding out in some obscure location like Carmen Sandiego. Stansfield wins the Dora The Explorer Award for persistence.
2. "I'll Be Your Everything," by Tommy Page. Many seem to have forgotten -- for a brief moment in the nineties -- just how huge Tommy Page was. How huge? Well, he appeared on an episode Full House, for crissakes! This song was enormous for anyone in high school in 1990. Produced and co-written by members of New Kids on the Block (who also sang backup) "I'll Be Your Everything" was almost certainly a prom theme all across America that year. It wound up hitting number one on the charts and at skating rinks during "Couples Only" breaks. It seemed Page was poised to be as big as New Kids and other young pop acts, but major follow-up hits never materialized. He went on to be a music label exec who helped establish Josh Groan and Green Day. He's still very popular in Asia. He's apparently their everything.
1. "Love Will Lead You Back", by Taylor Dayne. This song was written by hit maker Diane Warren, who has the distinct honor of penning approximately 432 number-one power ballads for various artists. It has that unique Taylor Dayne sound, which is to say that it sounds as if she's lulling you to sleep while simultaneously screaming at you. It is hard to tell whether or not the song is a plea or a threat. More than one teenaged girl has sang this tune--choking back tears along the way--while staring lovingly at the dismissive boy who broke up with her as she watched him working behind the counter at Arby's.
These were the top five hits the first week of April in 1990. Now, let's go watch that Tommy Page episode of Full House.
Ward Anderson is a SiriusXM talk radio host, comedian, and author. His new novel, All That's Left, will be released April 28th. His first novel, I'll Be Here All Week, is available now wherever books are sold.
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