The History of Pop Music – 1989

Featured song:

Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine

This is a series of articles looking at pop music from 1955 when in my opinion proper pop music began up to 1999 when they stopped making it. One article for each year.

I am only going to select one featured song for each article, which makes it hard. I am going to try and select a different artist for each year.

For many people, and I include myself, you tend to still like the tunes you heard during childhood, which your parents often played. So rather than just pick the top 10 hits of each year, I shall let you know what they were, but also the tunes of that year not necessarily in the top 10 or so, what were in my view classics.  I also add a couple of events in history for that year, it helps bring back memories, and hopefully happy ones.

Not everyone will like my choices of course, and you may remember some from each particular year that you feel should have been included, so do please post a link to the song.

So, on we go with memories from 1989: (Thank you Wiki)

This year was about:  

What was I doing in this year?  – I was 34. Rather enjoying my computer work at the Channel Tunnel project, already moved up.  Nothing went down the tunnel unless I had allocated it a number, such power.  A typical day would see about 1 million pounds go onto the asset register.  First time I saw people earning £1,000 per week, that’s probably a lot today, never mind then.  Tunnel guys really worked their testicles off.

TV programmes included:  Neighbours actors and pop singers Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan reach number one in the UK singles chart with their duet “Especially for You“. The song, released in November 1988, remains at the top of the charts for three weeks.  I knew you would like to be reminded.  Greatest telly moment of all time when Del Boy falls through a bar in Only Fools and Horses.  Sky TV comes on air, as does Home and Away. In EastEnders Den Watts falls into a canal and is written out.  John Craven’s last Newsround. Last QT with Robin Day, Peter Sissons takes over. Paxman starts BBC2 Newsnight ( I liked him).  I also liked “A bit of a Do”

A very poignant moment, at least for me was the last episode of the 26-year original run of Doctor Who, Part 3 of Survival, is broadcast, no more for 16 years. (Inserts well known GP word here)

Biggest moment for was the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth, “Goodbyeee” is broadcast on BBC1. With one of the most moving endings ever seen on British television, it is broadcast nine days before Armistice Day.


Prime Minister – Margaret Thatcher (Conservative)

4 January – A memorial service is held for the 270 people who died in the Lockerbie air disaster two weeks ago. Margert Thatcher and several other world political leaders are among more than 200 people present in the church service at the village of Old Dryfesdale near Lockerbie.

8 January – The Kegworth air disaster: a British Midland Boeing 737 crashes onto the M1 motorway on the approach to East Midlands airport, killing 44 people.

14 January – Muslims demonstrate in Bradford against The Satanic Verses, a book written by Salman Rushdie, burning copies of the book in the city streets.

19 January – Unemployment fell by 66,000 in December, to a nine-year low of just over 2 million. It was last at this level in 1980.

14 February – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran places a fatwa (order to kill) on author Salman Rushdie following the publication of his controversial book The Satanic Verses, which has caused outrage among the Islamic community of Britain.  Proving once and for all it is a religion of peace.

5 April – 500 workers on the Channel Tunnel go on strike in a protest against pay and working conditions.  I mention this as I should point out it was the French people, we carried on.

15 April – 94 people are killed in the Hillsborough disaster during the FA Cup semi-final at the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield during the FA Cup semi-final between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool F.C.  Around 300 others have been hospitalised. Several of those injured are in a serious condition and there are fears that the death toll (already the worst of any sporting disaster in Britain) could rise even higher.  The youngest victim is a 10-year-old boy, the oldest is 67-year-old Gerard Baron, brother of the late former Liverpool player Kevin Baron.

28 April – Fourteen Liverpool fans are convicted of manslaughter and receive prison sentences of up to three years in Brussels, Belgium, in connection with the Heysel disaster at the 1985 European Cup Final in which 39 spectators (most of them Italian) died. A further eleven Liverpool fans are cleared.

4 May – Margaret Thatcher completes ten years as Prime Minister – the first British prime minister of the 20th century to do so.

18 May – Unemployment is now below 2,000,000 for the first time since 1980.

24 June – Race rioting breaks out in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, following a protest in the town against the Islamic community by members of the far right British National Party, formed 7 years ago as a splinter from the National Front.

13 July – The fall in unemployment continues, with the tally now standing at slightly over 1,800,000 – the lowest in nearly a decade.

2 September – 19,000 ambulance crew members across Britain go on strike.

22 September – Eleven people are killed in the Deal barracks bombing.

26 September – Nigel Lawson resigns as Chancellor of the Exchequer; replaced by John Major, while Douglas Hurd becomes Foreign Secretary.

10 October – The World Wrestling Federation holds its first UK event, at the London Arena.  Sorry, but still enjoy this, now WWE of course.

9 October – The Guildford Four are released from prison after the High Court quashes their convictions for the 1975 terrorist atrocity,

8 November – British Army and Royal Air Force troops are now manning London’s ambulance services as the regular ambulance crews are still on strike.  In what world can these people be allowed to strike!

10 November – Margaret Thatcher visits Berlin the day after the fall of the Berlin Wall, which brings the reunification of Germany forward after Germans were allowed to travel between West and East Berlin for the first time since the wall was built in 1961.

21 November – The House of Commons is televised live for the first time.

23 November – 69-year-old backbencher Sir Anthony Meyer challenges Margaret Thatcher’s leadership of the Conservative Party, reportedly fearing that the party will lose the next general election after falling behind Labour in several recent opinion polls. Her leadership has never been challenged before in almost 15 years as party leader, more than 10 of which have been spent as prime minister.

3 December

Margaret Thatcher, along with American president George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, declare the end of the Cold War after 40 years.

8 December – ITV attracts a new record audience of nearly 27,000,000 for the episode of Coronation Street in which Alan Bradley (Mark Eden) is fatally run over by a Blackpool tram.

The Top 10 Singles with a You Tube hyperlink on the title:

Top tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Hits of 1989
   1 Black Box Ride On Time
   2 Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers Swing The Mood
   3 Bangles Eternal Flame
   4 Jason Donovan Too Many Broken Hearts
   5 Soul II Soul Back To Life
   6 Marc Almond & Gene Pitney Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart
   7 Jive Bunny & TheMastermixers That’s What I Like
   8 Technotronic Pump Up the Jam
   9 Band Aid II Do They Know It’s Christmas?
   10 Madonna Like A Prayer

Great year again for Stock, Aitken and Waterman, but you either like their stuff or not. I do not. The Bangles could have been the featured song until I played the opening bars again of the featured song and though it was iconic and then I read about JtB.  Jive Bunny doing some good remixes and pleasing to see some Glen Miller in there.

I am not a big lover of the Heavy Metal genre, but there are some outstanding songs, and I know JTB liked them.  “Sweet Child o’ Mine” is a song by American rock band Guns N’ Roses, appearing on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction. Released in August 1988 as the album’s third single, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the band’s only number 1 US single. Billboard ranked it the number 5 song of 1988.  Re-released in 1989, it reached number 6 on the UK Singles Chart. Guitarist Slash said in 1990, “[The song] turned into a huge hit and now it makes me sick. I mean, I like it, but I hate what it represents.

More writings on this song here:  Sweet Child O’ Mine

From the top 10 sellers I like The Bangles and I like the mixes that Jive Bunny did.  Marc & Gene did a good song as well.

In my view the best songs of the year, after the featured track are:

Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City – for JTB

Mike + The Mechanics – The Living Years

Roy Orbison – You Got It -I love Roy, but in a manly way, nothing ghey at all about it,

Sam Brown – Stop – Awesome

Texas – I Don’t Want A Lover -Wonderful voice.

Simply Red – If You Don’t Know Me By Now

Pet Shop Boys – It’s Alright

Donna Summer – This Time I Know It’s For Real

Alice Cooper – Poison

The Beautiful South – Song For Whoever

Transvision Vamp – Baby I Don’t Care

Big Fun – Blame It on the Boogie – I just liked this cover.

Tina Turner – The Best

Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers – Lets Party

Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time

Belinda Carlisle – Leave A Light On

Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire

Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning

Alyson William – I need Your Lovin

Fun Song: – Bananarama – Help (Comic Relief) – Oh come on, it was for charidee

Just 20 songs for 1989 in my favourites list, another shite year for good tunes.  I think I found a few gems though.

Hat tips to:  these give the top 100 selling charts for each year   these give the top 10 songs for each year  you know them.

Next Time 1990 – It gets worse.

© Phil the test manager 2019

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file