The History of Pop Music – 1989

A History of Pop Music Albums – 1989

Featured Album: The Road to Hell, Pt. I

This is a series of articles looking at albums from 1960 to whatever year we end up in.

I will select a featured album for each year and the link for the whole album, Plus list the songs on it.

As before, it is not just about the songs and tunes, it is very much about memories, and good ones, I hope.

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.

In 1989, not much happening in life in general, but I first became aware of the deadly serious threat of the RoP.  The Salman Rushdie book Satanic Verses triggering them.

1989 was yet another exceptionally dire year in terms of music albums.

The featured album for 1989 is The Road to Hell from Chris Rea.  The Road to Hell is the tenth studio album by British singer-songwriter Chris Rea, released in 1989. Coming on the back of several strongly performing releases, it is Rea’s most successful studio album, and topped the UK Albums Chart for three weeks. It was certified 6x Platinum by BPI in 2004. The album demonstrates a thematic cohesion previously absent from Rea’s work, with the majority of the tracks containing strong elements of social commentary, particularly concerning alienation and violence, and contains lyrics which reference an ongoing search for escape/redemption. The second part of the two-part title track, “The Road to Hell (Pt. 2)”, is one of Rea’s most famous songs, and his only single to reach the UK Top 10.

I played the probably every day driving to work for about a year or so.  So good hearing it again.

Track listing

All songs by Chris Rea.

  1. “The Road to Hell (Part 1)”– 4:52
  2. “The Road to Hell (Part 2)”– 4:30
  3. “You Must Be Evil” – 4:20
  4. Texas” – 5:09
  5. “Looking for a Rainbow” – 8:00
  6. “Your Warm and Tender Love” – 4:32
  7. “Daytona” – 5:04
  8. That’s What They Always Say” – 4:27
  9. “I Just Wanna Be with You” – 3:39
  10. Tell Me There’s a Heaven” – 6:00


  • Chris Rea– lead and backing vocals, keyboards, guitars
  • Kevin Leach – keyboards,
  • Max Middleton– acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes, string arrangements
  • Robert Ahwai – guitars
  • Eoghan O’Neill – bass
  • Martin Ditcham– drums, percussion
  • Gavyn Wright– concertmaster and conductor
  • Karen Boddington – additional backing vocals
  • Carol Kenyon– additional backing vocals
  • Linda Taylor – additional backing vocals

More writings on this album here:  The Road to Hell

Before going on to 1989, here is the top 10 best selling albums of the 80’s decade:

Top Albums of The Decade: 1980s
   1 Dire Straits Brothers In Arms
   2 Michael Jackson Bad
   3 Michael Jackson Thriller
   4 Queen Greatest Hits
   5 Kylie Minogue Kylie
   6 Whitney Houston Whitney
   7 Fleetwood Mac Tango In The Night
   8 Phil Collins No Jacket Required
   9 Madonna True Blue
   10 U2 The Joshua Tree

Dire Straits, Queen and Fleetwood Mac are the only 3 I had.  Such a dreadful decade.

So, on we go with 1989:

The top 10 sellers for 1989 are below, as I say, an exceptionally dire year.

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

Top Tip: Right-click and open in new tab

Top Albums of 1989
   1 Jason Donovan Ten Good Reasons
   2 Simply Red A New Flame
   3 Phil Collins … But Seriously
   4 Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine Anything For You
   5 Gloria Estefan Cuts Both Ways
   6 Kylie Minogue Enjoy Yourself
   7 Madonna Like A Prayer
   8 Fine Young Cannibals The Raw And The Cooked
   9 Tina Turner Foreign Affair
   10 Chris Rea The Road To Hell

Couple of good tracks on the FYC album, including “Drive me Crazy”.  Always liked a bit of Tina Turner, other than that all the top nine in the top ten best sellers were pretty rubbish.

Same as last year I could only find 4 albums other than the featured album that I liked and bought.  Pretty dreadful year.

The Beautiful South – Welcome to the Beautiful South

Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever – Particularly like Free Fallin’

Kate Bush – The Sensual World – Weird voice but nice.

Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl – You got it!  Great tunes on this.

Not 1989, but as it was Willie’s 88th birthday yesterday, here is a video of him and Ray Charles singing Seven Spanish Angels, a favourite of mine.


As you know I like to review your “tunes” that you post.

*Note. Anyone scoring a Morrissey (lowest score possible) will be reported and blocked.

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

Featured Image: “Chris Rea – The Road to Hell” by Jacob Whittaker is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Next Time: 1990.  Will it get better?  Forecast: (a little bit)

© Phil the ex test manager 2021