Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rewind: Top Songs of 1986

As someone born in 1978, I can assess pre-1983 music like a historian, appraising something that has effectively always existed without bias or emotion. Similarly, I can organize my thoughts on songs post-1992 (or thereabouts) without being distracted by the haze of nostalgia or lost youth. But for that interim period of the mid 80’s through early 90’s, all bets are off.

The list below actually isn’t too shameful, with only Bon Jovi making the guilty pleasure cut (Huey Lewis and Billy Joel just missed). Future lists for this period won’t be so pristine, however. I can’t even say with certainty that Billy Ocean won’t show up at some point. What can I say? I was a kid and didn’t know any damned better.

As for the below, 1986 is a return to form after relatively down years in 1981 and 1976. Three inner circle bands (for me) take the top spots. “Wild Wild Life” was the last great Talking Heads songs. “The Body of an American” was somehow left off of Rum, Sodomy & the Lash and was instead relegated to the Poguetry in Motion EP (and Baltimore police wakes). And while it is certainly deserving of its spot, “It’s Tricky” gets an extra lift because Raising Hell was the first rap album (cassette!) I ever bought.

Peter Gabriel is not on Grooveshark, but you know that song already.

Top 10 Songs of 1986
  1. "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" / The Smiths / The Queen is Dead
    "To die by your side / is such a heavenly way to die"
  2. "Wild Wild Life" / Talking Heads / True Stories
    "Check out Mr. Business Man / he bought some wild, wild life"
  3. "The Body of an American" / The Pogues / Poguetry in Motion EP
    "And as the sunset came meet the evening on a hill / I told you I'd always love you / I always did / I always will"
  4. "Graceland" / Paul Simon / Graceland
    "I am following the river / down the highway / through the cradle of the civil war"
  5. "It's Tricky" / Run DMC / Raising Hell
    "They even bother my poor father 'cause he's down with me"
  6. "Hymn to Her" / The Pretenders / Get Close
    "I dress as your daughter when the moon becomes round / you'll be my mother when everything's gone"
  7. "Livin’ on a Prayer" / Bon Jovi / Slippery When Wet 
    "We're halfway there"
  8. "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" / Beastie Boys / Licensed to Ill
    "Like a lemon to a lime / a lime to a lemon / I sip the def ale with all the fly women"
  9. "Sledgehammer" / Peter Gabriel / So
    "I've kicked the habit"
  10. "E=mc2" / Big Audio Dynamite / This is Big Audio Dynamite
    "Timeslide / place to hide / nudge reality"

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