My favorite songs of 1989

Posted: December 16, 2016 in Rankings

I do go through the old lists and add songs if I stumble on them, though that’s been rare. But as of this post I had 131 songs on the 1987 list and 150 songs on today’s (1989) list…but only 85 songs on the 1988 list. And the best of 1988 consisted mostly of great slow songs. I wonder why the lack of rock greats that year?

In 1989 I was 15 years old and still into rap music. My favorite band was the Beastie Boys but I also loved Public Enemy. However, in 1990 I started to love The Tragically Hip and the other members of our high school’s “Big 3”: The Cult and Lenny Kravitz. The transition to rap to rock was a smooth one, as for a good year or two I loved both music types. I even made mixed tapes that rotated – one rock song, one rap song. Weird, right?

So while 1989 was a year in which I didn’t yet know the Hip, Cult, or Kravitz – it is a year in which a lot of their great songs were released. So they appear on this list.

Wow…150 songs. Could 1989 have been my favorite year of all time for music? I suspect not, but until I go through the 90s I honestly won’t know. (Update: Nope, 1994 topped it)

Unlike most rankings, I haven’t been simply tossing these up in a numerical order. Because I know better than anybody that on some days, some songs kick more ass than other songs. A song that is ranked 14th today could very well rank 1st tomorrow, if it suddenly comes on the radio during the perfect moment and I start singing along. You understand. So I group them instead of presenting a hard-and-fast order:

Awesome
Great
Pretty Good
Not Bad
…with inter-group splitting.

 

Awesome – 1 What It Takes Aerosmith
Awesome – 1 Epic Faith No More
Awesome – 1 Let Love Rule Lenny Kravitz
Awesome – 1 Does Anybody Out There Even Care Lenny Kravitz
Awesome – 1 Rosemary Lenny Kravitz
Awesome – 1 Girl I’m Gonna Miss You Milli Vanilli
Awesome – 1 Blow at High Dough The Tragically Hip
Awesome – 1 New Orleans Is Sinking The Tragically Hip
Awesome – 1 Boots or Hearts The Tragically Hip
Awesome – 10 Baby Have Some Faith 54-40
Great – 11 All the Things I Wasn’t Grapes of Wrath
Great – 11 I Build This Garden for Us Lenny Kravitz
Great – 11 Blues for Sister Someone Lenny Kravitz
Great – 11 About A Girl Nirvana
Great – 11 Trickle Down The Tragically Hip
Great – 11 Opiated The Tragically Hip
Great – 11 Listen To Your Heart Roxette
Great – 11 Sweet Soul Sister The Cult
Great – 11 Free Fallin’ Tom Petty
Great – 11 I Won’t Back Down Tom Petty
Great – 21 Janie’s Got A Gun Aerosmith
Great – 21 Love In An Elevator Aerosmith
Great – 21 Johnny Ryall Beastie Boys
Great – 21 The Sounds of Science Beastie Boys
Great – 21 3-Minute Rule Beastie Boys
Great – 21 Sweet Jane Cowboy Junkies
Great – 21 Volare Gipsy Kings
Great – 21 Hard Sun Indio
Great – 21 Freedom Train Lenny Kravitz
Great – 21 Don’t Know Much Linda Ronstadt
Great – 21 Baby Don’t Forget My Number Milli Vanilli
Great – 21 Blame It On The Rain Milli Vanilli
Great – 21 Girl You Know It’s True Milli Vanilli
Great – 21 Head Like A Hole Nine Inch Nails
Great – 21 38 Years Old The Tragically Hip
Great – 21 When the Weight Comes Down The Tragically Hip
Great – 21 I Wish It Would Rain Down Phil Collins
Great – 21 Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos Public Enemy
Great – 21 Fight The Power Public Enemy
Great – 21 Fire Woman The Cult
Great – 21 It’s Funky Enough The D.O.C.
Great – 21 Runnin’ Down A Dream Tom Petty
Pretty Good – 43 Egg Man Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 43 Hey Ladies Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 43 High Plains Drifter Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 43 Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 43 Shake Your Rump Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 43 Misguided Angel Cowboy Junkies
Pretty Good – 43 Buddy De La Soul
Pretty Good – 43 The Heart Of The Matter Don Henley
Pretty Good – 43 Good Thing Fine Young Cannibals
Pretty Good – 43 She Drives Me Crazy Fine Young Cannibals
Pretty Good – 43 Mr. Cab Driver Lenny Kravitz
Pretty Good – 43 Sittin’ on Top of the World Lenny Kravitz
Pretty Good – 43 Like A Prayer Madonna
Pretty Good – 43 Rockin’ In The Free World Neil Young
Pretty Good – 43 Another Midnight The Tragically Hip
Pretty Good – 43 Batdance Prince
Pretty Good – 43 I Want It All Queen
Pretty Good – 43 Higher Ground Red Hot Chili Peppers
Pretty Good – 43 Good Times Tom Cochrane
Pretty Good – 43 Black Velvet Alannah Myles
Pretty Good – 43 Poison Alice Cooper
Pretty Good – 43 Shadrach Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 43 Car Thief Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 43 What Comes Around Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 43 We Didn’t Start The Fire Billy Joel
Pretty Good – 43 Just A Friend Biz Markie
Pretty Good – 43 Rockland Wonderland Kim Mitchell
Pretty Good – 43 Empty Hands Lenny Kravitz
Pretty Good – 43 I’ll Believe in You (Or I’ll Be Leaving You) The Tragically Hip
Pretty Good – 43 She Didn’t Know The Tragically Hip
Pretty Good – 43 Everytime You Go The Tragically Hip
Pretty Good – 43 Here Comes Your Man Pixies
Pretty Good – 43 Night of the Living Baseheads Public Enemy
Pretty Good – 43 Get Up R.E.M.
Pretty Good – 43 Back To Life (However Do You Want Me) Soul II Soul
Pretty Good – 43 Big League Tom Cochrane
Pretty Good – 43 Principal’s Office Young MC
Pretty Good – 43 Smoke Crash Vegas
Pretty Good – 81 Miss You 54-40
Pretty Good – 81 Love Is Alannah Myles
Pretty Good – 81 B-Boy Bouillabaisse Beastie Boys
Pretty Good – 81 Why’d You Lie Colin James
Pretty Good – 81 The End Of The Innocence Don Henley
Pretty Good – 81 Sacrifice Elton John
Pretty Good – 81 Still Lovin’ You Honeymoon Suite
Pretty Good – 81 Rock’n Roll Duty Kim Mitchell
Pretty Good – 81 Express Yourself Madonna
Pretty Good – 81 Toy Soldiers Martika
Pretty Good – 81 Dr. Feelgood Mötley Crüe
Pretty Good – 81 Kickstart My Heart Mötley Crüe
Pretty Good – 81 Another Day in Paradise Phil Collins
Pretty Good – 81 Bring the Noise Public Enemy
Pretty Good – 81 Don’t Believe the Hype Public Enemy
Pretty Good – 81 She’s So Young Pursuit of Happiness
Pretty Good – 81 Sowing the Seeds of Love Tears for Fears
Pretty Good – 81 The Best Tina Turner
Pretty Good – 81 Victory Day Tom Cochrane
Pretty Good – 81 Heaven Warrant
Pretty Good – 81 Bust A Move Young MC
Not Bad – 102 Me Myself And I De La Soul
Not Bad – 102 New York Minute Don Henley
Not Bad – 102 Trista Pena Gipsy Kings
Not Bad – 102 Everlasting Love Howard Jones
Not Bad – 102 Fear Lenny Kravitz
Not Bad – 102 Buffalo Stance Neneh Cherry
Not Bad – 102 Right Here Waiting Richard Marx
Not Bad – 102 18 And Life Skid Row
Not Bad – 102 Rooms On Fire Stevie Nicks
Not Bad – 102 Pump Up The Jam Technotronic
Not Bad – 102 Love Shack The B-52s
Not Bad – 102 Edie (Ciao Baby) The Cult
Not Bad – 102 Me So Horny 2 Live Crew
Not Bad – 102 When I See You Smile Bad English
Not Bad – 102 One Bee Gees
Not Bad – 102 How Long Blue Rodeo
Not Bad – 102 Wicked Game Chris Isaak
Not Bad – 102 Eye Know De La Soul
Not Bad – 102 Say No Go De La Soul
Not Bad – 102 The Magic Number De La Soul
Not Bad – 102 Rhythm Nation Janet Jackson
Not Bad – 102 I Beg Your Pardon Kon Kan
Not Bad – 102 My Precious Love Lenny Kravitz
Not Bad – 102 Oh, Father Madonna
Not Bad – 102 Something Happened On The Way To Heaven Phil Collins
Not Bad – 102 Monkey Gone To Heaven Pixies
Not Bad – 102 So Hard Sass Jordan
Not Bad – 102 I Remember You Skid Row
Not Bad – 102 Keep on Movin’ Soul II Soul
Not Bad – 102 Love Song Tesla
Not Bad – 102 Me So Horny The 2 Live Crew
Not Bad – 102 Love Song The Cure
Not Bad – 134 On Our Own Bobby Brown
Not Bad – 134 Born to Be My Baby Bon Jovi
Not Bad – 134 If a Tree Falls Bruce Cockburn
Not Bad – 134 If I Could Turn Back Time Cher
Not Bad – 134 Cherish Madonna
Not Bad – 134 How Am I Supposed to Live Without You Michael Bolton
Not Bad – 134 When I’m Back On My Feet Again Michael Bolton
Not Bad – 134 Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) Mötley Crüe
Not Bad – 134 Hangin’ Tough New Kids on the Block
Not Bad – 134 Terrible Lie Nine Inch Nails
Not Bad – 134 My Brave Face Paul McCartney
Not Bad – 134 Dressed For Success Roxette
Not Bad – 134 You Got It Roy Orbison
Not Bad – 134 Woman In Chains Tears for Fears
Not Bad – 134 American Horse The Cult
Not Bad – 134 Almost Hear You Sigh The Rolling Stones
Not Bad – 134 A Girl Like You The Smithereens

 

 

1980  1981  1982  1983  1984  1985  1986  1987  1988  1989

1960s          1970s          1980s          1990s

 

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