REPEAT OFFENDER: This week 20 years ago, singer/songwriter Richard Marx joined a select group of male artists who've enjoyed runs of at least three consecutive No. 1s on the Billboard Hot 100.
After composing "Right Here Waiting," Marx felt the song was so personal that he would play it only for his wife, former Animotion member Cynthia Rhodes, and not include it on his sophomore album, "Repeat Offender." Rhodes reciprocated the gift, however, wisely convincing him that the song was a future hit and deserved a wider audience. The piano ballad reached the Hot 100 summit this week in 1989, becoming Marx's longest-running leader (three weeks at No. 1). The song followed the fourth and final single from his eponymous debut, "Hold On to the Nights," No. 1 on the Hot 100 dated July 23, 1988, and the introductory cut from "Repeat Offender," "Satisfied," which topped the chart on June 24, 1989.
"Right Here Waiting" entered Marx into lofty territory in Hot 100 history. At the time, the only prior male artists to string together at least three straight No. 1s were Andy Gibb (1977-78), Michael Jackson (five consecutive No. 1s in 1987-88) and George Michael (four consecutive No. 1s in 1987-88). Four months after "Right Here Waiting" rose to No. 1, Phil Collins earned a third consecutive chart champ, when "Another Day in Paradise" followed "Groovy Kind of Love" and "Two Hearts" to the pinnacle. To date, the exclusive club has been expanded by only two: Usher unleashed four straight toppers in 2004, and Justin Timberlake likewise celebrated a quartet of consecutive No. 1s in 2006-07.
Marx, who has enjoyed success this decade as a writer for 'N Sync ("This I Promise You," No. 1 on Adult Contemporary, No. 5 on the Hot 100 in 2000), Luther Vandross ("Dance With My Father," No. 1 on Adult R&B in 2003) and Keith Urban ("Better Life," No. 1 on Country Songs in 2005), remains the only male artist to send his first seven singles into the Hot 100's top five.
OUR BACK PAGES: On the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart dated Aug. 12, 1989, Prince collected his fifth and final No. 1 of the 1980s. "Batdance," featuring dialogue from the movie "Batman," rose 2-1 a week after leading the Hot 100 ...
David Letterman may have the Top Ten List, but Paul Shaffer can boast having reached the Billboard Hot 100. Twenty years ago this week, The "Late Show" bandleader and sidekick bowed on the Hot 100 at No. 97 with "When the Radio Is On." His sole chart entry, featuring Dion and Will Smith (as the Fresh Prince) among others on additional vocals, peaked at No. 81 four weeks later ...
A Billboard Singles Review this week in 1989 predicted the following of the Cure's "Love Song": "This engaging up-tempo offering from the smash album 'Disintegration' brims with pop potential." True enough, the song bowed the same week as the Hot 100's Hot Shot Debut at No. 58 and became the Robert Smith-led act's biggest hit, reaching No. 2 on Oct. 21, 1989.
'TIMBER' STOOD TALLEST: Here is the top 10 on Billboard's Country Songs chart this week in 1989. Patty Loveless ascended to her first No. 1; she would add four more in the '90s. The singer releases her 16th album, "Mountain Soul II," Sept. 29. The collection follows her first edition of bluegrass songs in 2001.
No. 1, "Timber I'm Falling in Love," Patty Loveless
No. 2, "Sunday in the South," Shenandoah
No. 3. "Are You Ever Gonna Love Me," Holly DUnn
No. 4, "Love Has No Right," Billy Joe Royal
No. 5, "Any Way the Wind Blows," South Pacific
No. 6, "I'm Still Crazy," Vern Gosdin
No. 7, "I Wonder Do You Think of Me," Keith Whitley
No. 8, "More Than a Name on a Wall," The Statler Brothers
No. 9, "This Woman," K.T. Oslin
No. 10, "Never Givin' Up on Love," Michael Martin Murphey