THE POWER OF MADONNA: What better way to count down the minutes to tonight’s Madonna-centric episode of “Glee” than to celebrate the anniversary of one of the icon’s biggest weeks on Billboard’s pages.
Madonna rose to the top of the Billboard 200 this week in 1989 with the album “Like a Prayer,” her third of seven No. 1s to date on the survey. On the Billboard Hot 100, the title track became her seventh of 12 career leaders.
Original Chart Beat author Paul Grein noted the significance of Madonna’s dominance in the Billboard issue dated April 22, 1989. “‘Like a Prayer’ is Madonna’s third consecutive studio album to reach No. 1, following ‘Like a Virgin’ and ‘True Blue.’ The (then-)30-year-old star is the first artist to top the (Billboard 200) with three studio albums in a row since Rolling Stones rang the bell with eight straight studio albums from 1971-81.”
Three weeks earlier, Billboard had praised the “Like a Prayer” album in a “spotlight” review. “At initial listen, the album is less accessible than previous efforts, but is ultimately her most satisfying, lyrically and musically. There’s plenty here that’s radio-friendly, including (subsequent Hot 100 top 10s) ‘Express Yourself,’ ‘Cherish’ and ‘Keep It Together’.”
(Gleeks, click here for more of Billboard’s coverage on Fox’s in vogue high school musical).
NEW ‘MOON’: 21 years ago this week, the lead single from Tom Petty‘s first solo album vaulted to the top of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart, as “I Won’t Back Down” jumped 5-1 in its second week on the tally.
The song ushered in “Full Moon Fever,” which would yield two more Mainstream Rock No. 1s: “Free Fallin’ ” and “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” Three other songs from the set would reach the top 10 – “Love Is a Long Road,” “A Face in the Crowd” and “Yer So Bad” – while a cover of “Feel a Whole Lot Better,” originally recorded by a band that heavily influenced Petty, the Byrds, would reach No. 18.
On June 15, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers release “Mojo,” their 12th studio album and first since “The Last DJ” in 2002. As the new set’s title suggests, the group aimed to capture its essence when playing live as opposed to a reliance on studio augmentation.
“With this album, I want to show other people what I hear with the band,” says Petty. “‘Mojo’ is where the band lives when it’s playing for itself.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW: While the Queen of Pop donned the Hot 100 crown this week in 1989, variety stocked the chart’s upper tier. In addition to rock and rap, George Michael appeared as a backup vocalist on “Heaven Help Me” by his bassist Deon Estus at No. 7.
Highlights beyond the top 10 on the April 22, 1989, Hot 100 included Paula Abdul‘s “Forever Your Girl” charging 22-17, Donny Osmond’s comeback hit “Soldier of Live” advancing 30-23 and Guns N’ Roses‘ “Patience” jumping 44-33 as the chart’s greatest gainer in airplay.
Closing out the top 40 were two artists who’ve since segued to successful careers as record executives. Tommy Page edged 40-39 with “A Shoulder to Cry On,” his first charted single on Warner Bros. Today, he serves as sister label Reprise’s vice president of pop promotion. At No. 40, Jimmy Harnen rose three places with “Where Are You Now?” After a lengthy run with Capitol Nashville, Harnen is now president of the Republic Nashville label.
Here is the top 10 on the Hot 100 21 years ago this week:
Position, Title, Artist(s)
No. 1, “Like a Prayer,” Madonna
No. 2, “She Drives Me Crazy,” Fine Young Cannibals
No. 3, “The Look,” Roxette
No. 4, “Funky Cold Medina,” Tone Loc
No. 5, “I’ll Be There for You,” Bon Jovi
No. 6, “Stand,” R.E.M.
No. 7, “Heaven Help Me,” Deon Estus
No. 8, “Girl You Know It’s True,” Milli Vanilli
No. 9, “Eternal Flame,” Bangles
No. 10, “Second Chance,” Thirty Eight Special