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Backwards Bullets: This Week In Charts 1989

The "Glee" episode "The Power of Madonna" coincides with the 21st anniversary of the singer reigning with "Like a Prayer."

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

Backwards Bullets: This Week In Charts 1989

20 years ago this week, a pop/rock balladeer entered into elite company atop the Billboard Hot 100, while R&B/Hip-Hop Songs sported a purple reign.

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