“Look Away” is a 1988 power ballad by American rock band Chicago. Written by Diane Warren, produced by Ron Nevison, and with Bill Champlin on lead vocals, it is the second single from the band’s album Chicago 19. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in December 1988, matching the chart success of the group’s “If You Leave Me Now” (1976) and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” (1982). “Look Away” is Chicago’s seventh song to have peaked at number one on the Adult Contemporary chart as well as the number one song on the 1989 year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart, even though it never held the #1 spot at all 1989.
The song, unlike hits from early in Chicago’s career, does not prominently feature horns. It is also the band’s first number-one single following the departure of Peter Cetera, who left the group in 1985.
“Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley (Free Baby)” is a song by the American dance-pop band Will to Power. The song combines elements of two previously recorded rock songs: “Baby, I Love Your Way”, a #12 Billboard Hot 100 hit from 1976 by the British-born singer Peter Frampton; and American Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Free Bird”, which hit #19 on the Hot 100 chart in 1975. Will to Power’s medley of these two songs had more of a synthesized dance beat (as opposed to the rock ballad-like nature of the two original songs). It spent one week at #1 on the Hot 100 chart dated December 3, 1988. It also peaked at #2 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart. Additionally, in the “Freebird” section, the line “and the bird you cannot change” in the original version was changed to “and this bird will never change”.
In March and April 2009, VH1 ran a countdown of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s. Will to Power’s “Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird Medley” placed at #97 on the countdown despite the fact the group having another Top 10 hit in 1991 with a cover version of the 1975 10cc hit “I’m Not in Love.”
“Bad Medicine” is a number-one single by American hard rock band Bon Jovi. It was written by musicians Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Desmond Child. It was released in September 1988 as the lead single from the band’s album New Jersey.
The song is highlighted by a near constant keyboard playing by David Bryan that is well defined in the beginning of the song and at several interludes, as well as loud guitar playing by Richie Sambora, background singing in the bridge and chorus, and a loud fast-paced delivery of lyrics by Jon Bon Jovi. It is one of the more upbeat and hard rocking songs on New Jersey.
Towards the end of the song, Jon says he is running out of breath and has to go, but then relents, saying “I’m not done…one more time, with feelin'” and the band finishes the song with another repeat of the chorus.
“Wild, Wild West” is a song by The Escape Club from their similarly named debut album, Wild Wild West. The single hit the charts in late 1988 eventually reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of November 12, 1988, making The Escape Club the only British artist to have a No. 1 hit in America while never charting in the UK.
The lyrics, with phrases such as “I love her eyes and her wild, wild hair,” “heading for the ’90s, living in the wild, wild west,” are augmented with gunshot, laser and blaster (a la STAR WARS) sound effects. Critics have noted that portions of the song bore a strong similarity to Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up” due to the distinct drum beat and vocal patterns during the verses.
The music video is noted for using mirror imaging of actors to give the illusion of disembodied arms and legs.
In 1989, Wally Wingert parodied it on the Dr. Demento radio show as “Adam West,” in response to the casting of Michael Keaton as the title character for that year’s Batman film.
“Kokomo” is a song written by John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, Mike Love, and Terry Melcher and recorded by American rock band the Beach Boys. Its lyrics describe two lovers taking a trip to a relaxing place on an island off the Florida Keys called Kokomo. It was released as a single on July 18, 1988 by Elektra Records and became a No. 1 Hit in the United States, Japan, and Australia (where it topped for about two months). The single was released to coincide with the release of Roger Donaldson’s film Cocktail, and its subsequent soundtrack.
It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television in 1988, but lost to Phil Collins’ “Two Hearts” (from the film Buster). “Two Hearts” and Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run” from Working Girl jointly beat it for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
“A Groovy Kind of Love” is a pop song written by Toni Wine and Carole Bayer Sager and published by the Screen Gems music publishing company. It is heavily based on the Rondo movement of Sonatina in G major, op. 36 no. 5 by Muzio Clementi. The song was released first by Diane & Annita in 1965, and several covers have since appeared on worldwide music charts.
The song title was an early use of the then-new slang word “groovy”. Wine, who was 17 years old when she wrote the song, said, “Carole came up with “Groovy kinda… groovy kinda… groovy…” and we’re all just saying, ‘Kinda groovy, kinda groovy, kinda…’ and I don’t exactly know who came up with “Love”, but it was ‘Groovy kind of love’. And we did it. We wrote it in 20 minutes. It was amazing. Just flew out of our mouths, and at the piano, it was a real quick and easy song to write.”
“Red Red Wine” is a song written, performed and originally recorded by American singer Neil Diamond in 1967, included on Neil’s second studio album, Just for You. The lyrics are sung from the perspective of someone who finds drinking red wine the only way to forget his woes.
When Neil left the Bang Records label in 1968, Bang continued to release Neil Diamond singles, often adding newly recorded instruments and background vocals to album tracks from the two Neil Diamond albums that Bang had issued. For the “Red Red Wine” single, Bang added a background choir without Neil’s involvement or permission. Diamond’s version reached number sixty-two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1968. The original album version was released on Diamond’s The Greatest Hits (1966–92) but the 1968 single version has never been issued on a vinyl album or CD.
The song was covered by several artists, shortly after Diamond’s recording was released. Tony Tribe covered the song in 1969 in a reggae-influenced style. UB40 recorded it in 1983 in a lighter reggae style; a version which topped the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. Diamond later performed a UB40-inspired version of the song on tour.
“Love Bites” is a power ballad recorded by the English rock band Def Leppard in 1987 on the album Hysteria. It is Def Leppard’s only number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 to date.
When Robert John “Mutt” Lange originally brought the song to the band’s attention, it was a country ballad, which the band thought sounded like nothing they had done before. The band then added power rock elements and emotive backing vocals similar to those used in R&B ballads at the time. The title “Love Bites” was originally used for a very different song that was eventually re-titled “I Wanna Be Your Hero”, and which appeared as a Hysteria B-side and later on the album Retro Active.
Following the huge momentum generated by “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, the song was released in August 1988 and quickly shot to the top of the U.S. charts, dethroning Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. It stayed there for one week before giving up the position to UB40’s “Red Red Wine”. The song also hit number eleven in the UK (their second best showing from the album).
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” was a popular worldwide hit song by musician Bobby McFerrin. Released in September 1988, it became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, a position it held for two weeks. The song’s title is taken from a famous quotation by Meher Baba. The “instruments” in the acappella song are entirely overdubbed voice parts and other sounds made by McFerrin, using no instruments at all; McFerrin also sings with an affected accent. The comedic original music video for the song stars McFerrin, Robin Williams, and Bill Irwin, and is considerably shorter than the album version.
“Sweet Child o’ Mine” is a song by the American rock band Guns N’ Roses, featured on their debut studio album, Appetite for Destruction (1987). Released in August 1988 as the album’s third single, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the band’s first and only number-one single in the U.S. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1988. It reached number six on the UK Singles Chart, when re-released in 1989.