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Hits of 1988

What I'm Listening To

My top ten tracks of 1988... I found this really difficult because 1988 was such an awful year for music. In the end I revelled in it and went for a good proportion of novelty tracks.

Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin

Written by Bobby McFerrin for the Cocktail soundtrack, Don't Worry, Be Happy became a mega hit in 1988, charting top five everywhere from Iceland to West Germany.

Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime) - Morris Minor and the Majors

Stutter Rap is a genius Beastie Boys parody that peaked at #4 in the UK, #14 in Canada, and #2 in Australia. No surprise with lyrics like these:

And it breaks my heart that we're not on the chart,
'cause the record's nearly over when the vocals start ...
something must be wrong with your vocal technique,
when the twelve inch mix goes on for a week.

The Loco-Motion - Kylie Minogue

Sigh. The Loco-Motion has always kind of summed up my view of 1988 pop culture - naff with a capital 'N'. Originally written for Dee Dee Sharp (she turned it down), The Loco-Motion was first recorded by Little Eva and became the USA's sixth most successful single of 1962.

It was then covered by various people in various languages, before Kylie gave it a go in 1987. The song did so well in Australia that Kylie landed a deal with PWL Records who had her re-record it for a July '88 release. I might not have been impressed to discover it was the soundtrack of my very first summer, but the record buying public of the time must have disagreed: it was a top ten hit across most of the western world.

Doctorin' the Tardis - The Timelords

KLF cheerfully sold out their house sensibilities for chart success with Doctorin' the Tardis, reaching #1 in the UK and New Zealand, and the top ten in Australia, Norway, Ireland, Finland, and Belgium. Drummond and Cauty were under no illusions as to what they had created, describing it in press releases as 'probably the most nauseating record in the world'.

Anfield Rap (Red Machine In Full Effect) - Liverpool FC

It's so bad it's almost good. As novelty tracks go, at any rate! I like how willing they were to take the mick out of themselves though - and I've always low key hoped John Barnes was having a jab at racist crowds with that bananas line. (The infamous pic from the Everton v Liverpool match was taken a few months earlier in February '88.)

I Think We're Alone Now - Tiffany

Originally a hit for Tommy James and the Shondells back in 1967, I Think We're Alone Now has been covered by everyone from Lene Lovich to The Rubinoos. The then 15-year-old Tiffany recorded it for her debut album in 1987, going on to hit the top spot in the US, UK, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa. I always loved this one as a kid, and thought Tiffany looked so effortlessly glam in her hairspray and denim!

Minnie the Moocher - Reggae Philharmonic Orchestra

Minnie the Moocher, first recorded way back in 1931, was a huge hit for Cab Calloway and his orchestra. This version proved, yet again, that covers were the way to go in 1988 when the song peaked at #35 that winter.

Loco in Acapulco - The Four Tops

Written by Lamont Dozier and Phil Collins there was no way I couldn't love Loco in Acapulco, really! It never made it past the B-Side in the US, but hit the top ten in the UK and the Netherlands.

There's More To Love - The Communards

This has always been my favourite Communards track; that whole mix of sugary upbeat pop and an angry political message just spoke to me. ("I would like to shout it from the highest mountain, to tell the world I've found love and what it means to me. But all around there's violence and laws to make me think again.") It peaked at #20 on the UK charts in the spring of 1988.

Voodoo Ray - A Guy Called Gerald

Okay, it's confession time: I tend to prefer house when it gets a bit poppier and starts clogging up the charts in the early 90s. But '88 was the second Summer of Love and Voodoo Ray, released in June 1988 though it didn't chart until 1989, was definitely one of the best things about it.

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What I'm Listening To


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