Top of the Pops

Friday's a good day for silly pop music lists, so here's a couple adapted from a "meme" via Jamie Bowden:

Go to and find the Greatest USA Hits of the year you turned 18.

I refuse to spend a bunch of time dinking around with typefaces, and I'm not going to list all 75 of the songs they provide for each year, but if you'd like some insight into my formative pop culture experiences, here's the top 20 from the year I turned 18:

  • 1. Love Shack - B-52's
  • 2. Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc
  • 3. Bust A Move - Young MC
  • 4. Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
  • 5. Like A Prayer - Madonna
  • 6. Joy and Pain - Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock
  • 7. Put A Little Love In Your Heart - Annie Lennox and Al Green
  • 8. All I Want Is You - U2
  • 9. Patience - Guns N Roses
  • 10. The Best - Tina Turner
  • 11. Paradise City - Guns N Roses
  • 12. Keep On Movin' - Soul II Soul
  • 13. Wild Thing - Tone Loc
  • 14. Every Little Step - Bobby Brown
  • 15. I'll Be There For You - Bon Jovi
  • 16. Another Day In Paradise - Phil Collins
  • 17. Love In An Elevator - Aerosmith
  • 18. Kiss - Art of Noise featuring Tom Jones
  • 19. She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
  • 20. Lay Your Hands On Me - Bon Jovi

That's actually a lot better than I was expecting. The Bette Midler song is a world of pain, and the Phil Collins entry is a fairly low point in his catalogue, but other than those, I either like or am indifferent to these songs. I was never fond of Bobby Brown, but I don't even remember that song, so it couldn't've been too horrible, and I don't remember the two Bon Jersey songs at all. It's not a bad set of songs, given the state of pop music in 1989.

Odd fact: I believe that Young MC is responsible for three of the top 20 for the year, as if I remember correctly, he's the guy who wrote "Funky Cold Medina" and "Wild Thing." I say this not so much because I'm proud to know such useless triva as because misery loves company.

The other classic version of this is to punch up the hits of the year you were born, so here are the corresponding tracks from 1971:

  • 1. You've Got A Friend - James Taylor
  • 2. Joy To The World - Three Dog Night
  • 3. Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones
  • 4. Stairway To Heaven - Led Zeppelin
  • 5. Imagine - John Lennon
  • 6. Behind Blue Eyes - the Who
  • 7. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye
  • 8. Proud Mary - Ike and Tina Turner
  • 9. Friends - Elton John
  • 10. Maggie May - Rod Stewart
  • 11. Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) - The Temptations
  • 12. Hot Pants - James Brown
  • 13. Love Her Madly - Doors
  • 14. Wild Horses - Rolling Stones
  • 15. She's A Lady - Tom Jones
  • 16. Black Magic Woman - Santana
  • 17. River Deep-Mountain High - Supremes & Four Tops
  • 18. Oye Como Va - Santana
  • 19. Revival (Love Is Everywhere) - The Allman Brothers band
  • 20. Colour My World - Chicago

Amazingly, this is a significantly better set of songs. I mean, sure, "You've Got a Friend" is cheesey as all hell, and "Imagine" is the weakest song in the John Lennon catalogue, but neither comes close to the level of "Wind Beneath My Wings." In fact, "You've Got a Friend" multiplied by "Imagine" and raised to the power of "Colour My World" doesn't come close to the awfulness of "Wind Beneath My Wings."

Interestingly, both Tom Jones and Tina Turner appear in the Top 20 for both the year I was born and the year I turned 18. I have no idea what this means, but it's sort of interesting.

(You might think that I'm just truncating these lists to hide the fact that there's some real horror-show stuff lower down in the 1989 list. You might be right.)


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What surprised me about my birth year list (1967) is how many of them are Motown hits. Really all through the 60s, Motown was bigger than rock n roll.

You damn young whipper-snappers! In 1971 I was in college, studying girls, guitar, chemicals and anthropology, and worried about keeping my 2-S student deferment. Fun times. Thanks for the memories!

I'm amazed that the #1 on my high school year (1988) was Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World". I don't remember it getting re-released, though I vaguely remember it used in some commercials at around that time.

I was born the same year as you. I agree, the '71 songs had much more staying power than the '89 ones. Some of those artists are still around too. Is it just me or was 1971 an unusually good year? 1972 has stuff like sappy stuff like The Candy Man and Precious and Few. 1970 has the Partridge Family and the Carpenters.

All I Want is You is a sublime U2 song from 1989, though.