Reaching for the Stars, Vol. 11

Chart Week: August 5, 1989
Song: “18 and Life” – Skid Row
Chart Position: #32, 5th week on the chart. Peaked at #4 the week of September 23.

These late 80s countdowns are not my favorites. By 1987 my tastes were drifting away from mainstream, Top 40-style music. Emphasis on the word drifting, because I still liked plenty of music that Casey counted down every week, just a lot less than I had a few years earlier.

I came across this countdown several times last weekend on SiriusXM, each time during the 30s. Aug. 5, 1989 was about two weeks before I went off to college, where I eventually made my official divorce from Top 40 radio. But as I looked back on this week’s chart I had two thoughts:
1 – There was a lot of shitty ass music on the charts that week
2 – Sadly, I think I still liked a lot of it

That got me to thinking about 1989 in general, and the last five months in particular. I went off to college with a case full of cassettes that spanned all kinds of genres. There was some New Jack Swing era R&B. Plenty of rap. Mainstream pop. Hard rock. Classic rock. Even some hair metal in there. I know I spent a lot of time that fall listening to Public Enemy, Prince, Billy Joel, Cinderella, Warrant, New Edition, Keith Sweat, Guy, Madonna, Boston, Van Halen, NWA, Aerosmith, and Soul II Soul. It was a wacky, wild time, man.

Of the hair metal I listened to then, this is a song that still holds up pretty well. Which shouldn’t be a surprise because Skid Row had a seriousness and depth to their lyrics that put them on a different level than other bands of the summer of ’89 like Warrant and Winger, to name two. Plus Sebastian Bach was a cool bad ass. Years later a couple buddies and I saw a guy who vaguely looked like him on our plane. We spent the entire flight mock shrieking, “We are the youth gone wild!” to each other.

Good as this song is, I was shocked that it peaked at #4. Really?!?! That’s kind of incredible. It made me feel a little better about blasting it with the windows down as I drove to the recycling center Sunday morning.