Chart Week: August 30, 1986
Song: “Heaven In Your Eyes” – Loverboy
Chart Position: #33, 5th week on the chart. Peaked at #12 for two weeks in October.

A quick entry this time, based on a cultural nugget that shows how much the world has changed since 1986.

Casey shared that Loverboy keyboard player Doug Johnson refused to appear in the video for “Heaven In Your Eyes.” Why? Because the song was on the soundtrack for Top Gun, and Johnson was a pacifist. He felt that the movie glamorized war and military service.

Think about that for a minute.

A musician taking a stand against the troops. Can you imagine if that happened today?!?!

Even the most anti-war artists during the Iraq War were careful to say that they were “against the war but for the troops.” Or used some other similar language to make it clear their issues were with policymakers and not those who volunteered to serve.

That stance still caused problems in the 2000s, since a vocal minority of this country believes that if you question the political motives behind military action, you are somehow also “against the troops.”

Hell, the (Dixie) Chicks were basically run out of the country music world because Natalie Maines said she was ashamed to be from the same state as President Bush a year into the Iraq War.

But I don’t remember any real blowback about Johnson’s stance in 1986. Maybe it was because he was Canadian and Loverboy was on the backside of their career.[1] Maybe it was because people who would normally get fired up by similar statements were distracted by the bright, shiny thing that was Top Gun. Or maybe it was just because in 1986 people weren’t so reflexive about defending the idea that only one view of the world can be patriotic.

Last week I heard a countdown from 1987 in which Casey opened the show by thanking a guest host who had sat in for him a week earlier while he attended an anti-nuclear weapons march in New York. I can’t imagine Ryan Seacrest or any of the people who host the various countdowns on SiriusXM making a similar statement today. I don’t think it was an accident that Casey chose to share Doug Johnson’s story.

I guess things were indeed just different in 1986.

As for the song, it sucks. Loverboy carved out an awesome and unique niche in the corporate rock world of the early ‘80s. This song has none of the stuff that made them cool. A cheesy electric piano intro starts things off poorly. Mike Reno sounds bored delivering his vocals. In general, the song comes across as a cheap knockoff of his sappy duet with Ann Wilson, “Almost Paradise,” which had been on the Footloose soundtrack a year earlier.

The Top Gun soundtrack had two songs that will be played forever, a super-cool instrumental theme, and then a bunch of forgettable tracks. This, though, was the turd in the punchbowl. Maybe Johnson was more ashamed of the song than trying to make a political point when he chose to skip the video shoot. 2/10

  1. Worth noting that Canadian Bryan Adams also refused to appear on the soundtrack because he, too, believed the film glorified violence. He was the second choice to perform “Danger Zone,” after Toto, who were unable to because of legal issues between their management and the film’s producers. Crazy how the signature song of Kenny Loggins’ career went through two other artists before he got a crack at it.  ↩