Rating the top 10 singles from this week in '89: Think music was better back in the day? We'll be the judge of that
Credit: Paula Abdul: Kees Tabak / Sunshine / Retna Ltd.

This week in 1989: Rating the top 10 singles

10. ”Wind Beneath My Wings,” Bette Midler What would middle-school pageant princesses belt out in the talent competition if this song didn’t exist? Whitney Houston’s ”The Greatest Love of All”? Possibly, but then they wouldn’t benefit from the whole Beaches factor (i.e. make grown folks weep like teething infants). As a song, this is grandiose tear-duct manipulation at its most uncool and undivine. C

9. ”Patience,” Guns N’ Roses It’s a real pity that whistle solos didn’t catch on after Axl tenderly serenaded us on this pre-Unplugged lighter-flicker anthem. Could that be the secret weapon he’s long been perfecting on Chinese Democracy? We can dream. A

8. ”Rock On,” Michael Damian Joining Rick Springfield in the pantheon of soap-actors-turned-chart-toppers (a pantheon of two?), this Def Leppard-lite jam is one of the more embarassing guilty pleasures of the decade since it also appeared in the Corey Feldman cult fave Dream a Little Dream. D+

7. ”Second Chance,” .38 Special While it was the biggest hit of their career, these Southern rockers had a decent run on the singles charts before diluting their sound to fit alongside Mike & the Mechanics, Starship, and Mr. Mister. Still, any one of those bands would be proud to call this impressively constructed adult-contemporary hit their own. B

6. ”After All,” Cher & Peter Cetera Just as Chances Are (with Cybill Shepard and Robert Downey Jr.) is no An Officer and a Gentleman, Cetera and Cher can’t touch Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes. Try as it did to rewrite ”Up Where We Belong,” this tepid movie theme could not match its predessor’s uplifting, MOR greatness. C-

5. ”Soldier of Love,” Donny Osmond A little bit rock & roll and apparently a lil’ bit dance-pop too. His label’s efforts to break this song at radio by not showing the former child star’s name or likeness worked. And its catchy formula (save for the dated synth-strings) holds up surprisingly well. B-

4. ”Forever Your Girl,” Paula Abdul Oh, Paula, I’ve been a fan of yours since day one. I love watching your dance moves and…just your spirit and energy…and your impeccable fashion sense. You’ve got style, girl. Sure, it was pitchy in parts, but I think it was a fun, fantastic song choice that showed off your cute-as-a-button personality. I just think you’ve got a bright future ahead of you. Especially in TV. B

3. ”Real Love,” Jody Watley A musical doppelgänger for Janet Jackson at various points in her post-Shalamar career, Watley made more than a few memorably sassy R&B statements in her day. But this servicable groove and melodic clunker was not one of them. For the real real deal, check out ’87’s ”Looking for a New Love” and ”Don’t You Want Me.” C+

2. ”Like a Prayer,” Madonna Crafting more decade-defining singles than Jacko clearly wasn’t enough for her, so the just-divorced ex-Mrs. Penn decided to release a ”serious” pop album before the clock struck 1990. That disc’s title track, with its solemn gospel-funk fire, will likely remain the best, most enduring tune she will ever record. A

1. ”I’ll Be There For You,” Bon Jovi These five words I swear to you: This song is just aiiight. Though you can probably sing back the über-ballad’s hook in your sleep, you’ll probably have little reason to outside of a karaoke bar, Bon Jovi concert, or Jersey high school prom. B