Bobby Brown had a manifesto, Bret Michaels had a horticulture habit, and Def Leppard had no idea that grunge was coming. We revisit the Hot 100 of 23 years ago


1. Bobby Brown, ”My Prerogative”
His pre–Mr. Whitney Houston prerogative — besides teaching 90 percent of the population how to spell prerogative — was just to live his life and love the ladies. Also: to make slanted high-top fades (a.k.a. ”the Gumby”) a legitimate hair choice. A-

2. Phil Collins, ”Two Hearts”
If you were a sentient, radio-listening human in 1989, Phil Collins was the unstoppable chart hog with an endless run of hits, including this sweet Motown throwback. If you were born in 1989, he’s the dad of that girl from The Blind Side who dated Taylor Lautner for five minutes. B+

3. Poison, ”Every Rose Has Its Thorn”
…Just like every night has its dawn, and every cowboy sings a sad, sad song — roughly two decades later, to a bunch of rode-hard reality harlots on his VH1 ”dating” show. Sigh. B

4. Taylor Dayne, ”Don’t Rush Me”
First, Long Island’s doyenne of bedazzled-bustier dance-pop wanted you to Tell It to Her Heart. Then, she asked you to Prove Your Love. But moving too fast in a relationship? No, thank you. She’s made that mistake before (oh-ooh-whoa-ahh-ore). B+

5. Def Leppard, ”Armageddon It”
Aryageddon that pun? Wordplay! B

6. The Bangles, ”In Your Room”
The sound you heard when Susanna Hoffs purred, ”In the warm glow of the candlelight/Oh, I know what you’re gonna do to me” was the click of a thousand doors locking as teenage boys rushed to their own rooms to, um, study. A-

7. Michael Jackson, ”Smooth Criminal”
Who is Annie? And why is MJ so concerned that she’s okay? These and many mysteries were never solved. But good Lord, that bass line! Amazing. A

8. Boys Club, ”I Remember Holding You”
They were known, ever so briefly, as ”the Wham! of Minnesota.” This saxy ballad aside, the duo’s pop reign had a shorter shelf life than Andrew Ridgeley’s solo career. C

9. Annie Lennox and Al Green, ”Put a Little Love in Your Heart”
Bill Murray’s emotional redemption in Scrooged needed a soundtrack; Annie and Al obliged. B+

10. Karyn White, ”The Way You Love Me”
How is it that a lady with four top 10 hits has less cultural currency today than MC Skat Kat? Ponder that and other criminal acts while you crank this excellent new-jill-swing anthem. A-

Source: Joel Whitburn Presents The Billboard® Hot 100® Charts—The Eighties