Hot coals in a fire: Best songs of 1986


One of those years with few albums I’m passionate about (So, Control, Candy Apple Grey, Please, I can go on) but lots of great singles, including quite a few R&B slow jams. “Nasty” might be number one but the others aren’t in any order except #2-#4. These songs play with psychedelia in fascinating, discrete ways.

1. Janet Jackson – Nasty
2. Sly Fox – Let’s Go All The Way
3. Daryl Hall – Dreamtime
4. Prince and the Revolution – Mountains
5. Public Image Ltd – Rise
6. Eric B & Rakim – Eric B. Is President/My Melody
7. Luther Vandross – Give Me the Reason
8. Stacey Q – Two of Hearts
9. Dwight Yoakam – Guitars, Cadillacs
10. Belinda Carlisle – Mad About You
11. Pet Shop Boys – Love Comes Quickly (12″ Dance Mix)
12. Run-D.M.C. – You Be Illin’
13. Anita Baker – Sweet Love
14. Rosanne Cash – Hold On
15. Madonna – Live To Tell
16. George Michael – A Different Corner
17. R.E.M. – Fall On Me
18. Paul Simon – Graceland
19. Aretha Franklin – Jimmy Lee
20. The Smiths – Ask
21. Stevie Nicks – I Can’t Wait
22. Fine Young Cannibals – Suspicious Minds
23. Gwen Guthrie – Ain’t Nuthin’ Goin’ on But the Rent
24. Siouxsie & the Banshees – Cities in Dust
25. Human League – Human
26. Tina Turner – Typical Male
27. Rene & Angela – Your Smile
28. a-ha – I’m Losing You
29. The Cure – Close To Me (Remix)
30. ZZ Top – Velcro Fly
31. Sade – The Sweetest Taboo
32. Ready For the World – Love You Down
33. INXS – Listen Like Thieves
34. Miami Sound Machine – Bad Boys (Shep Pettibone Remix)
35. New Order – Shellshock
36. The Cars – Tonight She Comes
37. Paul McCartney – Press
38. Genesis – Throwing It All Away
39. David Bowie – Absolute Beginners
40. Regina – Baby Love
41. Robert Palmer – I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On
42. E.G. Daily – Say It, Say It
43. Level 42 – Something About You
44. Stephanie Mills – I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love
45. Depeche Mode – But Not Tonight
46. Duran Duran – Notorious
47. John Cougar Mellencamp – Rain on the Scarecrow
48. Talking Heads – Wild, Wild Life
49. The Blow Monkeys – Digging Your Scene
50. Magazine 60 – Don Quichotte
51. Billy Ocean – When the Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going)
52. The S.O.S. Band – The Finest
53. Cherelle ft. Alexander O’Neal – Saturday Love
54. Erasure – Oh L’Amour
55. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
56. Level 42 – Lessons in Love
57. Feargal Sharkey – You Little Thief
58. The Real Roxanne with Hitman Howie Tee: Bang Zoom (Let’s Go Go)
59. The B’52’s – Girl from Ipanema Goes to Greenland
60. ‘Til Tuesday – What About Love

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2 Responses to Hot coals in a fire: Best songs of 1986

  1. jerfairall says:

    I’ve come to think that 1986 may be my favourite year for music of my lifetime. You have quite a few of my favourites here, or at the very least you’ve picked my 2nd or 3rd fave song of the year by the artists you’ve covered. A few I’d add him artists not mentioned: Echo and the Bunnymen, “Bring on the Dancing Horses;” Crowded House, “Don’t Dream it’s Over;” Pretenders, “Hymn to Her;” OMD, “If You Leave;” Dream Academy, “Life In a Northern Town;” Howard Jones, “No one is to Blame;” Timex Social Club, “Rumors;” Phil Collins, “Take Me Home;” Dire Straits, “Walk of Life;” El Debarge, “Who’s Johnny;” Cameo, “Word Up;” Jeffrey Osborne, “You Should Be Mine”

    • humanizingthevacuum says:

      Amen to “Don’t Dream it’s Over” and “Hymn to Her” (and “My Baby”), the latter of which will appear in my ’87 list. I’m not too fond of “You Should Be Mine” despite loving Osborne’s “Plane Love, “Stay With Me Tonight” and “Don’t Stop.” Even less fond of “Word Up” and “If You Leave” (if you Google my name and “If You Leave,” you’ll find a piece I wrote for the Village Voice about it in 2012).

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