Welcome to Part 3 in a four-part series looking back at songs hitting significant milestones this year. This week, we're looking at 30 tracks hitting the big 3-0 in 2016. Here are some of the biggest hits released in 1986, the sounds that take you right back to that big year.
(You can find Part 1, 50 songs turning 50 in 2016, here and Part 2, 40 songs turning 40 in 2016, here.)
1. "Walk This Way," Run-D.M.C.
The Hollis, Queens, trio's "Walk This Way" has the distinction of not only helping propel rap into the mainstream but revitalizing Aerosmith's career (the band originally released the song in 1975). So, in a roundabout way, you can thank Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels and Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell for Alicia Silverstone's landmark phase as an Aerosmith video vixen.
2. "Take Me Home Tonight," Eddie Money
Eddie Money + very quick Ronnie Spector input = No. 4 hit and a permanent place on every bar's karaoke rotation.
3. "We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off," Jermaine Stewart
Drinking cherry wine? That's totally, though! To be fair, is there anyone who really hates this song, whether you agree with the message or not? It's pure 1980s gold. If you disagree, feel free to call me at 1-800-YOURE-WRONG. P.S. This one was co-written by Narada Michael Walden, who also collaborated on several Whitney Houston hits, including "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" and "How Will I Know."
4. "The Greatest Love of All," Whitney Houston
Speaking of Houston, this ballad, released between "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," ended up being the third-biggest-selling song of her career (and her third No. 1 single), saccharine content and all. But hey, that voice.
5. "Addicted to Love," Robert Palmer
Hitting it big around Valentine's Day in 1986 (marketing!), "Addicted" (well, its video) became a cultural landmark, inspiring countless parodies — and easy Halloween group costumes.
6. "Kiss," Prince
In accordance with Grand Princely Edict Against People Being Happy No. 45, Prince's recording is not available on free video sites. So here's a cover from "Glee." See what you made me do, Prince?
7. "Hearts Aren't Made to Break (They're Made to Love)," Lee Greenwood
Two years after Greenwood hit it Reagan-era big with "God Bless the USA," he was feeling more romantic than patriotic. This was the follow-up single to "Don't Underestimate My Love For You."
8. "Typical Male," Tina Turner
Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, the "Typical Male" songwriting team, also penned Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It."
9. "Your Love," the Outfield
Hey, ladies of 1986. The Outfield's older girlfriend isn't around, but you're young and breathing and will do. They just want to use your love. That's all.
10. "Word Up!", Cameo
Y'all, a "Reading Rainbow"-era LeVar Burton plays a cop in this video. A cop.
11. "Nasty," Janet Jackson
Janet (or Miss Jackson) had a very big 1986 with the release of her breakthrough album, "Control." Other singles released by Jackson that year: "What Have You Done For Me Lately," "When I Think of You" and the titular "Control."
12. "Rock Me Amadeus," Falco
Reasons to love Falco: This song simply existing (it, against the odds because listen to it, was a No. 1 hit) — and it inspiring "The Simpsons" to write the "Dr. Zaius" song for its "Planet of the Apes" musical.
13. "Papa Don't Preach," Madonna
Leave it to Madonna to upset both anti-abortion and pro-choice groups with one fell song.
14. "Venus," Bananarama
Meanwhile, upsetting no one was Bananarama with its cover of Shocking Blue's 1969 No. 1 hit. The British girl group's take also hit No. 1.
15. "Ain't Nothin' Goin' on But the Rent," Gwen Guthrie
Gwen Guthrie spoke the truth — and loved using good rhymes to get her financial message across.
16. "Higher Love," Steve Winwood
Winwood's first No. 1 song proved that rather nondescript English dudes could surprisingly be full of soul. Also: Will Jennings, who co-wrote "Higher Love" with Winwood, also wrote the lyrics to "My Heart Will Go On" from the film "Titanic." They should have used "Higher Love" during that scene where they're balancing together on the edge of the ship.
17. "Why Can't This Be Love," Van Halen
And the Sammy Hagar Era begins.
18. "True Colors," Cyndi Lauper
One of the most popular songwriting teams of the 1980s was responsible for "True Colors." Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly also wrote "Like a Virgin," "Eternal Flame," "Alone" and "So Emotional." So basically, if the 1980s had a song Mount Rushmore, they would earn two spots.
19. "Hip to be Square," Huey Lewis and the News
"I think their undisputed masterpiece is 'Hip to Be Square,' a song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the band itself!" — Patrick Bateman, "American Psycho."
20. "Take My Breath Away," Berlin
Berlin was everyone's wingman in 1986.
21. "These Dreams," Heart
Even if you worshiped hard-rocking Heart, you had to at least respect power-ballading Heart.
22. "Manic Monday," the Bangles
One more Prince-written song for 1986 (really, Prince, "I-don't-have-to-run day"?). BTW, this was released on my 4th birthday. Not sure what you will do with that information, but there it is.
23. "Amanda," Boston
Surprisingly, this is Boston's only No. 1 hit.
24. "You Give Love a Bad Name," Bon Jovi
The lead single from Bon Jovi's album "Slippery When Wet," which I'm guessing every teenager owned in 1986. "You Give Love a Bad Name" quickly hit No. 1, and Bon Jovi followed it up with another No. 1 hit in 1986, "Livin' on a Prayer."
25. "On My Own," Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald
This breakup song is called "On My Own," but it's a duet and is also about maybe getting back together. Discuss.
26. "Sledgehammer," Peter Gabriel
The frenetic music video is arguably more memorable than the song itself. Even 30 years ago, people seemed to agree — it won nine MTV Video Music Awards.
27. "Danger Zone," Kenny Loggins
Like "Take My Breath Away," Loggins' hit was from the film "Top Gun." It was also written by the same folks, Giorgio Moroder and Tim Whitlock. The difference? "Take My Breath Away" won an Oscar for best original song, while Loggins' was snubbed. Per usual.
28. "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going," Billy Ocean
More movie songs! This was featured in "The Jewel of the Nile," the sequel to "Romancing the Stone."
29. "Dancing on the Ceiling," Lionel Richie
Sincere silliness, thy name is Lionel Richie.
30. "Walk Like an Egyptian," the Bangles
The year closed out in a super-catchy way, with this No. 1 smash and its shout-outs to relief carvings, talented waitresses, punk and metal bands and a video with some super Susanna Hoffs hair. Good times, 1986.