1989 in British music

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1980s in music in the UK
Number-one singles
Number-one albums
Best-selling singles
Best-selling albums
Summaries and charts
1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984
1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
1979 1990
Top 10 singles
1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984
1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989
1979 1990

This is a summary of 1989 in music in the United Kingdom, including the official charts from that year.


The very beginning of the year saw compilation albums excluded from the UK Albums Chart, and spun off into the new UK Compilations Chart from the week commencing 8 January 1989. Albums such as the Now series had regularly dominated the chart since 1983, with often up to 4 of the Number 1's each year being hit compilations. Now 13 was knocked off the top spot of the albums chart as a result of this new implementation.

In the UK Singles Chart, eighteen singles reached number one. The first was a duet between teen idols Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, "Especially for You", which had narrowly missed out on being 1988's Christmas number one single. The two would continue their success throughout the year, with Minogue getting her third number one single; "Hand on Your Heart" in May followed by "Wouldn't Change a Thing" which peaked at No.2 in August, "Never Too Late" peaked at No.4 in October, and then her second number one album, Enjoy Yourself came in November. Donovan fared even better getting two number one singles ("Too Many Broken Hearts" in March, and "Sealed With a Kiss" in June) and one album (Ten Good Reasons in May). The two enjoyed a highly publicised romance throughout the year until Minogue ended the relationship and began dating Michael Hutchence from the band INXS.

Like many artists this year, Minogue and Donovan were produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, who were at the peak of their popularity in 1989. This year saw the production team re-launch Donna Summer's ailing career, and she scored her first Top 10 hit for 10 years with "This Time I Know it's For Real" which made Number 3 and followed it up with two more Top 20 hits ("I Don't Wanna Get Hurt and "Love's About To Change My Heart") all from her album "Another Place and Time", written and produced entirely by the trio. Also, The Reynolds Girls and Sonia both got the Stock Aitken Waterman treatment with their top 10 singles "I'd Rather Jack" by the much derided The Reynolds Girls, which reached No.8 in March, and "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" by Sonia which got to No.1 in July. Big Fun kick-started their short-lived pop career with a Stock Aitken Waterman produced cover of "Blame it on the Boogie" which got to No.5.

After a break the previous year, Madonna returned to Number 1 for the sixth time in March with "Like a Prayer", though the music video caused controversy. Her album, from which this was the title track, also topped the charts and became one of her most critically acclaimed worldwide. The single was followed by 3 further Top 5 hits in 1989; "Express Yourself" (No.5), "Cherish" (No.3) and "Dear Jessie" which peaked at No.5 over the Christmas period, becoming a big seller, selling over 250,000 copies.

May saw The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden and producers Stock Aitken Waterman reach No. 1 with a charity cover of the Gerry & The Pacemakers song "Ferry Cross the Mersey", released in aid of the Hillsborough disaster the previous month. The original reached number 8 in 1964.

Two sounds dominated the Summer and Autumn. The first came from Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers, where several old songs from the 1940s to 1960s were joined together to create a megamix, with 'Jive Bunny' (an animated rabbit) featuring in the music videos. "Swing the Mood" topped the charts for five weeks from July, "That's What I Like" for three weeks in October, and "Let's Party" for one week in December. Unlike the first two, the latter sampled Christmas songs from the 1970s and 1980s. Jive Bunny became the third artist ever to have their first three singles reach number one, after Gerry & The Pacemakers and Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

The second was the italo house sound of Black Box, whose "Ride On Time" was the biggest-selling single of the year, and, at six weeks, spent the longest time at number one. Though the song heavily sampled Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation" from 1980, the music video featured a different singer miming to Holloway's vocals. This prompted legal action, so later pressings of the single featured a different singer – the then little-known Heather Small, who later went onto to massive fame as the lead single of M People in the 1990s. The same production team behind Black Box also reached No.9 under the group name Starlight with the hit single "Numero Uno". The italio house sound continued with Top 10's from Mixmaster "Grand Piano" and FPI Project went to No.9 with their version of "Going Back to mMy Roots/Rich in Paradise".

Along with italo, the House music genre was still going strong in 1989. Inner City released numerous house hits during the year which all entered the Top 40, the biggest being "Good Life", which reached No.4 in January. Coldcut introduced Lisa Stansfield with her debut single "People Hold On", which reached No.11 in May and stayed in the Top 75 for 9 weeks. This was followed by her first solo hit, "This Is The Right Time" which hit No.13, but in October, she made it all the way to the top with "All Around The World" which stayed at No.1 for two weeks.

The Rebel MC created a second wave house craze in October 1989 with his No.2 hit "Street Tuff", and from Belgium, genre-defining Technotronic stormed to No.2 in November with their huge debut hit "Pump Up The Jam". Like Black Box, there was minor controversy over who was the actual singer of the track. The label officially credited French model Felly as the vocalist (who also appeared in the video), however, it was in fact American rapper Ya Kid K providing all the vocals. A third scandal involving credited vocalists also continued this year with the duo Milli Vanilli who hit the headlines when it was revealed that neither of them had performed vocals on any of their debut singles, including this year's No.2 smash from November, "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You".

The teen-sensations of 1988, Bros, lost momentum and a band member this year, so a new boyband took their title and from the USA came New Kids on the Block and they soon became the latest pop sensations in Britain. Their debut single "Hangin' Tough" initially stalled early in the summer, but it was the follow-up "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" that went straight in at No. 1 in the Autumn. It would stay there for three weeks, paving the way for a re-release of "Hangin' Tough" in January 1990, and the multi-platinum success of their debut album of the same name.

The year's Christmas number 1 single, and, indeed, the final number 1 of the 1980s, went to a new version of 1984's Christmas number 1 "Do They Know It's Christmas?". Unsurprisingly, it was produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, Band Aid II, like the original Band Aid, featured numerous famous music stars of the day, including both Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan giving them the credit as appearing on both the first and last number one singles of the year. Donovan would also achieve the honour of the biggest selling album of the year with his "Ten Good Reasons" album going multi-platinum before the end of the year.

One of the highlights of the Proms was the première of John Tavener's The Protecting Veil, performed by Steven Isserlis and the London Symphony Orchestra. Two new works by John McCabe were also premièred during the year: Sam Variations for violin, viola, cello, doublebass and piano, commissioned and performed by the Schubert Ensemble of London, and String Quartet No 5, performed by the Gabrieli Quartet at the Fishguard Festival. A choral work by McCabe's, Proud Songsters, was written to celebrate the 70th birthday of Stephen Wilkinson.



Number-one singles[edit]


Chart date
(week ending)
Song Artist(s)
7 January "Especially for You" Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan
14 January
21 January
28 January "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" Marc Almond with Gene Pitney
4 February
11 February
18 February
25 February "Belfast Child" Simple Minds
4 March
11 March "Too Many Broken Hearts" Jason Donovan
18 March
25 March "Like a Prayer" Madonna
1 April
8 April
15 April "Eternal Flame" The Bangles
22 April
29 April
6 May
13 May "Hand on Your Heart" Kylie Minogue
20 May "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney,
Gerry Marsden and Stock Aitken Waterman
27 May
3 June
10 June "Sealed With a Kiss" Jason Donovan
17 June
24 June "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler
1 July
8 July
15 July
22 July "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" Sonia
29 July
5 August "Swing the Mood" Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers
12 August
19 August
26 August
2 September
9 September "Ride On Time" Black Box
16 September
23 September
30 September
7 October
14 October
21 October "That's What I Like" Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers
28 October
4 November
11 November "All Around the World" Lisa Stansfield
18 November
25 November "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" New Kids on the Block
2 December
9 December
16 December "Let's Party" Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers
23 December "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid II
30 December

Number-one albums[edit]

Chart date
(week ending)
Album Artist
7 January Now 13 Various Artists
14 January The Innocents Erasure
21 January The Legendary Roy Orbison Roy Orbison
28 January
4 February
11 February Technique New Order
18 February The Raw and the Cooked Fine Young Cannibals
25 February A New Flame Simply Red
4 March
11 March
18 March
25 March Anything for You Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
1 April Like a Prayer Madonna
8 April
15 April When the World Knows Your Name Deacon Blue
22 April
29 April A New Flame Simply Red
6 May Blast! Holly Johnson
13 May Street Fighting Years Simple Minds
20 May Ten Good Reasons Jason Donovan
27 May
3 June The Miracle Queen
10 June Ten Good Reasons Jason Donovan
17 June
24 June Flowers in the Dirt Paul McCartney
1 July Batman Prince
8 July Velveteen Transvision Vamp
15 July Club Classics Vol. One Soul II Soul
22 July A New Flame Simply Red
29 July
5 August Cuts Both Ways Gloria Estefan
12 August
19 August
26 August
2 September
9 September
16 September Aspects of Love London Stage Cast
23 September We Too Are One Eurythmics
30 September Foreign Affair Tina Turner
7 October The Seeds of Love Tears for Fears
14 October Crossroads Tracy Chapman
21 October Enjoy Yourself Kylie Minogue
28 October
4 November Wild! Erasure
11 November
18 November The Road to Hell Chris Rea
25 November
2 December
9 December ...But Seriously Phil Collins
16 December
23 December
30 December

Year-end charts[edit]

Best-selling singles[edit]


No. Title Artist Peak
1 "Ride On Time" Black Box 1
2 "Swing The Mood" Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers 1
3 "Eternal Flame" Bangles, TheThe Bangles 1
4 "Too Many Broken Hearts" Donovan, JasonJason Donovan 1
5 "Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)" Soul II Soul featuring Caron Wheeler 1
6 "Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" Almond, MarcMarc Almond featuring Gene Pitney 1
7 "That's What I Like" Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers 1
8 "Pump Up the Jam" Technotronic featuring Felly 2
9 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" Band Aid II 1
10 "Hand on Your Heart" Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 1
11 "Like a Prayer" Madonna 1
12 "All Around the World" Stansfield, LisaLisa Stansfield 1
13 "If Only I Could" Youngblood, SydneySydney Youngblood 3
14 "Love Changes Everything" Ball, MichaelMichael Ball 2
15 "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" Milli Vanilli 2
16 "You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" Sonia 1
17 "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" New Kids on the Block 1
18 "The Living Years" Mike + the Mechanics 2
19 "Ferry 'Cross the Mersey" Christians, TheThe Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden and Stock, Aitken & Waterman 1
20 "Miss You Like Crazy" Cole, NatalieNatalie Cole 2
21 "Wouldn't Change a Thing" Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 2
22 "This Time I Know It's for Real" Summer, DonnaDonna Summer 3
23 "Don't Know Much" Ronstadt, LindaLinda Ronstadt featuring Aaron Neville 2
24 "Let's Party" Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers 1
25 "Street Tuff" Rebel MC and Double Trouble 3
26 "Belfast Child" Simple Minds 1
27 "Requiem" London Boys 4
28 "French Kiss" Lil Louis 2
29 "Sealed with a Kiss" Donovan, JasonJason Donovan 1
30 "Right Here Waiting" Marx, RichardRichard Marx 2
31 "Straight Up" Abdul, PaulaPaula Abdul 3
32 "Especially for You" Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue and Jason Donovan 1
33 "You Got It" Orbison, RoyRoy Orbison 4
34 "Lambada" Kaoma 4
35 "Help!" Bananarama/Lananeeneenoonoo 3
36 "Stop!" Brown, SamSam Brown 4
37 "When You Come Back to Me" Donovan, JasonJason Donovan 2
38 "If You Don't Know Me by Now" Simply Red 2
39 "London Nights" London Boys 2
40 "Poison" Cooper, AliceAlice Cooper 2
41 "The Best" Turner, TinaTina Turner 5
42 "Love Train" Johnson, HollyHolly Johnson 4
43 "If I Could Turn Back Time" Cher 6
44 "Leave Me Alone" Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson 2
45 "Room in Your Heart" Living in a Box 5
46 "Another Day in Paradise" Collins, PhilPhil Collins 2
47 "Song for Whoever" Beautiful South, TheThe Beautiful South 2
48 "Get a Life" Soul II Soul 3
49 "Baby I Don't Care" Transvision Vamp 3
50 "Leave a Light On" Carlisle, BelindaBelinda Carlisle 4

Best-selling albums[edit]


No. Title Artist Peak
1 Ten Good Reasons Donovan, JasonJason Donovan 1
2 A New Flame Simply Red 1
3 ...But Seriously Collins, PhilPhil Collins 1
4 Anything for You Estefan, GloriaGloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine 1
5 Cuts Both Ways Estefan, GloriaGloria Estefan 1
6 Enjoy Yourself Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 1
7 The Raw and the Cooked Fine Young Cannibals 1
8 Foreign Affair Turner, TinaTina Turner 1
9 Like a Prayer Madonna 1
10 Club Classics Vol. One Soul II Soul 1
11 Don't Be Cruel Brown, BobbyBobby Brown 3
12 The Road to Hell Rea, ChrisChris Rea 1
13 When the World Knows Your Name Deacon Blue 1
14 Jive Bunny: The Album Jive Bunny and the Mastermixers 2
15 Appetite for Destruction Guns n' Roses 5
16 Street Fighting Years Simple Minds 1
17 The Miracle Queen 1
18 Wild! Erasure 1
19 The Twelve Commandments of Dance London Boys 2
20 We Too Are One Eurythmics 1
21 The Seeds of Love Tears for Fears 1
22 Raw Like Sushi Cherry, NenehNeneh Cherry 2
23 Affection Stansfield, LisaLisa Stansfield 2
24 Watermark Enya 5
25 Velveteen Transvision Vamp 1
26 The Legendary Roy Orbison Orbison, RoyRoy Orbison 1
27 Spark to a Flame: The Very Best of Chris de Burgh de Burgh, ChrisChris de Burgh 4
28 Ancient Heart Tikaram, TanitaTanita Tikaram 3
29 Holding Back the River Wet Wet Wet 2
30 Batman Prince 1
31 Past Present Clannad 5
32 Kylie Minogue, KylieKylie Minogue 2[a]
33 The Best of Rod Stewart Stewart, RodRod Stewart 3
34 Bad Jackson, MichaelMichael Jackson 4[b]
35 Kick INXS 9
36 The Innocents Erasure 1
37 Paradise Inner City 3
38 Stronger Richard, CliffCliff Richard 7
39 The Sensual World Bush, KateKate Bush 1
40 2 X 2 Milli Vanilli 6
41 Everything Bangles, TheThe Bangles 5
42 Level Best Level 42 5
43 Mystery Girl Orbison, RoyRoy Orbison 2
44 Crossroads Chapman, TracyTracy Chapman 1
45 Remote/Bitter Suite Hue & Cry 10
46 Runaway Horses Carlisle, BelindaBelinda Carlisle 4
47 Greatest Hits Ocean, BillyBilly Ocean 4
48 Welcome to the Beautiful South Beautiful South, TheThe Beautiful South 2
49 Blast Johnson, HollyHolly Johnson 1
50 Aspects of Love Original Cast Recording 1


  1. ^ Reached number 1 in 1988
  2. ^ Reached number 1 in 1987

Classical music[edit]

Film and Incidental music[edit]



Music awards[edit]

BRIT Awards[edit]

The 1989 BRIT Awards winners were:


  1. ^ "1989 The Number One Singles". Official Charts Company. 
  2. ^ "Year-End Charts '89 – Top 100 Singles". Music Week (London, England: Spotlight Publications): 16. 3 March 1990. 
  3. ^ "Year-End Chart '89 – Top 75 Artist Albums". Music Week (London, England: Spotlight Publications): 12. 3 March 1990. 

External links[edit]