Client Testimonials, Weddings
In June of 2016 I had the distinct honor of being chosen to be the Wedding DJ for James and Brianne’s wedding reception. The party was held at the Warrington Country Club, in Warrington, Pennsylvania, and James and Brianne were a fun, outgoing couple who I had a absolute blast working with. As a Wedding DJ, it’s important to play all sorts of music from all different genres and eras including many diverse artists. Many brides and grooms are concerned with making sure we play a little bit of something for everyone. In my opinion four to five hours is more than enough time to keep everyone happy, whether it be with Big Band, Jazz, Motown, Rock and Roll, or Top 40, I have no problem fitting it all in. This was very important to James and Brianne, simply because as in most wedding receptions, their guests varied in both age and musical taste.
This was a wedding that I was anticipating for months, because I knew it was going to be a blast. We have been working at the Warrington Country Club for many years and it’s always nice to work at a familiar place. Once cocktail hour ended, we brought everyone in to the ballroom and began our introductions. The parents, bridal party, and bride and groom each had came out and the guests were cheering so hard it almost overpowered the music. Once the first dance and toasts were finished, everyone enjoyed an amazing meal courtesy of the staff at the Warrington Country Club. Once dinner ended, we quickly got everyone out on the dance floor. I played everything from “Shout” by Otis Day and the Knights to “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars as well as tons of other great party hits in between. The bride and groom were out on the dance floor nearly the entire night, along with their roughly one hundred and seventy guests. It was a great time for all.
Brianne and James are amazing, and I enjoyed getting to know them before the wedding and it was awesome to be a part of their celebration. I look forward to staying in touch with them as they begin their lives together as husband and wife. As always, it is a pleasure to work at the Warrington Country Club. Their staff is always professional, easy to work with and they do an outstanding job. I also had the opportunity to work with Jim and Bonnie of Zachary Photographic Gallery, who – as always – took some phenomenal images. I appreciate them letting us feature their images here on our blog.
A few weeks after the wedding the Brianne and James took to the Knot to post the following testimonial:
I can’t thank Cutting Edge enough for making our wedding a dream come true! Richie was AMAZING! The dance floor was packed the whole night which is exactly what we wanted. We highly recommend their services to anyone looking for a good time! Thank you again for everything!
Images Courtesy of Zachary Photographic Gallery
The Warrington Country Club
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Cutting Edge @ December 7, 2016
This past Spring, I had the pleasure of being the MC and DJ for Sam’s Bar Mitzvah, the youngest of three brothers all of whose Bar Mitzvahs we provided entertainment for. This was their third and final Mitzvah so I wanted to make sure we went out with a bang. Sam’s parents – Laurie and Jeff – have been really awesome to work with over the years, and working with really nice folks always motivates me to work harder for them and take their party to the next level.
Sam’s magic themed Bar Mitzvah took place at The Logan Philadelphia Hotel, and amazing venue located in Center City Philadelphia. I got my first real glimpse of how awesome this party was going to be as I strolled through the lobby and adjacent kid’s area during the cocktail hour. There was a mentalist mingling with guests, a bearded lady, airbrush tattoos and hair and makeup with lots of sparkles, and they even had a person who was hammering nails into his body while escaping from a straight jacket. It was magic, and carnival and circus show all rolled into one, and it was incredible to behold.
After the cocktail hour as the guests filled the main ballroom, it was evident that they were already itching to party as they headed right onto the dance floor for our opening set. All of Sam’s friends, family and family friends danced from the minute they got into the room until it came time to seat them for the introduction of our guest of honor… Sam.
When we were finally able to clear the dance floor and assemble the guests along the sides, it was time for the best entrances I have ever seen for a Bar Mitzvah… And I’ve seen quite a few in my time as a Mitzvah MC. The Magician – Eric Wilzig – who many may know from his appearance on America’s Got Talent, as well as other places, made Sam appear from a box of fire. It was truly amazing, and the guests were as awed as I was.
From this point on, it was all party. People were on the dance floor from the start of the evening until the end. During dinner, Eric Wilzig returned to perform some amazing magic tricks and left the crowd wanting more. There was also a sword swallower who performed during dinner. But mostly, it was an all-out dance party.
The guests danced to all of the music that we played from the 70’s on up to today. We also played some house music and the guests started to have a bit of a dance off. Sam and his friends were really great, and participated enthusiastically in everything we did. They partied the entire night away. From the perspective of this DJ, this could not have been a better crowd, and their energy and enthusiasm were infectious.
It was a pleasure to work with event planner Jen Angelo, as you sure know how to plan a party. And a big thank you to Love Shack Photo for these awesome images. I look forward to working with the staff at Logan again as they were a pleasure to work with as well. It makes the party easy when all of the event professionals work together.
And of course, thank you to Sam’s entire family (Sam, Joe, Nick, Laurie and Jeff) for letting Cutting Edge Entertainment be a part of your special day. We truly had a magical time. Mazel Tov, and wishing you all the best!
Images courtesy of Love Shack Photo
The Logan Philadelphia Hotel
Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
MC, DJ and Dancers
Cutting Edge @ November 16, 2016
I had gone to the bookstore one day back in the summer of 2015 with the intention of picking up an entirely different book, when the to-the-point four word title of this one – How Music Got Free – snagged my attention and the topic beckoned to me… “Buy me”. I did, and when I brought it home I placed it on a shelf in my home I affectionately refer to as the priority shelf, where it remained for over a year in good company among a queue a dozen or so other books I have the best intentions of reading someday soon.
At a year and some months since the date of purchase, I just couldn’t resist the temptation of this one any longer. In comparison to the time other books often spend on the priority shelf, sometimes five or six years, this one was still a figurative baby. I understood the topic from the telling title and subsequent cover text description: the end of an industry, the turn of the century, and the patient zero of piracy.
I was working as a Disc Jockey in the 1990s when it all went down; the demise of physical media brought about by the internet and the MP3. In layman’s terms, there used to be places called record stores where you went to buy things called compact discs which had music on them. Then the internet and the introduction of the MP3 changed everything because people could get the same music that they used to have to pay for at record stores, except on the internet it was free.
Yet I bought the book knowing there was more to the story, and author Stephen Witt delivered in spades. How Music Got Free is a phenomenally researched work, delivered through a step by step recounting of the events and circumstances that made it all possible including a few Easter eggs and a big “I see what you did there” in the end.
How Music Got Free could not be a more precise title for this book, and it told the story I had hoped it would on the subject I thought it would, while at the same time telling a tale much more layered and far more interesting than I’d imagined. For anyone interested in the fine details of a generally understood occurrence, this is where you’ll find them. Sure, the MP3 and the internet and music sharing changed the music industry forever. Yet contrary to popular belief the changes were not brought about overnight, but in stages riddled with obstacles and pauses brought on by some technologies advancing faster than others and ultimately aligning to bring about the inevitable.
No spoilers here, just props to the writer and his book for an enlightening and eye opening story of something I knew happened, but now have a comprehensive grasp and understanding of how. A remarkably well researched book of a fascinating story made all the more interesting through the cleverly crafted narrative by a talented author (whom I hope to see more from in the future).
Well worth the read.
Cutting Edge @ November 9, 2016
So far 2016 has been an amazing year for me, and I am so happy to have been a part of so many great wedding receptions. This particular wedding was held in September at the PineCrest Country Club in Montgomery County, and Jess and Mike were a fun, outgoing couple, whom I had a blast working with. As a Wedding DJ it’s important to play all sorts of music from all different genres and eras including many diverse artists. Many brides and grooms are concerned with making sure we play a little bit of something for everyone. In my opinion four to five hours is more than enough time to keep everyone happy, whether it be with Big Band, Jazz, Motown, Rock and Roll, or Top 40, I have no problem fitting it all in. This was very important to Jess and Mike, simply because as in most wedding receptions, their guests varied in both age and musical taste.
This wedding was a blast to be a part of as the Wedding DJ, and the energy of the bride, groom and all their guests was contagious. I have worked with some brides and grooms in the past that sometime worry that not many guests will dance, because they are shy or just not big dancers – when I hear that I always smile, because most times these couples underestimate their guests. People do not get all dressed up in their fancy suits or dresses to just sit at their table and listen to music; they came to have a great time and because they love you and want to celebrate your special day with you. I feel it is up to me to make sure I create that fun, relaxed environment to allow people to let loose and party hard. Now of course the bartender always helps us out, we will never deny that, and once the party begins it’s the DJ that makes sure all of the guests are out there, whether they are dancing, singing along, or just clapping their hands off to the side, I know they’re having a good time. In my opinion, once the party is over – and days, weeks, months and even years go by, you may forget what you ate, you may forget what you wore, there is even a good chance you may forget what kind of music we played, but you should always be able to remember the great time you had.
As always I enjoyed working with Nicole from Nicole Leigh Photography; she is very talented and was great to work alongside with as a Wedding DJ. Thank you for letting me feature these impressive images for the readers of our blog to see. As always, the staff at PineCrest Country Club did an outstanding job (as usual). The entire staff there is amazing and I enjoy working with them. And of course, it is pretty easy to have a good party when you are working with an awesome couple like Jess and Mike. Thank you again for having us be a part of your wedding day, it was my pleasure to be your Wedding DJ!
Images Courtesy of Nicole Leigh Photography
PineCrest Country Club
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Cutting Edge @ October 24, 2016
It was the end of July 2016 when I had the opportunity to DJ the wedding of Katie and Dave. The wedding reception took place at the Ballroom at the Ben in Center City Philadelphia. A couple weeks prior to the wedding I had the chance to meet with the bride and groom, to go over all the details of the wedding. We had a great time going over the music, and picking out songs for the bridal party’s “Grand Entrance” as well as creating a time line to ensure the evening had a seamless flow. Meeting with my clients before the wedding is by far my favorite part of my job. Being able to get excited with them, and assure them that everything is going to run smoothly and be lots of fun.
This was a great crowd to DJ for, as the dance floor was packed full as soon as dinner ended. I usually start my first dance set with music geared to older guests, and play some oldies, Motown, Disco, and Funk, then later on in the night I segue into the current hits. The reason I do it this way is because older guests are the ones that tend to leave earlier in the night, and I have found that younger people – for the most part – will dance to music from all generations, while many (not all) older guests are often more reluctant to dance to popular music of today. As the Wedding DJ, it is my job to play music and get guests of all generations out there during the course of the reception. Katie and Dave were dancing most of the night, and their family and friends were right out there with them.
This wedding is the first blog post I’ve had the opportunity to feature from a reception I’ve done at the Ballroom at the Ben in Philadelphia, which is also very cool. I have worked at the Ballroom at the Ben many times before in my long career as a Wedding DJ and I am excited to finally feature a post about a wedding reception there here on our DJ blog. I also had a great time working with Carley K Photography, who I’ve worked with many times and who always does a great job. I want to thank her again for letting me feature the images from the wedding on our blog. Also a big shout out to the great folks from Finley Catering at the Ballroom at the Ben. They always do a great job and are a pleasure to work with every time.
Most importantly, I want to thank the Bride and Groom – Katie and Dave – for choosing me as their Wedding DJ and allowing me to rock their wedding and be a part of their day. Wishing you both all the best in your future together as husband and wife.
Images Courtesy of Carley K Photography
The Ballroom at the Ben
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ October 5, 2016
Client Testimonials, Weddings
As a Wedding DJ, I am very grateful to get the opportunity to work with so many awesome people – weekend after weekend – just like Jillian and Howard, the bride and groom from this wedding reception which was to be held at the Down Town Club in the heart of Philadelphia. Jillian and Howard were very laid back, with their primary concern being that their friends and family had a really great time at their wedding reception. At our wrap-up meeting just prior to the wedding, we spent a lot of time going over the music for the cocktail hour, dinner, and dancing segments of the reception. We sat together for close to two hours just listening to music and looking for the perfect grand entrance, cake cutting, and parent dance songs. The best part of my job is getting to know my clients and share in their excitement for their big day, and sitting down with them face to face really gives me the chance to do just that. In all honesty it’s also one of the most fun parts of my job because I get to listen and talk about music with some really cool couples. Music isn’t just a fun topic, but something I truly love… and I think my clients do too.
Jillian and Howard are definitely both party animals, and as I mentioned earlier they really wanted all of their guests to have a great time. They picked the right DJ for the job, because getting (and keeping) people out on the dance floor happens to be my specialty. I played everything from “Runaround Sue” by Dion & The Belmonts to “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, and everyone had a blast. One thing remained the same. It didn’t hurt that this crowd was ready to go as soon as dinner was over, and did not stop until the reception came to a close. The only thing that might have hurt were peoples feet from dancing all night long.
Now, of course, I can’t take all the credit for the success of the party. The staff at the Down Town Club did a magnificent job. There was constant communication between myself and their staff, which enabled us to work together as a team to achieve and ensure the overall success of the event. I also had the chance to work with Carley from Carley K Photography who took amazing pictures and was very kind to let us feature some here on our blog. Thank you Carley! Ultimately, the communication and cooperation of all of the event professionals plays a huge role in the overall outcome of a wedding reception, and, to that end, this was a great team to work with.
In conclusion, everything could not have been such a success without the bride and groom. The wedding was amazing and I was so glad to be a part of it. I wish both Jillian and Howard the best in the start of your new life together as husband and wife, and I hope to see you both at future events. Thank you for choosing Cutting Edge Entertainment.
A few weeks after the wedding Jillian was kind enough to post the following testimonial on Wedding Wire.
Richie is one of the best wedding DJs in the Philadelphia/NJ area, hands down! Richie kept the music rocking all night and even impressed one of our friends who is known to be a bit of a DJ snob 🙂 Richie was so helpful with helping us pick songs for our first dance, entrances and other important moments throughout the night. He helped calmed me down when we arrived for our final meeting when we had literally nothing chosen yet! He patiently went through some songs with us and helped us pick great music for every moment. While my husband and I didn’t get to dance as much as we wanted since we were busy most of the night, we heard nothing but great feedback from our guests about the music and party throughout the night. Thanks for everything, Richie!
Images courtesy of Carley K Photography
Down Town Club
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ September 21, 2016
Client Testimonials, Weddings
On May 27th, 2016 I was at the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale in Philadelphia, to rock out the wedding reception of Marie and Dan. When I met with Marie and her mom for the second time a few weeks before their wedding, we came up with a timeline to squeeze in as much time for dancing as possible during the five hour reception. Working with the bride and groom before the wedding is an important part of my job. Every reception is different and my goal is to give my clients the party they have always envisioned. Since the bride and groom, know the music they love to sing and dance to, meeting with them beforehand allows me to go over these details. While some DJs may have you just submit online wedding forms, and then you meet for the first time at the event. I want to get to know and meet my clients’ weeks before the reception. Not only to go over music, but I also want to give the bride and groom a chance to get to know me. Hopefully they become comfortable and confident in my Wedding DJ skills, and they can also get to know me as a fun, outgoing person who is passionate about his work. With this piece of mind, they won’t need to worry about the music the day-of, instead they can relax and be guests at their wedding.
After dinner concluded the celebration truly began, as the bride and groom took to the dance floor with all their friends and family surrounding them. DJ Jack and I played the dance classics from all eras, including many of the biggest hits of today like “Uptown Funk” from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars and the extremely catchy “Since You Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson (which got played twice). There were a lot of guests on the dance floor at this wedding. I believe a lot of that had to do with the bride and groom. Sometimes I scratch my head when I see people at parties just sitting watching… or even worse on their smart phone. I don’t understand why anybody would get all dressed up, to go out and sit. In my opinion, they must be the same people who put on a bathing suit and go to the beach without ever going in the water. However, at this wedding reception Marie and Dan were on the dance floor the majority of the night, and all of their friends and family that loved them were right there with them.
This wedding is the first blog from a reception I did at the Union League Golf Club at Torresdale. Ann and her staff did a fantastic job. I also had a great time working with Spark Photography. I want to thank them for letting me feature the images from the wedding on our blog. Most importantly, I want to thank Marie and Dan for choosing me as their Wedding DJ and allowing me to rock their wedding, and I’d like to wish you both all the best in your future as husband and wife!!
A few weeks after the wedding Marie was nice enough to post the following testimonial on The Knot:
Richie was the DJ from Cutting Edge at my wedding, and from the minute I met him, I knew he was a true professional. Richie was incredibly accommodating throughout the entire time we dealt with him. My husband was insistent that we had Grateful Dead music played during the cocktail hour, and our first song was by The Dead as well. Richie had every single song that we asked for, and he accommodated each and every one of our requests. His suggestions were always thoughtful, and you can tell that he is incredibly experienced as a wedding DJ. Richie is incredibly positive and enthusiastic, and he just had a great attitude every time I spoke with him. I relied on all of the great reviews about Richie when I decided to reach out to Cutting Edge, and I can tell you they are all 100% accurate. Richie had the dance floor packed for two straight hours. If you want to have a giant dance party at your wedding (which we did), Richie is your guy. I can’t recommend him enough.
Images courtesy of Spark Photography
The Union League Golf Club
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ August 22, 2016
Musicology, News, Random Thoughts
This past Thursday I had the chance to finally catch one of my favorite bands, the Go-Go’s, in concert at The Fillmore in Philadelphia, which, incidentally, happens to be a pretty awesome venue for live bands. There were two opening acts – Kaya Stewart and Best Coast – after which the Go-Go’s took the stage opening with their 1982 hit “Vacation”, and then it was just a barrage of hit after rocking hit. They delved into their pre-pop punk roots, aside from playing almost all of their hits. They did Belinda’s “Mad About You” and “Cool Places” by Sparks, a tune from 1983 that featured Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin, as well as their well known rendition of The Capitols “Cool Jerk” from 1966. From beginning to end they had the house dancing and singing, and for a bunch of girls in their late 50s (and one in her early 60s) they rocked like they were in their early twenties, and with no lack of sex appeal. In a nutshell, they were awesome.
For me, one of the highest high points was when they came out for their encore opening with the Miley Cyrus hit “Wrecking Ball”, which they not only owned, but – at least from my interpretation – made a much bolder statement; the Go-Go’s still got it, and respect to Miley, and we’ll pass that torch except we’re not sure we’re done with it yet.
Farewell tour my ass.
Admittedly I’m no concert reviewer, and seldom post this sort of thing to my blog. But since I do know a thing or two about music, let me tell you how it is… the Go-Go’s are to the 1980s what Bill Haley & His Comets are to the 1950’s, and perhaps more profoundly to Rock & Roll in general. Just as the game-changing “Rock Around The Clock” played over the opening credits of Blackboard Jungle in 1955, so did “We Got The Beat” play over the opening credits of Fast Times at Ridgemont High in 1982. Both different movies, but both equally significant generational time capsules in their own right. The Go-Go’s “We Got The Beat” is a 1980s teen anthem.
And if owning an 80s teen anthem isn’t enough (in all fairness, there are several), they are the first all-girl Rock band… ever. No, Heart had guys in the band and so did all that came before the Go-Go’s. Their drummer Gina Schock rocks the big beat as good as any arena band drummer, Charlotte Caffey is an uber musician and songwriter (she wrote “We Got The Beat”), Jane Wiedlin is still the very definition of punk while Belinda Carlisle is the front girl of front girls. As for former bassist Kathy Valentine who opted out of this tour, I still hear ya on the record.
Yet the Go-Go’s are more than just the first all-girl Rock & Roll band, and more than just the very spirit of the 1980s… The are awesome, and my only regret is not paying the $200.00 to have my picture taken with the band.
Maybe on the next farewell tour. Love ya girls.
P.S. Hey Rolling Stone… Why aren’t the Go-Go’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet? C’mon Jann.
Cutting Edge @ August 15, 2016
In February I had the opportunity to DJ the wedding of Jessica and Lee. The wedding was held at Tendenza, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tendenza is a fairly new facility that has only been around for a few years. It is a modern take on the traditional ballroom, which makes it a great alternative for those looking for something different from the standard wedding venue, and it is quickly becoming one of the most popular venues in the City of Philadelphia. When Jessica and Lee decided that they wanted me to be their Wedding DJ, I was excited to once again play at this great facility.
I love meeting brides and grooms-to-be, and always feel lucky to be chosen to contribute my DJ services on what is one of the best, and most special days in a anyone’s life. Much like many young couples that are planning a wedding, Jessica and Lee were extremely excited. Our first meeting was pretty much a brainstorm on how we could make her wedding a lot of fun. then, a few months later when Jessica and Lee met with me again, we put together a timeline in which we did our best to get as much dancing time as possible during the five hour reception.
Once dinner concluded we transitioned to dancing mode. I usually open up the dance floor with a slow song, with some of my favorite selections to open up with being ‘The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra or “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. Within seconds of playing these songs, the dance floor begins to fill with couples. Once the slow song ends we slam right in with some great dancing tunes. A common question I get asked is, “How do you mix up the music?” The answer: each wedding is different, so the music I play at one wedding might be totally different from another wedding. I usually try to start the night by playing older music from the 60s and 70s and then as the night progresses I play more current selections. I think this way makes the most sense, because older guests often leave earlier in the night. I also feel that younger guests have no problem dancing to older music from the sounds of Motown, Funk, and disco, however the majority of older people don’t always dance to newer pop music or Hip Hop. But as I mentioned before, all weddings are different and these details are discussed in great detail before the reception with the bride, the groom and their Wedding DJ.
Before I conclude this blog post I would like to thank the photographer of the event, Tiffany of Atlas Wedding Photography. I have worked with her a few times now and she is a dream to work with. She is always ready with camera in hand to capture all the events as they unfold, and I am very excited to get to share these images from this amazing reception with all the readers of our blog.
Congratulations Jessica and Lee!!
Images courtesy of Atlas Wedding Photography
Wedding DJ and Lighting
Cutting Edge @ August 8, 2016
Musicology, Song Lists
The last year of the 80s decade reflects the usual and expected signs of changes in music that occur with the passage from one decade to the next. Some familiar artists still relevant as ever, some making their final Top 40 appearance, a few one hit wonders and, in the case of 1989, a surprising amount of new artists that would have a profound influence on the course of popular music in the decade to come. Yet as always, new and interesting interpretations of the love song. In 1989, Taylor Swift was born while we lost iconic songwriter Irving Berlin, passing the baton yet again in the never ending timeline of popular music.
Since beginning this project in January of 2014 with Love Songs from the Great American Songbook, the objective has been to find love songs sometimes by genre and sometimes by year. Using a variety of Top 40 to Top 100 lists, I first eliminate those with any suspect lyric suggesting uncertainty, infidelity, done-me-wrong or unrequited sentiments, and then omitting any otherwise lyrically acceptable love songs with proper nouns (guys/girls names). While no year beginning in the 1940s yielded no more than a dozen or so songs that met this standard even factoring in a margin of error, 1989 came up with eighteen great love songs without a struggle.
And to expand on the greatness of these eighteen love songs from 1989, I should add that ten of them went Gold selling over 500,000 copies, three went Platinum selling over a million copies and the five songs not achieving Gold or Platinum status still managed to chart within the Top 5 of the Billboard charts. So they aren’t just great because I say so but because the folks buying music in 1989 said so.
So before reading on, scroll to the bottom, press play, and listen to the eighteen mega-hit love songs that dominated the Billboard charts in 1989.
“Two Hearts” by Phil Collins
Not the first love song from Phil Collins solo career, and not the last. “Two Hearts” is an upbeat and joyful love song which made its chart debut in late 1988 and continued to climb up, up, up the Billboard charts peaking at the top spot (#1) in 1989. With echoes of a retro Motown sound, this fun ditty was part of a remarkable string of hits for the former Genesis front man and drummer that would continue for another decade.
“The Way You Love Me” by Karyn White
Before disappearing into relative obscurity, Karyn White would have a few more notable hits into the early 90s. “I Love The Way You Love” – the first single off of her self-titled debut album – first charted in late 1988 and would break break the Top 10 in early 1989 only to stall at #7 while still earning certified Gold status by the RIAA on March 9 of 1989. Produced by Babyface, it reflects a fresh R&B sound, not unlike that of Bobby Brown who dominated the charts the same year. It’s a danceable fun song that is unquestionably a love-filled love song.
“Born To Be My Baby” by Bon Jovi
Yet another song to make its chart debut in the latter part of 1988 (December 17), “Born To Be My Baby” was the second of five Top 10 hits from Bon Jovi’s album New Jersey, and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1989. Like the title suggests, it’s a declaration of love with lyrics that suggest that regardless of the ups and downs of real life, there is no doubt in the unwavering love that shall overcome life’s challenges.
“When I’m With You” by Sheriff
The last song on this list to make its initial chart appearance in late 1988 and the first ballad on the list, it would become a hugely popular choice for a first dance at weddings for years to come, and is widely regarded as a “power ballad”. “When I’m With You” would climb to the number one position on the Billboard charts, become certified Gold, yet as classic and perhaps even iconic of a love song as it is, it would be the only Top 40 appearance for the band Sheriff and the epitome of a one hit wonder,.
“You Got It (The Right Stuff)” by New Kids On The Block
The return of the boy band came on like a tidal wave with the New Kids On The Block. Rocketing up the charts in early 1989 and quickly attaining the #3 spot on the Billboard Top 100 and becoming certified Gold, young girls would swoon over vocalists Jordan Knight and Donnie Wahlberg imagining the song was directed at them. This would be the first of two New Kids On The Block love songs in 1989, and would open the door for the boy band craze to come in the 1990s. The original title listing on the album was “The Right Stuff”, defining the qualities of the subject of the song, going as far as saying “you are the reason I sing this song”. Is that love or what?
“Lost In Your Eyes” by Debbie Gibson
A romantic and tender teen-fueled love song that is charmingly innocent in a way that only Debbie Gibson could deliver. Although not her first number one hit, and not her first certified Gold single, Debbie Gibson – like the New Kids On The Block – opened the flood gates for teen-centric female artists and vocalists that would dominate in the coming decade. Yet as teen-ish as ‘Lost In Your Eyes” may be, the sentiment is pure and dreamy in a “first love” kind of way, which is perhaps what made this song so appealing to the young girls of its time.
“Girl You Know It’s True” by Milli Vanilli
Shrouded by controversy, Milli Vanilli were perhaps mere scapegoats in a lip-sync witch hunt that seems acceptable and commonplace in today’s live performances. Aside from the bad rap and stripped awards, “Girl You Know It’s True” was a mega hit peaking at #2 and selling enough copies to be certified Platinum before their downfall into pop music’s hall of shame. regardless of authenticity, it’s a great song, and a direct and to the point love song that will forever evoke memories of it’s time while it’s catchy lyrics make it an almost irresistible sing-along.
“Eternal Flame” by The Bangles
The third slow ballad on this 1989 list, “Eternal Flame” hints at a question that asks if this love is real, but that hint is fleeting with a counter reassurance of a returned love, and as the listener I find myself confident of a positive response to the question ‘is this burning and eternal flame”. Yes, it most certainly is. This would be the last Top 40 appearance for this archetypal 80s girl group, reaching #1 on the Billboard charts while being certified Gold.
“Like A Prayer” by Madonna
While this song was acclaimed by music critics, and achieved massive commercial success, the music video that followed brought on protests and a boycott decree from the Pope himself, causing ongoing controversy bordering on scandalous… Which likely delighted Madonna. The accusations of the video ranged from having racist imagery to Christian blasphemy by combining sexuality with religious imagery. In spite of the uproar, “Like A Prayer” reached number one on the charts, went Platinum, and when listening to the lyrics unfettered by the drama surrounding the controversial video, “Like A Prayer” is as pure a love song as any.
“Forever Your Girl” by Paula Abdul
The second Top 4o appearance of Paula Abdul was also her second chart topper cruising to the #1 spot like “Straight Up” only a few months earlier. Her second appearance fell short of her debut Platinum certification, but “Forever Your Girl” still managed a certified Gold status. As the title suggests, the theme and lyrics of this hit promise forever and ever love, and a reassurance that no matter what other suitors may offer, it cannot change her heart.
“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler
Although previously recorded starting in 1982 by Roger Whittaker, and Lou Rawls and Gladys Knight in following years, it took Bette Midler’s 1989 recording for the movie Beaches to climb this lyrically meaningful and profound love song to number one on the Billboard pop charts, RIAA certified Platinum, and two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1990. Although no newcomer to the pop charts, this was the first #1 for Bette Midler and was to be her second to last Top 40 appearance.
“I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)” by New Kids On The Block
The New Kids On The Block strike yet again, this time with a straightforward title. Debuting in the Billboard Top 40 on April 22, 1989 and climbing to the #1 spot less than two months later on June 17 of the same year earning them their second certified Gold record and their first number one chart hit. In the end, this tune dominated the Top 10 for six weeks, the Top 20 for eight weeks and the Top 40 for a grand total of fourteen weeks that summer, which should come as no surprise to women who were between the ages of 13 and 16 in 1989.
“Angel Eyes” by The Jeff Healey Band
The second one hit wonder love song on this list is an interesting yet likely oft forgotten tune in the midst of so many blockbuster mega hits. The relatively unknown Canadian Jeff Healey – who sadly died of lung cancer at 41 in 2008 – was a blind Jazz and Blues-Rock vocalist and guitarist who reached the #5 Billboard spot with this somewhat self deprecating but humbly endearing love song which asks “What are you doing with a clown like me?” and “What did I ever do to win your love?”
“Heaven” by Warrant
Not to be confused with the Bryan Adams song of the same name from 1985, Warrant was an American Glam Metal/Hard Rock band, and as was the tradition of that genre, this was considered their “power ballad”, to which concert-goes would traditionally lift their lighters. This would be Warrant’s highest charting hit peaking at #2 and achieving certified Gold status by the Recording Artists Association of America. Like most other “Hair Bands” of the 1980s, Warrant would fade into chart oblivion in the early 1990s.
“Cherish” by Madonna
This tune is Madonna’s second love song on this list and her eighteenth Top 40 hit to date, and she would go on to chart thirty more as of 2008. “Cherish” was light and fluffy compared to “Like A Prayer”, void of any major controversy which is perhaps why it peaked at #2 and failed to sell enough copies to go Gold or Platinum. Regardless, it’s a happy love song well suited for a bridal shower or wedding. A little known factoid is that as a nod to the 1960s love song “Cherish” by The Association, Madonna lifted several verses directly from that song, although her version is an entirely different song.
“When I See You Smile” by Bad English
The third “power ballad” on this list of love songs for 1989, and again by a band classified as Glam Metal/Hard Rock, yet a closer look at Bad English finds veteran rocker John Waite – formerly of the 1970s band The Babys and having a small string of solo hits in the early 80s – on lead vocals, making the genre association of Glam Metal/Hard Rock slightly suspect. In any case, this chart-topping certified Gold #1 hit is unquestionably a slow ballad as well as a love song with powerful lyrics that scream “I love you”.
“(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me” by Paula Abdul
Paula Abdul climbed into the Billboard Top 40 in October of 1989 with yet another fun-filled love song, making her the third artist with two great love songs on the 1989 list. Although similar in title to the earlier Karyn White song listed second on this list, here we find an entirely different song and sound arguably unique to Paula Abdul with an auto-tune effect that would become almost commonplace two decades later. “It’s Just The Way That You Love Me” peaked at #3 on the charts, but would be sandwiched in by three #1 hits both before and after giving the former Lakers dancer a total og six #1 hits overall.
“Don’t Know Much” by Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
Aaron Neville had his first hit in 1967, and Linda Ronstadt had hers in 1968. While Mr. Neville faded into virtual obscurity in regard to the popular music scene for over two decades, Miss Ronstadt was pumping out hits through the 70s and 80s, while earning Grammy Awards, American Music Awards and a plethora of other awards as well as collaborating with countless artists. How the two came together in 1989 to record “Don’t Know Much” is unknown, but the collaboration resulted in a love song for the ages. Chart position and Gold certification aside, this love ballad speaks to the certainty of true love in an otherwise uncertain world.
And so ends the second to the last decade of the Twentieth Century, and although the popular love song as a form of expression finds a way to remain consistently familiar while sometimes redundant and even childlike, it also explores new poetic, insightful and inspirational ways of conveying the great joy of love. And just as people of all ages fall in love, there seldom fails to be a love song that speaks to and accurately represents each generation and each stage of love. Like the maturely crafted lyrics of “Wind Beneath My Wings” or “Don’t Know Much”, to the youthful and innocent love reflected in songs like “Lost In Your Eyes” and “I’ll Be Loving You Forever”, we never seem to run out of new ways to say “I love you”.
Love the love…
Sources: The Billboard Book of Top 40 [Pop] Hits and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B Hits by Joel Whitburn and Billboard’s Hottest Hot 100 Hits by Fred Bronson.
Cutting Edge @ August 3, 2016