DAILY DIRT: Did music start going downhill after the 1980s?


Daily Dirt for Monday, July 8, 2024

The only really decent song since 1989 (other than a Rod Stewart offering) might be the “Last Kiss” remake from Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 999 of The Daily Dirt.

1. For boomers, the 30-year span covering the 1960s through the 1980s defines that generation’s most popular period of music.

Things all began to change in earnest in the 1990s with the advent of more diverse music trends, including grunge, hip-hop, electronic music and pop punk.


  • Grunge and alternative rock bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam challenged the dominance of the style of pop music that had ruled the previous 30 years and introduced more of a raw and angst-filled sound to the mainstream.
  • What has been termed the golden age of hip-hop saw the emergence of influential artists like, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Electronic music gained popularity, thanks to artists like The Prodigy and Daft Punk, who brought their infectious beats and culture to the forefront.
  • Other bands blended rock and pop elements — groups like Green Day and Blink-182 — that also appealed to a wide range of music fans.

That’s why those who monitor such trends consider 1989 as the final year of the more traditional pop sound — and for many boomers it became the last year they enjoyed the “pop” sound.

Here were the most popular songs in that final year — 1989 — of the kind of music most boomers grew up with, and the kind of music most still prefer today:

  • January: “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” Poison.
  • February: “Straight Up,” by Paula Abdul.
  • March: “Lost In Your Eyes,” by Debbie Gibson.
  • April: “She Drives Me Crazy,” by Fine Young Cannibals.
  • May: “Like A Prayer,” by Madonna.
  • June: “Rock On,” by Michael Damian. 
  • July: “Toy Soldiers,” Martika.
  • August: “Right Here Waiting,” by Richard Marx.
  • September: “Hangin’ Tough,” by New Kids on the Block.
  • October: “Miss You Much,” Janet Jackson.
  • November: “When I See You Smile,” by Bad English.
  • December: “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” by Billy Joel.

2. Did you know (Part 60)

  • The No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 8, 1984 was “When Doves Cry” by Prince.
  • The No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 8, 1974 was “Rock the Boat” by the Hues Corporation.
  • The No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 8, 1964 was “I Get Around” by the Beach Boys.
  • The top-rated TV shows on this date 30 years ago were “Seinfeld,” “ER” and “Home Improvement”.
  • Barry Bonds (79), Carlton Fisk (72), Darrell Evans (60), Dave Winfield (59) and Carl Yastrzemski (59) hit the most home runs after age 40. (Special note for Cardinals fans — right behind the top five is Stan Musial with 46.)

3. The top 10 WWE wrestlers of all time, according to bleacherreport.com

  • 1. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin: Due to injuries, he was more of a brawler and a showman than an actual wrestler beyond 1997. Still, Austin battled night in and night out, winning 12 WWE belts as the intercontinental champ (twice), tag-team champ (four times) and WWE champion (six times).
  • 2. Shawn Michaels: Whether he was a fan favorite or a loathed villain at the time, Michaels was always a riot with a mic in his hand.
  • 3. The Rock: As far as the WWE is concerned, there has been no better setup and closer combo than the “Rock Bottom” and “The People’s Elbow”.
  • 4. Hulk Hogan: He was a six-time world champion in both the WWE and WCW. He is the Michael Jordan of wrestling insomuch as he spent two decades as the dude every kid wanted to be when they grew up. 
  • 5. Ric Flair: Flair’s figure-four leg lock belongs on a pedestal in the Wrestling Hall of Fame for finishing moves.
  • 6. The Undertaker: The Taker has never been much of a talker, and those mic skills — or lack thereof — have always hurt him.
  • 7. John Cena: Cena might be the greatest orator Vince McMahon has ever employed.
  • 8. “Macho Man” Randy Savage: He’s the only member of ther top 10 who used aerial acrobatics to end matches.
  • 9. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper: Piper was one of the first to master the art of the sleeper hold.
  • 10. Mick Foley: He was far from the most technical wrestler on any card, but he could take a beating.

Steve’s Thought O’ The Day: Rose and thorn do not rhyme.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He’s staying up all night to write Daily Dirt 1000 … and watch Gunsmoke.

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