The ‘80s: The Top 10 Songs of 1988

In 1988, the feature films Diehard and School Daze hit the big screen, a gallon of gas cost about $.91, Vice President George H. W. Bush defeated Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts in the United States presidential election, and some hot music topped the charts. Check out the Top Ten songs that closed out the year.

#10 “Roll With It,” Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood claimed the #10 spot with the bluesy pop tune “Roll With It,” from the album of the same name. It topped the pop and mainstream rock charts for one month, spent two weeks on top of the adult contemporary chart, and even hit the Top 40 on the R&B chart.

#9 “Hands to Heaven,” Breathe

The English pop group Breathe came in at #9 with the single “Hands To Heaven” from their debut album All That Jazz.

#8 “Could’ve Been,” Tiffany

Teen sensation Tiffany, who scored a hit the previous year with her cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ “I Think We’re Alone Now,” took the #8 spot with the single “Could’ve Been.”

#7 “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” Belinda Carlisle

Belinda Carlisle, former lead singer of the ‘80s punk-pop group the Go-Go’s, came in at #7 with the Grammy Award-nominated “Heaven Is A Place On Earth,” from her second solo effort, Heaven on Earth.

#6 “So Emotional,” Whitney Houston

George Michael_FaithThe late Whitney Houston snagged the #6 spot on 1988’s Top Ten list with So Emotional,” her sixth consecutive #1 hit. The song, penned by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly—the songwriting duo behind Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” and The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”—was produced by Narada Michael Walden.

#5 “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” Guns N’ Roses

From the “songs you recognize from the first note” category, Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” took the #5 spot. The tune was a Top 10 hit in the U.K. and became the band’s first and only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

#4 “Never Gonna Give You Up,” Rick Astley

At #4, whether you loved it or hated it, you had to have been living under a rock if at some point you didn’t hear Rick Astley’s worldwide #1 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.

#3 “Got My Mind Set On You,” George Harrison

Former Beatles member, the late George Harrison, released “Got My Mind Set On You,” originally recorded by soul singer James Ray in the early 1960s. The single would be Harrison’s final appearance at the #1 spot on the charts in the U.S.

INXS_Need You Tonight#2 “Need You Tonight,” INXS

The Australian rock band INXS earned the #2 spot with their single “Need You Tonight,” a tune which would be their only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The music video that 5 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of The Year.

#1 “Faith,” George Michael

The #1 song of 1988, George Michael’s “Faith” topped the Billboard Hot 100 and hit the Top 10 on charts worldwide. The album of the same name topped the pop and R&B charts, and won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1989.

—Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is a Dallas, Texas-based, independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado, with a Master of Science degree in Marketing. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his release Inertia at, follow him on Twitter @MontroseC and check out his blog, Daddy Rock Star.

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