About halfway through this portion of the list, the songs stop being especially bad and just kinda become unmemorable. Which I guess says a lot about the quality of the songs that hit #1 R&B. I can’t say that the list of bad songs would be as short if we were talking about the pop charts.
Ugh. “Kokomo.” “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” I’ll stop now.
You can catch up on the first two entries at the conclusion of this post. You can see the third and most recent installment here.
200. “Miss You Like Crazy” by Natalie Cole (#1 for 1 week, June 1989 | Amazon)
In which the comebacking Natalie Cole tries to get some of that Whitney Houston money.
Better than “Unforgettable,” nowhere near as good as “Our Love” or “This Will Be” or “I Can’t Say No” or “Inseparable” or…
199. “Loosey’s Rap” by Rick James featuring Roxanne Shante (#1 for 1 week, August 1988 | Amazon)
In which the in-need-of-a-comeback Rick James splits from longtime home Motown Records only to sign with his archival Prince’s label, Warner Brothers. The funk legend also allegedly experienced a religious epiphany while making his Warner Brothers debut, only to have the resulting album rejected by his label for not sounding enough like Rick James. Cocaine is a helluva drug, indeed.
“Loosey’s Rap” is so threadbare you can almost see through it. Even the video is uninspired–and Roxanne Shante, who raps on it, is nowhere to be seen in the clip. This one had to have reached the top by virtue of politics.
Bonus Beats: Shante was the first rapper to officially be c0-billed on a #1 R&B record, igniting a practice that exists on both pop and R&B charts to this day.
198. “Lovin’ You” by The O’Jays (#1 for 1 week, November 1987 | Amazon)
In which a veteran Philly soul group scores their first #1 hit in nearly a decade by making a song that sounds like it could’ve been made in their heyday. What a concept.
Perfectly serviceable, and professionally sung, but also incredibly unexciting.
197. “Dreamin'” by Vanessa Williams (#1 for 2 weeks, February 1989 | Amazon)
In which the first Black Miss America sets the course for the remainder of her career, topping the charts with a treacly ballad.
This one may have been ruined by excessive airplay. I can distinctly remember hearing the opening notes on the radio and running for the dial several times.
I must admit, I prefer Dance Diva Vanessa to Balladeeress Vanessa, but I suppose the public spoke.
If I do one of these lists for the ’90s, you’d best believe that “Save The Best For Last” will be towards the bottom.
196. “My Fantasy” by Teddy Riley featuring Guy (#1 for 1 week, September 1989 | Amazon)
In which Teddy Riley changes the dynamics of his group by relegating lead singer Aaron Hall to a supporting role on this song, gives a young Sean Combs more than a few marketing ideas, and provides the answer to the question “What’s the least likely song that you’d find on the soundtrack to a movie like Do The Right Thing?” The song’s single remix (not the version in the video) salvages the quality a little bit, but compared to the genius that was Guy’s debut album, this song is a throwaway in every sense of the word.
Bonus Beats: “My Fantasy” is Guy’s only #1 record. Ain’t no justice in the world, I tell ya.
Bonus Bonus Beats: Can you tell this video and the video for “Rump Shaker” (the Wreckx-N-Effect track that Riley produced) apart? Only difference I see is the unflattering banana hammocks in this clip.
195. “Save Your Love (For #1)” by Rene & Angela (#1 for 2 weeks, July 1985 | Amazon)
In which a duo that was already high in demand as a production unit (for Stephanie Mills, Rufus, Janet Jackson and many others) follows a template provided by Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You,” recruits a hot rapper to make a cameo on their latest dance single, and is rewarded with their first chart topper. Not a bad song, I dig the percolating groove, but the other four major singles from this album (Street Called Desire) are much better, and “Save Your Love” suffers from the comparison.
There was no video for this?
194. “Don’t Say No Tonight” by Eugene Wilde (#1 for 3 weeks, December 1985-January 1986 | Amazon)
In which Eugene Wilde says “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and releases a very slight variation (musically and lyrically) of his first #1 hit “Gotta Get You Home Tonight.”
However, if you smash Eugene’s two #1s together, you get…”Shake You Down” by Gregory Abbott???
Eugene may have been many things, but an actor he was not.
193. “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car” by Billy Ocean (#1 for 1 week, April 1988 | Amazon)
In which Billy Ocean and producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange (best known for hits with AC/DC, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard and ex-wife Shania Twain) create one of the most profoundly annoying dance-pop songs of the 20th century, with a stupid-ass title that you can’t forget no matter how hard you try.
“Get Outta My Dreams” is one of those songs I love to hate. I’d almost certainly change the station if it were to come on the radio, but I also know just about every word. Not that Billy Ocean was ever cool (not by any stretch of the imagination,) but this video was the exact point where he jumped the shark. Not even R. Kelly could bring the man back.
192. “Oasis” by Roberta Flack (#1 for 1 week, January 1989 | Amazon)
In which Roberta Flack scores her biggest hit in a decade with a song that’s the musical equivalent of a rice cake.
191. “Lovelite” by O’Bryan (#1 for 1 week, June 1984 | Amazon)
In which this Don Cornelius discovery scores his sole chart topper with a piece of decent but anonymous L.A. synth-funk.I think we have officially hit the mediocre patch of this list.
Bonus Beats: Michael Jackson stole that jacket for the “We Are The World” video. Don’t believe me?