Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, June 18th

On this day in 1986: Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald were enjoying their first of three weeks at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘On My Own.’

 It was released from LaBelle’s first platinum album, ‘Winner In You’ and was written and produced by Burt Bacharach and his former wife Carole Bayer Sager. The song was originally recorded by singer Dionne Warwick  for inclusion on her album ‘Friends.’ It is unclear why the song was not included on the final track list. The song was based on a relationship that had reached its end with both parties going their separate ways in a melancholy state with the occasional option of coming back together again one day.

It was often stated that the two performers were in separate cities when they recorded their individual parts which were then “married” during mixing. This was reflected in the music video produced to promote the song, which depicted LaBelle and McDonald performing the song simultaneously on different coasts. The singers were shown on separate sides of a split screen, each singing the song while walking through apartments which had identical layouts but different decor and furniture. The views from their respective porches, where they finished the song, made clear their separation by the continent.

The song was initially not intended to be a duet at all, but LaBelle decided to invite McDonald to help her turn the song into a duet, as she stated: “The song was sent to me and I did a version of it but somehow it just didn’t quite work. We were going over things I’d done and we talked about turning it into a duet. Someone asked, ‘If you could do it with anyone, who would you sing it with?’, and Michael was my first choice.”

Here’s the rest of the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 from this day in 1986:

1 2 ON MY OWN – Patti LaBelle & Michael McDonald MCA-13 (1 Week at #1)
2 1 LIVE TO TELL –•– Madonna (Sire)-10 (1)
3 4 I CAN’T WAIT –•– Nu Shooz (Atlantic)-15 (3)
4 9 THERE’LL BE SAD SONGS –•– Billy Ocean (Jive)-9 (4)
5 8 CRUSH ON YOU –•– The Jets (MCA)-10 (5)
6 3 GREATEST LOVE OF ALL –•– Whitney Houston (Arista)-12 (1)
7 10 A DIFFERENT CORNER –•– George Michael (Columbia)-8 (7)
8 14 NO ONE IS TO BLAME –•– Howard Jones (Elektra)-10 (8)
9 5 ALL I NEED IS A MIRACLE –•– Mike + The Mechanics (Atlantic)-13 (5)
10 7 SOMETHING ABOUT YOU –•– Level 42 (Polydor)-18 (7)


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