Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In Music, December 23rd

On this day in 1989: Phil Collins started a four week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘Another Day In Paradise’, his 7th U.S. solo #1. Released as the first single from his #1 album “…But Seriously”, ‘Another Day in Paradise’ was written to bring attention to the problem of homelessness. The song was a substantial departure from the dance-pop music of his previous album, ‘No Jacket Required’ (1985).

Collins sings the song from a third-person perspective, as he observes a man crossing the street to ignore a homeless woman, and he implores listeners not to turn a blind eye to homelessness because, by drawing a religious allusion, “it’s just another day for you and me in paradise”. Collins also appeals directly to God by singing: “Oh Lord, is there nothing more anybody can do? Oh Lord, there must be something you can say.”

The song was Collins’ seventh and final Billboard Hot 100 #1 solo single, the last #1 single of the 1980s and the first #1 single of the 1990s. It was also a worldwide success, eventually becoming one of the most successful songs of his solo career. It won Collins and co-producer Hugh Padgham the Grammy Award for Record of the Year at the 1991 Grammy Awards ceremony, while also being nominated for Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal, Performance Male and Best Music Video Short Form. “Another Day in Paradise” also won an award for British Single at the 1990 Brit Awards. Despite the awards gained following its release, the song also generated controversy over its subject matter and has received a largely negative reaction from music critics. “Another Day in Paradise” provoked controversy upon release. Some critics found the wealthy Collins unqualified to sing about the poor, while others accused him of profiteering from homelessness. Collins responded, “When I drive down the street, I see the same things everyone else sees. It’s a misconception that if you have a lot of money you’re somehow out of touch with reality.” Billboard Magazine nevertheless gave a positive review, calling it a “poignant” track whose “subject matter is complemented nicely by a subdued, ethereal musical context”

The music video, shot entirely in black and white, features Collins singing in a dark background, interspersed with images of the homeless, the immigrants and the poverty of children in the streets. The music video also features many messages about the homeless, to convey the full message of the song. Collins’ part was shot in less than an hour in New York.

Here’s a look at the Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1989, the FINAL Top 20 chart of the 1980s decade!

1 2 ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE –•– Phil Collins – 8 (1)
2 3 DON’T KNOW MUCH –•– Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville – 13 (2)
3 1 WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE –•– Billy Joel – 11 (1)
4 8 RHYTHM NATION –•– Janet Jackson – 7 (4)
5 5 WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART –•– Taylor Dayne – 10 (5)
6 4 BACK TO LIFE –•– Soul II Soul Featuring Caron Wheeler – 14 (4)
7 7 PUMP UP THE JAM –•– Technotronic Featuring Felly – 11 (7)
8 10 JUST LIKE JESSE JAMES –•– Cher – 10 (8)
9 13 THIS ONE’S FOR THE CHILDREN –•– New Kids On The Block – 7 (9)
10 9 LIVING IN SIN –•– Bon Jovi – 12 (9)

11 16 HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO LIVE WITHOUT YOU Michael Bolton – 9 (11)
12 15 EVERYTHING –•– Jody Watley – 11 (12)
13 6 BLAME IT ON THE RAIN –•– Milli Vanilli – 12 (1)
14 19 SWING THE MOOD –•– Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers – 9 (14)
15 21 JUST BETWEEN YOU AND ME –•– Lou Gramm – 9 (15)
16 20 LOVE SONG –•– Tesla – 13 (16)
17 23 FREE FALLIN’ –•– Tom Petty – 8 (17)
18 25 WHEN THE NIGHT COMES –•– Joe Cocker – 9 (18)
19 30 DOWNTOWN TRAIN –•– Rod Stewart – 5 (19)
20 28 TWO TO MAKE IT RIGHT –•– Seduction – 7 (20)

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