For fifty weeks this year, we’re celebrating the music of a specific year every Saturday on WXPN. We’ll be choosing the years randomly; for this week’s #XPN5050, Eric Schuman is putting the musical spotlight on the year 1989.
From Madonna to Nirvana, 1989 was a big year for musicians old and new. 30 years ago, we heard albums like The Cure’s Disintegration, the Pixies’ Doolittle, Neil Young’s Freedom, and Kate Bush’s The Sensual World for the first time. Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 produced a record seven hit singles, and Bonnie Raitt made a “comeback” with Nick of Time, earning four Grammys.
We had memorable hits like the Indigo Girls’ “Closer to Fine” and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” plus a number of firsts — David Byrne of The Talking Heads released his first solo album, Rei Momo, and Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever was his first release without the Heartbreakers. De La Soul debuted with Three Feet High and Rising and Nirvana debuted with Bleach.
Batman and Indiana Jones ruled the box office, while hit films like Field of Dreams, When Harry Met Sally…, and Dead Poets Society became instant classics.
Comedy was the name of the game on TV in 1989, as audiences laughed along to shows like Cheers, The Golden Girls, and The Wonder Years.
Below, listen to a Spotify playlist of music from 1989.