Billboard #1s for the Week Ending May 31, 1986

This week’s Time Capsule!

Chart Title Act Weeks
Hot 100 Greatest Love of All Whitney Houston 3
R & B On My Own Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald 3
Country Whoever’s In New England Reba McEntire 1
Adult Contemporary Live to Tell Madonna 1
Rock Sledgehammer Peter Gabriel 1
Album Whitney Houston Whitney Houston 10

GabrielSledgehammerGenesisITouchThis week sees Genesis begin its complicated chart dominance. After becoming a trio — Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford — in 1977, they slowly began breaking into the Top 40, managing their first Top 10 with That’s All from their 12th album. In the meantime, Collins launched a successful solo career, including four #1 pop hits by mid-86. This week the lead single and title track from their 13th album, Invisible Touch, blasted onto the Hot 100 at #45.

The band’s first lead singer, Peter Gabriel, departed for a solo career in 1974. He had some success in the UK and managed one minor hit in the States. The lead single from his fifth album propelled him to stardom. With a solid dance beat and an innovative video, Sledgehammer caught on quickly, entering the Hot 100 on May 10 and becoming Gabriel’s second Top 40 this week, moving from #51 to #39. That put the singer and his old band on the charts with only six positions between them.

The songs paced each other up the charts, with Invisible Touch finally overtaking Sledgehammer when they both entered the Top 10 on June 28. Three weeks later, Genesis notched their first #1 and Gabriel eased up to #2. The following week, Gabriel took over the top, the only time in chart history that a former lead singer has replaced his band at #1. Gabriel managed a few more sizable hits while Genesis became surprising chart champs, logging five Top Five singles from Invisible Touch.

Regarding that complicated dominance I mentioned: This week finds FIVE Genesis-related acts in the Top 50, all of which would share the Top 40 the following week. GTR, featuring former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, moved from #43 to #40 on their way to #14 with When the Heart Rules the Mind. Phil Collins was wrapping up his successful run of hits from No Jacket Required, with Take Me Home — the fourth single — dropping from its #7 peak to #16. Mike Rutherford’s side project Mike + the Mechanics moved their second single from #10 to #6, getting ready to peak at #5 the following week.

That’s a pretty remarkable chart collection, something no band other than the Beatles (at the height of their early-70s solo careers) has even come close to. That Genesis pulled it off nearly 20 years after they formed is quite a feat.

About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

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