Billboard #1s for the Week Ending June 14, 1986

This week’s Time Capsule!

Chart Title Act Weeks
Hot 100 On My Own Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald 1
R & B Nasty Janet Jackson 1
Country Life’s Highway Steve Wariner 1
Adult Contemporary Live to Tell Madonna 3
Rock Invisible Touch Genesis 1
Album Whitney Houston Whitney Houston 12

BarcharachLaBelleMcDonaldThis week sees a superstar collaboration extend some impressive #1 careers. Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager wrote On My Own for Dionne Warwick’s album Friends. They decided not to use the track and later offered it to Patti LaBelle. The lyrics lent themselves to a duet, so Michael McDonald was brought in. The result was a poignant ballad of separation and resigned determination, making the most of two charmingly distinctive voices.

The song debuted on March 22 and thirteen weeks later eased from #2 to #1. With a three-week run at the top, it became the biggest hit and second Hot 100 chart-topper for both singers. LaBelle spent a week at the top with her eponymous group’s Lady Marmalade in 1975. McDonald hit the peak as lead vocalist of the Doobie Brothers in 1979 with What A Fool Believes.

The success of the single also extended Burt Bacharach’s long run of #1s. It was his sixth, giving him an impressive 22 weeks at the top. When Twista added a sample of A House Is Not A Home to his single Slow Jamz in 2003, Bacharach got one more #1 for one more week.

  • This Guy’s In Love With You, Herb Alpert [4 weeks, 1968]
  • Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head, B.J. Thomas [4 weeks, 1970]
  • (They Long to Be) Close to You, The Carpenters [4 weeks, 1970]
  • Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do), Christopher Cross [3 weeks, 1981]
  • That’s What Friends Are For, Dionne Warwick & Friends [4 weeks, 1986]

Carole Bayer Sager co-wrote the last two with Bacharach. She also wrote Leo Sayer’s smash When I Need You with Albert Hammond. When Phil Collins took his cover of the Mindbenders’ #2 hit Groovy Kind of Love (written by Bayer Sager with Toni Wine) to the top of the charts in 1988, it gave her a career total of five #1s for 13 weeks.

On My Own also topped the R&B chart. That gave LaBelle three #1s there for nine weeks and provided McDonald with his lone R&B apex. That’s What Friends Are For spent three weeks at the R&B top earlier in 1986, contributing to both writers’ streaks. Bayer Sager also co-wrote Break It To Me Gently with Marvin Hamlisch, which went to #1 for a week when covered by Aretha Franklin in 1977. Bacharach’s long partnership with Dionne Warwick racked up two R&B #1s in 1964 — Walk On By [3 weeks] and Reach Out For Me [2 weeks] — and Twista gave him two more weeks, bringing his R&B total to five singles for 14 weeks.

Curiously, On My Own failed to top the Adult Contemporary chart, spending two weeks at #2. That’s been both writer’s most fertile ground. Bacharach has logged an astounding 47 weeks at the AC top with 12 different songs; Bayer Sager’s run includes 8 singles for 24 weeks. Their AC streaks include all their Hot 100 #1s except this one, shut out by Whitney Houston’s version of Greatest Love of All. Given the timeless quality of both writers’ work, more chart-toppers could easily extend their streaks.

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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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