I was born in 1979. It was ten years later, when I had enough of tons of silly children’s songs, that I bought my first record: the Greatest Hits of 1989. It was a 3 double album. Although it seemed like a lifetime to play the entire album, I listened to it all the time. Even though many of those songs became hits and are still played on the radio nowadays, I think it’s the order of the songs on the album and the feel of the big square cardboard record sleeve, which brings back most of the memories of that time. The cover showed many portraits of the artists and the song lists on the back contained much information about the dates the hits entered the hit list and when they hit number one, if they did...
Here’s how I remember some of those hits...


This song was ‘gay’ and I was sure that if I would listen to it too much I might become just like it, so I mostly skipped the tune. My dad wouldn’t even let me hear the song. We still don’t like Marc Almond

YOU GOT IT by Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison had just died when this song was re-released. Therefore it made me think of death, so I skipped this song too. As a child I was very aware of AIDS, even though it was cancer that killed Orbison, the song kept scaring me. It just had this AIDS touch, or was that Marc Almond’s influence. Side A of the first record definitely was my least favourite side.


My dad thinks Kim Wilde is hot and does mention that whenever he sees or hears her. I hate it when he does that, because he also says it in front of my mom, and that’s just rude. I was always wondering whether he would run off with her if he had the chance. Poor mom, I don’t know of any celebrities she likes, but I think she likes the weird types, like Bob Geldof and Boy George or Robert Palmer.

CHEER YOU UPby Barbarella

Barbarella was a Dutch girl group that had a hit with this song, which was the theme song to The Pin Up Club, one of the first erotic TV shows on Dutch television. It’s a naughty song and only the nasty kids I knew used to sing along to it. But I never did. The local pool, down the street where I lived, used to have a jukebox with this song on it, and the nasty kids would always put it on and then run away, laughing loud. The song never interested me that much, but I remember being quite intrigued by the TV show that lasted for only half an hour each week. I remember that The Pin Up Club was on Wednesdays because my grandparents would pay us their regular visit that day. I can still recall my grandfather gazing at the TV and not paying attention to us at all...

BELFAST CHILD by the Simple Minds

I remember this as the longest and most boring song on the entire album. I could sense it had a very strong political message and that you had to be an adult to understand the meaning of the song. The older I got, the more I started disliking bands like Simple Minds and U2.

ETERNAL FLAME by the Bangles

Miranda, who was a bit of a slut in her teen years, had two guys who were after her. Koen was my neighbour, and Wilfred, a much older guy, was quite popular and was always hanging around the pool. She just didn’t know whom to choose. Eternal Flame was her favourite song and one night Miranda had a party at her house. Both Wilfred and Koen weren’t there and although we all had a good time, there was a bit of tension in the air. Then at midnight, Miranda turned down the music, and turned on a small radio. After a few minutes we all heard someone say: “and this song is dedicated to Miranda from Wilfred, blah blah he loves you blah blah...” And Eternal Flame blasted from the speakers... Not much later Wilfred arrived on his mountain bike and from that night on Miranda and Wilfred were a teenage couple. Many kids thought it was the most romantic thing that could happen. We, Carolien and I and some more serious kids, thought Miranda was ‘such a slut!’ Last song on record 1, side B.

COCOMO by The Beach Boys

I never understood why this song was on this album. I didn’t know the song and thought the Beach Boys were dead. I also didn’t like the song, but I understood the lyrics very well...

PARADISE CITY by Guns’n Roses

This wasn’t really my thing... It was too long and too loud! But my friend Carolien loved it and since she was a much cooler kid than I was, I started listening to it. It didn’t make me like it more. But I could sing to it and dance and impress people when it was played at parties.


If you play this song on double speed on a record player, you can still slowdance to it. The video is just as boring and slightly out of focus. It had something with a white cat and an owl in it.

MARINA by Rocco Granata

I had a friend, whose name is also Bart, whose mom Christine loved this song. I think she was secretly in love with Rocco, who’s half Italian, half Belgian and known to be a real womanizer. She also knew the manager of a Belgian boy band who lived in a scaled down copy of the White House. Christine had a pool but I never saw her swim, she just liked the idea of topless sunbathing next to a private pool. She should have been a star!

WE ARE GROWING (Theme from Zaka Zulu)
by Margaret Singana

I loved this song, but I remember the video being quite scary. The song scared my younger sister and she never allowed me to play the song. What was she thinking? That African Bushmen would come into her room and kill her, crush her bones and eat her... This song was regularly played on the pool’s jukebox and would scare my sister away.

LAMBADA by Kaoma

Maarten, a bit of a slow kid of my school, had a Casio piano that he took to school one day to talk about it. He showed all kinds of tricks and played us some fancy tunes... We kept asking him to show us more and asked for requests to kill time. Then he played the Lambada, and our teacher asked if someone could dance the Lambada. Of course I raised my hand, and before I knew it was dancing the Lambada with Danielle in front of my entire class... How embarrassing!!! I never quite understood what was so sexy about dancing the Lambada, but I remember being quite impressed with the guys’ outfits and those high wasted belts...


A very boring song, I never liked it. It’s a typical ‘Oh honey, hear, they’re playing our song’ kind of tune. For trucker couples!!! I think this song was, and still is, very popular in Holland

IF ONLY I COULD by Sidney Youngblood

He was quite a good singer, but I’m always confusing him with Rick Astley. Who was it again that walks into a wall and makes a looping. Is this trick possible? I’ve tried it many times... Sidney Youngblood is black, so honestly I don’t know why I’m confusing him with Rick Astley.

IF I HAD ONLY A CHANGE (to hear your voice again)
by BZN

My mom and I both very much liked this song. She said it was good for my English to practice the lyrics and so she wanted me to sing it with her. It’s a sad story about a brother and sister whose dad has gone away to sea but never returns. I think the mother tells the children that he’s still alive but will never come back home. It has a part where the male singer speaks the lyrics, while the female singer just goes on singing. I like when they do that.


Me and Carolien were sitting next to each other in class this year. We had so much fun. Then, a new kid came to class, Alexander. He came from Belgium and was a bit of a smart kid. He would always correct our English when Carolien and I were singing Girl I’m Gonna Miss You.

HARD TO BE TENDER by Carli Simon

I hated this song in a strange way. I actually think I liked it, but because my English at the time wasn’t very good, I was just too shy to sing along. It was my first Carli Simon song.


I liked this song, but never liked the video to it. It was set in this scary surrounding: an old ruin lit up by flaming torches, in which Roxette is performing for a live audience. I was constantly thinking what to do when the torches would set this venue on fire and how big the panic would be if the audience finds out that there were no emergency exits in this old forgotten place. I’m thinking Carrie-like scenes here. Mary is wearing a tiny brown dress, which reminded me of Tina Turners entire wardrobe.

Other songs on the album were:
Especially for You by Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan, Buffallo Stance by Neneh Cherry, Anything for You by Gloria Estefan, Wild Thing by Tone Loc, Straight Up by Paula Abdul, Me Myself and I by De La Soul, I Want It All by Queen, Back to Life by Soul II Soul, Pump Up the Jam by Technotronic, Street Tuff by Double Trouble, Fine Brown Frame by Lou Rawles & Dianne Reeves, Hit The Road Jack by Buster Pointdexter.

Greatest Hits of 1989 was initially written for Recent History, Memories and Some Facts, a project by Kaisa Lassinaro. And was published again in Tubelight 52 of October 2007.