peter gabriel Five Things About...The Summer Of 86

Peter Gabriel (Getty Images/Daniel Roland/AFP)

Before it happened, nobody would have predicted that the signature sounds of the summer of 1986 would belong to the then-current edition of a fabled British prog rock band and one of its founding members gone solo. But it did. That fact is one of Five Things About…The Summer Of ’86. Join us for a mid-’80s video-rama after the jump.

1. In mid-July, the [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Genesis[/lastfm] single “Invisible Touch” hit #1 on the Hot 100. Sliding in right behind it was “Sledgehammer” by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Peter Gabriel[/lastfm]. He had founded Genesis in 1967 and left in 1975. For “Sledgehammer,” Gabriel produced one of the most iconic videos of all time.

Also on the radio: Genesis member Mike Rutherford’s side project, [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Mike & the Mechanics[/lastfm], lurking just outside the top 40 with “Taken In.”

2. The same week Genesis hit #1, another veteran British band was back in the top 10 for the first time in 14 years. “Your Wildest Dreams” was the highest-charting single for the [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Moody Blues[/lastfm] since “Nights in White Satin” in 1972. The song is lovely, and the video is clever and moving.

3. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Van Halen[/lastfm] was doing just fine with new lead singer [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sammy Hagar[/lastfm]. The album 5150 had gone to #1 in the spring, and its lead single, “Why Can’t This Be Love,” had become one of the biggest singles of their career. The second single, “Dreams,” would stall in the low 20s on the Hot 100 in mid-July, leaving behind another famous video:

4. The [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Rolling Stones[/lastfm]’ album Dirty Work puzzled some critics and delighted others, who liked its rough-n-ready sound. It produced a couple of hit singles, “Harlem Shuffle” and “One Hit (to the Body),” the latter with [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jimmy Page[/lastfm] providing some guitar work. The quality of the “One Hit” videos at YouTube is terrible, and neither the video nor the song is anything special. Your time would be better spent watching “Harlem Shuffle,” with animation by John Kricfalusi, who would go on to create The Ren and Stimpy Show.

5. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Emerson Lake & Palmer[/lastfm] had split up at the end of the 1970s, but reformed, sort of, in 1975, with drummer [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Cozy Powell[/lastfm]. Their self-titled album contained a minor hit single, “Touch and Go,” and brought ELP into the video age.

Learn Five Things About other things.


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