1989: Madonna, Nirvana, The Pixies and NWA rock this year in music

Russia was at the forefront of a lot of minds in 1989, as was the controversial and forward-thinking Madonna.

The year began with Paul McCartney releasing an album of covers exclusively in Russia called  Снова в СССР (Back In the USSR). In August, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osborne and Bon Jovi joined a line-up of rock bands at the Moscow Music Peace Festival to promote world peace.

Also on a lot of minds was Madonna, whose “Like a Prayer” video shocked the Vatican and drew protests from from family and religious groups. The video went on to win the Viewer’s Choice moonman at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards and is still considered one of her best songs today.

Vermont’s Phish released its first official studio effort with Junta, a cassette tape containing many songs that continue to be fan favorites including “You Enjoy Myself,” “Divided Sky” and “David Bowie.” Their career was on the verge of a major shift that would happen just five years later, but at this point they were just beginning to build their grassroots following.

Other debuts included Nirvana’s Bleach, launching a scene that would go on to define the next several years; Indigo Girls’ self-titled LP; De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising; and Fugazi’s debut LP 13 Songs, a compilation of the tracks released on two previous EPs.

The music of 1989 mirrored the turmoil growing pains of an ending decade, making it the greatest year in music. Don’t you agree?


Technique – New Order
As Nasty As They Wanna Be – 2 Live Crew
Spike – Elvis Costello
Indigo Girls – Indigo Girls
3 Feet High and Rising – De La Soul
Like a Prayer – Madonna
Nick of Time – Bonnie Raitt
Dolittle – The Pixies
Full Moon Fever – Tom Petty
Disintegration – The Cure
Raw Like Sushi – Neneh Cherry
Kite – Kirsty MacColl
Junta – Phish
Blind Man’s Zoo – 10,000 Maniacs
Broadway the Hard Way – Frank Zappa
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
Bleach – Nirvana
Cosmic Thing – The B-52’s
Heart Shaped World – Chris Isaak
Paul’s Boutique – Beastie Boys
Mother’s Milk – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Love and Rockets – Love and Rockets
Key Lime Pie – Camper Van Beethoven
Louder Than Love – Soundgarden
Rhythm Nation 1814 – Janet Jackson
The Seeds of Love – Tears for Fears
Freedom – Neil Young
The Biz Never Sleeps – Biz Markie
Crossroads – Tracy Chapman
Automatic – Jesus & Mary Chain
The Sensual World – Kate Bush
Pretty Hate Machine – Nine Inch Nails
13 Songs – Fugazi 

Category: 80s


Article by: Julie Miller