HANG THE DJ: Modern Rock 1989 [HERC's M!X]

Back in October 2012, HERC wrote about Rhino's all-too-brief 1996 series, Hang The DJ: Modern Rock, which covered the years 1986-1988.   At the end of the piece, HERC mentioned he was already thinking about what future volumes would sound like and now he's able to reveal those three imagined 18 track discs: one each for 1989, 1990 and 1991.  The audition process was fierce.  After assembling a list of nearly 200 songs for each year from radio station playlists and Billboard's Modern Rock charts, bands were pitted in battle of the bands competitions until 18 songs remained for each year.  If a band had more than one song on a year's list, they first had to battle themselves to determine which one song would represent them through the rest of the selection process.  Each album's tracks are not in any order.

We begin with 1989, which kicks off with the rollicking "Love Shack".  Back then, it was a favorite of HERC's two year old daughter in the car. The song is one of six Number Ones from Billboard's Modern Rock chart in 1989.  HERC's favorite tracks on Modern Rock 1989 are:

"Love Song" - The Cure June #2 Modern Rock, #2 Pop, #30 Mainstream Rock  The whole Disintegration album is a HERC favorite; probably the most played Cure album at The Hideaway

"So Alive" - Love & Rockets
April #1 Modern Rock, #3 Pop, #9 Mainstream Rock Such a dreamy and decadent tune opening with these three lines: "Don't know what color your eyes are baby/but your hair is long and brown/Your legs are strong and your so, so long"

"Sowing The Seeds Of Love" - Tears For Fears August #1 Modern Rock, #2 Pop, #4 Mainstream Rock  Nearly every group goes through a Beatles phase where they aim a little higher and use every studio trick contemporary technology provides.  This is Tears For Fears glorious and monumental run at the Beatles

"Higher Ground" - Red Hot Chili Peppers October #11 Modern Rock, #26 Mainstream Rock HERC said this hereFlea's thumping bass takes it to a different level (Higher Ground?) of funk yet it still breaks HERC's heart every time someone tells him they didn't know this is a cover of a classic Stevie Wonder song from 1974

"A Girl Like You" - The Smithereens October #3 Modern Rock, #38 Pop, #2 Mainstream Rock This one is such a rocker; it was the song that got cranked up to just short of distortion levels when HERC's baby girl wasn't in the car with him

"Hey Ladies" - Beastie Boys August #18 Modern Rock, #36 Pop, #15 Dance Shouldn't work but it so does with legit funk samples from James Brown, Zapp, Cameo, George Clinton, Kool & the Gang, The Sweet[!] and others littered throughout the track

"Let The Day Begin" - The Call June #5 Modern Rock, #51 Pop, #1 Mainstream Rock  A seriously pumping non-ironic blessing to everyone; should be required listening every morning and yes it is HERC's morning alarm song

1990 and 1991 will be along shortly


  1. Nice compilation you got here. My top 5 tracks, in order:

    1) Love Shack
    2) A Girl Like You
    3) Sowing the Seeds of Love
    4) Let The Day Begin
    5) No Myth