Best of Song

UPDATED 12/22/1986 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/22/1986 at 01:00 AM EST

Anita Baker

Her sinuous approach was a reminder Whitney Houston doesn't yet have a monopoly on pop ballads.

The Art of Excellence
Tony Bennett

At times it seemed he also left his voice in San Francisco, but Bennett's evocative performance of off-the-beaten-track tunes on this album is enough to make people forget all those other Italian singers.

King of America
Elvis Costello

Reclaiming the Colonies in the name of back-to-basics rock, the enigmatic one performed a divine musical rite.

Peter Gabriel

In the beginning was Genesis, which went forth and multiplied into Phil Collins and Gabriel, and plenty were the hits.

Huey Lewis and the News

All this good-time rock—is optimism legal in the Top 40?—made people happy to be stuck with Huey.

Royal Garden Blues
Branford Marsalis

While purists might doubt it, Marsalis returned intact from the land of rock 'n' roll. He didn't get a spike hairdo, his lip didn't fall off, and he clearly has not forgotten the joy of small group jazz improvisation.

Master of Puppets

A San Francisco band shows heavy metal doesn't have to be loud, raucous and dumb—well, it doesn't have to be dumb, anyway.

Raising Hell

The rampaging rapsters go cool and hot; the Osmond Brothers they are not.

Paul Simon

Touching on subjects ranging from Elvis' gaudy palace to apartheid, Simon shows that he is still America's most acute pop composer after all these years.

Famous Blue Raincoat
Jennifer Warnes

A richly talented singer and the songs of Leonard Cohen prove you don't need a big hype or a flashy video when you've got great music to sell.

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