Today’s #1 hit from 1986 about civil rights and the divide between rich and poor sounds like it could’ve come out in 2020. The song repeats the line "that’s just the way it is", and suggests resigning oneself to social ills being a fact of life—however, the chorus ends with the singer doing a 180 with the line: "but don't you believe them."
The song wasn’t your usual hit, lacking a big chorus, shifts in momentum, catchy hooks and most other elements of typical chart-toppers. With a consistent tempo and a jazz-inflected sound, it appealed to a more adult audience and added a welcome diversity to Top 40 playlists that were dominated by uptempo, synth-driven songs. It was a song grown-ups loved and their kids could tolerate.
The singer and band weren’t your typical MTV stars either. In this video none of them ever stand up, so many were surprised when seeing the singer in person to find out he was 6' 4".
The piano solos are instantly recognizable to everyone from Yacht Rock fans to hip hop fans. Rappers E-40 and 2Pac both sampled it in the 90’s.