We’re getting into the deep water portion of this countdown, and seeing there’s but a (mini-spoiler alert) tiny handful of “sad” songs ranked ahead of “Make It Real” by the Jets show how much I loved this sappy tune.
Throughout this little expedition I’ve reminded readers a few times this is a countdown of my personal favorite songs of the 1980s—not inevitably the biggest chart toppers or critically acclaimed hits. This feels like one of those times I should hammer home the point. I’ve seen copious 80s countdowns through the years via print and TV shows and I’ve rarely, if ever seen Make It Real on a list. To me, that shit’s crazy.
I’ve long said to anyone who’d listen that The Jets were one of the decade’s more unappreciated groups. Their second (self-titled) album in 1986 was superb and featured, among others Crush on You and my second-favorite Jets song, You Got It All. Their Magic albumb was even better and besides Make It Real also featured Rocket 2 U and Cross My Broken Heart. It genuinely bothers me that no one even mentions the Jets among the best 80s pop groups.
And how delightfully cheesy was the video for this song? Literally the entire video is lead vocalist Elizabeth Wolfgramm singing in front of a blue screen, with the rest of the band standing around frozen and agonized briefly during the instrumental break before disappearing.
How much do I like this song? My wife is a gifted singer, and many times through the years we’ve went to karaoke and I’ve asked her to sing this song specifically. OK, begged is more like it. A mutual close friend of ours, often at these shows would ask her, and I quote “are we making it real?” Of all the hundreds (maybe thousands) of songs in the karaoke catalog, it’s this gem by the Jets I’m always asking to hear.
Underrated… Underrated… Underrated.. Hey, did I mention this song is UNDERRATED?!
Chart Success: Make It Real peaked at number-four on the Billboard Hot 100. It spent 20 weeks on the Billboard charts and finished 1988 ranked 51st on the year-end Billboard Hot 100.
Great Lyrics: If you’re significant other dumps you, I’d definitely recommend this as one of your go-to songs to try and win them back. Either that, or just keep constantly listening and feeling sorry for yourself.
“Hear me cryin’ out to you
You said, “Never, never would I leave”
Here’s a tear from me to you
And maybe it will make you hear me
I loved you
You didn’t feel the same
Though we’re apart
You’re in my heart
Give me one more chance to
Make it real”
Fun Facts: The group (of seven) are all brothers and sisters. Although they settled into Minnesota they’re actually from the island of Tonga. In total there were 17 kids in the family (!!!). Harping back on that underrated theme again, the Jets would go on to have five Top 7 hits in their career, with You Got It All and Crush On You tied for their biggest that peaked at number-three.
100. Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That (No Can D0)
99. Michael McDonald – I Keep Forgetting
97. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Does Is Magic
96. Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach
94. Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
93. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
92. Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
89. Journey – Don’t Stop Believing
87. Debbie Gibson – Foolish Beat
86. Glen Mederios – Nothing’s Going To Change My Love For You
85. John Cougar – Jack and Diane
81. Billy Squier – Everybody Wants You
79. Shelia E. – The Glamorous Life
77. Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All
76. Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson – Say Say Say
75. Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (So Far Away)
74. Twisted Sister – We’re Not Gonna Take It
73. Musical Youth – Pass The Dutchie
72. The Police – Every Breathe You Take
71. Survivor – The Search Is Over
70. REO Speedwagon – Keep On Loving You
68. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel
67. Kenny Loggins – Meet Me Halfway
66. Irene Cara – Flashdance…What A Feeling
65. Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
64. Phil Collins – One More Night
63. Europe – The Final Countdown
62. Patrick Swazye – She’s Like The Wind
61. Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride
60. Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
59. Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
58. Huey Lewis & The News – Power Of Love
55. Styx – Too Much Time On My Hands
53. Olivia Newton John – Physical
49. Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing
48. Huey Lewis & The News – Do You Believe In Love
44. New Edition – Mr. Telephone Man
43. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
42. Tears For Fears – Everybody Wants To Rule The World
41. Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody
39. Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark
38. Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
37. Christopher Cross – Sailing