March 1986: Starship Hit #1 with "Sara"

Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas of the Jefferson Starship at the Poplar Creek Music Theater in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, August 1, 1986. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
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(Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

The band Starship was indeed "Knee Deep in the Hoopla" in 1986. The legendary San Francisco band had evolved over the years from the Jefferson Airplane into Jefferson Starship and finally just Starship with the release of the massively successful 1985 album. The record's first single, "We Built This City," would be a #1 smash hit, despite alienating some of the group's core audience with its overtly commercial sound.

The hits would keep coming from the album, this time in the form of second single, "Sara." Originally released in December 1985, the earnest ballad sung by singer Mickey Thomas would sail up the Hot 100 before hitting #1 over the week of March 15, 1986.

"Sara" would be Starship's first #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart in late February 1986. It would hold the spot for three weeks. Helping drive the song was a conceptual music video that starred actress Rebecca De Mornay (Risky Business, The Hand that Rocks the Cradle).

“When you think about the exuberance pop of ‘We Built The City,’ or the kind of mainstream fashion of ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,’ ‘Sara’ had a solemn quality to it — and much more depth musically,” Mickey Thomas told Something Else! in 2015. "That’s the principal reason it’s held up better than the others."

Starship Sara

The song's resonance was felt back upon its original release as well: "All of my musician and sessions friends down in LA at that point in time, as soon as ‘Sara’ hit the radio, were calling me and saying: ‘Wow, man. I love that. How did you get that sound?,'" the singer revealed. "It was an audiophile song.”

Watch Starship perform "Sara" live At MTV Spring Break '86 in Daytona Beach below.

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