Thursday, 16 August 2012

25 Years Ago This Week: August 16. 1987

I remember being excited any week when there were lots of new entries on the ARIA chart. The Australian chart can sometimes move painfully slowly, so a batch of fresh songs hitting the top 50 meant some of the dead wood was being cleared out.

Morten, Mags (nice shorts!) and Pal returned to the chart 25 years ago

This week 25 years ago, the arrival of seven new tunes meant the likes of "Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)" and "Livin' On A Prayer", both of which had been on the chart for 20+ weeks, were finally moved on their way. Unfortunately, only one of the seven newbies would make anything like the impact that the Paul Lekakis and Bon Jovi hits had, but you can't have everything!

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending August 16, 1987

As I mentioned last week, there still aren't any breakers which we won't eventually see in the top 50 or, in the case of "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You", that I haven't talked about already, so we can zoom straight to the new tracks...

New entries
Number 50 "Good Times" by Hoodoo Gurus
Peak: number 36
They were coming off the biggest hit of their career with "What's My Scene", so there must have been a bit of disappointment at HG HQ that the follow-up could only limp to number 36. The fact that the Blow Your Cool album had been out since April might have had something to do with "Good Times" not working as a single (since fans already owned it), but, like "I Want You Back" and "Come Anytime", it's one of the band's lesser hits that is worth revisiting.

Number 49 "Living In A Box" by Living In A Box
Peak: number 49 
Featuring one of the best lines in pop ever - "I'm living in a box, I'm living in a cardboard box" - this would be the only week the former UK top 5 hit would spend on the Aussie top 50. LIAB ran into problems a couple of years later when the release of their 1989 single "Gatecrashing" coincided with the Hillsborough tragedy, but they did enjoy another hit in the UK with ballad "Room In Your Heart", which deserves a listen if you're not familiar with it.

Number 48 "Radio Waves" by Roger Waters
Peak: number 43
Let's get one thing straight: concept albums are never a good idea. Unless the concept is "great songs". "Radio Waves", which I only have a vague recollection of, is from a concept album by the (at the time) former Pink Floyd member called Radio K.A.O.S. about "a mute man named Billy from an impoverished Welsh mining town who has the ability to physically tune into radio waves in his head". Seriously. The full entry on Wikipedia is worth reading, and the end of the clip features a call from Billy himself. Listening to the song again now, it sounds like something I would've normally liked, except for the vocal, which is not the best. Little wonder it did so badly.

Number 45 "When Smokey Sings" by ABC
Peak: number 25
Anyone who's read my 1982 recap would know I'm a fan of ABC, and this track really was their only decent song since the likes of "Poison Arrow" and "The Look Of Love". It was also their last Australian hit, despite the fact that "The Night You Murdered Love" and "King Without A Crown" were still to come from the Alphabet City album. Smokey is Smokey Robinson, and, on the album version, Martin Fry sings that "Luther croons, Sly's the original originator, James screams, Marvin was the only innovator"  but apparently none of them could compare to Smokey singing. You have been told.

Number 44 "The Living Daylights" by a-ha
Peak: number 29
From the first film featuring everyone's least favourite Bond comes a theme song by the band everyone forgets recorded one for the franchise. But "The Living Daylights" is actually my second favorite Bond theme of all time (behind "A View To A Kill", of course). Like ABC, the Norwegian trio wouldn't ever score a top 50 hit in this country, even though they still recorded and toured in Europe as recently as 2010, and have only just retired from music. Until the next reunion tour.

Number 43 "Friday On My Mind" by Gary Moore
Peak: number 25
Here's one I haven't listened to in a long time. It is, of course, a cover of The Easybeats' 1966 classic and went on to be a decent hit in its own right, hanging around the top 100 for 30 weeks. It's not a bad version, even if the synth line now sounds a bit dated - it has been 25 years, after all. I'd also completely forgotten that Gary had even greater success in Australia three years later with the Still Got The Blues album and the (almost) title track, which reached number 16. Sorry to end this blurb on a downer, but Gary passed away in Febraury of last year.

Number 24 "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" by Michael Jackson / Siedah Garrett
Peak: number 10
How on Earth would Michael Jackson follow up Thriller, which had already become the highest selling album of all time by 1987? Well, he started off with the same tactic: releasing a low-key ballad, which was also a duet, as the lead single and not making a music video to go with it.
In 1982, he'd teamed up with Paul McCartney for "The Girl Is Mine" ,and in 1987, his partner in song was a little-known singer who'd performed on tracks like "Don't Look Any Further" (which M-People would make into a hit in 1993) and "Do You Want It Right Now" (which Degrees Of Motion had a club hit with in the '90s).
Siedah also co-wrote "Man In The Mirror" and for a period of time in the '90s was lead singer for The Brand New Heavies. Want one more Siedah fact (I'm never going to get to use them again)? The chorus of her 1988 single, "K.I.S.S.I.N.G.", was the basis for the hook in Corona's 1995 hit, "Baby Baby".
So where were we? Oh yes, Michael Jackson. Well, you know the rest. This song got to number 10, Bad was a (not quite as successful) smash and then things got really interesting for the singer.

That's it for another week's ARIA recap from 1987. Next week: some new entries from some major Australian and international stars (that's vague, isn't it?). Before then, I'll be counting down my favourite boy bands of all time.

Back to: Aug 9, 1987 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 23, 1987

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