Thursday, 23 August 2012

25 Years Ago This Week: August 23, 1987

1987 really was a banner year for the Australian music scene. I've already discussed some of the big developments in music television that year (goodbye Countdown, hello Rage and Video Hits), but I have yet to mention MTV, which launched on Channel 9 in 1987 as well. 

My enduring memories of the Richard Wilkins-hosted late night show was that it always showed the R-rated version of clips that you'd obviously never see in daytime or primetime. I seem to remember a "rude" version of Alice Cooper's "Poison" being on high rotation in 1989. Nice one, Dickie.

1987 was a pretty good year for Jenny Morris

Another first in 1987: the inaugural ARIA Awards, which were held back in March. The big winner of the night was John Farnham, who took home six trophies, but one of the other winners entered the top 50 with a new single this week 25 years ago.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending August 23, 1987

We'll get to that award winner later, but to start off this week's look back at the ARIA chart from two-and-a-half decades ago, we actually have a breaker to talk about!


"Calling Your Name" by Geisha
Peak: number 57
Here's an Aussie band whose name I'm completely familiar with - I seem to remember them being written about a lot - but whose music I don't think I've ever listened to, and certainly not this track. And I should have - since this is exactly the type of local pop/rock I was a fan of at the time. In fact, I'm going to download this now (since, miraculously, it's actually available in the Australian iTunes store). Geisha were always much bigger in Melbourne than any other part of the country and unfortunately "Calling Your Name" couldn't manage to break into the top 50. A link to the video is in the song title above, an audio only clip is below.

New entries
Number 50 "The Pleasure Principle" by Janet Jackson
Peak: number 50
Popping into the bottom of the chart for its only week in the top 50 was this sixth single from Janet's breakthrough album, Control - and if I used the word "jam", I'd say it was another great jam. But I don't. It wasn't the final single released, but it was the last to register on the chart since "Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)" would miss the top 100 altogether.
Janet actually hasn't had as many major hits on the Australian chart as you'd think, especially considering Control alone gave her five top 10 singles in the US and Rhythm Nation 1814 gave her another seven. Her biggest hit from Control in Australia was "What Have You Done For Me Lately", which got to number 6 here and is one of nine top 10 singles she's had in this country.

Number 49 "I Heard A Rumour" by Bananarama
Peak: number 32
On their previous album, True Confessions, Bananarama had only worked with producers Stock Aitken Waterman on two tracks. However, one of those was the Australian and US number 1, "Venus", so it made sense that the girls recorded the whole of their follow-up album, WOW!, with the in-demand producers - even if the move would ultimately result in the departure of Siobhan Fahey, who was reportedly unhappy with the direction the group was taking.
"I Heard A Rumour" was the first single from WOW!, and although it would only reach number 32 in Australia, it would spend exactly the same number of weeks in the top 100. For much of September and October it would bounce around the 30s, and be a steady seller until the end of the year. Much bigger hits were to come from WOW!, which would even spend a single week atop the albums chart in 1988.

Number 46 "Fall Of Rome" by James Reyne
Peak: number 5
Wasting no time launching his solo career, the former Australian Crawl singer appeared on the chart with his debut single less than a year after his band's final album was released. But don't let the rather modest chart position fool you - "Fall Of Rome" would rapidly make its way up to the top 5, despite the fact that most of us had no idea what he was singing. James's indecipherable lyrics got the ultimate tribute a couple of years later on The D-Generation's "Five In A Row" single.

Number 28 "You I Know" by Jenny Morris
Peak: number 13
That ARIA Award winner I mentioned? Here she is. Yep, despite the fact that Jenny is actually from New Zealand, she won the Best Female Artist award at the first ever ARIA Awards - and ever since, artists from other countries who happen to be based in or signed to Australian record labels qualify for nomination. Even Brian McFadden.
"You I Know" was the biggest hit from Jenny's debut album, Body And Soul, and it still sounds fantastic all these years later. Jenny would continue to have hit singles and albums until her greatest hits collection in 1992, when her success would come to a rather abrupt end.

And that is that for another week. In seven days, I'll look back at a particularly busy chart week when some really good tracks and one really terrible song arrived on the top 50. Before that: I've counted down my favourite boy bands, so it's only fair I do the same with my top girl groups.

Back to: Aug 16, 1987 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 30, 1987

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