Thursday, 11 October 2012

30 Years Ago This Week: October 11, 1987

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2012. Updated in 2017.

In 1987, there was no bigger band at my school than U2. Sure, Bon Jovi was probably more popular across the country as a whole, but the kids at my high school really had a thing for Bono et al. I couldn't stand them.


You'd think U2 could've managed to crack a smile given all their success in 1987

I'd liked "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" and, to a lesser extent, "New Year's Day" earlier in the '80s, but something about The Joshua Tree really rubbed me the wrong way. This week in 1987, another single from that top 3 album debuted on the top 50 and it would be four long years until I could even listen to the song - and then, only a version performed by another act.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending October 11, 1987

This week in 1987, there was no bigger single than "La Bamba" by Los Lobos. The soundtrack smash spent its second week at number 1.


Off The Chart
Number 96 "Sweetest Smile" by Black
Peak: number 87
This song's top 10 success in the UK prompted a re-release of an earlier single by Black - the title track of his debut album, Wonderful Life, which would itself reach the ARIA top 10 in 1988.

Number 94 "Solitude Standing" by Suzanne Vega
Peak: number 91
Speaking of title tracks, here's one from Suzanne Vega's second album, which peaked 70 places lower than the LP's hit single, "Luka".

Number 92 "U Got The Look" by Prince
Peak: number 90
"If I Was Your Girlfriend" missed the top 100, but Prince slid back in to the top 100, with a little help from guest vocalist Sheena Easton, on this third single from Sign O' The Times

Number 89 "Sad Girl" by The Stems
Peak: number 89
Released just as the Aussie rock band were about to announce their split, this third single from At First Sight, Violets Are Blue placed about where you'd expect a song by them to land.


Single Of The Week
"Wild Flower" by The Cult
Peak: number 69
Well, when I say making a splash, in the case of The Cult I mean making a record company-funded appearance in this week's Single Of The Week slot. Had I been aware of The Cult at this stage of their career, I would probably have liked them less than U2, but since this song didn't achieve much in Australia and their big UK hit from 1985, "She Sells Sanctuary", didn't chart here at all, I was oblivious to their music. They would eventually score two minor hits in Australia, one of which - 1989's "Fire Woman" - I didn't mind. But then I also ended up liking U2, so go figure.




Breaker
"Rain" by Cattletruck
Peak: number 56
We saw their song, "Leave Me", back when I first started this blog, but this follow-up, which I only vaguely remember, wouldn't give the Melbourne band a second top 50 hit. Cattletruck would return to the top 50 later in the year with the song that would become their biggest hit (we'll see it December), but for me, "Leave Me" was always their best single. It's still a shocking name for a band, though.




New Entries
Number 48 "Her Charity" by Boom Crash Opera
Peak: number 32
As I mentioned when we saw "City Flat" enter the top 50 for a fleeting visit back in July, "Her Charity" should have been the band's third single. A much catchier song than "City Flat", it would end up improving the band's chart fortunes by 10 places, but the days of big hits like "Great Wall" and "Hands Up In The Air" wouldn't return until their second album in 1989. A fifth single, "Love Me To Death", was released from Boom Crash Opera in 1988 - but it too was a poor choice (and missed the top 50 by some margin, only reaching number 72), with sixth single "Bombshell" and album track "Sleeping Time" better options.




Number 39 "Where The Streets Have No Name" by U2
Peak: number 27
OK, I'll admit it, the video for this song is kind of cool. What with the playing on the rooftop, being shut down by police and so forth. But, I still wasn't converted to the cult of U2. Surprisingly, "Where The Streets..." only reached the top 30 in Australia. Although, perhaps it wasn't that shocking, since "With Or Without You" had reached number 9, then "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" got to number 17 - which meant, according to the law of diminishing returns, that number 27 was probably about right. Given most of the country already owned The Joshua Tree - well, if my school was anything to go by in terms of population samples - there would only be so many diehard fans willing to shell out for this single.




Number 38 "Little Lies" by Fleetwood Mac
Peak: number 16
The week's highest new entry came from a band older than all the others we've talked about so far this week. "Little Lies" became the third - and equal highest charting - single from Tango In The Night, following "Big Love" and "Seven Wonders". Sung by Christine McVie, it's probably the best known track from the top 5 album. Interestingly, despite considerable albums chart success, Fleetwood Mac only ever managed one top 10 single in Australia, 1979's "Tusk", which got to number 3.




Next week, the Australian band that was about to explode around the world, another hit from the world's biggest star and Mental As Anything, among others. Before then, the second half of my trip through my personal favourites from 1986.


Back to: Oct 4, 1987 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 18, 1987


1 comment:

  1. I didn't know the Black song until 2011. It's good, though lacking a hook, which I suppose isn't the purpose of such music.

    'Solitude Standing' is one of my favourite Suzanne Vega tracks. Shame it didn't do better on the chart, and it was left off her first compilation album, 'Tried & True'.

    One thing I liked about the charts of this era was that 'mega'stars like Prince were allowed to have some flops. No-one bat an eye that one of his singles peaked at #90.

    The U2 song does seem like it was much bigger than its peak suggests. 'With Or Without You' was the only single from this era I liked.

    It is surprising that there weren't several top 10 singles from 'Tango In the Night' in Australia – if airplay was factored into our charts, there no doubt would have been; although I guess they appealed more to album buyers.

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