|From 1988's big Christmas movie came the week's highest debut|
That was never more in evidence than on the chart from 25 years ago this week, where the two big contenders for the UK Christmas number 1 spot didn't even rate a mention (although they would turn up on the next chart, which covered the two weeks from Boxing Day to January 8). It wasn't all bah humbug, however - the week's highest debut had a festive connection.
|ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending December 25, 1988|
Meanwhile, Australia's Christmas number 1 was, as it had been for the previous six weeks, Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy", but at least this was his seventh and final week on top.
Single Of The Week
"Too Young To Despair" by Sunnyboys
Peak: number 87
One of two songs sharing the SOTW status (we saw the other hit the chart two weeks ago), "Too Young To Despair" was the comeback single - after a four-year absence - for the Aussie rock group who'd been responsible for "Alone With You", "Happy Man" and "You Need A Friend". It wasn't the original line-up of the band, however - they'd broken up in 1984. Instead, it was a new version led by original member Jeremy Oxley. Sunnyboys had never been chart superstars, but the low peak of this single, which was pretty consistent in sound to those earlier songs, must have been a disappointment. Subsequent singles and an album in 1989 did no better.
Number 42 "Angel Of Harlem" by U2
Peak: number 18
What was happening? Two singles in a row by U2 that I actually liked. After topping the ARIA chart with "Desire", follow-up "Angel Of Harlem" didn't perform as well as I would have expected - but perhaps everyone either had Rattle And Hum or received it for Christmas that year? My enthusiasm for U2 was brief - I wouldn't like another of the band's singles for three years.
Number 30 "Rock And Roll Music" by Mental As Anything
Peak: number 5
While the big summer movie in Australia was undoubtedly Cocktail, local film Young Einstein also raked in the bucks at the local box office - although not from me, since it's a movie I've never seen. This cover of the 1957 rock standard by Chuck Berry (which had already been remade by The Beatles and The Beach Boys) was taken from the Yahoo Serious comedy - and there was no better band to contribute to the soundtrack than professional jokesters Mental As Anything. In fact, since "Live It Up" had appeared on the soundtrack to Crocodile Dundee, they seemed to be the go-to band for comedy film songs in this country. Their take on "Rock And Roll Music" was pretty safe - and the broad appeal of the song saw it become one of their biggest hits and their last top 10 hit in Australia.
Number 29 "Stand Up For Your Love Rights" by Yazz
Peak: number 22
"The Only Way Is Up" was still way up in the Australian top 5 after three months on the chart, but Yazz became one of 10 acts with two tracks on the top 50 this week in 1988 with the arrival of her second single as main artist (and first without The Plastic Population). Co-written by Yazz, "Stand Up For Your Love Rights" maintained the pop-meets-acid house sound of her previous records, but wasn't as big a hit here as it was in the UK. Two further singles ("Fine Time" and "Where Has All The Love Gone") followed from debut album Wanted but missed the top 50 here and, except for a single week spent at number 100 in 1990 with "Treat Me Good", that was that for Yazz in Australia.
Number 22 "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" by Annie Lennox / Al Green
Peak: number 6
These days, everyone's collaborated with everyone else - twice. But, in the '80s, an all-star duet was a much rarer occurrence - and often fairly random. Quite why Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox and soul legend Al Green ended up performing this cover of the 1969 single by Jackie DeShannon for the Bill Murray movie Scrooged, I'm not sure. What I do know is that, on first listen, I quite liked it - however, the more times I heard it, the less I enjoyed it.
I don't think either of their voices suit the production and they also don't mesh well together. Throw in the horrible key change and the whole thing's a bit of a shambles. Still, it hit the Australian top 10, giving Annie her first solo success outside Eurythmics and, remarkably, giving Al his first hit in Australia. Yep, despite releasing some of the best soul tracks of the '70s, he'd only ever managed a number 85 placing for "Sha-la-la (Make Me Happy)" before this song came along.
With the year drawing to a close, it was also time for ARIA's year-end countdown:
|ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - 1988 year-end countdown|
Since I have spoken about every single one of those songs on this blog before, there's not much more to say - other than how happy I was that "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" beat out "Simply Irresistible" to be the year's biggest seller.
ARIA took a two-week break before publishing its next chart, so I'll be back to kick off 1989 on January 8. Before that, though, I'll be counting down my top 100 favourite songs for 2013 between now and New Year's Eve.
ARIA Top 50 Singles Charts - 1988
Jan 10 II Jan 17 II Jan 24 II Jan 31 II Feb 7 II Feb 14 II Feb 21 II Feb 28 II Mar 6 II Mar 13 II Mar 20 II Mar 27 II Apr 3 II Apr 10 II Apr 17 II Apr 24 II May 1 II May 8 II May 15 II May 22 II May 29 II Jun 5 II Jun 12 II Jun 19 II Jun 26 II Jul 3 II Jul 10 II Jul 17 II Jul 24 II Jul 31 II Aug 7 II Aug 14 II Aug 21 II Aug 28 II Sep 4 II Sep 11 II Sep 18 II Sep 25 II Oct 2 II Oct 9 II Oct 16 II Oct 23 II Oct 30 II Nov 6 II Nov 13 II Nov 20 II Nov 27 II Dec 4 II Dec 11 II Dec 18 II Dec 25
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