|When it came to "Batdance", I wasn't in on the joke|
The performer in question, Prince, was no stranger to soundtrack work. Some of the biggest singles of his career have come from movies and he sometimes even starred in the films as well - although, like Madonna's screen output, those films were often nowhere near as good as the accompanying soundtracks. In this case, Prince only provided the music for the blockbuster and the closest he came to featuring in the film was playing dress-up in the music video for his chart entry.
|ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending July 9, 1989|
At number 1 for a second week this week in 1989 was Swedish duo Roxette, with "The Look" ensuring Kate Ceberano's "Bedroom Eyes" stayed put at number 2 for yet another week (the fourth of six weeks in the runners-up spot).
"You're The One" by Julian Lennon
Peak: number 68
Julian Lennon: rock god? Not quite, but this follow-up to "Now You're In Heaven" was one of the rockiest things he'd done. Well, rocky in a Richard Marx kind of way. The song was a resounding failure - even in Australia, who'd been far more generous to "Now You're In Heaven" than any other country. And, I can't help but think that although there's a decent chorus in there, it gets swamped by all the extra "rock" production which was added to the Patrick Leonard-produced album version for the single remix.
"Manchild" by Neneh Cherry
Peak: number 58
A few weeks ago, five dance tracks shared the Single of the Week slot on the ARIA singles chart - and "Manchild" is the fifth and final one to discuss, since it finally appeared as a breaker this week in 1989. In fact, the second single from Raw Like Sushi would feature as a breaker well into August, never quite managing to live up to the hype generated by "Buffalo Stance". As with that debut single, Neneh and her soon-to-be husband, Cameron McVey (aka Booga Bear), were listed as co-writers of "Manchild" - although this time around they collaborated on the track with Massive Attack's 3D (Robert Del Naja). The song became Neneh's second consecutive top 5 hit in the UK, and I can't help but think she was a little too ahead of her time as far as Australia was concerned.
Number 50 "Saved Me" by Jenny Morris
Peak: number 27
Despite what the chart positions of Jenny Morris' debut album and its accompanying singles (none of which breached the top 10) might suggest, the Body And Soul project had been pretty successful in Australia - with the album going platinum, and tracks like "You I Know" and "You're Gonna Get Hurt" receiving decent radio play. The New Zealand-born singer and former INXS backing vocalist stepped things up a notch with second album Shiver, which would sell three times as many copies and finally give her a top 10 hit - but not with lead single "Saved Me". Co-written with album producer Andrew Farriss (of INXS), the song had a bit of a world music feel, which was enhanced by the Richard Lowenstein-directed film clip that Jenny shot in Nicaragua.
Number 49 "Say Goodbye" by Indecent Obsession
Peak: number 6
With Countdown off air and his segments on Hey Hey It's Saturday not taking that much of his time, Molly Meldrum kept himself busy with his record label, Melodian, to which he'd signed this pop quartet originally from Brisbane. Essentially a "boys in a band" act (my term for a boy band that plays instruments), Indecent Obsession were always going to find gaining support outside their teen demographic difficult - and indeed, it was more likely to see lead singer (and future Home And Away star) David Dixon smiling back at you with all those teeth from the pages of Smash Hits than to hear "Say Goodbye" on FM radio. Still, the song hit the top 10 and a new teen phenomenon was born.
Number 39 "Batdance" by Prince
Peak: number 2
I had a bit of a love/don't get relationship with Prince in the '80s. I loved tracks like "Raspberry Beret", "Glam Slam", "Alphabet St", "1999" and "Let's Go Crazy", but this single from Prince's soundtrack to Batman definitely fell into the don't get pile. To me, it sounded like a mess - so it's not surprising that as well as effectively being two different songs (one fast and frentic, one slow and seductive), "Batdance" was cobbled together from bits of other songs Prince had been working on. Throw in some dialogue snippets from Batman and it made "Pump Up The Volume" seem traditional. Still, plenty of other music fans got it, with "Batdance" becoming Prince's biggest Australian hit since 1986's "Kiss" and his fourth US number 1. Naturally, it's not on YouTube.
Next week: the debut of a UK band named after an American state and the top 20 return of an Australian artist often mistakenly referred to as a one-hit wonder. Speaking of one-hit wonders, I'll be wrapping up my look at one-hit wonders of the '90s with a look at the years 1995 to 1999 and a list of that decade's two-hit wonders.
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