Tuesday, 24 March 2015

30 Years Ago This Week: March 24, 1985

Most bands will forever be associated with one or two key songs - and unfortunately that means their other singles become sidelined as the years go by. Cases in point: the two new entries on the ARIA top 50 singles chart this week in 1985. Although reasonably successful in their own right, the two songs have become completely overshadowed by the bands' mega-hits.

There was more to Spandau Ballet than nice suits and two big singles

One band was an Australasian group that'd managed three top 2 placings since the mid-'70s and had trouble living up to those in the mid-'80s. The other was a British five-piece best known for a pair of top 10 hits in 1983, but also responsible for excellent singles either side of those.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending March 24, 1985

Climbing to number 1 this week 30 years ago is a chart-topping track that's also become somewhat forgotten in the decades since. "One Night In Bangkok" by two-hit wonder Murray Head brought Foreigner's stranglehold of the chart summit to an end.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "Break Down The Walls" by Full Marks
Peak: number 67
This debut single by Adelaide's Full Marks had the makings of a much bigger hit - but not even a Countdown appearance could push it into the top 50.

Number 96 "Let Me Be" by Cats Under Pressure
Peak: number 76
Whereas this debut single by the Melbourne trio performed about as well as it should have - and not even the presence of a Reyne (David) in the line-up could convince people otherwise.

Number 93 "Teardrops" by Shakin' Stevens
Peak: number 71
He was still racking up top 10 hits in the UK with ease, but Australia had turned its back on Shakey - as demonstrated by the chart position for this new song from Greatest Hits, his final top 100 appearance.

Number 88 "Soul Deep" by Council Collective
Peak: number 85
Another charity record from December 1984 - but unlike Band Aid, this collaboration between The Style Council and soul acts like Junior Giscombe and Jimmy Ruffin raised money for a cause closer to home: Britain's striking miners. 

Number 72 "Foolish Heart" by Steve Perry
Peak: number 52
On his second most successful single as a solo act in the US, the Journey singer trading in his usual rock sound for more of a hotel lounge feel.

Number 58 "Perfect Skin" by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
Peak: number 54
We saw the second single from Rattlesnakes six weeks ago, and now the album's lead single made a belated charge towards to the top 50... but never ended up getting there.


New Entries
Number 50 "Speak No Evil" by Dragon
Peak: number 19
Here's the New Zealand-spawned, Australian-based band responsible for three massive hits: "April Sun In Cuba" (number 2 in 1977), "Are You Old Enough?" (number 1 in 1978) and "Rain" (number 2 in 1983). But that's not all there is to the Dragon catalogue.
By the time 1985 came around, the band led by the Hunter brothers was smack bang in the middle of a run of great, but less successful singles. "Speak No Evil" followed Body And The Beat tracks "Magic", "Cry" and "Wilderworld" - and at least managed to restore Dragon to the top 20 after the last of those three had peaked at number 42.
This new song, which would eventually appear on their eighth album, 1986's Dreams Of Ordinary Men, was also the first single released by the band following the death of keyboardist Paul Hewson (who'd written "April Sun..." and "Are You...") from a drug overdose at the start of 1985, shortly after he quit the band.




Number 49 "Round And Round" by Spandau Ballet
Peak: number 16
They might've reached the UK top 10 on eight other occasions, but New Romantic pretty boys Spandau Ballet will always be best remembered for their pair of 1983 smash hits, "True" and "Gold" - incidentally, their only two singles to reach the top 10 in Australia (and their two biggest singles in the US). But this fourth and final single from the Parade album did pretty well locally, peaking just four places lower than the first and biggest single from the LP, "Only When You Leave". For me, "Round And Round" marks the end of Spandau Ballet's truly great era. They had a couple more hits up their immaculately tailored sleeves - but nothing that really connected with me.




Next week: an Australian band cracks the big time, the latest single from Born In The USA debuts and yet another Lloyd Cole track makes the top 100.


Back to: Mar 17, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 31, 1985


4 comments:

  1. It wasn't until this year's retro month on rage that I realised Daryl Braithwaite's 'Let Me Be' was a cover, originally performed by Cats Under Pressure.

    It just goes to show how big the US market is, when this Steve Perry track I'd never heard of before (and which I suspect also flopped in the UK without looking it up) has 1.2 million youtube views in 18 months.

    Actually, I knew none of the singles discussed in this post at the time, even the #16 Spandau hit (which surprises me). And the few that I do know now I've only heard in the last 5 or so years.

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    1. I didn't even connect the dots between Cats Under Pressure and Daryl - probably because I turned the C.U.P version off a minute or so in... Plus, Daryl's version isn't my favourite song by him, either. But thanks for mentioning that fact!

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  2. Amazing that Murray Head's only two hits were 15 years apart - that has to be some sort of record.

    Heard a few of these tracks last summer as some 1985 Countdown episodes from around this time were repeated.

    Agree with your sentiments on Spandau Ballet.

    I'd forgotten about Paul Hewson, Dragon did well to keep going around this time.

    I didn't mind the 'Cats Under Pressure' song, especially as I was reminded what the song was about when I saw this song again on Countdown.

    Still, 1985 was shaping up to be a great year for pop music, so many interesting tracks coming out.

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    1. 1985 was such a great year for music - I've been enjoying these recaps more than my 25 years ago ones (for 1990), I have to say!

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