Tuesday, 14 April 2015

30 Years Ago This Week: April 14, 1985

For musicians, the question of what to name their band is a crucial one to get right. After all, if you do have a hit record, the last thing you want is to be lumbered with a dud name you can't change since you're now successful. 

King's reign on the chart was a relatively short one

This week in 1985 on the ARIA singles chart, bands named after (in order) a fruit, a comic strip, a vehicle, the band's lead singer and a breakfast cereal made progress on the top 100. And finally, there was another band whose name simultaneously made no and total sense.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending April 14, 1985

Not surprisingly, the all-star ensemble with the full name United Support of Artists for Africa leapt from its number 5 debut position last week to the top of the chart 30 years ago this week. "We Are The World" would stay at number 1 for nine weeks. 


Off The Chart
Number 96 "All I Need" by Jack Wagner
Peak: number 93
Before Nick in The Bold And The Beautiful and Peter in Melrose Place, soap star Jack Wagner played Frisco Jones in General Hospital and his popularity helped this debut single fly to number 2 in the US. In 2013, he performed it on the show during a return stint.

Number 93 "Temptation" by Joan Armatrading
Peak: number 72
1983's The Key had yielded two top 20 hits ("Drop The Pilot" and "(I Love It When You) Call Me Names") but this lead single was the best performer from the Secret Secrets album.

Number 92 "Time Out (For Serious Fun)" by Rockmelons
Peak: number 81
A couple of years before their top 40 breakthrough, the Sydney dance/funk group gained some attention - and a Countdown appearance - with this debut single featuring Sandi Chick on vocals.

Number 82 "One Of A Kind" by V.Spy V.Spy
Peak: number 66
A fixture on the pub rock scene for a few years by this stage, V. Spy V. Spy cracked the top 100 with this lead single from what would be their debut album, Harry's Reasons


New Entries
Number 48 "Things Can Only Get Better" by Howard Jones
Peak: number 11
He shockingly hadn't reached any higher than number 16 with the singles from first album Human's Lib, but Howard Jones got ever closer to his first top 10 hit in Australia with this lead single from Dream Into Action. Things were going better for him at home, where "Things Can Only Get Better" became his fifth UK top 10 single.




Number 44 "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon
Peak: number 2
1985 was turning out to be a banner year for power ballads, with this latest single from the band named after a flatbed truck following "I Want To Know What Love Is" and "I Should Have Known Better" into the upper reaches of the chart. Like Foreigner, REO Speedwagon's last big hit had been with a power ballad released in 1981 that'd reached number 3. "Can't Fight This Feeling" improved on the performance of "Keep On Loving You" by one position, but was denied the number 1 spot by Eurythmics' "Would I Lie To You?".




Number 40 "Love & Pride" by King
Peak: number 8
He had hair that rivaled Howard Jones' for pure ridiculousness and a band named after him, but this top 10 smash was as good as it got for Paul King. Originally released in early 1984 in the UK as King's debut single, "Love & Pride" got a new lease of life after two other singles had flopped - and zoomed all the way to number 2 at home. In Britain, two other big hits following later in 1985, but in Australia, King were one-hit wonders, never seeing the inside of the ARIA top 50 again.




Number 37 "Boom Box" by Vitabeats
Peak: number 31
A website about this Australian duo suggests their breakthrough single, "Boom Box", was a top 3 hit in Australia. Not quite. Comprised of husband and wife Andrew and Lissa Barnum, Vitabeats presumably got their inspiration for their name from the Uncle Tobys cereal, while "Boom Box" reminds me of Nu Shooz's 1986 single "I Can't Wait" and probably should've done better. No doubt, radio wasn't as supportive as it could've been given they weren't a pub rock act. The couple are still together - and have a daughter - but this was their only top 50 appearance.




Number 36 "Gotta Be Wrong (Way To Love)" by Dynamic Hepnotics
Peak: number 20
Here's an Australian group that did manage a big hit on the ARIA chart - "Soul Kind Of Feeling", which had reached number 5 in 1984. This follow-up didn't peak quite as high, but Dynamic Hepnotics were definitely making a name for themselves as proponents of soulful pop music. And the band name they chose, although inherently meaningless, kind of suited their sound perfectly, don't you think? The momentum didn't last and "Gotta Be Wrong..." would be the group's last top 50 appearance - and last top 100 showing for a year.




Next week: one of the biggest groups in the world splinters into two side-projects and some fun fun fun Eurodisco.


Back to: Apr 7, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 21, 1985


3 comments:

  1. I'm surprised several of the more-obscure, Australian-only 'hits' that peaked between 51 and 100, like the Spy V Spy track, are on youtube.

    I don't think I knew the Howard Jones track at the time, but downloaded it out of curiosity about 3 years ago, and like it. I wonder if the title influenced the D:Ream and Kylie tracks of the same name.

    I don't think I knew the King track at the time, but it's another I've downloaded in recent years and like a lot.

    Maybe the Vitabeats track (another I didn't know originally, though the bassline sounds familiar) was a top 3... on the pointless Australian-artists-only chart that Countdown used to announce a top 5 from.

    I agree that the Dynamic Hepnotics' name suited their music (well, the handful of tracks of theirs I know, anyway).

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  2. Loved 'One of a Kind', especially the guitar riff, and glad it eventually made the charts. Think the band were still just 'Spy v Spy' at this point until MAD Magazine stepped in a couple of years later..

    This version of the Rockmelons bears little to no resemblance to the one that had some hits with a male vocalist in 1987-88, couldn't believe they were the same band

    This might have been the first Howard Jones song I remember hearing (missed his 1984 output), and I quite liked it.

    Amazing that this is the last we pretty much heard of King, REO Speedwagon, Dynamic Hepnotics and the Vitabeats.

    Shame about King, they did have some good other songs which were at least hits in the UK, such as 'Won't You Hold My Hand Now?' Still think 'Love and Pride' is a great song, one of the best ones in a great year, perhaps fortunately the film clip didn't start a shoe spray-painting trend.

    Liked the Vitabeats song, good to hear they're still together and performing.

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    1. I did wonder about V Spy V Spy's name - but seems One Of A Kind was post name change (http://www.discogs.com/VSpy-VSpy-One-Of-A-Kind/release/5808057).

      Think the name change happened in 1983.

      I really like King's "The Taste Of Your Tears" as well.

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