Tuesday, 21 April 2015

30 Years Ago This Week: April 21, 1985

For most of the first half of the decade, Duran Duran had been one of the biggest bands in the world - and then in 1985, the five-piece literally split in two. Thirty years ago this week, one of the two side projects to emerge while Duran Duran took a break hit the ARIA top 50 with their first single.

Two-fifths of Duran Duran + one member of Chic + Robert Palmer = The Power Station

In this case, the musical offshoot was somewhat of a supergroup. Alongside the two members of Duran Duran were two other performers, each with their own chart pedigree - and working behind the scenes was a very well-known producer.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending April 21, 1985

A supergroup of a different kind held down the number 1 spot this week in 1985. USA For Africa's "We Are The World" was on top for a second week as "Shout" (moving down) and "I Should Have Known Better" (moving back up) swapped places below it.


Off The Chart
Number 94 "I Can't Hold Back" by Survivor
Peak: number 94
This lead single from Vital Signs was Survivor's biggest US hit since "Eye Of The Tiger" - and the band's only ARIA top 100 appearance since scoring 1982's year-end number 1 single with that Rocky III anthem. It was also the first release with new vocalist Jimi Jamison.

Number 72 "Sticky Little Bitch" by The Angels
Peak: number 72
Like previous single "Look The Other Way", this latest release from Two Minute Warning missed the top 50. I imagine the song's title made radio airplay problematic.


New Entries
Number 50 "Colour My Love" by Fun Fun Fun
Peak: number 49
On my 25 Years Ago... posts, we've seen how European dance acts Technotronic, Black Box and, of course, Milli Vanilli used models as their front people - but the practice started long before that. Despite having future solo star Spagna among their vocalists, Italian Euro disco group Fun Fun (Australia added an extra Fun) hired two female models to flounce around and mime along to songs like "Colour My Love". It seems there was no bad blood between the actual singers and the producers since after Spagna embarked on her post-Fun Fun career (which resulted in 1987 European smash "Call Me"), she continued to contribute to the writing of her former group's songs.




Number 42 "Lovergirl" by Teena Marie
Peak: number 19
Since this song was Australia's introduction to Teena Marie, I'm betting she was lumped in with established hitmakers Sheila E and the recently sex-ified Sheena Easton, whose recent records "Lovergirl" resembled. But, the singer born Mary Brockert (Tina comes from middle name Christine) had been releasing records longer than either of them. And although the funk/pop style of "Lovergirl" sounded like she'd also been spending a lot of time with Prince, it was sometime boyfriend Rick "Superfreak" James who'd helped Teena get her break in 1979 and was more of an influential force in her career.
"Lovergirl" was the peak of Teena's commercial success (and her only appearance on the Australian top 100) - although her 1980 singles "Behind The Groove" and "I Need Your Lovin'" are worth investigating. Those two tracks were released during her time signed to Motown Records, a contract she extracted herself from following a protracted and expensive legal battle. On the upside, the lawsuit resulted in the Brockert Initiative being passed, which prevented record companies keeping artists on contract while refusing to release their music.




Number 39 "Some Like It Hot" by The Power Station
Peak: number 4
While the three other members of Duran Duran were off doing their own thing - which would result in a hit single we'll see towards the very end of the year - bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor joined forces with singer Robert Palmer and drummer Tony Thompson (formerly of Chic) to form The Power Station. Named after the studios where their debut album was recorded, the supergroup received the production wizardry of Bernard Edwards - one of the masterminds (along with Nile Rodgers) behind Chic. 
Boasting a harder sound than Duran Duran's material, The Power Station made an instant impact with their first single, "Some Like It Hot". Australia was particularly taken with the track, which made it to number 6 in the US and number 14 in the UK. The song's number 4 placing locally was just one place shy of the last Duran Duran single, "The Wild Boys", while it was easily the biggest hit Robert had ever sung, with his previous Australian chart best being "Bad Case Of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)", which reached number 13 in 1979




Next week: new solo singles from three male artists who got their start as members of massive bands - two of whom had just duetted together.


Back to: Apr 14, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 28, 1985


2 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure I've never heard the original 'Colour My Love' until now; only knowing it from the excerpt of it used in the 'Bearforce 1' medley (!). I was half-expecting it to merge into 'You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)' as a result. It seems very dancey for a top 50 hit in Australia at this point. I didn't hear the Spagna track until getting the 'Video Hits 1' album a year after it briefly charted here.

    I don't think I heard the Teena Marie song at the time. She died a few years ago, I learned while perusing the slightly morbid deadrockstarsclub site.

    The Power Station track is a classic, and probably the best thing Robert Palmer did IMO. I love the percussive sound effects in the verses.

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  2. Don't remember the Angels or the Survivor song - as you say, its title wouldn't have helped the Angels' cause. In fact there's a large gap in my memory of all things Angels between 1980 and 1986.

    I must confess I often get Sheila E, Sheena E(aston) and Teena Marie confused, even to this day. Must say 'Lovergirl' is probably the best and most memorable single any of the three released around this time.

    Love 'Some Like It Hot' and the fluoro film clip, still a great song. Probably was a good move for Duran Duran to take the year off (barring the Bond theme they did) and do their own thing.

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