|Andrew Ridgeley's bid for solo success found a receptive audience in Australia|
In 1985, it was already expected that his partner in pop would go on to forge a successful career on his own, but few would have counted on the less famous member of the duo also landing his own hit single - but in Australia, at least, he did.
|ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 20, 1990|
An artist who had no trouble notching up hit singles was still at number 1 in Australia this week in 1990 - Madonna spent a third week on top with "Vogue/Keep It Together".
Number 49 "Shake" by Andrew Ridgeley
Peak: number 15
Here he is - the other half of Wham!, whose contribution to that string of releases from "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)" to "Where Did Your Heart Go?" has long been debated. Andrew Ridgeley's musical input may not have been as great as George Michael's - he only received a co-writing credit on three out of 12 singles - but his part in the success of the pop duo shouldn't be underestimated.
More than just making up numbers, Andrew was responsible for more behind-the-scenes machinations (grooming George and making decisions about the duo's image, speaking to the press, grounding his band-mate) than he's ever given credit for. Not only that, but he doubled the eye candy in the group - if you didn't fancy George, perhaps you liked the look of Andrew.
After Wham!'s breakup, Andrew tried his hand at car racing in Monaco and acting in Los Angeles, before returning to the UK, shacking up with Bananarama's Keren Woodward (his partner to this day) and, in 1990, getting around to releasing a solo album of his own.
I think everyone associated with Son Of Albert knew it was no Faith, but lead single "Shake" received a surprisingly positive welcome in Australia, peaking 43 places higher than in the UK. A much rockier single than anything George or Wham! had ever released, "Shake" was also the public's first chance to hear what Andrew's singing voice was like. Unfortunately, like the song itself, it was on the weak side.
Number 46 "Love Will Lead You Back" by Taylor Dayne
Peak: number 11
While things had been going swimmingly for Taylor Dayne in the US, with six consecutive top 10 hits to her name so far, she hadn't managed a top 50 hit on the ARIA chart since "Prove Your Love" reached number 30 in mid-1988. That all changed with monster ballad and US chart-topper "Love Will Lead You Back", which came one place shy of equalling the peak of debut single "Tell It To My Heart" locally. The Diane Warren-penned track turned Taylor's fortunes around in Australia, prompting parent album Can't Fight Fate to return to the chart for a lengthy stay, after having slipped into the top 100 for a single week at number 97 in January. Even better news for Taylor - her biggest Australian hits were still to come.
Number 45 "I Don't Want To Be With Nobody But You" by Absent Friends featuring Wendy Matthews
Peak: number 4
A ballad also did the trick for Aussie supergroup Absent Friends, who'd bombed out with their previous singles, "Hallelujah" and "Hullabaloo". Those songs had both been original compositions - written or co-written by Sean Kelly - but "I Don't Want To Be With Nobody But You" was a cover version of an album track by soul singer Eddie Floyd. Originally titled "I Don't Want To Be With Nobody But My Baby", the song appeared on 1974's Soul Street. Absent Friends' remake spent three weeks at its number 4 peak and received the ARIA Award for Single Of The Year. Although featured vocalist Wendy Matthews had already enjoyed chart success, teaming up with Kate Ceberano for the top 10 album, You've Always Got The Blues, this song more than anything else paved the way for her to become one of the nation's favourite singers. Not bad for a Canadian.
Number 43 "Passion" by Bang The Drum
Peak: number 43
A few weeks ago, we saw Bang The Drum's debut single, "Only You", reach the top 40 and no time was wasted following it up with this next release. Unfortunately for the band produced by Charles Fisher (the man behind multi-platinum debut albums by 1927 and Savage Garden), "Passion" was even less successful than "Only You" - and that's despite the fact that the earlier single was included as a B-side here (in fact the release turns up as a double A-side in the Breakers section in June).
Next week: another former Young Talent Time member hits the top 50, as does one of the year's biggest dance tracks, a number 1 hit from one of the year's top films and the final Milli Vanilli single to reach the chart (at least with Rob and Fab fronting the group).
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