Tuesday, 26 May 2015

30 Years Ago This Week: May 26, 1985

Music talent often runs in families - and over the decades, several groups of siblings have taken on the charts. Some, like The Jacksons and The Osmonds, become global phenomena; others, like Five Star and The McClymonts, have more territory-specific success. 

Thin ties, thin moustaches... it can only be 80s family band DeBarge

Thirty years ago this week, a family band that'd had a handful of minor hits in the US hit the ARIA top 50 with the song that'd take them up charts all around the world.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 26, 1985

Still up on top of the Australian chart this week in 1985 - USA For Africa held strong with "We Are The World". Its tally of seven weeks now made it the longest-running number 1 since the eight-week stay of "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder, who appeared on "We Are The World" and whose tally would eventually be surpassed by the charity record.


Off the chart
Number 100 "Lucky In Love" by Mick Jagger
Peak: number 77
I don't think I've ever heard this second single from She's The Boss before - probably on account of its lowly chart peak - but I don't mind it, more so than most solo tracks by the Rolling Stone.

Number 83 "Love Like Blood" by Killing Joke
Peak: number 83
After years of placing singles in the 50s and 60s in the UK, this goth/new wave band cracked the top 20 there with this Night Time single. Locally, it was their only top 100 appearance but it's worth a listen for any fans of The Cult and The Damned unfamiliar with it.


New entries
Number 46 "We Will Together" by Eurogliders
Peak: number 7
Geez, get a room! Future husband and wife (and divorcees) Bernie Lynch and Grace Knight were clearly incredibly hot for each other at this point in time, with this video for the lead single from the Absolutely album featuring a cringeworthy public display of affection (and an unfortunate choice of swimwear). Also hot at this stage in 1985 was the Perth band's career - having hit number 2 (behind The Twelfth Man and Wham!) in 1984 with "Heaven (Must Be There)", a song that also made US top 70. "We Will Together" returned them to the top 10 and would be the first of a string of big singles from the album - one which made its way into my family's record collection at the time.




Number 45 "I Was Born To Love You" by Freddie Mercury
Peak: number 19
Last week, we saw the fourth and final single from Queen's The Works album miss the top 50, but singer Freddie Mercury had much better luck with the lead single from his debut solo album, Mr Bad Guy. "I Was Born To Love You" wasn't his first solo release - we saw "Love Kills" bomb back in February - and like that earlier single, this track featured more of a synthpop feel than the majority of Queen's output. Despite the fact that this is a really good song and Queen was one of the world's biggest band's, Freddie couldn't sustain a successful solo career. It'd take another seven years for him to return to the ARIA top 50 with a posthumous re-release of "Barcelona", his 1987 duet with opera singer Montserrat Caballé).




Number 41 "Rhythm Of The Night" by DeBarge
Peak: number 5
Despite all its success in the 1960s and '70s, Motown Records didn't manage to maintain such an impressive hit strike-rate in the 1980s, with established stars Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie providing the label's few chart-topping singles. One of the only new acts to be successfully launched by the former hit machine was family group DeBarge, which consisted of brothers Marty (real name: Mark), Randy (real name: William), El (real name: Eldra) and James (he got to keep his name), and sister Bunny (real name: Etterlene).
Despite the obvious comparisons to former Motown stars The Jacksons, DeBarge had been more of a ballads act up until this point, but it was this upbeat little number - one of the first hits penned by super-songwriter Diane Warren - that saw them extend their fanbase beyond the US. With nothing else like this in their repertoire, the group would ultimately be a one-hit wonder in Australia.
Infectious pop smash "Rhythm Of The Night" was taken from the soundtrack to the "martial arts musical" film Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon, which, as the name suggests, was produced by the Motown founder. Meanwhile, keeping it in the Motown family, James DeBarge is the man responsible for Janet Jackson's early annulled marriage, with the two crazy young kids having eloped a year earlier in 1984.




Number 36 "Would I Lie To You?" by Eurythmics
Peak: number 1
With the 1984 (For The Love Of Big Brother) soundtrack behind them, Eurythmics moved on to the Be Yourself Tonight album - and this first single was quite a change in musical direction for the normally more synth-based duo. The rock sound was matched by Annie Lennox's feisty performance in the heavily played music video, with the new attitude going down a storm in Australia (where it became their sole chart-topper) and the US (where it reached number 5). Not so convinced were the band's British fans, who only propelled the single to number 17 - granted, that was an improvement on the performance of 1984's second single, "Julia" (which tanked at number 44 in the UK), but "Would I Lie To You?" was the only non-soundtrack Eurythmics single to miss the British top 10 since before their breakthrough with "Love Is A Strager". Order would be restored with the follow-up, which showed yet another side to the band - and also featured Stevie Wonder (he's everywhere this week!).




Number 35 "50 Years" by Uncanny X-Men
Peak: number 4
All that partying (on the Beach Party EP and "The Party" single) must have worn Aussie rockers Uncanny X-Men out since "50 Years" saw them slow the tempo right down. The risk paid off - the rock ballad turned out to be by far the band's biggest single up until this point and would wind up being their only release to make the singles top 10. Of course, the music video showed the early morning aftermath of... a party.




Next week: one of the biggest bands in the world - especially among owners of CD players - and two new Australian bands that didn't manage to become the next big thing.


Back to: May 19, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 2, 1985


6 comments:

  1. Some of these songs are bringing back memories of my first foray into music, listening to the compilation album 1985 on Fire.

    I'd never seen the Debarge film clip before, but had heard the song many times. I always assumed it was a woman singing on lead. It certainly brings back memories of 80's music to me.

    It's a pity Freddy Mercury didn't receive more credit for his solo stuff. Very talented musician! Perhaps his musical output was just a little more 'out there' for the times.

    "Would I lie to You" reminds me of Blue Light Discos of my youth. Nuff said.

    Thank You.

    Finn

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    1. Rhythm Of The Night is one of those songs like Let's Hear It For The Boy which is so of its time but I could still listen to on repeat today!

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  2. I didn't know Killing Joke's 'Love Like Blood' then, but thought I'd give it a go (due to the band's connection with Youth) when it appeared on a rage playlist a few years back, and love it; though it's not the type of music I normally listen to. It has an eeriness to it that I like.

    'We Will Together' is almost like 2 songs in one - the sublime synth-ballad chorus-y bits, and the slightly cringe-worthy 'swim sing together while others play' bits that let the song down. Bad choice in swimwear indeed, and rather dodgy haircut too on the guy (though slightly improved by being submerged in water). I think I was a bit confused on the difference between the Eurogliders and the similarly-named Eurythmics at the time.

    I don't think I knew the Freddie Mercury track at the time, but downloaded it out of curiosity a few years ago when looking through some old charts for ideas of new 'old' songs to download. I like it, but feel the instrumental key change in the middle section was slightly unnecessary.

    To my ears, 'Rhythm of the Night' sounds like a Gloria Estefan track musically; like it should've been given to her.

    'Would I Lie To You' provided one of my most humourous misheard lyrics. I thought it was "I'm naked, naked" instead of 'I'll make it, make it' at the time. I like it, but the 'rocky' Eurythmics era period wasn't as good as their synth era, on the whole. I'm surprised it was such a relative flop for them in the UK.

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    1. I heard the Worlds Apart version of I Was Born To Love You first - it was on a tacky Eurodance Queen tribute album in the late 90s and I was a big fan of W.A. around then. I then went back and listened to the Freddie version, which I also like.

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  3. Love Like Blood is an amazing song although not very chart friendly, especially for mid-80s Australia. Not sure how Jaz Coleman would have gone on Countdown :P

    Liked the Eurythmics rocky departure, it suited Annie well, and 'Would I Lie To You' is still a favourite.

    '50 Years': Probably the X-Men's finest song. And 30 of those 50 years have now passed already, which I still find staggering.

    'We Will Together': Still can't unsee Bernie's Speedos. It's still a great song that takes me straight back. It's so 'summery' that I thought it charted much earlier in the year than late May. Another band that had a great 1985.

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    1. Killing Joke are one of those bands whose name I knew but had never heard any of their songs until now. I really like Love Like Blood and will probably download it - it'll fit right in my collection among Depeche Mode and The Cure.

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