Tuesday, 21 July 2015

30 Years Ago This Week: July 21, 1985

You can probably count the instrumental hit singles of the '80s on the fingers of one hand. Maybe two. And songs released in 1985 would make up a good chunk of those, with easily the most famous instrumental single of that year debuting on the ARIA chart 30 years ago this week.

Harold Faltermeyer's instrumental hit was OK with me, too

Like the two other big instrumental tracks from 1985, the song in question was taken from a movie - a film that had already spawned two major hit singles. 

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

Another song from a film was at number 1 this week in 1985. "Into The Groove" from Desperately Seeking Susan - along with non-soundtrack release "Angel" - held down the top spot for a fourth and final week.


Off The Chart
Number 99 "So In Love" by Orchestral Manouevres In The Dark
Peak: number 56
This lead single from the Crush album didn't add to OMD's tally of two ARIA top 50 hits (1980's "Enola Gay" and "Locomotion" from 1984) - but the synthpop duo would have a much better 1986.

Number 97 "Thinking Man" by Joan Armatrading
Peak: number 97
Like "Temptation", this second single from Secret Secrets missed the top 50 - and a video for the song has finally been put up on YouTube.

Number 96 "Remember I Love You" by Jim Diamond
Peak: number 96
His last single, "I Should Have Known Better", peaked right at the other end of the chart, but this follow-up barely grazed the top 100 despite being another syrupy ballad co-written with Graham Lyle.

Number 90 "Honey B" by Flying Fonzarellis
Peak: number 72
Some true blue Aussie pub music with this first of two minor top 100 appearances from the short-lived Perth band who still maintain an active website where you can download "Honey B".

Number 88 "Shall We Go" by Dropbears
Peak: number 61
Another local band - this time from Sydney - that never cracked the top 50 but placed two singles inside the top 100 during 1985.

Number 64 "I Write The News" by Beargarden
Peak: number 56
Down to Melbourne now for the only top 100 charting single from tumultuous synthpop band Beargarden, who were the first signing to the Australian arm of Virgin Records. 


New Entries
Number 50 "Baby Come And Get It" by The Pointer Sisters
Peak: number 29
They'd become known for fun songs like "I'm So Excited", "Jump (For My Love)" and "Neutron Dance", but Anita, June and Ruth Pointer got all moody and sexy with this final single from the Break Out album. With their best (matching) party frocks on and their most sultry stares at the ready, the trio did well to squeeze another top 30 hit out of the album - but they'd be back up towards the top of the chart when they moved on to their next LP.




Number 48 "All My Love" by Renée Geyer
Peak: number 28
I've always thought Renée Geyer must have been more successful than it turns out she actually was on the charts - after all, she was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2005 (only the second female pop singer to achieve that honour at that stage). 
And while there's no denying Renée's vocal talent, her only single to reach the top 10 was 1981's "Say I Love You" and this first release from her new record deal with WEA was only her fourth top 30 hit in a recording career dating back to 1974. 
As well as changing labels in the mid-'80s, Renée also switched countries, leaving Australia to base herself in Los Angeles and try to crack America - a move that would ultimately prove unsuccessful. Her absence didn't do her any favours locally, with album Sing To Me only just making the top 40 and no further top 50 singles chart action.




Number 39 "Axel F" by Harold Faltermeyer
Peak: number 6
After Patti LaBelle let the side down with her Beverly Hills Cop single "New Attitude" missing the top 50, order was restored when the film's instrumental theme became the latest top 10 hit from the soundtrack (following "The Heat Is On" and "Neutron Dance"). 
Performed by German artist Harold Faltermeyer (who also composed the movie's score), "Axel F" got its name from Eddie Murphy's character, Axel Foley, and became one of the most successful instrumental releases of all time, reaching number 3 in the US and number 2 in the UK. 
Of course, these days its reputation has been tarnished thanks to that godawful ringtone-inspired rendition by Crazy Frog, which, despite being a complete travesty, ended up as the fourth highest-selling single of 2005 in Australia.
As for classically trained Harold, despite also working on the soundtracks to subsequent box office smashes Fletch and Top Gun, and being an in-demand producer away from movies, "Axel F" would end up being his only singles chart success.




Number 37 "Heaven" by Bryan Adams
Peak: number 12
Here's another song that received a new lease of life in the '00s thanks to a dance remake, but at least DJ Sammy's cover of "Heaven" was perfectly enjoyable in its own right. In 1985, the power ballad original was the song that really put Bryan Adams on the world stage - becoming the Canadian singer's biggest hit to date in Australia and his first US chart-topper. Interestingly, "Heaven" had also started out on a movie soundtrack - featuring in 1983 Razzie Award-winning dance film A Night In Heaven (along with the original version of Animotion's "Obsession"). The following year, the song turned up on Bryan's fourth album, Reckless, before finally being issued as its third single in 1985.




Number 33 "Lead The Way" by I'm Talking
Peak: number 25
They'd hit the top 10 on their first attempt, but I'm Talking didn't have as much luck with this follow-up to "Trust Me". I don't even recall "Lead The Way" from the time and, since it wasn't included on I'm Talking's eventual debut album, I didn't come across it until the last few years when I downloaded it on iTunes. ("Trust Me" also wasn't on Bear Witness, but it did feature on Kate Ceberano's 1999 greatest hits album - and had made a bigger impression originally.) Fairly similar in feel to their debut release, "Lead The Way" maintained the band's pop/funk sound - and its relatively disappointing chart performance may well have influenced the decision to go in a completely different direction next time around.




Number 19 "Out Of Mind Out Of Sight" by Models
Peak: number 1
Next up, the band for whom Kate Ceberano and Zan Abeyratne from I'm Talking routinely performed backing vocals (with both groups touring Australia together in July 1985). Models had almost topped the chart with previous single "Barbados" but were unable to overcome the might of "We Are The World" but ironically, it may well have been the band's appearance at the Oz For Africa concert which contributed to the rapid ascent to the top of "Out Of Mind Out Of Sight", which they performed at the gig. 
The title track of their fourth album, the future number 1 hit was as energetic as "Barbados" had been laidback - with its driving beat and use of horns reminiscent of recent chart-topper "Would I Lie To You". The song became Models' first and only US hit, reaching number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 - and it was easily their biggest and best known single in Australia.




Next week: the debut of my favourite of the many singles Phil Collins released in 1985, a song that would provide the hook for a massive dance hit in 12 years' time and the original version of a track that would be covered by one of John Farnham's backing singers in 1992.


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


1 comment:

  1. I didn't know any of the new entries missing the top 50 this week. The Dropbears once isn't bad once you get to the chorus.

    I wouldn't have known about 'Baby Come and Get It' if not having to do a dance to it one day in music at school, circa 1988. A somewhat risque choice for the occasion.

    I didn't know 'All My Love' until this year's retro month on rage, but love it, and the unusual facial expressions she pulls (intentionally or otherwise) in the video. Although I knew 'Say I Love You' at the time, I wasn't aware of her at all until catching her flogging a best of on Bert Newton's morning show in the late 90s, looking very different to the (much earlier) image of her used on the sleeve.

    I never knew what 'Axel F' was called until Clock covered it in the mid 90's. I have a memory of seeing the original used against footage of surfers as a time-filler between TV shows in 1985-6, back when they used to do such things.

    I knew Bryan Adams' big 80s hits, but never knew who they were by, and didn't connect the dots for some time after the (much loathed by me then) '(Everything I Do)...' onslaught in 1991. 'Heaven' is probably my favourite.

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