Wednesday, 30 August 2017

25 Years Ago This Week: August 30, 1992

Like reggae music, country isn't a genre you find on the ARIA top 50 singles chart that often - but when a country (or reggae) song does appear, it's inevitably massive. Think singles like "Islands In The Stream", "How Do I Live" or any number of Shania Twain hits.

I guess this was better than "Amigos Para Siempre" being the year's number 1 song... just

In 1992, the world was subjected to a country song that gave new meaning to the word "hit". An absolute monster of a record (in every sense of the word), it made its singer an instant star and dominated the number 1 spot for weeks and became the year's overall biggest seller.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 30, 1992

Another hideous song was the highest-selling single in the country again this week in 1992. "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)" held on to the number 1 spot for a third week.


Off The Chart
Number 97 "Looking For A Place" by Tall Tales & True
Peak: number 96
After two songs that narrowly missed the top 50, the fourth single from the recently released Revenge! album made a more understated showing - and would be the trio's final chart appearance.

Number 96 Caligula by Caligula
Peak: number 96
Meanwhile, another local band gained their first foothold on the top 100 with this self-titled EP, which was led by jangly, indie/dance track "The Bluff". 

Number 89 "Television, The Drug Of The Nation" by The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy
Peak: number 89
This hip-hop rant about the negative impact of TV (previously recorded by frontman Michael Franti's previous group, The Beatnigs) was TDHOH's only top 100 single. Michael would have more success in a decade's time with his next act. 

Number 81 "Jeremy" by Pearl Jam
Peak: number 68
It's the only Pearl Jam song I like, so naturally the grunge band's third single missed the top 50. "Jeremy" was inspired by the tragic story of a high schooler who shot himself in class, an event that was depicted in the MTV VMA-winning music video.

Number 59 "Sting Me" by The Black Crowes
Peak: number 59
"Remedy" had proved to be the breakthrough single for the Southern rock band, but chart success was short-lived with this distortion-heavy follow-up placing them back outside the top 40.


New Entries
Number 44 "Candyman" by Ratcat
Peak: number 38
Ratcat had an amazing 1991, topping the singles chart twice - once with EP Tingles and again with single "Don't Go Now" - and also reaching number 1 on the albums chart with Blind Love. Following that up was going to be tough, and I'm not convinced "Candyman" was the song to try and do it with. Yes, Ratcat's indie guitar sound was present and accounted for, and the song had a fun lyrical nod to "The Candy Man", but it just felt a bit under-cooked. Seems Australia agreed, with the lead single from the forthcoming Insideout barely making the top 40.




Number 31 "Sesame's Treet" by Smart E's
Peak: number 6
Here's another song with a link to a childhood favourite. In fact, as its title made obvious, this rave track sampled the theme tune to enduring kids' series Sesame Street. In the UK, "Sesame's Treet" was one of countless dance releases that sampled children's shows and computer games - everything from The Magic Roundabout to Tetris. In Australia, we were spared all those, but given the popularity of the ABC favourite, there was no way this wasn't going to be huge. Basically a novelty record, it also pretty much guaranteed Smart E's would never be taken seriously afterwards and they wound up as a one-hit wonder.




Number 30 "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus
Peak: number 1
Next up, a man generally considered to be a one-hit wonder, although he doesn't meet my strict criteria. And what a hit it was - 1992's biggest, as it would turn out. Not because it was a good song, mind you, but because it was another almost novelty record. In this case, it was one that tapped in to the growing line dancing craze. 
The debut single by country newcomer Billy Ray Cyrus, "Achy Breaky Heart" was actually a cover version. First recorded as "Don't Tell My Heart" by The Marcy Brothers, who sang "my achy, breakin' heart" instead, the song was renamed and its original lyrics as intended by songwriter Don Von Tress restored.
As well as being dance routine-ready, the song gained much of its appeal by being part of what's been termed "new country" - a poppier, more polished style of song than the country music of decades past. New country had mainstream appeal, with "Achy Breaky Heart" spending seven insufferable weeks at number 1 in Australia and becoming one of the first singles to achieve triple platinum accreditation locally.
As for the mulleted wonder himself, Billy Ray Cyrus may have only had one more minor hit in Australia, but "Achy Breaky Heart" and his debut album, Some Gave All, which spent 17 consecutive weeks at number 1 in the US, were so massive he was set for life... or until his offspring - Miley was born later in 1992 - were old enough to help him enjoy a resurgence in interest.




Number 22 "Take This Heart / Hazard" by Richard Marx
Peak: number 11
From one mullet to another, now, and if "Hazard" had been the type of song no one expected from Richard Marx, then follow-up "Take This Heart" was exactly the type of sing-along pop/rock anthem he'd made a name for himself with originally. On the ARIA chart, it appeared as a double A-side with his recent chart-topper, although it would seem this wasn't because "Hazard" was featured as a bonus track on this new single. Instead, both singles were packaged up in a two-for-one offer than can only have helped boost "Take This Heart" towards (but ultimately just short of) the top 10 and brought about the quick demise of "Hazard", which fell swiftly down the chart.




Next week: a massive hit from the '70s returns thanks to a massive movie from 1992, plus another film spawns a huge duet and a former backing singer becomes a solo star.


Back to: Aug 23, 1992 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 6, 1992


Saturday, 26 August 2017

This Week In 1984: August 26, 1984

I used to get quite disappointed when songs I really liked didn't go higher on the chart. And then I reached a certain point where I kind of liked the fact that I was into music not everyone else had discovered.

A big hit by The Pointer Sisters... but it could've been even bigger

But back in 1984, I would almost take it personally when what I saw as a good song failed to live up to my expectations. This week in 1984, every new entry on the ARIA chart ended up disappointing me - in terms of their ultimate peak positions, that is.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 26, 1984

A song that couldn't have gone any higher ascended to number 1 this week in 1984. "When Doves Cry" by Prince interrupted Wham!'s run at the top... but not for long.


Off The Chart
Number 97 "Maybe Only I Dream" by Eurogliders
Peak: number 56
What a shock this was. Yes, This Island had already spent a considerable amount of time in the upper reaches of the albums chart, but this energetic follow-up to "Heaven (Must Be There)" should really have been much bigger.


New Entries
Number 48 "You Take Me Up" by Thompson Twins
Peak: number 47
In the UK, "You Take Me Up" outdid both "Hold Me Now" and "Doctor! Doctor!" to peak at number 2 and become Thompson Twins' highest-charting single ever, but in Australia, the trio could only take themselves up one more spot from this entry position. Unlike those earlier two singles, "You Take Me Up" brought a new element to Thompson Twins' synthpop sound: the African-American work song, which fitted in neatly with the lyrics about "working in factories and sweatshops... the modern forms of slavery", according to singer and co-writer Tom Bailey. While I don't think the song deserved to peak above than the band's previous two singles, it should've reached a good 20 or 30 places higher.




Number 36 "Power" by Sharon O'Neill
Peak: number 36
The theme tune she'd written for TV series Sweet And Sour jumped into the top 20 this week, but this song written and performed by Sharon O'Neill proceeded no further despite being a) a brand new release and b) really quite good. "Power" would end up as Sharon's final release for CBS Records, with whom she became entangled in a lengthy legal dispute over the next couple of years. By the time she returned with a new record deal and album in late 1987, the momentum she'd gained at the start of the decade was lost and she only achieved one more top 40 hit with "Physical Favours" (another song that should've done better than it did).




Number 34 "You're The Best Thing / The Big Boss Groove" by The Style Council
Peak: number 17
Paul Weller established his post-The Jam project on the chart in 1983 with two easy, breezy top 30 hits, "Speak Like A Child" and "Long Hot Summer". And although Australia didn't take to the excellent (and deserved to do better) "My Ever Changing Moods", we made up for it by getting behind The Style Council's most exquisite sophisti-pop creation, "You're The Best Thing". Released as Groovin', a double A-side release comprising "You're The..." and the funkier "The Big Boss Groove", the record could've done with even more support, but a top 10 hit wasn't far away...




Number 31 "Jump (For My Love)" by The Pointer Sisters
Peak: number 8
Speaking of reaching the top 10, you might think this single by The Pointer Sisters did pretty well to achieve that, especially given it flopped earlier in the year when it was initially released. But, really, "Jump (For My Love)" should've been a number 1 hit. My second favourite single from 1984 - and one of my 20 favourite songs of all time - the dance-pop anthem never fails to give me a lift. 
My favourite bit is around the three-minute mark when it segues from the "Xanadu"-ish middle eight into the key change - one of pop's best ever moments. Somewhat surprisingly (or not, since key changes have become a bit passé), that modulation was omitted from the Girls Aloud remake in 2003. "Jump...", which had the "(For My Love)" bit added to the title to avoid confusion with Van Halen's "Jump" was also a top 10 hit in the UK and the US, where its use of footage of athletes doing as they were instructed was a nice tie-in to that year's Los Angeles Olympics.




Next week: a single that didn't do as well as you'd think given it's one of the most popular songs by a beloved Australian rock band. Plus, a track named after a movie that didn't end up getting used in the film.


Back to: Aug 19, 1984 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 2, 1984


Wednesday, 23 August 2017

25 Years Ago This Week: August 23, 1992

In 1988 and most of 1989, Bobby Brown struggled to convince Australian audiences to join the new jack swing party that was sweeping the US and Europe. What a difference a few years make.

Bobby Brown wasn't messing around with his 1992 comeback single

This week in 1992, the R&B star shot straight into the ARIA top 10 with the lead single from third album Bobby, which quickly eclipsed even his previous biggest hit and went all the way to number 1. 

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 23, 1992

The song Bobby would eventually dethrone (and spend three weeks behind at number 2) was settling into its stay at number 1. This week in 1992, "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)" was on top for a second week.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "World Around" by Levitation
Peak: number 95
I haven't come across this British indie band before - the fact they never had a UK hit probably explains that. This was their first single for Rough Trade Records.

Number 98 "Something's Gotta Give" by Gyan
Peak: number 80
She'd made a big impression with her debut single, but Gyan Evans hadn't been able to live up to "Wait" - a problem that continued with this lead release from second album Reddest Red.

Number 95 "Down On The Farm" by James Blundell
Peak: number 95
Song titles don't get much more country than this, do they? The latest single from This Road didn't fare anywhere near as well as the previous two.

Number 92 "You're The One For Me, Fatty" by Morrissey
Peak: number 85
Meanwhile, a title like this could only belong to a Morrissey song. This was his second single in a row to make the top 100 - a rare run of continued (minor) success for him. 

Number 89 "Runaway Train" by Elton John / Eric Clapton
Peak: number 53
The first of three songs that would've become breakers if that section still existed. This second single from Elton John's The One album was also included on the Lethal Weapon 3 soundtrack - Eric's second song from the movie. 

Number 83 "One More Time" by Diesel
Peak: number 59
"One More TIme" proved one more single too many. This latest track from Hepfidelity became Diesel's first solo release to miss not only the top 50 but the top 20.

Number 76 "Jesus He Knows Me" by Genesis
Peak: number 56
Finally! This was the first Genesis single I liked since the Invisible Touch era - a pointed poke at all those money grubbing TV evangelists who'd been involved in recent scandals.


New Entries
Number 49 "All I Want Is You" by Bryan Adams
Peak: number 31
Diesel might not have been able to rack up a fifth hit from his number 1 album, but it seemed Australia's appetite for Bryan Adams singles was unabated as "All I Want Is You" became the fifth song from Waking Up The Neighbours to reach the top 40. Not issued as a single in North America, "All I Want Is You" was easily the most forgettable of the songs released so far and I have to wonder what would've happened if Australia had followed suit and skipped ahead to "Do I Have To Say The Words?" instead.




Number 40 "Baby Don't Cry" by INXS
Peak: number 30
Not even a 60-piece orchestra could help INXS's latest single from Welcome To Wherever You Are, with "Baby Don't Cry" becoming the first of a string of songs by the once chart-conquering band to peak in the 30s. Of course, the album was spending its second week at number 2 this week, but as I mentioned when "Heaven Sent" charted, Welcome To... would fall out of the albums top 50 in a matter of weeks. Yep, looks like INXS would have to make do with much smaller sales than they were used to.




Number 38 "I Don't Care As Long As We Beat NZ" by Andrew Denton And The Cast Of Live And Sweaty
Peak: number 38
Just when you thought we'd seen all the Olympics-related songs to reach the top 50, this comedy record by the team from ABC sports panel show Live And Sweaty had a brief run on the chart. As the title indicates, the track played up the rivalry between Australia and New Zealand, but in the end, the competition wasn't that close, with the Aussie Olympics team finishing 10th on the medal table to NZ's 28th.




Number 31 "It's Not Over" by Rockmelons featuring Deni Hines
Peak: number 15
The dream team of Rockmelons and Deni Hines continued their hit streak with this third collaboration giving them another top 20 hit. A glossy quiet storm-style ballad, "It's Not Over" is the type of song Australia had generally turned its nose up at in the late '80s and early '90s, but thanks to the success of "Ain't No Sunshine" and "That Word (L.O.V.E.)", it did just fine. Seems the combination of the pop/funk band and the soon-to-be solo star would not be bettered, with Rockmelons never returning to the top 40 after this again.




Number 29 "Do For You" by Euphoria
Peak: number 7
Here's another Australian pop act that was on an impressive run. After two chart-topping singles, dance group Euphoria reached the top 10 for the third time with "Do For You" - although they didn't get there for another two months, finally peaking at number 7 the week before debut album Total Euphoria arrived on the chart in late October. Lead vocals on this even less club-oriented track were handled by group founder Andrew Klippel, with the music video very careful to differentiate between which backing and incidental vocals Keren Minshull and Holly Garnett each handled. Lesson learnt, then.




Number 10 "Humpin' Around" by Bobby Brown
Peak: number 1
It's a sign of how dramatically music tastes had changed in Australia in the previous couple of years that this first taste of Bobby Brown's third album, Bobby, would race into the ARIA top 10 when it had taken him several singles and the slow-climbing "Every Little Step" to reach that high in late 1989. But rap and R&B hits were commonplace now, and since Bobby was one of the more established artists of the genres, his first new music in four years was eagerly snapped up. 
Of course, matters weren't hurt by the fact that he returned with a song called "Humpin' Around". Once again co-written and co-produced by LA Reid and Babyface (and associates), the track was, despite its promiscuous sounding title, a plea to a girlfriend for trust: "Ain't nobody humpin' around". All in all, a sentiment that was pretty appropriate for the newly wed singer, who'd married Whitney Houston in July and recorded a duet with her for Bobby




Next week: 1992's highest-selling single debuts - and it's worse than the Olympics duet! Plus, a children's TV favourite gets the rave treatment.


Back to: Aug 16, 1992 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 30, 1992


Saturday, 19 August 2017

This Week In 1984: August 19, 1984

You wouldn't get away with it today. If a new band wanted to call themselves The Avengers or Justice League, I'm sure lawyers would descend faster than The Flash with injunctions at the ready.

The Australian music scene just wouldn't have been the same without the X-Men

But this week in 1984, comic book heroes weren't as hot property as they are today and an Australian band named after a band of Marvel mutants not only got to continue using the moniker, but became one of the most popular acts in the country.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 19, 1984

The most popular song in the country this week in 1984 was still "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, which spent its fifth week on top. But Prince had already claimed the number 1 spot in two states - could he make it to the top nationally?


Off The Chart
Number 97 "5:01 (The Pros And Cons Of Hitchhiking)" by Roger Waters
Peak: number 74
A track from his second concept album would make the top 50 in 1987, but not the Pink Floyd member's debut solo single, which was taken from an album about a road trip.


New Entries
Number 48 Beach Party by Uncanny X-Men
Peak: number 32
For the past few years, Uncanny X-Men had been making a name for themselves on the pub rock circuit and frontman Brian Mannix had been making a name for himself as one of the music scene's biggest larrikins. But major success had eluded them up until this point, with their debut EP, 'Salive One, peaking at number 40 on the albums chart and two subsequent singles, "How Do You Get Your Kicks?" and "Time Goes So Fast" missing the top 50. 
Their breakthrough came with second EP Beach Party and its lead track "Everybody Wants To Work", which couldn't have summed up Brian's devil-may-care personality any better. A smaller hit than I remember it being, the record coincided with a much higher profile for the band - one that would only grow in 1985 as the band truly took off, adding a top 5 single and album to their (not legally challenged) name.




Number 47 "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" by Nik Kershaw
Peak: number 17
It'd been his debut single in 1983, when it missed the UK top 40 and, if it came out in Australia, didn't chart here at all. But with the success of "Wouldn't It Be Good" under his belt, "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" was given a second shot. In Britain, it reached number 2 and would end up as his highest charting single. Locally, the deceptively bouncy but actually quite political tune - it's about nuclear war - gave Nik a second top 20 hit. Two other singles were lifted from debut album Human Racing ("Dancing Girls" and the title track), but neither made any impact in Australia, and we'd next see Nik on the top 50 with the lead release from his second album.




Number 46 "Gymnasium" by Stephen Cummings
Peak: number 27
Things were looking up for former The Sports vocalist Stephen Cummings, who'd landed his first top 40 hit at the start of the year and now ventured into the top 30 with this single from his newly released debut album, Senso. A song that could only have come out in 1984, "Gymnasium" sounded like a cross between Thomas Dolby and all those breakdancing hits that came out that year - and came with a really catchy chorus. It was also accompanied by a racy, gratuitous nudity-filled music video, although the clip below seems to be for the 12" mix, so I'm not sure if the single edit came with a clean version. "Gymnasium" would wind up as Stephen's best performing single in Australia - in fact, he would only return to the top 50 once more in early 1991.




Number 41 "Revolution" by The Radiators
Peak: number 41
Released between their Scream Of The Real and Life's A Gamble albums, this cover of The Beatles' number 1 single (as a double A-side with "Hey Jude") from 1968 almost put The Radiators back in the top 40 for a third time. Unfortunately for the heavily gigging band, things only got worse from here, with all their subsequent singles peaking lower down the chart. 




Number 34 "Don't Believe Anymore" by Icehouse
Peak: number 31
The first single from Sidewalk had been the energetic but commercially disappointing "Taking The Town", so it made sense for Icehouse to try a song that was stylistically completely different as the album's second release. Brooding and dramatic, "Don't Believe Anymore" was yet another solid single from the band, but for whatever reason, Australia was only moderately interested and the song peaked two places lower than its predecessor. Almost two decades later, The Whitlams would release a remake of the song as the third single from their 2002 album, Torch The Moon, but it would also under-perform on the ARIA chart, reaching number 47.




Next week: a song that flopped earlier in the year takes a big jump into the top 50 second time around, while the writer of another bulleting single doesn't fare as well with her own release. Plus, the latest hit by another band who'd release their version of "Revolution" in 1985. 


Back to: Aug 12, 1984 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 26, 1984


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

25 Years Ago This Week: August 16, 1992

As we've seen over the past few years, Australia was slow to embrace hip-hop - and when we did so, it was often only the highly commercial, occasionally novelty varieties of rap that scored highly on the ARIA chart. A band that helped open things up made their debut this week in 1992 with a song inspired by serious events.

Arrested Development gave rap music a new dimension

Meanwhile, the ARIA top 50 printout received another facelift this week in 1992, only five months after its most recent revamp had been rolled out nationally. Gone were the changing colours and landscape orientation, replaced by a red and black template (and lots of Coca-Cola mentions) that would remain until mid-1998. Sadly, the redesign meant the Breakers were no more - a section I had enjoyed seeing since it had been instituted in 1986.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 16, 1992

A new-look chart deserved a new number 1 - and it got one with "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)" vaulting up from number 7 for the first of six weeks on top.


Off The Chart
Number 60 "Step In, Step Out" by Weddings Parties Anything
Peak: number 60
With vocals shared by Mick Thomas and Jen Anderson, this second single from Difficult Loves didn't live up to the success of "Father's Day" and it'd take another year for the band to return to the top 50.


Single Of The Week
"My House" by Melissa
Peak: number 119
Her first three singles had all reached the top 20, but Melissa missed the mark in spectacular style with this fourth song, which was the only one that came out following the release of her debut album, Fresh. The fact that "My House" was already available coupled with it not being a very good song pretty much meant the single was doomed - something that was borne out by its peak outside the top 100.




New Entries
Number 50 "Live And Learn" by Joe Public
Peak: number 45
Most of the new jack swing tracks that'd so far made their presence felt on the ARIA chart had either come from male solo stars (like Bobby Brown and Michael Jackson) or male vocal harmony groups (like Color Me Badd and Boyz II Men), but this US top 5 hit was performed, co-written and co-produced by the members of four-piece band Joe Public. Packed with the amount of samples we'd come to expect from any modern R&B song worth its salt, "Live And Learn" was the only hit - here or in America - for the group.




Number 48 "It's Probably Me" by Sting with Eric Clapton
Peak: number 23
Sting's solo career, while not at Police levels of success, had started out pretty well, with one top 20 single each year between 1985 and 1987. Since then, his only hit had been 1991's "All This Time", which reached number 26. The only other times he's visited the top 40 (to date) have been with songs taken from movie soundtracks - the first one being this collaboration for Lethal Weapon 3. Although Eric Clapton is also a named artist on the track, the cruisy "It's Probably Me" involved input from saxophonist David Sanborn and Michael Kamen, who composed the score for the original Lethal Weapon, which is incorporated into the song. Sting's second movie hit would be another collaboration - and would take him back to the top of the chart in 1993.




Number 46 "Tennessee" by Arrested Development
Peak: number 14
Although hip-hop was well established on the Australian chart by this point, it's still pretty remarkable a serious track like "Tennessee" did as well as it did locally. Yes, it has a strong chorus hook, but when you think about the types of hip-hop tunes that'd been really successful over the previous couple of years - "U Can't Touch This", "Now That We Found Love", "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)", "Sucker DJ", "Wiggle It", "Ice Ice Baby", etc. - they were generally much more poppy and/or gimmicky. 
Inspired by two deaths in frontman Speech's family, "Tennessee" was intensely personal and had a less polished, rawer feel to it. Assisting Speech (real name: Thomas Todd) on vocals were band member Aerle Taree (the horseshoes bit) and guest vocalist Dionne Farris (the part at the end). The song also included a snippet of Prince singing the word "Tennessee" in "Alphabet St" - a sample that wasn't cleared and would end up costing $100,000 after the fact.




Number 43 "Boy In The Moon" by Margaret Urlich
Peak: number 21
In 1991, Margaret Urlich had appeared on two back-to-back number 1 singles in Australia - but neither of them were her songs. The New Zealand-born, locally based singer had provided backing vocals for both "The Horses" by Daryl Braithwaite and Ratcat's "Don't Go Now". If only her own material was as successful. This pretty lead single from second album Chameleon Dreams became her latest release to land around the number 20 mark. "Boy In The Moon" was written and produced by the team behind "Escaping" and much of her debut album, however Margaret did branch out on Chameleon Dreams, working overseas with the likes of Rob Fisher (of Climie Fisher), Tony Swain (of Jolley & Swain) and Ian Prince (who'd worked on recent albums by Glenn Medeiros and Sheena Easton).




Next week: the return of the king of new jack swing, plus the latest singles from two Australian pop acts who were on a hit streak.


Back to: Aug 9, 1992 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 23, 1992


Saturday, 12 August 2017

This Week In 1984: August 12, 1984

It's funny how many career-defining moments almost never happen. This week in 1984, a single debuted that would completely revitalise a female artist's career, but the song had been offered to a number of different artists previously. If any of them had decided to record it, things would have played out very differently.

Tina Turner's look in "What's Love Got To Do With It" was as iconic as the song itself

Of course, the singer did release it and it not only solidified her musical comeback but it went all the way to number 1 in Australia. Not bad for a song she wasn't that fond of.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 12, 1984

The number 1 song in the country this week in 1984 was still "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, which held off Prince's "When Doves Cry" for a second week and spent its fourth week overall on top.


Off The Chart
Number 99 "If You Ever Feel The Need" by Colleen Hewett
Peak: number 72
A final top 100 appearance for the Australian singer/actress who'd previously come close to topping the chart twice. A stand-alone single, I wonder if it had been intended as the lead release from an album to follow-up 1983's Colleen that never eventuated?

Number 96 "You Can't Get What You Want (Till You Know What You Want)" by Joe Jackson
Peak: number 96
The first single from Body & Soul just made the top 50, this second one was lucky to creep into the top 100 despite being one of Joe Jackson's best songs (and a US number 15 smash).

Number 94 "Almost Paradise" by Mike Reno / Ann Wilson
Peak: number 52
Three singles from Footloose had reached the top 50 and the movie's "love theme", which was co-written by Eric Carmen, became the third to miss the mark. Vocals on the big ballad were handled by the singers of Loverboy and Heart (respectively).

Number 83 "Tour De France" by Kraftwerk
Peak: number 60
This synth track by the German electronic legends was actually remixed and re-released around this time after featuring in Breakin', but this Australian single seems to have included the original 1983 mixes.


New Entries
Number 47 "If Ever You're In My Arms Again" by Peabo Bryson
Peak: number 20
In the '90s, he performed on two big hits that provided Disney characters with sweet romantic moments, but in the '80s, his two ARIA chart appearances came with songs that daytime soap characters made passionate love to. Following 1983's "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" (which featured in Days Of Our Lives), Peabo Bryson returned with his only solo top 50 hit, which was used in Santa Barbara as the theme for characters Joe and Kelly (who was played by Robin Wright). 
The stirring ballad - the key change soars! - was composed by three songwriting legends: Michael Masser (who'd also co-written "Tonight, I Celebrate..."), Tom Snow ("You Should Hear How She Talks About You", "Let's Hear It For The Boy") and Cynthia Weil ("Running With The Night", "Don't Know Much"). With talent like that behind it, no wonder it was big - as well as its top 20 peak locally, it gave Peabo his first US top 10 hit. 




Number 45 "What's Love Got To Do With It" by Tina Turner
Peak: number 1
Tina Turner's comeback had been going so-so up until this point. Her remake of "Let's Stay Together" had been a decent-sized hit, although the follow-up - her version of The Beatles' "Help!" - didn't do too well (if it was released in Australia at all). But then came "What's Love Got To Go With It", along with the album Private Dancer. Both would turn out to be massively successful.
The single, written by Terry Britten and Graham Lyle, had been offered to everyone from Cliff Richard to Donna Summer to Bucks Fizz (who did record it but shelved it when Tina's version was a hit). When it finally found its way to Tina, she wasn't overly thrilled with its message, but trusted her manager Roger Davies's instinct. Good thing she did - the tune that suggested love was "a sweet old-fashioned notion" obviously connected with a lot of people. 
The track went to number 1 in Australia and the US, and won Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year at the 1985 Grammys (along with Best Female Pop Performance). The video, which showed Tina strutting around New York in that iconic denim and leather outfit (and big, big hair), also won the MTV VMA for Best Female Video. As well as all its accolades, the success of "What's Love Got To Do With It" well and truly meant Tina's career was back on track - with many years of hits to come. 




Next week: the arrival of an Australian band that loved to party, plus a single by one local group that was later covered by another and yet another homegrown band remakes a tune originally released by the world's most successful group ever.


Back to: Aug 5, 1984 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 19, 1984


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

25 Years Ago This Week: August 9, 1992

In the five-plus years I've looked back at the ARIA charts of the 1980s and '90s, I've written about all sorts of songs. Often in the same week, there'll be singles from different ends of the musical spectrum to talk about. But I don't think any songs were as polar opposite as the two highest entries on the top 50 from this week in 1992. On the one hand, we had this...


And on the other, this...


Both were huge hits, but only one of the two would go all the way to number 1.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 9, 1992

At the top of the singles chart this week in 1992, Richard Marx spent a third week at number 1 with "Hazard", but his days were numbered thanks to this week's high-flying debut.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "If You Asked Me To" by Celine Dion
Peak: number 52
"Beauty And The Beast" was still in the top 20, but Celine found herself just outside the top 50 once again with her latest solo single. This one was written by big ballad queen Diane Warren.

Number 93 "We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions" by Queen
Peak: number 81
Back in 1977, the combined might of this double A-side single was enough to send it to number 8. In 1992, this latest re-release wasn't as well received as "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Number 91 "She's A Dish" by Hard-ons
Peak: number 64
The consistently unlucky Australian rock band peaked short of the top 50 for a third and final time with this track that appeared on EP Dateless Dudes Club

Number 87 "Missing You Now" by Michael Bolton featuring Kenny G
Peak: number 61
It was a battle of the mullets in this single from Time, Love & Tenderness, which charted 15 months after lead release "Love Is A Wonderful Thing". And yes, that's Teri Hatcher in the video.


Single Of The Week
"Haven't Got A Clue" by Dramarama
Someone was very keen on making a success out Dramarama in 1992, with the American band featured as Single Of The Week for the second time in two months, but unlike "What Are We Gonna Do?", "Haven't Got A Clue" didn't manage to crack the top 100 at all - and I have a feeling this was its second time being released. 




New Entries
Number 48 "Barcelona" by Freddie Mercury / Montserrat Caballé
Peak: number 42
The latest Queen re-release might've tanked, but it wasn't the only old song featuring the late Freddie Mercury on the top 100 this week in 1992. This 1987 duet with opera singer Montserrat Caballé was re-released to coincide with the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The song named after the host city had actually been written with the Olympics in mind and was performed by Montserrat (with a backing track that featured Freddie's vocals) at the opening ceremony. The pop star and the opera soprano actually recorded an entire album together, also titled Barcelona, which would be Freddie's final solo work before passing away in 1991.




Number 45 "Tear Me Apart" by The Angels
Peak: number 33
It normally goes the other way, but each of The Angels' three singles from Red Back Fever peaked 10 places higher, with "Tear Me Apart" improving on the number 43 position achieved by "Once Bitten Twice Shy" (which in turn had out-performed the number 53 non-hit "Some Of That Love"). Also worth noting (and giving me cause to breathe a sigh of relief after having been forced to recap so many songs by the band these past five years) is that "Tear Me Apart" was The Angels' last ever top 50 appearance.




Number 40 "How Do You Do!" by Roxette
Peak: number 13
Roxette's imperial phase had well and truly ended when the final single from Joyride, "Church Of Your Heart", failed to make the top 50. But the Swedish duo bounced back with yet another top 20 hit - their 10th - with this lead single from Tourism. Or, to give the band's fourth kind-of studio album its full title, Tourism: Songs From Studios, Stages, Hotelrooms & Other Strange Places. Yes, the band were clearly in demand all around the world and cobbled together an album as best they could while on the fly, but in between its confusing concept and the songs not being quite up to standard, perhaps it would've been a better idea to hold off and not rush something out. To be fair, "How Do You Do!" is not so bad - it's got that catchiness Roxette were known for - but it's not one of my favourites of theirs. And nothing else from Tourism ventured in to the top 50.




Number 29 "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot
Peak: number 8
"I like big butts and I cannot lie." With those words, Sir Mix-A-Lot provided a voice for people who like a bit of junk in the trunk and aren't turned on by the types of stick-thin, bottom-less women normally seen in magazines, on TV and in films. The rapper (real name: Anthony Ray) wrote "Baby Got Back" due to that under-representation of fuller-figured women and helped bring some diversity to the types of body shapes seen in popular culture. 
And, because it was a catchy rap track about huge butts, it was (rather appropriately) massive, reaching number 1 in the US and the ARIA top 10. Although it was Sir Mix-A-Lot's only hit single, "Baby Got Back" has never really gone away, continually referenced and sampled since 1992, most recently by Nicki Minaj on her 2014 single "Anaconda", which also reached number 8.




Number 7 "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)" by José Carreras / Sarah Brightman
Peak: number 1
From a raunchy rap song we move now to a sentimental fusion of pop and opera with the official theme for the 1992 Olympic Games. Performed at the closing ceremony on August 9, "Amigos Para Siempre (Friends For Life)" teamed British musical theatre star Sarah Brightman with Spanish tenor José Carreras on a song co-written by Sarah's ex-husband Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Encapsulating the kind of positivity and cross-cultural mateship the Olympics encourage, the track was the kind of thing people who don't usually buy music would rush out and purchase, since it was as much about being part of a moment in history as it was about the song itself (see also: Elton John's "Candle In The Wind '97"). Naturally, I couldn't stand it. Although it spent six seemingly endless weeks at number 1, the single disappeared after its run at the top almost as quickly as it arrived, ultimately only staying inside the top 50 for 13 weeks. The song, however, would be back before the end of the year...




Next week: the ARIA chart gets yet another makeover, plus the debut of a hip-hop group that had an amazing successful start to their career.


Back to: Aug 2, 1992 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 16, 1992