Wednesday, 12 February 2014

This Week In 1989: February 12, 1989

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.

One thing I failed to mention a couple of weeks ago when it was the anniversary of Coca-Cola taking over the ARIA chart was that as well as the colour becoming permanently red, the size of the chart also increased to A4.

Neneh Cherry: looking good in every way

Gone were the days when you could slip a chart between the pages of Smash Hits and rest assured you'd get the thing home in one piece. I remember instructing my mother (who picked the chart up for in weeks I couldn't get to a record store) not to fold the chart in half but to keep it flat. What a pain in the arse I was!

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending February 12, 1989

Speaking of pains in the arse... Australia still wasn't sick of The Beach Boys' "Kokomo" with the Cocktail soundtrack hit spending a seventh and final week at number 1. Yep, the end was in sight - although I'd soon long for the days when "Kokomo" was on top of the chart given what number 1 hit came next.

Off The Chart
Number 90 "Don't Look Back" by Charlie Sexton
Peak: number 82
Three years after "Beat's So Lonely" reached the top 20, then-20-year-old Charlie Sextion was back with his self-titled second album, which didn't meet with the same warm reception.

Number 85 "Working On It" by Chris Rea
Peak: number 85
This was one of two new songs included on the New Light Through Old Windows album, which consisted mostly of reworkings of previous tracks performed earlier in Chris Rea's career.

"Anchorage" by Michelle Shocked
Peak: number 51
Just missing the top 50 is this debut single from the folk singer born Karen Johnston (Michelle is her middle name). The track's lyrics mostly take the form of a letter written to Michelle by a friend who'd moved to the Alaskan capital which gives the song its the title. Never as successful as her contemporaries Tracy Chapman, Melissa Etheridge and Indigo Girls, Michelle's non-musical activities and sometimes questionable politics have often received more coverage than what she's released. She also seems to be one of those performers who shuns YouTube, but there is a link to the video in the song title above.

New Entries
Number 50 "Armageddon It" by Def Leppard
Peak: number 34
The Hysteria campaign was finally off and running in Australia thanks to the number 21 peak of "Love Bites" (which was still bouncing around the top 30 this week). However, as the chart position of this follow-up shows, the British rockers weren't enjoying anywhere near the type of success they were having in the US. There, "Armageddon It" was the fourth consecutive top 10 smash from the multi-platinum album.
Meanwhile, after months of yo-yoing between numbers 30 and 50 on the Australian albums chart, Hysteria finally moved back up into the top 30 this week on its agonisingly slow way to the number 1 position - a spot it wouldn't reach until July.

Number 49 "Let's Put The X In Sex" by KISS
Peak: number 49
More '80s hard rock, this time from a band who committed one of music's biggest sins on their 1988 greatest hits album, Smashes, Thrashes & Hits - they re-recorded and/or remixed many of their previous singles. Not that I was rushing out to buy a best of by KISS, but it annoys me when artists fiddle around with their musical legacy for whatever reason. Just compile the singles (7" versions, please) and be done with it.
"Let's Put The X In Sex" was one of two new tracks on the album - and even though it was co-written with Desmond Child, who'd been involved with KISS anthem "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and, more recently, several of Bon Jovi's biggest hits, the song had a disappointing (for the band) reception.

Number 48 "Buffalo Stance" by Neneh Cherry
Peak: number 21
Stuck in the middle of a bunch of old men, 23-year-old Neneh Cherry was one of the brightest stars to come out of the UK in 1988 (as always, Australia was a little behind the eight ball). Originally from Sweden, Neneh had spent time in both New York and London before landing a record deal - and it shows on this ground-breaking track, which gave US hip-hop a very British twist.
The infinitely quotable song started out as "Looking Good Diving With The Wild Bunch", the B-side to little-known Stock Aitken Waterman-produced track "Looking Good Diving", which I've talked about previously here. Remodelled into "Buffalo Stance", the song was a big hit around the world, but despite there being many more great singles on her Raw Like Sushi album, Neneh wouldn't return to the ARIA top 50 for another five years.

Number 45 "Missing You" by Chris De Burgh
Peak: number 45
I recently compiled a list of bona fide '80s one-hit wonders and thought this guy might have qualified as a two-hit wonder thanks to big singles "Don't Pay The Ferryman" and "The Lady In Red", but here he is with the song that gave him a third top 50 hit in Australia. The lead single from his Flying Colours album, it was another syrupy ballad that cracked the UK top 5 but didn't have anywhere near as much success locally.

Number 41 "Early In The Morning" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 26
For the third single from his Heavy Nova album, Robert repeated a trick he'd employed on his previous album - he remade an old funk/R&B classic. In 1986, he'd covered Cherrelle's "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" and this time he turned his attention to the back catalogue of The Gap Band (who'd also been responsible for the original of "Oops Up!", later tackled by Snap!). Robert's version is not that different from The Gap Band's, which is worth checking out, too.

Number 38 "Real Gone Kid" by Deacon Blue
Peak: number 18
This Scottish band really hit their stride on their second album, When The World Knows Your Name, with this lead single giving them their biggest hit to date in the UK and their first top 50 entry in Australia. For me, I much preferred their previous single "Dignity" and another single from WTWKYN"Fergus Sings The Blues". "Real Gone Kid" was written about singer Maria McKee, who at this stage was between her Lone Justice and "Show Me Heaven" days.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:

Next week: a bumper crop of new entries - eight in total, and it wasn't all middle-aged men and old '70s groups, either. I liked seven of the songs - one of which was a future number 1 from a fine, young British group.

Back to: Feb 5, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 19, 1989


  1. I too used to ask my mum not to fold the chart when she collected it for me during her lunch break, ha ha. I think she used to sometimes roll it into a cylinder and fasten it with a rubber band, which although I wasn't thrilled about, was OK as I could flatten it out.

    It was even worse when the ARIA chart became foolscap sized. I used to chop the bottom off to fit them in my charts folder... though eventually I'd collect 2 copies, to keep a separate, un-tampered with copy.

    As a Neneh Cherry fan, I remember the frustration of all of her releases missing the top 50 (and later, top 60) during that 5+ year period. I was waiting for weeks on end for 'Manchild' to dent the top 50, so that I could grab a recording of the full video (compared to the butchered-by-Video Hits version I had). Alas, it never happened. Then when Rage aired the top 60 and I later discovered that 'I've Got You Under My Skin' peaked at #61, I felt jinxed. I never dreamed that '7 Seconds' would be the one to give her another hit.

    I didn't think I knew the Chris De Burgh song, but it turns out the chorus is vaguely familiar, so I must have heard it on radio at the time (I wasn't yet watching the full Rage top 50, so missed it there).

    I didn't know those Robert Palmer songs were covers!

  2. One other thing - I sometimes found it puzzling when ARIA would annotate one single with a bullet, but not another single that had climbed the same number of places in a similar region of the chart.

    On the chart you've posted, 'Last Frontier' is granted a bullet for climbing from 44 to 35 (9 places), but 'Fine Time' isn't, despite also climbing 9 places (46 to 37).

    One other notable difference I remember is Bon Jovi's 'Lay Your Hands On Me' jumping from 55 (this non top 50 ARIA position from 1989 was announced on Countdown Revolution when it was a chart-breaker) to 40 and receiving a bullet (climbing 15 places); whilst Tasmin Archer's 'Sleeping Satellite' (some years later) wasn't granted one when climbing from 60 to 43 (17 places).

    I think I remember reading somewhere that ARIA don't grant bullets to singles outside the top 70, and obviously more positions need to be jumped to receive a bullet in the lower regions of the chart than in the upper regions.

    Perhaps bullets are based on sales, rather than chart positions; but even so, you would think 44-35 and 46-37 had similar sales increases.

    1. The bullet thing is a bit weird. Maybe they had a max. number of bullets per week? Only thing I can think of.

  3. It seems that Nathan Cavalieri (sp?) covered the Chris Rea track for a single in '94. I only know of his version (which did chart) as it appears on Hit Machine 7.