Tuesday, 27 January 2015

This Week In 1985: January 27, 1985

One of the things that annoys me most about retro music television programming is that the same old hits get wheeled out over and over - usually the biggest single by any given act - and the rest of an artist's back catalogue is ignored. Do I really need to see "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" or "True" again when they could play "Everything She Wants" or "Communication"?

I'm Talking had as many top 10 hits as Kate Ceberano managed as a solo artist

I'm not just randomly venting. The reason I'm bringing this up is that the new entries on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1985 were all from acts that had bigger and/or better known hits - and as a result, many of this week's songs have faded into obscurity since they're rarely played anymore. In most of the cases, that's not a good thing.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending January 27, 1985

A song that has become anything but obscure over the past three decades was still at number 1 this week in 1985 - Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" held on to the top spot for a second week.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing)" by Romeo Void
Peak: number 74
Not long after this single gave them their first US top 40 hit, American new wave band Romeo Void split up. How's that for gratitude?

Number 96 "Closest Thing To Heaven" by Kane Gang
Peak: number 57
A nice example of the excellently named genre sophisti-pop, this single was Kane Gang's first hit in the UK. They'd have to wait until later in 1985 to achieve one in Australia.

Number 85 "Catch My Fall" by Billy Idol
Peak: number 61
There's a reason this fourth single from Rebel Yell has become all but forgotten in the past 30 years - it's a bit boring, really.

New Entries
Number 50 "Gimme Some Loving" by GANGgajang
Peak: number 46
Here's the debut single by a band that'd go on to release one of the best known Australiana rock songs of all time ("Sounds Of Then") before the end of the year. Formed by four musicians who'd worked on TV series Sweet And Sour, the members of GANGgajang had also all played for a bunch of different bands over the years - with Chris Bailey (not the guy from The Saints) and Graham "Buzz" Bidstrup both formerly of The Angels. "Gimme Some Loving" is an OK song - but a number 46 placement is about right.

Number 47 "Dancing On The Jetty" by INXS
Peak: number 39
Given The Swing had already spent 43 weeks on the top 50 albums chart - five of those at number 1 - getting a big hit from the LP's fourth single was always going to be a tall order. And so, after three consecutive top 3 hits ("Original Sin", "I Send A Message" and "Burn For You"), "Dancing On The Jetty" became INXS's worst performing single since 1982's "Night Of Rebellion" and least successful top 50 effort to date. None of that means it's not a good song - in fact, I quite like it - but it's probably not among the first dozen songs by the band most people would think of.

Number 42 "Trust Me" by I'm Talking
Peak: number 10
1985 was a big year for Kate Ceberano, but ask most people to hum this breakthrough single by her band I'm Talking and they'd probably struggle. The first of three top 10 hits by the funk group, "Trust Me" (and the rest of I'm Talking's material) hasn't had the longevity of Kate's later solo work, which is a shame since it was rare for an Australian band to produce funk music this good - let alone for it to chart so well. But even at the time, the song was a bit overshadowed by the two much bigger hits Kate and fellow I'm Talking singer Zan performed guest vocals on in 1985 - Models' "Barbados" and "Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight".

Number 38 "The Belle Of St. Mark" by Sheila E
Peak: number 16
"The Glamorous Life"? You still hear that every now and again. This follow-up isn't so lucky, despite being almost as big a hit in Australia. Once again written and co-produced by Prince, "The Belle Of St. Mark" was actually the third collaboration between the pair to feature's Sheila's vocals - she'd performed on his classic B-side "Erotic City" (the flip side to "Let's Go Crazy") in 1984. I'm sure even that gets more attention today than this excellent track.

Number 31 "The Riddle" by Nik Kershaw
Peak: number 6
It might have peaked one place lower than his biggest hit, "Wouldn't It Be Good" (and done the same in the UK, where his biggest hit was "I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me"), but "The Riddle" will always be my favourite single by Nik Kershaw - nonsense lyrics and all. The song was the lead single from his second album, also called The Riddle, which came out just eight-and-a-half months after his debut release, Human Racing

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:

Next week: a Canadian rocker and a flamboyant British pop act make their top 50 debuts, while one of my favourite songs by my all-time top girl group is a chart disappointment in Australia. Plus, a future number 1 from a two-hit wonder arrives.

Back to: Jan 20, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 3, 1985


  1. Sounds like you've been watching retro month on rage with your gripe about common clips being continually re-aired, ha ha. Well, they do make up for it sometimes with some truly rare videos on Vault specials, and occasionally a guest programmer picks something more obscure.

    Don't think I'd heard the Romeo Void track before, but knew 'Never Say Never', which Triple J gave a few spins in the late 90's and I initially thought was a new track.

    I didn't know the Kane Gang or GANGgajang tracks either, and only recently heard the Billy Idol track when it aired on rage.

    'Dancing On the Jetty' is one of those tracks I knew when it was out, but never knew what it was called until some time in the 00's. Pity, as it's one of INXS's best singles I think (though I don't find the verses as strong as the chorus), and deserved much better than its #39 peak.

    'Trust Me' is decent, but I prefer I'm Talking's other two top 10 hits.

    I'm pretty sure I've heard 'The Belle of St. Mark' before, but it's one of those songs I just can't absorb/remember, no many how many times I hear it. It's no 'The Glamorous Life'.

    'The Riddle' is a song I knew at the time, but completely forgot about (and had no idea who sang it) until about 2008 when randomly hearing it on the radio one night while driving, and coming home to google the lyrics to find out what it was. I played it over and over. This, 'Wouldn't It Be Good', 'I Won't Let the Sun Go Down On Me', and "Wide Boy' are all top-shelf 80's.

    1. Episodes of Antenna aside, retro month on Rage has been good. Max is the biggest culprit of over-playing the same songs (among that channel's other faults).

    2. I want to update my comment from 2015 to say that I now love 'The Belle of St. Mark'! Though mainly this (live? It's an awfully good live rendition if it is) version that aired on rage in 2016 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyL-rCC5xPk . I think it's even better than 'The Glamorous Life'.

  2. Another strong week featuring some of my favourite songs of the year in The Riddle, Trust Me and The Belle Of St Mark. I also think the INXS, Billy Idol, GANGgajang, Kane Gang and Romeo Void songs deserve to be better remembered.

  3. I first discovered the Romeo Void single when I picked up the record 'The Extended Hits - Summer '85' second hand about 8 years ago. I liked it instantly and only last year I watched the video on YouTube, very 80's. I thought it was definitely a Top 50 hit.

    'The Belle Of St Mark' always got played on 'max' (musicmax) about 5-10 years ago and probably still does when they play an 80's special.