Sunday, 7 August 2016

This Week In 1983: August 7, 1983

There are plenty of differences between the ARIA chart as it existed in 1983 and as it stands now. For one thing, there would've been a lot more artists listed on the top 50 from this week in 1983 if it had followed the current trend for including the names of everyone who features on a song.

Stevie Nicks got a little (uncredited) help on her hit "Stand Back"

As it just so happens, the four new entries from this week in 1983 would be credited quite differently if they were charting today. As we look at each one, we'll see how they would likely be listed on the top 50 today.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending August 7, 1983

At number 1 in Australia this week in 1983 is a song that would probably be attributed to Giorgio Moroder featuring Irene Cara if it came out now. "Flashdance... What A Feeling" held on to the top spot for a fourth week.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Waiting For A Train" by Flash And The Pan
Peak: number 66
The 12" single had charted at number 98 in January and this full release did slightly better, but nowhere near as well as the number 7 peak "Waiting For A Train" achieved in the UK for Harry Vanda and George Young.

Number 98 "Stop In The Name Of Love" by The Hollies
Peak: number 78
They'd scored eight top 10 hits in the '60s and early '70s, but not even a radical reworking of The Supremes' classic could revitalise the career of British pop band The Hollies.

Number 83 "You Are In My System" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 83
The original version of "You Are In My System" had been released just a year earlier by pop/funk band The System. Robert Palmer's remake was a last-minute inclusion on his Pride album.

Number 66 "Just One More Kiss" by Renee & Renato
Peak: number 55
"Save Your Love" would make an agonisingly slow descent of the chart, finally dropping out of the top 100 in November. Thankfully, we were spared this follow-up becoming as big.

Number 61 "Two Hearts Beat As One" by U2
Peak: number 53
Their major breakthrough would come in 1984, but U2's early supporters kept this War single bubbling under the top 50 for three months, including four non-consecutive weeks at its peak position.

New Entries
Number 50 "Moonlight Shadow" by Mike Oldfield
Peak: number 6
Today's credit: "Moonlight Shadow" by Mike Oldfield featuring Maggie Reilly
In 1973, he'd made a name for himself (and Virgin Records) with the instrumental new age album Tubular Bells (which was number 1 for four weeks in Australia in 1974) and its follow-ups. When it came to the singles chart, though, Mike Oldfield's biggest hit was a track with a vocal. "Moonlight Shadow" was sung by Irish vocalist Maggie Reilly, who'd been performing with Mike since 1980 and appeared on two of his previous albums. The pretty, lilting song would be the multi-instrumentalist's final top 50 hit in Australia.

Number 49 "Never Gonna Let You Go" by Sérgio Mendes
Peak: number 17
Today's credit: "Never Gonna Let You Go" by Sérgio Mendes featuring Joe Pizzulo & Leza Miller
They just don't make songs like this anymore. Sugary sweet '80s ballad "Never Gonna Let You Go" was written by husband-and-wife songwriting team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and recorded by both Dionne Warwick and R&B singer Stevie Woods before bandleader Sérgio Mendes got his hands on it. The Brazilian musician who'd debuted in 1966 with "Mas Que Nada" had last been in the Australian top 50 with his version of "Scarborough Fair" (number 8 in 1968), but "Never Gonna Let You Go" was nothing like those Latin numbers. An emotional duet between Leza Miller and Joe Pizzulo, it's an awesome power ballad in the style of "Up Where We Belong" or "Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You". These days, Leza and Joe would receive featuring status, but in 1983, the song came out solely credited to Sérgio, the bearded guy going nuts during the keyboard solo.

Number 48 "Midnight Blue" by Louise Tucker
Peak: number 27
Today's credit: "Midnight Blue" by Louise Tucker / Charlie Skarbek
Now I've heard everything. A blend of synthpop and opera (synthpopera?), "Midnight Blue" is based on Beethoven's "Sonata Pathétique", which also formed the basis for "This Night" on Billy Joel's An Innocent Man album in 1983. Although mezzo-soprano singer Louise Tucker gets all the glory for this unusual single, it's actually a duet with producer Charlie Skarbek - he even sings the opening lines.

Number 47 "Stand Back" by Stevie Nicks
Peak: number 20
Today's credit: "Stand Back" by Stevie Nicks with Prince
Following Prince's death, a million websites compiled lists of all the songs he'd written for other people and "Stand Back" was often included in those lists despite not technically being written by Prince. Stevie Nicks was inspired to write the track after hearing "Little Red Corvette" on the radio on her way to her honeymoon with new husband Kim Anderson. She recorded a demo that night and, while she was in the studio making her second solo album, The Wild Heart, Prince popped in to play synthesizers on the song. His role went uncredited but he did receive half the royalties for "Stand Back" since it was modelled on "Little Red Corvette". A top 5 hit in the US, "Stand Back" performed more modestly in Australia but did return Stevie to the top 50 for the first time since 1981's "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around".

Listen to every top 50 hit (that's on Spotify) from the second half of 1983 on my playlist:

Next week: a surprisingly (in some ways) poor performing single from the year's number 1 album, and a second hit from the soundtrack that boasted the current number 1 single.

Back to: Jul 31, 1983 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 14, 1983


  1. Didn't think I'd heard the Hollies track before until the chorus kicked in. The verses are mundane, but the chorus works well on this version.

    I loved 'Moonlight Shadow', and I think my mum bought the 7" for me, but I never knew who it was by or what the song was called, until 2009 (after completely forgetting about it). It does seem stupid now though that Mike receives the sole credit for it.

    Didn't think I knew that Sergio Mendes track either, but do. They definitely don't make that kind of easy-listening schmaltzy ballad anymore. There seemed to be more 'mumsy' kind of music in the chart back then, 'Midnight Blue' included. I can't imagine teens buying either song.

    'Stand Back' was another song I remember being played on the radio a lot in '83. If I remember correctly, this was the second video filmed for the song - the first was scrapped as Stevie felt she looked too 'fat' in it. It's hard to believe that 'Edge of Seventeen' (another that seemed to receive a lot of airplay) didn't even dent the top 100 here.

  2. Moonlight Shadow is a lovely tune. It surprises me that it was his last Top 50 hit. He's kept doing tons of albums since then, many were successful in Britain. I remember discovering his 1973 album Tubular Bells at primary school in 1978 in music class. It is still a great piece of music!