Sunday, 18 September 2016

This Week In 1983: September 18, 1983

U2. Bon Jovi. Nirvana. R.E.M. Coldplay. At one time or other, they've all been regarded as the biggest band in the world. Before any of them ascended to that position, a trio from England held down the unofficial title in 1983.

The Police had the world wrapped around their finger in 1983

So far that year, they'd topped the Australian albums chart (as they had done with their three previous albums) and come close to doing the same on the singles top 50. But, as so often happens, with great success came great friction and the band's days were numbered.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending September 18, 1983

Enjoying great success on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1983 was Austen Tayshus, whose comedy release "Australiana" remained at number 1 for a third week.

Off The Chart
Number 96 "Trouble In Paradise" by Renée Geyer
Peak: number 81
One of two album-less singles included on best of collection Faves, the underrated "Trouble In Paradise" also marked the end of Renée's deal with Mushroom Records before she head off to try her luck in the US.

Number 94 "Burning Down The House" by Talking Heads
Peak: number 94
Despite three separate forays onto the top 100 between now and the end of the year, this lead single from Speaking In Tongues - a US top 10 hit - was never able to get out of the 90s.

New Entries
Number 49 "Hold Me 'Til The Morning Comes" by Paul Anka
Peak: number 49
A chart regular in the late '50s and early '60s, Paul Anka had already staged one comeback, reaching number 2 with 1974's "(You're) Having My Baby" after more than a decade's absence from the top 50. This week in 1983, he did it again, returning to the chart for the first time in eight years with what would turn out to be his last international hit single. A classic '80s weepy ballad, "Hold Me 'Til The Morning Comes" features a pretty significant vocal contribution from Peter Cetera, who was still in Chicago at this point, having only tested the solo waters with his first album away from the band in 1981. I'd never heard this song before, but every time it gets to the chorus and Peter starts to sing the song's title, I keep thinking he's going to sing "hold me now, it's hard for me to say I'm sorry".

Number 48 "Wrapped Around Your Finger" by The Police
Peak: number 26
"Every Breath You Take" had been a global smash, topping the US and UK chart, and almost doing the same in Australia - solidifying the notion that The Police were indeed the biggest band in the world in 1983. With that track still in the ARIA top 20, the second single from Synchronicity arrived on the top 50. Australia chose to follow the UK's lead and go with "Wrapped Around Your Finger" instead of "King Of Pain", which was issued in the US (and would come out here down the track). While by no means another monster single, "Wrapped Around Your Finger" did boast another killer chorus. It also came with a Godley & Creme-directed music video that was filmed in high speed then slowed down to give the slow-mo feel it ended up with. As with much of The Police's output at this time, different members filmed their parts of the clip separately, no doubt due in part to the ongoing tension that threatened to tear the band apart - and would ultimately do so.

Number 46 "The Walk" by The Cure
Peak: number 34
The Cure had actually come into existence the year before The Police did, but in 1983 the British gloom-merchants were only just starting to experience their commercial breakthrough. Non-album single "The Walk" provided the band with their first top 20 hit in the UK, following a string of peaks in the 30s and 40s, while in Australia, the synth-heavy track gave them a second top 40 hit following previous release "Let's Go To Bed". They may not have been - or would ever become - the biggest band in the world, but The Cure had certainly arrived. Given their longevity, perhaps not being as huge as The Police had its advantages.

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

Next week: a whole heap of songs I'm unfamiliar with - two new entries on the top 50 that I've never heard of and seven obscure songs that didn't make the top 50, only one of which I've heard before (and that was only in the last year or so). Wonder what gems (or otherwise) we'll discover.

Back to: Sep 11, 1983 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 25, 1983


  1. I hadn't heard the Paul Anka song before either, but like you, I'm also expecting Peter Cetera to start singing 'Hard For Me To Say I'm Sorry' when he sings "hold me...".

    'Wrapped Around Your Finger' has some of the most awkward rhymes... tuition/fruition, alabaster/master.

    I didn't know 'The Walk' at the time, but got to know it through seeing it on rage. The Cure had a pretty much flawless singles run in the 80's, I think.

  2. Burning down the house is a mad jam. Should've been a far bigger hit. Reached #9 over on the US charts.

    I only heard of the walk a few months ago & it's also a decent song. Very synth oriented compared to The Cure's later tracks.

  3. "Burning Down The House" was played a lot on QLD radio at the time. When I get a chance, I'll check my QLD chart collection to see if it was actually a hit here (I wouldn't be surprised if it scraped into our Top 40, given its local radio exposure).

  4. Burning Down The House was covered to much greater effect in 1999 by Tom Jones and The Cardigans. I was never a fan of Talking Heads, especially of David Byrne's voice. Interesting artist, uninteresting singer...