Sunday, 18 December 2016

This Week In 1983: December 18, 1983

There comes a point in some bands' careers where they go from being purely popular to absolutely huge. Often, it only takes one song to tip them over the edge.

The single that turned INXS from chart regulars to top 50 dominators

This week in 1983, the song that changed everything for INXS debuted on the ARIA singles chart. The up-and-coming band went from never having scored a top 10 hit to landing a number 1 smash.

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

For the third week in a row, there was a brand new number 1 single in Australia this week in 1983. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton followed one-week chart-toppers by Australian Crawl and Billy Joel as "Islands In The Stream" jumped to the top. Could it manage more than seven days as the country's biggest seller?

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Puss 'N' Boots" by Adam Ant
Peak: number 84
After a chart career that included two Australian number 1 singles (one with and one without The Ants), Adam Ant's run came to an end with this lead single from Strip.

Number 95 "Bon Voyage" by Little Heroes
Peak: number 51
An improvement on the performance of previous single "Watch The World", but still a top 50 miss from the Melbourne band who'd only put out one more single, "Modern Times", before splitting.

Number 84 "Lick It Up" by KISS
Peak: number 82
Not even the ploy of abandoning their trademark makeup could help KISS recapture their 1979-80 glory days. This title track from their 11th album was the latest single to bomb locally.

Number 78 "That Day... Is Comin' Sooner" by Goanna
Peak: number 67
This stand-alone single was played by the band back in February at the Stop The Drop concert in support of nuclear disarmament (from which the Rock Arena footage in the link above is taken).

New Entries
Number 50 "Cut The Talking" by The Dugites
Peak: number 47
Unlike INXS, some bands never have that massively successful single that sends them into hyper-drive. Bands like The Dugites, who also started out signed to DeLuxe, the small label that'd released INXS's first two studio albums. Despite producing a number of great pop singles in their time, Perth's The Dugites weren't ever able to better the number 34 peak of 1980's "In Your Car"
The band's first new music in over a year, "Cut The Talking" was their first single through their new deal with industry powerhouse Mercury Records. It was surely no coincidence that the brass-soaked track was also their most polished and accomplished single to date. Unfortunately, the song disappeared from the top 50 after one week, returning for another week (at number 47) in March 1984, having spent 14 weeks bouncing around between numbers 52 and 71.

Number 49 "Only Thinking" by Mi-Sex
Peak: number 48
Next up, a New Zealand-formed, Australian-based band whose game-changing hit had come quite early in their career. Chart-topper "Computer Games" had been Mi-Sex's third single - and they'd been struggling to recapture that level of success for the past few years. After a trio of stand-alone singles that'd performed decreasingly well on the chart, the new wave band issued "Only Thinking", the lead release from fourth album Where Do They Go? Although it was another chart failure, the Mi-Sex story wasn't quite over yet...

Number 41 "Original Sin" by INXS
Peak: number 1
Nine INXS singles had been released up until this point in Australia - and none had reached any higher than number 14, the peak achieved by both "The One Thing" and "Don't Change". But it was clear things were building for the six-piece, with their three albums to date having peaked at number 27, number 15 and number 5 respectively. Their most recent release, Shabooh Shoobah, hadn't left the top 100 in over a year and expectations were high for the band's upcoming fourth album. 
That was still some way off, but its lead single debuted on the top 100 this week in 1983 at number 41 before blasting into the top 10 the following week. By February, "Original Sin" became INXS's first - and only - number 1 single. The track was produced by Nile Rodgers, who'd approached the band about working together. The Chic member also suggested recruiting Daryl Hall to provide backing vocals and changing the original "white boy white girl" lyric to "white boy black girl", a touch that would result in some US radio stations banning the song.
Possibly as a result of its "controversial" content, "Original Sin" was only moderately successful in America, reaching number 58. It'd be another couple of years before their big overseas breakthrough, but locally, at least, the chart-topping success of the song pushed the band towards the top of the list of Australia's biggest bands.

Number 37 "In A Big Country" by Big Country
Peak: number 7
Our final new entry is a song that was the first - and biggest - ARIA chart hit for the band name-checked in the title: Scotland's Big Country. A blast of Celtic-flavoured rock featuring one of the best uses of bagpipes in modern music, "In A Big Country" is the only song most Australians and Americans would remember by the band (although they reached the ARIA top 30 with 1986's "Look Away"). But in the UK, it was part of a long list of hits taking the band into the early '90s. "In A Big Country" wasn't even their highest-charting single on the British chart - it reached number 17 and was bested by five other singles and equalled by one. This week, it's also 15 years since the tragic death of Big Country singer Stuart Adamson, who was found hanged in a hotel room in Hawaii.

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

Next week: the final chart for 1983, including new entries from Mondo Rock, Yes and Quiet Riot. Plus, we'll take a look at the biggest hits of the year in the annual top 100.

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

1 comment:

  1. I'd never heard of the Dugites until rage retro month in 2010 with this song, which is quite good. The keyboard guys' 'dancing' in the video reminds me of Yello.

    'Original Sin' is a classic, and probably ties for my favourite INXS song with 'By My Side'. I could listen to the chorus over and over... so find it a bit frustrating that they didn't opt for a '3rd chorus' fade-out outro; though I guess it's better sometimes to be left wanting more.

    'In a Big Country' is a classic, too.