Monday, 25 May 2020

This Week In 1980: May 25, 1980

It had to happen eventually. After weeks of seeing loads of classic tracks debut on the Australian singles top 50 from 1980, we've reached a dud chart week.

You know it's a slow week when I've got to lead with a Dr Hook picture

Although in my house, one of the acts arriving on the top 50 was actually quite popular... with my parents. And they'd been responsible for two number 1 singles in their time.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 25, 1980

At number 1 this week in 1980, Split Enz made it six weeks on top with the seemingly unshiftable "I Got You".

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" by Festival
Peak: number 99
Julie Covington had been first to record the most famous song from Evita and took her version all the way to number 1 for seven weeks in 1977, ending up as the year's biggest single. This disco remake had the opposite effect.

Number 88 "Save Me" by Queen
Peak: number 76
Another song failing to live up to an earlier record is this follow-up to chart-topper "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". The more typical Queen ballad was the second single from The Game.  

New Entries
Number 49 "Sexy Eyes" by Dr Hook
Peak: number 41
I think I've written elsewhere on this blog about my parents' record collection (Neil Diamond, ABBA, Frank Sinatra). It wasn't very extensive - they weren't big album buyers - but it did include Dr Hook's Greatest Hits, which knocked AC/DC's Back In Black off the number 1 spot in 1981 and stayed there for four weeks. For me, nothing says 1970s more than the gentle soft rock stylings of Dr Hook. Songs like "Sexy Eyes" also don't sound that far removed from a bow chicka bow wow soft porn soundtrack - or is that just me? 
Anyway, Dr Hook (who used to be known as Dr Hook & The Medicine Show) had once been regulars in the higher reaches of the Australian chart, with two number 1s ("Sylvia's Mother" in 1972 and "Walk Right In" five years later) under their belts. But they seemed to be out of favour at this point, and although "Sexy Eyes" was a US and UK top 5 hit, it took nine weeks to crack the Australian top 50 and then didn't progress much further from this position.

Number 43 "Captain Beaky" by Keith Michell
Peak: number 36
WTAF. I'm not completely adverse to children's records clogging up the chart, so long as those children's records are by Kermit the Frog. Or, at a stretch, The Smurfs. And as long as there's a song in there somewhere. But this recitation by Keith Michell of poetry written by Jeremy Lloyd is as out of place as the Australian-born, England-based actor's appearance on Top Of The Pops below. Taken from an album that featured the likes of Petula Clark, Penelope Keith and Harry Secombe also reading Lloyd's poems set to music, "Captain Beaky" was massive in the UK, peaking at number 5. At least Australian parents were more restrained.

Listen to this week's new entries (well, Dr Hook. Mercifully, "Captain Beaky" is missing) on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: the top 50 debut of a band who would go onto have two big hits in the early '80s and another dreadful one-hit wonder.

Back to: May 18, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 1, 1980

Thursday, 21 May 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: May 21, 1995

Over the last two weeks, we've seen some of my favourite dance tracks from 1995 (of which there were many) arrive on the ARIA singles chart. This week, one of my least favourite debuted.

It was one of those club tracks that ventured a little too close to a novelty record for my liking. Naturally, it was massive.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 21, 1995

But not as massive as the song that moved up to number 1 this week in 1995. "Mouth" by Merril Bainbridge began a six-week run at the top.

Off The Chart
Number 95 "Funtime" by Boy George
Peak: number 60
A cover of the 1977 song by Iggy Pop, this rock-influenced track was quite the musical departure for Boy George, who released his autobiography, Take It Like A Man, around the same time.

Number 78 "Misty Mountain Hop" by 4 Non Blondes
Peak: number 78
Another revival of a '70s track, this cover of the 1971 Led Zeppelin song was included on tribute album Encomium. It was 4 Non Blondes' final release, the band having split up in late 1994.

New Entries
Number 49 "Gonna Make You Mine" by Margaret Urlich
Peak: number 29
Last seen on the top 50 at the very end of 1993 duetting with Rick Price on a remake of "Where Is The Love", Margaret Urlich returned with this first taste of third studio album The Deepest Blue. Like many of her previous hits, "Gonna Make You Mine" was co-written and produced by Robyn Smith, but with its full band sound, it was easily her most attention-grabbing song, with Margaret having usually gone for more understated tracks in the past. Funnily enough, it's not a song that has stuck in my memory as much as the hits from her prior two albums have.

Number 47 "Walk This World" by Heather Nova
Peak: number 28
Here's another tune I had completely forgotten about until now - it got lost in all those mid-'90s rock chick songs I pushed out of my memory. But this debut single from the Bermudian singer-songwriter is actually one of my favourites from the genre - I'd take it over "Bitch" or "All I Wanna Do" any day - and holds up well. Despite this being Heather's only chart appearance in Australia, she has continued to record and release music, her most recent album, Pearl (a companion of sorts to 1994's Oyster), coming out last year.

Number 46 "My Girl Josephine" by Super Cat featuring Jack Radics
Peak: number 26
And yet another track to peak in the 20s that I have not thought about since 1995. This cover of the Fat Domino song by Jamaican dancehall artist Super Cat (real name: William Maragh) was the latest single to be taken from the soundtrack to Prêt-à-Porter - and yet another reggae remake to make the top 50.

Number 43 "Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)" by The Outhere Brothers
Peak: number 5
Given their two previous singles had been called "Pass The Toilet Paper" and "Fuk U In The Ass", it was immediately apparent there was a bit of a theme going on with the releases by hip-house duo The Outhere Brothers - something they maintained with the explicit version of their breakthrough hit, "Don't Stop (Wiggle Wiggle)". But it was the clean version that helped turn the song into a real chart smash, with the more minimal radio-friendly mix leaving out all the bits about face-sitting and pussy-tasting. For me, it was a bit lowest common denominator, with it's "hey, hey"-ing and general repetitiveness - just the type of song to work its way into the top 5 and enjoy a lengthy 24-week stay on the top 50. 

Number 41 "River Of Love" by Rick Price
Peak: number 18
In a nice case of serendipity, Margaret Urlich's former duet partner also returned to the ARIA top 50 for the first time since "Where Is The Love" with this lead single from second album Tambourine Mountain. Featuring backing vocals from Tina Arena, who also duetted on another track on the album, "River Of Love" became Rick's biggest hit since his initial top 10 double in 1992. It would also turn out to be his final top 50 appearance.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):

Next week: the return of the soundtrack ballad king, plus one of the biggest R&B anthems of the decade.

Back to: May 14, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 28, 1995

Monday, 18 May 2020

This Week In 1980: May 18, 1980

So far in our trip back to the Australian singles chart of 1980, we've seen one-hit wonders Player [1] and Fiddler's Dram - two acts that reached the top 10 and never returned to the top 50.

Contrary to popular belief, The Vapors' song was not about masturbation

This week in 1980, the decade's first ultimate one-hit wonder arrived. Why ultimate? They reached number 1 with their big hit and never visited the top 50 again - something only 16 acts did during the '80s.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 18, 1980

A chart-topping band who were anything but one-hit wonders continued to rule the roost this week in 1980. "I Got You" by Split Enz stayed at number 1 for a fifth week.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Off The Wall" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 94
This was a shock. After two top 5 hits, the third single from and title track of Off The Wall bombed spectacularly. No video and healthy album sales wouldn't have helped its cause.

Number 98 "Let Me Sleep Alone" by Cugini
Peak: number 98
Not a one-hit wonder, songwriter-turned-singer Don Cugini was more like a one-single wonder, with this under-performing disco track seeming to be his only release.

Number 92 "Run Like The Wind" by Mike Batt & Friends featuring Roger Chapman
Peak: number 78
From the man I know best for turning The Wombles into a music act, this track with vocals by Family singer Roger Chapman came from Mike Batt's Tarot Suite album.

New Entries
Number 46 "An Englishman In New York (Strange Apparatus)" by Godley & Creme
Peak: number 17
Before they became known for directing many of the most memorable music videos of the 1980s - everything from "Girls On Film" to "Don't Give Up" to "Rockit" - Godley & Creme gained plenty of attention for this self-directed clip featuring a band comprised of mannequins. Taken from their third album, Freeze Frame, "An Englishman In New York (Strange Apparatus)" is a different song from the Sting track of the same name (without the brackets), and one that I'd suggest might not have charted anywhere near as well as it did without such a landmark video. The only other time Godley & Creme reached the top 50 was with their 1985 track "Cry", which also came with a highly influential clip.

Number 45 "Ride Like The Wind" by Christopher Cross
Peak: number 25
While an oddity like "An Englishman In New York" went top 20, this debut single by Christopher Cross - which stayed at number 2 in the US for four weeks - had to make do with a peak position halfway up the chart. The song that comes to mind when I hear the term "yacht rock" - a phrase which didn't exist until 2005 - "Ride Like The Wind" is the epitome of smooth soft rock, with its backing vocals from Michael McDonald and slick, easy listening production. We'd be seeing more of Christopher in the months to come, but it would seem that Australia's palate for yacht rock, a genre I'm quite partial to, was not as insatiable as America's.

Number 35 "Coming Up" by Paul McCartney
Peak: number 2
A decade after his debut solo album, 1970's McCartney, Paul McCartney got around to releasing his second, aptly named McCartney II (I assume it didn't take him 10 years to come up with that). Of course, he'd spent the majority of the '70s recording with his band Wings, and the lead single from McCartney II, "Coming Up", signalled the new era in his career by taking a shift in direction musically, with the song boasting electronic and new wave influences like its sped-up vocal. By reaching number 2, it also became his biggest hit since the number 1-hogging behemoth "Mull Of Kintyre/Girls' School", which held down the top spot across summer '77-'78. "Coming Up" was also the second new entry for the week with a music video that featured a band of identical musicians - although, in this case, The Plastic Macs were all Paul McCartney (and a couple of Lindas).

Number 29 "Turning Japanese" by The Vapors
Peak: number 1
Here's our chart-topping single by a one-hit wonder band. "Turning Japanese" was the only top 100 appearance by new wave group The Vapors - and it's a song that has long inspired debate as to its meaning, with many people assuming the title is a euphemism for masturbation. That's not the case, with the lyrics describing what it's like for someone to turn into something they weren't anticipating becoming. For the British band, that was to be Japanese, but singer David Fenton, who wrote the song, says it could equally be "Turning Lebanese" or "Turning Portuguese" - i.e. anything "foreign" that you become when you go through an angst-filled break-up. The Vapors released two albums in the early '80s, with the band splitting following the lack off success of 1981's Magnets, but 40 years after their breakthrough hit, they have just released their third - in fact, Together came out three days ago.

Number 26 "Call Me" by Blondie
Peak: number 4
Even though their recent chart entry, "Atomic", was still on the rise - at number 14 this week - Blondie's record company couldn't wait for that to peak before issuing soundtrack single "Call Me", even though the film it was taken from, American Gigolo, wasn't released locally until July. The song was co-written by Giorgio Moroder, who came up with the instrumental track, and Debbie Harry, who wrote the lyics (inspired by the film's male prostitute protagonist played by Richard Gere) and melody - and it brought Blondie back to the top 10 for the first time since their 1979 chart-topper, "Heart Of Glass/Sunday Girl".

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: a complete WTF track and a new entry by a band whose 1980 greatest hits collection was one of the few albums my parents owned.

Back to: May 11, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 25, 1980

Thursday, 14 May 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: May 14, 1995

Sometimes less is more. If you only have a few great tracks in you, don't bother inflicting an album full of filler on the world. 

JX were back for their annual visit to the chart

This week in 1995, a dance act that knew when it had a smash (which turned out to be once a year) debuted with its second single - another top 10 hit.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 14, 1995

At number 1 this week in 1995, "Back For Good" by Take That remained on top for a second week.

Off The Chart
Number 96 "Craziest" by Naughty By Nature
Peak: number 54
Could it be that because this single from Naughty By Nature's fourth album, Poverty's Paradise, didn't feature a really obvious sample (like "O.P.P.") or crowd-pleasing hook (like "Hip Hop Hooray") that that's the reason it follow those two songs into the top 50.

Number 58 "Gotta Get Away" by The Offspring
Peak: number 53
After two huge top 10 hits, the punk/pop band's chart fortunes took a dive as this third single couldn't break into the top 50. Smash's 19 weeks in the top 10 (and three at number 1) might have had something to do with it.

New Entries
Number 42 "Julia Says" by Wet Wet Wet
Peak: number 38
In the aftermath of their Four Weddings And A Funeral behemoth, "Love Is All Around", Wet Wet Wet's Australian record company made good use of the downtime before the band's next album by raiding their back catalogue. First, there'd been a new version of their former UK chart-topper "Goodnight Girl" and then a re-release of 1993's "Shed A Tear". Finally, Wet Wet Wet fans had something new from the Scottish four-piece to enjoy. Another pretty ballad by the band who were now firmly in adult contemporary territory, "Julia Says" to me sounded like it had some underlying Beatles influences, but it was a bit too bland for my liking - and I had liked a lot of their stuff up until this point.

Number 24 "Change Of Heart" by Jimmy Barnes
Peak: number 17
Regular readers would know I'm not the biggest Jimmy Barnes fan, but since I live in Australia, I had always been pretty familiar with his music - it was hard to avoid. But I don't recall this lead single from his eighth studio album, Psyclone, at all. Maybe it was because, by 1995, his music was becoming a little easier to avoid. His lowest charting lead single up until this point and from an album that, despite peaking at number 2, only spent five weeks on the top 50 and didn't yield any further top 50 singles, it wasn't the best of times for Jimmy. And not just musically, with his life unravelling in other ways around this time as well. It certainly felt like the end of an era - and even I had to acknowledge it had been a pretty impressive ride up until this point.

Number 12 "You Belong To Me" by JX
Peak: number 4
In mid-1994, "Son Of A Gun" had become JX's first chart hit, peaking at number 6. And then nothing. No follow-up, no album. This week, the second single from British producer Jake Williams finally surfaced. Unlike last time, "You Belong To Me" wasn't built around a sample, but instead featured original vocals by Shèna, who'd also perform on JX's next two singles, which true to form wouldn't be released until 1996 and 1997. An even bigger hit than "Son Of A Gun", "You Belong To Me" stormed into the chart at number 12 (up from number 53 the previous week) and reached number 4 - much higher than it managed in the UK, where it surprisingly only got to number 17.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):

Next week: the return of two local singers last seen on the chart performing together, and one of the most odious dance acts of the '90s.

Back to: May 7, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 21, 1995

Monday, 11 May 2020

This Week In 1980: May 11, 1980

I recently posted a video of my favourite Australian bands of the 1980s on the Chart Beats Facebook page, and someone noted the absence of AC/DC and The Angels. With some odd exceptions, my musical taste has always veered away from the harder end of the rock spectrum - thus, the subtitle of this blog: A Journey Through Pop.

Give me US soul groups over pub rock any day

Nothing illustrates that better than the three top 50 new entries (and some of the songs that missed the chart) from this week in 1980. While one debut was the biggest single up until that point by the aforementioned The Angels and another was the second hit by another much-revered Aussie rock band, I preferred the medley by a soul vocal group that also arrived on the chart.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 11, 1980

A band that would have made my list of local favourites if I included Australian-based bands were still at number 1 this week in 1980. New Zealand's Split Enz spent a fourth week on top with "I Got You".

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Tennis" by Chris Rea
Peak: number 88
"Diamonds", the lead single of his previous album, had reached number 13 locally, but this title track from Chris Rea's third album was not a grand slam (sorry!).

Number 99 "So Lonely" by The Police
Peak: number 99
Following two top 10 hits from second album Regatta de Blanc, some bright spark decided to give this single from debut Outlandos d'Amour another shot (just as "Roxanne" and "Can't Stand Losing You" had previously been re-released). It worked in the UK, with "So Lonely" reaching number 6 this time, but not here. 

Number 98 "99" by Toto
Peak: number 97
They'd got off to a good start with debut single "Hold The Line", but this lead release from second album Hydra almost lived up to its title in terms of chart peak. Shame - it's one of many Toto songs I like that under-performed locally.

Number 96 "The Second Time Around" by Shalamar
Peak: number 96
Speaking of under-performing in Australia, the R&B group scored their only US top 10 hit with this track, but flopped here. Still, at least "The Second Time Around" made the top 100, unlike upcoming classics "I Can Make You Feel Good" and "A Night To Remember".

Number 86 "Breakdown Dead Ahead" by Boz Scaggs
Peak: number 64
Best known for his number 2 double A-side, "What Can I Say/Lido Shuffle", Boz Scaggs' Australian top 50 days were behind him, with this lead single from Middle Man missing the mark.

New Entries
Number 47 "The Boys Light Up" by Australian Crawl
Peak: number 22
Their first single, "Beautiful People", had reached number 22, and that was a fate that also awaited this title track from Australian Crawl's debut LP, which entered the albums top 50 this week at number 34. With its sexual lyrics, "The Boys Light Up" caused somewhat of a stir at the time, but, like many of Australian Crawl's singles, it wasn't as big a hit as you would think given how hallowed their catalogue has become. Still, the album reached number 4 and spent just shy of two years on the top 100 so I doubt anyone was complaining.

Number 39 "Working My Way Back To You" by The Spinners
Peak: number 12
Like a musical rose between two thorns, enduring and evolving (thanks to regular line-up changes) vocal harmony group The Spinners returned to the Australian top 50 with this medley of "Working My Way Back To You", a song first recorded by The Four Seasons in 1966, and "Forgive Me, Girl" by Michael Zager, who produced the record. The medley eclipsed the number 20 peak of The Spinners' previous biggest hit, "The Rubberband Man".

Number 35 "No Secrets" by The Angels
Peak: number 8
When I started this blog in 2012 (looking back at the first chart I ever personally collected in mid-1987), I don't think I anticipated just how many singles by The Angels I would go on to recap. They had a lot of singles. And like Australian Crawl, they actually didn't have that many big chart hits - with this lead single from fourth album Dark Room becoming their first ever top 10 hit and the band not returning to that section of the chart until their cover of "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" peaked one place higher in 1987. "No Secrets" was the band's first release for Epic Records, with Dark Room rubbing shoulders on the albums chart with a compilation of their earlier work on Albert Productions in a month's time.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: a soundtrack hit from a band with another song still climbing the chart, plus a chart-topping one-hit wonder and some awesome yacht rock.

Back to: May 4, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 18, 1980

Thursday, 7 May 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: May 7, 1995

I'm currently counting down my favourite songs from 1995 on the Chart Beats Facebook page, and I'll tell you what: I listened to a lot of dance music that year. Probably because I spent a lot of time in clubs that year.

These sounds certainly fell into my mind

This week in 1995, three of the best dance tracks for the year all arrived on the ARIA singles chart. Interestingly, all of them just missed the top 10.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 7, 1995

A dance track that had made itself well and truly at home at number 1 fell from the top this week in 1995. Replacing "Here's Johnny" was a song with a much slower BPM: "Back For Good" by Take That.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Hypnotised" by Simple Minds
Peak: number 85
This second single from Good News From The Next World became the final top 100 appearance by the Scottish band, although Jim Kerr featured on a charting remix of "Don't You (Forget About Me)" in 2004.

Number 97 "Glory Box" by Portishead
Peak: number 96
Australia's under-appreciation of Portishead continued, as the third single from Dummy also missed the top 50. Both "Glory Box" and "Sour Times" reached an unlucky number 13 in the UK.

Number 95 "Jewels And Bullets" by You Am I 
Peak: number 93
After the success of "Cathy's Clown", it was back outside the top 50 for this second release from Hi Fi Way. Third single "Purple Sneakers" missed the top 100 entirely.

Number 92 "Secret Garden" by Bruce Springsteen
Peak: number 92
His Greatest Hits had been out for a couple of months (and debuted at number 1), so this new single, which would later feature in Jerry Maguire, seemed like a bit of an afterthought.

Number 90 "The Girlfriend Song" by Tlot Tlot
Peak: number 73
They'd been releasing music since the start of the decade, but duo Tlot Tlot saw some chart action after signing with EMI Records and releasing this jangly tune.

Number 80 "You Gotta Know" by Supergroove
Peak: number 57
Like "Can't Get Enough", this had been a top 5 hit at home in New Zealand - and actually, "You Gotta Know" had come out first across the Tasman, released back in 1993. 

New Entries
Number 50 "Welcome To Paradise" by Green Day
Peak: number 44
Speaking of reverting to old singles, this Dookie track had come out between "Basket Case" and "When I Come Around" in the US, and was released here to follow the latter, which fell out of the top 20 this week. The song is about the band's experience of moving out of home and into a share warehouse.

Number 48 "Everything Zen" by Bush
Peak: number 41
I have to say, I've always been more aware of the stories about Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale's personal life - Marilyn, Gwen Stefani and so on - than I have his band's music. To me, this debut single sounded like so many other bands around that I also didn't listen to. Bush also didn't make that much of an impression on the rest of Australia at this point, with "Everything Zen" just missing the top 40. But that would change significantly in a year's time.

Number 47 "Be Firm" by Max Sharam
Peak: number 25
Released shortly before her debut album, A Million Year Girl, this second single from the Victorian-born, Sydney-based singer/songwriter wasn't as quirky as debut "Coma" - and that may well be why it didn't attract as much attention or perform as well. That said, I actually prefer it.

Number 37 "Set You Free" by N-Trance
Peak: number 11
Finally, we get to the good stuff! And like so many other dance tracks, the debut single by N-Trance had been kicking around for a number of years, first issued to DJs in 1992, and had already been released once, venturing into the lower part of the UK top 40 in 1994. Re-released in 1995, it reached number 2 in Britain before finding its way to Australia and just missing out of a spot in the ARIA top 10. Although they would end up venturing off into dodgy remakes, the dance group were a lot more credible with earlier releases like "Set You Free", which teamed singer Kelly Llorenna's wailing vocal with breakbeat and rave elements.

Number 35 "Shy Guy" by Diana King
Peak: number 3
Appearing in the midst of a trio of dance tracks was the song that would end up as the biggest of this week's new entries. The breakthrough hit for soundtrack regular Diana King, "Shy Guy" featured in the original Bad Boys and was the lead single from her debut album, Tougher Than Love. The reggae-inflected tune was undeniably catchy and, like recent hits by Dionne Farris, Brandy and Brownstone, was part of a new wave of R&B taking the ARIA chart by storm. 

Number 34 "Don't Give Me Your Life" by Alex Party
Peak: number 13
Those Italians really did know how to crank out the Eurodance in the '90s, didn't they? The latest dance act to follow in the footsteps of 49ers, Black Box, Cappella and Corona was Alex Party, who'd never quite been able to turn their debut single, which went by variations of "Read My Lips", "Alex Party" and "Saturday Night Party" over a couple of releases between 1993 and 1994, into a big hit. That changed with their long-awaited second offering, "Don't Give Me Your Life", which didn't sample a million old vocal hooks but got its lyrics from singer and songwriter Robin "Shanie" Campbell. Like "Set You Free", "Don't Give Me Your Life" peaked at number 2 in the UK and fell short of the ARIA top 10.

Number 29 "The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)" by Kenny "Dope" presents The Bucketheads
Peak: number 11
Our final new dance track did make use of samples - from "Street Player" by Chicago - to create one of the biggest house tracks of the decade. Masterminded by Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez, who is one half of Masters At Work (alongside "Little" Louie Vega), "The Bomb!" features that classic dance music trick of getting the lyrics it samples wrong. Like Loleatta Holloway's "you're right on time" becoming "Ride On Time" by Black Box, Chicago's "street sounds swirling through my mind" became "these sounds fall into my mind". With its horn blasts and big beats, the song's disco cut and paste job was imitated endlessly in the years to come, and is a song I always associate with Perfecto Allstarz's similarly brass- and drum-driven "Reach Up (Papa's Got A Brand New Pig)", which came out around the same time and was always sequenced alongside "The Bomb!" on UK dance compilations at the time.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):

Next week: another of 1995's biggest dance tracks, plus the band behind 1994's highest selling single stop re-releasing old songs and put out something brand new.

Back to: Apr 30, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 14, 1995

Monday, 4 May 2020

This Week In 1980: May 4, 1980

It's hard to think of a genre in music as divisive as disco. How many other types of music have had calls for it to be killed off? By 1980, disco was on the wane after a heady few years of chart domination.

DIsco songs wouldn't be heard on the radio for much longer

That was a potential problem for one of the artists entering the Australian singles chart this week in 1980 - not least of all because she was known as the Queen of Disco. Were her hit-making days as endangered as the genre itself?

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 4, 1980

A song that was in no danger continued to hold down the number 1 spot this week in 1980. "I Got You" by Split Enz stayed on top for a third week.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "I Think I'm Falling In Love" by The Word
Peak: number 99
This was the only top 100 appearance (and possible the only single) by the Canberra-based punk-ish band, who split later in 1980.

Number 97 "Take The Look Off Your Face" by Marti Webb
Peak: number 61
A top 3 hit in the UK, this song co-written and produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber was taken from the musical Tell Me On A Sunday. Singer/actress Marti Webb would return to the UK top 5 in 1985 with a cover of "Ben".

New Entries
Number 50 "Him" by Rupert Holmes
Peak: number 42
"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" had made it all the way to number 3, but this follow-up, which had followed its predecessor into the US top 10, didn't achieve the same success in Australia. Like "Escape...", the lyrics of "Him" tell a tale of love and infidelity... just without the rum-based cocktails. It would be Rupert Holmes' last top 50 appearance in Australia.

Number 49 "On The Radio" by Donna Summer
Peak: number 36
By 1979, Donna Summer had cemented her status as the Queen of Disco, with two number 1 singles in Australia ("I Feel Love" and "Hot Stuff") and five other big hits. In the US, she was even more successful. Late in 1979, Donna had collected all those hits together for her first career retrospective, double album On The Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II. Two new songs had been included: "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" and title track "On The Radio", but while her duet with Barbra Streisand had reached the top 10, "On The Radio" peaked considerably lower. 
Whether that was due to fans owning the album - although it only reached number 16 in Australia - or declining interest in disco, it's hard to say. There were certainly fewer big disco hits by this stage in 1980, with tracks by Viola Wills, Bonnie Pointer and Better Midler peaking lower down the chart. The Giorgio Moroder-written and -produced "On The Radio", which also appeared in the film Foxes, had been a top 5 hit in the US, but it would end up being a last hurrah for Donna's disco phase and for the genre itself, which, with the odd exception, fell even more rapidly out of favour as 1980 progressed.

Number 45 "Toccata" by Sky
Peak: number 22
Comprised of members from both England and Australia (including guitarist John Williams), instrumental prog rockers Sky had taken off in the UK in 1979 with the release of their self-titled debut album. By early 1980, Australia was ready for a Sky invasion with Sky hitting the albums chart in March ahead of the imaginatively named follow-up double album, Sky 2. Both reached the top 10 (as did 1981's Sky 3), while this reinterpretation of JS Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D minor", taken from Sky 2, became their only charting single. This kind of thing isn't really my bag, although I know of at least one kid my age who was into Sky - my cousin (who is two weeks older than me) had a Sky poster in his bedroom at some point in the early '80s. I didn't put posters up until the middle of the decade. My first one: Whitney Houston, which I think says it all.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: two iconic Australian rock bands and a long-running vocal harmony group score their biggest hit with a medley.

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