Monday, 3 August 2020

This Week In 1980: August 3, 1980

Some artists are lucky to have a hit at all, while others visit the top 50 multiple times. And sometimes, a performer will be successful in a number of different guises - with a band, as a solo artist, in collaboration with other artists...

James Freud started his ever-evolving chart career in 1980

This week in 1980, an Australian singer whose career brought him to the top 50 in four different capacities landed his first ever hit as frontman of a new local band. He would go on to be part of two more bands and release solo recordings, all of which yielded chart hits.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending August 3, 1980

The biggest chart hit in Australia this week in 1980 was "Can't Stop The Music" by Village People, which spent its fourth and final week at number 1.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Danger" by The Motels
Peak: number 88
"Total Control" was on its last legs, but The Motels weren't able to replace it with another hit as this lead single from second album Careful fell way short of the top 50

Number 98 "Here Comes Another Heartache" by Darryl Cotton
Peak: number 89
And here comes another artist with a recent top 10 hit failing to reach the top 50 with their follow-up. Album Best Seat In The House had also faltered, peaking at number 56 in May.

Number 96 "After The News" by The Reels
Peak: number 65
The Reels had yet to land a major hit and at this stage were also struggling to even get back into the top 50. "After The News" would end up featuring on the band's second album, Quasimodo's Dream, released in May 1981.

Number 95 "Broken English" by Marianne Faithfull
Peak: number 75
I came to know this song when UK dance act Sunscreem covered it in 1992 - and while I loved all the other singles from their debut album, I did not care for "Broken English". That's doubly the case in its original form. Tortured is the word that comes to mind.

New Entries
Number 45 "Modern Girl" by James Freud & The Radio Stars
Peak: number 12
He would go on to reach number 1 as part of Models, land a top 20 hit in 1989 from the most expensive album Mushroom Records had released up until that point and team up with Martin Plaza for another visit to the top 50 in the early '90s, but this is where James Freud's Australian chart career started. Twenty years old at the time, the late singer had played in a number of bands since his high school days - including Teenage Radio Stars with future Models band-mate Sean Kelly - but this was the first one that landed a single on the chart. And with debut release "Modern Girl" almost reaching the top 10, things were off to a good start. But album Breaking Silence and follow-up single "Enemy Lines" (released under James Freud's Berlin due to an Icehouse-type name change situation) failed to capitalise on the early success, and the Gary Numan-produced "Automatic Crazy" missed the top 100 entirely. By 1981, James dissolved the band and teamed up with Sean in Models the following year.

Number 44 "Emotional Rescue" by The Rolling Stones
Peak: number 8
Continuing in the rock-meets-disco vein that had produced 1978's "Miss You", The Rolling Stones returned to the same chart peak reached by that earlier hit with the title track of their latest album. ("Respectable" had peaked at number 19 between them.) But the shift in their sound didn't sit well with everyone in the band, with Keith Richards said to have disliked the musical direction, contributing to the friction between him and Mick Jagger. And while some fans might have felt like the Stones were selling out, enough others went out and bought "Emotional Rescue", which became the band's 22nd top 10 hit in Australia.

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

Next week: a follow-up to a recent number 1, an upcoming number 1 linked to one of the biggest events of the year and the latest hit by an Australian band that was taking off in the US.

Back to: July 27, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 10, 1980

Thursday, 30 July 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: July 30, 1995

Sometimes a song needs a well-timed re-release to find its audience, who missed it first time around. Or perhaps a remix to freshen up a track that didn't work the first time.

Seal's song went from chart-flopper to chart-topper in 1995

And sometimes a song just needs to feature in a Hollywood blockbuster for it to become the chart-topping hit it was always destined to be. No prizes for guessing what new entry from this week in 1995 I'm talking about.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 30, 1995

A song from that very same big budget film kept the number 1 spot warm for its soundtrack-mate this week in 1995. "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" by U2 spent its fourth week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Devil's Diary" by The Caulfields
Peak: number 61
Possibly better known by its unofficial subtitle "Bigger Than Jesus Now", which seems to have been added by way of a sticker on the single's cover, this was the debut single by the Delaware rock band.

Number 82 "Common People" by Pulp
Peak: number 65
This quintessential Britpop track might not have made much impact locally, but it put Pulp in the big league in the UK when it reached number 2 (held off by Robson & Jerome).

Number 69 "Alice, Who The X Is Alice? (Living Next Door To Alice)" by Gompie
Peak: number 54
Last week, we saw the dance version by The Steppers enter the top 50, but mercifully, Australia showed some restraint and didn't allow the original, more traditional-sounding revamp of "Living Next Door To Alice" join it. 

New Entries
Number 50 "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal
Peak: number 1
When this second single from Seal's second self-titled album reached number 87 in 1994 it seemed likely "Kiss From A Rose" would be little more than a chart footnote for a singer whose success had dwindled since his 1991 solo debut. But then the ballad, which Seal had written in the late '80s but only shared with producer Trevor Horn when they were working on Seal II, found its way onto the soundtrack for Batman Forever, playing over the closing credits. Re-released with a new film-related music video, the song blossomed (sorry!) into a major international hit, going all the way to number 1 in Australia and bringing the album back to the top 50 after an absence of 10 months. The meaning of the song, which has typically vivid but unclear lyrics, has been left up to interpretation by Seal, who never returned to the Australian top 50 after this in his own right - "My Vision" with Jakatta reached nunber 43 in 2002 - but did wind up as a coach on the local version of The Voice for a few seasons.

Number 49 "Party" by Christine Anu
Peak: number 20
She'd missed the top 50 with her first few singles, but Christine Anu finally broke through with the third track lifted from Stylin' Up. And while feel-good tune "Party" was a great song in its own right, I wonder how many of its sales came thanks to criminally overlooked previous single "Island Home" being included as a bonus track. In fact with three mixes of each song on the CD single and cassingle, this was effectively a double A-side release. "Party" remains Christine's highest-charting single, with the singer/actress coming closest to matching its top 20 performance five years later when her remake of "Sunshine On A Rainy Day" peaked at number 26.

Number 47 "I Believe" by Blessid Union Of Souls
Peak: number 18
Time now for some Christian soft rock with the debut single from Cincinnati band Blessid Union Of Souls. US top 10 hit "I Believe" does have a subtle religious component to it, but it works as a straight romantic love song as well and was written by the band's singer, Eliot Sloan, about an earthly relationship he'd been in. It was one of two top 20 hits the band managed in Australia - the other would come in four years' time.

Number 46 "Under The Water" by Merril Bainbridge
Peak: number 4
"Mouth" was one of the biggest songs of 1995 and remained in the ARIA top 5 this week in its 17th week on the top 50, but what plenty of people forget is that Merril Bainbridge had a second substantial hit with the follow-up, "Under The Water", which featured backing vocals from the late Chris Wilson. Written by two members of Tlot Tlot, the song had started life as a track called "Marshall", featuring frente!'s Angie Hart and appearing on the band's 1991 debut album, A Day At The Bay. 

Number 45 "Accidentally Cool" by Chocolate Starfish
Peak: number 39
Their self-titled debut album had yielded four top 50 hits, including two songs that just missed the top 10, and so expectations would have been relatively high for this first taste of Chocolate Starfish's second album, Box. As it turned out, lead single "Accidently Cool" only did marginally better than the fourth of those hits from the previous album, "4-Letter Word".

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

Next week: one of the angriest songs of all time makes its performer a massive star, plus the latest Disney ballad to reach the chart.

Back to: Jul 23, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 6, 1995

Monday, 27 July 2020

This Week In 1980: July 27, 1980

Sometimes even the most floundering of careers can get right back on track with one hit single - all it takes is the right song at the right time.

Guess who's back?

This week in 1980, a singer who would make two comebacks during the decade returned to the top 50 after a lengthy absence - and all it took was a little help from a former chart-topper.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending July 27, 1980

The chart-topper this week in 1980 was still "Can't Stop The Music" by Village People, which remained at number 1 for a third week.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "Should've Never Let You" by Neil Sedaka / Dara Sedaka
Peak: number 69
The final top 100 appearance by the easy listening singer who'd enjoyed five top 10 hits in Australia in the 1960s was a duet with his daughter on a track he'd previously recorded solo for 1978's All You Need Is The Music.

Number 88 "Shining Star" by Manhattans
Peak: number 67
They'd reached number 4 here (and number 1 in America) with 1976's "Kiss And Say Goodbye", but this US top 5 hit didn't do so well locally for the R&B vocal harmony group.

New Entries
Number 50 "When I'm With You" by Sparks
Peak: number 17
One of those bands whose influence far outstrips their chart success - at least in Australia - Sparks had missed the top 50 with two of their biggest international singles, "This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us" (number 69 in 1974) and "The Number One Song In Heaven" (number 85 in 1979). But the band, who had moved in a more electronic direction in the previous few years, finally broke through with "When I'm With You", which was taken from their ninth album, Terminal Jive. As on their previous album, No. 1 In Heaven, Sparks worked with producer Giorgio Moroder on Terminal Jive - although it is unclear what the division of labour was between the Italian electronic pioneer and co-producer Harold Faltermeyer. The top 20 success of "When I'm With You", which didn't do too well in most other parts of the world despite being one of their more commercial offerings, was a one-off for the band led by brothers Ron and Russell Mael, who continue to record to this day.

Number 48 "We Live For Love" by Pat Benatar
Peak: number 28
Another top 50 debut, but this time by a singer who would go on to score many more hits in Australia, notably number 1 "Love Is A Battlefield" and "All Fired Up", which reached number 2 in 1988. Before that, however, Pat Benatar would get stuck in the range between numbers 28 and 33 with her first five hits, starting off with this latest single taken from her debut album, In The Heat Of The Night, which sounds to me like a cross between Blondie and Joan Jett And The Blackhearts. While the bulk of that album, including previous top 100 single "Heartbreaker", consisted of remakes, "We Live For Love" was one of three original songs. Specifically, it was written by Neil Giraldo, who would go on to become Pat's main musical collaborator - and her husband.

Number 44 "I'm Alive" by Electric Light Orchestra
Peak: number 27
The first hit lifted from the Xanadu soundtrack had arrived on the top 50 last week - and bounded up nine spots this week for Olivia Newton-John. "Magic" was swiftly followed onto the chart by a song from the other main contributor to the film soundtrack, Electric Light Orchestra. Unmistakably an ELO song, "I'm Alive" would possibly suffer from the album's arrival on the chart the following week and the fact it reached number 1 a month later. As a result the song doesn't number among the band's biggest hits in Australia. That said, none of those circumstances prevented the title track from almost topping the chart, as we'll see in due course... 

Number 43 "Downhearted" by Australian Crawl
Peak: number 12
After back-to-back number 22 hits with their first two releases, Australian Crawl's third and final single from The Boys Light Up took the local band 10 places higher. The mid-tempo rock track was the last we'd see of James Reyne and pals until mid-1981 on the singles chart, but their album would prove to have a lengthy shelf life, registering 101 weeks inside the top 100.

Number 39 "Help" by John Farnham
Peak: number 8
A man who covered "Downhearted" in 2005, John Farnham had last been in the top 50 back in 1973, when he was still known as Johnny and "Shake A Hand" limped to number 48. In 1980, it had been five years since his last studio album (although a greatest hits collection had been issued in 1976) and three since the release of stand-alone single "Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame", which failed to chart. Having focussed more on his TV and live work in the intervening years, the time was ripe for John, who'd shortened his stage name in 1979, to stage a comeback. Newly signed by former Master Apprentice bass player and Little River Band manager Glenn Wheatley, John recorded an emotional ballad version of The Beatles' "Help!" (a number 1 in 1965) and it returned him to the top 10 for the first time since "Everything Is Out Of Season" reached number 9 in 1973. The comeback was short-lived - nothing else from Uncovered made the top 50 and neither did two subsequent singles. But, if John could have one comeback, why not another (after standing in as vocalist for LRB)? 

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

Next week: another Australian male artist whose solo career would be interrupted by a stint in a local group, plus one of the biggest bands of all time returns with another top 10 hit.

Back to: Jul 20, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 3, 1980

Thursday, 23 July 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: July 23, 1995

Like all genres, dance music has its good songs and its bad. But what exactly did anyone do to deserve the cavalcade of crap that debuted on the ARIA top 50 this week in 1995? 

What the f..k

Three songs, all of which made the top 20, that I couldn't stand at the time and still find painful to listen to all these years later. And I like dance music.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 23, 1995

At number 1 this week in 1995, U2 remained in place with "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me", which spent its third week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Just Wanna Funk With Your Mind" by Timbuk 3
Peak: number 99
The future had looked bright for this American group back in 1986, but this lead single from what would be their final album, A Hundred Lovers, was a long overdue second visit to the top 100.

Number 89 "Lick It" by Roula
Peak: number 65
Although credited to singer Roula, this was effectively a follow-up by 20 Fingers to their hit "Short Dick Man". Available in an array of mixes and versions, "Lick It" (which is about one of the two things you might think it is) took until mid-September to move higher than this debut position.

Number 85 "I'll Be Around" by Rappin' 4-Tay featuring The Spinners
Peak: number 59
A top 40 hit in the US, this single by the rapper born Anthony Forté sampled the 1972 song of the same name by The Spinners (which peaked 20 places lower here in early 1973).

New Entries
Number 47 "I Can Love You Like That" by All-4-One
Peak: number 12
Last week, we saw that the latest hits by Boyz II Men, MN8 and Kulcha all peaked in the 30s, and the week before, we saw the same thing happen to 4PM. One vocal harmony group bucking the trend were All-4-One, and they did it with another cover of a song originally performed by John Michael Montgomery, who had also performed "I Swear" before they turned it into a mainstream chart-topper. Although not as big as their number 1 smash, "I Can Love You Like That" did take the quartet back towards the top 10 and returned them to the US top 5.

Number 45 "I Wanna Be A Hippy" by Technohead
Peak: number 20
One of the many aliases of husband-and-wife electronic duo Michael Wells and Lee Newman (who were also behind Tricky Disco and GTO), Technohead's debut offering was "I Wanna Be A Hippy", a happy harcore track that sampled "I Like Marijuana" by David Peel from the film Rude Awakening. Remixed by Dutch duo Flamman & Abraxas into a gabber atrocity, which to me sounded like the musical equivalent of a jackhammer digging up the footpath, the song became a UK top 10 hit and reached the ARIA top 20. Tragically, Lee passed away from skin cancer in August 1995 just as "I Wanna Be A Hippy" was taking off here. Now I feel bad for my harsh words.

Number 44 "I Like It" by A.K. Soul
Peak: number 28
It's not exactly a terrible dance song, but this latest release by Andrew Klippel, who tried his hand as Elastic in 1994, was not a patch on his work as the musical brains behind dance-pop group Euphoria. As this latest rebranding suggests, A.K. Soul took things in more of an R&B and hip-hop direction, complete with a drum sample from an Ice Cube track. Its mid-table peak position was about right as far as I was concerned.

Number 42 "Right Type Of Mood" by Herbie
Peak: number 10
In theory, I should like this only hit for Herbert Crichlow, given it was co-written by Max Martin, and produced by the future Swedish hit machine and Denniz PoP (who'd been behind hits by Ace Of Base and Dr Alban, and would work with Max until his untimely death in 1998). But with a vocal that sounds like Shaggy shouting over a particularly aggressive Eurodance accompaniment, it was not for me. Herbie redeemed himself in my eyes by going on to be responsible for some rather fine pop efforts as a songwriter, contributing to hits by Robyn, Five and Backstreet Boys, among others.

Number 37 "Alice, Who The F..k Is Alice?" by The Steppers
Peak: number 2
In a week where there is some tough competition for worst new entry, this abomination takes the prize. First recorded by New World in 1975 before being made famous by Smokie the next year, "Living Next Door To Alice" gained its crowd participation "Alice, who the fuck is Alice?" line in a version by Dutch band Gompie (whose release we'll see miss the top 50 in due course). The Steppers, about whom I know nothing, whacked a dirty big dance beat onto the concept and raced into the top 2, proving that Australia's traditional resistance to dance music had completely disappeared by 1995. In the UK, Smokie had the last laugh, with their new version featuring comedian Roy "Chubby" Brown reaching number 3 and triumphing over Gompie's single. Almost needless to say, this was The Steppers' only hit.

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

Next week: another chart-topping hit from the Batman Forever soundtrack (which thankfully kept The Steppers from reaching the top), plus a female singer follows up her recent number 1 single.

Back to: Jul 16, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 30, 1995

Monday, 20 July 2020

This Week In 1980: July 20, 1980

Sometimes a great soundtrack single can do wonders for an average film - especially in the '80s when movie songs were big business and convinced plenty of people that if they loved the song, chances are they'd love the film, too. Of course, that wasn't always the case.

The film might have been ridiculous but the Xanadu soundtrack was magic

This week in 1980, the first single from a pretty amazing soundtrack album arrived on the Australian singles chart on its way to the top 5. But I can't say I've ever sat through the entire film, which has a certain cult status but a dire Rotten Tomatoes rating.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending July 20, 1980

A great song from another iffy film remained at number 1 this week in 1980. "Can't Stop The Music" by Village People stayed on top for a second week.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "I've Only Said "I Love You" In My Mind" by Julie Anthony
Peak: number 84
Best known for giving the best ever performance of the Australian national anthem, musical theatre star Julie Anthony made her top 100 debut with this dramatic ballad.

Number 91 "Cathy's Clown" by The Tarney/Spencer Band
Peak: number 86
Duo Alan Tarney and Trevor Spencer might not have had much success with their cover of The Everly Brothers song, but the former would do better as the producer of a string of hits by Cliff Richard and a-ha in the coming decade.

New Entries
Number 48 "In Your Car" by The Dugites
Peak: number 34
Their self-financed debut release, "Hit Single", hadn't lived up to its name, but after signing a record deal with Deluxe/RCA, Perth new wave band The Dugites cracked the top 40 with the follow-up, the jaunty "In Your Car". I'm a fan of The Dugites - particularly "Cut The Talking" and "Juno And Me" - but I find "In Your Car" a little too cutesy, like a cross between The B-52's and The Wiggles. And the word "car" gets used way too many times. Still, without this, we may not have got those later releases.

Number 41 "Steal Away" by Robbie Dupree
Peak: number 24
Slotting nicely into the soft rock sound perfected by singers like Rupert Holmes, Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross, newcomer Robbie Dupree reached the Billboard Hot 100 on his first attempt with debut single "Steal Away". The type of cruisy, breezy tune that led to the coining of the term "yacht rock" decades later, it also reached the Australian top 30, but would be his only hit locally.

Number 35 "Magic" by Olivia Newton-John
Peak: number 4
Olivia Newton-John was everywhere in mid-1980. She already had two singles on the top 100 - one duet with Andy Gibb and her belatedly successful cover of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" - and made it three with this brand new solo track, which bounded up from number 55 the week before. ONJ was also about to be back in cinemas with her latest big screen project, Xanadu, which featured "Magic" on its soundtrack. And while I don't think I've ever seen all of Xanadu, I was certainly into the accompanying music. Written and produced by her long-time friend and collaborator John Farrar, "Magic" returned Olivia to the Australian top 10 for the first time since 1978's "A Little More Love" and had a similar soft rock-meets-disco feel. And while the critical and commercial failure of Xanadu partly inspired the Golden Raspberry Awards - director Robert Greenwald won the inaugural Worst Director Award - the soundtrack would yield a few more hits.

Listen to this week's new entries - except Olivia Newton-John (seriously, someone needs to sort out her streaming presence) - on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: another song from Xanadu enters the chart, plus the top 50 debut of an American rock chick and the (first) comeback of an Australian household name.

Back to: Jul 13, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 27, 1980

Thursday, 16 July 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: July 16, 1995

I'm sure I've written before about the proliferation of vocal harmony groups in the mid-'90s, but you need look no further than the new entries on the ARIA top 50 this week in 1995 for proof I wasn't making it up.

MN8 and Kulcha gave Boyz II Men a run for their vocal harmony money 

Three different R&B quartets - one American, one British and one Australian - all entered the singles chart with new tunes, although none of them got any further than the 30s. Was the trend overexposed?

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 16, 1995

Still at number 1 this week in 1995 after their high-flying debut last week were U2, with soundtrack single "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me" staying put.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Hold On" by Jamie Walters
Peak: number 76
With the demise of The Heights, the TV band's singer moved on to another Aaron Spelling soap, playing Donna's domestically violent boyfriend, Ray. This was his debut solo single.

Number 98 "High & Dry" / "Planet Telex" by Radiohead
Peak: number 62
This double A-side release was the biggest hit from the British band's second album, The Bends. Three more singles - including their first UK top 5, "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" - missed the top 100.

Number 97 "Best Friend" by Adam Reily
Peak: number 76
A decade before he was the go-to guy to write and produce singles by Australian Idol winners and runners-up, a 22-year-old Adam Reily (then the host of Channel 9 video game show The Zone) had no luck with his own singing career. 

Number 84 "Hold My Body Tight" by East 17
Peak: number 73
After eight top 20 hits, East 17's latest made a suprisingly low bow on the chart. In all fairness, it was the fifth single from the Steam album.

New Entries
Number 48 "Water Runs Dry" by Boyz II Men
Peak: number 36
After their side-trip out of Balladsville with "Thank You", Boyz II Men were firmly back in more regular territory with the fourth single from II. Written and produced by Babyface, "Water Runs Dry" also put them back near the top of the US chart, reaching number 2 - their seventh top 3 hit there up until that point. In Australia, they had to make do with just making it into the top 40... for now.

Number 43 "Everytime You Go Away" by Kulcha
Peak: number 35
After four top 30 hits from their self-titled debut album, Kulcha had established themselves as Australia's premier vocal harmony group (although CDB were hot on their heels). So it's a little surprising this cover of the Hall & Oates ballad made famous by Paul Young didn't do better. Not included on the original release of Kulcha, "Everytime You Go Away" was one of three new songs added to a revised track-listing of the album - and even though it's not one of my favourite songs (either in Paul's hit version or this remake), I would have thought the recognition factor alone might have helped its chances.

Number 38 "If You Only Let Me In" by MN8
Peak: number 30
Surpassing both Boyz II Men and Kulcha were Brit boy band MN8 with the follow-up to "I"ve Got A Little Something For You", which fell out of the top 20 this week. Less of a new jack swing clone than its predecessor, "If You Only Let Me In" came from the British R&B style that I favoured (see also: First Avenue label-mates Eternal, Michelle Gayle), and was co-written by Conner Reeves (whose debut as a singer a couple of years later I also enjoyed) and Arthur Baker.

Number 34 "Lightning Crashes" by Live
Peak: number 13
And just like that, our trip down R&B memory lane comes to a - wait for it - crashing halt with the week's highest new entry. After two singles from Throwing Copper that just crept into the top 50 ("Selling The Drama") and top 100 ("I Alone"), Live finally kicked into gear in Australia with the album's third release, which would end up as their biggest hit of all on the ARIA chart. Dedicated to a friend of the band who died in a car crash around the time "Lightning Crashes" was written and was an organ donor, the song's circle of life theme was depicted in the accompanying music video. Also this week, Throwing Copper took flight, leaping up 21 places to number 5 as part of a massive 119-week (non-consecutive) run in the top 50 that didn't end until September 1997.

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

Next week: a batch of dreadful dance tracks, including a horrendous, crowd participation version of an old rock tune.

Back to: Jul 9, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 23, 1995

Monday, 13 July 2020

This Week In 1980: July 13, 1980

As much as I love pure pop, synthpop, R&B and dance music, I also have plenty of time for pop/rock groups. That was especially the case in the '80s, with everyone from Toto to Huey Lewis And The News and Hoodoo Gurus to Boom Crash Opera finding my favour.

The Romantics gave getting to number 1 a red hot go

This week in 1980, a power pop band that ticked all the right boxes for me musically arrived on the Australian singles chart with a song that almost went all the way to number 1.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending Jul 13, 1980

The number 1 song this week in 1980 was "Can't Stop The Music" by Village People, which set up camp (sorry!) on top for four weeks.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Kid" by The Pretenders
Peak: number 90
"Brass In Pocket" was proving to be one of the year's most enduring hits, but Australians weren't so keen on this single, which had been released before "Brass..." in the UK and came with an even earlier single, "Stop Your Sobbing", on the B-side.

Number 98 "Tired Of Hiding / Happy I'm With Her" by The Clones
Peak: number 84
This was the only single by Sydney power pop band The Clones, whose history is amusingly detailed here.

Number 91 "My Friend Jack" by Boney M
Peak: number 81
They'd reached the top 10 five times in the late '70s (topping the chart twice), but the good times were over for Boney M, with this single from compilation The Magic Of Boney M ending up as their final non-megamix top 100 appearance.

New Entries
Number 50 "It's Hard To Be Humble" by Mac Davis
Peak: number 9
I am incredibly thankful that, despite the fact that this song reached the top 10, I have not had the misfortune of listening to "It's Hard To Be Humble" until now. Combining two of my least favourite things - comedy records and old school country music - the song was a self-deprecating account of what it's like to be famous. And Mac was reasonably well known, having reached number 2 in Australia with 1972's "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" and enjoyed a series of successful tracks in the US. As a songwriter, he'd also been responsible for writing (or co-writing) a handful of later Elvis Presley hits, including "A Little Less Conversation". So credit where it is due - just don't ask me to listen to this song again.

Number 48 "What I Like About You" by The Romantics
Peak: number 2
Blending throwback pop/rock influences and new wave style, Detroit band The Romantics only enjoyed a minor hit in the US with their breakthrough single, "What I Like About You", but almost topped the Australian chart with the sub-three-minute song. The instantly catchy track was sung by drummer Jimmy Marinos - one of two lead vocalists in the band - and bizarrely was The Romantics' only hit in Australia until 1984's "Talking In Your Sleep", despite follow-up "When I Look In Your Eyes" being another great tune. Those three songs were quality enough for The Romantics to be among my favourite US bands of the decade.

Number 43 "She's Out Of My Life" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 17
With the title track of his current album having fizzled out locally, Australia moved on quickly with the fourth single from Off The Wall - a major departure from the three disco-flavoured tracks lifted so far. A tearjerking - literally - ballad, "She's Out Of My Life" was presented to Michael Jackson by producer Quincy Jones, who'd at one point considered getting Frank Sinatra to record it. The ultra-slow breakup ballad succeeded in returning Michael to the top 20 and would be the final single released from Off The Wall in Australia, although "Girlfriend" was issued in a couple of other countries. 

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

Next week: Australia's sweetheart scores another hit just two weeks after her last top 50 single arrived - but this one is a much bigger deal.

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