Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Best Of 1988 - part 1

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1


1988 is possibly my favourite year of all for music. My favourite song from the 1980s came out in that year, and there was an endless stream of pop classics released throughout those 12 months. Plus, since I'd discovered that there was much more to music than only those songs that made it onto the ARIA Top 50, I started to be introduced to artists and styles of music that weren't widely popular in Australia.

Watch out, Sabrina, your nipples are almost covered!

Since it's my favourite year for the '80s, it's only fair that I cover 1988 as thoroughly as I did 1987, and so each of the four parts in this series of posts will cover 25 songs each. Yep, I'll be counting through my top 100 - but, since some songs have popped up elsewhere in this blog already and there are quite a few artists with multiple entries, I won't go in-depth on every song. Ready?


Number 100 "Groove" by Eurogliders
It was their last big hit on the ARIA chart when it was released as the lead single from their fourth album of the same name, and so too was "Groove" the last time Eurogliders featured on one of my year-end charts. A last hurrah for the Perth band who split by the end of the decade.




Number 99 "Turn Around And Count 2 Ten" by Dead Or Alive
They may have parted ways with producers Stock Aitken Waterman, but Pete Burns and co. still knew their way around a blistering hi-NRG romp, as evidenced by this first single from the then-upcoming Nude album. As with their previous couple of singles, "Turn Around And Count 2 Ten" actually did much better in Australia (where it reached number 30) than in the UK (where it struggled to number 70).




Number 98 "Foolish Beat' by Debbie Gibson
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 97 "Sign Your Name" by Terence Trent D'Arby
The biggest single from his Introducing The Hardline album, "Sign Your Name" reached number 3 in Australia - but it would be another five years before Terence returned to the top 10 with 1993's "She Kissed Me".Two years later after that final hit, as his recording career was crumbling, Terence (whose birth surname was Howard and who took D'Arby from his stepfather) changed his name to Sananda Maitreya, the name he retains today.




Number 96 "If I Could" by 1927
As perfect a pop/rock ballad as you could ever hope for, "If I Could" turned 1927 from an up-and-coming band into one of 1988's hottest musical properties in Australia and propelled the ...ish album to become one of the decade's highest-selling albums locally. Listening to the song now, it sounds a little bit wet, especially when compared to songwriter Garry Frost's other big number 1 ballad, "What About Me?" by his former band, Moving Pictures. However, at the time, its innocent sentimentality and the fresh-faced appeal of singer Eric Weideman combined to make it a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. I saw a reformed 1927 play live a couple of years ago and when they finally unleashed "If I Could", the entire audience - and it was quite a mixed crowd - knew every single word. 




Number 95 "Tears Run Rings" by Marc Almond
Aside from "Tainted Love", which featured in my 1981 countdown, I hadn't liked any other other Soft Cell tracks, and even though singer Marc had been releasing solo albums for years, it took until this lead single from his The Stars We Are album for something to finally connect with me. Not really a big hit in the UK (it got to number 26) and a complete non-event in Australia, "Tears Run Rings" is a bouncy little pop song - but the much more melodramatic "Something's Got A Hold Of My Heart" would be the song that would put his solo career on the map in 1989.




Number 94 "Baby Baby" by Eighth Wonder
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 93 "Alphabet St." by Prince
While 1987's Sign O' The Times had been led by the topical single of the same name, Prince's 1988 album, Lovesexy, had a much more fun first release. At just under two and a half minutes in its 7" version, "Alphabet St." was short and sweet - and for me, it was Prince's best single since 1985's "Raspberry Beret".




Number 92 "Turn It Into Love" by Hazell Dean
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 91 "Nothing Can Divide Us" by Jason Donovan
Anything Kylie can do... Actually, Jason's solo career didn't get off to as flying a start as his Neighbours girlfriend's had, with this debut single only reaching number 3 in Australia. That said, aside from "Especially For You", it was his highest charting single in this country. However, in the UK, where he went on to have 1989's highest-selling album, the SAW-produced track only got to number 5. Bigger things were around the corner for him in Britain, but Australia would soon be indifferent to Jason's musical efforts.




Number 90 "There's A Brand New World" by Five Star
We saw them in my 1987 countdown, but by 1988, it was going downhill quickly for the British five-piece, with this third single from the Rock The World album failing to make the UK top 40 altogether. As suggested by the album's title, the Pearson siblings tried to inject a little bit of rock (i.e. they wore leather jackets and had the odd guitar solo in their songs) into their music, and were clearly taking their cues from both Janet and Michael Jackson.




Number 89 "Boys (Summertime Love)" by Sabrina
The first of two songs by Italian star Sabrina Salerno in my top 100 (and a third is just outside), "Boys (Summertime Love)" was her biggest hit, with its bouncy poolside romp of a music video titilating teenage boys and dirty old men the world over. Sabrina's voice wasn't up to much, but on this track, and subsequent singles "Sexy Girl" and the SAW-produced "All Of My (Boy Oh Boy)", it hardly mattered since the Europop hits were really only meant to be a bit of fun. And fun they were, right down to the cheesy lyrics, tacky single covers and soft porn videos that made Samantha Fox look positively tame. You gotta love the '80s!




Number 88 "Teardrops" by Womack & Womack
Spending four agonising weeks at number 2 in Australia was this song by husband and wife duo Cecil and Linda Womack. Linda was the daughter of soul legend Sam Cooke, while Cecil had previously been married to "My Guy" singer Mary Wells. In fact, it turns out the Wells, Womacks and Cookes had a complicated romance history the likes of which you'd normally see on a daytime soap opera. Inter-marrying aside, "Teardrops" became the first (and biggest) hit for Womack & Womack after five years of trying and would be followed up by the less successful "Celebrate The World". At the time, I wasn't an immediate fan of "Teardrops", but I liked it a hell of a lot more than the songs that kept if from the number 1 spot in Australia: The Beach Boys' "Kokomo" and then The Proclaimers' "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".




Number 87 "Heart Of Gold" by Johnny Hates Jazz
With the fifth of six singles from their debut album is the British group who scored a trans-Atlantic top 5 smash with "Shattered Dreams". This song was my next favourite of theirs but could only sneak to a number 87 peak in Australia.




Number 86 "Weekend" Todd Terry Project featuring Class Action
While pop flourished in 1988, it wouldn't be long before house music would take over and faceless dance acts and DJ-led groups would flood the charts. Producer and DJ Todd Terry was one of the first to make an impact on the scene and although his big UK hit for the year was "Can You Party" under the name Royal House, it's this track that I prefer. In the mid-'90s, Todd would return to the spotlight with his landmark remix of Everything But The Girl's "Missing" as well as his own garage hits, "Something Goin' On" and "Keep On Jumpin'" with Martha Wash and Jocelyn Brown on vocals.




Number 85 "Drop The Boy" by Bros
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 84 "Success" by Sigue Sigue Sputnik
Previously featured here

Number 83 "Sexy Girl" by Sabrina
Mentioned above

Number 82 "I Don't Want Your Love" by Duran Duran
Gone were the days when Duran Duran were guaranteed a top 5 hit in Australia, and even though this song was the lead single from a new album (Big Thing), it could only reach number 23 nationally. By now settled into life as a trio (with Roger and Andy Taylor having quit the band prior to 1986's Notorious), Duran Duran were determined to break out of the teen heart-throb mould - and they did, with acts like Bros happily taking their place on bedroom walls and in the upper reaches of the chart.




Number 81 "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" by Whitney Houston
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 80 "Mercedes Boy" by Pebbles
One-time wife of LA Reid, the woman who brought the world TLC and cousin of R&B artist Cherrelle, Perri McKissack (you can see why she went by Pebbles) made a huge splash in the States in 1988 with her debut single, "Girlfriend", and this follow-up, which hit number 2 over there. One of a few car-themed hits from the time ("Pink Cadillac", "GTO", "Get Into My Dreams, Get Into My Car" were others), "Mercedes Boy" was written by the singer herself, who married her producer just as he and Babyface were getting their LaFace label off the ground.




Number 79 "Make Me Lose Control" by Eric Carmen
Eric Carmen had featured on the unstoppable Dirty Dancing soundtrack with "Hungry Eyes" (which is just outside my top 100), a song which gave his career a much-needed boost when it returned him to the top 10 for the first time since the mid-'70s, when "All By Myself" got to number 7. Wasting no time, he followed that up with retro homage "Make Me Lose Control", which became another massive hit. The comeback was short-lived, however, and Eric pretty much vanished off the face of the earth soon after.




Number 78 "The Blood That Moves The Body" by a-ha
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 77 "New Sensation" by INXS
Global stars in 1988, INXS mined the Kick album for singles, with even songs like "Mystify" (my favourite from the album) and the title track getting a run on charts around the world. "New Sensation" was the third single released and reached number 9 in Australia.




Number 76 "I Say Nothing" by Voice Of The Beehive
Featuring Woody and Bedders from Madness, and fronted by singing sisters Tracey Bryn and Melissa Brooke Belland, Voice Of The Beehive would eventually have a big Australian hit with their cover of "I Think I Love You" in 1992, but in 1988 they released the criminally underappreciated singles "Don't Call Me Baby" (which struggled to number 48 here) and "I Say Nothing", which is about as infectiously happy as a song can be.




In Part 2, some more homegrown tracks, a new vampy blonde bombshell and the most notorious group of the late '80s.


MY YEAR-END CHARTS
1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016 II 2017 II 2018 II 2019


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