Thursday, 17 January 2013

This Week In 1988: January 17, 1988

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.

As I sit down to write this post, I've just returned home after seeing The Killers in concert at The Metro in Sydney. If you don't include boy bands and girl groups, they're my favourite group of the '00s (if you do, they're in fourth place) so it was a night full of some of my favourite songs from recent years.

Richard Coles and Jimmy Somerville flew the flag for camp cover versions

This week in 1988, four bands I liked to one extent or another entered the top 50 with their latest singles - three of which were among my favourite songs at the time.

ARIA Singles Chart - week ending January 17, 1988

The four singles all debuted in the bottom 10 songs of the chart. Meanwhile, at the other end of the top 50, Rick Astley looked like he was never gonna give up the top spot, but it would turn out to be his final week at number 1.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "I Don't Want To Be A Hero" by Johnny Hates Jazz
Peak: number 76
In the UK and US, this anti-war-themed follow-up to "Shattered Dreams" was another hit for the sophisti-pop trio, but the single didn't receive a hero's welcome in Australia.

New Entries
Number 50 "Never Can Say Goodbye" by Communards
Peak: number 13
I've always been amazed at just how high Jimmy Somerville could sing. He put his trademark falsetto to good use on this Jackson 5 / Gloria Gaynor cover version which was among my favourite songs for 1987. This would be the last time we'd see the British duo in the Australian chart - and, despite a lengthy and at times quite successful solo career back home after Communards disbanded, Jimmy never managed to make it back into our top 50. 

Number 48 "Love Me Tender" by Mental As Anything
Peak: number 34
To my mind, this was the beginning of the end for the Mentals. Together with their cover of "Rock 'n' Roll Music" from the end of the year, the decision to release this Elvis Presley remake suggested the band had run out of creative steam. After a final trip to the top 5 with "Rock 'n' Roll Music", they never enjoyed a big hit again and their subsequent albums also bombed. These days, a version of the band continues to tour, but only Martin Plaza and Greedy Smith are still left from the original line-up.

Number 45 "Welcome To The World" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 41
There were so many great songs on Noisework's self-titled debut album, but the band sure was struggling to turn them into hits. So far, only "Take Me Back" had cracked the upper reaches of the chart, climbing to number 7, while "No Lies" (number 31), "Love Somebody" (number 50) and this track all faltered. A fifth single, "Burning Feeling", would fare even worse, missing the top 50 altogether. The band would score that elusive second smash hit later in the year with the first release from their second LP, but for now they had to make do with healthy album sales - not that bad a situation to be in, all things considered.

Number 42 "New Groove" by Rockmelons
Peak: number 21
Here's another song that was among my favourites for 1987 (it was released at the very end of that year). Like Noiseworks, Rockmelons spent 1988 in search of a top 10 hit, and while "New Groove" would improve on the performance of "Rhymes", it would be their most successful track of the year. The funk/dance group would try their luck with another four songs from the Tales Of The City album (which came out in May) but it'd be a three-year wait until their big singles breakthrough, with their cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" featuring Deni Hines on vocals in late 1991.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:

Next week: seven new entries, including two songs with exactly the same title. Before that, we spent 2012 looking back at my favourite songs from each year of the 1980s - so get set to revisit my top 100 songs from 1990, kicking off in a couple of days.

Back to: Jan 10, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 24, 1988


  1. As this was before I got into charts, I didn't know at the time that all of the non-'Take Me Back' singles from Noiseworks' debut album had, essentially, been flops... which is quite surprising. I remember catching 'Welcome To the World' either on Cartoon Connection or as a filler video between TV programs.

    'New Groove' (which I thought was saying "there's a new CREW in the neighbourhood" at the time - though them sounding so good doesn't really make sense) appeared on the 'Celebrate '88' various artists compilation album released in late '87... so they must have been desperate to fill the album up, including not-yet hits (there are several others on it that didn't go on to become hits). The "hi-ya" backing vocals are the highlight for me.

  2. The Johnny Hates Jazz song reminds me strongly of Kavana's 1997 cover version of the Shalamar song "I Can Make You Feel Good". Their lead vocalist Clark Datchler has a good voice, but none of their other singles got any airplay here.