Thursday, 28 February 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: February 28, 1988

Over the past few months, as I've been taking a look back at the ARIA charts from 25 years ago, I've stumbled across a handful of songs that would otherwise have remained lost to me.

Cher found chart success once again 25 years ago this week

Singles that I'd forgotten even existed (like last week's new entry by Eurythmics) as well as songs I never heard much of at the time (like Geisha's "Calling Your Name" and The Silencers' "Painted Moon"), which have all now been added to my iTunes library. This week, we have two more obscure songs to remember (one of which I own, the other I'm not that fussed about) before we get into the new entries.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending February 28, 1988

Speaking of the top 50 debuts - it was a stellar week for new songs, with all four going on to reach the top 10. Meanwhile, "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" held on to the number 1 position for a fourth straight week - but Kylie Minogue's "I Should Be So Lucky" was closing in, jumping from 10 to 3.

Single Of The Week
"Pop Goes The World" by Men Without Hats
Peak: number 66
Four-and-a-half years is a long time in pop music - and in February 1988, it had been that long since Men Without Hats had taught the world how to do "The Safety Dance" (a number 5 hit in Australia). Returning with what would become their second best known song, which I've always thought sounds like it was recorded on a kids' Casio keyboard, the Canadian synthpop band found a reasonably receptive audience in the US and some parts of Europe, but not in Australia.

"Have A Little Faith In Me" by John Hiatt
Peak: number 61
In the late '80s, there always seemed to be some husky-voiced male singer or other on the scene. From Joe Cocker to Chris Rea to this guy, who never really made a massive impact on the chart but is one of those artists other performers cite as a huge influence on them. Even Mandy Moore, who remade this song for her Coverage album. "Have A Little Faith In Me" fell short of the top 60 in Australia, but it's one of those songs that has hung around on the periphery ever since - popping up in films and on classic radio stations.

New Entries
Number 42 "Hazy Shade Of Winter" by The Bangles
Peak: number 7
The previous couple of years had been kind to Susannah, Vicki, Debbi and Michael - thanks to "Walk Like An Egyptian" and "Manic Monday", the girl band was one of the biggest acts in the world. The group's members, however, were not being so kind to each other, with in-fighting and jealousy rife as a result of Susannah being portrayed by the media as The Bangles' lead singer. This cover of the Simon & Garfunkel 1966 song was recorded for the soundtrack to Less Than Zero and stormed into the top 10 in Australia. I realised just now that I'd never actually heard the original and so I fired it up on YouTube. The Bangles version has a much harder edge and thankfully lacks the "Oh, Pretty Woman"-style bass line.

Number 33 "I Found Someone" by Cher
Peak: number 8
This future top 10 hit featured in my list of favourite songs from 1987 (as usual, Australia was a bit slow on the uptake) and I wrote about it quite thoroughly when I counted down my top 100 for 1987. What I didn't mention at the time was that it was Cher's only hit from her self-titled comeback album, with follow-up single "We All Sleep Alone" (co-written and co-produced by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora) not hitting the top 50 locally. Another single lifted from Cher was the radical new version of her 1966 hit, "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)". The new "Bang-Bang" (as it was renamed) also didn't chart in Australia.

Number 31 "Always On My Mind" by Pet Shop Boys
Peak: number 10
Just missing out on being my favourite PSB single of all time - that title belongs to "It's A Sin" - this new version of the Elvis Presley classic was the UK Christmas number 1 for 1987 and would find its way to number 10 in Australia. Although the pop duo hadn't quite finished releasing singles from their Actually album - "Heart" would come later in 1988 - "Always On My Mind" wasn't added to that LP's tracklisting. These days, a "deluxe" edition would be rushed out. In fact, the song wouldn't appear in its 7" form on a PSB album until 1991's greatest hits collection, Discography. Since I didn't buy the single at the time, it was a long wait for me to finally own it.

Number 25 "Devil Inside" by INXS
Peak: number 6
INXS were really on a roll at this point, with this second single from Kick beating its Australian chart peak by getting to number 2 in the US. So big had they become in the States that the clip was even directed by in-demand St Elmo's Fire and The Lost Boys director Joel Schumacher. "Devil Inside" is actually my least favourite of the Kick singles (my favourite, "Mystify", wasn't even released in Australia) but there was no doubt it was the sound of a band at the top of their game.

Next week: another hit from Dirty Dancing, plus the arrival of new solo hits from lead singers of two well-known '80s bands.

Back to: Feb 21, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 6, 1988

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