Wednesday, 24 April 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: April 24, 1988

If you're a regular reader (there are a couple of you, right?), you'll know I'm a big fan of UK music and the UK charts in general - and the four songs we'll look back at this week were all massive hits in Great Britain. The same wasn't the case in Australia, with only one of the four reaching our top 10.

Taylor Dayne's dress provided easy access for
anyone wanting to take her up on her offer

It always struck me as pretty random which British hits made it big in Australia and which didn't. Even though it's likely there are logical reasons behind what was and wasn't successful locally (radio and TV airplay, and whether the act in question could be bothered coming to the other side of the world for a promotional visit, for example), it did seem a bit more haphazard than that... as we'll see this week.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending April 24, 1988

At number 1 this week 25 years ago, Kylie Minogue was coming to the end of her run at the top with "I Should Be So Lucky", which spent its sixth and final week at the summit.

Single Of The Week
"Beat Dis" by Bomb The Bass
Record company BMG made good use of their turn in the Single Of The Week slot promoting not one but two UK dance hits. While "Rok Da House" by Beatmasters featuring Cookie Crew would eventually crack the top 50 (and will rate a mention on this blog when it does), the debut single by Tim Simenon's project Bomb The Bass did not. In fact, the former UK number 2 hit performed dismally here, not reaching the ARIA top 100 (although it peaked at number 91 on the AMR in July). It was a surprising failure given Australians weren't opposed to sample-heavy dance music, as evidenced by "Pump Up The Volume" spending its 18th week in the top 50. Just another of those random chart anomalies I was talking about at the start.

"China In Your Hand" by T'Pau
Peak: number 53
Here's another situation where Australia broke ranks with the UK. T'Pau's debut single, "Heart And Soul", had been a hit in Britain (number 4) and in Australia (number 18).  Second single "China In Your Hand" did even better back home, spending five weeks at number 1. In Australia, it didn't get any further than number 53 and the group led by Carol Decker never saw the inside of the top 50 here again. Although I much prefer "Heart And Soul", it's a shame "China In Your Hand" didn't reach a wider audience in Australia, since it's a great '80s power ballad, the likes of which they just don't make anymore.

New Entries
Number 49 "Sweet Little Mystery" by Wet Wet Wet
Peak: number 33
In the '90s they would become known - and hated - for their long-running chart-topper, "Love Is All Around", but in 1988, British four-piece Wet Wet Wet were much more fun. Lumped in (to their annoyance) with the likes of Brother Beyond and Bros, the Wets did a fine line in breezy pop tunes like this track. In the UK, "Sweet Little Mystery" was one of four big singles from debut album Popped In Souled Out, but Australians wouldn't give the group another hit until "Sweet Surrender" eventually charted in 1990, six months after it was originally released. By that stage, much of the fun had been wrung out of the group, who seemed to want to be taken more seriously by that point.

Number 41 "Tell It To My Heart" by Taylor Dayne
Peak: number 10
Our second and final new entry for this week comes courtesy of the singer born Leslie Wunderman. While Taylor Dayne has a much better ring to it overall, Wunderman is still a pretty awesome surname - shame it went to waste. A top 10 smash in the US and UK, Taylor's debut single repeated the feat here. It would be the first of a number of appearances Taylor would make on our chart over the next few years. These days, she makes regular appearances in small venues around the country on live concert tours of Australia. I'll have to check her out one of these days.

Next week: one of the best music videos of 1988 - for 13-year-old boys, that is. Plus, one of my most hated artists released their first solo single.

Back to: Apr 17, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 1, 1988


  1. Andy - troubled late 80s teen23 May 2013 at 22:00

    Living now in London, T'Pau's China in Your Hand is played VERY regularly on the most popular mainstream commercial radio stations (whose typical target markets are female and aged 35 to 55). I was aware of it back in 1988 but as it didn't break into the Top 50 in Aust, I never saw it on Rage and so never heard it until 20 years later.

    Yes it was slightly random why some charted so well in UK but not in Aust. Radio was very conservative in Aust at the time - soft rock and nothing else, certainly anything dance-related was viewed with a lot of suspicion. I think the radio execs, worried about advertising money, actually totally misunderstood their audiences. The interesting thing was many of the most successful groups of the time - Bananarama, for example, were successful despite receiving no airplay.

    1. Very conservative! It was a wonder any pop or dance stuff made the top 50 at all.