Wednesday, 29 May 2013

30 Years Ago This Week: May 29, 1988

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

Music and controversy often go hand in hand, and this week in 1988 saw the arrival on the ARIA chart of Sinéad O'Connor, a female artist who'd rival Madonna for headline-grabbing antics in years to come.

She looked angelic in 1988, but who knew what Sinéad O'Connor had in store?

Also this week: the return of a man who'd once released a song called "Controversy" and would court it over the next few years with racy lyrics and unpredictable career choices. Little did anyone know at the time, but Prince and Sinéad would go on to have much more in common in years to come, but for now, their only link was debuting new songs in the same week.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 29, 1988

At number 1 this week in 1988, Billy Ocean spent his fifth and final week on top with "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car". What took over? Find out next week.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "Paid In Full" by Eric B & Rakim
Peak: number 78
Thanks to a remix by Coldcut which added a stack of samples to an already sample-heavy track, this became the biggest global hit for the hip-hop duo comprised of Eric Barrier (the DJ) and William Griffin Jr (the rapper).

Number 94 "Everything Your Heart Desires" by Daryl Hall & John Oates
Peak: number 75
Back with their first new music in three-and-a-half years - and a new record company - Hall & Oates scored one last US top 10 hit, but didn't ignite the same interest locally.

Number 92 "Don't Make A Fool Of Yourself" by Stacey Q
Peak: number 73
She'd managed a pair of number 7s from her debut album, but this tepid lead single from Stacey Q's second LP, Hard Machine, became her second song to peak in the 70s. 

Number 88 "Magpies Expect To Win" by Port Adelaide Football Club
Peak: number 80
I didn't think this would be on YouTube, but I guess I underestimated fans of AFL - although at this point, Port Adelaide played in the SANFL and, just as expected, won that year's season. And yes, the song is terrible.


Breaker
"Love Is Stronger Than Pride" by Sade
Peak: number 56
First up this week, a female artist (OK, technically, they're a band, but can anyone name any member other than Sade?) who's about as uncontroversial as you can get. Sade had provided dinner parties around the world with a soothing soundtrack thanks to the albums Diamond Life and Promise in 1984 and 1985 (which both went top 10 here). In 1988, she/they returned with album number three, Stronger Than Pride. This first single didn't reach the top 50, but, "Smooth Operator" aside, Sade had always been more of an albums act in Australia. In fact, it wouldn't be until 1993, that Sade would get anywhere near the number 20 peak of their best known song again.




New Entries
Number 50 "Mandinka" by Sinéad O'Connor
Peak: number 39
From the song's weird title (named after an African tribe) to Sinéad's unique vocal delivery, "Mandinka" was like nothing else on the chart in 1988. And, although the track from her debut album, The Lion And The Cobra, only just scraped into the top 40, it made enough of an impact to get people excited about the Irish singer. Naturally, her appearance - in the image-obsessed '80s - was also a talking point, but having a buzz cut would be the least of the things for which Sinéad would become known.




Number 49 "If You Let Me Stay" by Terence Trent D'Arby
Peak: number 36
Finally, TTD's debut single - and my favourite track from Introducing The Hardline... - cracked the Australian top 50. A failure on these shores first time round, the subsequent success of "Wishing Well" and "Sign Your Name" gave "If You Let Me Stay" the boost it needed, even if it couldn't become as big a hit as those two songs.




Number 47 "Alphabet St." by Prince
Peak: number 20
Possibly the most controversial thing about Prince's 1988 album, Lovesexy, was that the end of one song ran into the beginning of the next, resulting in a continuous mix and, on CD versions of the album, a single track. That sort of nonsense is a real pet hate of mine (together with hidden tracks) but I did like this first single lifted from the album. Coming in at just under two and a half minutes, the 7" edit of "Alphabet St." was great for sticking on the end of mix tapes when you didn't have quite enough room for any other song. And, it gave Prince another top 20 hit.




Number 38 "Heart" by Pet Shop Boys
Peak: number 18
After a brief excursion away from Actually with "Always On My Mind", PSB plucked another single from their second studio album, gave it a bit of a remix, got Ian McKellen to appear in the music video as a vampire and, hey presto!, landed themselves another UK chart-topper. "Heart" wasn't quite as big here - and would be the duo's last top 20 hit in Australia for three years. 




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





Next week: new songs from four acts who'd been dominating music in recent months. Plus, an underrated Australian band returned to the top 50.


Back to: May 22, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 5, 1988


3 comments:

  1. Fun fact: Pet Shop Boys wrote "Heart" for Madonna, but were too fearful of rejection to submit it to her, so they recorded it themselves. It wasn't until 2005 when they remixed "Sorry" for her that they finally got to work with her. Their version of "Heart" is fantastic (along with much of their 80s output).

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    1. They also considered offering it to Hazell Dean, who probably would've done a good version of it.

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  2. I was expecting 'Paid In Full' to launch into Harry Enfield's 'Loadsamoney' with that intro; I'm too used to the latter, now.

    I remember 'Everything Your Heart Desires' from American Top 40. It might have sounded a bit too 'American' to take off locally in 1988?

    I didn't hear the Stacey Q song until 2007. It's a pity it wasn't a bigger hit.

    I didn't know the Sade song then, either. While it's 'nice', it's hardly her most memorable track.

    'Mandinka' made its way onto Hit Pix '88 Volume 2, which helped to keep it in my memory. Good song, though I've no idea what it's about.

    'If You Let Me Stay' may be my favourite Terence Trent D'Arby song I know. Also helping it is the fact it was not overplayed like some of the other singles from this album.

    I remember standing behind a pair of young women (or late teens) in the music section of my local K-Mart discussing the artwork for the 'Lovesexy' cassette album. One of them commented that they had strategically placed the price tag over his naughty bits. I didn't notice that Arrested Development sampled 'Tennessee' from this until recently.

    I liked 'Heart' a lot, and found the video quite striking and unique... if not a little creepy.

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