Wednesday, 26 June 2013

This Week In 1988: June 26, 1988

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

This week in 1988, it was a time of great change for the ARIA chart. After years of using the data compiled by the Kent Music Report (which later became known as the Australian Music Report), ARIA took their chart compiling in-house and a new era was born.

Crowded House were soon back at home at the top of the charts in 1988

To mark the occasion, the weekly chart printout was given a makeover - and a fancy new logo and cleaner font were revealed. Pretty, right?

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending June 26, 1988

The Australian Music Report continued for another decade, and confusion about what chart position songs reached in the years between 1988 and 1998 is usually attributable to one or other chart being referred to. For the purposes of this blog, I'll be continuing to look at the ARIA chart, which was readily available in record stores. 

Otherwise, it's business as usual, which was also the case at the top of the chart, with Cheap Trick spending another week (their fourth and final) at number 1 with "The Flame".

Off The Chart
Number 97 "Kiss Me Deadly" by Lita Ford
Peak: number 97
There were plenty of male hair metal singers, but former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford was one of the only female stars of the genre. Unfortunately for her, Australia wasn't interested in her US number 12 hit.

"Naughty Girls (Need Love Too)" by Samantha Fox
Peak: number 64
She really was a minx, wasn't she? Besides her fondness for brackets, Sam loved a saucy song title, but despite this song's semi-provocative name, "Naughty Girls" didn't manage a spot in the Australian top 50. Released as the final single from her second album, it did, however, become her highest-charting single in the US, reaching number 3 and beating debut hit "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" by one spot. The track was produced by Full Force, who'd also been behind big US hits by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.

"All Right Now" by Pepsi & Shirlie
Peak: number 60
Here's another act who'd worked with producers Stock Aitken Waterman, but the production trio were nowhere near this cover of the 1970 rock classic by Free, which may explain its underwhelming chart performance around the world. The fourth single from the former Wham! backing singers, "All Right Now" was also the title of the duo's debut album - which was another sales disappointment.

"Stay On These Roads" by a-ha
Peak: number 56
In 1987, they'd been deemed big enough to record the theme to the latest Bond film, The Living Daylights, but in 1988, Norwegian pop trio a-ha started to struggle on the charts. This lead track from their third album of the same name did pretty well in Europe, but subsequent singles started to falter, despite tracks like "The Blood That Moves The Body", "You Are The One" and "Touchy!" being among their best singles of all time.

New Entries
Number 50 "Lost In You" by Rod Stewart
Peak: number 23
Number 23? I don't remember this song at all! But, then again, I did try to block out Rod Stewart's music as much as possible during the latter part of the '80s. And the '90s. This was the first single from Rod's Out Of Order album, which also contained the singles "My Heart Can't Tell You No" and "Forever Young" (neither of which cracked the ARIA chart), and was co-produced by Duran Duran's Andy Taylor and Chic's Bernard Edwards (both also involved in The Power Station). That enough facts for you? Can we move on now?

Number 46 "Struggle Town" by Choirboys
number 28
Number 28? OK, I'll stop that now, but I'd also forgotten that Choirboys had another chart hit after "Run To Paradise" and "Boys Will Be Boys". Number 28 would be as high as the Aussie rock band would get on the chart for 16 years, when a Nick Skitz remix of their most famous hit, "Run To Paradise", got to number 16 in 2004.

Number 41 "The Valley Road" by Bruce Hornsby & The Range
number 36
The piano-led MOR band were back with their second album, Scenes From The Southside, and this was the lead single - another smash for them in the US. In Australia, it didn't fare so well, but the album did peak at number 11, so that's something. Despite appearances, the drummer in the clip is not Jack Nicholson, but doppelgänger band member John Molo.

Number 36 "Better Be Home Soon" by Crowded House
number 2
It took them a while to get going first time around, but Crowded House had much quicker success with this lead single from their second album, Temple Of Low Men, which spent four frustrating non-consecutive weeks stuck at number 2 behind "Got To Be Certain" and "Age Of Reason". While their previous ballad single, "Don't Dream It's Over", would remain their biggest US hit, "Better Be Home Soon" was easily their top Australian seller - with no subsequent single even entering the top 10 locally until 1996.

Number 34 "Don't Turn Around" by Aswad
number 34
I was just writing about this song the other day when I counted down my list of favourite tracks from 1994, which was the year Ace Of Base had a worldwide hit with their cover version. This reggae version of the Diane Warren track wasn't the original - Tina Turner had originally released the song as the B-side of 1986's "Typical Male" and it's a typically overblown pop/rock take on the tune. Aswad's decision to remake the song paid off - with their much lighter interpretation making it all the way to number 1 in the UK.

Number 25 "Together Forever" by Rick Astley
number 19
Back with his fourth hit in under a year and the final single from Whenever You Need Somebody, Rick took "Together Forever" to the top of the US Hot 100 and to number 2 in the UK. For the first few weeks of its chart run here, it had "(30 cm)" listed after the song title, which indicated it was, initially at least, charting due to the 12" version.

Number 22 "Perfect Day" by Fischer Z
number 12
In a big week for new entries from some pretty well-known acts, this was probably the least likely song to be the highest debuting single, especially since Fischer Z hadn't had a top 20 hit since 1980. That was two more hits than they'd managed in their homeland of Britain, however, despite both this and "So Long" being classic pop tracks. Well done, Australia!

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

Next week: the arrival of a big hair metal band, as well as new songs by some other artists with big hair. It was the '80s, after all.

Back to: Jun 19, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 3, 1988


  1. It's interesting to see so many bullets and new entries on the first ARIA-produced chart. And quite odd that the Fischer-Z (never knew it was meant to be a pun on 'fish's head' until a few years ago) and Aswad tracks dropped out the following week, after their relatively high debuts. Maybe there were distribution problems (or the record company underestimated the demand initially) for the Fischer-Z single.

    As I'd only begun following music seriously a few months before this chart, I thought the Samantha Fox track was the lead single from a new album, and wondered why she hadn't put anything new out since 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now'. She had some great song titles (and brackets) back then. I assume the "moving like you're 40" lyric was meant to be a diss at someone 'dad dancing'. I wonder what she thinks of that line now that she's over 40?

    I remember seeing a-ha's 'Touchy' video a few times on TV, but never heard 'Stay On These Roads' at the time, despite it charting much 'better' than 'Touchy' here. I thought they hadn't put anything out since 'Take On Me', and didn't hear the (even better IMO) follow-up, 'The Sun Always Shines on TV' or the other in-between singles until the 00's.

    I really didn't like 'Better Be Home Soon' back then, and still think it's overrated, but it's grown on me a bit.

    I suppose Rick Astley's singles were becoming a bit formulaic by now, hence 'Together Forever's lower chart placing and shorter chart-life than the preceding singles in Oz (or maybe most people had the album by now), but it's my favourite single of his from the first album, and I think it's much better than 'Never Gonna Give You Up'.

    I had no clue Pepsi & Shirlie were Wham!'s back-up singers at the time, but remember seeing 'All Right Now' a couple of times on TV.

    The Rod Stewart track is one I would have known at the time, but have completely forgotten how it goes now... which doesn't happen that often with me. Actually, I remember 'Forever Young' from the same album, so am surprised that one didn't chart here.

  2. Rick Astley had two different 12" singles of Together Forever. One was the standard extended version "(Lovers Leap Remix)" and the other one was a very different 'house' version "(House Of Love Remix)" to be exact, which was more common at the clubs so maybe sales of that one were being counted? Both were great, I reckon.

  3. Ive always had a little soft spot for that Assad track.