Wednesday, 5 June 2013

25 Years Ago This Week: June 5, 1988

The '80s were a great time for Australian bands having international success. Men At Work, INXS and Midnight Oil all landed big hits around the world, and then there were many other groups that didn't do quite as well, but did manage to at least make a small dent on overseas charts.

Underrated Aussie band Venetians scored their second biggest hit in 1988

Venetians were one band who fell into the latter category, with their 1986 single "So Much For Love" sneaking into the Billboard Hot 100 at number 88 - a feat which was much harder to accomplish than it may seem. The band returned to the Australian top 50 this week 25 years ago alongside two other local acts who'd had much better fortunes in the US.

ARIA Top 50 Single Chart - week ending June 5, 1988

Meanwhile, there was a new number 1 single this week in 1988, with Cheap Trick's "The Flame" ascending to the top and deposing Billy Ocean in the process.

Single Of The Week
"I Walk The Earth" by Voice Of The Beehive
I was a big fan of two other songs by VOTB from 1988 - in fact, one even made my top 100 songs for that year - but this track, which was released between "I Say Nothing" and "Don't Call Me Baby" completely passed me by at the time. Seems I wasn't the only one, since "I Walk The Earth" didn't make the top 100 locally (something those other two singles did manage). In truth, it's a pretty good song and features another catchy chorus with Bangles-like harmonies and guitars.

New Entries
Number 50 "Bitter Tears" by Venetians
Peak: number 24
A word more associated with window furnishings than pop music, Venetians had been releasing under-appreciated singles like "Shine A Light" since 1983, finally landing themselves a substantial hit in 1986 with "So Much For Love", which peaked at number 8 locally and, as I mentioned above, made some waves internationally. The band fronted by singer Rik Swinn hadn't made a very good start with their third album, Amazing World, with the excellent title track stalling at number 77, but this second single would give the band a glimmer of hope that their best days weren't behind them. But, when third single "Must Believe" stiffed and the album didn't rise above number 41, the guys decided to call it quits.

Number 49 "One More Try" by George Michael
Peak: number 34
A couple of weeks ago, we saw that Whitney Houston's US number 1 "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" could only manage to crawl to number 48 in Australia and I mentioned a similarly underwhelming fate had befallen Michael Jackson's US chart-topper "Man In The Mirror". What do either of those songs have to do with "One More Try"? Well, apart from also being a ballad, the track was the fourth single from a mega-successful album (Faith), a US number 1 single and a relative failure in Australia. Unlike Whitney and Michael, however, George would land one final top 20 hit from his album in coming months.

Number 45 "Nothing Too Serious" by Icehouse
Peak: number 29
They'd managed to film more than one video for "Crazy" and number 1 single "Electric Blue", but by the time this fifth single from Man Of Colours was released, Icehouse were obviously too busy to get around to shooting a clip. Instead, the live performance below was screened on music TV and "Nothing Too Serious" became the fifth top 30 hit from the album. It was also the final single released - and it would be almost a year and a half before we'd hear new music from the band.

Number 42 "New Sensation" by INXS
Peak: number 9
A band that not only found the time to shoot music videos for the string of singles released from Kick, but clearly spent a lot of money on them - re-teaming with Richard Lowenstein, who'd directed the clips for "Need You Tonight", "Burn For You" and "What You Need", for "New Sensation". The song became the third straight top 10 hit from Kick and another massive single around the world.

Number 33 "Drop The Boy" by Bros
Peak: number 9
Brosmania had well and truly taken over Australia, with the second hit from the British trio eclipsing new songs by three of the biggest acts of the previous 12 months. "Drop The Boy" (ooh-oh) wasted no time jumping into the singles top 10, while Push leapt from number 38 to 21 in its second week on the album top 50 (it'd eventually peak at number 4).

Next week: the return of a song that still holds the record for the highest-selling 12" single of all time in the UK and an unlikely Beatles cover.

Back to: May 29, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 12, 1988


  1. I also missed Voice of the Beehive's 'I Walk the Earth' first time around, though caught 'Don't Call Me Baby' on Take 40 Australia. I didn't hear 'I Walk the Earth' until 2002, when I bought their 'Best of' CD on amazon... and the "I don't feel like you said, I walk the earth my darling, but I never feel at home" lyric of 'Perfect Place' suddenly made sense. 'I Walk the Earth' was a cover of song written by Tracey (the blonde one's) boyfriend at the time, and they'd split before 'Perfect Place' was recorded.

    1. Here's the thing: I also have the Best Of but somehow still didn't pay attention to I Walk The Earth until writing this post. But, in my defence, I do have quite a few best ofs like that (Johnny Hates Jazz, The Hooters, Living In A Box, T'Pau, etc.) where I really only got them for the songs I already knew and just skipped through the other tracks. I'm sure I've overlooked other great songs in the process.

  2. I actually really like One More Try, it's quite a sad & emotional but George's vocals were simply stunning. Few can match his sheer brilliance. I liked practically all of the Faith album songs. Probably my 2 favourites would be Kissing a Fool & I want your Sex but this comes close too.

    INXS were sensational & pretty consistent with their hits through the late 80s & up to the X album.