Wednesday, 25 December 2013

This Week In 1988: December 25, 1988

Merry Christmas! What better way to celebrate than to look back at the ARIA Top 50 dated Christmas Day, 1988, right? Unlike in the UK, where the festive chart is a huge deal, Australia's never had the same rush for the Christmas number 1 spot or even much of an interest in holiday singles. 

From 1988's big Christmas movie came the week's highest debut

That was never more in evidence than on the chart from this week in 1988, where the two big contenders for the UK Christmas number 1 spot didn't even rate a mention (although they would turn up on the next chart, which covered the two weeks from Boxing Day to January 8). It wasn't all bah humbug, however - the week's highest debut had a festive connection.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending December 25, 1988

Meanwhile, Australia's Christmas number 1 was, as it had been for the previous six weeks, Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy", but at least this was his seventh and final week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "1-2-3" by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Peak: number 99
Big ballad "Anything For You" had taken the Latin band within a whisker of the top 10, but this party track was inexplicably a major flop locally despite reaching the US top 3.

Number 78 "Victim Of Pleasure" by Mandy
Peak: number 78
Returning to the ARIA top 100 for the first time since her debut single, this fourth effort from the model-turned-pop star was her second in a row to be produced by the PWL B-team, with Stock Aitken Waterman concerning themselves with more successful artists.

Single Of The Week
"Too Young To Despair" by Sunnyboys
Peak: number 87
One of two songs sharing the SOTW status (we saw the other hit the chart two weeks ago), "Too Young To Despair" was the comeback single - after a four-year absence - for the Aussie rock group who'd been responsible for "Alone With You", "Happy Man" and "You Need A Friend". It wasn't the original line-up of the band, however - they'd broken up in 1984. Instead, it was a new version led by original member Jeremy Oxley. Sunnyboys had never been chart superstars, but the low peak of this single, which was pretty consistent in sound to those earlier songs, must have been a disappointment. Subsequent singles and an album in 1989 did no better.

New Entries
Number 42 "Angel Of Harlem" by U2
Peak: number 18
What was happening? Two singles in a row by U2 that I actually liked. After topping the ARIA chart with "Desire", follow-up "Angel Of Harlem" didn't perform as well as I would have expected - but perhaps everyone either had Rattle And Hum or received it for Christmas that year? My enthusiasm for U2 was brief - I wouldn't like another of the band's singles for three years.

Number 30 "Rock And Roll Music" by Mental As Anything
Peak: number 5
While the big summer movie in Australia was undoubtedly Cocktail, local film Young Einstein also raked in the bucks at the local box office - although not from me, since it's a movie I've never seen. This cover of the 1957 rock standard by Chuck Berry (which had already been remade by The Beatles and The Beach Boys) was taken from the Yahoo Serious comedy - and there was no better band to contribute to the soundtrack than professional jokesters Mental As Anything. In fact, since "Live It Up" had appeared on the soundtrack to Crocodile Dundee, they seemed to be the go-to band for comedy film songs in this country. Their take on "Rock And Roll Music" was pretty safe - and the broad appeal of the song saw it become one of their biggest hits and their last top 10 hit in Australia.

Number 29 "Stand Up For Your Love Rights" by Yazz
Peak: number 22
"The Only Way Is Up" was still way up in the Australian top 5 after three months on the chart, but Yazz became one of 10 acts with two tracks on the top 50 this week in 1988 with the arrival of her second single as main artist (and first without The Plastic Population). Co-written by Yazz, "Stand Up For Your Love Rights" maintained the pop-meets-acid house sound of her previous records, but wasn't as big a hit here as it was in the UK. Two further singles ("Fine Time" and "Where Has All The Love Gone") followed from debut album Wanted but missed the top 50 here and, except for a single week spent at number 100 in 1990 with "Treat Me Good", that was that for Yazz in Australia.


Number 22 "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" by Annie Lennox / Al Green
Peak: number 6
These days, everyone's collaborated with everyone else - twice. But, in the '80s, an all-star duet was a much rarer occurrence - and often fairly random. Quite why Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox and soul legend Al Green ended up performing this cover of the 1969 single by Jackie DeShannon for the Bill Murray movie Scrooged, I'm not sure. What I do know is that, on first listen, I quite liked it - however, the more times I heard it, the less I enjoyed it.
I don't think either of their voices suit the production and they also don't mesh well together. Throw in the horrible key change and the whole thing's a bit of a shambles. Still, it hit the Australian top 10, giving Annie her first solo success outside Eurythmics and, remarkably, giving Al his first hit in Australia. Yep, despite releasing some of the best soul tracks of the '70s, he'd only ever managed a number 85 placing for "Sha-la-la (Make Me Happy)" before this song came along.

Annual Chart

With the year drawing to a close, it was also time for ARIA's year-end countdown:

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - 1988 year-end countdown

Since I have spoken about every single one of those songs on this blog before, there's not much more to say - other than how happy I was that "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" beat out "Simply Irresistible" to be the year's biggest seller.

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

Next time: ARIA took a two-week break before publishing its next chart, so I'll be back to kick off 1989 on January 8. Before that, though, I'll be counting down my top 100 favourite songs for 2013 between now and New Year's Eve.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Charts - 1988

Jan 10 II Jan 17 II Jan 24 II Jan 31 II Feb 7 II Feb 14 II Feb 21 II Feb 28 II Mar 6 II Mar 13 II Mar 20 II Mar 27 II Apr 3 II Apr 10 II Apr 17 II Apr 24 II May 1 II May 8 II May 15 II May 22 II May 29 II Jun 5 II Jun 12 II Jun 19 II Jun 26 II Jul 3 II Jul 10 II Jul 17 II Jul 24 II Jul 31 II Aug 7 II Aug 14 II Aug 21 II Aug 28 II Sep 4 II Sep 11 II Sep 18 II Sep 25 II Oct 2 II Oct 9 II Oct 16 II Oct 23 II Oct 30 II Nov 6 II Nov 13 II Nov 20 II Nov 27 II Dec 4 II Dec 11 II Dec 18 II Dec 25

Back to: Dec 18, 1988 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 8, 1989


  1. I love that the Sunnyboys video (I'd never heard the song before) was recorded from Nightshift. I only discovered that show a few months later (shortly before its demise?).

    I wonder why the 'Rock and Roll Music' video is not on youtube. I doubt it's because of the Young Einstein scenes, as I've uploaded the (admittedly not the best quality) videos for 'Music Goes Round My Head' and 'Dumb Things' which also feature footage from the movie, and they haven't resulted in a copyright strike.

    I've always assumed 'The Plastic Population' was a pseudonym for Coldcut (referencing the 'plastic man' at the end of 'Doctorin' the House'), given that they produced 'The Only Way Is Up'... although I guess it makes no sense that 'they' were also billed on 'Doctorin' the House' if so. But on some of the 12" singles, DTH was credited to Yazz & The Plastic People, and one remix was credited to 'Plastic Man & The Plastic People'! So presumably The Plastic Population was not her 'band'. Yazz's 'Fine Time' was listed as a a breaker on one chart I have from 1989, so it presumably charted somewhere in the 50's or 60's, and 'Where Has All the Love Gone?' cracked the AMR top 100. As usual, two of my favourite singles of hers didn't chart so well.

    I recently learned that Dave Stewart produced 'Put a Little Love In You Heart', so it's slightly puzzling that the duet was credited to Annie Lennox rather than Eurythmics. Unless Dave just didn't want to appear in the video (as with 'Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves'), or Annie was intending to embark on a 'solo' career at that point.

    Out of curiosity, was there a printed top 50 ARIA chart for 1987? I've seen the list of songs, but maybe I missed it when trawling back through your blog. I remember the first annual ARIA chart I picked up (1989's) had a statement from ARIA at the bottom suggesting that you shouldn't buy cheap (bootleg) copies of albums/cassettes from market stalls etc. because, amongst other things, you're being ripped off (as opposed to to the nearly $30 retail price of CD's at the time).

  2. I don't know if there was a 1987 end-of-year chart printed. I didn't see it anywhere if there was one, but I may well have missed it.

    Re Yazz - yes, you're right about those other two singles from Wanted making the top 100 here. This time, I did check my ARIA book, but forgot to check my AMR book for the gaps! I blame the Christmas frenzy for putting me off my game.

  3. I just tried uploading the 'Rock and Roll Music' video to youtube, and lo and behold, it's blocked worldwide :(. I hate when that happens; one reason being because you don't find out until after the video has finished uploading - i.e. the waste of time/bandwidth involved in the upload. Grrrrr.

    Mental As Anything - Rock and Roll Music
    Your video may include clips that are owned by a third party.

    To watch the matched clips please play the video on the right. The video will play from the point where the matched content was identified.
    Your video is blocked globally.
    Here are the details:

    "Mental As Anything-Rock 'n Roll Music", audiovisual content administered by: 0:01

    1. Interesting, but no real loss - it's not one of my favourites!

  4. A bit late but Merry Xmas Gavin, hope you have a great festive season.
    Now finally after much chop and change i've finally narrowed down my TOP 50 for 1988, i've been revisting every chart week along with yourself and will continue to do so :-)

    BEANSTER'S TOP 50 OF 1988

    ARTIST Song
    1 Cheap Trick The Flame
    2 INXS Never Tear Us Apart
    3 Travelling Wilburys Handle With Care
    4 Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life
    5 Robert Palmer She Makes My Day
    6 George Harrison Got My Mind Set On You
    7 INXS New Sensation
    8 Morris Minor & The Majors Stutter Rap (No Sleep Til Bedtime)
    9 Black Wonderful Life
    10 Michael Jackson Man In The Mirror
    11 The Beach Boys Kokomo
    12 Climie Fisher Love Changes (Everything)
    13 Fleetwood Mac Everywhere
    14 INXS Devil Inside
    15 Robert Palmer Simply Irresistible
    16 Noiseworks Touch
    17 James Reyne Motor’s Too Fast
    18 Patrick Swayze FEAT Wendy Fraser She’s Like The Wind
    19 Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine Anything For You
    20 Eric Carmen Hungry Eyes
    21 John Farnham Age Of Reason
    22 Crowded House Better Be Home Soon
    23 Billy Ocean Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car
    24 Bon Jovi Bad Medicine
    25 Michael Jackson Dirty Diana
    26 Richard Marx Endless Summer Nights
    27 Tracy Chapman Fast Car
    28 Def Leppard Love Bites
    29 Weird Al Yankovic Fat
    30 The Escape Club Wild, Wild West
    31 Melissa Etheridge Similar Features
    32 Guns’N’Roses Sweet Child O’ Mine
    33 Melissa Etheridge Bring Me Some Water
    34 Phil Collins A Groovy Kid Of Love
    35 Rick Astley Never Gonna Give You Up
    36 Yazz & The Plastic Population The Only Way Is Up
    37 Terence Trent D’Arby Sign Your Name
    38 Louis Armstrong What A Wonderful World
    39 Crowded House When You Come
    40 Cliff Richard Some People
    41 Underworld Underneath The Radar
    42 1927 If I Could
    43 Kylie Minogue I Should Be So Lucky
    44 George Michael Father Figure
    45 Bobby McFerrin Don’t Worry Be Happy
    46 Daryl Braithwaite All I Do
    47 Johnny Diesel & The Injectors Don’t Need Love
    48 Salt’N’Pepa Push It
    49 Master’s Apprentice Because I Love You
    50 Cher I Found Someone

    1. A really interesting list - good to see Climie Fisher and "Man In The Mirror" so high. Thanks for reading!

      My chart for 1988 starts here:

  5. I never knew of a Sunnyboys comeback in 1988? I must have missed this Aria chart, as I did collect them pretty religiously! Maybe Xmas fun and games got in the way.

    Nathan, Dave did make an appearance in Sisters, he briefly appears solo for the guitar riff in his own little room LoL.

    I was also happy to see that Simply Irresistible did not make the #1 spot in the end of year charts. That song wore very thin soon after its initial impact.

    1. I'd forgotten about the Sunnyboys comeback as well (or never really paid much attention at the time). I knew "Alone With You" but I didn't discover the other two songs I mentioned above until much later.