Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Best Of 2004 - part 1

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

It's hard to believe it's already been 10 years since 2004 - a year that brought the world Mean Girls, Facebook and an Australian princess. And, it was a year I had Australian Idol to thank for still having a magazine to run. As a result of the reality juggernaut, which had exploded at the tail end of 2003, Smash Hits suddenly had multiple new cover stars to help us shift copies.

Go the 'fro: Guy Sebastian sold and sold in 2004

It was also a year in which I got to visit the offices of the original British version of Smash Hits and see how putting together a magazine was really done. Except, Smash Hits UK had become less a music title and more an all-purpose teen girl mag, with a fashion section and actors rubbing shoulders with singers between the covers. Still, I learnt a lot and came back to Australia with new ideas and a renewed passion for peddling pop. Speaking of pop music, here are some of the tunes that caught my attention in 2004...

Number 100 "Better World" by Infusion
They'd be around for almost a decade, but in 2004, things started to come together for Wollongong electronic band Infusion, with their track "Girls Can Be Cruel" winning the Best Dance Release at that year's ARIA Awards. I preferred this follow-up, and would like another single of theirs in 2005 even more.

Number 99 "Boogie" by Brand New Heavies
A lot can happen in seven years - unless you're Brand New Heavies, in which case 2004's Allabouthefunk was the group's first wide-release studio album since 1997. Even with new vocalist Nicole Russo (whose solo album, Through My Eyes, had sunk without a trace the previous year) on board, Brand New Heavies' sound was unmistakable. That may explain why "Boogie" did nothing on the charts - music had moved on but BNH hadn't.

Number 98 "Laura" by Scissor Sisters
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 97 "Roses" by OutKast
Among their many other achievements, "Hey Ya!" and "The Way You Move" had topped the US chart for a combined total of 10 weeks, so this third single from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below had a lot to live up to. Taken from Andre 3000's side of the double album, but featuring Big Boi, "Roses" felt almost like the two OutKast members wanted to be in a group together - while the West Side Story-themed music video played up the divide. The song was another global smash and although it didn't top any major charts, it was the duo's last substantial hit.

Number 96 "Talk About Our Love" by Brandy featuring Kanye West
Like her "The Boy Is Mine" duet partner, Monica, Brandy Norwood watched her sales and chart positions decrease in 2004, but that was despite still releasing decent pop/R&B records like this lead single from the Afrodisiac album. Co-written and produced by Kanye West, "Talk About Our Love" also featured a performance by the hottest new rapper on the scene (his other big 2004 tracks, "Through The Wire" and "Slow Jamz", just miss my top 100 for the year). With her music career flagging, Brandy parted ways with her record label and turned her attentions back to TV, becoming one of the original judges on America's Got Talent in 2006.

Number 95 "I Won't Change You" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Sophie's second and final single from Shoot From The Hip would be her last release for four years, during which time she started a family. Actually, she'd already made a start on that, shooting the clip for "I Won't Change You" while she was pregnant.

Number 94 "Little Voice" by Hilary Duff
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 93 "Burn" by Usher
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 92 "All I Need Is You" by Guy Sebastian
I may have had Guy Sebastian and Australian Idol to thank for giving Smash Hits magazine a circulation shot in the arm, but I was yet to be blown away by any of the music the inaugural victor released. "All I Need Is You" was Guy's follow-up to the obligatory big ballad winner's single - and was actually co-written by the singer himself. It's a good song, as were the first two singles from second album Beautiful Life, which Guy had moved on to before the year was out - but I was still waiting for a blockbuster "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"-style moment. Incidentally, his version of the song from The Sound Of Music that'd been such a highlight during Idol was included as a B-side to "All I Need Is You".

Number 91 "Stacy's Mom" by Fountains Of Wayne
A 2003 single in the US, but a song I came to like thanks to its appearance on the UK version of Now! That's What I Call Music 57 in 2004, "Stacy's Mom" is one of those '80s throwbacks we'd be hearing a lot of in the remainder of the '00s - and regular readers will know how I feel about the '80s. In this case, Fountains Of Wayne wore their love for The Cars on their sleeve, with the song sharing stylistic similarities with that band's track "Just What I Needed".

Number 90 "Red Blooded Woman" by Kylie Minogue
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 89 "Free" by Estelle
Mentioned below

Number 88 "Obvious" by Westlife
This by-the-numbers Westlife ballad might not be at all remarkable were it not for the fact that it was the final single the group released with Bryan (soon to be Brian) McFadden still part of the line-up. Both the group and Brian continued to record - but while we'll see more of Westlife's efforts on my year-end countdowns, Brian's yet to release anything that's really excited me.

Number 87 "What You're Made Of" by Lucie Silvas
I've always liked this ballad from Lucie Silvas without ever bothering to find out much about the British singer/songwriter. Turns out she has quite an interesting story. Originally signed by EMI, she was dropped when her debut single flopped and turned her hand to songwriting for the likes of Rachel Stevens, Liberty X and Gareth Gates. Her second artist deal with Mercury Records produced this UK top 10 single, but when the hits dried up, she was dropped once again and returned to writing, this time for The Saturdays, Katharine McPhee and the soundtrack to Broadway-based TV series Smash (in which Katharine starred).

Number 86 "Walk Into The Sun" by Dirty Vegas
They'd had some eventual success with their debut single, "Days Go By", but it wasn't until British dance trio Dirty Vegas released their second album, One, that they hit my radar. "Walk Into The Sun" was the only single released from the album, which was among my favourites for the year.

Number 85 "You Used To" by Richard X featuring Javine
This would have been the fourth single from the producer/remixer/mash-up king's album Richard X Presents His X-Factor Vol. 1, but the release ended up being shelved despite the fact that "Freak Like Me", "Being Nobody" and "Finest Dreams" had all been big UK hits. Still, I justify its inclusion here due to the fact that a single edit was released promotionally and the track was included on a various artists compilation around the time the single was meant to come out. Plus, I make the rules around here, so here it is.

Number 84 "Everytime (Hi Bias remix)" by Britney Spears
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 83 "Trick Me" by Kelis
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 82 "Caught In A Moment" by Sugababes
It wasn't quite a predictable pattern, but you pretty much knew that when Sugababes released a new single it would be one of two things: a cool pop/dance track or a stylish ballad. This fourth and final release from the girl group's Three album fell into the latter category - not one of their best ballads, but a pretty song all the same. It followed the Mogwai-sampling "In The Middle" (number 16 on this list), which features on my top 10 Sugababes singles list.

Number 81 "Baby I Love U" by Jennifer Lopez featuring R. Kelly
Just when I thought there'd be nothing on J.Lo's This Is Me... Then to interest me, this fourth single, which added R. Kelly as duet partner to the album version, saved the day. The song also featured an interpolation of John Barry's theme to the film Midnight Cowboy, and while it was a big UK hit, it didn't do much in Australia or the US.

Number 80 "Rock Your Body Rock" by Ferry Corsten
In the late '90s, he'd been behind big trance tracks like "Out Of The Blue" (as System F), "Gouryella" (as half of Gouryella), "Carte Blanche" (as half of Veracocha) and the hit remix of William Orbit's version of "Barber's Adagio For String" (as himself). Four years on and this track by the multi-aliased Dutch DJ/producer added some electroclash into the mix and gave him his biggest UK hit.

Number 79 "1980" by Estelle
Before she crossed the Atlantic, British singer/rapper Estelle Swaray received a lot of attention back home with her debut album, The 18th Day. Songs like this debut single, which scored big points with me for name-checking Mel & Kim, and "Free" (number 89 on this list) weren't particularly huge hits, but did generate a fair bit of buzz.

Number 78 "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 77 "On The Way Down" by Ryan Cabrera
As likely to be remembered for his ridiculously massive hair and string of celebrity girlfriends (including Ashlee Simpson, who features in this song's clip) as his music, Ryan Cabrera had everything going his way in 2004. But, despite landing a couple more US hits from the Take It All Away album (which was produced by Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik), Ryan's career would quickly live up to the name of this, his biggest single.

Number 76 "Just A Little While" by Janet Jackson
Mentioned in Part 3

In Part 2: a post-Britney, pre-Miley Disney star, the return of America's top girl group, another Australian Idol finalist (no, not Shannon) and a hip-hop/nu metal hybrid.

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

This Week In 1989: May 28, 1989

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.

Regular readers of my weekly trip back to the ARIA charts from 1989 will know I'm not the world's biggest fan of out and out rock music. And, while I can write for paragraphs about the impact (or lack thereof) of "I'd Rather Jack", I struggle to have very much to say about the harder end of the music spectrum.

Bon Jovi's power ballads might have worked in the US, but Australia wasn't as keen

With that in mind, the new entries on the singles top 50 this week in 1989 were without exception by rock artists of one type or another. So the challenge is set for me to not just post some YouTube clips, give up and return next week. Can I find something interesting to relate about hair metal ballads, Aussie pub music and MOR mullet rock? You be the judge...

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 28, 1989

A song I did actually like leapt to the top of the ARIA chart this week - "Eternal Flame" by The Bangles dislodged Madonna and looked like it was set to take up a lengthy residence at number 1. However, the switcheroo at the top spot was far from over.

Off The Chart
Number 97 "She Did It" by Glamour Camp
Peak: number 94
Glamour Camp was fronted by Christopher Otcasek, son of The Cars' Ric Ocasek, and although he reverted to their surname's original spelling, Christopher didn't venture too far musically from the catchy pop/rock his dad was known for. 

Number 82 "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely" by Natalie Miller / Vince Del Tito
Peak: number 75
It was no "Especially For You", which this duet by the former Young Talent Time regulars was clearly designed to be. Dated even by 1989 standards, the schmaltz-fest didn't turn the duo, who I believe dated in real life, into chart stars.

Number 81 "Crime" by Janz
Peak: number 70
This slice of Australian pop isn't on YouTube, but I have vague recollections of it being Go 101/Rockmelons-style funk/pop. The band took their name from singer David Janz's surname.

Number 79 "Wages Day" by Deacon Blue
Peak: number 79
"Real Gone Kid" would turn out to be the Scottish band's only hit in Australia, with this second single from When The World Knows Your Name (and everything they released subsequently) missing the top 50.

"I Want You" by Wa Wa Nee
Peak: number 52
It's quite fitting that before we head into our rock-fest, we come across an Australian synthpop/funk group who struggled for credibility in an industry obsessed with pub bands and guitar rock. At this stage of their career, Wa Wa Nee were also struggling on the charts, with this third single from second album Blush unable to even make it into the top 50. The writing had been on the wall when the album's first two singles failed to become sizable hits - but the disappointing performance of "I Want You" was really the end of the road for Wa Wa Nee, who disbanded shortly after. But, like so many other '80s acts, it was only a matter of time until Wa Wa Nee was resurrected - and Paul Gray had been performing reasonably regularly in recent years until his untimely death in April 2018.

New Entries
Number 50 "Change His Ways" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 38
Describing Robert Palmer as a rock artist is to sell him a bit short, but for the purposes of this week's post, he fits the mould well enough. After all, his two biggest singles, "Addicted To Love" and "Simply Irresistible", not only had the same video but were at the rockier end of his repertoire. But, that's not the whole story - Robert also released tracks with synthpop, soul and funk stylings over the years, and even had the audacity to release this single, which sounds like a riff on The Tokens'/Tight Fit's "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". The cute animated clip (which contained a nod to his more famous music videos) almost allowed him to get away with it.

Number 47 "Simple Man" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 47
OK, onto our first rock song proper, and it's yet another under-performing release by one of my favourite Australian bands of the '80s. The third release from the Touch album, "Simple Man" became the fifth (of six) singles by the group to peak between numbers 60 and 40, which must have been endlessly frustrating for them.
I do like "Simple Man", but I can't help but think "In My Youth" would have been a better choice at this point since "Simple Man" was reasonably similar in feel to the band's previous flop single, "Voice Of Reason". By the time "In My Youth" was released... well, we'll see what happened there in a couple of months.
Side point: could the lack of success of both "Voice Of Reason" and "Simple Man" be at all linked to the fact that singer Jon Stevens lopped off his luscious locks following "Touch"? He may have gone on to play Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar, but perhaps he had more in common with another Biblical figure: Samson.

Number 46 "Pop Singer" by John Cougar Mellencamp
Peak: number 8
Here's an artist whose rock star hair was still intact - and can it be any coincidence that John Cougar Mellencamp (and his flowing mane) enjoyed his highest-charting single since 1982's "Jack And Diane" with this first taste of his 10th album, Big Daddy? Probably. As American as apple pie, JCM is the epitome of good ol' fashioned rock'n'roll - and although it's not my genre of choice, I'd actually enjoyed quite a lot of his songs up until this point. "Pop Singer" didn't do it for me, though - the melody was a bit monotonous - but at least it was a mercifully short track.

Number 44 "Satisfied" by Richard Marx
Peak: number 20
Calling his second album Repeat Offender was asking for it, really, although soft rock hitmaker Richard Marx was still flavour of the month at this stage - especially in the US, where "Satisfied" became his fifth straight top 3 hit. Sure, he'd end up seeming a bit daggy by the time his chart career wound down in the mid-'90s, but for now, the singer/songwriter who verged between rousing radio-friendly rock tracks (like "Satisfied") and sickly ballads (like previous single "Hold On To The Nights"), was a multi-platinum success story, with even bigger things to come in Australia.

Number 40 "I'll Be There For You" by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 23
Speaking of sickly songs, here is one of Bon Jovi's best known power ballads - but for me, it was nowhere near as good as "Never Say Goodbye" or "Wanted Dead Or Alive". In fact, it was the first of a string of rock ballads by the group (including "Bed Of Roses" and "Always") that I found pretty much unlistenable. It wasn't just Bon Jovi recording this kind of song, either - with the likes of Warrant ("Heaven"), Poison ("Every Rose Has Its Thorn") and Bad English ("When I See You Smile") all releasing these ultra-commercial, over-emotive tunes. Naturally, the Americans loved that kind of stuff and sent all those tracks towards the very top of the chart. In Australia, "I'll Be There For You" became another single by Bon Jovi to miss the top 20 - somewhere they wouldn't return as a band until 1992.

Number 34 "Patience" by Guns 'n' Roses
Peak: number 16
Although I don't really like this whistle-heavy ballad by Guns 'n' Roses, either - I give it credit for having more edge than the likes of "I'll Be There For You". "Patience" was the only single released from G N' R Lies, a follow-up to Appetite For Destruction that contained a mix of four previously recorded tracks and four new acoustic songs, including a version of "You're Crazy" from Appetite... Although the album was a bit cobbled together, the band was so hot that both it and "Patience" sold solidly, and they would have served as a good stop-gap measure until their next studio album proper if that gap hadn't ended up extending for nearly two-and-a-half more years. 

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:

Next week: pop fights back with new singles from the biggest pop star in the world, the biggest pop star in Australia and the biggest new boy band on the block. Before then, I may or may not have made a start on my countdown of my favourite songs from 2004 - but it's coming soon.

Back to: May 21, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 4, 1989

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

This Week In 1989: May 21, 1989

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.

So far this year, we've looked back on some of 1989's biggest hits as they made their debut on the ARIA singles chart. In fact, just last week, two songs that ended up among the year's top 10 highest sellers entered the top 50. It was a different story this week that year.

The chart joy ride was almost over for Cyndi Lauper 25 years ago

Although one of this week's new arrivals hit the top 10 (and another would do the same in an alternate version a few years later), none of the songs featured in the ARIA year-end top 50. Not only were the singles not particularly massive, but none of them were even the biggest hits by the artists in question. Still, there's more than a couple of overlooked gems in there.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 21, 1989

There was nothing overlooked about the song that stormed back to number 1 this week in 1989. For a fifth and final week, "Like A Prayer" ruled the roost, pushing "The Living Years" aside in the process and thankfully limiting that single's run at the top to a solitary week.

Off The Chart
Number 91 "Circle" by Edie Brickell & New Bohemians
Peak: number 80
"What I Am" had reached the top 20, but this understated follow-up from Shooting Rubberbands At The Stars didn't give the folky band a second hit.

"Hey Music Lover" by S'Xpress
Peak: number 53
After being one of the exceptions to the rule and making inroads into the Australian chart with their house hit "Theme From S'Express", the dance act with the slightly amended name couldn't break into the top 50 with their third single, which took elements from Sly & The Family Stone's "Dance To The Medley". The track was among my favourites for 1989 but will always be overshadowed by "Theme..." and "Superfly Guy".

New Entries
Number 50 "House Of Cards" by James Reyne
Peak: number 17
He'd had mixed fortunes with the singles from his self-titled debut solo album, but three of those releases ("Fall Of Rome", "Hammerhead" and "Motor's Too Fast") were bigger hits than this lead single from second album Hard Reyne. Although the video was familiar, I couldn't really recall the song until I listened to it again - and then wished I hadn't. Must have been one of those songs I fast-forwarded through after taping the rage top 50 countdown. Still, a top 20 hit is not to be sneezed at, even if it would be his last for a while.

Number 47 "One" by Metallica
Peak: number 38

Speaking of rage... This song wasn't on the chart for very long - at least, not yet - but I distinctly remember it seeming like it took forever to fast-forward through the seven-minute video every week that it was on the top 50. The first hit for Metallica, "One" was also the first song for which the already massively popular heavy metal band made a music video. A live version of the track would make a much bigger impact on the Australian chart in 1994, reaching number 5, although even that release would be surpassed by other singles by the band.

Number 45 "The Crack-Up" by The Black Sorrows
Peak: number 40

Just when they'd finally landed a bit hit single with "Chained To The Wheel", The Black Sorrows went back to middling chart appearances with this latest release from Hold On To Me. "The Crack-Up" was the fourth of five singles from the album, with final release "Fire Down Below" not getting anywhere near the top 50, but the band would return for some more mid-table chart appearances with tracks from 1990's Harley And Rose.

Number 39 "Let Me Be" by Daryl Braithwaite
Peak: number 26
Seems Daryl was developing a bit of a pattern with his single releases - great sing-along pop/rock track, boring ballad, great sing-along pop/rock track... which meant it was time for another boring ballad from Edge. In this case, a cover of a flop single by Cats Under Pressure. As the fourth single from an already successful album (and one that was about to spend three weeks at number 1 on the albums chart), I'm surprised "Let Me Be" got as high as it did - no doubt it received a helping hand from commercial radio. That wasn't the case with Edge's fifth single, "Sugar Train", which missed the top 50 - and it would be a year and a half before Daryl returned to the chart.

Number 35 "I Drove All Night" by Cyndi Lauper
Peak: number 11
Her first two albums had been packed with hit singles, so a third album by Cyndi Lauper should have been a big deal - but despite this lead single from A Night To Remember almost cracking the top 10 here (like it did in the US and UK), "I Drove All Night" would become known as much for its high-profile alternate versions (Roy Orbison, Celine Dion) as for being the last substantial chart appearance of Cyndi's career.

Number 26 "Help!" by Bananarama
Peak: number 25
A cover of The Beatles' hit from 1965, "Help!" was 1989's official Comic Relief record in the UK - which explains the presence of Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Kathy Burke (aka Lananeeneenoonoo) in the music video and on one version of the song (I, naturally, preferred the version with just Bananarama on it). Bananarama wasn't the only Stock Aitken Waterman act French & Saunders lampooned around the time, with sketches devoted to Sonia and Kylie Minogue's "I Should Be So Lucky".

Number 18 "Good Thing" by Fine Young Cannibals
Peak: number 7
Here's the highest of the week's entries - and this follow-up to number 1 smash "She Drives Me Crazy" would also go on to be the biggest hit of all the week's new songs. But, even though it made the top 10 in Australia (and was a second consecutive US number 1 for the trio), I'd still suggest that it comes a distant third or fourth in the list of most remembered FYC songs (after "She Drives Me Crazy", "Suspicious Minds" and perhaps "Johnny Come Home"). Like the band's cover of "Ever Fallen In Love", which also appears on The Raw & The Cooked, "Good Thing" dates back to 1987, first performed by the group in the movie Tin Men.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:

Next week: two of the world's biggest bands vie for supremacy with rival rock ballads, and the return of one of music's biggest mullets.

Back to: May 14, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 28, 1989

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

This Week In 1989: May 14, 1989

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.

In the pre-internet dark ages, it was not unusual for Australia to be quite behind the times when it came to songs hitting our singles chart. But since there was no quick and easy way to access international charts, and no YouTube to listen to songs in the US or UK top 10 anyway, music fans were often none the wiser about the delay. By way of contrast, these days, thanks to Australia's instant release system, it's more usual for songs to hit the ARIA top 10 before they're even released in the US or UK. (EDIT: in 2019, the whole world tends to get new music at the same time on New Music Friday.)

Roxette's Marie and Per certainly had a look in 1989

Sometimes back in the '80s, however, there were additional reasons why a particular song was delayed in becoming a hit in Australia or why an act's music took its time to reach our shores. This week in 1989, there were a few examples of situations where other factors than just the normal lag were at play.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending May 14, 1989

Also taking its time was the number 1 single this week in 1989, with Mike + The Mechanics' "The Living Years" ascending to the top spot in its 11th week on the top 50, and in the process knocking off "Like A Prayer". But, it would be a fool who thought Madonna would give up number 1 without a fight.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "New Day For You" by Basia
Peak: number 69
Polish sophisti-pop singer Basia was one of those well-promoted acts that never seemed to take off in Australia or the UK. She did make the US top 40 - although not with this track.

Number 97 "Strange Kind Of Love" by Love And Money
Peak: number 76
More smooth sophisti-pop now from the band who'd briefly visited the top 50 a month earlier with previous single "Halleluiah Man". This follow-up gave the Scottish band their biggest UK hit (although it only peaked there at number 45).

Number 77 "Hold Me In Your Arms" by Rick Astley
Peak: number 77
Rick Astley was certainly out of favour in Australia at this point, with this third release from the album of the same name his worst performing single by some margin locally. He'd be back in the top 20 in a couple of years' time.

"Can't Stay Away From You" by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Peak: number 60
Miami Sound Machine (with and without Gloria Estefan as named vocalist) had never been as big in Australia as they were in the US. Only 1984's "Dr Beat" and 1988's "Anything For You" had done that well locally, both just missing the top 10. "Can't Stay Away From You" was one of many top 10 hits the band enjoyed Stateside - but it had been released way back in November 1987, peaking at number 6 in the US in March 1988.
So why the delay in it charting in Australia? Well, the song had actually been released here in early 1988 and managed to creep to number 98 in May that year, but here it was again a year later making further progress up the top 100. Presumably, since upbeat track "1-2-3" had failed to follow "Anything For You" into the ARIA top 50, Epic Records thought re-releasing another ballad would do the trick. They were kind of on the right track, but it would take another year for Gloria, who'd then gone solo, to return to the Australian top 20 - yes, with a ballad.

"What You Get Is What You See" by Tina Turner
Peak: number 57 (original peak: number 15)
Here's a second song that had originally been released in 1987 - but in this case, "What You Get Is What You See" had been successful in Australia first time around. One of eight singles from the Break Every Rule album (although not all tracks were released in every territory), it was re-released locally in 1989 off the back of its use in a rugby league advertisement (which you can watch below) that was clearly aimed at making the sport more appealing to women. It was the first TV commercial in what would end up being a long association between Tina and the NRL. The song's reappearance in the top 60 was likely down to sales in only a certain percentage of the country, and so was probably a bigger hit in those NRL-friendly states than it would appear from its peak of number 57.

New Entries
Number 47 "This Is Your Land" by Simple Minds
Peak: number 38
This was getting a bit boring now. Previously one of the more interesting bands of the '80s, Simple Minds were still in serious mode for this second release from their Street Fighting Years album, which was released this month in 1989. Listen out for input from Lou Reed, who doesn't put in an appearance in the clip below, about midway through the song.

Number 45 "The Look" by Roxette
Peak: number 1
Australia wasn't too far behind the US in embracing Swedish duo Roxette, who had debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 back in February 1989 with the song famously brought to the attention of American radio stations by a foreign exchange student. But, the international community in general were latecomers to the Roxette phenomenon - Look Sharp! was actually the band's second album.
As for "The Look", it had been passed over as a single in Sweden for two other tracks, "Dressed For Success" and "Listen To Your Heart", while a third, "Chances", had been released in other parts of Europe. When the time finally came to give "The Look" a Swedish release, the rest of the world was ready to pounce and the song topped the chart in Australia and the US, among more than 20 other countries.

Number 40 "Leave Me Alone" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 37
Here's yet another song that dated back to 1987, but in this case, it was one that had only appeared on the CD version of Bad, so its release as a single almost two years after the album came out makes sense. Why not give non-CD owning fans (which included myself at that point in time) a chance to buy the track? Despite that fact and a Grammy Award-winning music video that poked fun at all the stories of Michael's increasingly bizarre behaviour (his pet chimp, Bubbles, his purchase of The Elephant Man's bones, his obsession with Elizabeth Taylor), Australian record buyers were mostly unmoved. The song did, however, hit number 2 in the UK, the second highest position of any single from Bad there. Meanwhile, in the States, "Leave Me Alone" was not released as a single at all.

Number 37 "Iko Iko" by The Belle Stars
Peak: number 7
We go back even further now - in fact, it was almost seven years since this cover of The Dixie Cups' 1965 single had just scraped into the UK top 40 (while a rival version by Natasha hit the top 10 there at the same time). 
The revival of The Belle Stars' version of "Iko Iko" was yet another chart hit of the '80s that owed its success to its use in a Tom Cruise film - in this case, Rainman. By that stage, however, the band had long since broken up, although lead vocalist Jennie Matthias promoted the track and appeared in a new music video for the release.
The song itself, which originated in New Orleans and is filled with locally relevant lyrical content, has been the subject of a number of legal disputes over the decades concerning songwriting credits, and has been covered even more frequently.

Number 25 "Bedroom Eyes" by Kate Ceberano
Peak: number 2
So far in the '80s, Kate Ceberano had been the lead singer of mid-'80s pop/funk band I'm Talking, performed as a backing vocalist for Models, released a live jazz album and, together with Wendy Matthews, recorded the soundtrack to TV series Stingers. One thing remained for her to achieve - and with "Bedroom Eyes", Kate landed her first solo hit single. And, what a hit it would turn out to be, spending six non-consecutive weeks stuck at number 2 (behind Bette Midler, The Bangles and Roxette) and going on to become the highest-selling single by an Australian artist in 1989.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:

Next week: a massively popular heavy metal band land their first top 50 hit, a mid-'80s superstar returns and five more songs debut on the singles chart.

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