Wednesday, 2 July 2014

This Week In 1989: July 2, 1989

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

It was a bit of weird week on the ARIA top 50 singles chart this week in 1989. There were only a handful of new entries (another conservation-themed song, a charity record and a minor hit by an Australian artist), none of which stayed on the chart for very long at all. But, over on the albums top 50, there were some major developments...

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending July 2, 1989

Before we get to the albums and the debuting singles, there was another new singles chart-topper as Roxette's "The Look" vaulted from number 4 to number 1 (swapping places with "Eternal Flame"). For the first time in months there would be some stability at top, with "The Look" going on to spend six straight weeks at number 1. Meanwhile, with The Belle Stars moving up two places, it was an all-female (except for Per from Roxette) top 7.

Off The Chart
Number 84 "I Want Your Body" by De Mont
Peak: number 84
Hopes would have been higher for this debut single by the Sydney hard rock band, given the major label push they would've received and how commercial a song it is. 

Number 82 "Moonlight On Water" by Kevin Raleigh
Peak: number 81
Takes from his post-Michael Stanley Band solo album, this track, subtitled "Sex On The Beach", was co-written by Steve "Physical" Kipner and covered by Laura Branigan a year later.

Number 72 "Don't Be Cruel" by Bobby Brown
Peak: number 72
It had made sense to lead with "My Prerogative" in Australia, but the top 40 success of Don't Be Cruel's second single didn't have the desired knock-on effect on this belatedly released title track, which had given the ex-New Edition singer his first top 10 hit in the US in 1988.

New Entries
Number 50 "Something Special" by Clive Young
Peak: number 50
This song first turned up as a breaker way back on the chart dated May 7 and it looked like it was never going to actually make it into the top 50. After two months, it finally did - but only just, spending a solitary week at number 50 for the Australian singer/songwriter. Not to be confused with the elderly long distance runner Cliff Young, who was famous earlier in the decade, Clive continued to release records into the early '90s before trading that in for life as a songwriter, producer and jingle writer.

Number 45 "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" by The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden and Stock Aitken Waterman
Peak: number 45
On April 15, 1989, during a soccer match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, 95 supporters lost their lives due to overcrowding and an ensuing human crush. A further victim would pass away as a result of their injuries in 1993.
As recently as 2012, legal proceedings were being undertaken to determine the reason for the tragedy - but a more immediate response came on May 8, 1989, when this charity record was released to raise money for those affected by the incident.
Since the disaster took place in an area of the stadium allocated to Liverpool fans, producers Stock Aitken Waterman (who'd also been behind the all-star remake of "Let It Be" following the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster) gathered prominent artists from Liverpool to record a cover of one of the region's best known songs, Gerry & The Pacemakers' "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey".
The new recording featured the song's writer Gerry Marsden, Beatle Paul McCartney, ex-Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer Holly Johnson and pop group The Christians, whose biggest UK hit had been another charity cover version, "Harvest For The World", the previous year. The single spent three weeks at number 1 in the UK, but only managed two non-consecutive weeks in the ARIA top 50. 

Number 43 "If A Tree Falls" by Bruce Cockburn
Peak: number 41
Canadian performer Bruce Cockburn had been releasing music since 1970, but got quite political in the second half of the '80s, starting with his 1984 single, "If I Had A Rocket Launcher", which became his second and final US top 100 hit. By 1989, he was a regular at benefit concerts, and his music increasingly touched on human rights and environmental issues. This, his only Australian top 50 hit, fell into the latter category - and, as we saw last week, was one of a batch of songs finding a small but receptive audience in Australia at the time.

Compilations chart

ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart - week ending July 2, 1989

The last time I flipped the ARIA chart over for a look at the albums chart, two various artists compilations (and Roy Orbison) kept Madonna's Like A Prayer off the number 1 spot. To remedy this and other chart anomalies (a number 2 peak for Madge would have been much better than a number 4), ARIA decided to introduce a dedicated compilations chart - and this week in 1989, the first compilations top 5 made its appearance on the chart printout. Let's look at the five albums in the first chart...

Hits Of '89 Volume 1 and Volume 2


Volume 1 was number 1 on the main top 50 last time I looked at the albums chart and it was still at number 43 after 14 weeks last week. In the first week of the compilations chart, it held down the number 3 position.
Meanwhile, Volume 2, which featured recent hits by Paul Norton, Kate Ceberano and Julian Lennon as well as this week's number 1 single from Roxette, had debuted at number 37 on the main top 50 the previous week and this week was the very first compilations chart number 1. Had compilations still been eligible for the regular top 50, would Volume 2 have sold enough to keep the Beaches soundtrack off number 1? We'll never know - but with a tracklisting that strong, I imagine there's a good chance it would have.

Hits Now '89 and Hits Now '89 Volume Two


As I mentioned last time, Hits Now '89 didn't have anywhere near as good a tracklisting as Hits Of '89 Volume 1.  Even so, it had peaked at number 2 and, the week before the compilations chart began, had re-entered the top 50 at number 49 for a 13th week on the chart. This week, it rounded out the compilations chart at number 5.
Meanwhile, Hits Now '89 Volume Two had moved from number 7 to number 4 in its second week on the main top 50 the previous week, and held down the number 2 spot on the first compilations chart. This time, the Warner/CBS/Polygram compilation contained much bigger songs, including recent chart-toppers by Mike + The Mechanics, The Bangles and Fine Young Cannibals, as well as hits by Collette and Daryl Braithwaite.

Hot Metal

The final various artists album in the inaugural compilations top 5 - at number 4 - was this hard rock collection, which the previous week was at number 29 in its sixth week on the top 50, after peaking at number 6. Featuring chart hits by Bon Jovi, Poison and Guns 'n' Roses, Hot Metal also included songs by big American acts yet to make an impression here - like Ratt, Lita Ford and Cinderella, plus some Aerosmith and Ozzy Osbourne for good measure.

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

Next week: the return of one of the biggest artists of the decade, plus the debut of Molly Meldum's boy band. I'm also working on my posts for one-hit wonders of the '90s, so expect those soon, too.

Back to: Jun 25, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 9, 1989


  1. I have fond memories of those compilation albums, as they were some of the first compilation albums I had got my hands on. Living in a North-East Victorian town where we only had one record shop there was not a lot to choose from. Of course at the time they were purchased on cassette tape and were listened to via my sisters very cheap Walkman or my dual deck portable tape player. How I loved that player which was used to record a lot of my friends cassettes tapes using the high speed recording function. In more recent times I managed to get my hands on most of these compilation albums from this time period all the way up to the end of the 90's on CD. Good times. Finn

    1. I didn't buy any compilation albums at all until the 90s, and then it was UK Now That's What I Call Music CDs. Compilations were another thing my mother told me was a waste of money - "you won't even like half the songs". So when I did start buying Nows, I used to add up the number of songs I liked and multiplied it by how much it would cost to buy each of them as a CD single to determine whether it justified the spend. What a rebel!

  2. I love the 'help save the environment' slogan at the bottom of the Debbie Byrne single ad... which makes me wonder, what *did* they do with all of those surplus copies of the printed ARIA top 50 chart in record stores? My local stores nearly always had heaps of copies still left at the end of the week. Surely there weren't sufficient chart enthusiasts like us to snap them all up every week?

    In the late 90's I was subscribed to an email list (belonging to 'Sarch') of the ARIA top 100, and he would usually write some commentary with the chart every week. I remember one of those weeks he wrote about the turbulence of the #1 position in 1989, and said that the different number one for 9 consecutive weeks in 1989 was a record. Somehow I didn't really notice it though at the time.

    I was slightly surprised to see Clive Young finally enter the top 50, as the song was months old by then. Melbourne radio had been playing it a fair bit, too. 'Something Special's 5 week stint in the Breakers section (the last appearance being 3 weeks prior), coupled with its non-bullet entry into the top 50, makes me wonder if ARIA set a limit on the number of times a single could appear as a Breaker; or, perhaps, whether they excluded singles that had been stable or even going (gradually) down the chart for a while (looking like they probably weren't going to crack the top 50)?

    I don't think I'd heard the Bruce Cockburn song since 1989.

    'Stop!' sure took a big dive this week.

    It's interesting to see the Compilations chart with no LW column. I don't think I saw this printed chart at the time.

    One very curious event with the Compilations chart later in the year was the Jive Bunny album spending a week there. I'd love to know why that happened. Maybe you can find out and touch upon it then?

    I've uploaded the (partial) ads for both Hits of '89 Volume 2 and Hits Now '89 Volume 2 here - . I recorded them at the time so I could remember which songs were on which, before venturing to the store... to help make a decision on which one to get. This time I opted for Hits Now '89 Vol. 2.

    1. It's funny - if you'd asked me a few weeks ago, I wouldn't have thought the late 80s were a particularly green era - I think the image of the 80s as a time of excess has overshadowed anything else going on at the time. But, seeing these songs has reminded me of how big an issue the environment started to be around then.

      I quite like the turnaround at number 1 - it kept it exciting. And it was longer than 9 weeks if you also include the two-week stints Like A Prayer and She Drives Me Crazy had in the midst of it all. Probably the only time the Australian chart has resembled the UK chart in that respect.

      Will look into the Jive Bunny thing - I can imagine what the answer is.

    2. If I remember correctly, the Jive Bunny album first debuted on the regular albums chart, then was removed and plonked on the compilations chart the following week, before magically 're-entering' at #1 on the regular albums chart again during the 3rd week!

      I could almost understand if it charted from the outset on the compilations chart, but the decision to switch it to the compilations chart during its second week (and then back) was truly bizarre.

      A slightly similar event happened with Grinspoon's 'Pushing Buttons' EP in 1998, which charted for a solitary week on the albums chart and then appeared on the singles chart the following week.

      Maybe at some point you could compose an ARIA cock-ups post!

  3. I love the 80's official compilations. I bought Hits Now '89 on cassette, played it, and then decided I wanted it on record. I tried returning the cassette, but the lady at the counter (a real dragon) lifted up the tape with her fingernail and looked at it and said it's been played. and they wouldn't let me exchange it. LoL....and the funny thing is I did Year 10 work experience at that very store a month later. Thank god she didn't recognise me. And just to make it even funnier, I bought 'supposedly' Hits Now '89 Vol.2 on cassette at Cash Converters in the late 90's. Got it home and took out the cassette and it was 'Hits Now '89' the first one. I couldn't win! Anyway, I kept it, cause it only cost me a couple of dollars.