Wednesday, 17 December 2014

This Week In 1989: December 17, 1989

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

As 2014 comes to an end, so too does our look back at the ARIA top 50 singles charts from 1989. Fear not, after the obligatory three-week break during which ARIA used to pack up and go on holidays (despite the fact that the festive season is the peak record-buying period of the year), the chart returned in early 1990. And so, on January 7, I'll return with the first top 50 for the '90s - mark your calendars now!

One of 1990's biggest hits debuted on the final chart of 1989

Next year, I'll also start looking back 30 years each week as well. Why? Well, although I didn't personally collect the charts in 1985, I have managed to get my hands on every chart from that year. And it was 1985 - a year that deserves revisiting beyond my own previous posts on the subject.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending December 17, 1989

Back to 1989, and before we get to the week's new entries, respect must go to Cher and "If I Could Turn Back Time", which spent a seventh and final week at number 1 - and thankfully held off a challenge for the top spot from Billy Joel and kept Jive Bunny's run at number 1 mercifully short during that stretch. 

In the first chart for 1990, we'll see what song became the first number 1 for the '90s and benefitted from the Christmas shut-down by registering three weeks at the top in one go.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Hallelujah" by Absent Friends
Peak: number 100
Sean Kelly's post-Models solo career hadn't amounted to much, but this new band would eventually take off - just not with this debut single, which was the first of three releases by Absent Friends to feature a one-word title starting with the letter H.

Number 98 "Can't Forget You" by Sonia
Peak: number 98
"You'll Never Stop Me Loving You" hadn't done anywhere near as well in Australia as it had in the UK, where it topped the chart. True to form, Sonia's follow-up also disappointed locally.

Number 93 "Bring It All Back" by Grayson Hugh
Peak: number 88
"Talk It Over" was still in the upper half of the top 50 after 18 weeks, but this second single from the soul singer didn't have as successful a chart trajectory.

Number 74 "The Best Thing" by Boom Crash Opera
Peak: number 67
Boom Crash Opera had a problem with the third singles from their albums - "City Flat" had been a poor choice after their first two hits. Similarly, this third cut from These Here Are Crazy Times should maybe have made way for "Dancing In The Storm".

New Entries
Number 46 "This One's For The Children" by New Kids On The Block
Peak: number 40
Cynical marketing ploy or touching seasonal record? Either way, the decision for NKOTB to get festive at the peak of their success was a guaranteed money-spinner... at least, in the US, where "This One's For The Children was a half-million-selling number 7 smash. Even though Australia was still one single ("Cover Girl") behind the States in the New Kids release schedule, "This One's For The Children" was rushed out here to take advantage of those holiday sales, such as they were. The accompanying album, Merry, Merry Christmas, also made the ARIA chart - peaking at number 34. The UK was even further behind the eightball when it came to New Kids, and both single and album were delayed until Christmas 1990 there.

Number 45 "So Alive" by Love And Rockets
Peak: number 24
Love And Rockets was formed by three of the members - everyone but the vocalist - of goth rock band Bauhaus (biggest hit: a 1982 cover of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust"). This spin-off group had released three albums before their 1989 self-titled LP, which contained breakthrough hit "So Alive". While much more commercial than Bauhaus's music, the track still had a bit of a dark edge that set it apart from pretty much everything else on the chart. "So Alive" also reached number 3 in the US and would be the only substantial hit for Love And Rockets.

Number 43 "I Can't Believe" by Girl Overboard
Peak: number 43

In theory, this was the debut single for the band fronted by singer Lisa Schouw, but Girl Overboard had been around - and releasing music - for a while as Separate Tables. Between 1987 and 1989, the band put out three singles, two of which made inroads into the top 100 ("When The Word Came Down" reached number 82 in February 1988, while "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" managed a peak of number 71 in May 1989). Things obviously weren't quite working, and so Separate Tables morphed into Girl Overboard. The rebranding did the trick, with the freshly renamed band finally able to crack the top 50 - albeit for only two non-consecutive weeks. Still, it was a start.

Number 39 "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You" by Milli Vanilli
Peak: number 3

"Baby Don't Forget My Number" was proving to be an incredibly durable single, still bouncing around the top 20 despite being 17 weeks into its chart life - a top 50 run that would end up lasting more than twice that long. And so, rather than release "Blame It On The Rain", which had been the next European single, Milli Vanilli's Australian record company followed the American lead and skipped ahead to ballad "Girl I'm Gonna Miss You", which would wind up as the deceitful duo's highest-charting song in Australia. It was also my least favourite single by the group.

Number 38 "Crying In The Chapel" by Peter Blakeley
Peak: number 3

Peter Blakeley's story is one of those classic music industry tales - the Australian singer had done the rounds as a session musician and guest vocalist (including for a pre-success incarnation of Rockmelons in 1985) for years before finally getting his own record deal in 1986, and then another one in 1988. It would take a few more years for Peter to land a hit, but he made up for lost time with this original track - not, as it's often mistaken to be, a cover of the identically named song performed by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Bob Marley & The Wailers and The Platters. The lead single from his Harry's Cafe De Wheels album, it would shift enough copies to place in the top 20 highest-selling singles of 1990 in Australia.

Annual Chart

There we have it - the final ARIA top 50 for 1989. As they'd done in 1988, ARIA released a printed chart featuring the top 50 singles for the year - and here it is...

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart for 1989

Multiple entries
Ruling the roost for 1989 was Madonna, who not only had the year's highest-selling single with "Like A Prayer", but also placed twice more in the top 50 with "Express Yourself" and "Cherish". Madonna was one of six artists with two or three songs on the annual chart - seven, if you include Roy Orbison, whose solo single "You Got It" appeared alongside The Traveling Wilburys' "Handle With Care".

Australian artists 
The highest-placed Australian single didn't even make number 1. Perennial runner-up "Bedroom Eyes" by Kate Ceberano was the seventh biggest single for 1989, and was one of 11 songs by local acts (including New Zealander Jenny Morris, who was based in Australia). That figure also includes two entries by Kylie Minogue, who was increasingly not based in Australia as the year wore on.

Gold and platinum
1989 was the year when gold and platinum accreditations started being shown on the ARIA top 50 - and what was interesting about this year-end chart was that multi-platinum hit "If I Could Turn Back Time" was only placed fifth, while 12th placed "Teardrops" only went gold but registers higher than many platinum accredited singles. Of course, what became apparent was that a gold or platinum record didn't necessarily sell 35,000 or 70,000 copies (respectively), but they indicated the record company had shipped that many copies to stores. Whether or not they sold was another matter. 

The next 50
They weren't broadcast at the time, but here are numbers 51 to 101 of the year-end ARIA singles chart:

51         SOUL REVIVAL Johnny Diesel & The Injectors
52         SHE MAKES MY DAY Robert Palmer
53         GOOD THING Fine Young Cannibals
54         DON'T NEED LOVE Johnny Diesel & The Injectors
55         I DROVE ALL NIGHT Cyndi Lauper
56         PATIENCE Guns n' Roses
57         SAY GOODBYE Indecent Obsession
58         WAIT Gyan
59         BABY DON'T FORGET MY NUMBER Milli Vanilli
60         THE ONLY WAY IS UP Yazz & The Plastic Population
61         HEALING HANDS Elton John
62         TELEPHONE BOOTH Ian Moss
63         I WANT YOUR LOVE Transvision Vamp
64         SATISFIED Richard Marx
65         TWO HEARTS Phil Collins
66         BELFAST CHILD Simple Minds
67         I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE Martika
68         DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY Bobby McFerrin
69         END OF THE LINE The Traveling Wilburys
70         PUT A LITTLE LOVE IN YOUR HEART Annie Lennox / Al Green
71         I WANT IT ALL Queen
72         CRY IN SHAME Johnny Diesel & The Injectors
73         WAY OF THE WORLD Max Q
74         LISTEN TO YOUR HEART Roxette
75         HANGIN' TOUGH New Kids On The Block
76         TOO MANY BROKEN HEARTS Jason Donovan
77         LIKE THE WAY I DO Melissa Etheridge
78         ONION SKIN Boom Crash Opera
79         GROOVY KIND OF LOVE Phil Collins
80         ROCKET Def Leppard
81         YOU'LL NEVER KNOW 1927
82         BRING ME SOME WATER Melissa Etheridge
83         CAN I GET A WITNESS Sam Brown
84         LOVE BITES Def Leppard
85         MISS YOU MUCH Janet Jackson
86         WHERE DID I GO WRONG UB40
87         EVERY ROSE HAS ITS THORN Poison
88         EVERY LITTLE STEP Bobby Brown
89         LOVE DIMENSION Kate Ceberano
90         TOUCH THE FIRE Icehouse
91         SOWING THE SEEDS OF LOVE Tears For Fears
92         BUFFALO STANCE Neneh Cherry
93         POP SINGER John Cougar Mellencamp
94         HOUSE OF CARDS James Reyne
95         ELECTRIC YOUTH Debbie Gibson
96         SECOND CHANCE 38 Special
97         I WON'T BACK DOWN Tom Petty
98         LOVE SHACK The B-52's
99         WOULDN'T CHANGE A THING Kylie Minogue
100       SEALED WITH A KISS Jason Donovan

If you're interested in what I was listening to in 1989, you can find my personal top 100 for that year here. And I'll be counting down my top 100 songs for 2014 on this blog in the last week of the year.

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

ARIA Top 50 Singles Charts - 1989

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

Back to: Dec 10, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 7, 1990


  1. It's sad to see the 80s (and, for me, Breakers where the peaks haven't been published before) come to an end... but there's always the possibility of an occasional Single of the Week that missed the top 100 coming up.

    Thanks for posting this era of charts - before discovering your blog, I didn't think I'd ever get to see them again, and the 1988 and 1989 charts were of particular interest to me.

    I have wondered sometimes why the ARIA chart took a 2 week break most years before 1997, but only a 1-week one in some (Xmas '88 and Xmas '94, where the last published chart fell on Xmas day).

    'This One's For the Children's low peak, even if it was a sort-of Christmas record, was a sign that NKOTB were on the way out. If anything, the Xmas album probably damaged their image of being a slightly 'hard' (well, for tweens) street-wise group.

    'So Alive' was played quite regularly on Melbourne FM radio, but seemed to be virtually forgotten a few months later.

    I thought Girl Overboard's 'I Can't Believe' deserved to do much better than 43 on the charts. It's a pity that this wasn't their big hit, instead of 'The Love We Make'. There was a different (and much better IMO) video filmed for the US market in 1991, which I got hold of a few months ago and uploaded here - .

    I have wondered why 'Girl I'm Gonna Miss You' had 'Girl' added to the title for its single release. I suspect the song would still get some rotation on easy listening radio stations if the miming scandal wasn't uncovered and they weren't thought of as being a joke.

    I really did not like 'Crying In the Chapel' at the time, but it's grown on me a bit since then.

  2. One thing I found confusing about the year-end charts back then was that Take 40 Australia (even though it was following ARIA now) played a completely different top 40 of the year (and different to the AMR year-end chart too). Actually, I've still got it in my chart book:

    1. Kokomo - The Beach Boys
    2. Teardrops - Womack & Womack (obviously that's wrong)
    3. Eternal Flame - Bangles
    4. She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
    5. Like a Prayer - Madonna
    6. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - Proclaimers
    7. The Look - Roxette
    8. Bedroom Eyes - Kate Ceberano
    9. If I Could - 1927
    10. Handle With Care - Traveling Wilburys
    11. The Living Years - Mike & The Mechanics
    12. You Got It (The Right Stuff) - New Kids On the Block
    13. Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
    14. Tucker's Daughter - Ian Moss
    15. If You Don't Know Me By Now - Simply Red
    16. Batdance - Prince
    17. The Only Way Is Up - Yazz and the Plastic Population
    18. You Got It - Roy Orbison
    19. Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx
    20. Stop! - Sam Brown
    21. Baby I Don't Care - Transvision Vamp
    22. All I Want Is You - U2
    23. Especially For You - Kylie Minogue & Jason Donovan
    24. Dressed For Success - Roxette
    25. Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin
    26. Cherish - Madonna
    27. Stuck On You - Paul Norton
    28. I'll Be Loving You (Forever) - New Kids On the Block
    29. Ring My Bell - Collette
    30. Kiss - The Art of Noise featuring Tom Jones
    31. I'm On My Way - Proclaimers
    32. Rock and Roll Music - Mental As Anything
    33. I Don't Want a Lover - Texas
    34. Chained To the Wheel - The Black Sorrows
    35. Funky Cold Medina - Tone Loc
    36. Now You're In Heaven - Julian Lennon
    37. Orinoco Flow - Enya
    38. Soul Revival - Johnny Diesel & The Injectors
    39. Talk It Over - Grayson Hugh
    40. Toy Soldiers - Martika

    I wonder where they sourced this from?

    I was surprised to see Like a Prayer end up as the year's biggest seller, though I guess it makes sense since it spent so long hovering between #1 and #3.

    When I picked up the 1989 annual chart, I noticed that Cher's 'If I Could Turn Back Time' now had multi-platinum status; the first time this was denoted on the printed chart. I was puzzled then why it wasn't the #1 single of the year, and why there's a couple of gold singles placed higher than platinum singles, and even a handful of singles with no accreditation placed higher than gold singles. Obviously I didn't know the difference between shipments and sales yet - but it's still a bit strange to see a single with no accreditation as high as #31. 'Handle With Care' charting over the period where ARIA switched from 50k shipments to 35k shipments for gold might be the explanation.

    In the ARIA accreditations thread on the forum, I noticed that Yazz's 'The Only Way Is Up' received a gold award in 1988 (for presumably 50k shipments), and then another gold award in 1989 (presumably for 35k shipments on top of that)... which would bring the total to >70k shipments, sufficient for platinum in 1989. Perhaps ARIA didn't 'grandfather' in singles charting before 1989 to the new, lower shipment requirements for awards?

    I remember finding positions 51-100 for the 1989 annual chart online some time in 1999 or thereabouts, when searching for ARIA top 100 information. I assume that the full top 100 was sent out with the first ARIA Report? The other Gavin who compiled the ARIA chart books wasn't aware that 51-100 were ever published until just before sending off the final print copy to be published for his 1988-2010 charts book. That data made it to the book just in the nick of time.

    I remember finding the 'please buy legitimate releases and not dodgy counterfeit copies from your local market' spiel at the bottom of this chart amusing. I remember the days when a nearby market openly sold cheap cassette copies of charting albums for about $10 a pop.

  3. Yay - looking forward to the 1989 look backs. Thanks!!!!

  4. Sorry to see the 80s come to an end, especially loved seeing the breakers.
    Interesting that "Oh Father" didn't quite make it - seems #51 on AMR was not near enough on ARIA!

    Thanks for everything you've posted. Looking forward to 1990 and especially 1985 - my favourite year in music.

  5. Thanks for all of these! Looking forward to future posts, particularly 1985.

  6. I felt happy that there will be 5 final singles to enter the ARIA Top 50 of the 1980s and it was the first two years of ARIA Top 50 Singles. I felt sad that "Empire" (Choirboys) didn't make it to Top 50. I'm very excited for the upcoming posts about Australian Top 10 One-Hit Wonders of 2000's, posts on ARIA Top 50 Singles Charts: 1990 (which is my favorite year on music) and of course, post on Australian Top 10 Two-hit wonders of 2000's and looking forward to it! Thanks!

  7. I did not know that PB's 'Crying In The Chapel' was a cover. I didn't mind it back then, but like Nathan, it has really grown on me over the years. The song slowly builds and builds and goes off! My best friend looked a bit like PB and in College everyone called him Peter Blakely. Looking at the video, it was definitely made for the American market? Did it chart there and if so, what No.?

    I remember the Love & Rockets video well. Who could forget those long pairs of legs strumming away to the music?

    Lisa Schouw was everywhere in the early 90's. She and the band got a lot of exposure back then. Nathan, I stumbled across the US video a couple of months ago. I like both video versions.

    'Girl I'm Gonna Miss You' is my fave Milli Vanilli single. I do like the 12" and I forgot to mention last week, Taylor Daynes 'With Every Beat Of My Heart' is a great 12" too.

    Once again, I did not know that NKOTB 'This One's For The Children' was a festive single and they had a Christmas album. It was that one song that was quickly squeezed in between 'Hangin' Tough' and 'Cover Girl'.

  8. MY TOP 100 OF 1989

    1 Mike + The Mechanics The Living Years
    2 U2 All I Want Is You
    3 Grayson Hugh Talk It Over
    4 Richard Marx Right Here Waiting
    5 Phil Collins Another Day In Paradise
    6 Metallica One
    7 Guns’N’Roses Patience
    8 Alice Cooper Poison
    9 Billy Joel We Didn’t Start The Fire
    10 Hunters & Collectors When The River Runs Dry
    11 The D Generation Five In A Row
    12 Milli Vanilli Girl, I’m Gonna Miss You
    13 Elton John Healing Hands
    14 Roy Orbison California Blue
    15 Paul Kelly & The Messengers Everything’s Turning To White
    16 Prince Batdance
    17 Bangles Eternal Flame
    18 Kate Ceberano Bedroom Eyes
    19 Bon Jovi Born To Be My Baby
    20 R.E.M Orange Crush
    21 Ian Moss Tucker’s Daughter
    22 Peter Blakeley Crying In The Chapel
    23 Martika Toy Soldiers
    24 Fine Young Cannibals She Drives Me Crazy
    25 Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers Swing The Mood
    26 Gloria Estefan Don’t Want To Lose You
    27 Michael Jackson Liberian Girl
    28 Def Leppard Pour Some Sugar On Me
    29 Madonna Like A Prayer
    30 Debbie Gibson Electric Youth
    31 Roy Orbison She’s A Mystery To Me
    32 Bon Jovi I’ll Be There For You
    33 Stevie Nicks Rooms On Fire
    34 Edie Brickell & The New Bohemian What I Am
    35 Michael Jackson Smooth Criminal
    36 Bon Jovi Lay Your Hands On Me
    37 Paul Kelly & The Coloured Girls Dumb Things
    38 Marc Almond Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart
    39 Poison Every Rose Has It’s Thorns
    40 Ian Moss Telephone Booth
    41 Simply Red If You Don’t Know Me By Now
    42 38 Special Second Chance
    43 Belinda Carlisle Leave A Light On
    44 Cher If I Could Turn Back Time
    45 Mental As Anything The World Seems Difficult
    46 Boy Meets Girl Waiting For A Star To Fall
    47 Tanita Tikaram Twist In My Sobriety
    48 Roxette Dressed For Success
    49 The Rolling Stones Mixed Emotions
    50 Bobby Brown Every Little Step

    1. Definitely no surprise that “Like A Prayer” was #1 for the year. It was absolutely massive and spent 10 weeks in the Top 2. Regarding certifications, it’s also important to bear in mind that ARIA only certified product that they were officially requested to certify (this remains the policy today). Aside from the possibility of unsold stock sitting in stores, there’s also the possibility that a particular company didn’t bother applying for an initial certification (or to upgrade a certification), which would explain anomalies such as a Gold single ending up higher than several Platinum singles.