Tuesday, 13 January 2015

This Week In 1985: January 13, 1985

For the past couple of years, I've been taking a look back 25 years to what was happening on the ARIA top 50 singles chart - and I've reached 1990 with those posts. But, 2015 marks three decades since one of the most important times in music history. Spurred on by the overwhelming success of the highest new entry on the chart this week in 1985, the music industry pulled together like never before in the name of charity.

Band Aid changed the face of music as 1985 began

So it only seemed right to revisit 1985 with a new weekly update. I wasn't collecting the ARIA chart myself at that stage (that wouldn't happen until 1987), but I have managed to get my hands on every top 50 from that year. If you want to know what I was doing and listening to that year, you can check out my favourite songs from 1985 here 

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - three weeks ending January 13, 1985

Before we get on with our first look back at what songs Australia was buying in 1985, it's worth noting that this first ARIA top 50 is for the three weeks ending January 13, 1985 and reflects record sales prior to December 23, 1984 - which explains some of the festive tunes in the upper reaches of the chart. It also means "Like A Virgin" by Madonna notched up its third, fourth and fifth weeks at number 1 during that time.

New Entries
Number 49 "What About Me?" by Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes & James Ingram
Peak: number 49
In 2015, a collaboration like this would be nothing new - but in 1985, it was pretty unusual for three singers to perform on a track together. The lead single from country crossover star Kenny Rogers' album of the same name, "What About Me?" saw him reunite with Kim Carnes (with whom he'd duetted on 1980's number 38 "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer") and also team up with soul star James Ingram - the third choice after Lionel Richie and Jeffrey Osborne pulled out. Kim, meanwhile, became involved after Barbra Streisand and Olivia Newton-John were unavailable. A love story told from three perspectives, the song was written by Kenny with hitmaker David Foster and a then-unknown Richard Marx. Not a massive hit in Australia - it'd fall out of the top 50 the following week - "What About Me?" performed better in the States, where it reached number 15.

Number 48 "I Wanna Rock" by Twisted Sister
Peak: number 43
It was always going to be hard following up "We're Not Gonna Take It" (which was making its way down the chart from its top 10 peak), but "I Wanna Rock" was a valiant effort by Twisted Sister to avoid becoming a novelty one-hit wonder and is a better song (if you like that sort of thing) than its lowly chart peak suggests. Again, much of the appeal of the single came from its music video, which featured two of the stars of National Lampoon's Animal House and felt like the climax of a teen comedy film. Despite the effort, "I Wanna Rock" ended up a minor hit both here and in the US, and Twisted Sister puttered out a couple of years later with only one further Billboard Hot 100 entry - a cover of The Shangri-Las' "Leader Of The Pack" - to their name.

Number 44 "Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)" by Eurythmics
Peak: number 5
Sneaking into the top 50 just as the year after it is named came to an end, this brand-new single by Eurythmics was taken from the soundtrack to Nineteen Eighty-Four, the film adaptation of the George Orwell novel (in which the concept of Big Brother was created). Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart recorded the entire soundtrack album, which was only a modest hit (it reached number 22) after two consecutive top 5 albums. But, there was nothing modest about the success of "Sexcrime...", which became the duo's biggest hit in Australia up until that point, beating the number 6 peak of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" by one spot. An even bigger song was just around the corner for the pair - and no, I'm not talking about "Julia", the second single from the soundtrack, which may not even have been released in Australia.

Number 43 "Moonlight Lady" by Julio Iglesias
Peak: number 43
Decades before his son told listeners in no uncertain terms what he was going to do to them, Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias took a more subtle approach to wooing the fairer sex. The smooth-as-silk "Moonlight Lady" was the latest single from Julio's smash album 1100 Bel Air Place, which was firmly ensconced in the albums top 10 and featured previous hits "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" (with Willie Nelson) and "All Of You" (with Diana Ross). Written by the songwriting team of Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager (who'd also penned Leo Sayer's "When I Need You"), "Moonlight Lady" was, like the Kenny Rogers song, another brief chart hit and would be Julio's last appearance on the top 50 for over three years.

Number 2 "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid
Peak: number 1
Recorded on November 24, 1984 and in record stores in the UK by December 3 (and Australia shortly after), "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was a rapid-fire response to a serious problem: the famine in Ethiopia. The story behind the single is well known, with The Boomtown Rats' Bob Geldof and Ultravox's Midge Ure scrambling to write the song and assemble a group of (mostly) British musicians to perform it. 
The result was an instant number 1 in the UK - and for many years the highest-selling single of all time in Britain, with over three million copies sold by this point in 1985. In Australia, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" wouldn't reach number 1 for another week (reflecting sales from across the festive season) - and would stay there well after Christmas was a distant memory, registering four weeks at the top.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:

Next week: two of the biggest ballad hits of the year debut, as does the theme to a classic '80s movie - I know, that doesn't really narrow it down given it's 1985 we're talking about. And tomorrow, it's back to 1990 as I look back at the ARIA top 50 from this week 25 years ago.

Back to: Dec 23, 1984 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 20, 1985


  1. I'd been living in New Zealand for a few months when this chart was published. I wasn’t following the charts yet, but it's interesting to see what was charting in Oz while I was away.

    I remember hearing the Band Aid song just before Xmas '84. Many of the same songs charting in Oz were on heavy rotation in NZ ('I Feel For You', 'I Just Called To Say I Love You', 'Caribbean Queen', 'Out of Touch', 'Sea of Love', 'The War Song', 'We're Not Gonna Take It'). Although it's a few months since its release, Alison Moyet's 'Love Resurrection' was a song I associate with living in NZ, as it received a LOT of airplay.

    I wasn't really aware Howard Jones at the time, but discovered 'What Is Love' a few years ago. Surprised to see it stalled at #31 here.

    I don’t recall hearing 'Sexcrime...' until 2 years later when listening to it on a hits compilation tape my sister had, despite it also going top 10 in NZ. Maybe radio didn't play it due to the racy title? It seems odd that 'Julia' wasn't released locally (a Eurythmics collector friend confirmed that it didn't get a local release), despite it flopping in the UK and not being the most obvious single choice.

    Shame 'Dancing In Berlin' wasn't a bigger hit. It sounds like top 5 material to my ears.

    I don't recall hearing 'Guardian Angel' before. Looking at its NZ chart run, it charted there just after I left.

    My older sister's class performed a routine to 'Agadoo' during the Xmas concert at my NZ school, ha ha. I remember thinking 'what does Agadoo mean?'

    I have wondered whether the Kent Report era year-end charts were based on chart-runs rather than sales, as it seems odd to me that 'Dancing In the Dark' - despite its mammoth stay in the top 50 - would end up #1 for the year with a peak of #5 and only 11 weeks in the top 10. I know a similar thing happened with 'November Rain' in '92 (placed higher on the chart of the year than its actual peak), but that spent much longer in the top 10.

    I assumed Patty Smyth was the lead singer of Scandal... so it's odd to see her as a 'featured' artist.

    The sometimes large differences in the state top 10 charts are interesting. I'm surprised to see that the #1 single in NSW could only reach #19 nationally this week. Perhaps a 'local' hit with limited appeal to other states?

    I've found the site www.unhearit.com useful for those earworms you can't shake (based around the idea of replacing one earworm with another).

    It's interesting that several different variations of 'Caribbean Queen' were recorded by Billy Ocean - 'European Queen' and 'African Queen'. There's also apparently a 'Japanese Queen', but no 'Australian Queen'.

    1. Yes, I checked with David Kent and his year-end charts were chart performance based (weeks at peak position etc) rather than sales based. So Dancing In The Dark wasn't necessarily the highest-selling single for 1984 but it must have done pretty well given it charted for so long. Would be very interested to see year-end sales-based charts for 1980-1988.

  2. Glad you've started this new section, on my favourite year in music.
    I llike almost everything in the chart this week, with the exception of the "comedy" releases (of which The Phantom Shuffle is the worst due to not actually being funny). Best of the bunch for me " The Warrior, All Cried Out, We Belong, both Prince-written songs, Out Of Touch, Together In Electric Dreams, Private Dancer... oh there's too many. I even think The War Song, The Wild Boys and Freedom are their respective artists' best songs, which I'm sure is not a common opinion. Best new entry was the Eurythmics one.

  3. Andy - troubled 80s teen16 January 2015 at 04:42

    Thanks for starting this new weekly review, really looking forward to it. As I didn't start following the charts until February 1988, I'm expecting many surprising peak positions, as my perception of the songs' popularities is only based on the radio airplay they received (and even then, only for whatever radio station in Sydney my father had playing while he washed the car - mostly 2Day-FM or 2UW (which became MIX 106.5 and, as I discovered on my first Australian visit in years during the past month, is now KIIS-FM)).

  4. Great stuff! I've just discovered this site, I'd been looking for some old charts to build a few playlists out of and from what I've seen so far, the amount of effort you've put into this is really impressive. Keep it up!

    1. Thanks for reading! Glad you're enjoying it.