Tuesday, 22 September 2015

This Week In 1985: September 22, 1985

Saxaphone solos, key changes, keytars... there are some things that will forever be associated with '80s music. Add to that list the kiddy choir, which had featured on recent charts hits "We Belong" by Pat Benatar and Tina Turner's number 1 single, "We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)".

Two Australian bands discovered the power of the kiddy choir in 1985

This week in 1985, two new entries on the ARIA top 50 singles chart came complete with a choir of children for the final choruses. And both singles were a change of pace for the Australian bands responsible.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending September 22, 1985

Another local band held down the number 1 spot this week in 1985 for a second week. Models stayed on top with "Out Of Mind Out Of Sight", with fellow Aussies INXS right behind them with "What You Need".

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Day By Day" by Doug & The Slugs
Peak: number 62
It wasn't even one of their hits at home in Canada, but some reason this lead single from fourth album Popaganda became the only top 100 appearance by the band fronted by Doug Bennett.

Number 88 "Goodbye Girl" by Go West
Peak: number 55
After two big singles, Go West slowed down the pace - and, as a result, their chart success - with this latest release from their debut self-titled album.

Number 85 "What Am I Going To Do" by Stephen Cummings
Peak: number 80
His former band, The Sports, never reached the top 20 and it looked like singer Stephen Cummings was going to share that fate, with this stand-alone single between his first two solo albums not climbing much higher.

Number 84 "Smokin' In The Boys Room" by Mōtley Crüe
Peak: number 61
This lead single from third album Theatre Of Pain was their first major hit in the US, but it'd be another couple of years before the decadent rockers saw the inside of the ARIA top 50.

New Entries
Number 45 "The City Of Soul" by Eurogliders
Peak: number 19
There were a lot of joyful pop moments on Eurogliders' third album, Absolutely, but the Perth band made the curious decision to release the moody "The City Of Soul" as its second single. Maybe they had to get it out of the way before the references to 1985 in the lyrics became dated or maybe it was felt that a song like "The City Of Soul", with its kiddy choir and post-apocalyptic video, would tie in nicely with the popularity of Mad Max and Tina Turner's recent number 1. Whatever the reason, it's pretty telling that the singles released either side of it went top 10 while "The City Of Soul" just slipped in to the top 20. Don't get me wrong, I like the song and it does show the band could do more than just get off with each other in music videos - but I much prefer the other singles from Absolutely.  

Number 43 "The Garden" by Australia Too
Peak: number 38
Nine months after Band Aid started the ball rolling on the music industry's support of famine relief efforts, a bunch of Australian artists banded together for this single to raise funds for local charity Australian Freedom From Hunger Campaign, which had been in operation since 1960. Despite the presence of well-known voices like Doug Parkinson, Renee Geyer and John Swan, "The Garden" didn't follow "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and "We Are The World" to the top of the chart - in fact, it got nowhere near number 1 and this is the first time I've ever heard the hymn-like track. Was Australia all charity-ed out? It didn't seem that way later in 1985 when another local fundraising record hit the top 10. Perhaps "The Garden" just wasn't a good enough song.

Number 42 "Current Stand" by Kids In The Kitchen
Peak: number 12
Like Eurogliders, Kids In The Kitchen departed from the formula that had provided them with their biggest hits, trading in synthpop for a more straightforward pop ballad as the fifth single from debut LP Shine, which was working its way back up the albums listings. In this case, it was the best decision they could've made. After the disappointment that was the album's title track, "Current Stand" returned the band to the ARIA top 20 - and also just happened to be their best single to date. As good as "Bitter Desire" and "Something That You Said" had been, "Current Stand" felt like a band seizing their big pop moment - kiddy choir and all. 

Number 41 "Spanish Eddie" by Laura Branigan
Peak: number 24
This odd (but awesome) little number, which features lyrics about gang warfare in the 1970s set to a jazzercise beat, got things off to an OK start for Laura Branigan's fourth album, Hold Me. However, "Spanish Eddie" would turn out to be the American singer's seventh and final top 50 appearance in Australia. This was despite the presence on Hold Me of her version of Alphaville's "Forever Young" and the original recording of "I Found Someone", later covered with great success by Cher - neither of which became hits for Laura. Not even a union with Stock Aitken Waterman on 1987's "Shattered Glass" did the trick for her locally, which was a bit of an oversight on our collective part.

Number 36 "Dress You Up" by Madonna
Peak: number 5
She was still at numbers 10 and 12 with her two recent chart-toppers, but the relentless Madonna release schedule continued apace with this fourth and final single from Like A Virgin making short work of its journey to the top 5. Like "Angel", "Dress You Up" didn't come with a proper music video - concert footage from the Virgin Tour was used instead - but that hardly mattered at this point as everything Madonna touched turned into a chart smash. It's even more remarkable that "Dress You Up" did so well in Australia given Like A Virgin was now in its 42nd week on the albums top 50 and still as high as number 11, and most artists just didn't have the fans to sustain that many top 5 hits from one album. 

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

Next week: three future number 1s debut in the same week, including a song that had its premiere back in July at Live Aid, a reggae cover of a classic duet and possibly the best synthpop track of all time.

Back to: Sep 15, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 29, 1985


  1. What Am I Going To Do is one of those classic Aussie songs that is very difficult to obtain. Not available online anywhere or on any CD (apart from a poor quality YouTube video). As you pointed out it was a stand-alone single so not even available on vinyl LP.
    7 inch vinyl only if you can find it. A pity.


    1. Andrew, I don't know whether you'll see this, but if you do, according to this discogs.com entry, the track is available on this Concept Records (remember them?) LP:

      It doesn't specify whether the compilation was also released on CD, but my guess is it probably would have been released on cassette as well, at least. Probably quite difficult to find on any format now, but at least it's out there.

    2. PS I just noticed that each state had a different #1 this week.

  2. I really wasn't expecting to know the Doug & The Slugs track, but it sounds very familiar; though I wouldn't have heard it for (presumably) nearly 30 years. Victorian radio must have been flogging it. Interesting comment on the video: "this song got me throgh my jail sentance" (sic).

    I hadn't actually seen the 'Smokin' In the Boys' Room' video before. Interesting!

    Despite being a top 20 hit, I didn't know 'The City of Soul'.

    I see why Australia Too didn't work.

    'Self Control' aside, Laura Branigan seemed cursed with the one-hit-per-album thing; though the quick succession of her album releases probably didn't help.

    I couldn't figure out the title lyrics on 'Dress You Up', but thought it was "(something) in Milo" at the time; and it seems I wasn't the only one, as I read someone else on a pop forum also thought the same.

  3. Thanks for the info. I wasn't aware of that compilation. Still only on vinyl though.
    I have the 7" vinyl (and vinyl rip to WAV with crackling included) but I wish someone would release it digitally so we can finally have a nice clean version.


  4. I reckon maybe some singles still sold well (if they were a 4th or 5th single from an album) because of their 12" versions. Back then we looked forward to the 12" of a song; they were mostly done well and quite different to the 7" versions. I drove my sisters insane with the Dress You Up one hehe - much much play time!

  5. Madonna was a phenomenon, the likes of which haven't been seen since. I think it's hard to actually understand just how massive she was unless you lived through her success. She was everywhere and then she just kept earning Top 10 hits with impressive consistency for well over two decades. She was inescapable back in 1985, but there was no backlash - people just lapped up everything she did and everything she was released was played over and over on the radio and TV (pardon the pun!).

  6. I actually remember the Doug and The Slugs track for some reason - maybe because it was so different than anything else on the chart, or its quirky film clip. It may have been used as the theme music for something a couple of years later, although I don't know what.

    The change of pace didn't do Go West any favours, and Goodbye Girl charted in the right place IMO.

    I liked The City Of Soul, and Grace does soul well as it woul turn out, but really it did well to get to #19. Just glad the film clip was Speedo-free.

    Current Stand however was worthy of at least the Top 10, and I'm surprised it didn't get there. It was KITK's high point, although they did have a few good singles left in them.

    Amazing that the 4th/5th song from an album that was nearly a year old still made the Top 5 - that's how much of a roll Madonna was on.

    I don't remember The Garden at all amongst the sea of 1985's charity singles.

    Spanish Eddie didn't connect with me, which was a bit sad as I don't remember her charting again, and I liked Laura's earlier work.