Wednesday, 25 May 2016

This Week In 1986: May 25, 1986

A couple of weeks ago, we saw the chart debut of one of my all-time top 5 Australian bands. This week in 1986, another of my favourite local groups arrived on the ARIA chart with their latest single.

Pseudo Echo were living at the top end of the chart in 1986

The band in question seemed to have really found their groove by this point, with their sound bridging the gap between Aussie pub rock and electronic music. And, their first chart-topping single wasn't too far away.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending May 25, 1986

At the top of the chart this week in 1986, "Living Doll" by Cliff Richard & The Young Ones maintained an easy lead over the rest of the pack in its second week at number 1.

Off The Chart
Number 91 "Le Bel Age" by Pat Benatar
Peak: number 86
Unlike "Invincible" and "Sex As A Weapon", this third cut from Seven The Hard Way fizzled out. If you want to actually hear the song, here's a dialogue-less version of the music video.

Number 79 "Never As Good As The First Time" by Sade
Peak: number 70
Here's another third single, this time from Sade's second album, Promise. It became yet another top 50 miss for the group whose only hit to date was still "Smooth Operator"

"Best Foot Forward" by Martin Plaza
Peak: number 51
So close... and yet so far. The second solo single from Mental As Anything's Martin Plaza fell agonizingly short of the top 50, and at the same time missed by some margin the chart highs of "Concrete And Clay", which was still sitting (just) inside the top 20. While not as catchy as that remake had been, "Best Food Forward" is not a bad song at all - and better than many a Mentals single. I can only guess that the track was overshadowed by its massive predecessor - I certainly don't recall hearing it at the time - because on its own merits "Best Food Forward" should've done much better.

"The Bigger They Are" by GANGgajang
Peak: number 60
Next up, an act that should've done much better on the chart with all their singles so far: "House Of Cards", "Gimme Some Loving", "Giver Of Life" and, of course, "Sounds Of Then". This time, however, "The Bigger They Are" was about as big as it deserved, since it wasn't as good as any of the other singles from the band's self-titled album.

"After The Love Has Gone" by Princess
Peak: number 57
"Say I'm Your Number One" hadn't quite done what it said on the label, but at least it ended up in the right vicinity, reaching number 8 in February. Unfortunately for Princess, the title of her follow-up, "After The Love Has Gone", turned out to be more appropriate, with her fans deserting her in droves. I didn't actually hear the song until almost a decade later, when I filled many of the gaps in my Stock Aitken Waterman collection, but a loyal few kept the song bouncing around the 50s and 60s long enough for it to register as a breaker three times over the coming weeks.

New Entries
Number 50 "Do You Wanna Be?" by I'm Talking
Peak: number 8
From a song produced by the Hit Factory, we come to a track that received a SAW remix. "Do You Wanna Be?" was the fourth single by Melbourne's I'm Talking (fifth, if you include initial EP Someday) - and their last three singles had all charted inside the ARIA top 25. But, despite all that success, "Trust Me", "Lead The Way" and "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" weren't included on the band's debut album, Bear Witness, later in 1986. "Do You Wanna Be?", which became the highest charting single for I'm Talking, was featured on the album but, surprisingly, was left off Kate Cebrano's just-released career retrospective, Anthology.

Number 47 "Secret Lovers" by Atlantic Starr
Peak: number 31
It was the song that finally gave them a big US hit after a decade together, and quiet storm classic "Secret Lovers" also did good business in Australia for R&B band Atlantic Starr. The "secret" in the title refers to the illicit affair described in the lyrics - with Atlantic Starr singers David Lewis and Barbara Weathers playing the roles of lovers cheating on their spouses to be together. Racy! Atlantic Starr did even better in America in 1987 with the more traditionally themed big ballad "Always", which topped the Billboard Hot 100 but surprisingly didn't crack the ARIA top 50.

Number 28 "Living In A Dream" by Pseudo Echo
Peak: number 15
Pseudo Echo really hadn't put a foot wrong with their singles to date - even if the chart positions for "Dancing Until Midnight" (number 53) and "Stranger In Me" (number 58) had been less than stellar. With "Living In A Dream", they scored their third top 20 smash in a row - the band seemingly having perfected their blend of synthpop and rock.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1986:

Next week: a song that couldn't have been more topical if it tried, plus a rock'n'roll legend returns to the top 50 for the first time in 27 years.

Back to: May 18, 1986 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 1, 1986


  1. I didn't know the Pat Benatar song. I like it, but the dialogue over the verses in the video is annoying. Smoking while 'singing' in a music video isn't something you'd see these days.

    I didn't know the Sade song until a few years ago, but it's one of my favourite tracks of 'hers'.

    On my music video catalogue I've got the video for the Martin Plaza track - I'll try uploading it tomorrow if you want to embed it (assuming it's not blocked); though I don't remember hearing it before.

    I didn't know the Princess song until 2008; it deserved to do better than #57.

    I'm Talking also had an earlier (their first), non-charting, Zan-less single, 'Someday', which aired on rage just this weekend gone. I just saw recently that none of their earlier charting hits made their debut album - quite a strange decision, especially given it had only 8 tracks.

    I didn't know the Atlantic Starr track. A bit too bland for me.

    'Living In a Dream' deserved to do better than #15.

    1. Yes please to Martin Plaza. Really surprised that didn't do better.

      Someday was an EP, but no doubt would've counted on the singles chart if it had done well enough so I've included a mention of it. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. La Bel Age was a moderate hit in Adelaide so was on Top 40 Video quite a lot. One of my faves of hers.

  3. Princess' follow-up and 'Secret Lovers' totally escaped me.

    Must admit I didn't much like the follow-up Martin Plaza track, though I like Concrete and Clay, and I love him and most of the Mentals' material. Hope he's doing ok as he hasn't been in good health over the last year or two.

    Think GANGGajang definitely ran out of steam with this one. They'd be back with a new album early in 1987.

    'Living In A Dream' is another solid (though not their best) Pseudo Echo track. They were on a pretty decent roll, and the best was to come later that year.

    'Do You Wanna Be' is definitely my favourite all-time I'm Talking track though, and is in my Top 20 for 1986. Such a perfect pop song with a funky beat.