Saturday, 29 July 2017

This Week In 1984: July 29, 1984

Not everyone can claim to have a song written about them; even fewer people have one that specifically names them - although if you're famous, the chances are probably higher. This week in 1984, a British girl group entered the ARIA top 50 with a song that name-checks a world-renowned American actor.

If someone writes a song about you, it's only polite to meet them

The song isn't actually about the actor per se, but he figures as a fantasy in the story told by the lyrics. Although not a massive success in Australia, the song gave the girl group their equal-biggest hit in the UK and is one of their best known singles.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 29, 1984

The biggest hit in Australia this week in 1984 was "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, which held down the number 1 spot for a second week and would continue to do so for some time.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "I Feel Like Buddy Holly" by Alvin Stardust
Peak: number 64
More than a decade after he topped the Australian chart with "My Coo Ca Choo", the English singer born Bernard Jewry made one last top 100 appearance with this tune, written and produced by Mike Batt.

Number 97 "Big In Japan" by Alphaville
Peak: number 67
But not in Australia. The debut single by the German synthpop group was successful in Europe, while in Australia, they'd have a minor top 50 hit with their original version of "Forever Young" the following year.

Number 85 "Farewell My Summer Love" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 68
Taken from an album (with the same name) of previously lost but recently found recordings from 1973, this sweet ballad was another US top 40 and UK top 10 hit, but Australia kept their distance.

New Entries
Number 50 "I Can Dream About You" by Dan Hartman
Peak: number 3
Back in 1979, Dan Hartman had reached the Australian top 10 with disco track "Instant Replay" and then was not seen on the chart again for five years when he returned with an even bigger hit, "I Can Dream About You". The song was included in the film Streets Of Fire, but Dan did not perform the version heard in the film. Instead, session singer Winston Ford recorded the song for the movie and it was lip synced by actor Stoney Jackson, who played the frontman of the film's doo-wop group, The Sorels. Dan, however, ensured his version would appear on the soundtrack album and be released as a single. Fair enough - he did write the song. 
Just to confuse matters, footage of The Sorels performing the track is included in both of the single's music videos. In the version featuring Dan (below), the group can be seen on a TV in the background. But another version exists comprised wholly of clips from the movie and the performance by the fictional group. It's this alternate video that is responsible for me believing Dan Hartman looked like Stoney Jackson for many years. "I Can Dream About You" was Dan's only other successful single in Australia, making him a two-hit wonder, but the late singer/songwriter/producer also gave the world "Relight My Fire" (later covered by Take That) and "Love Sensation" by Loleatta Holloway (later sampled by Black Box). He passed away in 1994.

Number 49 "All Of You" by Julio Iglesias / Diana Ross
Peak: number 19
He'd just reached the top 5 (alongside Willie Nelson) with "To All The Girls I've Loved Before", while her most recent visit to the same chart heights had been (alongside Lionel Richie) on 1981's number 1 "Endless Love". Together, Latin crooner Julio Iglesias and superstar performer Diana Ross made sweet music on this schmaltzy ballad taken from Julio's crossover album, 1100 Bel Air Place. For him, "All Of You" continued his move into the English-language market, while for Diana, the duet was a return to chart success after nothing from her previous two albums, Silk Electric and Ross, had really worked. 

Number 46 "Robert De Niro's Waiting" by Bananarama
Peak: number 40
Finally entering the top 50 in its 11th week on the top 100 is one of three songs that reached number 3 in the UK for Bananarama (the other two are "Love In The First Degree" and "Help!"). In Australia, "Robert De Niro's Waiting" was only a minor hit, but its unusual title and even less typical subject matter made it more memorable than its chart peak would normally indicate. Although not as lyrically explicit as it apparently was to begin with, the song is about date rape, with the victim disappearing into a fantasy world in which the Hollywood star is her boyfriend. As the photo at the start of this post attests, the trio ended up meeting Robert De Niro after the song's success, famously steeling themselves with a few drinks before... going out for a drink with the actor.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1984:

Next week: four brilliant songs, including a hit by a fictional band and the debut of a male singer with a very high voice.

Back to: Jul 22, 1984 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Aug 5, 1984


  1. I didn't know 'Big In Japan' until 2011, but love it. The RHINO video upload though seems to be at a notably slower speed than it should be (also affecting the pitch).

    I think I also initially thought Dan Hartman was black, based on the version of the video I first saw.

    Not really being into movies, I had no idea who Robert De Niro was when I first became aware of the Bananarama song (by title) circa 1988, and thought it was just a random guy's name they used (yes, really), like Nathan Jones. When I taped their Greatest Hits Collection off someone at school, I discovered that I did actually recognise the song, or at least the chorus, so must have heard it when it was released. It's so obviously a Siobhan-written song... the other 2 apparently had no idea what it was really about in an early interview. The shambolic actually-live vocal performance of it (complete with bad microphone feedback when they start to sign) on The Tube is worth a look. Keren & Sara later said they wanted to die, but Siobhan kept going, "bless her".

  2. In high school, one of our classmates did a presentation on Alphavilles "Forever Young" in our German class. Found out about Big in Japan shortly after & quite liked it. I also like both versions of Forever Young by Alphaville & Youth Group.

    I can dream about you was one of my favourite 80s songs as a child. It still holds up for me now but it's not up there as I've discovered plenty of 80s songs in recent years.

    Never heard of all of you but I knew To all the girls I've loved before because mum loved the song as a teenager & I heard it on the radio a couple times back when Mix 106.5 existed.

    Haven't heard of Robert De niro's Waiting but I'm quite a fan of Bananaramas material so have quite a list of their other songs like Shy Boy, Venus, Love in the First degree etc.

    1. It seems German class was informative for learning about recording artists. It's where I first heard Falco's 'Rock Me Amadeus'.

  3. Does anyone know if both 'I Can Dream About You' videos were around in 1984, or if the one Dan Hartman is actually in was for the 1985 UK release? I only ever saw the movie clips one on TV at the time, but the other may have been around.

    I didn't really get what 'Robert De Niro's Waiting' was about at the time either, but I knew he was an actor.

    'Big In Japan' always seemed like it had at least been a top 50 hit.

    1. I've got the video featuring Dan Hartman from a UK September 1985 compilation... but that doesn't really answer your question. My guess is that the Dan-version was made for the American market, who, at least back then it seems, prefer literal music videos, with the artist 'performing' (or in this case, 'dreaming’ about the person he couldn't hold that night)... and was used to promote the UK re-release. An online archive listing of the has 'original video' beside its appearance on a 1984 volume of the same series, presumably referring to the non-Dan version.