Monday, 30 March 2020

This Week In 1980: March 30, 1980

Every so often, a band comes along that is unlike any other. Like this week in 1980, when a new wave group from the US broke into the Australian singles chart with a song that was once heard, never forgotten.

The B-52's brought crustaceans and big hair to the top 50

The track would be one of two top 10 hits they achieved in Australia - almost a decade apart. And while the second of those got to number 1, their breakthrough hit came pretty close.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 30, 1980

At number 1 this week in 1980, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen wasn't about to give up the top spot for anyone - certainly not Colleen Hewett, who was stuck at number 2 for a fifth week with "Dreaming My Dreams With You".


Off The Chart
Number 100 "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by Dollar
Peak: number 75
They enjoyed five top 10 hits in the UK - including with this Beatles cover - but the duo comprised of Thereza Bazar and David Van Day only ever had two top 40 hits locally, both of which were behind them by this stage.

Number 98 "Rosie" by Joan Armatrading
Peak: number 52
This reggae-influenced song, which was also the lead track of the How Cruel EP, was locked in the 50s for 10 long weeks. Joan Armatrading would have more luck later in the year.

Number 95 "Wait For Me" by Daryl Hall & John Oates
Peak: number 81
Wait being the operative word - the duo, who had reached number 6 in 1977 with "Rich Girl', wouldn't return to the Australian top 10 until the final weeks of 1982. "Wait For Me" was taken from eighth album X-Static

Number 74 "Fire Lake" by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
Peak: number 57
Almost a decade in the making, this song that Bob Seger had begun writing in 1971, was issued as the lead single from his 11th album, Against The Wind


New Entries
Number 50 "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg
Peak: number 41
A hugely successful artist in America, Dan Fogelberg only paid one visit to the Australian top 50 - with this US number 2 ballad that puts the soft in soft rock. I'm not convinced I've ever heard "Longer" before, but by the end of listening to it just now, it felt incredibly familiar. I also felt like a nap, such is its lullabye tendencies.




Number 48 "Rock Lobster" by The B-52's
Peak: number 3
Meanwhile, I defy anyone to try and go to sleep to this racket - and I mean that as a compliment. A noisy, energetic, wholly original song, it was the chart breakthrough for The B-52's, almost two years after its original US release in a different version. This release was an edit of the version found on the band's self-titled debut album. Although beaten onto the top 100 by "Planet Clare", which we'll see in the top 50 next week, "Rock Lobster" quickly outpaced it, rocketing all the way to number 3. With its quirky lyrics, inspired by an Atlanta nightclub, and odd animal-sounding backing vocals, inspired by the work of Yoko One, it was unlike anything else around and quickly turned the five-piece into favourites in Australia.




Number 47 "Day Trip To Bangor (Didn't We Have A Lovely Time)" by Duffy's Band
Peak: number 47
As if one version of this horrendous tune wasn't bad enough. Joining the Fiddler's Dram original, which sat at number 10 this week, was this Australian release about which I know nothing. And to be honest, I don't care to.




Number 46 "Total Control" by The Motels
Peak: number 7
Ah, this is much better. One of those American acts who connected with Australian audiences before they broke through at home - thanks in no small part to Molly Meldrum and Countdown - The Motels had a hit here with this single from debut album Motels two years before they reached the US top 10 (with a different song). Not my favourite track by the band, who are among my favourite American bands of the decade, "Total Control" is one of those understated tracks that creeps up on you, and creep it did, gradually building up steam all the way to number 7. 




Number 45 "Pilot Of The Airwaves" by Charlie Dore
Peak: number 28
British singer-songwriter Charlie Dore's one big hit, "Pilot Of The Airwaves", was recorded twice - once as part of the Nashville sessions for her debut album, Where To Now, and again by Cliff Richard associates Alan Tarney and Bruce Welch when it was felt the first version was too country. There's still a bit of a country feel to the track, which tells of a listener who leads a pretty sad and lonely life, except for one bright spot: listening to a radio DJ about whom she's borderline obsessive. 




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):





Next week: as mentioned, the other single by The B-52's enters the top 50, as do hits by Billy Preston & Syreeta, Isaac Hayes and Don McLean.


Back to: Mar 23, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 6, 1980


Thursday, 26 March 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: March 26, 1995

When people talk about female artists from the 1990s, it's usually about big ballad divas like Mariah and Celine, chart-topping rock chicks like Alanis and Sheryl, R&B singers like Brandy and Monica, country crossovers like LeAnn and Shania or singer-songwriter types like Jewel and Tori. 

Dionne Farris probably didn't know that this would be her only solo hit

But every so often a woman would come along who didn't fit into convenient categories. Hard to pigeonhole singers like Björk, Neneh Cherry and the woman who debuted on the ARIA singles chart this week in 1995 with her fusion of rock and R&B.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending March 26, 1995

Meanwhile, at number 1 this week in 1995, one dance track made way for another as "Here's Johnny" by Hocus Pocus dethroned "Another Night".


Off The Chart
Number 95 "Crazy For You" by Let Loose
Peak: number 67
It took a couple of attempts for this debut single by British three-piece Let Loose to take off in the UK. After missing the top 40 in 1993, it went all the way to number 2 in 1994, and was one of my favourite songs from that year.

Number 89 "Be Happy" by Mary J Blige
Peak: number 76
She'd already scored her first US top 10 hit - with 1992's "Real Love" - but this Puff Daddy co-written tune, released as the lead single from second album My Life, was Mary J Blige's first taste of ARIA chart action.

Number 87 "Down By The Water" by PJ Harvey
Peak: number 84
Also entering the top 100 for the first time was English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey, with the lead single from her third album, To Bring You My Love

Number 74 "Never Lie" by Immature
Peak: number 55
This breakthrough hit for the American teen R&B trio made the US top 5, but just missed the top 50 here. Unexpectedly, Immature are still together, albeit under their revised name, IMx.

Number 57 "Closer To Hogs" by Nine Inch Richards
Peak: number 51
The original Nine Inch Nails track was 1994's most controversial hit. Leave it to Australia to parody it with a barnyard animal-featuring comedy track. 


New Entries
Number 49 "Hey Girl (This Is Our Time)" by CDB
Peak: number 14
Last week, we saw that not all R&B vocal harmony groups can pivot from ballads to upbeat tracks with ease, but CDB proved able to land hits with either tempo as they followed up debut single "Hook Me Up" with this old school tune (complete with shoo-bee-doo-wops) and found themselves back in the top 20.




Number 40 "I Know" by Dionne Farris
Peak: number 16
She'd first gained attention as one of the vocalists on Arrested Development's "Tennessee" back in 1992, and despite being offered a record deal by their label (provided Speech produced her album), Dionne Farris held out and ended up being signed by future American Idol judge Randy Jackson to Sony Music. Debut single "I Know" was a Grammy-nominated mix of rock and R&B that sounded great on radio, but despite reaching the US top 5 and ARIA top 20, which suggested big things lay in store for Dionne, it ended up being her only hit, and she is not often remembered these days, possibly because she's not able to be lumped in with any particular trend in '90s music.




Number 26 "When I Was A Sperm" by Master Wel
Peak: number 26
Sounding like something Gang Starr or Dream Warriors might have put out, but with lyrics that pushed it into novelty record territory, this was the only chart hit for Weldon Irvine, a multi-talented songwriter and musician who was in his 50s by this stage. With lyrics such as "one time resident of the prostate/now I make my home the placenta", the song was told from the perspective of sperm fertilising an egg, and really could have been used in sex education classes, given how precise its details were. (I bet there was a "cool" teacher or two out there who did just that.)




Number 16 "Digging The Grave" by Faith No More
Peak: number 12
Last seen on the top 50 with their second chart-topper "Easy", Faith No More returned with a song that was closer to the hard rocking sound with which they'd made their name. The lead single from fifth album King For A Day... Fool For A Lifetime, "Digging The Grave" didn't have the crossover appeal of their more substantial hits and exited the top 50 after seven weeks.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):





Next week: another techno tune enters the top 50, as does the follow-up to a dance number 1. Plus the debut of a new teen star.


Back to: Mar 19, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Apr 2, 1995


Monday, 23 March 2020

This Week In 1980: March 23, 1980

It's always fun discovering that a song you like is a cover version and then going back to listen to the original. Especially when for many years you had no idea the track was performed by someone else first.

It's safe to say Laura Branigan was a big fan of Italian singer Umberto Tozzi

This week in 1980, a song that would be remade by Gloria Branigan two years later entered the Australian top 50 - and peaked at a position considerably lower than the number 1 placing Laura's cover achieved.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 23, 1980

At number 1 this week in 1980, Queen stayed put with "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" for a fourth week. 


Off The Chart
Number 99 "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar
Peak: number 95
Australia would come to embrace Pat Benatar, but we did not snap up her breakthrough American hit, which had originally been recorded by Jenny Darren.

Number 88 "Third Time Lucky (First Time I Was A Fool)" by Foghat
Peak: number 86
Seven-and-a-bit years after they reached number 31 with "I Just Want To Make Love To You", the English-born, US-based band returned to the top 100 with this single from eighth album Boogie Motel


New Entries
Number 46 "Gloria" by Umberto Tozzi
Peak: number 46
While his previous single, "Ti Amo", clung on at number 50 this week, Italian singer Umberto Tozzi scored another hit with the English version of "Gloria", a song he'd originally recorded in his mother tongue. With new lyrics written by singer (and later convicted child sex offender) Jonathan King, "Gloria" was a much smaller success than "Ti Amo", which reached number 25 and stayed on the top 100 for 34 weeks. But the situation would be reversed when both tracks were later covered by Laura Branigan, with her reworking of "Gloria", which featured new lyrics, spent seven weeks at number 1 in Australia, while her rendition of "Ti Amo" was the smaller hit, peaking at number 2. For years, I had no idea either of Laura's singles were remakes, having been slightly too young (and too Anglo, I guess) to be aware of Umberto's work.




Number 45 "Stillsane" by Carolyne Mas
Peak: number 44
Taken from her self-titled debut album, this single was the only chart entry for the American singer-songwriter, both in Australia and at home in the US. Somewhat of a cult favourite, Carolyne continued to record for decades, with her most recent album released in 2013.




Number 43 "Heaven Must Have Sent You" by Bonnie Pointer
Peak: number 31
Up until 1978, Bonnie Pointer had joined her sisters as a member of The Pointer Sisters, before deciding to go solo. Next thing you know, the three-piece version of the sibling singing group finally scored a big hit in Australia with their cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire". As for Bonnie, who had signed to Motown Records, her biggest hit came with this remake of an old Holland-Dozier-Holland song originally performed by The Elgins in 1966.
Initially recorded by Bonnie in a more straightforward Motown style, "Heaven Must Have Sent You" was given a disco-tastic remix and, after entering the Australian top 100 in early November 1979, finally broke into the top 50 this week in 1980. Like many of Bonnie's singles as part of The Pointer Sisters, this was a much bigger hit in the US, where it fell short of the Billboard top 10 by one place.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):





Next week: one of the kookiest songs to ever reach the Australian top 10, plus another version of one of the worst songs to do the same.


Back to: Mar 16, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 30, 1980


Thursday, 19 March 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: March 19, 1995

If there were two things that defined the first half of the '90s it was grunge bands and vocal harmony groups. This week in 1995, the most successful example of the latter returned to the ARIA singles chart with a song that fell some way short of the chart highs we'd come to expect from them. 

New vocal harmony group 4PM succeeded as Boyz II Men stumbled

Their latest single was also much faster than their recent big hits. They were joined on the top 50 this week by a new quartet, who followed the vocal harmony playbook (down to the tempo) and earned themselves a spot in the top 10. 

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending March 19, 1995

At number 1 this week in 1995, MC Sar & The Real McCoy spent a sixth week on top with "Another Night" and once again kept Hocus Pocus at bay. But "Here's Johnny" would not be denied for much longer.


Off The Chart
Number 98 "Annihilating Rhythm" by Ultra-Sonic
Peak: number 84
One upside of the success of "Here's Johnny" was that it opened the door for some actually quite good techno, like this floor-filling release by Scottish group Ultra-Sonic.

Number 97 "Tonight" by Violent Femmes
Peak: number 62
Returning to the top 100 for the first time in just over three years, Violent Femmes lifted this sub-two minute single from their seventh album, Rock!!!!!, which was initially only released in Australia.

Number 79 "You Wreck Me" by Tom Petty
Peak: number 72
A slight chart improvement on "You Don't Know How It Feels", which we saw back in January, this second single from Wildflowers would be Tom Petty's final top 100 appearance.

Number 75 "Joy" by Toni Pearen
Peak: number 71
Also charting for the last time was singer and actress Toni Pearen, who missed the top 50 for the first time with her fourth single, which was remixed from the superior album version.


New Entries
Number 49 "Believe" by Elton John
Peak: number 23
I finished reading Elton John's autobiography, Me, just recently, and, given by 1995 he had kicked his addictions and was in the process of settling down with future husband David Furnish, this era of his career doesn't provide as many reminiscences as his earlier, hedonistic days. Appropriately enough, given where the music legend was in his life at this point, this lead single from his 24th album, Made In England, is quite a stately, mature affair, and while the album went top 10, "Believe" ended up as a mid-table hit.




Number 48 "Open Your Heart" by M-People
Peak: number 25
As much as I liked M-People - and I liked them a lot - the one thing that frustrated me about the British dance band was that the album versions of their songs always went on for so long, like the 5:42 version of "Open Your Heart" found on Bizarre Fruit. Luckily, my favourite song of the album became its second single and came with a tidy 3:41 radio edit. And while I bought the CD single even though I already had the album for that very reason, it seems not enough other people did, with the song becoming their latest UK top 10 hit to get stuck in the 20s here.




Number 44 "Mr Natural" by Mental As Anything
Peak: number 27
Last week, we saw the final hit for Divinyls, and seven days later, another Australian band that had been releasing music since the dawn of the '80s (slightly earlier in this case) entered the chart for the last time. The lead single from the Liar Liar Pants On Fire album, the Martin Plaza-sung "Mr Natural" would give the Mentals a 20th top 40 hit, something they wouldn't manage again despite continuing to release albums for some time afterwards.




Number 42 "Thank You" by Boyz II Men
Peak: number 33
Excluding Christmas single "Let It Snow", Boyz II Men had not peaked lower than number 11 with their previous four singles, which shared one thing in common: they were all ballads. Mixing things up for the third single from II, the world's premier vocal harmony group released uptempo new jack swing track "Thank You", and suddenly found themselves much lower down the chart. It wasn't just Australia that didn't embrace the song as wholeheartedly - even in the US, where debut single "Motownphilly" had reached number 2, "Thank You" just missed the top 20. I actually really like "Thank You" and thought it was a good idea to take a break from the mega-ballads. And perhaps it was - the song's relative lack of success might have had nothing to do with the song's tempo but more the fact that, up until this week, II had not been out of the top 20 on the albums chart since October.




Number 41 "Everlasting Love" by Gloria Estefan
Peak: number 29
Traditionally, Gloria Estefan's hit rate in Australia hadn't seemed to be governed by whether a song was fast or slow - over the years, she'd had hits ("Dr Beat", "Anything For You") and unexpected misses ("Get On Your Feet", "Coming Out Of The Dark") with both. But after the failure of her previous remake, ballad "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me", to progress further than number 48, another uptempo cover did better. The latest version of perennial favourite "Everlasting Love", Gloria's rendition was accompanied by a music video featuring drag queens dressed as her at different stages in her career since she was heavily pregnant with daughter Emily when it was filmed.




Number 37 "Sukiyaki" by 4 P.M.
Peak: number 3
Standing for For Positive Music, new vocal harmony quartet 4 P.M. burst straight out of the gate with a play straight from the Boyz II Men rule book - a partly a cappella remake. In this case, it was a cover of A Taste Of Honey's 1981 worldwide hit "Sukiyaki" (which had peaked at number 24 locally), a song that had in turn been an English-language version of the 1961 tune by Japanese artist Kyu Sakamoto (which reached number 1 in Australia two years later following its US success). Whether 4 P.M. could sustain a chart career beyond this hit remake would remain to be seen...




Number 23 "Yesterdays" by Cold Chisel
Peak: number 23
With everything else going on this week, it's something of an anti-climax that the highest new entry on the top 50 was the latest song plucked from Cold Chisel's bits and pieces album, Teenage Love. "Yesterdays" spent just three weeks on the top 50.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):





Next week: a new hit from a local vocal harmony group, plus a novelty hit about sperm.


Back to: Mar 12, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 26, 1995


Monday, 16 March 2020

This Week In 1980: March 16, 1980

One of the best parts of these weekly trips back to the Australian singles chart of 1980 is seeing artists have their first hits and remembering a time when household names were up-and-coming unknowns.

The first of many line-ups of The Pretenders

This week in 1980, a British band (with an American singer) broke through with their third release, a song that became the first new number 1 of the decade in the UK and almost reached the top here.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 16, 1980

Still at number 1 this week in 1980 were Queen, with "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" spending a third week on top. 


Off The Chart
Number 100 "Get 'Em Going Cabes" by Ken Walther
Peak: number 87
Perhaps someone from Western Australia will be able to confirm, but from what I can determine, this song is about footballer and coach Barry Cable, who had just retired from playing.

Number 97 "Prefab Hearts" by The Reels
Peak: number 52
Their debut single, "Love Will Find A Way", had taken them inside the top 50, but The Reels, who I've just discovered are from Dubbo, narrowly missed out on a second hit with this follow-up.

Number 76 "Movin' Right Along" by Fozzie & Kermit
Peak: number 58
"Rainbow Connection" was still inside the top 40, but this jaunty number from The Muppet Movie, performed by voice actors Frank Oz and Jim Henson respectively, didn't find as many takers.


New Entries
Number 48 "Brass In Pocket" by The Pretenders
Peak: number 2
Formed in the UK two years earlier around American expat Chrissie Hynde, The Pretenders had enjoyed two minor top 40 entries on the British chart in 1979 with "Stop Your Sobbing" and "Kid". It's unclear whether either of those were released in Australia at that point, although they later would be as a joint follow-up. But it was "Brass In Pocket", named after the northern English slang for money and about putting on a confident front, which put the band on the map. The first song to rise to number 1 in the UK in 1980 (knocking off Pink Floyd, who'd been there since the end of 1979), the song just missed out on doing the same here, kept at number 2 for three weeks by Split Enz's "I Got You". "Brass In Pocket" was also a hit in the US, with the subtitle "I'm Special", peaking at number 14. It was the first of six top 20 hits for The Pretenders in Australia between 1980 and 1994.




Number 34 "Romeo's Tune" by Steve Forbert
Peak: number 13
The week's other new entry was by American one-hit wonder Steve Forbert, who recorded "Romeo's Tune" four times (in a variety of studios and with an array of producers) before being happy with the result. Persistence paid off, with his song about taking some time out from the world with your lover - a concept that's especially timely 40 years later - peaking just outside the US and Australian top 10. Fun fact: Steve played Cyndi Lauper's boyfriend in the music video for "Girls Just Want To Have Fun".




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):





Next week: The original version of a song that would reach number 1 for a different artist in 1983, plus a solo hit for a member of a sibling girl group.


Back to: Mar 9, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 23, 1980


Thursday, 12 March 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: March 12, 1995

It had taken Australia long enough to full embrace dance music, and then songs like the highest new entry on the singles chart this week in 1995 had to go and ruin things by giving it a bad name.

A blight on Sweden's otherwise impeccable pop CV

The latest in a series of club tracks that incorporated a little bit of country, the single topped charts across Europe (for many weeks in some cases) and made the ARIA top 10.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending March 12, 1995

Another, far superior dance track continued to occupy the number 1 spot in Australia this week in 1995. "Another Night" by MC Sar & The Real McCoy spent its fifth week on top.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "My Iron Lung" by Radiohead
Peak: number 100
A new release from the band who hadn't yet managed to follow "Creep" with another hit. As well as a two-track CD single, an eight-track EP was available, while the song itself ended up on Radiohead's second album, The Bends

Number 93 "All I Have To Do Is Dream (with Phil Everly) / Miss You Nights" by Cliff Richard / Phil Everly
Peak: number 93
Fresh from his Australian tour, this double A-side release featured a live cover of The Everly Brothers single from 1958 with Phil Everly and a remixed version of Cliff's own 1975 song, "Miss You Nights". 

Number 78 "Sour Times" by Portishead
Peak: number 66
Like fellow trip-hop act Massive Attack (up until this point), Portishead went largely unappreciated on the ARIA singles chart, with this breakthrough single peaking outside the top 50.


New Entries
Number 50 Regurgitator by Regurgitator
Peak: number 45
Newly signed to Warner Music, three-piece Brisbane band Regurgitator's previously independently released, self-titled EP - the one with the hamburger on the front - was re-released by their new major label. Thanks to radio support for tracks "Couldn't Do It" and "Like It Like That", it gave them their first appearance in the top 50 - somewhere they'd return regularly over the next few years.




Number 37 "I'm Jealous" by Divinyls
Peak: number 14
From an Australian band making their first visit to the top 50, we move now to a band scoring their final hit single after a decade-and-a-half of releasing music. Originally appearing on the 1994 soundtrack to primetime soap Melrose Place, "I'm Jealous" was co-written by Chrissy Amphlett with Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, with whom Divinyls had collaborated on international breakthrough single "I Touch Myself". Issued as a single in 1995, "I'm Jealous" became the band's sixth top 20 hit and their most successful single since the chart-topping "I Touch Myself", but due to the fact that follow-up "Heart Of Steel" wasn't released for six months and album Underworld didn't see the light of day until late 1996, any renewed momentum they had disappeared.




Number 34 "Cotton Eye Joe" by Rednex
Peak: number 8
The Grid have a lot to answer for. Since they demonstrated the hit potential of a banjo teamed with an electronic beat on "Swamp Thing", other acts jumped on the hoedown-meets-dance music bandwagon. Until now, none of those imitators made much headway on the ARIA chart, but new Swedish outfit Rednex blasted onto the top 50 with their spin on US folk tune "Cotton-Eyed Joe". The slightly renamed track gave the very specific dance genre another top 10 hit and infuriated me for the duration of its 18-week chart run. At least we were spared any further hits by Rednex, who did manage several more from their Sex & Violins album across Europe.




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):





Next week: a new hit from the world's most popular vocal harmony group and a new vocal harmony group with a cover version of an old hit. Plus, another hugely successful Australian band reaches the top 50 for the last time.


Back to: Mar 5, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Mar 19, 1995


Monday, 9 March 2020

This Week In 1980: March 9, 1980

So far in these flashbacks to the Australian top 50 from 1980, we've seen some of the first big hits of the decade. This week that year, all the new entries were firsts in another way.

The song that changed everything for Split Enz

From the first hip-hop hit to the first appearance of a influential British punk band, the debuting singles all brought something new to the singles chart. In one case, it took a locally based band all the way to number 1.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending March 9, 1980

Before then, Queen continued to rule the roost at number 1, with "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" staying on top of the chart for a second week.


Off The Chart
Number 100 "I Have A Dream" by ABBA
Peak: number 64
Their previous single, "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)", had been the new track on Greatest Hits Vol. 2, but it was back to Voulez Vous for this belatedly released ballad, which did much better in Europe than in Australia.

Number 99 "Ravel's Bolero" by Henry Mancini
Peak: number 76
The 1928 composition featured prominently in Blake Edwards' 10, which had been released in January, with this release credited to Henry Mancini, who'd written the film's score.

Number 93 "Déja Vu" by Dionne Warwick
Peak: number 69
The second single from her Barry Manilow-produced comeback album, Dionne, this follow-up to top 40 hit "I'll Never Love This Way Again" was co-written by Isaac Hayes.

Number 92 "The Shape Of Things To Come" by The Headboys
Peak: number 89
The only top 100 entry here and in the UK for Scottish band The Headboys, "The Shape Of Things To Come" did slightly better in the UK, where it just missed the top 40.


New Entries
Number 50 "Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang
Peak: number 37
Everything has to start somewhere, and although this seminal hip-hop track wasn't the first ever rap record, it was the first to make the Billboard Hot 100 and, I'm assuming, the Australian chart (although correct me if I'm wrong). Put together by studio and record label owner Sylvia Robinson (one half of Mickey & Sylvia of "Love Is Strange" fame), the track, which came in three versions of varying lengths up to 15 minutes, was an attempt to capture what was happening at New York block parties, where MCs would rap over records like Chic's "Good Times"
Sylvia hired the trio who would become Sugarhill Gang, Guy "Master Gee" O'Brien, Henry "Big Bank Hank" Jackson and Michael "Wonder Mike" Wright, as well as the musicians who recreated the "Good Times" backing track, and soon had a hit on her hands. Although it only peaked one place higher in the US, "Rapper's Delight" sold two million copies there, proving rap could be much more than just a live music genre. The record's success also provided the world with the first interpolation pay-out following legal action by Chic, which resulted in a settlement and writer credits for Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers. In Australia, "Rapper's Delight" remained on the top 100 for more than half a year.




Number 46 "How Do I Make You" by Linda Ronstadt
Peak: number 19
Speaking of things starting somewhere, "How Do I Make You" was the first hit for songwriter Billy Steinberg, who'd go on to co-write some of the biggest tunes of the decade (including "Like A Virgin" and "Eternal Flame") with partner Tom Kelly. At the time, he'd intended this "My Sharona"-influenced song for his own band, but Linda Ronstadt heard a demo and recorded it for her Mad Love album. "How Do I Make You" was also the first time Linda had really rocked out like this, with her previous albums veering between country rock, classic rock and rock ballads. Drawing comparisons to Blondie, the new wave-ish song gave her a fourth top 20 hit in Australia.




Number 41 "I Got You" by Split Enz
Peak: number 1
Possibly the biggest new wave single to come from this part of the world, "I Got You" was the track that turned adopted Australians Split Enz into superstars, holding down the number 1 spot for eight weeks and helping parent album True Colours to do the same for 10 weeks. Having previously climbed no higher than number 15, with both "My Mistake" and "I See Red", it was a huge jump in fortune for the New Zealand band, who would enjoy a string of successes over the next few years. Interestingly, "I Got You" wasn't initially considered by either the band or Mushroom Records as a song that would be likely to be a hit. "It just goes to show I don't know a hit when I hear one," songwriter Neil Finn once said about the track.




Number 39 "London Calling" by The Clash
Peak: number 28
Another first: this was the debut appearance by British punk (or were they post-punk by now?) band The Clash on the Australian chart. The title track of their third album, "London Calling" is a pretty gloomy song, with lyrics influenced by some of the news items Mick Jones and Joe Strummer had been seeing about the doom facing the world. The title comes from the station ID of the BBC World Service.




Number 35 "Day Trip To Bangor (Didn't We Have A Lovely Time)" by Fiddler's Dram
Peak: number 8
The first four of this week's five new entries are all classic tracks that in some way changed the face of music and still stand up today. And then there's this. The folk tune was the debut release (and only hit) for Fiddler's Dram, whose members came from an alternate group, The Oyster Band. Dated even in 1980, the dirge-like ditty is about an outing to Bangor in North Wales, and somehow made the top 10 in Australia. Blame the expats?




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):





Next week: another highly influential band lands their first massive hit in Australia. Plus, one of the cuddliest duos of all time.


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