Monday, 29 June 2020

This Week In 1980: June 29, 1980

We've reached the halfway point of our look back at the Australian singles chart of 1980. And to mark the occasion... a pretty dull chart week with just three minor hits entering the top 50.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending June 29, 1980

There was some action at the top of the chart, with The Vapors' "Turning Japanese" barging Rocky Burnette out of the way to take its first week at number 1.

New Entries
Number 48 "Games Without Frontiers" by Peter Gabriel
Peak: number 44
Taking its name from the literal translation of European game show Jeux Sans Frontières (which was adapted in England and Australia as It's A Knockout), this track from Peter Gabriel's third self-titled solo album made a one-place improvement on the peak of his debut single, "Solsbury Hill". The anti-war "Games Without Frontiers" features backing vocals by Kate Bush, who would later duet with Peter on one of his biggest Australian hits, "Don't Give Up". But at this stage, the former Genesis singer's music didn't have that same commercial appeal.

Number 46 "Space Race" by Mi-Sex
Peak: number 28
After back-to-back top 10 hits, new wave back Mi-Sex settled into a part of the chart they'd become very familiar with over the next few years, with none of their subsequent singles able to venture past the 20s. The title track of their second album, "Space Race" wasn't up to the standard set by "Computer Games" and "People", so number 28 was probably about right - not something that could be said of the peaks of some of the band's underrated upcoming releases.

Number 45 The Monkees by The Monkees
Peak: number 44
Although it had been a decade since their last hit single, 1970's "Oh! My My / I Love You Better", which reached number 34, The Monkees were enjoying something of a resurgence thanks to the TV show that launched them becoming as ubiquitous as Batman and The Brady Bunch in re-run programming. While two different greatest hits compilations reached the top 50 in 1979-80, this four-track EP poked its nose into the singles chart. Containing big hits "I'm A Believer" (number 1), "Last Train To Clarksville" (number 14), "Daydream Believer" (number 2) and "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" (number 4), it was the perfect snapshot of the band, who would make a proper comeback in 1986 with brand new music.

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

Next week: a much more interesting week, with the first hit of the '80s for a man we'd be seeing a lot of throughout the decade, plus new entries from Australia's sweetheart and the country's favourite make-up-sporting rockers.

Back to: Jun 22, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 6, 1980

Thursday, 25 June 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: June 25, 1995

Musical taste is a funny thing - one person's ear candy is another's noise pollution. And it always amuses me when I get a sudden influx of likes on the Chart Beats Facebook page and then a gradual drop-off of a handful of those as people realise exactly what type of music I celebrate. It ain't called A Journey Through Pop for nothing.

Paula Abdul was back with a new sound in 1995

The two highest entries on the ARIA singles chart from this week in 1995 demonstrate that quite effectively. One was the return of a female pop star that music snobs hate, and the other was the top 50 debut of a beloved independent Australian band - a group I didn't have a lot of time for.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending June 25, 1995

A song that seemed universally liked continued its reign at number 1 this week in 1995. "Mouth" by Merril Bainbridge stayed on top for a sixth week.

Off The Chart
Number 58 "Tic-Tok / 1-2-3-4" by Ultra-Sonic
Peak: number 58
Seems only techno tracks that had novelty hooks or were remakes could make the top 50, with this latest release by the Scottish act falling just short despite spending 11 weeks in the top 100.

Number 51 "Immortality" by Pearl Jam
Peak: number 51
Coming even closer to being a top 50 hit was the third and final single from Pearl Jam's Vitalogy album. They'd be back before long with their biggest hit to date.

New Entries
Number 49 "Somebody's Crying" by Chris Isaak
Peak: number 5
Speaking of biggest hits to date, this lead single from Chris Isaak's fifth album, Forever Blue, outperformed "Wicked Game" and "Blue Hotel" to become his highest charting single up until this point. And by going top 5, it's a chart high he has been unable to beat since. Written following a painful break-up, the song is deceptively upbeat - just as the lyrics don't give away the fact that the somebody who is crying is Chris himself until the chorus.

Number 42 "Milkman's Son" by Ugly Kid Joe
Peak: number 40
Next up, a band whose days of scoring big hits were behind them. This lead single from the American band's second album, Menace To Sobriety, would also prove to be Ugly Kid Joe's final top 50 appearance. 

Number 35 "Freek'N You" by Jodeci
Peak: number 23
They'd been enjoying success in the US since 1991, but this lead single from third album The Show, The After Party, The Hotel was the first to gain traction in Australia for Jodeci. Comprised of two sets of brothers - Devanté Swing (real name: Donald DeGrate Jr) and Mr Dalvin (Dalvin DeGrate), and K-Ci (Cedric Hailey) and JoJo (Joel Hailey) - the R&B quartet's breakthrough hit was one of those slow jams that exudes sex (see also: "Freak Me", "Pony"). Although "Freek'N You" was Jodeci's only chart action in Australia, it certainly spurred interest in their back catalogue - at least in the record store where I worked casually at the time. We were constantly selling out of and reordering their three albums.

Number 25 "My Love Is For Real" by Paula Abdul
Peak: number 7
Three years after "Will You Marry Me?" became the final top 100 single from her second album, Vibeology, Paula Abdul returned to the chart with the song that would become only her third ARIA top 10 hit - compared to a run of eight consecutive top 10s (including six number 1s) in the US from her first two albums. As it would turn out, "My Love Is For Real' did considerably better here than in America or the UK, peaking at number 28 in both countries. Something of a new sound for Paula, the lead single from third album Head Over Heels boasted trip hop influences, guest vocals from Ofra Haza and a sitar - a gear shift that was reminiscent of Kylie Minogue's "Confide In Me". While I liked the original version of "My Love Is For Real", I was also a fan of the piano house remix by current chart stars Strike, who would go on to release their own cover of the song in 1996. Unfortunately, this would be Paula's last hit in Australia, with the next two singles from Head Over Heels missing the top 50.

Number 23 "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" by TISM
Peak: number 23
If this was a different blog, I would make a much bigger deal about the chart debut of this song, since it was one of the most noteworthy releases of the year. But I'll leave that to Double J. The commercial breakthrough for the band whose name is an acronym for This Is Serious Mum, "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" gained a lot of attention due to its fairly brusque lyrical reference to the 1993 death of actor River Phoenix. A Triple J favourite - it was number 9 in 1995's Hottest 100 - the song was taken from the album Machiavelli And The Four Seasons, which had spent two weeks inside the top 10 earlier in June. And while I could see why TISM, who had been around since the early '80s, had developed such a huge following, I couldn't get into the musical style of their satire.

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

Next week: one of the decade's ultimate one-hit wonders (one number 1 hit, no other top 50 appearances).

Back to: Jun 18, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 2, 1995

Monday, 22 June 2020

This Week In 1980: June 22, 1980

A couple of months earlier, disco seemed to be on its last legs, but it's not over until the fat lady sings. Or a group of six men in fancy dress costumes.

Nobody could stop Village People getting to number 1 in 1980

This week in 1980, two major disco records burst onto the Australian singles chart on their way to number 1. Genre resurgence or last hurrah?

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending June 22, 1980

Rocky Burnette enjoyed a last hurrah at number 1 this week at number 1 as "Tired Of Toein' The Line" spent its second week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Blue Skies" by Willie Nelson
Peak: number 53
The country star's version of the Irving Berlin standard briefly charted in late 1978 when it was released from the Stardust album. Returning to the chart in mid-1980, it moved Willie Nelson ever closer to his first top 50 hit.

Number 95 "Let Me Be" by Korona
Peak: number 80
As Starbuck, this American band reached number 25 in 1976 with US top 3 hit "Moonlight Feels Right". Whatever the reason for their rebranding as Korona, it didn't help their chart fortunes.

New Entries
Number 50 "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer" by Kenny Rogers with Kim Carnes
Peak: number 38
Just six months after he released his eighth album, Kenny (from which top 10 hit "Coward Of The County" was taken), Kenny Rogers moved quickly on to his ninth LP, Gideon. The album's only single was a duet with Kim Carnes, who made her first appearance on the Australian top 50 with "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer", a song she wrote with her husband, David Ellingson. The ballad was the first of a number of duets Kenny scored with in the next few years, while Kim would go on to much bigger things in the next 12 months.

Number 49 "Stomp!" by The Brothers Johnson
Peak: number 13
Funk duo The Brothers Johnson had last been seen on the top 50 in 1977 with their version of "Strawberry Letter 23", which peaked at number 25, and the pair did even better with "Stomp!". The dancefloor-ready track was once again produced by Quincy Jones, who had worked on all George and Louis Johnson's records up until this point, and gave "Stomp!" a disco-adjacent feel similar to the funk and R&B-influenced work he'd done on Michael Jackson's Off The Wall that ensured it thrived despite the growing disco backlash of the time. 

Number 45 "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc.
Peak: number 1
While "Stomp!" was part of the shift away from disco, this debut single by Lipps Inc. was pure disco. Created by songwriter Steven Greenberg, the group fronted by singer Cynthia Johnson hit number 1 around the world (including Australia) with this song inspired by New York - the funky town that Minnesota-based Steven was drawn to. With its earworm of a synth riff and simple, repetitive lyrics, "Funkytown" is one of those songs that is once heard and never forgotten. It is also one of a small number of tunes that has been to number 1 on more than one occasion, with Pseudo Echo's slightly retitled synthrock remake, "Funky Town", hitting the top in 1986. Although Lipps Inc. continued to release music until the middle of the decade, "Funkytown" would be the group's only substantial hit, but not their only top 50 appearance, as we'll see in the coming months.

Number 44 "I Only Want To Be With You" by The Tourists
Peak: number 6
While Lipps Inc. just miss out on technically being a one-hit wonder, here is a band that does qualify as one - although two of its members both scored many hits following their time in The Tourists. Featuring future Eurythmics duo Annie Lennox and David Stewart in its line-up, the British band reached the top 10 both here and at home with their rocky version of the much-covered debut single by Dusty Springfield. By reaching number 6, The Tourists' remake equalled the chart position achieved in Australia by Dusty in 1964 (and outdid other hit recordings of the song by Bay City Rollers and Samantha Fox). In the UK, The Tourists had one more top 10 single, "So Good To Be Back Home Again", but they never visited the Australian top 100 again.

Number 36 "It's Still Rock And Roll To Me" by Billy Joel
Peak: number 10
"You May Be Right" was still inside the top 40, and this week, the next single from Glass Houses joined it on the chart. The song that would give Billy Joel his first US chart-topper, "It's Still Rock And Roll To Me" was the singer/songwriter's comment on new wave music and other developing genres, which he believed weren't that new at all. Far from being out of touch, Billy landed his biggest hit since 1978's "My Life" with the song - his first of six top 10 hits in the 1980s.

Number 28 "Can't Stop The Music" by Village People
Peak: number 1
The movie of the same name had premiered in Sydney at the start of the month and was followed by queues outside cinemas to see it, and this week in 1980, the title track of the film very loosely inspired by the formation of Village People stormed into the top 50 on its way to spending four weeks at number 1. Although the movie was panned - it won two Razzies, including Worst Picture - and the single didn't even reach the Billboard Hot 100, Australia could not get enough of Can't Stop The Music, with the soundtrack staying at number 1 for nine weeks. We even had the album in my house - I've mentioned before that my parents' record collection was not very extensive - and I distinctly remember seeing the movie on the big screen. The second chart-topper for Village People locally, following 1978's "Y.M.C.A.", "Can't Stop The Music" maintained the group's disco feel (which is why it didn't do so well in the US), but even in Australia, their time was soon-to-be up.

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

Next week: a band that scored 10 top 10 hits in the late 60s were back with an EP featuring a number of those. Plus, Peter Gabriel and Mi-Sex return to the top 50.

Back to: Jun 15, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 29, 1980

Thursday, 18 June 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: June 18, 1995

We've already seen a number of cover versions from 1995 in our look back at the ARIA singles chart from that year, but this week featured a bumper crop of remakes - some making the top 50 and some falling short.

Ten years after they were hits in Australia, "Forever Young" and "Axel F" were back

Two of the songs were back in the top 50 a decade after they were last hits... for other artists. And both were turned into pumping dance tracks.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending June 18, 1995

At number 1 this week in 1995, "Mouth" by Merril Bainbridge stayed put for a fifth week.

Off The Chart
Number 94 "For All We Know" by Nicki French
Peak: number 89
As "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" fell out of the top 40, the British singer's follow-up was another hi-NRG remake - this time of the song made famous by The Carpenters (number 10 in 1971) and also covered by Shirley Bassey.

Number 93 "Falling In Love" by Rave-O-Lution
Peak: number 85
Our next oft-covered song is a happy hardcore version of "Can't Help Falling In Love" by a German dance group. UB40's recent chart-topping success with their remake probably stopped this becoming very big (and the fact that's it awful).

Number 87 "Get It On" by Diesel
Peak: number 75
A song so forgettable that it doesn't have an official YouTube video and has even been overlooked on Diesel's Wikipedia discography, "Get It On" was the third track lifted from Solid State Rhyme.

Number 57 "Leave Virginia Alone" by Rod Stewart
Peak: number 53
Written by Tom Petty, this song didn't make the cut for his Wildflowers album, but wound up as the lead single from Rod Stewart's 17th studio album, A Spanner In The Works

New Entries
Number 50 "Evidence" by Faith No More
Peak: number 27
Just when you thought you'd heard every style of music from Faith No More, they went all jazzy on this second single from King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime. Although "Evidence" peaked considerably lower than the album's lead single, it did stay on the top 50 more than twice as long, suggesting it was the greater success overall.

Number 46 "Crazy" by Past To Present
Peak: number 46
The floodgates were really opened for local boy bands, with this New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based quartet the latest vocal harmony group to jump on the (not so) new jack swing bandwagon. "Crazy" was a fairly generic-sounding attempt at the R&B genre, and charted accordingly. Fun fact: Past To Present member Frank Laga'aia is the younger brother of actor and former Play School host Jay Laga'aia.

Number 42 "Axel F / Keep Pushin'" by Clock
Peak: number 42
Somewhat overshadowed by both the Harold Faltemeyer original and the Crazy Frog remake, this 1995 cover of the Beverly Hills Cop instrumental was a top 10 hit in the UK and Clock's only top 50 appearance in Australia. In theory, a double A-side release, the single really only sold because of "Axel F". Such was its success at home in Britain, Clock started churning out cheesy dance cover versions (everything from "Whoomph! (There It Is)" to "U Sexy Thing") at the expense of their original material, which was much better. The dance act followed the 2 Unlimited model of having a couple of behind-the-scenes studio types (Stu Allan and Pete Pritchard), and a male rapper (ODC MC) and female singer (Tinka) out the front - although they didn't have that much to do on the mostly instrumental "Axel F".

Number 40 "Love Is All Around" by DJ BoBo
Peak: number 24
Despite its title and the fact that it came out so close to the Wet Wet Wet hit of the same name, this "Love Is All Around" was not a cover version. The third and final hit for DJ BoBo didn't really progress the Swiss Eurodance star's sound beyond his breakthrough hit, "Somebody Dance With Me", and to me, sounded a little dated as a result. Still, the single performed better than previous hit "Let The Dream Come True" by some margin.

Number 39 "Forever Young" by Interactive
Peak: number 15
Back to the covers, and this happy hardcore version of the Alphaville single, which reached the ARIA top 50 in 1985, maintained only the main lyrical hook and replaced everything else with what is still a pretty banging backing track. I didn't think too much of this cover by the German dance group at the time - this kind of techno was never really my thing - but it holds up OK.

Number 38 "Baby" by Brandy
Peak: number 16
I had completely forgotten that this second single by Brandy followed her debut, "I Wanna Be Down", into the ARIA top 20, since many of her other early hits - including two US top 10 singles - missed the mark here ahead of 1998's "The Boy Is Mine". But "Baby" was another success, both here and in the US, where it reached number 4. The song came with a music video that is now unmistakably the work of director Hype Williams, who would really cross over in 1995 and be behind some of the biggest R&B clips of the year.

Number 4 "This Ain't A Love Song" by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 4
Their 1994 greatest hits album, Cross Road, had served as a reminder of just how massive Bon Jovi had been since their 1986 breakthrough. And so a brand new track from the band who'd spent weeks stuck as number 2 with "Always" and registered yet another top 10 hit with "Someday I'll Be Saturday Night" was ensured a welcome reception by fans. Spending three weeks at number 4 and another three at number 5, "This Ain't A Love Song" was indeed well received, with the continued shift to a more serious rock sound ensuring Bon Jovi remained relevant in a post-grunge world. I have to say I missed their more fun earlier stuff.

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

Next week: the return of everyone's favourite choreographer/singer, and the top 50 debut of a controversy-courting Australian band with a song about a deceased Hollywood star.

Back to: Jun 11, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 25, 1995

Monday, 15 June 2020

This Week In 1980: June 15, 1980

Australia had plenty of successful rock bands in 1980, but with the rise of synthpop and new wave, a new breed of local groups started to hit the charts.

Flowers had a big future ahead of them... mostly under another name

This week in 1980, the band that became Australia's most consistently successful new wave band arrived on the top 50 with their debut single - the first of six top 10 hits they would score over the next few years.

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending June 15, 1980

Australia's favourite imported new wave band, Split Enz, finally surrendered the top spot this week in 1980, with "I Got You" replaced at number 1 by throwback hit "Tired Of Toein' The Line" by Rocky Burnette.

Off The Chart
Number 98 "I Want You" by The Hitmen
Peak: number 98
A second and final top 100 appearance for the Sydney hard rock band, "I Want You" followed debut single "Didn't Tell The Man", which peaked at number 75.

Number 97 "Words" by Sharon O'Neill
Peak: number 56
Already established at home in New Zealand, Sharon O'Neill took on the Australian market with her first release here. "Words" came close, but Sharon would have to wait a bit longer for her first top 50 hit.

Number 94 "One-Two-Five" by 10cc
Peak: number 94
Their last couple of studio albums had yielded top 5 hits (as had a couple of earlier LPs), but 10cc's lead single from Look Hear? did not match that. The song's title came from disco's standard tempo of 125 BPM.

Number 93 "It's Different For Girls" by Joe Jackson
Peak: number 85
In the UK, this single from Joe Jackson's second album, I'm The Man, would end up being his highest-charting single. In Australia, it didn't live up to the early promise of number 15 hit "Is She Really Going Out With Him?"

Number 90 "January February" by Barbara Dickson
Peak: number 64
She'd made a name for herself in the UK with ballads like "Another Suitcase In Another Hall" from Evita, but this song written and produced by Alan Tarney took the Scottish singer in a more pop direction.

Number 89 "It Must Be Autumn" by Sinclair Bros.
Peak: number 89
They slipped into the top 50 with 1978's "Yesterfool", but this new easy listening tune from brothers John and Wayne Sinclair didn't progress beyond this debut position.

Number 78 "I Can't Help It" by Andy Gibb / Olivia Newton-John
Peak: number 62
Not even the presence of ONJ could turn this second single from Andy Gibb's third album, After Dark, into a hit. Another Barry Gibb composition, it charted marginally higher than previous release "Desire"

Number 74 "Products Of Your Mind" by Jimmy And The Boys
Peak: number 66
Despite gaining quite a reputation for themselves thanks to their envelope-pushing live act, the group led by Ignatius Jones and Joylene Thornbird Hairmouth couldn't translate that into chart success... yet.

New Entries
Number 48 "Together We Are Beautiful" by Fern Kinney
Peak: number 20
Some songs have a way of becoming hits, no matter what it takes. Like this track by American singer Fern Kinney, which had been performed by two other singers before she recorded it for her album Groove Me. Then, it was released as the B-side to her single "Baby Let Me Kiss You", only for it to be championed by DJs instead and become a hit in its own right, topping the UK chart earlier in 1980. In Australia, the top 20 success of "Together We Are Beautiful" was a marked improvement on previous single "Groove Me" (which reached number 94), a cover of a 1970 hit by King Floyd on which Fern had provided backing vocals (and which itself had started out as a B-side).

Number 47 "The Modern Song" by The Numbers
Peak: number 47
Before we get to our big new local band, here's another up-and-coming Australian group of the time - but one that never really took off. Fronted by siblings Annalisse and Chris Morrow, The Numbers had a pretty standard pop/rock sound, and "The Modern Song" was a catchy enough track, but also kind of forgettable, too. Guess it was an unfortunate choice of band name when the song was metaphorically and literally by the numbers. We'll see The Numbers' only other hit, another song that peaked in the 40s, later in the year, while the Morrows returned to the top 50 just over a decade later on a pair of hits that did slightly better and peaked in the 30s with their subsequent band, Maybe Dolls.

Number 45 "Can't Help Myself" by Flowers
Peak: number 10
While The Numbers failed to set the chart alight, fellow Sydneysiders Flowers did just that with debut single "Can't Help Myself", a track that incorporated synthpop and new wave elements, but still wouldn't have sounded out of place in an Aussie pub settling. While the line-up and even their name would change in the years ahead - we'll get to when Flowers became Icehouse in due course - singer Iva Davies, who wrote and co-produced this track, would be the mainstay in Flowers that would see the band become one of Australia's most successful acts by the end of the decade (with plenty of hits along the way).

Number 41 "We Are Glass" by Gary Numan
Peak: number 15
From a local new wave act we move now to the latest from UK synth star Gary Numan, who followed "Cars" and "Are Friends Electric?" (with Tubeway Army) with a third top 15 hit. A stand-alone single released between albums The Pleasure Principle and Telekon, "We Are Glass" was also Gary's final top 50 appearance in Australia, although he continued enjoying chart success in Britain for a couple more years, and has maintained a release and touring schedule until today.

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

Next week: who said disco was dead? Not Australia, with three big hits from the genre joining the top 50. Plus, an early appearance by a pair who'd gone on to be one of the decade's top duos.

Back to: Jun 8, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 22, 1980

Thursday, 11 June 2020

25 Years Ago This Week: June 11, 1995

It's rare for a family to have one superstar performer, but for two music icons to emerge from the one household is even more unusual. So when two massively successful singers, who were also siblings, got together for a duet, it was a monumental occasion.

They'd both had number 1s on their own - could they land one together?

This week in 1995, a brother and sister who each had a huge catalogue of hits to their names added one more big single to their discography when they teamed up for a duet. With interest in the song sky high, it almost became only the fifth release in Australian chart history to debut at number 1.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending June 11, 1995

The song that stopped the star siblings from debuting at (and getting to) number 1 was "Mouth"by Merril Bainbridge, which spent its fourth week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Stuck In The Middle With You" by The Jeff Healy Band
Peak: number 96
Taken from his album of remakes, Cover To Cover, this update of the 1973 number 16 hit by Stealers Wheel was Jeff Healy's third and final top 100 appearance.

Number 96 "Toccata And Fugue In D Minor" by Vanessa-Mae
Peak: number 95
Although her debut album, Violin Player, had reached number 2 in May, there was less interest in the 16-year-old virtuoso's single release of her take on Bach's piece (that had also been reinterpreted by Sky 15 years earlier).

Number 84 "Red Light Special" by TLC
Peak: number 53
Like "Baby-Baby-Baby" from their debut album, this slow jam follow-up to "Creep" was much more successful in the US, where it reached number 2, than locally.

Number 71 "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" by Annie Lennox
Peak: number 56
The latest single from Annie Lennox's covers album was a new version of the 1967 single by British rock band Procol Harum, which was a number 1 hit in Australia.

New Entries
Number 49 "Blue" by The Jayhawks
Peak: number 49
There might have been a big new entry near the top of the chart this week, but there were also a bunch of songs slipping into the bottom of the top 50 and not getting any further. Case in point: this single from The Jayhawks' fourth album, Tomorrow The Green Grass. I'm not sure why "Blue" suddenly received attention when nothing the American country band had released before (or since) came anywhere near the top 50 - I can only assume its MOR rock stylings picked it up some airplay.

Number 47 "If I Wanted To" by Melissa Etheridge
Peak: number 47
Also briefly popping into the top 50 was this single from Melissa Etheridge's 20-month-old fourth album, Yes I Am - the first track from the album to get as far, with earlier singles "I'm The Only One" and "Come To My Window" bombing despite both being top 25 hits in the US. Similarly, "If I Wanted To" peformed much better in America, where it reached number 16.

Number 46 "Picture Postcards From LA" by Joshua Kadison
Peak: number 46
After two big hits in the form of "Jesse" and "Beautiful In My Eyes", Joshua Kadison made one final visit to the top 50 with this minor hit - another Elton John-style piano ballad lifted from debut album Painted Desert Serenade.

Number 40 "Whatever" by Oasis
Peak: number 40
Like their pop contemporaries Take That, Oasis had struggle to find a foothold on the Australian charts despite becoming a phenomenon back home in the UK. Nothing from debut album Definitely Maybe had entered the top 100, and almost sixth months after it had become their first top 5 hit in Britain, "Whatever" got no further than number 40 locally. It was a start, of course, with the stand-alone single released between Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory? getting the momentum going for the Britpop band locally. Things would quickly snowball with the frenzy surrounding Morning Glory translating here later in the year. It should be noted that although "Whatever" was only in the top 50 for seven weeks, it spent an additional 15 weeks between numbers 51 and 100, which mirrored its constant seller status in the UK, where its continued availability on CD single allowed it to rack up 110 weeks in the British top 100 between its release and early 1998 - an impressive feat in the pre-digital age.

Number 34 "Only One Road" by Celine Dion
Peak: number 23
By this stage, Celine Dion's record company clearly realised they should stick to ballads if they wanted the Canadian singer to keep having hits, and "Only One Road" was another belter to follow up "Think Twice". The fact The Colour Of My Love had spent the previous four weeks at number 1 likely had something to do with "Only One Road" falling short of the top 20, but although this wasn't one of Celine's biggest hits, it no doubt helped the album enjoy another couple of runs at the top over the next couple of months. 

Number 32 "Shade" by silverchair
Peak: number 28
What a year it had been for silverchair, who returned to the chart with this fourth and final single from their debut album. Its chart placement was about as good as it was going to get given Frogstomp had been out for a few months now and would remain on the top 50 well into 1996, but four top 30 hits is not a bad start to a career.

Number 2 "Scream" (with Janet Jackson) / Childhood" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 2
Speaking of chart careers, between them brother and sister Michael and Janet Jackson had so far amassed 48 top 50 hits in Australia (with quite a few more to come), so their collaboration on this brand new single was always going to be a big deal. The lead single from Michael Jackson's Epic Records-era career retrospective, HIStory: Past, Present And Future, Book I, "Scream" was the first time the siblings had released a track together, although Janet had previously provided backing vocals on Michael's "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" from Thriller. Befitting this new song's status, it was accompanied by what was claimed to be the most expensive music video ever made up until that point. 
Lyrically, "Scream" dealt with Michael's feelings towards the press coverage he'd received in recent years. Whereas the 1989 video for "Leave Me Alone" had poked fun at the way the media portrayed him, by 1995, he was tired of the type of attention he received, especially in the wake of the 1993 child sex abuse allegations. Any controversy surrounding Michael at the time didn't hurt the success of "Scream" one little bit, with it shooting into the ARIA top 2 and the Billboard top 5, although in both cases, it was unable to improve on its debut position.
One thing I overlooked in the first version of this post, thanks in part to it not being credited on the ARIA chart until the following week, is that the single was actually a double A-side release, with "Childhood" receiving billing alongside "Scream". One of Michael's nauseatingly sickly but well intentioned ballads (see also: "Heal The World", "Gone Too Soon"), "Childhood" dealt with the troubles he had faced in his younger years, including the abuse he allegedly suffered from his father - a topic he had begun to speak about in the years prior to the song's release. "Childhood" also featured on the soundtrack to Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home

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

Next week: another high-flying top 5 debut, plus two dance remakes of very well known songs.

Back to: Jun 4, 1995 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 18, 1995

Monday, 8 June 2020

This Week In 1980: June 8, 1980

From Dragon and Mi-Sex to Sharon O'Neill and Jenny Morris, many bands and singers from New Zealand have made their way across the Tasman to break into the Australian music scene and, in many cases, take up residency here.

Australia only had a one-night stand with Kim Hart

This week in 1980, a new Kiwi singer entered the Australian chart with what I believe was her first local release. Also arriving on the top 50 this week was the latest single by a New Zealand band who were enjoying...

Australian Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending June 8, 1980

...their final week at number 1 with previous hit "I Got You". Split Enz's mega-hit spent its eighth week on top.

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Rhapsody" by Wayne Roberts
Peak: number 88
Interest in this track by the Brisbane radio personality was likely limited to Queensland, where it reached the top 40. It was one of two national top 100 appearances "Waynee Poo" made.

Number 99 "Heart Of Stone" by Edith Bliss
Peak: number 86
Her first single had made the upper half of the top 50, but singer/TV personality Edith Bliss struck out with this follow-up (and bizarrely decided to keep her handbag on in the music video).

Number 90 "I Pledge My Love" by Peaches & Herb
Peak: number 73
They'd had two top 15 hits in 1979 thanks to "Shake Your Groove Thing" and "Reunited" but Herb Fame and Linda Greene (the third "Peaches") ran out of steam with this final top 100 appearance, which was also the duo's final US hit.

Number 81 "The Part Of Me That Needs You Most" by Exile
Peak: number 81
Things had been going steadily downhill since their 1978 chart-topper, "Kiss You All Over", with this fourth top 100 single by the American band following "You Thrill Me" (number 31) and "How Could This Go Wrong" (number 68).

New Entries
Number 49 "Oh Susie" by Secret Service
Peak: number 49
This former Swedish number 1 came from a band that had got together (as Ola+3) to compete in 1979's Melodifestivalen, the competition to find Sweden's entry for the Eurovision Song Contest . Although they didn't get through, they had success across Europe in their new guise as Secret Service with this synthpop track. Singer Ola Håkansson went on to be come a record company executive, forming Stockholm Records in 1992.

Number 47 "Love Is Enough" by Linda George / Paul McKay
Peak: number 42
This ballad was a return to the chart for singer Linda George, who'd reached the top 15 a couple of times in 1973-74. Besides her solo career, Linda was well known as a session singer throughout the '70s and '80s, but I can't tell you a thing about her duet partner, Paul McKay, other than the fact he came from Melbourne.

Number 42 "I Hope I Never" by Split Enz
Peak: number 18
With "I Got You" winding up its time as the best-selling single in Australia, New Zealand's Split Enz, who'd relocated to Australia in the mid-'70s, lifted this second track from the True Colours album. Although not as big a hit as its predecessor, ballad "I Hope I Never", which featured lead vocals from Tim Finn this time around, became the band's fourth top 20 hit locally - a tally they would quickly add to over the next few years.

Number 36 "Love At First Night" by Kim Hart
Peak: number 6
The latest New Zealander to cross over to Australia was singer Kim Hart, who'd already released a bunch of songs back home in 1978-79. Coming out on both sides of the Tasman around the same time, "Love At First Night" became the biggest hit of her career when it reached number 15 in NZ and the Australian top 10. A slinky disco-infuenced track, it was reminiscent of Christie Allen's "Goose Bumps" and a favourite on Countdown. Unfortunately, it would be Kim's only success, with subsequent singles all failing to make the top 50.

Number 35 "Cheap Wine" by Cold Chisel
Peak: number 8
1980 really was a banner year for Aussie rock classics. Following landmark hits by The Angels and Australian Crawl a few weeks ago, this second single from the just released East album became Cold Chisel's first top 10 hit - something the band had been aiming for by recording their most commercial collection of songs to date. 

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

Next week: the debut of an Australian band who would feature on the singles chart until the end of the decade (and slightly beyond).

Back to: Jun 1, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jun 15, 1980