Wednesday, 19 September 2012

This Week In 1987: September 20, 1987

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2012. Updated in 2017.

Just when you think 1987 couldn't possibly have had any more outstanding songs, another batch of new entries, like the ones from this week, comes along to remind you how great music really was that year.

One of 1987's brightest new stars: Terence Trent D'Arby

As we've seen in recent weeks, the songs debuting on the top 50 once again come from a variety of genres and countries, with Bon Jovi really proving their popularity by also boasting a re-entry into the top 50 on top of their new entry.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending September 20

There was no change at the top of the ARIA chart this week in 1987 as "Locomotion" spent a sixth week at number 1, but Los Lobos were steadily closing in.

Off The Chart
Number 99 "Just To See Her" by Smokey Robinson
Peak: number 99
Last seen in the top 50 with 1981's "Being With You", Motown legend Smokey Robinson slipped in to the top 100 with this single from his One Heartbeat album.

Number 98 "Better Way" by James Ingram
Peak: number 98
Fellow US soul singer James Ingram had a more recent hit with "Somewhere Out There" and followed it with another soundtrack single - a solo one this time - from Beverly Hills Cop II.

Single Of The Week
"American Money" by GANGgajang
Peak: number 87
It's hard to believe, but despite being a bit of an Aussie rock classic, "Sounds Of Then" (you know, "out on the patio, we'd sit...") wasn't very successful when it was released in 1985, only reaching number 35. Despite that song, the excellent "House Of Cards" and a handful of others from the band's self-titled debut album all failing to achieve commerical success, the group returned with gangAGAIN in 1987. "American Money" was the second single released ahead of the album, but despite being allocated the coveted Single Of The Week spot on the ARIA chart, it followed suit, becoming another flop for the band. It would be the group's last top 100 appearance, but thanks to "Sounds Of Then" going on to develop a life of its own, they would be on the airwaves for years to come.

New Entries
Number 50 "Wishing Well" by Terence Trent D'Arby
Peak: number 9
Making his top 50 debut this week was British soul star Terence Trent D'Arby, whose Introducing The Hardline According To... album was one of the year's best. This song, however, wasn't actually the dreadlocked singer's first single - that was "If You Let Me Stay", which wouldn't actually crack the top 50 until May 1988 following the top 3 success of "Sign Your Name", despite sneaking into the top 100 in June '87. Confused yet? Anyway, back to the song at hand, "Wishing Well" would go on to reach the top 10 and begin a short period of time when the singer lived up to his own hype.

Number 49 "Live! On Tour" (EP) by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 21
Last week, I mentioned how Bon Jovi had a slow start in Australia - but things were really going into overdrive this week in 1987, with the arrival of this Australian exclusive four-track EP. Featuring the songs "Breakout", "Runaway", "Tokyo Road" and recent hit "Wanted Dead Or Alive", it just missed the top 20, and these days, copies fetch a decent amount on eBay. In fact, Aussie fans were really making up for lost time, sending the band's previous two albums, Bon Jovi and 7800° Fahrenheit, into the top 50, while Slippery When Wet was still at number 4 on the albums chart. Below is a live performance of my favourite of the four tracks, "Runaway", which was Bon Jovi's debut single way back in 1983.

Number 45 "Say It" by Kids In The Kitchen
Peak: number 31
Between 1983 and 1985, Melbourne band Kids In The Kitchen achieved four top 20 singles and a top 10 album with Shine, so expectations were high for album number two. But first single "Out Of Control" stalled at number 33 back in June 1986 and "Say It" would only climb two places higher, despite both tracks being among their best releases. They'd manage one more single, which we'll see in the next couple of months, before calling it a day in 1988.

Number 42 "Shattered Dreams" by Johnny Hates Jazz
Peak: number 22
Like TTD, here's another UK act scoring with their second single - but in this case, the debut single from Johnny Hates Jazz, "Me And My Foolish Heart", would never end up as a hit. And for all intents and purposes, "Shattered Dreams" was their only hit in this country, with a couple of their other singles scraping into the top 100. Back in Britain, the trio was much bigger, scoring a chart-topping album and a string of hits, of which "Heart Of Gold" and "Don't Say It's Love" were the best. The video to "Shattered Dreams" that I remember is below, a link to a US clip (the song got to number 2 there) is in the song title.

Number 34 "Paper In Fire" by John Cougar Mellencamp
Peak: number 13
And onto a song from a man who, in 1987, was midway through transitioning from his stage name (John Cougar) to his real name (John Mellencamp). JCM, as he was then billed, released The Lonesome Jubilee 25 years ago and "Paper In Fire" was the first single lifted from it. Although Americana isn't usually the type of music I normally go for, I quite like a number of John's songs, including this one and his earlier top 5 hits, "I Need A Lover" and "Hurts So Good" - and much prefer his music to that of America's other big '80s heartland rocker, Bruce Springsteen. Maybe it was the hair.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:

Next week: one of the best Eurovision-winning songs of all time, plus a look at what was happening over on the albums side of the chart.

Back to: Sep 13, 1987 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Sep 27, 1987


  1. Hey Gavin, I've only just discovered your site - I'm in heaven! I have virtually every ARIA chart from about the end of 1988 to the present day, so seeing these ones for 18 months earlier is like a dream come true! More than happy to help you out if there are any gaps you need filled with your collection beyond '98.

    To that end, any chance you could work some magic on the two scans for 13th and 27th Sept '87? I can't manage to make the image bigger like the other ones and the poor old eyes aren't quite what they used to be... :)

    1. Thanks for checking out the site! I've just reloaded the Sept 13 and Sept 20 charts, and they seem to enlarge when you click on them now. Sept 27 seemed OK?

      Let me know if you come across any other problems with pics or links!


    2. All good now, thanks mate - I meant to say 13th and 20th - may bad! Thanks so much for doing that. Haven't come across anything else yet, but will certainly let you know if I do. I'd love to arrange to grab some more scans from you if you're able and/or still have the originals of the '87-'88 charts, particularly the corresponding album charts? Perhaps convo via email might be best if you're open to the idea?


    3. I have all the originals but haven't scanned in all the album sides. Email is

  2. The James Ingram track somehow has that immediately identifiable late 80s 'soundtrack' sound. It's similar in some ways to Go West's 'King of Wishful Thinking'.

    Pretty sure I didn't know 'Say It' at the time, but it's good.

    'Shattered Dreams' was a nice slice of sophistipop, as you might write. It does seem a shame that Australia wasn't willing to give such acts (Swing Out Sister, Black) a second hit.

    Fox FM in Melbourne had John Cougar Mellencamp on repeat for most of the following year at this point.