Wednesday, 1 February 2017

This Week In 1987: February 1, 1987

It's not uncommon for lead singers to go off and record a solo single in between their band's albums. Or even make a movie, if they're that way inclined.

Not a spin-off of Pigs In Space, unfortunately

This week in 1987, the frontman for one of Australia's biggest bands did both - he entered the ARIA top 50 with a solo single taken from the film in which he made his acting debut. The song did pretty well, but not as well as a one-off single by his band that was on the chart at the same time. 

ARIA Singles Chart - week ending February 1, 1987

At the very top of the singles chart this week in 1987, Pseudo Echo remained at number 1 for a sixth week with "Funky Town". Could they make it seven?

Off The Chart
Number 100 "Stand By Me" by Ben E King
Peak: number 82 (original peak: number 45)
Thanks to its use in the coming-of-age film of the same name (which was released in March 1987 in Australia), this 1961 soul classic returned to the US top 10 and even topped the UK chart.

Number 94 "Sailing Away" by All Of Us
Peak: number 94
The 1983 America's Cup had seen a number of songs race up the chart. Four years later, this collaborative effort in support of the New Zealand team stayed near the bottom of the top 100.

Number 88 "Sailing Australia" by Katrina Tomes / Peter Harper
Peak: number 71
I can't find a link for this song, but I assume, given its title, it was another America's Cup-related single. Surprisingly, given Australia was defending its title, this seems to have been a musical non-event.

Number 80 "Some People" by Paul Young
Peak: number 79
Previous single "Wonderland" had been his first to miss the ARIA top 50. This second release from Between Two Fires became Paul Young's first to fall short of the UK top 50.

New Entries
Number 44 "Infected" by The The
Peak: number 24
Debut album Soul Mining had received a pretty understated reception in 1983 with single "Uncertain Smile" reaching the lofty heights of number 43 early in the year. For his second effort, Matt Johnson (who essentially was The The at this stage) went all out. Decades before BeyoncĂ© did the same thing, Matt made a music video to go with each song on Infected, including the memorable clip of him strapped to a chair while floating down a South American river for the title track. Thanks to that video and the fact that, as a song, "Infected" grabbed your attention and didn't let go, The The was suddenly the proud owner of a hit single. 

Number 22 "Rooms For The Memory" by Michael Hutchence
Peak: number 11
Michael Hutchence's role in Dogs In Space wasn't a massive stretch - he played rock singer Sam in the film, which was released during the gap between Listen Like Thieves and Kick. Directed by Richard Lowenstein, who'd been responsible for some of INXS's most memorable music videos, the film was set in the late '70s, and followed Sam, his band-mates and house-mates as they partied and took drugs.
Michael recorded four tracks for the soundtrack, including this version of a song originally performed by Whirlywirld, a band that had been part of the scene depicted in the film. The track was produced by Ollie Olsen, who'd been a member of Whirlywirld and would go on to collaborate further with Michael in Max Q
With "Rooms For The Memory" flying into the top 50 at number 22, it looked as if Michael would have a solo hit on his hands to rival "Good Times" (which remained at number 3 this week), but the song stalled in the same position the following week and fell just short of the top 10. That was still better than Michael's first solo effort, 1981's "Speed Kills" (which didn't chart), but I suspect "Rooms For The Memory" appealed more to die-hard INXS devotees than average fans like me, who found the song a bit dull.

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

Next week: a cover version of a song originally recorded by The Animals and a song later covered by Mel B (when she briefly called herself Mel G). Plus. the breakthrough hit from a group fronted by a female singer who'd already written a number 1 single (for someone else).

Back to: Jan 25, 1987 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Feb 8, 1987


  1. How interesting that the Australian America's cup song didn't do that much better than the NZ one.

    I didn't know of The The until 'The Beat(en) Generation', but heard 'Slow Train To Dawn' (with Neneh Cherry) from the 'Infected' album on the radio in 1996 and thought it was a new song. I'm impressed 'Infected' did as well as #24 locally.

    'Rooms For the Memory' is another song I didn't know at the time. I much prefer Max Q. I didn't know about 'Speed Kills'... kind of an ironic song title for him.

  2. Infected was one of the great albums of the 80s.