Saturday, 14 October 2017

This Week In 1984: October 14, 1984

It must suck to be a celebrity with a sibling who's more famous than you are. No matter what you do, it's always going to be overshadowed by what your brother or sister does.

Jermaine Jackson: the Dannii Minogue of the Jackson brothers

This week in 1984, one of the new entries on the ARIA chart came from a performer who was constantly compared to one of his (many) brothers - a singer who just happened to be responsible for the world's most successful album of all time. Tough act to follow.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending October 14, 1984

Speaking of musical competition, the top 3 singles this week in 1984 were all among the decade's biggest hits. At number 1, George Michael's "Careless Whisper" held on for a fourth and final week, while "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder jumped up into second place. Funnily enough, last week's runner-up and this week's number 3, "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr, would end up higher on the year-end chart than those other two songs despite not reaching the top.

Off The Chart
Number 95 "I Love You, Suzanne" by Lou Reed
Peak: number 71
Eleven years after "Walk On The Wild Side" scraped the absolute bottom of the top 100 in Australia, Lou Reed made only his second appearance on our chart with this single from New Sensations

Number 84 "Ballet Dancer" by The Twins
Peak: number 84
"Not The Loving Kind" had been a hit here, but not in The Twins' home country of Germany. This follow-up did the reverse - flopping here but giving the duo their first German hit.

This week also saw the debut of "Hole In My Shoe" by neil, which spent two weeks at number 94. It would achieve much more success when re-released in a year's time.

New Entries
Number 50 "Dynamite" by Jermaine Jackson
Peak: number 28
Ever since The Jackson Five burst on to the music scene, Jermaine Jackson had played second fiddle to brother Michael. Both were co-lead singers of the family group and began their solo careers around the same time (1971-72), but Michael had always received more attention and enjoyed greater success. 
By 1984, Jermaine, who'd quit The Jackson Five when they left Motown Records in 1975, had visited the Australian top 50 on two occasions - in 1973 with number 27 single "Daddy's Home" and in 1980 with "Let's Get Serious", which peaked at number 24. Michael, meanwhile, was coming off the Thriller juggernaut.
For his self-titled 10th studio album, Jermaine also finally left Motown Records (for Arista), but so far, Jermaine Jackson had been overshadowed by Victory, The Jacksons album to which he - and Michael - contributed (but, as we saw a couple of weeks ago, both had been too busy to appear in the music video for "Torture"). 
The two albums had entered the ARIA top 100 in the same week in late July - Victory at number 29; Jermaine Jackson at number 96 - and Jermaine's lead single, "Sweetest Sweetest", had done nowhere near as well as "State Of Shock". Finally, Jermaine turned things around with the album's second single, "Dynamite", and its memorable, dancing on tables, prison-set music video, returning to the 20s for a third and final time. It deserved much better - wonder how well it would've done if Michael had recorded it...

Number 49 "Boys Do Fall In Love" by Robin Gibb
Peak: number 48
Here's another singer best known as one member of a band comprised of him and his brothers - in this case, a group that'd long been absent from the top 50. Of course, that was because between 1981 and 1987, Bee Gees only broke their recording hiatus once to release 1983's "The Woman In You". That's not to say they weren't making their presence felt - most notably as songwriters of hits by other acts, like "Heartbreaker" and "Islands In The Stream". And, occasionally, with solo efforts like this synthy track by Robin Gibb, which he wrote and produced with brother Maurice, who also released a single in 1984. The lead single of Robin's third solo album, Secret Agent, "Boys Do Fall In Love" didn't venture very high up the chart, but it did stay on the top 100 for half a year.

Number 48 "I Walk Away" by Split Enz
Peak: number 45
They'd been a regular presence on the chart for the past half a decade, but Split Enz were winding down with the release of their final album, See Ya 'Round - their first without founding member Tim Finn. Despite lead single "I Walk Away" being, in my opinion, one of the band's best ever songs, it barely made the top 50, suggesting they were wise to call it a day. What I didn't know until just now is that Neil Finn revived "I Walk Away" with his next band, Crowded House, and included it on the North American release of their self-titled debut album. This version is better. Split Enz released one further single from See Ya 'Round, but "One Mouth Is Fed" failed to chart.

Number 42 "Flesh For Fantasy" by Billy Idol
Peak: number 28
For an artist who'd made his name with party starters like "White Wedding" and "Rebel Yell", it was a little surprising that Billy Idol would've followed "Eyes Without A Face" with another pretty subdued track like "Flesh For Fantasy". I actually prefer it to "Eyes Without A Face", but "Flesh For Fantasy" charted significantly worse than its predecessor, not only in Australia, but in the UK and the US as well.

Number 35 "No Say In It" by Machinations
Peak: number 14
Proving "Pressure Sway" was no fluke, Machinations rallied after top 50 miss "Jumping The Gap" to land their biggest hit with this irresistible piece of synthpop. The first single from their upcoming second album, Big Music"No Say In It" was produced by Julian Mendelsohn, whose name I know from his later work for Pet Shop Boys, Level 42 and Tasmin Archer, but who I never realised was Australian. Rather than striking while the iron was hot, it would be another seven months before Machinations would be back on the chart with "My Heart's On Fire" in mid-1985.

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

Next week: the latest genre-blending concoction from Malcolm McLaren, plus one of my least favourite Australian singles of the '80s.

Back to: Oct 7, 1984 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 21, 1984


  1. That Robin Gibb video is hilarious! The 80s-style calculators stuck to the walls as entry keypads are particularly striking, and obviously those back in 1984 thought that CDs would be around for ever (which I actually hope they will be, but, like them, I'm a dying breed!).

  2. 'Walk on the Wild Side' is one of those songs that could make a ''Hits' that actually weren't' (hint for an article for you there) list. How shocking it flopped here.

    I bought a Twins DVD a couple of years go, after discovering and quite liking their Depeche Mode-esque single 'Tonight' from '93, and discovered 'Ballet Dancer' through it.

    Didn't know the Robin Gibb song. I like the chorus, but not so much the verses.

    I like 'I Walk Away'; it deserved to do better.

    'Flesh For Fantasy' is a classic, and probably one of my favourite 80s tracks, let alone favourite Billy Idol single. The video also couldn't be more 80s if it tried. Kind of shocking it only peaked at #28.

    I never would have guessed Julian Mendelsohn was Australian, either.