This Week In 1988: April 10, 1988
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.
In 1988, if a song was a big enough hit in the US and/or UK, more often than not it would wind up as a success in Australia - usually after a delay of some months. Every now and then, however, the Australian record-buying pubic would branch out and take to a song by an international artist that had done virtually nothing overseas.
I'm thinking of tracks like "Stop Your Fussin'" by Toni Childs, "Pump It (Nice An' Hard)" by Icy Blu and "You Don't Treat Me No Good" by Sonia Dada. This week in 1988, one such tune was the week's highest new entry - and it was by an artist who was by no means an unknown.
Still at number 1 this week was "I Should Be So Lucky" by Kylie Minogue, which by that point had held the top spot for a month.
Off The Chart
Number 90 "Hysteria" by Def Leppard
Peak: number 90
The album of the same name would finally take off in Australia later in the year, but title track "Hysteria" created anything but that when it was released as the follow-up to "Animal".
Peak: number 62
Songs about cars were everywhere in 1988. This week, Billy Ocean's "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" was on its way up to number 1, while in the US, Pebbles was just releasing what would be her biggest hit, "Mercedes Boy". A third song which also featured the sound of a car engine starting is this track by British singer Sinitta. "GTO" was named after the 1960s and '70s muscle car made by Pontiac - a "big red" vehicle which Sinitta thought her boyfriend loved more than her in a song that was every bit as camp as previous hits "Toy Boy" and "So Macho". The former UK top 20 hit is not the last song we'll talk about this week with a car connection.
Number 50 "Heaven Knows" by Robert Plant
Peak: number 32
I don't think I was really aware of Led Zeppelin's musical legacy in 1988 - I was only 13 at the time and before developing my own taste in music had been brought up on Frank Sinatra, Dr Hook and ABBA. As a result, I didn't really know anything about the iconic band or its former singer when this first single from Robert's fourth solo album, Now And Zen, entered the top 50. Oddly enough, despite it not being the type of thing I normally would've been into, I didn't mind it at the time and have it in my iTunes library now. Led Zeppelin might have been done and dusted in 1988, but Robert and former bandmate Jimmy Page did collaborate that year - each contributing to the other's solo album (Now And Zen for Robert and Outrider for Jimmy). Years later, they would reunite for the Page & Plant project.
Peak: number 33
One of the most influential electronic music acts of the '80s, OMD had been scoring hits like "Enola Gay", "Locomotion" and "If You Leave" since the very start of the decade, so by 1988, the time was ripe for a greatest hits collection. "Dreaming" was a new track from the compilation and, as had been the trend in recent years for them, it performed much better in the US (where it reached number 16) than in the UK (where it peaked at number 50). Whereas the synthpop band had once been regular visitors to the UK top 10, that hadn't happened in years - but American audiences were just joining the party. In Australia, "Dreaming" would be OMD's final top 50 hit - although, since the band's classic line-up is back together, there's always (admittedly a very slim) hope for a chart return.
Number 46 "Could've Been" by Tiffany
Peak: number 8
Although it'd been a US and UK number 1, "I Think We're Alone Now" only ended up reaching number 13 in Australia (but did make up for that by having quite a lengthy chart run). With her second hit, however, teen star Tiffany cracked the Australian top 10. "Could've Been" didn't have a proper video, so instead a concert performance clip was played. And another live rendition is the official video on YouTube below.
Number 37 "That's The Way It Is" by Mel & Kim
Peak: number 28
Here's another song with a clip that featured onstage footage, but in this case it was because Mel Appleby was too ill to shoot a video for this new track. "That's The Way It Is" was intended for a second Mel & Kim album, but tragically, Mel lost her battle with cancer before the album could be recorded and this would be the sisters' final single together. There's a link to an alternate music video in the song title above.
Peak: number 3
The week's highest new entry was, like the Robert Plant track, another solo release by a member of a hugely influential band. Jerry had joined Talking Heads in 1977 ahead of their breakthrough on the world stage and "Rev It Up" (another car-related song for the week) was the first single from his second solo album, Casual Gods. The song was a massive hit in Australia, but it was not successful at all in the US or UK, despite Talking Heads having a large following in both countries. For some reason, the track was credited to Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods (even though the latter part was also the album title). The credit would remain for Jerry's next solo album, 1990's Walk On Water.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:
Next week: a song that would have to be in the running for the worst single of 1988, plus two brilliant, but under-rated tracks.