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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1980: August 10, 1980

The Olympic Games have always been a big deal in Australia, with the nation stopping for certain medal events and taking particular pride in the two ocassions our country has played host.

Genghis Khan made Village People look understated

And while 2020's Games have been pushed back due to COVID-19, that Olympic spirit was alive and well 40 years ago, with a song named after that year's host city and used extensively in the Channel 7 coverage becoming one of 1980's biggest hits.

The biggest hit this week in 1980 was "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc, which took over at number 1 from Village People. 

Off The Chart

Number 100 "Sister Europe" by The Psychedelic Furs

Peak: number 100

Just sneaking onto the top 100 - something they wouldn't do at home until the following year - the British band charted with their second single, taken from their self-titled debut album.

Number 88 "Play The Game" by Queen

Peak: number 85

Queen were sure having trouble following "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" with another hit. Typically dramatic ballad "Play The Game" became their second single in a row to miss the top 50.

Number 78 "Moscow" by Nexus

Peak: number 54

Nice try, Nexus. A locally produced spoiler single of "Moscow" by Melbourne band Nexus came close to the top 50 but couldn't compete with the original version.

Number 77 "The Royal Mile" by Gerry Rafferty

Peak: number 52

Also just missing the top 50 was this latest release by the man who'd reached number 1 with "Baker Street" a couple of years earlier. He never was able to land another hit.

New Entries

Number 49 "Me Myself I" by Joan Armatrading

Peak: number 24

She'd had a single and an EP both fall short of the top 50 so far in 1980, but Joan Armatrading finally broke through on the singles chart with the title track of her sixth album. A song about the enjoyment to be found in solitude, "Me Myself I" was the British singer/songwriter's most commercial offering to date - and performed accordingly.

Number 47 "Fallin' In Love (Bein' Friends)" by Rocky Burnette

Peak: number 6

Often wrongly described as a one-hit wonder, Rocky Burnette followed his chart-topping smash, "Tired Of Toein' The Line", with another top 10 hit - one that you rarely (if ever) hear about these days. The rockabilly artist never ventured into the top 100 again, joining the ranks of bona fide two-hit wonders like Juice Newton and Kelly Marie.

Number 45 "Cupid/I've Loved You For A Long Time (Medley)" by The Spinners

Peak: number 17

Their previous medley fell out of the top 20 this week, and vocal harmony group The Spinners followed "Working My Way Back To You" with another musical mash-up, combining a remake of Sam Cooke's "Cupid" with "I've Loved You For A Long Time", a song written by Michael Zager, who also produced this record. The result: another top 20 hit.

Number 44 "The Other Side Of The Sun" by Janis Ian

Peak: number 44

Slow-burn top 10 hit "Fly Too High" had spent 20 weeks in the top 50, but this delicate follow-up could only manage a fraction of that, with four weeks spent in the 40s. It would be the fourth and final hit in Australia for Janis, who spent much of the rest of the '80s focussing on songwriting rather than releasing her own music.

Number 42 "All Out Of Love" by Air Supply

Peak: number 9

Formed in 1975, Air Supply had found instant success in Australia with debut single "Love And Other Bruises", a top 10 hit in 1976, but the soft rockers had only managed one other major hit in the years since, "Lost In Love", which reached number 13 in 1979. It was that song that led to everything changing for Air Supply, which essentially consisted of singer Russell Hitchcock and guitarist Graham Russell with various backing musicians. The song caught the interest of American A&R legend Clive Davis, who released a remixed version in the US, where it shot to number 3. Mega ballad "All Out Of Love", a song that Clive insisted receive some lyrical tweaking before release (giving him a writer credit) was the international follow-up - and reached the top 10 in both Australia and the US, where it peaked at number 2. As we'll see in coming months, "All Out Of Love" kicked off a particularly successful period for Air Supply in Australia, but even more so in the US, where the pair continued to enjoy top 5 hits long after we had lost interest.

Number 39 "Moscow" by Genghis Khan

Peak: number 1

Originally titled "Moskau" and released by German disco group Dschinghis Khan in 1979 as the follow-up to their eponymous Eurovision entry from earlier that year, "Moscow" was the English translation of the record, which was an obvious choice for Channel 7 to use in their coverage of that year's Olympic Games held in the Russian city. The saturation play on the top-rating broadcast resulted in "Moscow" becoming a huge hit in Australia, racing to number 1 within three weeks and staying there for six. The type of song that would not itself have been out of place at Eurovision - it even had a key change - "Moscow" was not so popular in Russia itself, at least not officially, with Genghis Khan (the name given to the group in Australia) banned in the USSR. Almost needless to say, this was their only hit in Australia.

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

Next week: the second most successful member - for the time being - of a famous family, plus new hits by The B-52's, Alice Cooper and Paul McCartney.

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