This Week In 1980: February 10, 1980
In "Paninaro", Pet Shop Boys' Chris Lowe listed rockabilly as one of the genres he doesn't like - there's quite a list (but what he does like, he loves passionately). And I have to say I agree with him. For the most part.
This week in 1980, one of the biggest bands in the world released a rockabilly song that not only was quite unlike anything they'd put out before, but it became their longest-running number 1 in Australia. I even liked it.
Still at number 1 this week in 1980 was "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson, but its days on top were numbered.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Living On An Island" by Status Quo
Peak: number 62
Previous single "Whatever You Want" continued to hover in the 20s, but this follow-up about living outside the UK for tax purposes (and taking drugs) - what a topic! - was not what the Australian public wanted.
Peak: number 82
Hitting the top 100 between massive hits "Computer Games" and "Space Invaders", this unsuccessful video game-themed track was by an Australian musician, not the Beach Boy.
Peak: number 29
Australia was one of the few places this Boney M-sounding disco track was lifted as a single from Bette Midler's fifth album, Thighs And Whispers. And it's a good thing it was, since it performed better than lead single "Married Men" (number 39 in 1979) and gave Bette, who looks like she's having a whale of a time in the video below, her biggest hit since "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" in 1973.
Peak: number 1
From a song about leather we now come to a band wearing the material in the video for this lead single from their eighth album, The Game. A short and sweet rockabilly track that was a change in direction from the epic anthems Queen had become known for, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" channelled vintage Elvis Presley and was perfectly timed to slot into the rockabilly revival led by The Stray Cats and Shakin' Stevens. Written by frontman Freddie Mercury while he was in the bath, the song came together quickly but enjoyed one of the longest stays at number 1 in 1980, clocking up seven weeks on top, five weeks more than they'd managed with "Bohemian Rhapsody".
Number 47 "I Want You Tonight" by Pablo Cruise
Peak: number 43
Their previous album, Worlds Away, had yielded top 10 hit "Love Will Find A Way" (and also featured a cover of Peter Allen's "I Go To Rio"), and San Francisco soft rock band Pablo Cruise were hoping for a similar response to this lead single from next album Part Of The Game. Despite being a catchy piece of disco-influenced rock - or maybe because of that fact since the genre was on the wane - "I Want You Tonight" ended up as only a minor top 50 entry.
Number 45 "Carrie" by Cliff Richard
Peak: number 18
The Cliff Richard comeback continued as the music industry veteran scored another hit from Rock 'n' Roll Juvenile. Although not as big as "We Don't Talk Anymore", which reached number 3 and fell out of the top 50 just weeks earlier, "Carrie" did Cliff his first back-to-back top 20 singles for the first time since the late 1960s. The song was co-written by Terry Britten, who'd also co-written 1976's "Devil Woman", and B.A. Robertson, and was one of a string of hits for Cliff in the coming years.
Number 42 "Moonlight And Muzak" by M
Peak: number 37
A new wave project fronted by Robin Scott, M had spent three weeks at number 1 in mid-1979 with "Pop Muzik", and I tend to think this belated follow-up owed it chart success, such as it was, to the lingering good will associated with that track rather than due to the fact that "Moonlight and Muzak" is any good.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):
Next week: the decade's first UK chart-topper debuts - could it reach number 1 in Australia as well? Plus, a vampire-themed novelty hit.