This Week In 1985: February 10, 1985
If you've looked around this blog at all, you may have noticed I have a bit of a thing about one-hit wonders - especially when acts are incorrectly stated as being one. Well, I'm about to get on my soapbox again because this week in 1985, two artists often described as one-hit wonders entered the ARIA top 50 singles chart with songs other than their most famous hits.
In fact, both acts in question actually made three visits to the top 50 in Australia. Granted, the songs we'll remember this week are, in both cases, the most forgettable of the three - but a sufficient amount of people liked them enough at the time to send them up the chart.
Up at the top of the chart, festive records were still going strong with Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" spending a fourth week at number 1 and "Last Christmas" by Wham! rebounding to its previous peak of number 3. A look at the state charts would indicate that change was on the way, with Band Aid no longer maintaining its across-the-board stranglehold, while we'll find out the reason for Wham!'s resurgence next week.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Forest Fire" by Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
Peak: number 87
The first Australian chart appearance from - but not the debut single by - the Scottish band I always associate with the inner-Sydney suburb of Newtown, which in the '80s was overrun with indie music fans, who would've loved this.
Peak: number 89
Ska was never as big in Australia as the UK - as demonstrated by these Melbourne-based exponents of the genre. It's not a song I'm familiar with, but it's not as bad as its chart position would suggest.
Peak: number 58
After back-to-back top 10 hits, Jimmy Somerville and pals lucked out with their take on this tune from 1934 opera Porgy And Bess. As much of a fan as I was of "Smalltown Boy" and "Why?", I couldn't get into this either.
Number 49 "Stranger In Town" by Toto
Peak: number 40
1982 had been a very good year for Toto - and even though only two of the four international hits from Toto IV ("Rosanna" and "Africa") did well here, both singles showed great staying power. It was a very different story by 1985.
For one thing, the band had a new lead singer, Fergie Frederiksen, who was responsible for two tracks on the soundtrack to Can't Stop The Music under the name David London. Outgoing singer Bobby Kimball had been embroiled in drugs-related charges and was sacked from the group (only to return to the line-up 14 years later).
For another, this lead single from the Isolation album was the only real hit from the album, just scraping in to the US top 30 and the ARIA top 40. Although the song sounds like it could be taken from a mid-'80s film soundtrack, it wasn't - but it does have a movie link: the music video and lyrics were inspired by Whistle Down The Wind.
Number 45 "It Ain't Enough" by Corey Hart
Peak: number 37
The video to Corey Hart's second single starts with him taking off his sunglasses - a nod to his debut release, "Sunglasses At Night", which reached number 16 in Australia in 1984 and is the song for which the Canadian singer is best known. It's also way better than this lacklustre ballad, which sounds like one long verse in dire need of a chorus. "It Ain't Enough" actually outperformed its predecessor in Canada, but it was a chart also-ran in Australia, where Corey would register one more top 20 appearance later in 1985.
Number 43 "Common Ground" by Goanna
Peak: number 42
I always wondered why in old episodes of Countdown, Molly Meldrum used to refer to this Australian rock band as "Goanna Band" - and it seems The Goanna Band was actually the original name for what would become more simply Goanna by the time their debut album, Spirit Of Place, came out in 1982.
After landing their best-known hit, number 3 smash "Solid Rock", that year, the band fronted by Shane Howard continued to blend politics with music in 1983 on number 12 single "Let The Franklin Flow" (recorded in collaboration with Redgum, Midnight Oil's Peter Garrett and Fairport Convention's Trevor Lucas, and credited to Gordon Franklin & The Wilderness Ensemble). They also made number 36 in their own right with "Razor's Edge".
"Common Ground" was, therefore, the third Goanna single to make the top 50 (fourth if you include their contribution to the anti-damming song) - and was the lead single from upcoming second album Oceania. More in line with the band's folk origins than the pop/rock sound of "Solid Rock", neither "Common Ground" nor the album from which it was taken did very well on the charts and Goanna would soon be dropped (for a second time) by their record label.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:
Next week: we'll find out just why people were suddenly buying "Last Christmas" again in mid-February, plus Barnesy gets his solo career back on track and a future number 1 from a true one-hit wonder arrives.