This Week In 1985: March 10, 1985
Lady Gaga excepted, they just don't make pop stars like they did in the '80s anymore. Flamboyant fashion sense, overblown egos, outrageous antics... these were the key ingredients for a music star. Oh, and vocal ability - although that wasn't always crucial.
This week in 1985, three larger-then-life performers who could only have come to fame in the '80s hit the ARIA singles chart with their latest offerings. All three were frontmen for bands and completely overshadowed pretty much everyone else in the line-ups - although one of them was charting with his debut solo single.
There were no OTT stars in the band at number 1 this week in 1985 - with the term MOR describing pretty much everything about Foreigner, who clung on at the top for a fourth week with "I Want To Know What Love Is". But who needs gimmicks and flashy showmanship when you have a power ballad that good?
Off The Chart
Peak: number 95
Number 92 "A Sense Of Wonder" by Van Morrison
Peak: number 92
Also not very lucky was Irish singer Van Morrison with this lead single and title track from his 15th studio album - but then he'd never actually managed a top 50 hit in Australia despite his albums success.
Peak: number 56
I loved Hall & Oates' output in the first half of the decade, but even I couldn't get into this follow-up to their best ever single, "Out Of Touch". Seems I wasn't alone.
Number 50 "Tenderness" by General Public
Peak: number 50
It only spent this one week in the top 50, but the third single by the duo comprised of Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling from The (British) Beat would hover outside the top 50 for another couple of months afterwards. The track was featured in the film Weird Science at the time and included on the soundtrack LP, but I didn't become familiar with it for another decade when it was used in Clueless, but annoyingly didn't appear on that soundtrack CD. Although now available in the US iTunes store, it's still unavailable in Australia. Around the same time at "Tenderness" was being resurrected for Clueless, the pair contributed a cover version of The Staple Singers' "I'll Take You There" to another memorable '90s film: Threesome.
Number 47 "The Party" by Uncanny X-Men
Peak: number 18
Brian Mannix still has a remarkably high profile for the singer of a band that only had one top 10 single. But the cheeky Uncanny X-Men frontman was always a bit of a limelight hogger - and this, er, party anthem allowed him to really letloose, strutting about and hamming it up for the camera like his life depended on it. The lead single from debut album Cos Life Hurts, "The Party" became the band's first real hit, eclipsing the number 32 peak of their previous biggest release, EP Beach Party, which contained "Everybody Wants To Work".
Number 43 "California Girls" by David Lee Roth
Peak: number 6
When it comes to rock singers with loud hair and an even louder personality, David Lee Roth wrote the book - and this cover of The Beach Boys single from 1965 was the Van Halen vocalist's debut offering shortly before he left the hard rock band. Despite the fact that Van Halen had hit their commercial peak the previous year with the 1984 album, and singles like "Jump" and "Panama", a rift between David and guitarist Eddie Van Halen over the band's direction would ultimately lead to the singer making his solo career a permanent thing. For the time being, he got to satisfy his craving for more lighthearted fare (Eddie wanted the band to release more serious music) with this remake - which was taken from an EP of four cover versions, Crazy From The Heat - and its surprisingly camp music video.
Peak: number 3
It takes a pretty remarkable singer to outdo both David Lee Roth and Brian Mannix, but then remarkable is a good word to sum up Dead Or Alive's Pete Burns. With his gender-bending image, unique vocal style and penchant for an eye patch, he was unlike anyone else on the chart.
After sneaking into the ARIA chart earlier in the year with a cover of "That's The Way (I Like It)", Pete and his group really made an impression with this song which had just reached its number 1 peak in the UK by this point (after taking months to get there).
The often remixed, re-released and sampled "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)" was Dead Or Alive's first collaboration with producers Stock Aitken Waterman, who were starting to make a name for themselves thanks to high-energy hits by Divine and Hazell Dean. The combination was electric - and despite DOA's record company thinking the song was a flop, they were proved wrong when it became a hit not just in the UK and Australia, but also in America.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:
Next week: Madonna was back - with the single that provided her most enduring nickname. Plus, a classic single from yet another breakdancing film.