This Week In 1987: May 10, 1987
It's always tempting fate to have a song title that top 50 countdown hosts can use against you as a pun. For example, songs called "Number One" that don't become chart-toppers or singles with the word "up" in their titles that are moving down the chart.
This week in 1987, a massive hit arrived on the ARIA singles chart and I can just hear Countdown's Gavin Wood or Barry Bissell from Take 40 Australia incorporating its title into a description of how it got stuck at number 3 for six long weeks. I might even use such a pun myself...
A song that had been stuck at number 1 for weeks now held on to the top spot yet again this week in 1987. "Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)" kept rock bands from around the world at bay as it registered it fourth week as Australia's favourite song.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Falling" by Rose Tattoo
Peak: number 100
The final single from the hard rock band before singer Angry Anderson went solo, "Falling" was another power ballad lifted from the surprisingly commercial Beats From A Single Drum album.
Peak: number 83
It was his only hit, but what a monster it was. The 1979 number 1 smash was brought up to date with a new remix, but couldn't recapture its former chart glory.
Number 95 "Rat In Mi Kitchen" by UB40
Peak: number 84
Based, apparently, on a conversation about singer Ali Campbell's pest problem, this was another British hit that didn't cross over in Australia for the reggae group.
Number 94 "Away Away" by Weddings Parties Anything
Peak: number 92
After a couple of self-funded, limited edition releases, the Australian folk rock band made their major label - and top 100 - debut. It'd be a good few years before they'd really make a mark.
Peak: number 69
Yet another singles chart disappointment from the album that was still firmly ensconced in the ARIA top 10. Like "You Can Call Me Al", this track features Ladysmith Black Mambazo on backing vocals.
Peak: number 58
It's not really that surprising that The Cult, who hadn't made an appearance on the Australian chart up until this point, broke through with this first single from their Electric album. The song signalled a change in the band's sound from goth rock to US heavy metal-influenced rock and no expense had been spared hiring Rick Rubin to re-record the entire album (which was originally going to be called Peace). The Damned's "Eloise" aside, goth rock had never been that successful in Australia, but hard rock and heavy metal was another matter - especially in 1987. Still, it'd take another couple of years for The Cult to break into the top 50.
Peak: number 57
Last week, we saw Alison Moyet only manage a top 30 peak with "Weak In The Presence Of Beauty", which had also been a medium-sized hit the previous year for Floy Joy. Now it was actor-turned-singer Bruce Willis's turn to be disadvantaged by a recent recording of the song he chose to cover. In 1985, Kane Gang had reached the top 20 with their version of The Staple Singers' "Respect Yourself" and so less people were inclined to shell out for Bruce's interpretation (as opposed to in the US and the UK, where it went top 10).
Despite an average singing voice, Bruce's take on the classic soul track was not that bad - although he did owe a huge debt to the vocal involvement of June Pointer (of The Pointer Sisters) on the track. Such was Bruce's star power thanks to hit TV series Moonlighting that not only was he able to release a whole album, The Return Of Bruno, but HBO (which, admittedly, wasn't the TV powerhouse it is now) aired a mockumentary of the same name in which he took the role of music legend Bruno Radolini.
Peak: number 3
Another week, another massive movie hit - this time, the power ballad from the not-as-good-as-you-remember comedy Mannequin, starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall. Co-written by '80s power ballad queen Diane Warren with equally prolific songwriter Albert Hammond, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" was a US and UK chart-topper, and initially looked as if it would do the same in Australia. Turns out - ready for it? - something could stop Starship returning to the top of the chart. Specifically, the combined might of Dave Dobbyn and Whitney Houston kept them stuck at number 3 for five of the six weeks the song spent in that position (Mel & Kim and Whitney kept it at number 3 for week six). Although they continued releasing music until the early '90s before taking a lengthy hiatus, this would be Starship's last major success in Australia - but what a song to go out on!
Peak: number 11
It's songs like this that give Eurodance a bad name. Featuring a re-recorded (rather than a sampled) backing track created by producer/remixer Ben Liebrand, "Holiday Rap" obviously used Madonna's breakthrough single as inspiration - and then crapped all over it. A bit of Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday" was even thrown in for "good" measure. Performed by Dutch duo Lucien Witteveen and Sven van Veen, the song was massive across Europe and almost made the ARIA top 10, but even my 12-year-old self knew it for the load of rubbish it was. A second single that ruined Kool & The Gang's "Celebration" followed, but we were mercifully spared that becoming a hit.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:
Next week: another dance anthem crosses over from the clubs and the arrival of a future top 5 hit from a one-man band.