This Week In 1985: November 10, 1985
Earlier in 1985, Scottish sweetheart Sheena Easton had sexed up her girl-next-door image and emerged as one of the year's raunchiest female performers. This week that year, another female artist, Olivia Newton-John, used sex as a weapon - with less impressive results.
It wasn't the first time one of ONJ's releases had been considered racy - but unlike "Physical", which was about as sexual as holding hands, this time there was clearly a deliberate attempt to up the raunch factor. As it turned out, perhaps Livvy would have been better releasing something as tame as her 1981 mega-hit.
Another mega-hit was at number 1 on the ARIA singles top 50 this week in 1985. "I Got You Babe" by UB40 and Chrissie Hynde spent its third and final week on top.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 66
The eighth and final single to make the top 100 (but not the top 50) for the blind country star no doubt benefitted from the incorporation of the 1956 standard by The Five Satins.
Number 88 "Just As I Am" by Air Supply
Peak: number 79
Another top 20 hit in the US, this lead single from the Australian duo's self-titled album - their first studio set since 1983's chart-topping Greatest Hits - failed to find favour locally.
Peak: number 73
The trio of singles from Rattlesnakes had all charted within weeks of each other - and eight months over, this lead track from Easy Pieces was yet another release to miss the top 50.
Number 48 "Soul Kiss" by Olivia Newton-John
Peak: number 20
Just like her Grease character, Sandy, formerly pure and innocent singer Olivia Newton-John realised that if you couldn't beat them, why not join them. In an attempt to out-sex Madonna, ONJ kicked off her 13th album with this seductive single, performed in her best come hither vocal style and accompanied by a music video in which she mostly rolled around in red bed sheets. OK, there were a few reenactments of classic love scenes as well - featuring Livvy's new husband, Matt Lattanzi, in a supporting role.
More overtly sexual than anything Olivia had done before, "Soul Kiss" was miles away from the image makeovers she'd had for her Totally Hot and Physical albums - and it would seem that the public weren't so interested in seeing her in sex vixen mode. It didn't help that "Soul Kiss" was a pretty average song. If she was going to take on the next generation of female singers, she was going to have to do better than this.
Number 46 "What About Love?" by Heart
Peak: number 28
Speaking of makeovers, here's a band that had undergone a major change in sound if not in visual image. Originally a rock band with a much harder edge, Heart became known in the mid-'80s for their slickly produced power ballads. Power ballads like "What About Love?", which became the band's first major US hit in five years. In Australia, there'd been an even longer gap between top 40 visits - Heart's last hit had been 1977's "Barracuda", which had reached number 15 and was typical of the band's earlier sound.
Originally recorded by Canadian band Toronto, whose members Brian Allen and Sheron Alton had co-written it with Jim Vallance (the co-writer of many of Bryan Adams hits), "What About Love?" was recorded but not released by Toronto and offered to Heart instead. In this case, the makeover worked with this hit just the start of Heart's chart comeback. And for those of you familiar with my feelings towards a certain single released by Heart in 1990, I'm happy to say I'm a fan of this track.
Number 39 "Cold Fever" by Models
Peak: number 36
It was a major comedown from the 2-1 of their previous couple of singles - "Barbados" and "Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight", but this top 40 placing for "Cold Fever" was to be expected given 1) it was the fourth track released from their current album and 2) it was an OK song but not a classic Models single. "Cold Fever" was also the third single in a row written (or co-written) by James Freud, with Sean Kelly having to wait until the fifth release from Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight for another turn in the spotlight.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:
Next week: a solo single from one of the brains behind Band Aid, a novelty record from one of the most popular comedy characters of the year and one of Elton John's biggest hits of the decade.