This Week In 1989: June 11, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
It's been a long time since 1989 and a lot has happened to the band with the highest new entry on the ARIA singles chart this week that year in the intervening period. Following the loss of lead singer Freddie Mercury in the early 90s, many would have expected Queen to fade away, but that hasn't been the case at all.
In one way or another, Queen have maintained a fairly steady presence over the past two-and-a-half decades thanks to a series of re-releases, collaborations and a stage musical based on their biggest hits. In 1989, however, it was business as usual as the band returned with their 13th studio album and Freddie's battle with AIDS was kept under wraps for the time being.
The madness at the top of the ARIA singles chart continued this week in 1989, with former number 1 "Eternal Flame" returning to nudge "Wind Beneath My Wings" aside and spend a second week at the top. Where would it end?
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Big Area" by Then Jericho
Peak: number 90
A band I remember always getting a big push from Number One magazine and the British version of Smash Hits never quite exploded, especially in Australia where their biggest UK hit (it reached number 13 there) paid a brief visit to the ARIA top 100.
Number 95 "Sister Moon" by Transvision Vamp
Peak: number 95
Also only fleetingly visiting the lower end of the top 100 was this final single from Transvision Vamp's debut album, Pop Art, which was a change of pace from the three top 50 hits the band had enjoyed so far.
Number 94 "Nineteen Forever" by Joe Jackson
Peak: number 80
Back with his 10th studio album, Blaze Of Glory, was a singer-songwriter who hadn't reached the top 50 as lead artist since 1984. This first single from the album didn't change that situation.
Peak: number 78
After a solo career that never got off the ground and a pop group, Blue Zone, that didn't either, this collaboration with dance duo Coldcut was the song that finally put Lisa Stansfield on the map - at least in the UK, where it just missed the top 10.
Singles Of The Week
This week in 1989, Virgin Records had so many hot new singles out they couldn't choose just one to feature in this slot and instead packaged up five releases as "club classics". Three of them (by Inner City, Paula Abdul and Neneh Cherry) we'll see in the coming weeks when they become breakers, but two didn't even manage that - and none of the five made the top 50, a fact that illustrates a point I make pretty regularly on this blog: Australia just wasn't ready for dance music.
Peak: number 162
This song flew so under the radar at the time that not only did it get nowhere near the top 100, but I had never heard it until putting this post together. Turns out Boy George had a go at new jack swing with this track written by Gene Griffin and produced by Teddy Riley, the team behind Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative". But Boy George was no Bobby Brown and his attempt to take on America's coolest brand of R&B went about as well as you'd expect.
Peak: number 77
While it's a stretch to call the Boy George song a club classic, this breakthrough hit for British act Soul II Soul is definitely one - and even came from an album called Club Classics Vol. One. One of two massive trans-Atlantic hits by the group to feature the vocals of Caron Wheeler, "Keep On Movin'" was a musical revelation, establishing the much-imitated Soul II Soul strings and beats sound, and proving that R&B and dance music could mix.
Number 50 "After All" by Cher & Peter Cetera
Peak: number 50
I've never been a fan of duets or collaborations recorded separately - I like the idea of artists heading into the studio together and standing around the microphone with their headphones on one ear and off the other, Band Aid-style. But, it seems Cher and Peter Cetera not only didn't meet up to record this ballad for the soundtrack to the Robert Downey Jr and Cybill Shepherd rom-com Chances Are, but they also didn't film a music video or even perform it live together. They even had stand-ins (James Ingram and Melissa Manchester) sing it at the Oscars when it was nominated for Best Original Song. It's like it never happened - something that can also be said of the song's fleeting ARIA chart appearance.
Number 46 "Rocket" by Def Leppard
Peak: number 15
Australia had finally caught on to what America had known for the previous two years - that Def Leppard's Hysteria was packed with great singles and this final release from the album received a suitable chart position in Australia, something the other six songs lifted from the LP hadn't managed. As we'll see in a few months' time, one of those earlier singles would be given a second go, but "Rocket" would remain the most successful release from the album.
Number 39 "Come Anytime" by Hoodoo Gurus
Peak: number 27
After the career hiccup that was "The Generation Gap", Hoodoo Gurus finally got their fourth album campaign off to a start with this first single from Magnum Cum Louder, which, although not the biggest hit, did chart higher than any release since "What's My Scene?" in 1987. Decades later, the track would be used as the theme song to improv comedy show Thanks God You're Here, the second time a Hoodoo Gurus track had been licensed in such a high-profile way.
Number 35 "I Want It All" by Queen
Peak: number 10
They'd been absent from the charts for three years, but Queen slotted straight back in with this lead single from The Miracle and landed their 8th top 10 single in Australia in the process. I've never been a massive fan of Queen, and this single sounded as bombastic and overblown as any of their over-the-top rock opera hits. Still, there's something to be said for consistency.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: solo singles from three artists who came to fame as members of massively successful '70s bands, and at the other end of the spectrum an American teen and two British singers in their early 20s return with new hits.