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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1980: May 11, 1980

I recently posted a video of my favourite Australian bands of the 1980s on the Chart Beats Facebook page, and someone noted the absence of AC/DC and The Angels. With some odd exceptions, my musical taste has always veered away from the harder end of the rock spectrum - thus, the subtitle of this blog: A Journey Through Pop.

Give me US soul groups over pub rock any day

Nothing illustrates that better than the three top 50 new entries (and some of the songs that missed the chart) from this week in 1980. While one debut was the biggest single up until that point by the aforementioned The Angels and another was the second hit by another much-revered Aussie rock band, I preferred the medley by a soul vocal group that also arrived on the chart.

A band that would have made my list of local favourites if I included Australian-based bands were still at number 1 this week in 1980. New Zealand's Split Enz spent a fourth week on top with "I Got You".

Off The Chart

Number 100 "Tennis" by Chris Rea

Peak: number 88

"Diamonds", the lead single of his previous album, had reached number 13 locally, but this title track from Chris Rea's third album was not a grand slam (sorry!).

Number 99 "So Lonely" by The Police

Peak: number 99

Following two top 10 hits from second album Regatta de Blanc, some bright spark decided to give this single from debut Outlandos d'Amour another shot (just as "Roxanne" and "Can't Stand Losing You" had previously been re-released). It worked in the UK, with "So Lonely" reaching number 6 this time, but not here. 

Number 98 "99" by Toto

Peak: number 97

They'd got off to a good start with debut single "Hold The Line", but this lead release from second album Hydra almost lived up to its title in terms of chart peak. Shame - it's one of many Toto songs I like that under-performed locally.

Number 96 "The Second Time Around" by Shalamar

Peak: number 96

Speaking of under-performing in Australia, the R&B group scored their only US top 10 hit with this track, but flopped here. Still, at least "The Second Time Around" made the top 100, unlike upcoming classics "I Can Make You Feel Good" and "A Night To Remember".

Number 86 "Breakdown Dead Ahead" by Boz Scaggs

Peak: number 64

Best known for his number 2 double A-side, "What Can I Say/Lido Shuffle", Boz Scaggs' Australian top 50 days were behind him, with this lead single from Middle Man missing the mark.

New Entries

Number 47 "The Boys Light Up" by Australian Crawl

Peak: number 22

Their first single, "Beautiful People", had reached number 22, and that was a fate that also awaited this title track from Australian Crawl's debut LP, which entered the albums top 50 this week at number 34. With its sexual lyrics, "The Boys Light Up" caused somewhat of a stir at the time, but, like many of Australian Crawl's singles, it wasn't as big a hit as you would think given how hallowed their catalogue has become. Still, the album reached number 4 and spent just shy of two years on the top 100 so I doubt anyone was complaining.

Number 39 "Working My Way Back To You" by The Spinners

Peak: number 12

Like a musical rose between two thorns, enduring and evolving (thanks to regular line-up changes) vocal harmony group The Spinners returned to the Australian top 50 with this medley of "Working My Way Back To You", a song first recorded by The Four Seasons in 1966, and "Forgive Me, Girl" by Michael Zager, who produced the record. The medley eclipsed the number 20 peak of The Spinners' previous biggest hit, "The Rubberband Man".

Number 35 "No Secrets" by The Angels

Peak: number 8

When I started this blog in 2012 (looking back at the first chart I ever personally collected in mid-1987), I don't think I anticipated just how many singles by The Angels I would go on to recap. They had a lot of singles. And like Australian Crawl, they actually didn't have that many big chart hits - with this lead single from fourth album Dark Room becoming their first ever top 10 hit and the band not returning to that section of the chart until their cover of "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" peaked one place higher in 1987. "No Secrets" was the band's first release for Epic Records, with Dark Room rubbing shoulders on the albums chart with a compilation of their earlier work on Albert Productions in a month's time.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: a soundtrack hit from a band with another song still climbing the chart, plus a chart-topping one-hit wonder and some awesome yacht rock.

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