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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1983: September 11, 1983

If you happen to find yourself married to an incredibly successful songwriter, it only makes sense that you would get them to pen you a hit record, right?

Pat Wilson sang this bop written by husband Ross

This week in 1983, one of the new entries on the ARIA chart was written by a man who'd first reached the top 50 in 1965, and topped the chart in 1971. He would come close to doing it again with a song released later in 1983.

The chart-topping single on the ARIA chart this week in 1983 was "Australiana" by Austen Tayshus, which rebounded from number 6 thanks to the ban in Victoria being lifted.

Off The Chart

Number 99 "Can't Get Used To Losing You" by The Beat

Peak: number 77

Going out as they'd started out, The (British) Beat hit the UK top 10 one last time with a cover of the 1963 hit by Andy Williams. The remake had first appeared on their debut album but was remixed for inclusion on career-ending retrospective What Is Beat?

Number 91 "Electric Lash" by The Church

Peak: number 60

They'd scored a top 30 hit from each of their first two albums, but Seance's second single, "Electric Lash", followed "It's No Reason" (number 56) in peaking outside the top 50.

New Entries

Number 49 "Made My Day" by Tim Finn

Peak: number 22

As "Fraction Too Much Friction" dropped out of the top 20, Tim Finn's second solo single arrived on the chart and, for me, the gospel-tinged "Made My Day" was an even better single than its predecessor. It didn't, however, do anywhere near as well - and I'm actually surprised by its number 22 peak, since I thought it had been a bigger hit. The upbeat tune showcases the backing vocals of Venetta Fields, who'd become better known later in the decade as one of John Farnham's regular back-up singers.

Number 47 "Bop Girl" by Pat Wilson

Peak: number 2

That Ross Wilson - he sure knew how to write a hit. Hits like "Eagle Rock", the debut single by his band Daddy Cool, which spent 10 weeks at number 1 in 1971. Or songs like "State Of The Heart" and "Cool World", the two top 10 singles his current band Mondo Rock had already released. And tunes like "Bop Girl", the song he wrote for his then-wife, journalist Pat Wilson, who he'd married before he was famous back in 1969. Perky pop nugget "Bop Girl" enjoyed six weeks in the ARIA top 3 (three at number 2, three at number 3) and wound up as 1983's 11th biggest single. The music video, directed by Gillian Armstrong, is notable for marking the screen debut of Nicole Kidman - you get a good look at her around the 2:20 mark, just before Ross himself literally pops up. Although she's often considered a one-hit wonder, we'd see Pat one more time on the top 50.

Number 42 "A Winter's Tale" by David Essex

Peak: number 33

Quite why Australia decided, nine months after it had been a Christmas hit in the UK and just as winter made way for spring locally, to welcome "A Winter's Tale" into the chart is beyond me. The dreary ballad was written by composer Mike Batt (the man responsible for The Wombles' music career) and lyricist Tim Rice. It was the biggest hit for David Essex since his mid-'70s heyday, when he landed three Australian top 5 singles and would be his penultimate appearance on the ARIA chart - with one more look-in in 1987.

Number 40 "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats

Peak: number 5

Here is a bona fide one-hit wonder - Canada's Men Without Hats with their ode to pogoing, "The Safety Dance". Written by singer Ivan Doroschuk after he'd been told off by club bouncers for, ironically, bouncing around on the dance floor, the track is classic '80s fare, down to its medieval music video. The song was one of two Ivan performed earlier this year as the opening act on the Totally '80s tour. The other tune he jigged about to onstage was "Pop Goes The World", which in some countries was Men Without Hats' second hit but which missed the top 50 here in Australia.

Listen to every top 50 hit (that's on Spotify) from the second half of 1983 on my playlist:

Next week: new hits by two bands - one that'd solidified its position as the biggest band in the world in 1983 and the other that was just making its mark despite having been around just as long.

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