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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1989: February 12, 1989

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.

One thing I failed to mention a couple of weeks ago when it was the anniversary of Coca-Cola taking over the ARIA chart was that as well as the colour becoming permanently red, the size of the chart also increased to A4.

Neneh Cherry: looking good in every way

Gone were the days when you could slip a chart between the pages of Smash Hits and rest assured you'd get the thing home in one piece. I remember instructing my mother (who picked the chart up for in weeks I couldn't get to a record store) not to fold the chart in half but to keep it flat. What a pain in the arse I was!

Speaking of pains in the arse... Australia still wasn't sick of The Beach Boys' "Kokomo" with the Cocktail soundtrack hit spending a seventh and final week at number 1. Yep, the end was in sight - although I'd soon long for the days when "Kokomo" was on top of the chart given what number 1 hit came next.

Off The Chart

Number 90 "Don't Look Back" by Charlie Sexton

Peak: number 82

Three years after "Beat's So Lonely" reached the top 20, then-20-year-old Charlie Sextion was back with his self-titled second album, which didn't meet with the same warm reception.

Number 85 "Working On It" by Chris Rea

Peak: number 85

This was one of two new songs included on the New Light Through Old Windows album, which consisted mostly of reworkings of previous tracks performed earlier in Chris Rea's career.


"Anchorage" by Michelle Shocked

Peak: number 51

Just missing the top 50 is this debut single from the folk singer born Karen Johnston (Michelle is her middle name). The track's lyrics mostly take the form of a letter written to Michelle by a friend who'd moved to the Alaskan capital which gives the song its the title. Never as successful as her contemporaries Tracy Chapman, Melissa Etheridge and Indigo Girls, Michelle's non-musical activities and sometimes questionable politics have often received more coverage than what she's released. She also seems to be one of those performers who shuns YouTube, but there is a link to the video in the song title above.

New Entries

Number 50 "Armageddon It" by Def Leppard

Peak: number 34

The Hysteria campaign was finally off and running in Australia thanks to the number 21 peak of "Love Bites" (which was still bouncing around the top 30 this week). However, as the chart position of this follow-up shows, the British rockers weren't enjoying anywhere near the type of success they were having in the US. There, "Armageddon It" was the fourth consecutive top 10 smash from the multi-platinum album.

Meanwhile, after months of yo-yoing between numbers 30 and 50 on the Australian albums chart, Hysteria finally moved back up into the top 30 this week on its agonisingly slow way to the number 1 position - a spot it wouldn't reach until July.

Number 49 "Let's Put The X In Sex" by KISS

Peak: number 49

More '80s hard rock, this time from a band who committed one of music's biggest sins on their 1988 greatest hits album, Smashes, Thrashes & Hits - they re-recorded and/or remixed many of their previous singles. Not that I was rushing out to buy a best of by KISS, but it annoys me when artists fiddle around with their musical legacy for whatever reason. Just compile the singles (7" versions, please) and be done with it.

"Let's Put The X In Sex" was one of two new tracks on the album - and even though it was co-written with Desmond Child, who'd been involved with KISS anthem "I Was Made For Lovin' You" and, more recently, several of Bon Jovi's biggest hits, the song had a disappointing (for the band) reception.

Number 48 "Buffalo Stance" by Neneh Cherry

Peak: number 21

Stuck in the middle of a bunch of old men, 23-year-old Neneh Cherry was one of the brightest stars to come out of the UK in 1988 (as always, Australia was a little behind the eight ball). Originally from Sweden, Neneh had spent time in both New York and London before landing a record deal - and it shows on this ground-breaking track, which gave US hip-hop a very British twist.

The infinitely quotable song started out as "Looking Good Diving With The Wild Bunch", the B-side to little-known Stock Aitken Waterman-produced track "Looking Good Diving", which I've talked about previously here. Remodelled into "Buffalo Stance", the song was a big hit around the world, but despite there being many more great singles on her Raw Like Sushi album, Neneh wouldn't return to the ARIA top 50 for another five years.

Number 45 "Missing You" by Chris De Burgh

Peak: number 45

I recently compiled a list of bona fide '80s one-hit wonders and thought this guy might have qualified as a two-hit wonder thanks to big singles "Don't Pay The Ferryman" and "The Lady In Red", but here he is with the song that gave him a third top 50 hit in Australia. The lead single from his Flying Colours album, it was another syrupy ballad that cracked the UK top 5 but didn't have anywhere near as much success locally.

Number 41 "Early In The Morning" by Robert Palmer

Peak: number 26

For the third single from his Heavy Nova album, Robert repeated a trick he'd employed on his previous album - he remade an old funk/R&B classic. In 1986, he'd covered Cherrelle's "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" and this time he turned his attention to the back catalogue of The Gap Band (who'd also been responsible for the original of "Oops Up!", later tackled by Snap!). Robert's version is not that different from The Gap Band's, which is worth checking out, too.

Number 38 "Real Gone Kid" by Deacon Blue

Peak: number 18

This Scottish band really hit their stride on their second album, When The World Knows Your Name, with this lead single giving them their biggest hit to date in the UK and their first top 50 entry in Australia. For me, I much preferred their previous single "Dignity" and another single from WTWKYN, "Fergus Sings The Blues". "Real Gone Kid" was written about singer Maria McKee, who at this stage was between her Lone Justice and "Show Me Heaven" days.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:

Next week: a bumper crop of new entries - eight in total, and it wasn't all middle-aged men and old '70s groups, either. I liked seven of the songs - one of which was a future number 1 from a fine, young British group.

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