This Week In 1989: March 12, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
I always thought that if I ever became a recording artist, I would record under a name that sounded like a group - like Owl City, Ladyhawke or Bastille (before he went and got himself band-mates). It's an enigmatic and slightly confusing way to be a solo artist, which appeals to me, even though the chances of me releasing a single any time soon are pretty slim.
Just as confusing are acts like Jamiroquai, The Lightning Seeds and Sade that seem like soloists, but are actually groups, even if Jay Kay, Ian Broudie and Sade Adu get all the attention and, in the first two cases, band members come and go. This week in 1989, the highest new entry came from the latter type of act: a band centred around one person, but a band nevertheless.
Also this week in 1989, The Proclaimers were still at number 1 with "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" - for the fourth of five weeks. The pain was only going to get worse...
Off The Chart
Peak: number 67
This was the debut single from the Australian rock band that would loiter around the lower reaches of the chart for the next few years, never quite becoming a major act.
Number 88 "Room For Love" by Go 101
Peak: number 88
Another local group that didn't really take off, Melbourne pop/funk band Go 101, who weren't able to improve on the almost-top 50 placing of debut "Build It Up" with this mid-tempo tune.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 107
The party was over for the group who'd hit number 1 with their cover of "He's Gonna Step On You Again" back in 1987, with this brand new single not even managing a place in the ARIA top 100. The band with the ever-evolving line-up welcomed back former vocalist Joe Walsh (of Eagles fame) for this song.
Peak: number 60
Another former hit-maker who was struggling was the lady behind dance smash "The Only Way Is Up". Reggae-infused single "Fine Time" had given her a third consecutive solo top 10 single in the UK, but Australian fans didn't take to the change of pace.
Peak: number 59
Also on the outs were Bananarama version 2.0, whose cover of The Supremes (minus Diana Ross) single from 1971 didn't manage a place inside the top 50 - something that hadn't happened for the group since 1987's "A Trick Of The Night". "Nathan Jones" had originally appeared on the WOW! album, when Siobhan Fahey was still part of the line-up, and was re-recorded and remixed for The Greatest Hits Collection as one of two new tracks.
Number 50 "Voice Of Reason" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 43
No one was having much luck this week! Here's another single from Noiseworks that disappointed chart-wise. The follow-up to top 15 hit "Touch", "Voice Of Reason" was the first of three singles in a row that would fail to crack the ARIA top 40. Personally, I thought it was the best single from the Touch album, which made up for things by being a top 5 platinum success.
Number 42 "Your Mama Don't Dance" by Poison
Peak: number 21
And now, a song I wish had been less of a hit. Unfortunately for me, although fortunately for them, Poison were on a bit of a roll by this point so just about anything would have done well. The fourth single from Open Up And Say...Aah!, "Your Mama Don't Dance" was a remake of the 1972 single by Loggins and Messina. Yep, Kenny Loggins of "Footloose" and "Danger Zone" fame, and Jim Messina, who'd also been in Buffalo Springfield and Poco (don't worry, I'm not really familiar with those bands, either).
Peak: number 35
One of my favourite songs from 1988 took its sweet time breaking into the ARIA top 50, and although it didn't go on to be a massive hit in Australia, it's one of those tunes that everyone knows. A top 5 hit in the US and a top 10 in the UK, the song was originally offered to Whitney Houston and Belinda Carlisle (who recorded a pretty unlistenable demo) before writers George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam ended up releasing it themselves in their guise as duo Boy Meets Girl. The husband and wife team had previously written two mega-hits for Whitney - "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" - but this was their only success of any note as recording artists.
Number 36 "I'm On My Way" by The Proclaimers
Peak: number 3
As if one horrible Proclaimers single wasn't enough, Australia rushed out and bought this follow-up - something that didn't even happen in the UK. In coming weeks, both songs were side-by-side in the top 10 (for a couple of non-consecutive weeks, that was literally the case). As a result, The Proclaimers entered the ranks of two-hit wonders.
Number 31 "It's Only Love" by Simply Red
Peak: number 31
Entering the chart where it would peak, this Simply Red track was the lead single from A New Flame, the first of four consecutive chart-topping albums the band had back in the UK. One thing I didn't realise until now was that, like the album's second single, "If You Don't Know Me By Now", "It's Only Love" was a cover version - in this case of a song originally recorded by Barry White.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: three stars of the early to mid '80s return - with very mixed fortunes. Plus, house music fails to take off in Australia.