This Week In 1989: August 13, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
Not many artists can lay claim to releasing 100 singles in their career - a feat that generally takes decades to achieve. Mind you, if Rihanna keeps up her rate of releasing music (she's already amassed around half that figure if you include the singles by other acts on which she's featured), she could join that exclusive club before long.
This week in 1989, a British singer registered his 100th single - a big event in his home country but one which passed most Australians by, despite the fact he'd been incredibly successful locally over the years and last hit the top 10 as recently as 1987.
Meanwhile, a boy band that has now been around for decades - three of them, in fact - wrestled the number 1 spot away from Roxette this week in 1989. I'm talking, of course, about New Kids On The Block, who hit the top with "You Got It (The Right Stuff)". More on them later...
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Many Rivers To Cross" by Toni Childs
Peak: number 99
The American singer's version of the Jimmy Cliff single from 1969 was taken from the soundtrack to Lost Angels, an indie drama starring Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock.
Number 93 "Love Like Rain" by Bell Jar
Peak: number 93
Around since 1986, Sydney five-piece Bell Jar slipped into the top 100 for the first time with this single from upcoming debut album Glass.
Peak: number 87
Like their debut single, the second offering from the Australian rock band was a minor top 100 entry. It was also the (almost) title track of their debut album, released around the same time.
Peak: number 76
The house duo really couldn't catch a break in Australia, with this fourth single following two singles that peaked in the 50s and one in the 60s. In the UK, "Do You Love What You Feel" was their fourth top 20 hit in a row.
Peak: number 59
Here he is, the Peter Pan of pop, who'd released his debut single, "Move It" (with The Drifters), way back in August 1958. That song was a number 2 hit in the UK, while in Australia, it wound up at the other extreme of the chart, spending a single week at number 100 in early 1959. Cliff would make up for it, scoring his first (of many) Australian top 10 hits with the original version of "Living Doll" later in 1959 - and now, 30 years later, was celebrating his 100th single.
Although there is some debate about whether "The Best Of Me" was actually his 100th single, the ballad was marketed as such and took Cliff back to the exact same position as "Move It" in the UK - his 10th (and second last) time in the runners-up slot. Once again, Australia was unconvinced and it would be another decade before we'd see him back in the ARIA top 50 - just in time for the new millennium.
Number 45 "Stand Back" by Roxus
Peak: number 44
Australia might have excelled at just about every type of rock music known to man, but when it came to American-style hair metal, our local versions of Bon Jovi, Poison and Mötley Crüe hadn't exactly set the charts alight. And, with their debut single, "Stand Back", Melbourne band Roxus joined Kings Of The Sun as top 50 also-rans despite the band taking a leaf out of Bon Jovi's book and being (almost) named after lead singer Juno Roxas. Bigger things were to come for the band that'd signed to Molly Meldrum's Melodian label - but not until they released an obligatory rock power ballad a couple of years later.
Peak: number 4
Speaking of ballads... With this sickly sweet follow-up to the reigning number 1 single, New Kids On The Block established the rule that no boy band is ever too cool for a slushy song. For me, "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" has always been basically unlistenable, but in 1989, their largely teenage girl fanbase thought otherwise, sending the track to number 1 in the States and solidifying their position as the year's biggest new pop act in Australia.
Although still several months behind America, where "I'll Be..." had hit the top in June, Australia was starting to catch up thanks to a rapid release strategy which saw this single enter the top 50 before "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" had even spent a dozen weeks on the chart. The two songs would spend a number of weeks in the top 10 together, and by October, Jordan, Jon, Danny, Donnie and Joey would have three simultaneous top 50 hits.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: Australia's favourite singer takes on drug abuse, and just when The Reynolds Girls made it look like it was all over for Stock Aitken Waterman, they teamed up with a disco legend for some of their best work. Plus, the world's favourite mime act breaks into the ARIA top 50.