This Week In 1980: July 13, 1980
As much as I love pure pop, synthpop, R&B and dance music, I also have plenty of time for pop/rock groups. That was especially the case in the '80s, with everyone from Toto to Huey Lewis And The News and Hoodoo Gurus to Boom Crash Opera finding my favour.
This week in 1980, a power pop band that ticked all the right boxes for me musically arrived on the Australian singles chart with a song that almost went all the way to number 1.
The number 1 song this week in 1980 was "Can't Stop The Music" by Village People, which set up camp (sorry!) on top for four weeks.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Kid" by The Pretenders
Peak: number 90
"Brass In Pocket" was proving to be one of the year's most enduring hits, but Australians weren't so keen on this single, which had been released before "Brass..." in the UK and came with an even earlier single, "Stop Your Sobbing", on the B-side.
Peak: number 84
This was the only single by Sydney power pop band The Clones, whose history is amusingly detailed here.
Number 91 "My Friend Jack" by Boney M
Peak: number 81
They'd reached the top 10 five times in the late '70s (topping the chart twice), but the good times were over for Boney M, with this single from compilation The Magic Of Boney M ending up as their final non-megamix top 100 appearance.
Number 50 "It's Hard To Be Humble" by Mac Davis
Peak: number 9
I am incredibly thankful that, despite the fact that this song reached the top 10, I have not had the misfortune of listening to "It's Hard To Be Humble" until now. Combining two of my least favourite things - comedy records and old school country music - the song was a self-deprecating account of what it's like to be famous. And Mac was reasonably well known, having reached number 2 in Australia with 1972's "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" and enjoyed a series of successful tracks in the US. As a songwriter, he'd also been responsible for writing (or co-writing) a handful of later Elvis Presley hits, including "A Little Less Conversation". So credit where it is due - just don't ask me to listen to this song again.
Number 48 "What I Like About You" by The Romantics
Peak: number 2
Blending throwback pop/rock influences and new wave style, Detroit band The Romantics only enjoyed a minor hit in the US with their breakthrough single, "What I Like About You", but almost topped the Australian chart with the sub-three-minute song. The instantly catchy track was sung by drummer Jimmy Marinos - one of two lead vocalists in the band - and bizarrely was The Romantics' only hit in Australia until 1984's "Talking In Your Sleep", despite follow-up "When I Look In Your Eyes" being another great tune. Those three songs were quality enough for The Romantics to be among my favourite US bands of the decade.
Peak: number 17
With the title track of his current album having fizzled out locally, Australia moved on quickly with the fourth single from Off The Wall - a major departure from the three disco-flavoured tracks lifted so far. A tearjerking - literally - ballad, "She's Out Of My Life" was presented to Michael Jackson by producer Quincy Jones, who'd at one point considered getting Frank Sinatra to record it. The ultra-slow breakup ballad succeeded in returning Michael to the top 20 and would be the final single released from Off The Wall in Australia, although "Girlfriend" was issued in a couple of other countries.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):
Next week: Australia's sweetheart scores another hit just two weeks after her last top 50 single arrived - but this one is a much bigger deal.