This Week In 1987: September 13, 1987
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2012. Updated in 2017.
After last week's geriatric fest, the chart from this week in 1987 featured new entries from much more youthful artists. You know, the types of artists who could wear leather trousers and get away with it.
In fact, the three international acts who entered the top 50 this week were all enjoying their career breakthroughs in 1987, while the sole Aussie arrival was enjoying the most successful year of its career. No golden oldies here!
Indeed, the performer of the number 1 song was just 19 years of age at that point. For a fifth week, "Locomotion" by Kylie Minogue was the highest-selling single in the country.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "One Simple Thing" by The Stabilizers
Peak: number 100
I haven't come across this American band before - probably because this debut single barely made the ARIA top 100 and only reached number 93 in America. Not a bad chorus.
Number 99 "Moo!" by Matterhorn Project
Peak: number 96
Thankfully, I've never heard this before either - and I still don't know quite what to make of this Swiss blend of electronics and cow sounds. First released in 1985 as "Muh!", the novelty track thankfully didn't repeat its European success locally.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 93
An interesting song pops up in the prime real estate next to the breakers section this week. An Australian-only single from Mr Whiplash Smile himself, "Soul Standing By" was chosen to follow up the number 9 hit, "Sweet 16", but despite the push from the record company, could only just break into the top 100. Not having a video probably didn't help. I don't think I've even heard the song before now, but it's not one of the sneering rocker's best, I must say.
Peak: number 60
Another interesting one. This 1968 single got a new lease of life in 1985 thanks to its use in a British Levis commercial starring Madonna protégé Nick Kamen. As was always the way back then, it took Australia a while to catch on, which explains the belated appearance of the track on our top 100. Unlike in the UK, where the reissue shot back to number 8 in 1986, the song only reached number 60 this time in Australia (having originally peaked at number 50 here), but it did hang around for 20 weeks. The famous ad, in which Nick strips down to his boxers in a laundromat, features in the video below.
Number 48 "F.L.M." by Mel & Kim
Peak: number 19
With "Respectable" a recent number 1 single for London sisters Mel and Kim Appleby, this follow-up was guaranteed a fair bit of attention. However, the third single from the album of the same name ended up being overshadowed by the tragic news that Mel was suffering from cancer. "F.L.M." made it three top 20 hits in a row for the girls, but it would be the duo's penultimate release as Mel's health went into sharp decline.
Number 47 "Painted Moon" by The Silencers
Peak: number 41
Here's a song title I remember from 1987, but because the single didn't make the top 40, I didn't actually hear it at the time. Reminiscent of fellow Scottish band Big Country, with a touch of Simple Minds thrown in, it's a pretty good song actually and might just find its way into my iTunes library. Surprisingly, the band still exists, having last released an album in 2008.
Number 42 "Never Say Goodbye" by Bon Jovi
Peak: number 26
It took Bon Jovi a while to get going in Australia. Their 1986 single, "You Give Love A Bad Name", didn't hit the top 50 until March 1987, helped up the chart by the all-conquering "Livin' On A Prayer" (something the band shares in common with Mel & Kim, whose mega-hit "Respectable" gave debut single "Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend)" a shot in the arm). But once they got their foot in the door, they were here to stay. The aptly-titled "Never Say Goodbye" was the follow up to "Wanted Dead Or Alive" but didn't match its top 20 position (probably because the whole country owned Slippery When Wet by then).
Number 20 "Electric Blue" by Icehouse
Peak: number 1
Eleven weeks after "Crazy" (which was still at number 13 this week) debuted on the chart, the second single from Man Of Colours blasted into the top 20 on its way to number 1. The massive success was easy to understand, since "Electric Blue" is a perfect pop/rock song and was a constant fixture on FM radio that summer.
In fact, I remember one occasion when "Electric Blue" was featured in one of those competitions where you had to listen out for it to play some time in the hour then call up the radio station and be the 7th caller (or whatever) to win. As soon as I heard the opening bars, I jumped on the phone, only to be told the station was definitely not playing the song. "But it's on now!" I protested, not realising someone at home had changed to another station, which was playing the song.
Co-written with John Oates of Hall & Oates (who was keen to take the song if Iva Davies didn't want it for Icehouse), "Electric Blue" was also a massive success in the US, reaching number 7. Not bad for a song inspired by a visit to a topless beach. Three more singles would be released from Man Of Colours and the album would spend countless weeks at number 1 (OK, 11 weeks) when it was released at the end of the month.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:
There's more Bon Jovi action next week - as well as new entries from two of my favourite songs of 1987. See you back here next Thursday for more ARIA chart memories.