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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1985: July 14, 1985

is week in 1985, the global music industry united in an unprecedented show of force. The event: Live Aid, which I looked back at in a separate post yesterday.

Can you guess which Mary Jane Girl played the dominatrix?

Otherwise, it was business as usual on the ARIA singles chart, with a batch of new entries - including a song by a one-hit wonder girl group with an image that might just have influenced a different girl power act a decade later.

A singer who influenced just about every female pop star to follow held on at number 1 for a third week this week in 1985. Yep, Madonna was still on top with "Angel/Into The Groove". 

Off The Chart

Number 97 "How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston

Peak: number 97

"Saving All My Love For You" would be her breakthrough hit, but Whitney released a bunch of singles before that in different countries - including this future number 2 complete with early budget video.

Number 96 "Getcha Back" by The Beach Boys

Peak: number 81

The lead single from the surf rock band's 25th studio album was also their first release since the death of founding member Dennis Wilson.

Number 71 "Loving The Alien" by David Bowie

Peak: number 65

Coming seven months after the previous single (and title track) from Tonight, this remixed release made about as much impact as you'd expect for a song that old.

New Entries

Number 49 "Look Mama" by Howard Jones

Peak: number 20

He'd come oh so close to landing his first ARIA top 10 hit with "Things Can Only Get Better", but this second single from Dream Into Action set Howard Jones's chart campaign back as it became stuck for three weeks at its number 20 peak. Another slice of synthpop perfection, "Look Mama" uses sampled dialogue from the Oscar-winning film Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore in its first few seconds (I always wondered where that came from!). Meanwhile, that top 10 single was coming - but it wouldn't be for almost another year.

Number 48 "Shine" by Kids In The Kitchen

Peak: number 40

Next up, an Australian synthpop act that had landed a top 10 single (1983's "Change In Mood") straight out of the gate but spent the rest of their career chasing - and failing to score - a second one. They'd come close with their previous two efforts, "Bitter Desire" and "Something That You Said", which both reached the top 20, but this title track from their newly released debut album was their first misstep - a song nowhere near as good as their previous singles. Speaking of putting a foot wrong, singer Scott Carne might have done a little too much skipping about on stage in this Countdown performance. Not long after, he turned up on Hey Hey It's Saturday to perform the un-remixed version of "Shine" on crutches.

Number 45 "In My House" by Mary Jane Girls

Peak: number 19

They'd started out as backing singers for Rick James and got their name from his song "Mary Jane" (which in turn was a reference to the funk star's love for dope), but in 1983 four-piece girl group Mary Jane Girls were launched as a rival outfit to Prince's Vanity 6 and Apollonia 6. 

More than a decade before Spice Girls would use the same marketing technique, each of the four members, Joanna "JoJo" McDuffie, Cheryl "Cheri" Bailey, Candice "Candi" Ghant and Kimberly "Maxi" Wuletich, not only had a cute nickname but was given a separate identity ranging from Valley girl to dominatrix. Lead singer JoJo was the real star - the Nicole Scherzinger of the group, if you like. 

After early singles, including the much-sampled "All Night Long", failed to take off (except in the UK, where it reached number 13), the girls (with Cheri replaced by Yvette "Corvette" Marine) had more success with "In My House". The lead release from second album Only Four You, the song became their sole US top 10 hit and only ARIA chart entry. 

By 1986, after a stand-alone cover of "Walk Like A Man" (which we saw remade by Divine last week) flopped, the group dissolved. The most noteworthy thing any of the members did post-Mary Jane Girls was when Yvette sued Paula Abdul, claiming her vocals had been used (and not credited) on some of the tracks on Forever Your Girl. She lost the case.

Number 44 "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen

Peak: number 29

Rectifying the fact that Bruce hadn't had a song on the top 50 for a couple of weeks, the fifth single from Born In The USA duly became the album's fifth chart entry this week in 1985, but compared to the extended run of "Dancing In The Dark", these later singles were much more short-lived affairs. Stylistically, "Glory Days" had most in common with "Dancing In The Dark" - another feel-good song after the more intense "I'm On Fire" and "Born In The USA". The video is worth a watch if for nothing other than to see future The Sopranos star Steven Van Zandt in his other role as E Street Band member.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:

Next week: two linked Aussie bands burst onto the top 50, while a synthpop instrumental that would be ruined by a cartoon frog decades later makes its first appearance. Plus, Bryan Adams, Renee Geyer and The Pointer Sisters.

Back to: Jul 7, 1985 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 21, 1985

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