This Week In 1980: September 14, 1980
From Gundegai to Kokomo, and New York to London, locations have provided the inspiration for hit singles for... as long as there have been hit singles. (Side note: in the past few years, I've liked an inordinate amount of songs called "Tokyo".)
This week in 1980, a one-hit wonder Canadian band arrived on the Australian top 50 with a song about — and named after — a idyllic beach, but all was not as it seemed.
Another one-hit wonder group with a song about a place was still at number 1 on the singles chart this week in 1980, as "Moscow" by Genghis Khan stayed on top for a fourth week.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 95
Taken from Uprising, the final album released during his lifetime, "Could You Be Loved" returned the reggae legend to the vicinity of the chart he was accustomed to after 1978's breakthrough hit "Is This Love".
Number 47 "Geno" by Dexys Midnight Runners
Peak: number 44
The song that technically means English band Dexys Midnight Runners were not one-hit wonders in Australia crept into the top 50 in its 11th week on the top 100. Anything but a minor hit in the UK — "Geno" reached number 1 there — the song is a tribute to soul singer Geno Washington, both lyrically and musically. But thanks to the runaway success of 1982's "Come On Eileen", poor "Geno" has been overlooked in the decades since.
Number 38 "Echo Beach" by Martha And The Muffins
Peak: number 6
Echo Beach sounds wonderful. Waves make the only sound, not a soul around and on a silent summer evening, the sky's alive with light. Who wouldn't want to spend time there instead of in an office working as a clerk? Or on endless Zoom calls. Thing is: Echo Beach does not exist. At least, the place that inspired the song about getting far away in time isn't called that. But Sunnyside Beach (in Toronto) just doesn't have the same ring to it. The only Australian hit for Canadians Martha And The Muffins, the new wave classic won the Juno Award (the Canadian Grammys) for Single Of The Year, and although they subsequently enjoyed some more hits at home, nothing they released in the years following "Echo Beach" was anywhere near as successful. Fun fact: there were actually two Marthas in the band — lead singer Martha Johnson and keyboardist Martha Ladly.
Number 37 "Two Faces Have I" by Ol' 55
Peak: number 15
Something of a last hurrah for the retro-influenced Australian band, "Two Faces Have I" was a remake of a single by Lou Christie, which reached number 20 here in 1963. The falsetto-featuring tune turned Ol' 55's fortunes around after a couple of flops and became the band's biggest hit since their mid-'70s peak, when they scored back-to-back top 10 hits with a line-up that included Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde. The return to chart success didn't last, and Ol' 55 would fizzle out by 1983... for a few years, anyway.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):
Next week: seven new entries, including a couple of top 5 smashes from two quite different female performers, plus an early appearance by a pair of future soap stars.