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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1987: February 15, 1987

As long as there'd been pop music, there have been love songs. But love songs in the '80s were pretty different than they are now - more heartfelt and romantic, less hooking up in the club.

These romantic tunes made the ARIA chart just in time for Valentine's Day 

This week in 1987, two quintessentially '80s love songs made their debut on the ARIA singles chart. Both would become the biggest hits by the singers behind them - in one case, it'd be his only top 50 appearance.

After seven weeks, there was a new number 1 in Australia 30 years ago this week. "Walk Like An Egyptian" by The Bangles dislodged Pseudo Echo from the top spot, but could they hold onto it?

Off The Chart

Number 100 "True To You" by Ric Ocasek

Peak: number 100

Number 100? C'mon, this follow-up to "Emotion In Motion" deserved better than that. I actually prefer this Cars-like bop to Ric Ocasek's top 10 ballad hit, but seems I might be alone on that.

Number 95 "The Big Heat" by Stan Ridgway

Peak: number 91

This was actually the first single released from the album of the same name back in 1985. In 1987, "The Big Heat" became Stan Ridgway's third consecutive top 50 miss.

Number 94 "Home By The Sea" by Genesis

Peak: number 80

Here's another re-release, although I'm not sure why this single from Genesis's previous album (originally released in 1983) was available again while they were still releasing songs from Invisible Touch

Number 93 "Same Old Story" by Ultravox

Peak: number 93

Kind of an apt song name as Ultravox still couldn't achieve a second top 50 hit to join 1981's "Vienna". "Same Old Story" came from U-Vox, the band's first album since Midge Ure's solo detour in 1985.

New Entries

Number 50 "Cry For Love" by Iggy Pop

Peak: number 50

It always surprises me to discover that a music legend has less of a chart career than I would've expected. It happened just the other day when I was looking back into Tina Turner's Australian chart history prior to her 1984 comeback. Similarly, punk pioneer Iggy Pop hadn't ever reach the top 50 locally (solo or with The Stooges) before his mid-'80s return with the Blah-Blah-Blah album. 

The closest he'd ever come was in 1979 when "I'm Bored" got to number 68 thanks in part to his notorious appearance on Countdown. In 1987, he finally cracked the top 50 - just! - with "Cry For Love", which was co-written by The Sex Pistols' Steve Jones and co-produced, like the rest of the album, by David Bowie. This single might not have been the biggest hit in the world but another track on the synth-rock album was about to explode...

Number 47 "Shake You Down" by Gregory Abbott

Peak: number 12

You can picture the scene that must've played out in countless bachelor pads around the world in early 1987 - a guy hoping to get lucky goes all out with a romantic, candlelit dinner for two, invites his lady over, pops on this seductive R&B jam, and proceeds to try and shake her down. Who could resist? When it came to Gregory Abbott's debut single, few could resist the smooth groove of "Shake You Down", which topped the US chart, reached the UK top 10 and just missed ours. 

I'll never understand why this super-sexy single wasn't as big as the sappy "I Wanna Wake Up With You", which was still making its way up the chart this week. But, like Boris Gardiner, Gregory would end up being a one-hit wonder locally as follow-up "I Got The Feelin' (It's Over)" missed the top 100 completely. Fun fact: in the late '70s Gregory was married to another one-hit wonder, Freda Payne, whose big single, "Band Of Gold", reached number 5 in 1971.

Number 46 "Heartbreak Beat" by The Psychedelic Furs

Peak: number 26

It's amazing what having a movie named after one of your songs can do for your profile. Fresh from the exposure afforded them by 1986's Pretty In Pink, for which they re-recorded their 1981 single of the same name, The Psychedelic Furs were suddenly a big priority for Columbia Records. With some not-too-gentle prodding, the British band went into the studio and came up with Midnight To Midnight, their most commercial album to date. The result: "Heartbreak Beat" gave them their first top 50 hit since 1982's "Love My Way" and their first ever US top 40 single. As these things so often go, frontman Richard Butler wasn't happy with the album - saying, "There's nothing lyrically I'm proud of" - and the Furs went back to a more alternative sound (and less chart success) for their next release, 1989's Book Of Days

Number 33 "Is This Love?" by Alison Moyet

Peak: number 13

Alison Moyet was no stranger to the top half of the Australian chart, having visited six times either as a solo performer or as the vocalist of Yazoo. More often than not, she'd scored hits with songs about relationships - but usually about the sadder, more dramatic side of love. Songs like "All Cried Out" or "Invisible". Not the type of tunes you'd bust out for Valentine's Day unless you were spending it on your own with a bottle of wine. Fast forward to February 1987 and Alison changed her tune with the buoyant "Is This Love?", the first single from Alison's second solo album, Raindancing. Co-written and co-produced by Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, it edged out "Love Resurrection" and "All Cried Out" to become Alison's biggest single in Australia.    

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:

Next week: two of the biggest hits of 1987 debut - one, a superstar duet and the other, a huge hair metal track.

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