This Week In 1989: July 16, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
I've just realised it's been just over two years since I started looking at the ARIA charts from decades past - so before we kick off this week's journey back to 1989, I wanted to say a quick thank you to anyone who's read this blog. Keep the comments and messages coming!
Back to 1989, and unlike most weeks when I can make some general observation about the new entries or focus on a specific trend happening at the time, there's nothing obvious to say - other than that the three debuts hinted at the diversity that was to come to the ARIA top 50 in the '90s. Rap, pop, rock... something for everyone.
Still at number 1 this week in 1989 was "The Look" by Roxette, spending a third week at the summit. In fact, the entire top 8 was pretty static, with only a swapping of places at numbers 3 and 4 from the previous week.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "I Beg Your Pardon" by Kon Kan
Peak: number 100
This excellent sample-ridden debut single by the Canadian duo comprised of Barry Harris and Kevin Wynne was a UK top 5 and US top 20 hit, but skirted the very bottom of the ARIA top 100.
Number 95 "He'll Have To Go" by Bryan Ferry
Peak: number 74
A previously unreleased track included on 1988's The Ultimate Collection, "He'll Have To Go" was originally recorded by country singer Jim Reeves in 1959.
Number 83 "Goodbye Little Boy" by The Triffids
Peak: number 83
Featuring vocals from keyboard player Jill Birt instead of the band's lead singer David McComb, this was the lead single from The Triffids' fifth and final album, The Black Swan.
Number 71 "Hold On" by Tall Tales & True
Peak: number 70
Taken from debut album Shiver, this was a second top 100 entry for the Sydney band, who never quite managed to cross over, despite a number of near misses.
Singles Of The Week
Peak: number 77
"Young Years", the first single proper from Dragon's Bondi Road album, had returned the Australasian band to the top 20, but this follow-up didn't fare anywhere near as well. I can see why - although I don't remember it from the time at all, it sounds more like something Air Supply would've released a decade earlier than a single by the band behind "Young Years", "Cry" and "Dreams Of Ordinary Men", to name just a few of Dragon's great '80s singles.
Peak: number 105
The second of three singles highlighted by BMG Records was the latest by the revived Sunnyboys. The band's previous single, "Too Young To Despair", had only managed a top 80 placement despite being featured as Single Of The Week twice - and "Sinful Me" couldn't even crack the top 100. I don't even know what the song sounds like, since I never heard it at the time and it's not on YouTube or iTunes, so we'll all have to use our imaginations. As for the third Single Of The Week? We'll be seeing that pop up as a breaker in the near future.
Number 42 "I Don't Want A Lover" by Texas
Peak: number 4
Making their debut this week in 1989 were a Scottish band whose name was apparently inspired by the film Paris, Texas - and the guitar intro of this debut single does seem influenced by the movie's famous Ry Cooder soundtrack. Fronted by Sharleen Spiteri, Texas got off to a flying start with "I Don't Want A Lover", but as we'll see in months to come, subsequent singles struggled to make the same kind of impact. Indeed, it would be a long eight-year wait and somewhat of a shift in musical direction until Texas would enjoy a hit single anywhere near as big.
Number 37 "Funky Cold Medina" by Tone Lōc
Peak: number 8
Everything was bigger and better for Tone Lōc's second outing, "Funky Cold Medina". Not only did the track outdo "Wild Thing" by reaching the ARIA top 10, but it contained more samples (including "All Right Now", "Honky Tonk Women" and "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet") and had a more expensive looking video (OK, that wasn't hard). Once again featuring quote-worthy lyrics by Young MC (this time with a couple of co-writers), the track about a Rohypnol-type substance was also Tone's second in a row to sell a million copies in the US. Things were looking pretty bright for the gravelly voiced rapper's future... but we'll see what happened in a couple of months when the third single from Lōced After Dark was released.
Number 18 "All I Wanna Do Is Dance" by Collette
Peak: number 12
Her remake of "Ring My Bell" was still in the top 30 after 17 weeks and it was joined on the chart by this abomination. If you've checked out any of my personal charts on this blog, you'll know I like cheesy pop as much as the next person, but "All I Wanna Do Is Dance" is just awful. From its lame attempt at acid house-style production ("let's use trumpets!") to its terrible melody and Collette's thin vocals, it's further proof that Australia really hadn't got a handle on dance music yet. Then there's the video - more lycra than a Supré commercial, the cheapest looking set this side of Ramsay Street, some woeful choreography and that same backing dancer from the "Ring My Bell" clip (did he give them a 2-for-1 offer?). If only Collette had been a one-hit wonder, we'd have been spared this.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: we'll have three very different cover versions to recap, and yet another environmentally friendly single hits the top 50.