This Week In 1980: November 16, 1980
While some singers can wear out their welcome on the top 50, others' careers take a different approach as they land less frequent hits — something that's probably not intentional. Whatever the cause of their intermittent success, it feels like seeing an old friend when a previous hitmaker returns with a new smash.
This week in 1980, a female singer who'd visited the Australian top 10 four times in the previous decade was back amongst it with a song that would provide her with her fifth big hit — one that would stick around the top 100 for over half a year.
Another woman who spaced out her visits to the top 10 was back there once again this week in 1980. In fact, Barbra Streisand moved up to number 1 with "Woman In Love".
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Hot Love" by David Essex
Peak: number 74
It had been a long time since David Essex had been hot on the Australian chart, and this title track from his seventh studio album didn't do anything to change that.
Number 97 "Midnight Rocks" by Al Stewart
Peak: number 85
Number 72 "Lola (live)" by The Kinks
Peak: number 69
A song that did a whole lot better the previous decade — it reached number 4 in 1970 — returned to the top 100 for a nine-week stint in 1980 and another 12 weeks in 1981 thanks to a live version from concert album One For The Road.
Number 50 "More Love" by Kim Carnes
Peak: number 46
She'd been introduced to the Australian top 50 by Kenny Rogers, who duetted with her on minor hit "Don't Fall In Love With A Dreamer" earlier in 1980, and now Kim Carnes made her solo debut on the chart locally with this remake of a Smokey Robinson & The Miracles song from 1967. A top 10 hit in the US, Kim's version of "More Love", which gave the song more of a disco-tinged feel, was an even smaller hit in Australia — but it was a start for the former session singer and songwriter, who had been trying to get her own music career off the ground since 1971. Things would take an even bigger step in the right direction in 1981...
Number 49 "Jesse" by Carly Simon
Peak: number 4
In the first week of 1973, she visited the top 10 with "I've Got To Have You", then quickly followed that up with chart-topper "You're So Vain". The following year, she and husband James Taylor reached number 8 with "Mockingbird", and in 1978, she returned to that position with Bond theme "Nobody Does It Better". By 1980, Carly Simon was due for another top 10 hit, and that came with "Jesse", the lead single from her ninth album, Come Upstairs. The story of a woman who resists hooking up with her back-in-town ex, only to cave and end up getting back together with him, it features her own soon-to-be ex, James, and their six-year-old daughter, Sally, on backing vocals. True to form, it would be several more years before we'd see Carly inside the top 50 again.
Number 48 "Rest Of My Life" by Racey
Peak: number 45
It was one thing for 1979 sensations Racey to bomb spectacularly with the fourth single from an already successful album earlier in 1980. But for the dual chart-toppers to barely scrape into the top 50 with brand new song "Rest Of My Life" was a pretty clear indication that their brief surge of popularity was behind them. The stand-alone single was the first of a string of non-album releases Racey would put out until their eventual demise in 1985.
Number 47 "So Long" by Fischer-Z
Peak: number 15
A band that were much more successful in Australian than in their home country, England's Fischer-Z managed two top 20 singles locally — eight years apart. The first, "So Long", was taken from second album Going Deaf For A Living, but the band would only issue one more album, 1981's Red Skies Over Paradise, with its original line-up before frontman John Watts wound the group down and pursued a solo career for a while. Then, in 1987, Fischer-Z was revived and edged closer to the top 10 in 1988 with "The Perfect Day". Like many people, I've never explored the band's catalogue beyond those two perfectly formed pop nuggets. If you can recommend any other gems, leave a comment below.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):
Next week: a music legend makes his long-awaited return to the top 50, but his career resurgence would be tragically cut short. And on a lighter note, the latest big novelty hit.