This Week In 1980: August 17, 1980
Standing out from a famous family can be tricky, especially when one of your brothers is the most famous pop star in the world. But this week in 1980, the second most successful singer from the Jackson clan (at that point) gave it a red hot go.
Returning to the top 50 for the first time in seven years, he didn't manage to sell anywhere near as many records as his brother (or brothers), but he did score the biggest hit of his solo career.
At number 1 this week in 1980, Australia was still enjoying the sounds of "Funkytown", which stayed on top for a second week, but "Moscow" was closing in fast.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Sooner Or Later" by The Innocents
Peak: number 58
Formed in Tasmania but based in Sydney, The Innocents deserved a lot better than this power pop debut single achieved. Follow-up "Come Tonight" missed the top 100 altogether.
Peak: number 97
Taken from the soundtrack to Roadie, in which Roy Orbison made a cameo appearance, this duet with country singer Emmylou Harris would be followed by a five-year gap between singles for the Big O.
Number 96 "New Romance (It's A Mystery)" by Spider
Peak: number 56
One of two bands named Spider around at the time, this one came from America and featured future hit songwriter Holly Knight in its line-up. This was their debut single.
Number 85 "Power" by The Temptations
Peak: number 85
The first single following the male vocal group's return to Motown Records (and Dennis Edwards' return to the line-up) was a top 50 hit in the US, but did not progress any further locally.
Number 50 "Clones (We're All)" by Alice Cooper
Peak: number 36
Sounding more than a little like Gary Numan's "Cars", this single from Alice Cooper's Flush The Fashion album saw the rock star take his music in a new (wave) direction, with help from producer Roy Thomas Baker (The Cars, Queen). With lyrics warning of the dangers of conformity, the song would be Alice's last top 50 hit until his triumphant return with "Poison" at the end of the decade.
Number 49 "Let's Get Serious" by Jermaine Jackson
Peak: number 24
In between The Jacksons' "Blame It On The Boogie" and brother Michael's run of solo hits from Off The Wall, there had been plenty of chart action from Jermaine Jackson's family already in 1980. And this week, the former Jackson 5 member, who had quit the sibling group when they left Motown Records in 1975, joined in the fun with the title track of his sixth album. One of three songs on Let's Get Serious co-written and produced by Stevie Wonder, "Let's Get Serious" also featured Jermaine's Motown label-mate on backing vocals, which Jermaine amusingly lip syncs to in the performance below. The US top 10 hit matched the number 9 peak of Jermaine's 1973 cover of "Daddy's Home" there, while in Australia, "Let's Get Serious" gave him a second top 30 hit and the biggest solo single of his career.
Peak: number 30
Some Australiana now, and this musical version of the Banjo Patterson poem might have only just reached the top 30, but it appealed to the patriotism of record buyers enough for it to stay in the top 100 for half a year.
Number 46 "Waterfalls" by Paul McCartney
Peak: number 31
"Coming Up" was one of the biggest hits of the year - and still inside the top 20 after 14 weeks on the chart - but this follow-up had a more understated reaction, which was appropriate enough since "Waterfalls" was a much more subdued song. Sounding almost like something from a kids' movie, the ballad was more successful in the UK, where it gave Paul yet another top 10 hit.
Number 41 "Private Idaho" by The B-52's
Peak: number 11
Just missing out on giving The B-52's another top 10 hit in Australia, "Private Idaho" was the lead single from the band's second album, Wild Planet, which featured a number of tracks the band had been playing live for a couple of years but had yet to commit to record. The US state of Idaho was used as a metaphor for being in a state of paranoia.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):
Next week: only a couple of entries on the top 50 but nine songs that peaked between numbers 51 and 100, including the follow-up to a chart-topping single and a song linked to one of the biggest movies of 1980.