This Week In 1985: February 17, 1985
It was a bad week for female performers this week in 1985, with the new entries on the ARIA top 50 singles chart performed exclusively by men. On the chart as a whole, only 15 of the 50 entries were performed by women. Even Band Aid, which featured a few female artists among its number, gave all the solos to men.
In all but one instance, the new singles were by male solo artists. And, in the other case, the vocalist was a man who was viewed by many as essentially a solo artist, especially since he'd started to release singles away from the duo that'd made him a star.
Meanwhile, after four weeks at number 1, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" gave up the top spot to "I Want To Know What Love Is" - another song performed by a man: Foreigner's Lou Gramm.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 74
The only woman to discuss this week had done well in Australia with her breakthrough release, "Searchin' (I Gotta Find A Man)", but this Stock Aitken Waterman number - the producers' first top 10 single in the UK - didn't find as receptive an audience here.
Number 71 "Look The Other Way" by The Angels
Peak: number 55
They might have debuted this week at number 7 with latest album Two Minute Warning (which would end up peaking at number 2), but Aussie rockers The Angels couldn't crack the top 50 with this second single from the LP.
Peak: number 10
I didn't think I was familiar with this song at first, but a quick listen to the comeback single from the former Creedence Clearwater Revival vocalist and it was familiar to me - not surprising, given its top 10 placing in Australia. Having said that, it's one of those songs I thought came from the '70s, and despite the almost decade-long gap since John's most recent release, his sound hadn't exactly moved with the times.
Part of the reason for the delay in new music from John was that he had a habit of embroiling himself in legal disputes over the years - and as it just so happens, "The Old Man Down The Road" became the subject of a lawsuit when it was alleged by CCR's record label that the song had the same chorus as "Run Through The Jungle" by John's former band. The singer ended up winning the case, and even successfully sued for the cost of defending the action.
Number 44 "Everything Must Change" by Paul Young
Peak: number 27
Paul's second album, The Secret Of Association, didn't get off to a great start in Australia with lead single "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" only reaching number 25 - and this follow-up actually did slightly worse despite being a far superior song. In fact, Paul would never see the ARIA top 10 again, after having visited it twice with "Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)" (number 9 in 1983) and "Love Of The Common People" (number 8 in 1984).
Peak: number 1
Jim Diamond had the dubious honour of being a one-hit wonder twice over in Australia during the 1980s. The first time was as the singer for Ph.D, whose single "I Won't Let You Down" hit number 5 in 1981. A few years later, Jim returned to his solo career and struck gold once again with this first single post-PhD, which reached the top of the chart in both Australia and the UK.
In Britain, "I Should Have Known Better" was a number 1 before Christmas and Jim publicly asked record buyers to purchase "Do They Know It's Christmas?" instead in the hopes that the charity record would be number 1, even though his own single had actually already been knocked off the top (by Frankie Goes To Hollywood's "The Power Of Love").
Jim kept up a steady stream of singles throughout the rest of the decade, but none resonated as strongly as this earnest ballad, which Jim co-wrote with Graham Lyle, who was also behind Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It".
Number 35 "Everything She Wants" by Wham!
Peak: number 7
Last week, we saw "Last Christmas" rebound up the chart from number 8 to its previous peak of number 3 even though the festive season was well and truly over. Here's the reason for the renewed interest in that single. "Everything She Wants" was included as the double A-side on "Last Christmas", and as the holiday period faded further into history, airplay shifted to the flip side. As demand for "Everything She Wants" grew, Wham!'s record label even issued a separate single with the order of the songs reversed and "Last Christmas" relegated to double A-side status. That's the single that makes it debut here and would go on to reach the top 10 in its own right.
Number 29 "Daylight" by Jimmy Barnes
Peak: number 12
In 1984, former Cold Chisel vocalist Jimmy Barnes made a triumphant debut as a solo artist - registering a number 1 album with Bodyswerve and hitting number 12 with single "No Second Prize". Then, the unthinkable happened: Jimmy had a flop. Second single "Promise Me You'll Call" didn't just miss the top 50, it peaked at number 86. Disaster. Order was restored with this third single, which matched the peak of "No Second Prize", positioning Jimmy nicely for the onslaught that was to come from album number two.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:
Next week: Another former member of a seminal American rock band returns with a top 10 solo single. Plus, new releases from two of the best female vocalists of the mid-'80s.