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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1988: July 17, 1988

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.

I've often heard it said that kids buy singles and adults buy albums. But given the new entries on the top 50 this week in 1988, there must have been quite a few oldies buying singles back then.

Fairground Attraction barged their way up the chart in 1988

What else could explain the arrival of five adult contemporary tracks on the chart? One of the five would end up having broad appeal and go all the way to the top, but I doubt many tween and teen music fans would have snapped up the other four.

One song kids were buying in droves was Kylie Minogue's "Got To Be Certain", which was still at number 1 this week after its spectacular debut the previous week.

Off The Chart

Number 97 "Shipyard Town" by Gerry Rafferty

Peak: number 75

A decade earlier, he'd reached number 1 with saxophone-featuring classic "Baker Street", but even the oldies turned their noses up at this single from Gerry Rafferty's North And South album.

Number 96 "Treat Her Right" by George Thorogood

Peak: number 74

He'd had albums chart action for some time, but this cover of the Roy Head And The Traits track from 1965 became George Thorogood's first top 100 single in Australia.

Number 95 "Paradise" by Sade

Peak: number 86

Sade were also much more successful on the albums chart at this point, with yet another seductive single from Stronger Than Pride missing the top 50.


"Heart Of Mine" by Boz Scaggs

Peak: number 64

Even the breaker we need to recap this week was a MOR track from the man who'd had a massive album with Silk Degrees in the late '70s. While songs like "We're All Alone" and "Lido Shuffle" were immensely popular then, the first new music from Boz (real name William) in eight years didn't have quite the same impact. A nice enough but quite old-fashioned ballad, "Heart Of Mine" came from the Other Roads album, which Boz wouldn't follow up until 1994.

New Entries

Number 48 "Man With A Gun" by Jerry Harrison

Peak: number 17

Jerry's previous hit, "Rev It Up", is as memorable today as it was in 1988, but I couldn't remember this subsequent single at all. Even after listening to it again recently on YouTube, it didn't ring a bell until the one-minute mark, when the chorus kicked in and then it was only vaguely familiar. Given how subdued and moody it is, I'm a little surprised "Man With A Gun" was as big a hit as it was since surely it was a bit too downbeat for high rotation radio play.

Number 46 "Don't Go" by Hothouse Flowers

Peak: number 39

With U2 firmly established as the world's biggest rock group by 1988, it was only logical that more bands from Ireland would break through in their wake - and Hothouse Flowers even received a bit of a helping hand from Bono in landing their major label record deal. "Don't Go" was their first single after being signed to London Records and came from debut album People. The song wasn't a massive hit in Australia, but bigger things were to come with the release of second album Home.

Number 43 "I Don't Want To Go On With You Like That" by Elton John

Peak: number 24

One of the most prolific musicians of all time, Elton released a new studio album in every year of the '80s except one: 1987 (a year in which the Live In Australia album and Greatest Hits Volume III came out instead). So, the title of his 1988 album, Reg Strikes Back, was fitting enough, even if it wouldn't end up as one of his most successful works. This lead single, which ARIA credited incorrectly for the first couple of weeks of its chart run, calling it "I Don't Want To Go On Like This With You", would be Elton's only hit from the album.

Number 42 "Roll With It" by Steve Winwood

Peak: number 35

Steve had been on a bit of a roll (sorry!) for the past couple of years, with hit singles and Grammy recognition for his solo work - and that continued, in the US at least, with his latest album, also called Roll With It. Both single and album topped the Billboard charts, while in Australia, they received a much more modest reception, with the album reaching number 16.

Number 41 "Perfect" by Fairground Attraction

Peak: number 1

There was nothing modest about the success enjoyed by this British group's debut single, which reached the top spot back at home (for one week) and in Australia (for three weeks). Undeniably catchy (and therefore incredibly irritating for many), "Perfect" also received the BRIT Award for Best Single, while album First Of A Million Kisses (which also contained UK top 10 hit "Find My Love") scored the gong for Best Album. Locally, "Perfect" was the group's sole singles chart entry - and the band and lead singer Eddi Reader (who had a reasonably successful solo career in England in the mid-'90s) were never heard of again.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:

Next week: another massive debut from an Australian singer and two long-forgotten songs I was (and still am) a bit fan of. Before then, I'll be starting my countdown of my favourite songs from 1995.

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