This Week In 1989: February 19, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
There's something to be said for quitting while you're ahead. Instead of releasing album after album with decreasing quality and impact, being satisfied with a more limited body of work that holds up decades later.
That's the musical legacy of the band behind the future number 1 single which made its debut on the ARIA chart this week in 1989. Two studio albums (four years apart) and a new track on a best of collection seven years later - and that was it for the British trio.
Meanwhile, a band I wished had even less of a musical legacy ascended to the number 1 spot on the Australian singles chart this week in 1989. The Proclaimers, who I recently included in my look back at two-hit wonders of the 1980s, began a five-week run at the top with "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Jackie" by Blue Zone
Peak: number 99
Before BZ featuring Joanne (and Redzone) but after Elisa Fiorillo had a go of this song about "Jack-jack-jackie", the British group fronted by Lisa Stansfield released a version as their final single.
Peak: number 95
Taken from the Francis Ford Coppola biopic Tucker: The Man And His Dream, starring Jeff Bridges as Preston Tucker, this was part of a full soundtrack album recorded by Joe Jackson.
Peak: number 85
Acid house never really took off in Australia - at least not on the singles chart - with this debut single by D-Mob falling way short of its UK top 3 performance.
Single Of The Week
It was "hedge your bets" week in this section of the chart with not one but five songs sharing the SOTW slot. Despite the promotional push, only one of the five (Boy Meets Girl's "Waiting For A Star To Fall") actually made it into the top 50. Another, "Too Young To Despair" by The Sunnyboys, had already featured in this position and we'll look at the other three now...
Peak: number 91
Falsely advertised as a UK top 10 single (The Primitives did have a top 10 hit - just not with this song), "Way Behind Me" was another jingly-jangly ditty for the British indie band fronted by singer Tracy Tracy. The song came out between two albums by the group, Lovely and Pure, and has ended up being included on both.
Peak: number 88
I doubt anyone could have guessed what a phenomenon this duo would become back when they were launched onto an unsuspecting public with this debut single, which was a quickie remake of a track by Numarx from 1987. A top 10 hit in the UK in 1988 and a future US number 2, "Girl You Know It's True" was the first of five big global hits fronted by Fab Morvan and the late Rob Pilatus. It was also the song they were busted lip syncing to, resulting in their eventual exposure as frauds. I still like the song and don't really care who was actually performing on it, but plenty of people did care. There's a link to the music video in the song title above, and a shockingly mimed Grammys performance below.
Peak: number 73
This gave Taylor her highest-charting hit to date in the US (reaching number 2), but in Australia, it became her second single on the trot to miss the top 50 (following ballad "I'll Always Love You"). I didn't mind too much - I liked both "Tell It To My Heart" and "Prove Your Love" much more than either of those other two singles from her debut album. Taylor would return to the top 50, but not for over a year.
Peak: number 48
While Pet Shop Boys were in the middle of a hot streak of 10 consecutive top 10 hits in the UK, they were only scraping in to the Australian top 50 with the singles from the Introspective album. This one was co-produced by Trevor Horn, who'd been behind ABC and Frankie Goes To Hollywood's biggest hits, and would go on to help launch Seal's solo career.
Peak: number 36
Another song from the soundtrack to home-grown "comedy" Young Einstein, "Dumb Things" was, as it turns out, also used in a Hollywood film in 1989. Starring long-term Scientologists John Travolta and Kirstie Alley, Look Who's Talking featured the song - the only difference being it was credited to Paul Kelly & The Messengers in the States. "Dumb Things" had actually been around for a while, first appearing on Paul's 1987 album, Under The Sun.
Peak: number 1
About two years since we'd last heard from them (with Buzzcocks cover "Ever Fallen In Love"), Roland Gift and the other two returned with the first taste of their second album, The Raw And The Cooked - and it was obvious from first listen that this was going to be big. In fact, it would easily eclipse anything on their first album (their previous highest-charting song had been their remake of "Suspicious Minds") and become their biggest single, as well as one of 1989's highest-selling songs in Australia. I've never realised this before now, but the iconic music video was choreographed by French dancer Philippe Decouflé, the same guy who did New Order's "True Faith" - he obviously had a thing for guys in weird costumes jumping.
Number 41 "Take Me To Your Heart" by Rick Astley
Peak: number 41
And so the Rick Astley backlash began. After dominating the Australian charts in late 1987 and 1988 with a string of singles from Whenever You Need Somebody, Rick couldn't even crack the top 40 with the second release from follow-up album Hold Me In Your Arms. This is actually my favourite song of his and was also his last single to be produced by Stock Aitken Waterman.
Number 35 "Where Did I Go Wrong" by UB40
Peak: number 17
Throughout their extensive career, British reggae troop UB40 have had their greatest success with cover versions - but this original track was actually their third biggest Australian hit of the '80s (following covers "I Got You Babe" and "Red Red Wine"). The second single from their self-titled eighth studio album, "Where Did I Go Wrong" and the subsequent singles from UB40 didn't do so well in the UK, which probably explains why their next album would end up being the second volume in their Labour Of Love remake series.
Number 34 "You'll Never Know" by 1927
Peak: number 15
Single number three from Australia's new favourite band was their most upbeat track to date - and their first to miss the top 10. On the upside, album ...ish was firmly ensconced in the albums top 10 and would stay there for months (including a three-week spell at number 1 in May).
Peak: number 20
Like Berlin, Will To Power was actually a dance band (in this case, a freestyle group) who became most associated with a big ballad single. For Berlin, it was "Take My Breath Away" and for Will To Power, it was this medley of Peter Frampton's "Baby, I Love Your Way" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird". Like so many acts from Florida's freestyle scene, some of Will To Power's vocals left a lot to be desired - specifically those by founding member Bob Rosenberg rather than this track's featured vocalist, Suzi Carr, who'd go on to release mid-90s club hit "All Over Me". In 1991, Will To Power would return to the Australian top 40 with another remake, "I'm Not In Love" (originally recorded by 10cc).
Peak: number 9
Improving on the peak position of debut single "Don't Need Love" by one spot, Johnny Diesel and his band were Australia's second favourite new band - and one of my least favourite acts of 1989. It was bad enough having one Barnesy - did we really need two?
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: a song that should have been released months earlier finally came out as a single and one of the best ballads of the late '80s debuted. Before then, I'll kick off my countdown of my favourite songs from 2001.