This Week In 1987: July 19, 1987
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2012. Updated in 2017.
Last week was all about the controversial “I Want Your Sex”, which jumped from 31 to 13 this week on the ARIA singles chart. But there was nothing raunchy about the new arrivals on the top 50 this week in 1987.
On the one hand, a batch of golden oldies and mature artists hit the chart; on the other, two doses of squeaky clean pop from the hottest production team of the year made their debut.
Meanwhile, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" by Whitney Houston was enjoying its fifth and final week at number 1. A couple of future chart-toppers were stacked up behind it – but which would get there first?
“The Finer Things” by Steve Winwood Peak: number 55
Steve’s Back In The High Life album was absolutely massive in the States, with a string of hits released from it. Only one, “Higher Love”, did anything here, and this fourth and final single could only climb to number 55. I must confess, I’m not overly familiar with the track, which starts slowly before kicking in for a rather forgettable chorus, and it probably didn’t need to go much higher.
Number 47“Old Time Rock & Roll” by Bob Seger
Peak: number 3
Last week, we saw “Shakedown” arrive on the chart, and this week, Bob’s 1979 single cracked the Top 50 on its way to becoming the year’s third biggest single. So why 1987 and not 1979? It was all down to the song’s use in the Tom Cruise movie Risky Business, which featured in the new-look music video. So why 1987 and not 1983 (or early 1984, in Australia), when that film actually came out? Well, "Old Time Rock & Roll" did make a start on its epic 55-week top 100 run in March 1984, but the renewed interest in the song in 1987 was due to Risky Business finally being shown on TV that year and probably also had a little something to do with this performance by TV alien ALF around the same time.
Number 44 “Bus Stop (Stop And Go remix)” by Fatback Peak: number 38
Here's another old track given a new lease of life: 1975's “(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop”, with the Stop And Go remix getting massive club play at the time. Like any song with a formulaic dance routine (see also: “Nutbush City Limits”, “Macarena”), “Bus Stop” was – and still is – a guaranteed floor filler. Although you’re more likely to hear it played at 50th birthday parties than the hottest clubs these days.
Number 39 “Get Ready” by Carol Hitchcock Peak: number 18
Next up, one of two new entries this week produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, to whom I recently devoted a couple of posts. Before Kylie Minogue got a foot in the door at the Hit Factory, shaven-headed Melbourne singer/actress/model/bouncer Carol Hitchcock was flown to the UK by Mushroom Records to work with the trio and came away with this Hi-NRG remake of The Temptations' "Get Ready". Probably due to the fact that it was a much bigger hit in Australia than the UK, where it only reached number 56, this was the only single she recorded with SAW. It was also her only single at all, which is a shame – it would've been great to hear what else she could've come up with.
Number 35 “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now” by Samantha Fox Peak: number 22
And here’s the other SAW track - the first single from Samantha Fox's self-titled second album, which also featured production work from top US outfit Full Force. Clearly, someone at her record label had hopes that teaming Sam with the world's hottest producers would return her to the global chart highs reached by debut single “Touch Me (I Want Your Body)”. And although "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now" wasn't quite as big as – and often gets overshadowed by – her Australian chart-topper, it was one of a handful of other hits she managed to rack (no pun intended) up before the end of the decade.
Number 29 “Alone” by Heart Peak: number 6
One of the best power ballads of all time, “Alone” saw Heart continue down the path they'd commenced with "What About Love" and "These Dreams" - recording a track composed by external songwriters and making it their own. Like the former of those previous hits, "Alone" had already been recorded by someone else: songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, for their own album released under the name i-Ten in 1983. The following year, it was also performed on short-lived sitcom Dreams – and yes, that is John Stamos in the clip. In more recent years, the song has been a favourite of reality show contestants worldwide, but only Carrie Underwood has come close to equalling Ann Wilson’s amazing vocal performance. I saw Heart live in concert just last year and the Wilsons' voices are still impressive. Less so was the band’s decision not to play their only Aussie number 1 hit, “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You”, because they don’t like it anymore. I'm not a fan of that song either, but it's still selfish not to perform it.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:
That's it for another week. In a week's time, a wedding favourite makes its debut.