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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1987: December 20, 1987

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2012. Updated in 2017.

Back in the '80s, the chart would take an extended break over Christmas, with as long as three weeks passing without a new top 50 being issued. This wasn't unusual - the Billboard charts routinely had a repeat week in which the charts didn't change over the holiday period. So this week in 1987, the final Australian chart for the year was printed. Don't get too excited, though - it was a pretty dull week.

Tiffany was one of the final new chart entries for 1987

Australia hasn't ever reallyhad a race for the Christmas number 1 spot in the way the UK has, with singles chart activity petering out throughout December rather than spiking to a frenzy. Twenty five years ago, there were only two new entries in the top 50 (both of them remakes), but the week was notable for the appearance of the year's worst single (also a cover version) as a breaker.

Things were so quiet that the weeks-old "Run To Paradise" was featured as the Single Of The Week. I guess that might have been useful for anyone still wondering exactly what the lyrics were. At number 1, there was no change as "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley stayed on top for a third week.

Off The Chart

Number 90 "Tearin' Out My Heart" by The Heroes

Peak: number 85

Newcastle band The Heroes were big in their home city but couldn't translate that into national success with this independently released single.

Number 89 "We've Done Us Proud" by Slim Dusty

Peak: number 80

Released to support compilation album The Slim Dusty Heritage album, this became the country legend's latest single to miss the top 50. He'd be back there for one final time in 1988.

Number 88 "Holding My Breath" by Mad Turks From Istanbul

Peak: number 85

Hailing from the much less exotic Adelaide, this rock band entered the top 100 for the first (and only) time with this second single from debut album Cafe Istanbul.


"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Bad News

Peak: number 57

I've never understood the appeal of novelty singles. Sure, the music videos that accompany them can be amusing, but when it comes to the single itself, why would I want to listen to a joke instead of a song? Apart from European singles which are unintentionally funny, the main source of comedy releases is the UK. We'd already seen "Star Trekkin'" by The Firm invade our top 10 earlier in 1987, but been spared Spitting Image's "The Chicken Song" from 1986 taking off here.

Bad News was a Spinal Tap-style spoof band consisting of most of The Young Ones (who themselves had a massively successful comedy record in 1986: "Living Doll" with Cliff Richard). The "band" had been around since 1983 as part of The Comic Strip Presents... and, in 1987, released an album produced by Brian May from Queen (is there nothing he won't do?).

This abysmal version of "Bohemian Rhapsody" was released as a single and thankfully flopped in the UK and here. Listening to the track now, I can't work out how it did that well - why anyone would want to own a copy of this? Listen to the worst single of 1987 at your peril...

New Entries

Number 45 "Resurrection Shuffle" by Cattletruck

Peak: number 33

When I started this blog, I did not think I'd be talking about Cattletruck quite as often as I have these past few months. In fact, I had completely forgotten about the Aussie rock band altogether. Unfortunately for them, they never really made that big an impact on the chart, with this fourth and final single (a remake of the Ashton, Gardner & Dyke number 16 hit from 1971) proving to be their biggest success. At the time, I much preferred earlier single "Leave Me" and couldn't get into the Georgia Satellites-style blues/rock sound of "Resurrection Shuffle". Nothing's changed on that front.

Number 42 "I Think We're Alone Now" by Tiffany

Peak: number 13

Already a massive success Stateside, teen singer and future schlock horror actress Tiffany finally debuted in Australia with her US and UK chart-topping cover of the Tommy James & The Shondells track (which also made my personal countdown for 1987, where I talked about it in more detail). It wouldn't scale quite the same heights here, but it proved to be quite persistent, sticking around on the top 100 for 35 weeks. Not bad for a song that Tiffany herself wasn't that keen on recording and one that received little support from her record company, prompting her manager to wheel her out around the shopping malls of America to generate interest.

Annual Chart

Since we've come to the end of the chart action for 1987, what better time to look at the list of the 100 biggest singles in Australia for 1987? Here they are:

1.     "Locomotion" by Kylie Minogue

2.     "La Bamba" by Los Lobos

3.     "Old Time Rock And Roll" by Bob Seger

4.     "Slice Of Heaven" by Dave Dobbyn with The Herbs

5.     "Respectable" by Mel & Kim

6.     "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by Kim Wilde

7.     "Walk Like An Egyptian" by The Bangles

8.     "Electric Blue" by Icehouse

9.     "Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)" by Paul Lekakis

10.   "The Final Countdown" by Europe

11.   "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" by Whitney Houston

12.   "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" by Starship

13.   "Suddenly" by Angry Anderson

14.   "He's Gonna Step On You Again" by The Party Boys

15.   "I Wanna Wake Up With You" by Boris Gardener

16.   "Pressure Down" by John Farnham

17.   "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi

18.   "Crazy" by Icehouse

19.   "Funky Town" by Pseudo Echo

20.   "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" by George Michael / Aretha Franklin

21.   "Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil

22.   "Bad" by Michael Jackson

23.   "Good Times" by INXS / Jimmy Barnes

24.   "Star Trekkin'" by The Firm

25.   "What's My Scene" by Hoodoo Gurus

26.   "Need You Tonight" by INXS

27.   "Lean On Me" by Club Nouveau

28.   "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order

29.   "French Kissin' In The USA" by Debbie Harry

30.   "Fall Of Rome" by James Reyne

31.   "Right On Track" by Breakfast Club

32.   "I Want Your Sex" by George Michael

33.   "When You Walk In The Room" by Paul Carrack

34.   "To Be A Lover" by Billy Idol

35.   "We Gotta Get Outta This Place" by The Angels

36.   "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley

37.   "Alone" by Heart

38.   "Male Stripper" by Man To Man Meet Man Parish

39.   "Ship Of Fools" by World Party

40.   "Let's Dance" by Chris Rea

41.   "She's The One" by The Cockroaches

42.   "Showing Out (Get Fresh At The Weekend)" by Mel & Kim

43.   "C'est La Vie" by Robbie Nevil

44.   "Too Much Ain't Enough Love" by Jimmy Barnes

45.   "Run To Paradise" by Choirboys

46.   "We Connect" by Stacey Q

47.   "Wild Horses" by Gino Vanelli

48.   "Hold Me Now" by Johnny Logan

49.   "Witch Queen" by Chantoozies

50.   "It's A Sin" by Pet Shop Boys

51.   “True Faith” by New Order

52.   “Midnight Blue” by Lou Gramm

53.   "Wishing Well" by Terence Trent D’Arby

54.   "Don’t Dream It’s Over" by Crowded House

55.   "Don’t Give Up" by Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush

56.   "Love And Devotion" by Michael Bow

57.   "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" by Wang Chung

58.   "La Isla Bonita" by Madonna

59.   "Breakout" by Swing Out Sister

60.   "At This Moment" by Billy Vera & The Beaters

61.   "Take Me Back" by Noiseworks

62.   "You’re The Voice" by John Farnham

63.   "Hymn To Her" by The Pretenders

64.   "Real Wild Child" by Iggy Pop

65.   "Causing A Commotion" by Madonna

66.   "Who’s That Girl" by Madonna

67.   "With Or Without You" by U2

68.   "Shakedown" by Bob Seger

69.   "Let’s Go" by Wang Chung

70.   "You I Know" by Jenny Morris

71.   "Hammerhead" by James Reyne

72.   "Lady In Red" by Chris de Burgh

73.   "Faith" by George Michael

74.   "You Win Again" by Bee Gees

75.   "Sweet 16" by Billy Idol

76.   "Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)" by Glass Tiger

77.   "Do To You" by Machinations

78.   "Shake You Down" by Gregory Abbott

79.   "Paper In Fire" by John Cougar Mellencamp

80.   "Two Of Hearts" by Stacey Q

81.   "Is This Love?" by Alison Moyet

82.   "Wanted Dead Or Alive" by Bon Jovi

83.   "(Glad I’m) Not A Kennedy" by Shona Laing

84.   "Everything I Own" by Boy George

85.   "Little Lies" by Fleetwood Mac

86.   "Heart And Soul" by T’Pau

87.   "All I Ask Of You" by Cliff Richard / Sarah Brightman

88.   "Holiday Rap" by MC Miker G & Deejay Sven

89.   "Get Ready" by Carol Hitchcock

90.   "(I Just Died) In Your Arms" by Cutting Crew

91.   "He’s Just No Good For You" by Mental As Anything

92.   "What You Get Is What You See" by Tina Turner

93.   "Friends And Lovers" by Gloria Loring / Carl Anderson

94.   "Reet Petite" by Jackie Wilson

95.   "Got My Mind Set On You" by George Harrison

96.   "Friday On My Mind" by Gary Moore

97.   "I Just Can’t Stop Loving You" by Michael Jackson / Siedah Garrett

98.   "Rhymes" by Rockmelons

99.   "Sugar Free" by Wa Wa Nee

100. "You Can Call Me" by Al Paul Simon

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:

Next time: the next top 50 chart was issued for the three weeks ending January 10, so we'll pick things back up then. In the meantime, I'll be counting down my favourite songs for 2012 and revisiting some more 1980s acts I haven't yet talked about in my personal yearly charts.

Back to: Dec 13, 1987 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 10, 1988

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