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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1980: July 20, 1980

Sometimes a great soundtrack single can do wonders for an average film - especially in the '80s when movie songs were big business and convinced plenty of people that if they loved the song, chances are they'd love the film, too. Of course, that wasn't always the case.

The film might have been ridiculous but the Xanadu soundtrack was magic

This week in 1980, the first single from a pretty amazing soundtrack album arrived on the Australian singles chart on its way to the top 5. But I can't say I've ever sat through the entire film, which has a certain cult status but a dire Rotten Tomatoes rating.

A great song from another iffy film remained at number 1 this week in 1980. "Can't Stop The Music" by Village People stayed on top for a second week.

Off The Chart

Number 99 "I've Only Said "I Love You" In My Mind" by Julie Anthony

Peak: number 84

Best known for giving the best ever performance of the Australian national anthem, musical theatre star Julie Anthony made her top 100 debut with this dramatic ballad.

Number 91 "Cathy's Clown" by The Tarney/Spencer Band

Peak: number 86

Duo Alan Tarney and Trevor Spencer might not have had much success with their cover of The Everly Brothers song, but the former would do better as the producer of a string of hits by Cliff Richard and a-ha in the coming decade.

New Entries

Number 48 "In Your Car" by The Dugites

Peak: number 34

Their self-financed debut release, "Hit Single", hadn't lived up to its name, but after signing a record deal with Deluxe/RCA, Perth new wave band The Dugites cracked the top 40 with the follow-up, the jaunty "In Your Car". I'm a fan of The Dugites - particularly "Cut The Talking" and "Juno And Me" - but I find "In Your Car" a little too cutesy, like a cross between The B-52's and The Wiggles. And the word "car" gets used way too many times. Still, without this, we may not have got those later releases.

Number 41 "Steal Away" by Robbie Dupree

Peak: number 24

Slotting nicely into the soft rock sound perfected by singers like Rupert Holmes, Michael McDonald and Christopher Cross, newcomer Robbie Dupree reached the Billboard Hot 100 on his first attempt with debut single "Steal Away". The type of cruisy, breezy tune that led to the coining of the term "yacht rock" decades later, it also reached the Australian top 30, but would be his only hit locally.

Number 35 "Magic" by Olivia Newton-John

Peak: number 4

Olivia Newton-John was everywhere in mid-1980. She already had two singles on the top 100 - one duet with Andy Gibb and her belatedly successful cover of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" - and made it three with this brand new solo track, which bounded up from number 55 the week before. ONJ was also about to be back in cinemas with her latest big screen project, Xanadu, which featured "Magic" on its soundtrack. And while I don't think I've ever seen all of Xanadu, I was certainly into the accompanying music. Written and produced by her long-time friend and collaborator John Farrar, "Magic" returned Olivia to the Australian top 10 for the first time since 1978's "A Little More Love" and had a similar soft rock-meets-disco feel. And while the critical and commercial failure of Xanadu partly inspired the Golden Raspberry Awards - director Robert Greenwald won the inaugural Worst Director Award - the soundtrack would yield a few more hits.

Listen to this week's new entries - except Olivia Newton-John (seriously, someone needs to sort out her streaming presence) - on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: another song from Xanadu enters the chart, plus the top 50 debut of an American rock chick and the (first) comeback of an Australian household name.

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