This Week In 1988: August 21, 1988
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.
When I first wrote this post, I had just finished counting down my 55 favourite Madonna songs, and so it was oddly fitting that three of the entries on the ARIA chart from this week in 1988 came from a trio of the Queen of Pop's biggest chart rivals throughout the '80s.
While none of the three female artists came close to matching Madonna's record sales or chart achievements throughout the decade, they were all chart-toppers and multi-platinum selling artists in their own right.
Another chart-topper and multi-platinum artist was at number 1 on the singles chart this week in 1988 - John Farnham spent his fourth and final week at the top with "Age Of Reason".
Off The Chart
Number 95 "People Have The Power" by Patti Smith
Peak: number 79
Returning with her first new music since 1979 (and her first post-Patti Smith Group album), the rock icon fell some way short of her only other Australian chart entry - the number 15 peak of 1978's "Because The Night".
Number 69 "Loyal" by Dave Dobbyn
Peak: number 68
A marginal improvement on the first single from Loyal, the ballad title track from the New Zealander's second album also paled in comparison to an earlier hit: 1987 chart-topper "Slice Of Heaven".
Peak: number 39
With a mullet that'd make Billy Ray Cyrus envious, Henry Lee Summer came from the John Cougar Mellencamp school of good ol' American rock 'n' roll. Three-named Henry was obviously an attentive student, since "I Wish I Had A Girl" sounds an awful lot like "Hurts So Good". Unlike JCM, HLS was a two-hit wonder (in the States, at least; in Australia, 1989's "Hey Baby" missed the top 50) and in recent years seems to have been busy getting in trouble for drugs and alcohol-related offences.
Number 41 "All Fired Up" by Pat Benatar
Peak: number 2
After a couple of years in the music wilderness (her last hit had been "Sex As A Weapon" in early 1986), Pat returned with this song, which would become her second biggest Australian single (after "Love Is A Battlefield"). I always knew it was a cover version, but I couldn't for the life of me remember who'd recorded it first. A quick Google search later and I tracked down the original by Australian band Rattling Sabres, which just crept into the ARIA chart at number 94. Pat's remake would be her last major chart hit in Australia, the US and the UK.
Peak: number 11
While one American singer's chart career was winding up, another's was really on fire, with this single giving Gloria (and her soon to be uncredited band) the first of three US number 1s. In Australia, "Anything For You" equalled the peak of her previous biggest hit, "Dr Beat" - and although I don't like that many of her ballads, this was one I was a fan of.
Peak: number 8
What is it with '80s singers and ill-advised movie careers? Madonna had led the way with flops Shanghai Surprise and Who's That Girl?, and in 1988, Cyndi Lauper appeared in "madcap" comedy Vibes alongside Jeff Goldblum. "Hole In My Heart" featured in the film and was a decent-sized hit here in Australia, but the single tanked in the US and UK. Cyndi obviously thought better of this song over time since it, like The Goonies soundtrack hit "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough", didn't make the cut for her 1994 greatest hits album. While I love "The Goonies...", I was happy enough to see this track brushed under the carpet.
Peak: number 2
Doctor Who might be essential viewing for many in 2013, but in 1988, the enduring sci-fi series had a loyal but shrinking audience - and its days on air were numbered. Still, the idea to base a record around the show's theme tune was genius since, thanks to 25 years of episodes, there were generations of fans available to turn it into a smash. Throw in a Gary Glitter sample - from 1972's "Rock And Roll (Part 2)" - and a title that was a play on dance hit "Doctorin' The House", and all bases were covered.
"Doctorin' The Tardis" was a UK number 1 (and the subject of guide book The Manual (How To Have A Number One The Easy Way, which I own but haven't put to use yet) and came close to the top in Australia. And, while The Timelords were one-hit wonders, the duo behind the act, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, would land several more big hits over the next few years as The KLF.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:
Next week: another novelty track entered the top 50 (seriously, what was it about 1988 that made everyone think they were funny?) as did a song linked to "Doctorin' The Tardis".