This Week In 1984: October 21, 1984
We all have those songs we can't stand. Sometimes it's an irrational, inexplicable hatred — it just rubs you up the wrong way. Sometimes, it's "Agadoo". And as much as I love music from the '80s, that decade was also responsible for some horrors, like "Don't Worry Be Happy" and "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".
This week in 1984, one of my least favourite songs by an Australian act debuted on the ARIA singles chart. A future top 5 hit, it's always been a track that gets under my skin — and not in a good way. Given its success, however, I may well be alone in my hatred for it.
A song a lot of people grew to despise moved into the number 1 position this week in 1984. "I Just Called To Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder started an eight-week stretch at the top.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Glam To Wham" by The Takeaways
Peak: number 85
"Singing In The Shower" would clearly have been a better single choice (and ended up being covered by Solid Citizens), but I have a feeling this moody track performed by alternate singer Christine (portrayed by Sandra Lillingston, singing voice provided by Deckchairs Overboard's Cathy McQuade) was more plot relevant in Sweet And Sour.
Number 96 "Bravo Bravo (Whaling)" by DD Smash
Peak: number 70
This single by the New Zealand band was a top 10 hit back home, but lead singer Dave Dobbyn would have to wait until his solo career for that kind of success in Australia.
Number 93 "Everlasting Love" by Vicki Sue Robinson
Peak: number 83
Her disco remake of "To Sir With Love" was an unexpected top 10 hit, but Vicki Sue Robinson's take on this much-covered gem didn't fare anywhere near as well.
Number 76 "There Goes My Baby" by Donna Summer
Peak: number 52
Speaking of disco stars under-performing with covers, Donna Summer's version of The Drifters song just missed the ARIA top 50. In the US, the lead single from Cats Without Claws reached number 21.
Number 50 "The Lucky One" by Laura Branigan
Peak: number 48
Or, the unlucky one, as it would turn out. Wedged in between two top 3 singles, "The Lucky One" became Laura Branigan's least successful single since her breakthrough with "Gloria". The follow-up to "Self Control" and second single from the album of the same name, "The Lucky One" came with a rags-to-riches music video in which Laura played a service station worker given the Pygmalion treatment and treated to a taste of the glamorous life.
Number 49 "The Glamorous Life" by Sheila E
Peak: number 11
Speaking of... here's a song called "The Glamorous Life" — the debut single by Prince percussionist and singer Sheila E (short for Escovedo). Written and co-produced by his Purpleness, the lead single from the album of the same name turned her from band member to solo star, reaching the US top 10 and just missing the ARIA one. "The Glamorous Life" had originally been intended for Apollonia 6 to record, but Prince changed his mind and instead gave it to Sheila, who had made her vocal debut with Prince on classic B-side "Erotic City" and would go on to be the support act for his Purple Rain tour.
Peak: number 5
So here's the song I couldn't stand — the breakthrough hit for Sydney band Dynamic Hepnotics. Their second single for Mushroom Records, "Soul Kind Of Feeling" had a throwback, rock'n'roll-era vibe, while still managing not to sound out of place in 1984. So what was my problem with it? At the risk of sounding inarticulate, something about it just irked me and I've always found it a little too smug. But as I said at the start, it was a top 5 hit, so I may be out of my own on this one.
Number 35 "Madame Butterfly" by Malcolm McLaren
Peak: number 16
We finish off with another song with which I wasn't that enamoured. Fresh from merging record scratching, skipping and world music with pop, British all-rounder Malcolm McLaren turned his attention to opera. "Madame Butterfly" incorporated the best-known aria, "Un bel dì veldremo", from the Puccini opera of the same name. Experimental and interesting, yes, but not exactly a sing-along pop hit. Still, it gave Malcolm a third top 20 placing.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1984:
Next week: the solo debut of a male singer who'd topped the chart three years earlier with his former band. Plus, a second top 50 single by another male artist whose only other hit had also come in 1981.