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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1986: September 21, 1986

Unlike TV talent quests Star Search,Pot Of Gold and New Faces, you weren't meant to take Red Faces seriously. The Hey Hey It's Saturday segment poked fun at those series and, thanks to po-faced, gong-wielding, low-scoring Red Symons, the contestants that dared set foot on stage to sing, tell jokes, dance or pretend to be a bobsled team.

Barry Michael demonstrated the power of Hey Hey It's Saturday in 1986

Every so often, someone would come along who was not only genuinely talented but would actually make Red hold off on banging the going and maybe even giving a score higher than a two. This week in 1986, a song originally performed on Red Faces even made the ARIA chart.

Making it to the top of the ARIA chart this week in 1986 were Bananarama, who began a seven-week run at number 1 with "Venus".

Off The Chart

Number 95 "Lessons In Love" by Level 42

Peak: number 65

A slight improvement on "Leaving Me Now", but still a flop for the biggest UK hit by Level 42. In 1987, the follow-up to "Lessons In Love" would finally give the band an ARIA top 50 hit .

Number 77 "Try / Lonely Without You" by Pseudo Echo

Peak: number 60

Hedging their bets with one upbeat synthpop track and one ballad, Pseudo Echo missed the top 50 with this fourth release from Love An Adenture. They'd be back - with their biggest hit of all - in a matter of months.


"Dreams" by Van Halen

Peak: number 51

They'd got off to a good start with new lead singer Sammy Hagar on top 10 hit "Why Can't This Be Love", but this second single from 5150 interestingly peaked just outside the top 50 at number 51. As well as being interesting numerically, it's curious (for me, anyway) because I would've said "Dreams" had been a bigger hit than that. Musically pretty similar to the synth-rock sound of "Why Can't This Be Love" and "Jump", the song also fell short in the US (peaking at number 22 compared to its predecessor's number 3 position). The song's music video, which doesn't feature the band, contains footage of the US Navy's flight demonstration squad, the Blue Angels.

New Entries

Number 50 "Dreamtime" by Daryl Hall

Peak: number 28

The first time he'd tried to release a solo album was in 1977, when he recorded Sacred Songs. That album ended up staying on the shelf for three years, finally released in 1980 shortly before Hall & Oates' Voices, their ninth album in as many years. Second time round there was no such delay and also no forthcoming H&O album, with the duo on a hiatus. Led by catchy US top 5 single "Dreamtime", Three Hearts In The Happy Ending Machine performed much better than Sacred Songs but still nowhere near as well as any of Daryl's recent albums with John Oates. Co-producer on the album and lead guitarist on "Dreamtime" was Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, which brings us nicely to...

Number 49 "Missionary Man" by Eurythmics

Peak: number 9

The good thing about America and Britain deciding to release different singles from albums is that Australian record companies could pretty much pick and choose which tracks they wanted to go with in whatever order they wanted. And so, following "When Tomorrow Comes", which had been the first UK and Australian single from Revenge, Australia then went with "Missionary Man", which had been the first US single. Meanwhile both the US and UK opted for "Thorn In My Side" as second single instead. I've never been that fond of "Missionary Man". It's certainly a striking song, but I find it a bit harsh and difficult to listen to, especially the monotonous melody. I do like all the backing vocalist's wailing, though. Enough Australians liked it to send it into the top 10 the duo's final song to reach so high (although they still had a few top 20 hits left in them).

Number 48 "My Favourite Waste Of Time" by Owen Paul

Peak: number 32

The last time this song appeared on the ARIA top 50, it was in early 1984 when Bette Midler took her version to number 44 and it was called "Favorite Waste Of Time". But that wasn't the first time the sing-alongable tune was released or its original title. "You're My Favorite Waste Of Time" originally appeared on the B-side of "Someday, Someway" by Marshall Crenshaw, who wrote both songs. But, it was Scottish singer Owen Paul who had the only major international hit recording, with his rendition reaching number 3 in the UK and out-performing Bette's version locally. This was pretty much the last time Owen Paul was head of although he did pop up in The Osbournes in 2002 in that episode when Sharon throws food over a noisy neighbour's fence. It transpires that Owen was one of the people responsible for the noise.

Number 42 "Stuck With You" by Huey Lewis & The News

Peak: number 2

They'd reached number 1 in 1985 with "The Power Of Love" and almost did it again in 1986 with a song that spent 10 weeks going up and down the top 10, an effort which no doubt prompted Countdown's Gavin Wood to make all sort of puns using the word "stuck" as he counted down the week's biggest singles. The first single proper from Fore!, "Stuck With You" was a sweet little number which came with an expensive-looking music video that was filmed in the Bahamas and featured the future Mrs Pierce Brosnan as Huey's love interest.

Number 41 "I Don't Understand (Where I Fit In)" by Barry Michael

Peak: number 35

Here's the song that owes its appearance on the ARIA chart to a performance on Hey Hey It's Saturday's Red Faces segment. The unassuming Barry Michael sang the amusing old-fashioned-sounding ditty (with a very modern lyrical twist) and won the night. Not only did Red Symons not give him a two out of 10 but, when EMI signed Barry to a record deal, the Skyhooks guitarist produced the track. It would be Barry's only ARIA chart appearance and his deal would only extend to a second single, but it did demonstrate the power of exposure on a hit primetime series. 

Number 30 "A Matter Of Trust" by Billy Joel

Peak: number 3

Like "Stuck With You", "A Matter Of Trust" spent 10 weeks inside the top 10, including at least one week at every position between 3 and 10 a performance which was a marked improvement on that of previous release "Modern Woman". Perhaps the fact that "A Matter Of Trust" actually had a music video helped its cause. Again like "Stuck With You", it was a memorable clip, even if it had more of a low-key feel as Billy and band jammed in a New York building's sweaty basement to an ever-increasing crowd outside, and the only model in sight was Billy's then-wife, Christie Brinkley, who wandered around with their baby girl, Alexa. "A Matter Of Trust" became Billy's biggest hit since the last song he'd released with a video featuring Christie: 1983's "Uptown Girl".

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1986:

Next week: two of music's elder statesmen release new singles but only one of them does well. Plus, since it's a quiet week, I'll flip the chart over and take a look at the top 50 albums.

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