This Week In 1986: June 22, 1986
So far, 1986 hadn't let the side down when it came to big soundtrack hits - with singles like "When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going", "Live To Tell" and "Absolute Beginners" all reaching the top 10 in the first half of the year. Thirty years ago this week, two songs from an essential '80s film debuted on the ARIA top 50 to add to that tally.
Although neither single reached the top 10, they were both decent-sized hits. In fact, one was the biggest hit the act behind it would ever enjoy in Australia, while the other was the best chart placement for the band in question in three years.
The song with the best chart placement of all this week in 1986 was still "Living Doll" by Cliff Richard & The Young Ones. The good news: it was the comedy record's sixth and final week on top.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 97
After three straight top 15 hits, it looked like FYC had peaked for the time being, with this final single from their self-titled album paying only a cursory visit to the top 100.
Number 64 "Experience" by Diana Ross
Peak: number 64
While "Chain Reaction" spent its 10th week inside the top 3, this ballad follow-up peaked where it debuted. "Experience" was written by all four Gibb brothers and featured future Knots Landing star Joseph Gian in the video as Ms Ross's love interest.
Peak: number 15
I'm not sure what type of idiotic test audience didn't like seeing Andie (Molly Ringwald) and Duckie (Jon Cryer) end up together in Pretty In Pink - as writer John Hughes had originally intended. But the silver lining of those morons' negative feedback, which prompted a rewrite and the film's ending we now know, is this single.
In the original version of the movie, OMD's "Goddess Of Love" was used, but the band was approached to submit a new song more in keeping with the revamped conclusion. Twenty-four hours later, they delivered "If You Leave" - a perfect slice of '80s synthpop that sounds as great today as it did back when Duckie had to make do with Kristy Swanson. Despite becoming OMD's biggest hit in Australia and the US (where it reached number 4), "If You Leave" flopped in the UK, not even reaching the top 40.
Peak: number 28
One spot under the Pretty In Pink soundtrack on this week's albums chart was Listen Like Thieves by INXS, which spent its 36th week on the top 50. And so to offer some incentive to fans to go out and buy the fourth single from an album they no doubt already owned, the band included their own soundtrack song as a double A-side to title track "Listen Like Thieves".
"Different World" had featured in recent comedy smash Crocodile Dundee, but since the only album released from the film was the Peter Best score, this was the only way to buy the song. Who knows whether "Listen Like Thieves", which is an excellent song, was at all assisted by the presence of "Different World", a kind of average song, on the flip side - but I'm sure it did account for some sales.
As it turns out, INXS also appeared on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack with another track that didn't feature on Listen Like Thieves: "Do Wot You Do".
Number 39 "Who Made Who" by AC/DC
Peak: number 9
It'd been five years since AC/DC had last enjoyed a hit single - and it took a soundtrack release for the Australian rock band to score one again. "Who Made Who" was a newly recorded song taken from the album of the same name - a compilation of mostly previously released music by the band that was used as the soundtrack to Maximum Overdrive, a sci-fi film written and directed by Stephen King. The movie might have been a massive dud, but "Who Made Who" restored AC/DC to the top 10 for the first time since "Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution / Hells Bells" (which reached number 7 in 1981) and kicked off a new era of singles chart success for them.
Peak: number 10
Here's a singer who'd had no trouble landing hit singles over the past couple of years, including the aforementioned number 1, "When The Going Gets Tough...", earlier in 1986. Billy Ocean followed up that mouthful of a title with another wordily named track, "There'll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry)" - a slushy ballad of the "Suddenly" variety. As it turns out, "Suddenly" actually inspired "There'll Be Sad Songs...", with songwriter Barry Eastmond coming up with the latter's title after hearing how "Suddenly" had driven a friend to tears since it reminded her of an ex. This would be the last we'd hear from Billy on the top 50 until he landed another chart-topper in 1988.
Number 36 "Invisible Touch" by Genesis
Peak: number 3
In between Phil Collins' chart-hogging series of hits in 1984-85 and Mike Rutherford's more recent couple with Mike + The Mechanics, it was easy to forget that Genesis had never had a top 10 single in Australia and had only reached our top 20 once - with 1978's number 16 hit "Follow You Follow Me". In 1986, the British band released a single that matched the solo efforts of their individual members (well, except Tony Banks). The title track of their 13th album, "Invisible Touch" was the poppiest Genesis had ever sounded - and the song was massive in Australia and the US, where it topped the chart. Surprisingly, the single didn't do so well in the UK, peaking at number 15 - it would take the release of a live version of the track in 1992 for it to venture in the British top 10.
Number 35 "Shellshock" by New Order
Peak: number 23
Next up is the week's other Pretty In Pink-related release - the second top 50 appearance by a band I saw live just a few weeks ago (although, disappointingly, they didn't include this track in their set list). New Order's first soundtrack single, "Shellshock" didn't appear on one of their studio albums - a trait it shared with eight of their previous 10 singles. Most of those singles had flown under the radar in Australia, but "Shellshock", which is based on "One More Shot" by C-Bank, finally gave the band another hit - even if it did fall 10 places short of 1983's "Blue Monday".
Peak: number 12
Between them, they'd visited the Australian chart on numerous occasions - both as solo artists and as members of groups. But neither Patti LaBelle (who'd fronted the girl group that bore her surname) nor former Doobie Brothers vocalist Michael McDonald had ever experienced a top 10 single locally. Unlike Genesis, that didn't change with this big ballad duet - although it came close. "On My Own" was written by the hit-making team of Burt Bacharach and then-wife Carole Bayer Sager, and had been offered to Dionne Warwick first. Dionne recorded the song but didn't end up releasing it, although she was happy enough to sing it on Solid Gold when Patti and Michael's version hit number 1 in the US. Patti had also recorded a version on her own, but called on Michael when she felt it needed something extra.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1986:
Next week: two of my favourite one-hit wonders from 1986 - and another one-hit wonder that did particularly well in Australia. Plus, the first chart appearance of an Australian classic.