This Week In 1988: April 24, 1988
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.
If you're a regular reader (there are a couple of you, right?), you'll know I'm a big fan of UK music and the UK charts in general - and four of the songs we'll look back at this week were all massive hits in Great Britain. The same wasn't the case in Australia, with only one of the four reaching our top 10.
It always struck me as pretty random which British hits made it big in Australia and which didn't. Even though it's likely there are logical reasons behind what was and wasn't successful locally (radio and TV airplay, and whether the act in question could be bothered coming to the other side of the world for a promotional visit, for example), it did seem a bit more haphazard than that... as we'll see this week.
At number 1 this week in 1988, Kylie Minogue was coming to the end of her run at the top with "I Should Be So Lucky", which spent its sixth and final week at the summit.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 100
Sixteen years after they topped the UK chart, American soul group The Tams got a boost in Britain due to the fact that this song theoretically about the Carolina shag (a type of dance) was banned by the BBC because it sounded like it was about sex (which, let's face it, it probably also was).
Number 96 "Protection" by The Montellas
Peak: number 89
I've never come across this British sophisti-pop meets rock group before, probably because this track from debut album Conscience didn't make the UK chart (and didn't do much locally).
Single Of The Week
Record company BMG made good use of their turn in the Single Of The Week slot promoting not one but two UK dance hits. While "Rok Da House" by Beatmasters featuring Cookie Crew would eventually crack the top 50 (and will rate a mention on this blog when it does), the debut single by Tim Simenon's project Bomb The Bass did not. In fact, the former UK number 2 hit performed dismally here, not reaching the ARIA top 100 (although it peaked at number 91 on the AMR in July). It was a surprising failure given Australians weren't opposed to sample-heavy dance music, as evidenced by "Pump Up The Volume" spending its 18th week in the top 50. Just another of those random chart anomalies I was talking about at the start.
Peak: number 53
Here's another situation where Australia broke ranks with the UK. T'Pau's debut single, "Heart And Soul", had been a hit in Britain (number 4) and in Australia (number 18). Second single "China In Your Hand" did even better back home, spending five weeks at number 1. In Australia, it didn't get any further than number 53 and the group led by Carol Decker never saw the inside of the top 50 here again. Although I much prefer "Heart And Soul", it's a shame "China In Your Hand" didn't reach a wider audience in Australia, since it's a great '80s power ballad, the likes of which they just don't make anymore.
Number 49 "Sweet Little Mystery" by Wet Wet Wet
Peak: number 33
In the '90s they would become known - and hated - for their long-running chart-topper, "Love Is All Around", but in 1988, British four-piece Wet Wet Wet were much more fun. Lumped in (to their annoyance) with the likes of Brother Beyond and Bros, the Wets did a fine line in breezy pop tunes like this track. In the UK, "Sweet Little Mystery" was one of four big singles from debut album Popped In Souled Out, but Australians wouldn't give the group another hit until "Sweet Surrender" eventually charted in 1990, six months after it was originally released. By that stage, much of the fun had been wrung out of the group, who seemed to want to be taken more seriously by that point.
Number 41 "Tell It To My Heart" by Taylor Dayne
Peak: number 10
Our second and final new entry for this week comes courtesy of the singer born Leslie Wunderman. While Taylor Dayne has a much better ring to it overall, Wunderman is still a pretty awesome surname - shame it went to waste. A top 10 smash in the US and UK, Taylor's debut single repeated the feat here. It would be the first of a number of appearances Taylor would make on our chart over the next few years. These days, she makes regular appearances in small venues around the country on live concert tours of Australia. I'll have to check her out one of these days.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:
Next week: one of the best music videos of 1988 - for 13-year-old boys, that is. Plus, one of my most hated artists released their first solo single.