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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1980: August 24, 1980

Despite being only five years old at the time, I have some clear memories from 1980, one of which was starting school. I also remember going to the movies for what was possibly the first time to see The Empire Strikes Back.

Meco turned his hand to the latest Star Wars film in 1980

I don't recall whether I'd previously seen Star Wars - certainly not at the cinema, but would it have aired on TV by 1980? Anyway, enough about me. This week in 1980, the music from Episode V was transformed into a disco record, just as the theme from A New Hope had been in 1977, when it reached the top 3. How would the sequel remix fare?

There was a new number 1 in Australia this week in 1980. As the recent Olympics faded into history, "Moscow" by Genghis Khan kept the spirit of the Games alive as it began a six-week reign at the top of the singles chart.

Off The Chart

Number 100 "Poor Baby" by The Angels

Peak: number 72

Starting off sounding more than a little like "Wild Thing", this follow-up to the rock band's first top 10 single found them back outside the top 50, where they would remain for the time being.

Number 97 "Cities" by Outline

Peak: number 82

This Sydney band certainly had the right sound - as one commenter on the YouTube clip describes it, like a cross between Mi-Sex and INXS - but their debut single would give Outline their only visit to the top 100.

Number 96 "Once Or Twice" by Dorothy Moore

Peak: number 52

She'd reached the top 5 here and in the US with 1976 single "Misty Blue", but American soul singer Dorothy Moore was kept just outside the top 50 with this track from her Definitely Dorothy album.

Number 91 "Living After Midnight" by Judas Priest

Peak: number 91

The only song by the British metal band to breach the top 100, the lead single from sixth album British Steel was also Judas Priest's equal-highest-charting hit in the UK - both it and follow-up "Breaking The Law" reached number 12 there.

Number 89 "Dark Island" by Tim Renwick

Peak: number 80

This instrumental track was taken from the self-titled debut album of the British guitarist, who has played with Elton John and Pink Floyd during his career.

Number 88 "Magic Night" by Village People

Peak: number 88

Quite why this song from Can't Stop The Music would have been released when they had "Milkshake" sitting right there is unclear. Although given the soundtrack had spent the past nine weeks at number 1, perhaps no track lifted from it would have been a hit.

Number 87 "Empire Strikes Back (Medley)" by Meco

Peak: number 68

In 1977, Meco's transformation of the Star Wars theme into a disco track was a top 3 success, but the production group masterminded by Domenico Monardo couldn't repeat the trick with music from The Empire Strikes Back

Number 83 "Jojo" by Boz Scaggs

Peak: number 73

Like "Breakdown Dead Ahead", the latest cut from Middle Man peaked outside the top 50. It would be eight years before the American singer released more music - and returned to the Australian top 100.

Number 82 "Puppet On A String (Let Her Go)" by Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons

Peak: number 53

Released at the same time as fifth album Hats Off Step Lively, this perky tune was unlucky not to reach the top 50, although the album did make it into the top 20.

New Entries

Number 45 "It Hurts Too Much" by Eric Carmen

Peak: number 45

After that onslaught of chart flops, there were only two debuts inside the top 50 this week in 1980. And the first is a song I've never heard until now - but it's one of those tunes you feel you've known for years the first time you hear it. The lead single from Eric Carmen's fourth album, Tonight You're Mine, "It Hurts Too Much" sounds like a cross between his own 1988 hit "Make Me Lose Control" and any number of Billy Joel songs - which is a good thing.  Unfortunately for Eric, who had struggled to live up to his solo debut smash "All By Myself" ever since 1976, the song was another not very big hit, getting no further than this entry position.

Number 42 "Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone" by Manhattan Transfer

Peak: number 28

The week's only other new entry came from a second act that hadn't been able to place another song in the top 10 since their 1976 hit, "Chanson D'Amour". And they were on the right track with this single, given the number of recent synth-based hits. Instead, it was another top 30 placing for Manhattan Transfer for this track from the Extensions album, which paid tribute (and royalties) to the theme from sci-fi series The Twilight Zone. The long-running vocal group had welcomed new singer Cheryl Bentyne into the line-up following the departure of Laurel Massé, and would score another couple of hits in 1981.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: more action inside the top 50 than this week, with a big soundtrack hit and a memorable one-hit wonder among the new entries.

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