This Week In 1988: July 24, 1988
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.
When I started looking back at the ARIA charts from decades past, my first posts covering mid-1987 just missed one of the biggest moments in Australian music in the 1980s: the return of Johnny Farnham. (Although I did get around to it when I backtracked and covered 1986.)
The Whispering Jack album had been a phenomenon and singles "You're The Voice", "Pressure Down" and "A Touch Of Paradise" were inescapable in 1986-87. Following that up was going to take some doing - but this week in 1988, Australia sent the lead track from the Age Of Reason album skyrocketing up the singles chart.
As we'll see, "Age Of Reason" didn't make as impressive a debut as "Got To Be Certain" had a couple of weeks ago. This week in 1988, the Kylie Minogue track spent its third week at number 1, but we all knew it wouldn't be there for much longer.
Number 47 "When It's Love" by Van Halen
Peak: number 23
The transition from David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar as lead singer had gone incredibly smoothly on previous album 5150, so it was business as usual for 1988's OU812. "When It's Love" was the second single from the album - a power ballad that returned them to the US top 5 for the first time since 1986's "Why Can't This Be Love" and a song I really liked at the time. Yep, two hard rock songs in under a month (the other, if you recall, was Poison's "Nothin' But A Good Time"). What was going on with me?
Number 45 "Broken Land" by The Adventures
Peak: number 45
Spending its one and only week inside the top 50 was one of my favourite tracks from 1988. I bought The Sea Of Love, the album this track was taken from, on CD from eBay a few years back just for this song, and I can't say I've actually listened to the whole thing more than once, but maybe I should revisit it.
Number 3 "Age Of Reason" by John Farnham
Peak: number 1
Blasting straight into the top 3 on its way to the number 1 spot was this lead single from the most anticipated album of the year - a song which came with a pretty impressive looking music video, featuring Farnsey on a mountaintop in ugg boots, as you do. "Age Of Reason" was written by Dragon bassist Todd Hunter and Johanna Pigott from Scribble (who never landed a chart hit). The duo had also penned Dragon's "Rain" and "Cry", while Johanna was the co-creator of awesome mid-'80s ABC series Sweet & Sour. John's latest studio album, also called Age Of Reason, debuted at number 1 two weeks later - and stayed there for eight consecutive weeks.
Speaking of albums, since there are only three songs to talk about this week, I thought it might be a good chance to flip the chart over to see what was happening on the other side.
Various artists albums were still included in the main albums chart at this point - and '88 Kix On, which featured tracks like "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car", "Boys (Summertime Love)" and "Sign Your Name", held the number one position for the week.
Rival compilation Hit Pix '88 Volume 2, which contained tracks from the other major record companies like "Pink Cadillac", "Breakaway" and "Wonderful Life" was at number 4, while the previous round of compilations - the first Hit Pix '88 and Pump It Up 88 - were both still on the top 50 after 16 weeks.
After such memorable titles as 1982 With A Bullet, Choose 1985 and 1986 Way To Go, the brains behind the compilations were clearly running out of steam - and it wouldn't be long before they'd give up and commence the long-running Hit Machine and 100% Hits series.
Kate Ceberano and Wendy Matthews
They'd both go on to win the ARIA Award for Best Female Artist in years to come, but in 1988, the former Models backing singers (they'd both recorded vocals for Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight) teamed up for You've Always Got The Blues, the soundtrack to ABC series Stringer. At the time, Kate was the better known of the two singers, having been lead vocalist for I'm Talking in the mid-'80s, but it wouldn't be long before both were household names.
We've seen over the past few months that their singles didn't always light up the chart, but the self-titled debut album by pop/rock band Noiseworks more than made up for that, spending its 53rd week on the albums top 50 this week 25 years ago - the longest-running album on the list. Other enduring albums by Terence Trent D'Arby, Icehouse and John Cougar Mellencamp had all been on the albums chart for more than 40 weeks.
Music from the '60s was big again, thanks to films like Dirty Dancing and Good Morning Vietnam, and the TV series Tour Of Duty. The first of five T.O.D. soundtrack albums (one a best of released two years after the show was axed) was at number 7 this week in 1988.
Pop in the top 10
Being a pop fan, the albums chart was often quite depressing for me - but this week in 1988, Bananarama, Tiffany and Bros all held spots in the top 10, which was something to be happy about!
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:
Next week: one of the biggest hits of the year debuts, as does a parody of one of the world's biggest artists.