This Week In 1989: September 24, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
Sometimes it pays off for an artist to make a dramatic departure from the sound that made them a success in the first place — think U2's Achtung Baby, Kylie Minogue's Impossible Princess (in Australia, anyway). Sometimes it doesn't.
This week in 1989, the highest new entries on the ARIA top 50 singles chart came from acts that had flirted with new styles with differing results.
Still on top of the chart was a singer who stuck with one of the two things he knew best - heartfelt piano ballads. Yep, it was another week at number 1 for "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx.
Off The Chart
Number 87 "Stand Up" by Underworld
Peak: number 79
They'd done well with their first album, but despite achieving a career best peak of number 67 in the US, this catchy lead single from second album Change The Weather flew, er, underneath the radar locally.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 89
Australian record companies desperately wanted their very own hard rock band to rival the likes of Bon Jovi and Poison in the late '80s, but just as Roxus had so far failed to set the charts alight, so too did Sydney five-piece D'mont struggle. Not even a free cassette and badge could sway rock fans to snap up this second single by the band. I don't think I ever heard "Close To The Edge" at the time, but I don't mind it — and it was certainly energetic and catchy enough to have done better.
Number 48 "A New Flame" by Simply Red
Peak: number 48
Spending only a single week on the top 50 at this position, the title track from Simply Red's third album deserved to do much better. But, the law of diminishing returns was in effect and after two hit singles — including chart-topper "If You Don't Know Me By Now" — people were more interested in A New Flame (which had reached a new peak of number 2 in August and was sitting at number 6 this week on the albums chart) than "A New Flame".
Peak: number 47
Also only managing a solitary week on the top 50 was this second single from A Night To Remember. Despite being quite a fan of Cyndi's '80s output, I find this follow-up to "I Drove All Night" pretty much unlistenable thanks to the screechy chorus. Unfortunately, it would be Cyndi's final appearance on the ARIA top 50, with her career taking all sorts of unexpected musical turns in the '90s and '00s.
Number 42 "Get Out Of The House" by Boom Crash Opera Peak: number 24
I've never understood why Boom Crash Opera weren't bigger than they were. Sure, compared to the last two entries, a number 24 position is not so bad, but "Get Out Of The House", like many of the Aussie rock band's other singles, wouldn't have been out of place in the top 10. Thanks to its sing-along chorus and anthemic production, the second single from These Here Are Crazy Times is my favourite song by BCO and made my top 20 for 1989.
Number 38 "Revival" by Eurythmics
Peak: number 14
Meanwhile, this comeback single by Eurythmics - last seen on the top 50 with 1988's "Shame" — achieved a peak 10 places higher than "Get Out Of The House" despite being one of the worst songs the British duo had released. Not as bad as "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)", granted, but it was a return to the overly American feel of songs like "Missionary Man". With the exception of "Would I Lie To You?" (which topped the chart in Australia but was a flop back home in the UK), I've always preferred Eurythmics in their more British synthpop guise — and it's clear there was a great deal of push and pull between the two sounds throughout the latter part of the '80s, with Annie Lennox said to favour their more electronic side while Dave Stewart championed the rock style.
Number 37 "She Has To Be Loved" by Jenny Morris Peak: number 5
Another artist who explored new musical directions was New Zealand-born, Australian-based singer Jenny Morris, whose previous single "Saved Me" was all world music rhythms and Latin lyrics. Thankfully, she found her way back to the type of records she made best — straightforward pop/rock — with follow-up "She Has To Be Loved", and was rewarded with her biggest solo hit to date.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: the return of three acts that'd had considerable success earlier in the decade - with two doing much better this time round than the other. Plus, Australia's own teen sensations hit with their second single, and even attract some overseas attention.