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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1983: December 25, 1983

It's funny what it takes for a song to be banned - and how that's changed over the years. Just last week, we saw that the suggestion of an interracial relationship was enough for "Original Sin" by INXS to be banned by some US radio stations.


Mondo Rock's tale of young lust was too hot for some radio stations to handle

This week in 1983, another controversial single by an Australian band arrived on the ARIA chart - and some local radio stations refused to play it. As is so often the case, the ban did nothing to stop the song becoming a big hit, only kept from the number 1 spot by... "Original Sin" (and "Love Is A Battlefield" for its second week at number 2).



At number 1 this week in 1983, Lionel Richie's "All Night Long (All Night)" became the fourth chart-topper in as many weeks. Unlike Semantics, "Uptown Girl" and "Islands In The Stream", however, Lionel's single would stay put for six weeks.

Off The Chart

Number 99 "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence" by Ryuichi Sakamoto

Peak: number 88

We saw the vocal version featuring David Sylvian in the top 50 back in October. Now, the instrumental theme from the war film made the top 100 just in time for Christmas.


Number 97 "Don't Girls Get Lonely" by Glenn Shorrock

Peak: number 75

A markedly different stand-alone single than his previous effort, the poppy "Don't Girls Get Lonely" would wind up being included on career retrospective The First Twenty Years in 1985.

Number 75 "Chinese I's (Here Come The Minute Men)" by Venetians

Peak: number 63

Venetians' catchy, although racially insensitive, second single was a significant improvement on debut "Sound On Sound" and hinted of the greatness to come from the synthpop band. 

Number 68 "That Was Then But This Is Now" by ABC

Peak: number 63

For ABC, it appeared their greatest days were behind them, with this lead single from second album Beauty Stab not a patch on their previous singles. It'd be another four years before their next ARIA chart appearance.

New Entries

Number 50 "Kissing With Confidence" by Will Powers

Peak: number 50

Yes, that's Carly Simon handling the vocals on this parody record released by photographer Lynn Goldsmith under the name Will Powers. Lynn does the spoken bits, with her voice lowered to sound like male character Will, who's a send-up of the self-help gurus who sprang to prominence in the early '80s.

Number 42 "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" by Yes

Peak: number 14

It's quite apt that the previous album by prog rockers Yes had been called Drama, since a fair amount of tumult followed that LP's 1980 release. The band ceased to exist, but a number of former members - and by this stage, there were quite a few ex-Yes members out there - ended up working together as Cinema. Original Yes singer Jon Anderson was later recruited and, when it transpired that other bands had claims on the name Cinema, the group decided to just call themselves Yes.

The only member of the current line-up who hadn't been part of Yes before was Trevor Rabin, who wrote the initial version of "Owner Of A Lonely Heart". During work on what would become Yes's 11th album, 90125, other members and producer Trevor Horn (who'd been Yes's singer for a short time) added their own elements to "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" and turned it into the career-reviving pop smash it was. In the US, the song, which sounded nothing like Yes's earlier work, was a hit with the MTV generation, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Here in Australia, it was the band's first top 50 appearance since "Your Move" reached number 32 in 1971 - and easily their biggest hit.

Number 39 "Cum On Feel The Noize" by Quiet Riot

Peak: number 9

Here's another American band with their biggest single in Australia - Quiet Riot and their heavy metal cover of Slade's "Cum On Feel The Noize". A decade earlier, the original version had reached number 1 in the UK and the Australian top 20, but had bombed out at number 98 in the US. And so, there was a fresh audience for the song in America, where Slade had never enjoyed a hit single despite managing six chart-toppers at home. 

Quiet Riot, who'd been around since 1973, weren't so receptive to idea of remaking the glam rock classic and, as legend has it, tried to record the worst version they could in the hopes that the idea would be dropped. Turns out, their worst version became a top 10 hit in Australia and America. In 1984, the band tried to repeat the trick by updating another Slade tune, "Mama Weer All Crazee Now" - and we'll see how that did next year.

Number 27 "Come Said The Boy" by Mondo Rock

Peak: number 2

It was quite the week for bands enjoying their biggest hits - although in the case of Mondo Rock, they'd actually had top 10 singles in Australia before. The controversial "Come Said The Boy" beat the number 6 peak of 1980's "State Of The Heart", hitting number 2 and equally the position achieved earlier in 1983 by "Bop Girl" - the song lead singer Ross Wilson had written and co-produced for wife Pat. Why the controversy? "Come Said The Boy" just happened to be about a guy losing his virginity... to a more experienced girl... on the beach. The biggest objection to the song came from Sydney's still successful, Catholic Church-owned 2SM, which wouldn't play the song, but with FM stations on the rise, their stand didn't have the impact it might once have had. 

Annual Chart The ARIA chart was only made available to the public for the second half of the year, but this list of the top 100 songs for 1983 includes some singles I haven't recapped that were successful between January and June. I'll get to those in due course since I've gone back to do recaps from 1980 onwards.

1.       “Australiana” by Austen Tayshus

2.       “Flashdance... What A Feeling” by Irene Cara

3.       “Gloria” by Laura Branigan

4.       “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson

5.       “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker / Jennifer Warnes

6.       “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” by Bonnie Tyler

7.       “Save Your Love” by Renee & Renato

8.       “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club

9.       “Beat It” by Michael Jackson

10.     “Every Breath You Take” by The Police

11.     “Bop Girl” by Pat Wilson

12.     Semantics by Australian Crawl

13.     “I Was Only 19” by Redgum

14.     “Twisting By The Pool” by Dire Straits

15.     “Rain” by Dragon

16.     “1999” by Prince

17.     “Give It Up” by KC & The Sunshine Band

18.     “Heartbreaker” by Dionne Warwick

19.     “I'm Still Standing” by Elton John

20.     “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant

21.     “You Can't Hurry Love” by Phil Collins

22.     “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” by Culture Club

23.     “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats

24.     “Let's Dance” by David Bowie

25.     “Africa” by Toto

26.     “Send Me An Angel” by Real Life

27.     “Drop The Pilot” by Joan Armatrading

28.     “I Eat Cannibals” by Toto Coelo

29.     “I.O.U.” by Freeez

30.     “Young Guns (Go For It!)” by Wham!

31.     “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye

32.     “Red Red Wine” by UB40

33.     “The Clapping Song” by The Belle Stars

34.     “Puttin' On The Ritz” by Taco

35.     “Truly” by Lionel Richie

36.     “Don't Pay The Ferryman” by Chris De Burgh

37.     “Church Of The Poison Mind” by Culture Club

38.     “I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues” by Elton John

39.     “Maniac” by Michael Sembello

40.     “Islands In The Stream” by Kenny Rogers / Dolly Parton

41.     “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” by Eurythmics

42.     “Always Something There To Remind Me” by Naked Eyes

43.     “True” by Spandau Ballet

44.     “Modern Love” by David Bowie

45.     “Maggie” by Foster & Allen

46.     “Baby I Need Your Lovin'” by Carl Carlton

47.     “Pass The Dutchie” by Musical Youth

48.     “Shiny Shiny” by Haysi Fantasyzee

49.     “Words” by F.R. David

50.     “She Works Hard For The Money” by Donna Summer

51.     “Fraction Too Much Friction” by Tim Finn

52.     “Moonlight Shadow” by Mike Oldfield

53.     “Blue Monday” by New Order

54.     “Is There Something I Should Know?” by Duran Duran

55.     “Der Kommissar” by Falco

56.     “Solid Rock” by Goanna

57.     “Say Say Say” by Paul McCartney / Michael Jackson

58.     “Living On The Ceiling” by Blancmange

59.     “Tell Her About It” by Billy Joel

60.     “I Could Be So Good For You” by Dennis Waterman

61.     “White Wedding” by Billy Idol

62.     “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel

63.     “Ain't No Pleasin' You” by Chas & Dave

64.     “Zoom” by Fat Larry's Band

65.     “Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop” by Monte Video & The Cassettes

66.     “Union Of The Snake” by Duran Duran

67.     “Mirror Man” by The Human League

68.     “We've Got Tonight” by Kenny Rogers/Sheena Easton

69.     “Solitaire” by Laura Branigan

70.     “Tonight, I Celebrate My Love” by Peabo Bryson / Roberta Flack

71.     “Can't Take My Eyes Off You” by Boys Town Gang

72.     “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That's My Home)” by Paul Young

73.     “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” by The Human League

74.     “Gold” by Spandau Ballet

75.     “I Don't Wanna Dance” by Eddy Grant

76.     “Candy Girl” by New Edition

77.     “Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)” by Wham!

78.     “Little Red Corvette” by Prince

79.     “Time (Clock Of The Heart)” by Culture Club

80.     “Baby Jane” by Rod Stewart

81.     “Overkill” by Men At Work

82.     “Power And The Passion” by Midnight Oil

83.     “Jeopardy” by Greg Kihn Band

84.     “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo

85.     “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

86.     “Bad Boys” by Wham!

87.     “All Night Long (All Night)” by Lionel Richie

88.     “Dr Heckyll & Mr. Jive” by Men At Work

89.     “I'm So Excited” by The Pointer Sisters

90.     “Back On The Chain Gang” by The Pretenders

91.     “I Hear Motion” by Models

92.     “Rock 'N' Roll Is King” by Electric Light Orchestra

93.     “Mad World” by Tears For Fears

94.     “Let's Go To Bed” by The Cure

95.     “Orchard Road” by Leo Sayer

96.     “Science Fiction” by Divinyls

97.     “Montego Bay” by The Allniters

98.     “Let The Franklin Flow” by Gordon Franklin

99.     “When You Were Sweet 16” by The Fureys

100.     “McRawhide” by The Chaps

Next time: 1984 gets off to a good start with new hits for Hall & Oates, Simple Minds and Siouxsie & The Banshees.


Back to: Dec 18, 1983 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jan 15, 1984


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