This Week In 1987: July 26, 1987
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2012. Updated in 2017.
It was one of Australian television's most watched moments. A soap opera wedding between two actors who would soon enough feature on the ARIA chart as pop stars. Before that, the song that played during their TV nuptials broke into the top 50.
The wedding theme wasn't quite what you might have expected. A rock power ballad, it provided its singer with the biggest hit of his career - either with or without his legendary hard rock band. And its chart performance came with a twist.
After five weeks, Whitney Houston stepped down from the number 1 position in Australia. Moving up to the top spot was British duo Mel & Kim, who'd spend a single week there with "Respectable".
Off The Chart
Number 95 "Always" by Atlantic Starr
Peak: number 66
I feel like the failure of this US chart-topper and UK top 3 hit was a bit of a turning point and big ballads that'd done well overseas didn't necessarily translate here for the next few years.
Number 89 "Hearts On Fire" by Bryan Adams
Peak: number 89
Meanwhile, Australia wasn't alone in not getting into this second single from Into The Fire - in the US, it was Bryan Adams's worst Hot 100 performance since 1982.
Number 88 "Insecurity" by Stacey Q
Peak: number 77
Her first two hits had both reached number 7, so if this third release from Better Than Heaven was going to miss the top 50, it made sense for it to peak where it did.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 80
I haven't yet talked about the space alongside the breakers where the record companies took it in turns to spruik one of their big new releases by way of an ad or, in the case of this week's chart, the song lyrics. In the past few weeks, there have been plugs for tracks by Lime Spiders, Geisha and Mental As Anything (who rate a mention as a breaker this week).
This week, it was British duo Go West with a song that, to be honest, wasn't a patch on their 1985 classics, "We Close Our Eyes" and "Call Me". In fact, nothing on second studio album Dancing On The Couch was and it'd take a soundtrack hit in three years' time to get things back on track.
Peak: number 52
1987 was a big year for New York's Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, with this song and the follow-up, "Lost In Emotion", both reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In Australia, "Head To Toe" was their best performance. However, a cover of their 1986 single "All Cried Out" would reach number 11 for Allure & 112 in 1997, while the melody of their debut single, "I Wonder If I Take You Home", would be used in The Black Eyed Peas' "Don't Phunk With My Heart", so at least that's something.
Number 50 "Wild Horses" by Gino Vannelli
Peak: number 9
It creeps into the top 50 this week, but easy listening classic "Wild Horses" would quickly leap into the top 10 and give Gino the hit he'd been trying to have since the mid-'70s - at least in Australia. In his home country of Canada as well as in the States, he had more success prior to this track from his Big Dreamers Never Sleep album. In 1987, I still followed the charts slavishly enough to lap this song up, but two years later, I'd turn my nose up at the similarly middle-of-the-road "Talk It Over" by Grayson Hugh.
Number 49 "Luka" by Suzanne Vega
Peak: number 21
Here's another song I liked by default at the time, but in this case I'm impressed at my 12-year-old self's taste - although I'm sure I didn't pick up on the child abuse subject matter of the song (I know, I know, it's not like the songwords are cryptic or anything). Despite the dark lyrical content, "Luka" would end up giving Suzanne her biggest chart hit of the '80s, after the rather disappointing performances of "Marlene On The Wall" and "Left Of Center". She'd score a top 10 hit in 1990 with "Tom's Diner" but that would all be down to the input of dance producers DNA.
Number 43 "Girls, Girls, Girls" by Mötley Crüe
Peak: number 43
This would be the highest position achieved by the first single from the Crüe's fourth album, and although they'd score a couple of bigger hits in the years to follow, they'd never be as big as Bon Jovi, Poison, Skid Row or Warrant in Australia. While I'm quite partial to a good bit of hair metal, I never really got into Mötley Crüe's music. Their autobiography, The Dirt, however, made for a fascinating read.
Number 36 "Suddenly" by Angry Anderson
Peak: number 2
It was the most unlikely of pairings - the bald-headed lead singer from Aussie rock band Rose Tattoo providing the wedding theme for Neighbours' teen lovebirds Scott (Jason Donovan) and Charlene (Kylie Minogue). "Suddenly" was nothing like the sort of thing Angry normally sang, and as an '80s rock ballad, there are few better. There are a couple of different videos for the song, one below and one in the song title. It would have been a huge number 1 hit in Australia, too... if it weren't for the track which kept it off the top spot for three weeks in a row.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:
Next week: the song which denied Angry a number 1 hit. I'll also devote a separate post to mark the anniversary of that tune's release, something its singer did all 1987.