This Week In 1989: November 26, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
Everything old was new again on the ARIA chart this week in 1989, with a couple of comebacks by artists that had been hugely successful at the start of the decade and the return of a song that'd been a massive hit five years earlier.
OK, not everything was old, with another Italo house release making the top 50 and the brand new musical project for a former girl group member. But with the top four dominated by veteran acts and songs, the top 50 was beginning to feel a little long in the tooth.
Speaking of the top of the chart, Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" held strong at the top of a static top 4, which also included Alice Cooper, Billy Joel and runner-up Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers.
Off The Chart
Number 78 "The Road To Hell (Part 2)" by Chris Rea
Peak: number 78
Obviously considered the more commercial of the two parts of the title track of Chris' 10th album - Part 1 was featured on the 12" single - this song was inspired by heavy traffic.
Peak: number 56
The original version of the song reached number 2 and spent a mammoth 21 weeks in the top 10 back in 1984 when the first Ghostbusters film was released, but this revamped version for the sequel by rap trio Run DMC missed the top 50 altogether. Sounding more like something you'd expect from The Fat Boys, the trio's update of the Ray Parker Jr classic did avoid the elements of the original that had resulted in an out-of-court settlement with Huey Lewis & The News (for sounding too similar to "I Want A New Drug"). Lesson learnt, then. The Ghostbusters II soundtrack would produce a bigger hit than this - and we'll see it arrive on the top 50 next week.
Peak: number 52
Last week, we saw perpetual chart misser Debbie Gibson once again fail to crack the top 50 with her latest release - and here was another act who were starting to make a habit of falling short. As it did in the UK, "Everyday Now" made a slight improvement on predecessor "Thrill Has Gone" (which reached number 60 in Australia a couple of months earlier), but not enough to break the one-hit wonder tag Texas would wear for quite a few years to come. Small wonder, since the band's third single was another bland tune that lacked the spark of debut release "I Don't Want A Lover".
Number 49 "Numero Uno" by Starlight
Peak: number 23
While "Ride On Time" leapt up to number 14 on this week's chart, another Italo house single masterminded by the same producers (Daniele Davoli, Mirko Limoni and Valerio Semplici) under one of their many aliases bulleted into the top 50. "Numero Uno" wouldn't end up as big a hit as the Black Box single but it did establish that Australia's appetite for dance tracks had increased since the start of the year when club hits by Soul II Soul and Inner City failed to make much of an impression.
Number 48 "You're History" by Shakespear's Sister Peak: number 20
Bananarama had moved on since the departure of founding member Siobhan Fahey, and now the fruits of her labour away from the girl group found their way onto the chart. "You're History" couldn't have been more different from "I Want You Back", "Nathan Jones" or "Love, Truth And Honesty", which made sense given Siobhan left Bananarama because she was unhappy about the trio's musical direction (thanks to producers Stock Aitken Waterman).
Named after a slightly differently spelt song by The Smiths, Shakespear's Sister (the apostrophe was still intact at this stage) had started out as a solo project for Siobhan, and "Break My Heart (You Really) / Heroine" was released as a double A-side debut single. But, one became two when collaborator Marcella Detroit was promoted to regular band member status - and "You're History" established the vocally mismatched pair as a unique force in music.
Number 34 "I Want That Man" by Deborah Harry Peak: number 2
At 44 years of age, Deborah (not Debbie, anymore) Harry ranked as one of pop's elder stateswomen but proved her best days weren't behind her with this lead single from the Def, Dumb & Blonde album - at least in Australia.
While "I Want That Man" was a massive hit locally, it didn't even make the Billboard Hot 100 and missed the UK top 10. In fact, in America, Deborah never had a top 40 solo hit - a far cry from all the success she enjoyed as lead singer of Blondie.
Written by Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie, the song features the line "here comes the 21st century" and, as a result, was one of many songs re-released in time for Y2K to cash in on their lyrical relevance (see also: "1999", "The Final Countdown").
Number 27 "Love Shack" by The B-52's Peak: number 1
The B-52's had had a rough time of it since their last appearances on the ARIA top 50 back in the early '80s. Musically, they released two less-than-successful albums in the form of Whammy! and Bouncing Off The Satellites, and tragically, founding band member Ricky Wilson passed away in 1985.
"Love Shack" changed all that. The second single from 1989's Cosmic Thing album - the first, "Channel Z", would be re-released in 1990 - it was as unique and quirky as earlier hits "Rock Lobster" or "Private Idaho" but thanks to production from Don Was (of Was (Not Was) fame), it was much more commercial than either of those songs.
With quotable lyrics like "so hurry up and bring your jukebox money", "hop in my Chrysler, it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail" and the initially indecipherable "tin roof, rusted", "Love Shack" quickly became the song of summer '89/'90, spending eight weeks at number 1 and entering into the wedding reception/21st birthday party canon. Like "Mickey" and "Come On Eileen", "Love Shack" was almost ruined thanks to being flogged to death, but there's no denying it's a brilliant and totally original song.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: the arrival of the aforementioned hit single from Ghostbusters II, another new dance hit and Jive Bunny starts to multiply like, well, you know.