This Week In 1986: October 26, 1986
Between them, Elton John and Madonna released more than 60 singles during the '80s — 25 of which made the Australian top 10. It's only understandable that a few of those hits would have become overlooked in the ensuing decades.
This week in 1986, a future top 10 single by each prolific performer debuted on the ARIA singles chart, but I'd wager neither are among the singers' most popular — or most remembered — hits.
A song that was easily the most popular and is now the most remembered hit by Bananarama in Australia was still on top of the chart. "Venus" spent its sixth week at number 1.
Off The Chart
Number 98 "I'm Your Man" by Barry Manilow
Peak: number 98
Perhaps he'd have been better off covering the Wham! song of the same name. Instead, this out-of-character synthpop ditty failed to connect for the man who used to write the songs the whole world sang.
Number 94 "Rumors" by The Social Club
Peak: number 94
This debut single by the funk band also known as Timex Social Club provided the template for new jack swing. "Rumors" was much more successful overseas, reaching number 8 in the US.
Number 48 "Clap-Clap Sound" by The Klaxons
Peak: number 45
I have a theory that no song featuring an accordion is ever any good. "The Birdie Song". "Lambada". "You Promised Me (Tu Es Foutu)". Generally, they're European summer holiday records that people drunkenly dance to while on vacation then purchase back home in the mistaken belief that they'll want to listen to them sober. Thankfully, this hideous piece of accordion music from Belgium was only a minor hit in Australia and I've never had the misfortune of listening to it before now. I made it through 20 seconds.
Number 45 "True Blue" by Madonna
Peak: number 5
As early as 1986, we'd already gotten used to expecting the unexpected from Madonna. Thirty years ago this week, she followed up one of her edgiest singles yet with one of her most old-fashioned. The title track of her third album, the retro-styled "True Blue" was a sugar-coated blast of pure pop after the topical angst of "Papa Don't Preach". Yet another huge hit for the platinum blonde singer — her ninth consecutive (and 10th overall) top 10 single — "True Blue" stayed at its peak for four weeks and ended 1986 among the year's 50 biggest singles.
The story was the same overseas, with the doo-wop-influenced love song reaching number 1 in the UK and number 3 in the US. Even so, it was later left off her first greatest hits release, The Immaculate Collection, and not performed in concert for nearly 30 years. Were it not also the name of one of her biggest albums — and, for me, the best pop album of all time — I'd say "True Blue" would've become even more forgotten about than it already is.
Number 43 "Calling" by Rose Tattoo
Peak: number 24
It was a time of change for Rose Tattoo in 1986. Having charted at the end of 1985 with their cover of "Born To Be Wild", the latest line-up of the hard rock group — a four-piece — released their first studio album through their new deal with Mushroom Records. "Calling" was the lead single from Beats From A Single Drum and it's a lot poppier than I remember the band ever being. Shock of all shocks, I actually quite like it. Following Angry Anderson's transition to a solo career — with a track that originally appeared on Beats From A Single Drum — "Calling" was released internationally in 1989 credited to him alone, while the album was rebranded as his solo debut.
Peak: number 7
Elton John, for one, is likely quite pleased this single is rarely heard these days — after all, it comes from an album he once described as the worst he's ever recorded. Released at the height of his drug-addicted, sexuality-denying '80s blowout, Leather Jackets is mostly forgettable, but lead single "Heartache All Over The World" remains a pretty catchy tune and is one of my favourites of Elton's from the decade (and one of my favourite songs from 1986). Australia seems to have shared my enthusiasm for the track, making it his biggest hit since "Nikita" and his final top 10 appearance of the decade. "Sacrifice", although released in late 1989, didn't reach number 7 until March 1990.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1986:
Next week: three one-hit wonders and one two-hit wonder, including a love theme from a daytime soap opera and a solo hit from the singer of the band that'd won the very first MTV Video Music Award for Video Of The Year.