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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1980: April 27, 1980

When is a one-hit wonder not a one-hit wonder? When they actually had a second huge hit that often gets forgetten about.

Rockabilly star Rocky Burnette had two of 1980's biggest songs

This week in 1980, a rockabilly singer often mistakenly referred to as a one-hit wonder debuted on the Australian singles chart with the first of his two top 10 hits. Granted, his first hit was significantly bigger, reaching number 1 and overshadowing his also successful follow-up.

This week in 1980, Split Enz's "I Got You" was overshadowing all other songs as it remained at number 1 for a second week. 

Off The Chart

Number 99 "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" by Bonnie Pointer

Peak: number 52

"Heaven Must Have Sent You" was still inside the top 40, but Bonnie Pointer's next disco cover version (of the Four Tops 1965 classic) didn't quite make the top 50.

Number 96 "Back On My Feet Again" by The Babys

Peak: number 92

Their previous two albums had yielded major hits, but this single from Union Jacks wound up at the other extreme of the top 100 for the band fronted by John Waite.

Number 88 "Cruisin'" by Smokey Robinson

Peak: number 70

Despite being a big hit in the US (and topping the chart in New Zealand), this solo slow jam by the former Miracles singer wouldn't become a hit in Australia until it was covered by Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis for the film Duets

New Entries

Number 47 "You May Be Right" by Billy Joel

Peak: number 28

I grew up on the music of Billy Joel, but I have to say this track isn't one of my favourites. It did, however, bring him back to the top 50 for the first time since "My Life" in 1978. (Surprisingly, "Honesty" and "Big Shot" both missed the top 50.) Taken from Billy's seventh album, Glass Houses, "You May Be Right" sees the Piano Man rocking out more than he'd been known to do, with critics at the time seeing it as a reaction to the rise of punk and new wave.

Number 46 "The Rose" by Bette Midler

Peak: number 6

At the softer end of the musical spectrum, Bette Midler, who was still on the top 50 with "My Knight In Black Leather", swapped disco for torch song with the title track from her 1979 film The Rose. Already recorded by its songwriter Amanda McBroom, who provided harmonies on Bette's version, "The Rose" became the biggest hit of the singer/actress's career up until this point. The song was remixed for single release, while the version heard in the film and on the soundtrack is the one below.

Number 43 "Carmilla" by Jon English

Peak: number 27

Also changing pace for his latest single was Jon English, who followed up almost top 10 hit "Hot Town" with this self-penned mid-tempo tune. Both songs were included on his recently released top 20 album Calm Before The Storm.

Number 42 "Tired Of Toein' The Line" by Rocky Burnette

Peak: number 1

With Queen and Major Matchbox already on the top 50, rockabilly was really shaping up to be one of 1980's biggest musical trends. And like "Crazy Little Thing Called Love", this breakthrough hit for American singer Rocky Burnette (real name: Jonathan) went all the way to number 1. Rocky was a second generation rockabilly musician - his father, Johnny Burnette had a string of hits in the early 1960s, including number 6 single "You're Sixteen". And this would not be the last we'd see of Junior on the Australian chart.

Number 35 "Skinny Girls" by Alan O'Day

Peak: number 11

Doing his bit to contribute to body dysmorphia, American singer-songwriter Alan O'Day returned to the Australian chart for a second and final time. Having just made the top 10 with 1977's number 9 hit "Undercover Angel", he narrowly missed it this time with this (presumably) tongue-in-cheek ode to thin chicks. When his solo career slowed down, Alan went back to writing for other projects, and was responsible for dozens of songs heard in 1980s cartoon series Muppet Babies.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: one of those bands that named all their albums after themselves (with different numbers to indicate which album it was), plus new hits from Donna Summer and Rupert Holmes.

Back to: Apr 20, 1980 <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: May 4, 1980

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