This Week In 1986: April 27, 1986
Michael Jackson turning into a zombie, Madonna kissing an African-American Jesus, a-ha's Morten Harket pulling a woman into an animated world... The '80s were full of memorable music videos with striking visuals. This week in 1986, a single with a film clip that boasted one of the decade's most iconic images debuted on the ARIA singles chart.
Not only was the video that featured Robert Palmer performing in front of a five-piece band of identically dressed women incredibly striking in and of itself, but it has been imitated and parodied ever since.
Another single with a visually memorable music video rose to the number 1 spot this week in 1986. Diana Ross and her multiple costume changes took "Chain Reaction" to the top for the first of a three-week run.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "System Addict" by Five Star
Peak: number 66
Despite a string of hits in Britain (many of which made my personal year-end charts for 1986, 1987 and 1988), this UK number 3 was the only top 100 entry for the Pearson siblings in Australia.
Number 88 "Another Night" by Aretha Franklin
Peak: number 67
It was another solid single from Who's Zoomin' Who, but "Another Night" couldn't follow the three previous cuts from the album into the ARIA top 50.
Peak: number 59
It poked its head inside the top 100 in October 1985 but Geisha's second single received a new lease of life in the wake of their top 50 debut with "Kabuki" earlier in 1986. Unfortunately, "Rainy Day" still couldn't quite manage to reach the top 50, but their biggest singles success was only a few short months away. There's a link to the music video in the song title above and an audio clip below.
Number 49 "Absolutely" by Eurogliders
Peak: number 29
It almost looked like this fourth single from and title track of Eurogliders' Absolutely album wasn't ever going to make the top 50, having spent the previous four weeks stuck in the 50s, but the bouncy track ended up becoming another top 30 hit for the band.
Peak: number 46
They were really sticking with this Western theme, weren't they? Hot on the (cowboy boot) heels of "Injun Joe", Sydney band The Johnnys landed a second top 50 hit with another fusion of country and pub rock. "...Showdown", however, wasn't as good a song, and it performed accordingly.
Number 43 "Addicted To Love" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 1
Supergroup The Power Station might've been a runaway success in 1985, but vocalist Robert Palmer jumped ship early on to return to his solo career. Turned out to be a wise move. Having never reached higher than number 13 on the Australian chart - with 1979's "Doctor Doctor (Bad Case Of Loving You)" - Robert found himself with a number 1 hit in the form of this third single from his 1985 album, Riptide.
Without a doubt, a huge factor in the success of "Addicted To Love" was its music video. A simple enough concept, it featured a suited Robert Palmer giving a pretty straightforward performance of the song direct to camera. But, behind him, was a band of female clones - all dressed and made up the same, and pouting like their lives depended on it. Given they were models, I guess they did.
What the women weren't able to do was play their instruments, with each moving to their own beat and out of sync with the others. The distinctive concept would be revisited by Robert in the clips for subsequent singles "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On" and "Simply Irresistible", while everyone from "Weird Al" Yankovic to Shania Twain parodied the video in the ensuing decades.
Fun fact: "Addicted To Love" was originally recorded as a duet between Robert and Chaka Khan, but her record company blocked the release of that version, resulting in Robert having to go it alone. It didn't turn out so bad for him, with the song also reaching number 1 in the US and number 5 in the UK.
Number 42 "I Do What I Do" by John Taylor
Peak: number 35
Here's one of Robert's bandmates from The Power Station: bassist John Taylor with his first solo project. The theme to erotic drama 9½ Weeks, "I Do What I Do" saw the Duran Duran member try his hand at singing for the first time - and it wasn't bad at all, even if it did get nominated for a Razzie. The film song that was deemed worse? "Love Or Money" by Prince, from Under The Cherry Moon. "I Do What I Do" was the only solo effort released by John at the time, although more tracks from the recording sessions surfaced in 1999 while he was on a five-year break from Duran Duran - a period of time in which he released six studio albums as well as a handful of live albums and EPs.
Number 29 "Manic Monday" by The Bangles
Peak: number 3
Here's one of Prince's more successful compositions, although at the time it was released under the pseudonym Christopher (the name of his character from Under The Cherry Moon). The first hit single for The Bangles, "Manic Monday" had almost found its way onto Apollonia 6's self-titled album in 1984 but ended up with the girl band and became the lead single from their second album, Different Light. It did the trick, and transformed the four-piece into chart stars overnight. "Manic Monday" spent eight weeks in the Australian top 5, winding up as the year's 16th biggest single. In the US, the song did one better, peaking at number 2 and being denied the top spot by another Prince composition: "Kiss".
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1986:
Next week: the birth of Comic Relief with a charity cover version of a '50s classic, plus three big ballads - two I love and one that puts me to sleep.