This Week In 1980: September 28, 1980
I tend to favour female singers over male singers, especially in more recent decades. But there were a number of great male performers in the '80s, including the man who arrived on the Australian singles chart with his biggest hit this week in 1980.
At the time, I was only familiar with a couple of his key releases, so when I bought a greatest hits collection of his some years later, I expected it to be like many best ofs in my collection — something I only own for two or three songs. Turns out I discovered many more excellent tracks from his back catalogue.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Sartorial Eloquence" by Elton John
Peak: number 91
I always thought this track had an odd title, which would explain it having the subtitle "Don't You Want To Play This Game No More". Whatever it was called, it brought Elton's chart career crashing right back down after his top 10 return, "Little Jeannie".
Number 99 "You're The One" by Kim Hart
Peak: number 89
Also falling way short of her previous single's performance, this slow jam follow-up to "Love At First Night" didn't provide New Zealand's Kim Hart with another hit.
Number 83 "Freedom Of Choice" by Devo
Peak: number 71
They were about nine months away from really exploding in Australia, but for the time being, Devo returned to the top 100 for a second time with the title track of their third album.
Number 50 "Give Me The Night" by George Benson
Peak: number 10
He'd been playing music and recording professionally for decades, but the most George Benson had to show for it in Australia was his number 23 version of "On Broadway" and the accompanying top 5 live album, Weekend In L.A. from 1978. That changed in 1980 as George went pop with the Quincy Jones-produced Give Me The Night album. The lead single, written by Rod Temperton (also responsible for Michael Jackson's "Rock With You"), was an irresistible slice of funk that put George in the top 10 locally and also gave him his highest charting single in the US. More excellent songs were to follow throughout the decade — including "Lady Love Me (One More Time)" and "20/20" — but none achieved the level of success that "Give Me The Night" did.
Peak: number 40
From a male artist I wish had done better in Australia, we move to the first of two Australian rock bands with huge careers. That said, this third single from East, although a crowd pleaser, was not that big a chart hit on account of the album having been lodged firmly in the top 3 since June, during which time it had registered eight non-consecutive weeks at number 2. On the flip side of "My Baby" was "Misfits" which was released in its own right in 1991 to promote greatest hits album Chisel.
Number 48 "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC
Peak: number 8
While Cold Chisel were coming off the back of a number 8 hit, AC/DC achieved one — their first top 10 single in four years — with this lead single from Back In Black. The band's first release with new vocalist Brian Johnson following the death of previous singer Bon Scott in February 1980, it ushered in a new era for AC/DC, not just in terms of personnel but also in terms of chart success and record sales. They would once again make regular visits to the top 10 of the Australian singles chart from hereon in, while Back In Black would go on to become one of the highest-selling albums of all time worldwide. If this were a rock music blog, I could probably spend a lot of time talking about what a significant song this was in music history. It's not (a rock blog, that is), so I won't.
Number 46 "Late In The Evening" by Paul Simon
Peak: number 34
Besides his debut solo hit, 1972's "Mother And Child Reunion", which reached number 5 in Australia, Paul Simon tended to hover around the 30s when he made the top 50. And true to form, he returned to that section of the chart with this lead single from One-Trick Pony, his first album in five years. A song I wasn't familiar with until now, "Late In The Evening" wouldn't have sounded out of place on 1986's Graceland — the album that would give Paul his next major hit.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):
Next week: an American girl group returns to the chart with the first of a string of big hits they'd enjoy throughout the decade.