This Week In 1989: April 2, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
Every so often, Australia takes an artist or song to their hearts that not many other countries in the world care for. Toni Childs, Sonia Dada, Andrew Ridgeley... there are countless examples of acts we've turned into chart stars while major territories like the UK and the US remained oblivious to their charms.
This week in 1989, a song debuted by an artist who had been successful around the world in the past (and would be again) - but while this new track hit the top 5 in Australia, it missed the mark elsewhere.
At number 1 this week in 1989, Madonna made way for Fine Young Cannibals' "She Drives Me Crazy" in the first week of what would become a revolving door at the top of the singles chart. But, more on that later.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Walk And Talk Like Angels" by Toni Childs
Peak: number 70
Released quickly after "Zimbabwe", which was still floundering a few places above, this final single from Union was unable to return Toni Childs to top 50 glory.
Number 97 "Confidence Man" by The Jeff Healey Band
Peak: number 84
This was the lead single See The Light, the debut album by the Canadian blues band led by Jeff Healey, who'd lost his sight as an infant. As we'll see, they did a lot better on the albums chart.
Number 94 "Trust" by Tall Tales & True
Peak: number 69
A few years later, a couple of singles from their second album would almost crack the top 50, but this single from the Sydney indie band's debut album, Shiver, fell further short.
Number 72 "Mega Mix" by Boney M
Peak: number 72
Not to be confused with a later medley that also made the top 100 in 1993, this mega mix featured three of the Frank Farian-produced band's hits (five on the 12" version above) and was taken from a remix album.
Peak: number 54
Over the past two weeks, we've seen near misses from Inner City ("Big Fun" and "Good Life"). Next, it was time for another of the UK's hottest dance acts to fall short of the ARIA top 50 with this remake of the classic Burt Bacharach and Hal David composition.
Made famous by Dionne Warwick and, shortly after, Aretha Franklin in 1967/68, the track (which was originally intended as a B-side for both artists) has been covered numerous times over the years, but this slowed down reworking was quite a radical change in style for the normally more chirpy tune.
Bomb The Bass' version, which dropped the "I" in the song title, was also a change of pace for the dance act. A markedly different release from their previous sample-heavy singles, it featured the vocals of Maureen Walsh, whose biggest solo success was with another cover: an update of Sister Sledge's "Thinking Of You" in 1990.
Although Bomb The Bass' Tim Simenon wouldn't find success in the Australian top 50 until early 1995 (with "Bug Powder Dust"), a track he'd had major involvement with was bulleting up the chart this week — Tim co-produced Neneh Cherry's "Buffalo Stance".
Number 43 "Now You're In Heaven" by Julian Lennon
Peak: number 5
In 1984, Julian had a pretty successful start to his music career, with a couple of singles from debut album Valotte charting well around the world. But, the son of late Beatle John Lennon didn't live up that early promise with second album The Secret Value Of Daydreaming receiving a critical savaging and flopping on global charts. Julian's third album, Mr Jordan, did just as badly... except in Australia, where it reached the top 20 and yielded this deserved top 5 hit. In this case, at least, Australia got it right.
With only one breaker and one new entry to look at on the singles chart, it's time again for my semi-regular look at the albums side of the chart. Here's what was happening on the LP/CD/MC side of the ARIA chart (as brought to you by Diet Coke instead of Coke) this week in 1989...
Battle of the compilations
Every time I take a look at the albums chart, it seems there's a various artists compilation or two at the summit of the top 50 - and this week in 1989, two rival albums shot to the top two positions. Hits Of '89 Volume 1 was the more successful of the two (despite Hits Now 89 debuting higher the previous week) and would spend five weeks at number 1, which was hardly surprising given it had five recent top 3 singles on its tracklisting. The best Hits Now 89 could do when it came to massive singles was Enya's "Orinoco Flow".
Madonna misses the top spot
Those two compilations were part of the reason Madonna didn't manage to top the chart - or even reach number 2 - with her fourth studio album, Like A Prayer, which had to settle for a number 4 debut and peak position. It was chart injustices like this, as well as Kick and Tracy Chapman also being denied a number 1 peak in 1988 thanks to a various artists album, that resulted in compilations (not including soundtracks) being given their own chart in July 1989.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Like A Prayer this week 25 years ago was probably the reason why the title track surrendered the number 1 slot on the singles chart (for the time being) with many record buyers choosing to snap up the full album in its first week of release. Like A Prayer would go on to spend 51 weeks in the top 50, a tally she wouldn't beat until 1998's Ray Of Light.
Roy Orbison dominates
The other reason why Madonna was kept from the top of the albums chart was due to the selling power of The Big O, who was involved in four separate entries on the albums top 50 this week 25 years ago. Roy's studio album (and recent chart-topper), Mystery Girl, and the Traveling Wilburys album took up position either side of Like A Prayer, while a J&B greatest hits collection, The Very Best Of Roy Orbison, popped back in to the top 40, one place below 1963's In Dreams.
Hit albums with no hit singles (yet)
Most of the albums in the top 50 had yielded hit singles, but that wasn't the case with a handful of LPs by male artists that featured on the chart. Spike by Elvis Costello and Lou Reed's New York would see their lead singles eventually find their way onto the ARIA singles chart, while albums by Billy Bragg and the aforementioned Jeff Healey Band didn't end up producing a top 50 hit - although the latter did include the original version of "Angel Eyes", a future chart-topper for Paulini.
Listen to this week's new entry on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: the singles chart roars back into action with seven new entries, including a future number 1 and the first of two songs with the same name to enter the top 50 within a fortnight. Plus, gold and platinum accreditations make their first appearance.