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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1989: July 2, 1989

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.

It was a bit of weird week on the ARIA top 50 singles chart this week in 1989. There were only a handful of new entries (another conservation-themed song, a charity record and a minor hit by an Australian artist), none of which stayed on the chart for very long at all. But, over on the albums top 50, there were some major developments...

Before we get to the albums and the debuting singles, there was another new singles chart-topper as Roxette's "The Look" vaulted from number 4 to number 1 (swapping places with "Eternal Flame"). For the first time in months there would be some stability at top, with "The Look" going on to spend six straight weeks at number 1. Meanwhile, with The Belle Stars moving up two places, it was an all-female (except for Per from Roxette) top 7.

Off The Chart

Number 84 "I Want Your Body" by De Mont

Peak: number 84

Hopes would have been higher for this debut single by the Sydney hard rock band, given the major label push they would've received and how commercial a song it is. 

Number 82 "Moonlight On Water" by Kevin Raleigh

Peak: number 81

Takes from his post-Michael Stanley Band solo album, this track, subtitled "Sex On The Beach", was co-written by Steve "Physical" Kipner and covered by Laura Branigan a year later.

Number 72 "Don't Be Cruel" by Bobby Brown

Peak: number 72

It had made sense to lead with "My Prerogative" in Australia, but the top 40 success of Don't Be Cruel's second single didn't have the desired knock-on effect on this belatedly released title track, which had given the ex-New Edition singer his first top 10 hit in the US in 1988.

New Entries

Number 50 "Something Special" by Clive Young

Peak: number 50

This song first turned up as a breaker way back on the chart dated May 7 and it looked like it was never going to actually make it into the top 50. After two months, it finally did - but only just, spending a solitary week at number 50 for the Australian singer/songwriter. Not to be confused with the elderly long distance runner Cliff Young, who was famous earlier in the decade, Clive continued to release records into the early '90s before trading that in for life as a songwriter, producer and jingle writer.

Number 45 "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey" by The Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden and Stock Aitken Waterman

Peak: number 45

On April 15, 1989, during a soccer match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, 95 supporters lost their lives due to overcrowding and an ensuing human crush. A further victim would pass away as a result of their injuries in 1993.

As recently as 2012, legal proceedings were being undertaken to determine the reason for the tragedy - but a more immediate response came on May 8, 1989, when this charity record was released to raise money for those affected by the incident.

Since the disaster took place in an area of the stadium allocated to Liverpool fans, producers Stock Aitken Waterman (who'd also been behind the all-star remake of "Let It Be" following the Zeebrugge Ferry disaster) gathered prominent artists from Liverpool to record a cover of one of the region's best known songs, Gerry & The Pacemakers' "Ferry 'Cross The Mersey".

The new recording featured the song's writer Gerry Marsden, Beatle Paul McCartney, ex-Frankie Goes To Hollywood singer Holly Johnson and pop group The Christians, whose biggest UK hit had been another charity cover version, "Harvest For The World", the previous year. The single spent three weeks at number 1 in the UK, but only managed two non-consecutive weeks in the ARIA top 50. 

Number 43 "If A Tree Falls" by Bruce Cockburn

Peak: number 41

Canadian performer Bruce Cockburn had been releasing music since 1970, but got quite political in the second half of the '80s, starting with his 1984 single, "If I Had A Rocket Launcher", which became his second and final US top 100 hit. By 1989, he was a regular at benefit concerts, and his music increasingly touched on human rights and environmental issues. This, his only Australian top 50 hit, fell into the latter category - and, as we saw last week, was one of a batch of songs finding a small but receptive audience in Australia at the time.

Compilations Chart

The last time I flipped the ARIA chart over for a look at the albums chart, two various artists compilations (and Roy Orbison) kept Madonna's Like A Prayer off the number 1 spot. To remedy this and other chart anomalies (a number 2 peak for Madge would have been much better than a number 4), ARIA decided to introduce a dedicated compilations chart - and this week in 1989, the first compilations top 5 made its appearance on the chart printout. Let's look at the five albums in the first chart...

Hits Of '89 Volume 1 and Volume 2

Volume 1 was number 1 on the main top 50 last time I looked at the albums chart and it was still at number 43 after 14 weeks last week. In the first week of the compilations chart, it held down the number 3 position.

Meanwhile, Volume 2, which featured recent hits by Paul Norton, Kate Ceberano and Julian Lennon as well as this week's number 1 single from Roxette, had debuted at number 37 on the main top 50 the previous week and this week was the very first compilations chart number 1. Had compilations still been eligible for the regular top 50, would Volume 2 have sold enough to keep the Beaches soundtrack off number 1? We'll never know - but with a tracklisting that strong, I imagine there's a good chance it would have.

Hits Now '89 and Hits Now '89 Volume Two

As I mentioned last time, Hits Now '89 didn't have anywhere near as good a tracklisting as Hits Of '89 Volume 1.  Even so, it had peaked at number 2 and, the week before the compilations chart began, had re-entered the top 50 at number 49 for a 13th week on the chart. This week, it rounded out the compilations chart at number 5.

Meanwhile, Hits Now '89 Volume Two had moved from number 7 to number 4 in its second week on the main top 50 the previous week, and held down the number 2 spot on the first compilations chart. This time, the Warner/CBS/Polygram compilation contained much bigger songs, including recent chart-toppers by Mike + The Mechanics, The Bangles and Fine Young Cannibals, as well as hits by Collette and Daryl Braithwaite.

Hot Metal

The final various artists album in the inaugural compilations top 5 - at number 4 - was this hard rock collection, which the previous week was at number 29 in its sixth week on the top 50, after peaking at number 6. Featuring chart hits by Bon Jovi, Poison and Guns 'n' Roses, Hot Metal also included songs by big American acts yet to make an impression here - like Ratt, Lita Ford and Cinderella, plus some Aerosmith and Ozzy Osbourne for good measure.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:

Next week: the return of one of the biggest artists of the decade, plus the debut of Molly Meldum's boy band. I'm also working on my posts for one-hit wonders of the '90s, so expect those soon, too.

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