This Week In 1985: June 2, 1985
They'd been on the market for a couple of years, and by 1985, compact discs were starting to show signs of becoming the music industry powerhouse they'd go on to be in later years. A separate CD chart was commenced to track the biggest sellers - and one album released in 1985 would prove to be a landmark release for the new format.
In fact, that album debuted at the top of the albums chart this week in 1985 - and held that position for a massive 34 non-consecutive weeks - while the first single released from it also appeared on the top 50.
Also racking up an impressive run atop the chart was the single still at number 1 this week in 1985. "We Are The World" spent its eighth week on top, equalling the number of weeks registered in the '80s until that point by "I Just Called To Say I Love You", "Shaddap You Face" and "I Got You".
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Walking With A Weight" by The Promise
Peak: number 61
The Promise are one of those Aussie bands from the '80s that I remember being talked of at the time but I've never actually heard any of their songs until now. This third single was their best chart placing, beating the number 94 peak of debut "Heart To Sell" in late 1984.
Peak: number 96
A new (incredibly drippy) track taken from the first solo best of album by Paul Simon's partner in song. "Sometimes..." was written by Mike Batt, the man behind the just-as-slushy "Bright Eyes".
Number 94 "Rage To Love" by Kim Wilde
Peak: number 94
After an impressive start to her career (four top 10 singles in 1981-82), the hits had dried up for Kim Wilde - and this rockabilly-influenced third single from Teases & Dares didn't remedy that.
Number 86 "Happy People" by F.A.B.
Peak: number 54
Another Australian band that didn't get off the ground - this time, an Adelaide trio with their debut single. According to the YouTube video, "Happy People" was produced by Split Enz's Eddie Rayner. Singer Stuart Day now plays with a group called The Beggars.
Number 50 "Say You're Wrong" by Julian Lennon
Peak: number 31
His ballad second single - the title track of the Valotte album - had been given the cold shoulder by Australian fans, but Julian Lennon returned to the top 50 with this third single, which harked back to the deceptively cheery sound of debut hit "Too Late For Goodbyes". For some reason, when I think of the video to "Too Late For Goodbyes", I picture Julian wandering around in the snow as trains go by - but that's actually the clip for this song. Not sure why I mix them up. Julian wouldn't revisit the top 50 until 1989 since the fourth single from Valotte, "Jesse", flopped, and nothing from his second album, The Secret Value Of Daydreaming, generated much interest.
Number 38 "So Far Away" by Dire Straits
Peak: number 22
There would be much bigger singles from the all-conquering Brothers In Arms - including, bizarrely, the song on the B-side of this single - but gentle rock track "So Far Away" launched what would go on to be the number 1 album for 1985 in Australia (and the number 2 album for 1986).
The fifth studio set by the British band, Brothers In Arms also ended the '80s as the decade's biggest compact disc - with the CD version of the title outselling its vinyl counterpart, which had slightly different versions of most of the tracks due to discrepancies in format running times.
So why the fervour? Well, Dire Straits were a pretty huge band by 1985 - having topped the Australian albums chart twice already (with their debut self-titled album in 1978 and 1982's Love Over Gold) and seen their three other LPs hit the top 10. They'd also had a couple of major singles, in the form of "Sultans Of Swing" (number 6) and "Twisting By The Pool" (number 2), so there was a large audience ready for new music.
Certainly, Brothers In Arms was the sound of a band at the top of its game - but the fact that it was targetted specifically at the CD market made it an even more attractive prospect to audiophiles and the demographic Dire Straits became inextricably linked with: yuppies, who'd been quick to jump on the new technology with all that disposable income burning a hole in the pockets of their well-tailored suits. And with a limited amount of CD titles available, the Dire Straits album found its way into most homes with a player.
"So Far Away" didn't make the same kind of impact on the singles chart - even with the promotion of B-side "Walk Of Life" (which received its own full single release in 1986) to double A-side status in July. That would all change with the next track to be lifted from the album and its groundbreaking music video both becoming big hits.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:
Next week: two top 20 debuts by unconventional singles, plus another two 80s classics arrive - and they're both songs people either love or hate. For me, it's one of each.