This Week In 1980: November 2, 1980
Australia was living in a time warp this week in 1980, with two of the three new entries on the top 50 at least a year old. In one case, the recording dated back to 1975.
Proving yet again that sometimes the difference between a flop and a hit is only a matter of timing, both singles would go all the way to the top 10.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Walk The Night" by Skatt Bros.
Peak: number 95
Despite not making the top 10, "Life At The Outpost" was proving to be an incredibly resilient hit. The follow-up? Not so much.
Number 98 "Collingwood Football Club Song (Goodbye Dolly Gray)" by Jack Thompson
Peak: number 98
Not being that well versed in football songs — what, you hadn't noticed? — I can't be sure if this single is the same as this song performed by the Australian actor in The Club.
Number 97 "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" by A La Carte
Peak: number 97
Manfred Mann had turned the song originally recorded by The Exciters into a number 2 hit in 1964, but Australia had little time for this by-the-numbers disco remake by a girl group with an ever-changing line-up.
Peak: number 60
He was best known as frontman of Booker T & The MGs, who had a couple of number 10 hits in the late '60s, while she reached number 6 in 1977 with "(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher/I Don't Want To Talk About It", but the US stars couldn't muster much enthusiasm for this soulful duet.
Number 91 "On The Road Again" by Willie Nelson
Peak: number 64
For some reason I thought this song came out much earlier than 1980 — and was a much bigger hit. Written about the life of a touring musician, it was taken from the movie Honeysuckle Rose, in which Willie Nelson also starred.
Number 78 "Bi-Coastal" by Peter Allen
Peak: number 78
If "I Still Call Australia Home" couldn't make the top 50, there was no chance for this follow-up, on face value about an LA-NY lifestyle, but hiding another meaning involving not wanting to "pick one".
Number 50 "Johnny And Mary" by Robert Palmer
Peak: number 20
The only genuinely new entry this week in 1980 was the latest single by the late Robert Palmer, who would have a very profitable time on the Australian chart during the '80s. Having started his top 50 career in mid-1979 with number 13 hit "Bad Case Of Lovin' You (Doctor, Doctor)", the British singer found himself back in the top 20 with this lead single from sixth album Clues, which saw him inject a little new wave beat into his music.
Peak: number 3
The song had originated in 1973 stage show The Rocky Horror Show, while this recording dated back to the 1975 soundtrack of the feature film adaptation, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But, just like the movie it was taken from, which developed a cult following thanks to midnight screenings in the years after its release, "The Time Warp" took its time to become a mainstream phenomenon. From what I can work out, the single of "The Time Warp" from the movie was first released in Australia in 1978, shortly after an Australian cast recording reached number 85 on the chart. Two years later, the nation was finally ready to jump to the left and send the dance routine-themed tune into the top 10... for 15 weeks, five of those spent at number 3. Proof that The Rocky Horror Picture Show has never really gone away: "The Time Warp" made a brief return to the top 100 in 1991.
Number 39 "Feels Like I'm In Love" by Kelly Marie
Peak: number 7
Although not as old as "The Time Warp", this disco classic from Scottish singer Kelly Marie was first released in the UK in mid-1979 before finally taking off in August 1980 and eventually topping the chart there. Proof that disco wouldn't go out without a fight, "Feels Like I'm In Love" — and its "boom, boom" beats — was also a big success locally. But unlike in the UK, Kelly had been in the Australian top 10 before, with 1978's "Make Love To Me". With no other top 50 appearances to her name, she is the very definition of a two-hit wonder.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):
Next week: the greatest Australian band of the 1980s arrives on the chart, while one of the biggest groups in the world returns with a new album.