This Week In 1989: July 30, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
As I sat down to write this week's look back at the ARIA chart from 1989, I realised that all seven songs to feature in this post are by groups of one sort or another. It made me think about the types of artists on the top 50 that year - was I imagining it or were there more groups on the chart in the '80s than today?
A quick look at today's singles chart shows 14 songs by duos or groups in the top 50 (three by 5 Seconds Of Summer). What about on the top 50 from this week in 1989? No less than 21 entries were by groups. So I wasn't just imagining it. Of the seven groups we'll discuss, I liked four and hated three - in that order.
Groups also held down the top two positions on the top 50 this week in 1989 - Roxette spent a fifth week at number 1 with "The Look", while New Kids On The Block closed in with "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" moving into the runners-up position.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "World In Motion" by Jackson Browne
Peak: number 99
Just like the first two singles from his previous studio album, this lead single and title track from Jackson Browne's ninth album puttered out in the lower reaches of the top 100.
Number 97 "Under The God" by Tin Machine
Peak: number 97
I remember this side project from David Bowie's solo career receiving a huge amount of attention at the time, but this debut single from the two-album band didn't live up to the hype.
Number 86 "Edie (Ciao Baby)" by The Cult
Peak: number 77
"Fire Woman" had given the British band their first hit in Australia, but this follow-up named after actress Edie Sedgwick, who'd starred in the film Ciao! Manhattan, didn't give them a second.
Number 79 "To Love Me" by 1927
Peak: number 70
After four consecutive top 15 hits, the 1927 dream run came to a crashing halt with this fifth single - hardly surprising given ...ish had spent seven straight months in the albums top 15 and was still at number 23 this week.
Number 78 "Fergus Sings The Blues" by Deacon Blue
Peak: number 69
It's a shame Australia really only embraced one song by Deacon Blue. This third single from When The World Knows Your Name - another big hit for them in the UK - was always my favourite of theirs.
Single Of The Week
Peak: number 94
After two serious - and kind of dreary - singles, Simple Minds chose a piece of stadium rock for the third release from Street Fighting Years. Given its peak position and the fact that the Scottish band had moved away from the sound I'd enjoyed earlier in the decade, I didn't pay any attention to "Kick It In" at the time - and listening to it now, it's still not a patch on earlier tracks like "Sanctify Yourself", "Alive And Kicking" and, of course, "Don't You (Forget About Me)". But, it's better than "Belfast Child".
Peak: number 53
With the more politically correct name of his backing band (formerly The Coloured Girls) now also used in Australia, Paul Kelly surprisingly missed the top 50 with this first taste of his So Much Water So Close To Home album. It was especially unusual since, although Paul wasn't necessarily a singles act, the lead singles of his previous two albums had both managed a top 15 placement - and "Sweet Guy" was almost as good as "Before Too Long" and "To Her Door". As it turned out, So Much Water... became Paul's highest charting album up until that point - and the first to crack the top 10.
Peak: number 51
Originally released in 1983, when it peaked at number 6 in Australia, "Send Me An Angel" is one of those songs that has been resurrected time and time again for one reason or another. In 1989, the reason was to promote a greatest hits album that was compiled despite the fact Real Life had only released two-and-a-half studio albums. A new video was filmed for Australia (which you can watch below), while in the States, a version of the original clip with departed band member Richard Zatorski edited out was used. Here, "Send Me An Angel '89" holds the dubious honour of spending three weeks at number 51, but in America, the remix actually improved slightly on the performance of the original, peaking three places higher at number 26.
Peak: number 45
Dead Or Alive really weren't having much luck at this point of their career, but their pitiful Australian chart positions were actually higher than back home in the UK, where "Come Home With Me Baby" became their fourth single in a row to peak outside the top 60. I was still a fan of the group and actually thought this single was their best since mega-hit "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)", but it would be the final time we'd see them on the ARIA top 50 with a new track.
Number 41 "Second Chance" by 38 Special
Peak: number 14
Onto the bands I wasn't a fan of... This lot had been around since the mid-'70s and landing Billboard Hot 100 hits since 1980, but this MOR rock ballad was their first single to chart in Australia. "Second Chance" was also their biggest US single - their only top 10 entry - and only ended up being recorded after original lead singer Don Barnes left the group, since he'd turned his nose up at an early version of the song years before. Since Don rejoined the group in the early '90s and 38 Special haven't scored any hits since but are still around today, I wonder how he feels about having to sing it now.
Number 38 "The Doctor" by The Doobie Brothers
Peak: number 38
Here's another relic from the '70s, but in this case, it was a band that'd charted in Australia before - although classics like "Listen To The Music" (number 50) and "Long Train Runnin'" (number 58) failed to match their US success here. The Doobie Brothers' two American number 1s, "Black Water" (number 22) and "What A Fool Believes" (number 12), did perform better in Australia and so there would have been a number of fans eagerly awaiting the band's first studio album since 1980's One Step Closer and this lead single. Clearly that number wasn't very high since both "The Doctor" (which to my ears sounded quite dated even at the time) and Cycles only just dented the ARIA top 50.
Peak: number 28
He'd started off telling us he "Don't Need Love", but things had changed by the time this fourth single came around. Something else that was different with "Lookin' For Love" was that it became the band's first single to miss the top 10 - and it did so by some considerable margin. Still, Johnny and co. did have a hit album on their hands, so it was only to be expected that their singles would run out of steam. That didn't stop the record company releasing a fifth single from Johnny Diesel & The Injectors - but the band's cover of blues standard "Since I Fell For You" didn't even make the top 50 when it was released later in the year.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: 1989's most frequently used riff shows up in yet another new entry, while 1988's hottest teen sensations return (down a member).