This Week In 1985: June 30, 1985
When people talk about Madonna's image changes, they're usually referring to how she'd routinely go from blonde to brunette and back again. But there's been another way in which the Queen of Pop has kept fans on their toes - and that's by changing her sound.
This week in 1985, Madonna debuted on the Australian top 50 with a song that sounded like none of her previous singles. Not only that but it became her second single in three weeks to fly into the top 20 on its way to number 1, signalling the fact that she'd be able to have a more diverse musical output than many might have expected.
As well as landing the week's highest new entry, Madonna also ascended to the number 1 spot with that earlier single, "Angel", which now had "Into The Groove" officially noted as its double A-side.
Off The Chart
Number 83 "Little By Little" by Robert Plant
Peak: number 83
Fresh off his success as part of The Honeydrippers, Robert Plant issued his third studio album, Shaken 'n' Stirred, but this lead single did not follow "Sea Of Love" up the chart. Easy to see why.
Number 50 "Paisley Park" by Prince
Peak: number 38
Prince had enjoyed a pretty good previous couple of years on the ARIA charts, with four consecutive top 10 singles between 1983-84 and his first number 1 album thanks to the soundtrack to Purple Rain. Although later singles from Purple Rain were chart failures, anticipation for a brand new song from a new studio album would've been higher than at most other points in the diminutive singer's career. So it's a little odd that Australia (following the UK's lead) released "Paisley Park" as the first single from Around The World In A Day instead of going with the US choice, "Raspberry Beret", which would be the follow-up here. Sharing its name with Prince's recently launched record label and his recording studios just outside Minneapolis, "Paisley Park" gave an indication of what to expect from the psychedelically influenced album (which sat just inside this week's top 20) but is one of The Artist Eventually To Be Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince's less memorable singles.
Number 44 "Slave To Love" by Bryan Ferry
Peak: number 29
Between 1972 and 1982, Bryan Ferry had maintained a release schedule that Rihanna would be proud of, churning out eight studio albums with Roxy Music as well as five solo albums - making the fact that there'd been no new music featuring Bryan's smooth-as-silk vocals for three years pretty remarkable. Order was restored in 1985 with the release of Boys And Girls and lead single "Slave To Love", a lush and sophisticated piece of pop by the most stylish man in music. The only thing wrong with this song, which sounds as good today as it did in 1985, is that it didn't do better on the ARIA chart.
Number 37 "Get It On" by The Power Station
Peak: number 8
Next up, it's a band whose singer went to the Bryan Ferry school of sartorial elegance. Fronted by the sharp-suited Robert Palmer, supergroup The Power Station returned to the chart with their cover of the 1971 UK chart-topper (and Australian number 14) from T. Rex. There seems to be some confusion between the single and album as to whether this remake was called "Get It On" or "Get It On (Bang A Gong)", but there was no mistaking that this was a second straight smash for the Duran Duran side-project. In fact, by reaching the top 10 for a second time (but landing no further top 50 hits), The Power Station joined a select group of two-hit wonders on the ARIA chart.
Number 16 "Crazy For You" by Madonna
Peak: number 1
Proving the Australian public - especially the people of Victoria - couldn't get enough of Madonna in 1985, this brand new offering from the soundtrack to forgotten '80s film Vision Quest became an instant top 20 smash just three weeks after "Angel/Into The Groove" achieved the same chart milestone. It also became Madonna's first ballad to hit the chart.
Almost not released as a single due to concerns by Warner Bros that "Crazy For You" would deflect attention away from her current studio album, the movie love theme became one of five singles Madonna released in 1985 in Australia - and Like A Virgin (which it did not appear on) still managed to clock up 55 weeks inside the top 50 by the end of the year.
Although it sounded nothing like "Into The Groove" (which, let's face it, was the main reason people were buying "Angel"), "Crazy For You" did share one thing in common with her other concurrent hit - it featured in a movie in which Madonna also appeared. Admittedly, her role in Vision Quest,which was retitled as Crazy For You in Australia, wasn't that much of a stretch - she played a singer in a bar (as seen in the music video).
As it turned out, the very fact that "Crazy For You" didn't bear any resemblance to her previous singles worked in its favour. Not only did it show that the flood of Madonna singles to hit the chart were all unique, it established the fact that she was not to be pigeonholed into a specific music style. As Madonna's fame soared, "Crazy For You" became touted as evidence that she could "actually sing", contrary to the claims of her detractors.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1985:
Next week: a single disowned by its singer for decades, a second hit for a duo that debuted just eight weeks earlier and the vocalist of one of the previous decade's biggest bands starts his solo career in earnest.