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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1980: March 30, 1980

Every so often, a band comes along that is unlike any other. Like this week in 1980, when a new wave group from the US broke into the Australian singles chart with a song that was once heard, never forgotten.

The B-52's brought crustaceans and big hair to the top 50

The track would be one of two top 10 hits they achieved in Australia - almost a decade apart. And while the second of those got to number 1, their breakthrough hit came pretty close.

At number 1 this week in 1980, "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen wasn't about to give up the top spot for anyone - certainly not Colleen Hewett, who was stuck at number 2 for a fifth week with "Dreaming My Dreams With You".

Off The Chart

Number 100 "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by Dollar

Peak: number 75

They enjoyed five top 10 hits in the UK - including with this Beatles cover - but the duo comprised of Thereza Bazar and David Van Day only ever had two top 40 hits locally, both of which were behind them by this stage.

Number 98 "Rosie" by Joan Armatrading

Peak: number 52

This reggae-influenced song, which was also the lead track of the How Cruel EP, was locked in the 50s for 10 long weeks. Joan Armatrading would have more luck later in the year.

Number 95 "Wait For Me" by Daryl Hall & John Oates

Peak: number 81

Wait being the operative word - the duo, who had reached number 6 in 1977 with "Rich Girl', wouldn't return to the Australian top 10 until the final weeks of 1982. "Wait For Me" was taken from eighth album X-Static

Number 74 "Fire Lake" by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

Peak: number 57

Almost a decade in the making, this song that Bob Seger had begun writing in 1971, was issued as the lead single from his 11th album, Against The Wind

New Entries

Number 50 "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg

Peak: number 41

A hugely successful artist in America, Dan Fogelberg only paid one visit to the Australian top 50 - with this US number 2 ballad that puts the soft in soft rock. I'm not convinced I've ever heard "Longer" before, but by the end of listening to it just now, it felt incredibly familiar. I also felt like a nap, such is its lullabye tendencies.

Number 48 "Rock Lobster" by The B-52's

Peak: number 3

Meanwhile, I defy anyone to try and go to sleep to this racket - and I mean that as a compliment. A noisy, energetic, wholly original song, it was the chart breakthrough for The B-52's, almost two years after its original US release in a different version. This release was an edit of the version found on the band's self-titled debut album. Although beaten onto the top 100 by "Planet Clare", which we'll see in the top 50 next week, "Rock Lobster" quickly outpaced it, rocketing all the way to number 3. With its quirky lyrics, inspired by an Atlanta nightclub, and odd animal-sounding backing vocals, inspired by the work of Yoko One, it was unlike anything else around and quickly turned the five-piece into favourites in Australia.

Number 47 "Day Trip To Bangor (Didn't We Have A Lovely Time)" by Duffy's Band

Peak: number 47

As if one version of this horrendous tune wasn't bad enough. Joining the Fiddler's Dram original, which sat at number 10 this week, was this Australian release about which I know nothing. And to be honest, I don't care to.

Number 46 "Total Control" by The Motels

Peak: number 7

Ah, this is much better. One of those American acts who connected with Australian audiences before they broke through at home - thanks in no small part to Molly Meldrum and Countdown - The Motels had a hit here with this single from debut album Motels two years before they reached the US top 10 (with a different song). Not my favourite track by the band, who are among my favourite American bands of the decade, "Total Control" is one of those understated tracks that creeps up on you, and creep it did, gradually building up steam all the way to number 7. 

Number 45 "Pilot Of The Airwaves" by Charlie Dore

Peak: number 28

British singer-songwriter Charlie Dore's one big hit, "Pilot Of The Airwaves", was recorded twice - once as part of the Nashville sessions for her debut album, Where To Now, and again by Cliff Richard associates Alan Tarney and Bruce Welch when it was felt the first version was too country. There's still a bit of a country feel to the track, which tells of a listener who leads a pretty sad and lonely life, except for one bright spot: listening to a radio DJ about whom she's borderline obsessive. 

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1980 (updated weekly):

Next week: as mentioned, the other single by The B-52's enters the top 50, as do hits by Billy Preston & Syreeta, Isaac Hayes and Don McLean.

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