This Week In 1986: November 30, 1986
When a band takes a break, those that actually end up making a comeback are invariably changed when they return. That was never more the case than this week in 1986 when one of Australia's favourite British groups was welcomed back onto the ARIA top 50.
Not only had they lost two of their members, but they didn't sound like the same band. How would Australia react to their comeback?
An artist who knew a thing or two about making a successful comeback was still on top of the singles chart this week in 1986. "You're The Voice" by John Farnham spent a fourth week at number 1.
Off The Chart
Number 97 "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel
Peak: number 97
This second single from So was surprisingly never a hit in Australia. In the US, it was successful twice over - once in 1986 and again in 1989 after it appeared in teen film Say Anything... in the much-imitated boombox held aloft scene.
Peak: number 54
Back in July, we saw their final hit, but Wham! had one last single before they went their separate ways for good - and it became only the second release by the pop duo not to reach the ARIA top 10. Only a B-side to "The Edge Of Heaven" in the UK, "Where Did Your Heart Go?" was given a full release - complete with artful black and white music video - in Australia and a number of other countries. The song was a cover version of a 1981 single by Was (Not Was), who were still mostly unknown at this point but would rectify that with 1987's "Walk The Dinosaur". "Where Did Your Heart Go?" was a rather understated ending to Wham!'s chart career, but by peaking at number 54, it didn't suffer the ignominy of becoming their lowest charting single ever. That dubious honour remained with "Club Tropicana".
Peak: number 1
In my 1991posts, we've seen two singles that took more than 20 weeks to reach the number 1 position after their debut on the top 100. But before Tingles and "Rush" took their time, this cheesy ballad by one-hit wonder reggae singer Boris Gardiner held the record for the longest climb to the top of the ARIA chart. Venturing into the top 50 in its fourth week, "I Wanna Wake Up With You" would take another 15 weeks to finally reach its peak, eclipsing the 17-week record jointly held by "A Song Of Joy" by Miguel Rios (1970), "Jump In My Car" by Ted Mulry Gang (1976) and Belle Epoque's "Black Is Black" (1978). I was never a fan of "I Wanna Wake Up With You", with its karaoke backing track-style production and twee sentimentality, but clearly enough grandmothers made the effort to go out and buy it for it to go on to become the 15th biggest hit of 1987. It could've been worse - in the UK, it was 1986's third highest seller.
Number 42 "No Lies" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 31
This is more like it: the debut single by Sydney band Noiseworks, which felt like a bigger hit at the time but, like many future just-as-excellent releases by the band, didn't manage to make it into the top 30. An instantly catchy pop/rock track with room-filling production from Mark Opitz (INXS, Divinyls), "No Lies" may have ended up as a minor hit, but it did at least finally give singer Jon Stevens his first top 50 appearance in Australia - something he hadn't been able to do as a solo artist after relocating from New Zealand or with an earlier incarnation of Noiseworks called The Change.
Number 39 "Notorious" by Duran Duran
Peak: number 17
With the exception of the release of soundtrack single "A View To A Kill", the five members of Duran Duran had spent the previous two years working on a number of different side projects - from Arcadia and The Power Station to solo efforts like John Taylor's "I Do What I Do" and "Take It Easy" by Andy Taylor.
In 1986, only three of the five regrouped for the band's fourth album, Notorious. Well, Andy came back briefly under duress but was quickly released from recording sessions when it was obvious he and the other three could not longer work together. Roger Taylor, meanwhile, bowed out of the music industry for the time being due to exhaustion.
That left Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor to carry on as Duran Duran, and they chose Nile Rodgers to produce Notorious. The former Chic guitarist may have previously co-produced "The Wild Boys", but the album's funk-influenced title track and lead single sounded like nothing the band had released before.
"Notorious" returned Duran Duran to the top 10 in the UK and the US, but in Australia, where the band had been especially popular in the first half of the decade, it became their first lead single from an album to miss the top 10. Unfortunately, the chart slip was a sign of things to come...
Number 35 "Let's Kiss" by Models
Peak: number 27
When we last saw Models on the chart - with previous single "Evolution" - I remarked that it wasn't a strong enough single to have progressed beyond its number 21 peak. In fact, it probably only did that well because it was the first single from an upcoming album. "Let's Kiss" was a much better single, but even so it lacked that certain something that'd made "Out Of Mind Out Of Sight" (which it most closely resembles) such a classic. Yes, it had that same big, punchy Australian pop/rock sound, once again courtesy of producer Mark Opitz (along with co-producer Julian Mendelsohn), but it probably peaked at about the right spot on the chart.
Number 32 "Thorn In My Side" by Eurythmics
Peak: number 12
Next up, a band that could seemingly not put a foot wrong. The third single from Revenge (in Australia, anyway), "Thorn In My Side" only just missed out on matching the top 10 success of the album's two previous hits, "When Tomorrow Comes" and "Missionary Man". Despite its relatively cheery feel, "Thorn In My Side" is a pretty angry song, allegedly written about Annie Lennox's short-lived marriage to Radha Raman.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1986:
Next week: a girl group follow up their chart-topping remake of a previous number 1 and an Australian synthpop band repeat the trick of taking a former number 1 tune back to the top.