This Week In 1988: December 4, 1988
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.
I love it when there's a common thread to the songs that debuted on the ARIA chart from years gone by - and this week that theme is: less successful follow-ups.
Of the five songs we'll look back on, four were not as big as the singles immediately preceding them, while the fifth is a song that was much more successful than any subsequent releases by the act in question.
At number 1 this week in 1988 was another song that was more successful than anything else released by Bobby McFerrin. Yep, the awful "Don't Worry Be Happy" refused to move from the top, spending its fourth week as the nation's most popular single.
Off The Chart
Number 100 "Harvester Of Sorrow" by Metallica
Peak: number 100
In a few short years, the heavy metal band would be used to landing at the other end of the top 100, but this lead single from ...And Justice For All was a tentative start to their ARIA singles chart career.
Number 98 "Slow Turning" by John Hiatt
Peak: number 83
He'd made it to the Breakers section earlier in the year with "Have A Little Faith In Me", but this more upbeat title track from his ninth album failed to connect for John Hiatt.
Number 95 "Day-O" by Harry Belafonte
Peak: number 95
Re-released following its memorable use in Beetlejuice, the 1956 classic originally subtitled "The Banana Boat Song" had reached number 6 in Australia in early 1957.
Number 94 "Always The Way" by James Reyne
Peak: number 94
First recorded by his former band, Australian Crawl, on their 1985 album, Between A Rock And A Hard Place, "Always The Way" was the final single lifted from James Reyne's self-titled debut album.
Peak: number 61
One week after the arrival of Toni Childs' "Don't Walk Away" came a song of the exact same name by Pat Benatar, who'd just enjoyed one of the biggest singles of her lengthy career in the form of "All Fired Up", which had peaked at number 2. Pat's "Don't Walk Away" (which was a completely different song in all other respects to Toni's single) came nowhere near matching the chart peak of "All Fired Up", despite being, in my opinion, a much better track.
Number 50 "Teardrops" by Womack & Womack
Peak: number 2
Slipping into the very bottom of the top 50 is a song that would go on to spend four frustrating weeks in the runners-up spot at the other end of the chart. As I've mentioned before, I wasn't so enamoured with "Teardrops" at the time, but it has grown on me over the years. I'm not sure what didn't gel with me at first, but I suspect it had something to do with the blonde backing singer in the terrible headband, who used to really bug me for some reason. I know, it's not really a valid reason for not liking a song, but what can I say?
Peak: number 47
Last week, I talked about the fact that "Push It" had been one of a select number of rap releases to crack the Australian top 50 in 1988 and Salt 'n' Pepa made it two from two with this follow-up, which sampled "It's Your Thing" by The Isley Brothers. However, "Shake Your Thang...", which appeared on the rap trio's second album, A Salt With A Deadly Pepa, only spent a solitary week on the ARIA singles chart and it wouldn't be until 1991 that the girls landed themselves another sizable hit in Australia. It was a different story in the US, with "Expression" selling over a million copies in 1990, and in the UK, where a cover of The Isley Brothers (them again)/The Beatles' "Twist And Shout" made the top 5 in 1988.
Number 33 "Fooled Again" by Pseudo Echo
Peak: number 33
What a mistake this change of direction was. For years, Australian band Pseudo Echo had proved the point that you didn't have to be a traditional pub rock band to score hits in this country. Between 1982 and 1986, they achieved no less than four top 10 hits, culminating in their chart-topping remake of "Funky Town". Guitars had sometimes featured on their records, but for 1988's comeback album, Race, the synthpop band completely rocked out (they even had the leather jackets to prove it) - and killed their career in the process. This lead single from the album actually has a good chorus, but it didn't sound like the Pseudo Echo the country knew and (previously) loved, and stalled at this entry position.
Number 29 "All I Do" by Daryl Braithwaite
Peak: number 23
Seventies heartthrob Daryl Braithwaite had made a victorious return to the chart with "As The Days Go By", which reached number 11 earlier in 1988, but this second single from his comeback album, Edge, more than doubled that placing. It's actually a pretty dull single so I'm not sure why, when they had the far superior "One Summer" up their sleeve, the record company bothered to release it. Surely the first week of December would have been the perfect time for "One Summer" to appear. Luckily, the relative failure of "All I Do" didn't ruin that song's chances - as we'll see in a couple of months' time.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:
Next week: 10 new entries on the top 50. Ten! Included among the debuts are a rock'n'roll supergroup, a remix of a 1970s classic and two of my favourite 1980s girl groups.