This Week In 1989: June 4, 1989
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
At the moment, I'm in the middle of counting down my favourite songs from 2004, a year when there were more boy bands than you could poke a stick at and they were generally given three singles to hit number 1 or were dropped by their record label.
Why do I mention this here? Well, this week in 1989, the group that really got the ball rolling on the modern boy band era made their debut on the ARIA chart. And, had they started their career in 2004, the song that became their breakthrough hit might never been released as it followed two earlier flop singles and an almost three-year gap since the release of their very first single.
Meanwhile, if you think there'd been some interesting weeks at the top of the top 50 in recent months, then this week in 1989, things were really shaken up. Bette Midler leapt from number 6 to number 1 to land her first Australian chart-topper with "Wind Beneath My Wings", dislodging The Bangles (who had jumped the same amount to number 1 the previous week). "Eternal Flame" was the only song to remain from last week's top 5, with Bette, Julian Lennon, Kate Ceberano and one of this week's new entries all blasting into the top 5.
Off The Chart
Number 85 "Americanos" by Holly Johnson
Peak: number 77
First post-Frankie single "Love Train" had made the top 40 but this follow-up about US commercialism didn't match that, despite equalling its predecessor's number 4 peak in the UK.
Number 74 "City Streets" by Carole King
Peak: number 74
The title track from her first album in six years, "City Streets" features a guitar solo from Eric Clapton but couldn't inspire enough excitement to progress any further up the chart.
Peak: number 60
It had been a couple of years since the Queen of Soul's last big hit, 1987's duet with George Michael on "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)", and so what better way to launch a new album than by recording a song with one of the '80s biggest duet sluts? Unfortunately for Aretha, despite her and Elton's combined star power, as well as the fact "Through The Storm" was co-written by Diane Warren, the song wasn't anywhere near as big. In fact, even though she drafted in Whitney Houston, James Brown, The Four Tops and Kenny G for other songs on her album of the same name, she didn't end up with any hits from Through The Storm.
Peak: number 64
Just when I thought my exposure to The Proclaimers was going to be limited to enduring their two massive hits in 1989, a few weeks ago, I found myself sitting through the film version of the musical comprised of songs by the Reid brothers. That's right, there's a Proclaimers musical - and, I hasten to add, I was not watching it by choice. The musical and film are both called, naturally, Sunshine On Leith, after the album that featured "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)", "I'm On My Way" and this third single which mercifully stalled outside the ARIA top 50. Moving right on...
Peak: number 1
Originally released in 1972 by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (whose lead singer at that point was actually Teddy Pendergrass), "If You Don't Know My By Now" became Simply Red's biggest global hit - a number 1 in Australia and the US, and a number 2 back home in the UK. It's also one of my least favourite singles by the group, whose '80s and early '90s output I'm not ashamed to say I quite like. But give me a track like "The Right Thing" or "A New Flame" any day over this dreary ballad.
Peak: number 1
Here's another future chart-topper from the boy band created by the brains behind New Edition - although it wasn't until NKOTB went from wearing fluffy jumpers and signing saccharine love songs to a more streetwise look and edgier sound (for pop) that they truly connected with their target audience. And boy did they connect. This number 1 single was one of four top 10 hits they managed in Australia in just over a year, while in the US and UK, that tally was more than double, with nine top 10 hits in each country before the boy band's time in the sun was up.
Number 37 "Lullaby" by The Cure
Peak: number 28
I'd been a fan of The Cure's singles throughout the '80s - it was hard not to be with an older sister who loved the band - but I could never get into "Lullaby". Obviously, it wasn't poppy enough for me, since my favourite song of theirs is "In Between Days", and everything about it creeped me out. I realise that was kind of the intention, but I could not fast forward through the video quickly enough as I watched the Rage countdown each week.
Disappointingly, although "Lullaby" gave the band another top 30 hit in Australia (their seventh), none of the other singles from the Disintegration album - which included the excellent "Fascination Street", "Pictures Of You" and their biggest US hit "Lovesong" - managed to crack the Australian top 50.
Number 36 "Express Yourself" by Madonna
Peak: number 5
How on earth was Madonna going to top "Like A Prayer"? By releasing the most expensive music video ever made, that's how. Although its budget has since been surpassed, the David Fincher-directed "Express Yourself" cost $5 million and looked it. Inspired by the 1927 film Metropolis (not that I've ever seen it), the clip also came with a new mix of the song which finally turned up on Madonna's Celebration compilation in 2009 (although a similar sounding mix was included on The Immaculate Collection). Other than its sheer extravagance and a racy scene involving a saucer of milk, there was no controversy attached to "Express Yourself" - but the song was so good it didn't need any to become another smash for the Queen of Pop.
Number 34 "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty
Peak: number 16
There was no stopping those Wilburys, with this solo release from Tom Petty (without The Heartbreakers) easily beating anything he'd released up until that point under his own name in Australia - although "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around", the 1981 Stevie Nicks song that'd featured Tom and The Heartbreakers, had reached number 10 here.
"I Won't Back Down" may as well have been a Traveling Wilburys song anyway, since it was co-written and co-produced by Jeff Lynne, and featured George Harrison on guitar. As you can see from the YouTube grab below, Jeff and George featured in the video as well - with Ringo Starr thrown in for good measure, even if he didn't play on the actual track. The Wilburys effect didn't last, however, and although several more singles were taken from Tom's Full Moon Fever album, this was the only one to enter the ARIA top 50.
Peak: number 4
Not one to rest on her laurels, Kylie wasted no time moving on to her second album, Enjoy Yourself, ahead of which this brand new single was released. It was another instant hit in the UK and, several weeks later (which was kind of annoying), here in Australia. In Britain, "Hand On Your Heart" became Kylie's third number 1, while in Australia, it was her fifth top 5 single. Below the simple but effective music video featuring those primary colour dresses is a live performance from Countdown Revolution - and Kylie's vocal, like pretty much all her TV appearances throughout her career, is indeed live. Still, it was going to take more than that to keep the Australian public onside, and they'd already started to turn in a major way thanks to this country's tall poppy syndrome.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: a bonanza of awesome dance tracks - none of which managed a spot in the top 50 - and some new entries that did make the singles chart by boring old rock acts. Before that, I'll conclude my countdown of my favourite songs from 2004.