This Week In 1987: October 4, 1987
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2012. Updated in 2017.
The good thing about charts is that even if there's a bad week (like last week's abysmal offering), there's a new chart just seven days away. And the ARIA singles chart from this week in 1987 was much better.
There was an interesting influx of new tracks — from songs that have become quite obscure to one of the biggest music events of the year. After kicking off his first new album in five years in a relatively understated fashion, Michael Jackson's Bad went into overdrive as he released the album's first music video and earned himself the year's highest debut in the process.
The song Michael just beat for the title of the year's highest new entry fell off the top spot this week in 1987. After seven weeks at number 1, "Locomotion" made way for "La Bamba" by Los Lobos, which also spent seven weeks on top.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Songbird" by Kenny G
Peak: number 76
For some reason I thought this had been more successful — Kenny G certainly seemed to get a lot of attention in 1987. The instrumental single from Duotones had been a US top 5 hit, however.
Number 98 "Call Me" by Spagna
Peak: number 98
A song that should've done better locally was also a top 5 hit, but this time in the UK. "Call Me" was the second solo singer for former Fun Fun (Fun) member Ivana Spagna.
Number 97 "Every Loser Wins" by Nick Berry
Peak: number 93
Another UK smash, this ballad topped the British chart a year earlier. I assume its delayed release in Australia coincided with its appearance in EastEnders, in which Nick Berry performed it as his character, Simon Wicks.
Number 88 "Murphy And The Bricks" by Noel Murphy
Peak: number 82
A bit of an oddity from Irish folk singer Noel Murphy, who didn't have a hit here or in the UK with this lighthearted ditty sung as if by an employee explaining his absence from work.
Peak: number 59
Before we get to the new entries, we have a couple of breakers to remember — the first from the English singer who'd struck gold in 1984 with the worldwide hit, "Missing You". That was the only time John hit it big as a solo artist, whereas this first (and, might I say, excellent) single from fourth album Rover's Return missed the top 50 in Australia. It wouldn't be until 1990 that John would return to the Australian top 5 when his band Bad English reached number 4 with "When I See You Smile".
Peak: number 54
AFL songs. They creep their way into the chart every so often — and this one had a great cause behind it, since the star player about whom musician Gary Burrows was singing was involved in a car accident which ended his AFL (or VFL, as it then was) career. The song's appeal was limited to true sports fans, it seems.
Number 50 "Love Somebody" by Noiseworks
Peak: number 50
Entering at the position where it would peak, the third single by the Aussie band had a bit of a disappointing performance after the top 10 success of "Take Me Back" earlier in the year. Two more singles ("Welcome To The World" and "Burning Feeling") would be taken from the group's self-titled debut album, but they'd also fail to take off, despite all three being solid tracks.
Number 48 "Pretty Flamingo" by Huxton Creepers
Peak: number 33
Here's another long-forgotten Aussie single — a cover of the 1966 Manfred Mann hit by Melbourne band Huxton Creepers. The song ended up on one of those various artists collections (Summer '88), which a cousin of mine owned, and so it was a song I listened to at the time (when I borrowed the tape... semi-permanently), promptly forgot about and then tracked down online years later. The film clip below is pretty bad quality, but worth a look if only to check out Neighbours star Annie Jones.
Peak: number 22
Another big worldwide hit from a duo whose music it is easy to find in good quality on YouTube — this duet with singing legend Dusty Springfield missed the top 20 locally, but reached number 2 in both the UK and US. By all accounts, it took some convincing for the collaboration to happen in the first place, but PSB would go on to have a happy working relationship with Dusty for the next few years, producing half of her Reputation album in 1990.
Number 45 "Do To You" by Machinations
Peak: number 15
This first single from the Sydney synthpop group's Uptown album was one of their biggest chart hits — and after being absent for some time, the video has finally been returned to YouTube. I'm quite a fan of Machinations and enjoyed their musical output throughout the '80s, with another great single, "Intimacy", following "Do To You" in 1988.
Number 44 "Let's Work" by Mick Jagger
Peak: number 24
If you've read this blog before, you'll likely know that, Motown aside, I really don't care about any music before 1979. So I wasn't very excited when The Rolling Stones frontman released a solo album in 1987. And although this track did reasonably well in Australia, neither it nor Primtive Cool, the album it was lifted from, really made that much of an impact here or overseas. Watching the clip again all these years later, I'm reminded just how much I disliked the song and all that jumping around in the video.
Peak: number 32
Were it not for the lyrics about having a hangover, this song wouldn't sound that out of place on a Wiggles album. Back in the '60s, those lyrics resulted in The Swingin' Medallions version of "Double Shot (Of My Baby's Love)" being banned by some radio stations in the States. In 1987, no one batted an eyelid. Perhaps a bit of controversy might have helped The Cockroaches, who scored their second successive number 32 single with their remake of the track originally recorded by Dick Holler & The Holidays. It was all downhill from here, with subsequent singles charting even lower — but then, had the band been more successful, their transformation into the biggest children's music act in the world may never have happened.
Number 9 "Bad" by Michael Jackson
Peak: number 4
Blasting into the top 10 in its first week, "Bad" beat the number 10 debut of "Locomotion" back in August by one spot to become the year's highest new entry. "Bad" was the second single from the album of the same name and would make its way up into the top 5 in the weeks to come — and although it didn't reach number 1, its number 4 peak was the highest managed by any of the Bad singles. It was also the first release from the album to come with a (big budget, Martin Scorses-directed, Wesley Snipes-featuring, later parodied) music video, which you can enjoy in its full-length version by clicking the link in the song title above or in its edited form below.
More recently, "Bad" has been given a horrible remix for the 25th anniversary edition of the album featuring a terrible rap by Pitbull, but originally, "Bad" was, actually, not bad. It's not by any means the best track on the album, but together with its event music video, it was a great repositioning statement for the singer who had a lot to live up to and do so by keeping the singles from Bad coming until the end of the decade.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:
Next week: some songs which aren't that difficult to track down on YouTube enter the chart.