This Week In 1988: June 5, 1988
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2013. Updated in 2018.
The '80s were a great time for Australian bands having international success. Men At Work, INXS and Midnight Oil all landed big hits around the world, and then there were many other groups that didn't do quite as well, but did manage to at least make a small dent on overseas charts.
Venetians were one band who fell into the latter category, with their 1986 single "So Much For Love" sneaking into the Billboard Hot 100 at number 88 - a feat which was much harder to accomplish than it may seem. The band returned to the Australian top 50 this week in 1988 alongside two other local acts who'd had much better fortunes in the US.
Meanwhile, there was a new number 1 single this week in 1988, with Cheap Trick's "The Flame" ascending to the top and deposing Billy Ocean in the process.
Off The Chart
Number 99 "Time Runs Wild" by Danny Wilde
Peak: number 94
After he was in The Quick (the US band, not the British group with hits "Hip Shake Jerk" and "The Rhythm Of The Jungle") and before he was in The Rembrandts, Danny Wilde tried his hand at a solo career and released this song from the Dream A Little Dream soundtrack.
Number 98 "Route 66" by Depeche Mode
Peak: number 79
Everywhere else, this cover of the R&B classic first recorded by the King Cole Trio appeared on the flip side of "Behind The Wheel". In Australia, the B-side became the A-side but did not manage to put Depeche Mode back in the top 50.
Single Of The Week
I was a big fan of two other songs by VOTB from 1988 - in fact, one even made my top 100 songs for that year - but this track, which was released between "I Say Nothing" and "Don't Call Me Baby" completely passed me by at the time. Seems I wasn't the only one, since "I Walk The Earth" didn't make the top 100 locally (something those other two singles did manage). In truth, it's a pretty good song and features another catchy chorus with Bangles-like harmonies and guitars.
Number 50 "Bitter Tears" by Venetians
Peak: number 24
A word more associated with window furnishings than pop music, Venetians had been releasing under-appreciated singles like "Shine A Light" since 1983, finally landing themselves a substantial hit in 1986 with "So Much For Love", which peaked at number 8 locally and, as I mentioned above, made some waves internationally. The band fronted by singer Rik Swinn hadn't made a very good start with their third album, Amazing World, with the excellent title track stalling at number 77, but this second single would give the band a glimmer of hope that their best days weren't behind them. But, when third single "Must Believe" stiffed and the album didn't rise above number 41, the guys decided to call it quits.
Number 49 "One More Try" by George Michael
Peak: number 34
A couple of weeks ago, we saw that Whitney Houston's US number 1 "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" could only manage to crawl to number 48 in Australia and I mentioned a similarly underwhelming fate had befallen Michael Jackson's US chart-topper "Man In The Mirror". What do either of those songs have to do with "One More Try"? Well, apart from also being a ballad, the track was the fourth single from a mega-successful album (Faith), a US number 1 single and a relative failure in Australia. Unlike Whitney and Michael, however, George would land one final top 20 hit from his album in coming months.
Number 45 "Nothing Too Serious" by Icehouse
Peak: number 29
They'd managed to film more than one video for "Crazy" and number 1 single "Electric Blue", but by the time this fifth single from Man Of Colours was released, Icehouse were obviously too busy to get around to shooting a clip. Instead, the live performance below was screened on music TV and "Nothing Too Serious" became the fifth top 30 hit from the album. It was also the final single released - and it would be almost a year and a half before we'd hear new music from the band.
Number 42 "New Sensation" by INXS
Peak: number 9
A band that not only found the time to shoot music videos for the string of singles released from Kick, but clearly spent a lot of money on them - re-teaming with Richard Lowenstein, who'd directed the clips for "Need You Tonight", "Burn For You" and "What You Need", for "New Sensation". The song became the third straight top 10 hit from Kick and another massive single around the world.
Number 33 "Drop The Boy" by Bros
Peak: number 9
Brosmania had well and truly taken over Australia, with the second hit from the British trio eclipsing new songs by three of the biggest acts of the previous 12 months. "Drop The Boy" (ooh-oh) wasted no time jumping into the singles top 10, while Push leapt from number 38 to 21 in its second week on the album top 50 (it'd eventually peak at number 4).
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1988:
Next week: the return of a song that still holds the record for the highest-selling 12" single of all time in the UK and an unlikely Beatles cover.