This Week In 1986: October 5, 1986
Changing tempo had sure worked for Berlin. This week in 1986, big ballad "Take My Breath Away" moved up to number 2 for the band better known for their synthpop tunes.
The Top Gun soundtrack hit was joined on the ARIA top 50 by three more ballads released by acts who'd had their greatest success with upbeat songs.
Keeping "Take My Breath Away" at number 2 this week in 1986 (and for the next two weeks as well) was "Venus" by Bananarama, which spent a third week at number 1.
Off The Chart
Number 93 "Open Up The Red Box" by Simply Red
Peak: number 70
With "Holding Back The Years" having eventually become a monster hit around the world, it made sense to squeeze one more single out of Picture Book. Made sense, but didn't pay off.
Number 86 "Stay" by Dear Enemy
Peak: number 61
Nearly three years later and Melbourne's Dear Enemy were still chasing that elusive second big single to follow "Computer One". Like the series of flops before it, "Stay" wasn't it despite being not a bad song.
Number 46 "Don't Wake Me" by Uncanny X-Men
Peak: number 31
There comes a point in every popular band's career where they start to go off the boil. For Uncanny X-Men, that point was this second single from What You Give Is What You Get! As a song, "Don't Wake Me" was pretty much what you'd expect from the good-time band, down to its music video featuring Brian Mannix literally strutting his stuff. But was that part of the problem? Was the band's over-the-top frontman starting to rub the general public the wrong way? I seem to remember the tide turning against Brian and him going from lovable larrikin to Smash Hits Readers' Poll Worst Male Singer finalist pretty damn quickly. Whatever the reason, this was the last time the X-Men would be seen inside the top 50.
Number 45 "The Lady In Red" by Chris De Burgh
Peak: number 2
He'd reached the top 5 in 1983 with the dramatic "Don't Pay The Ferryman", but far and away the song Chris De Burgh is best remembered for is this gooey ballad from Into The Light. Apparently a favourite of Princess Diana's, "The Lady In Red" had entered the top 100 just one week after previous single "Fire On The Water", but quickly raced up the chart, ultimately denied the number 1 spot by a resurgent John Farnham. Chris has given different accounts over the years about the exact inspiration for the song. It's got something to do with his wife, Diane — and was written either about the first time he met her or a time after they were married when he noticed her across a crowded room wearing red. Either way, it was all wonderfully romantic... until he went and cheated on Diane with their kids' 19-year-old nanny in 1994.
Number 39 "In Too Deep" by Genesis
Peak: number 17
Their first Australian hit, "Follow You Follow Me" (number 16 in 1978), had been a ballad, but in recent times, Genesis were best known for poppy little finger snapper "Invisible Touch", which was slowly making its way out of the top 50. In Australia and the UK, ballad "In Too Deep" was chosen as the follow-up (while America went with another slow number, "Throwing It All Away"). Influencing the decision to release "In Too Deep" ahead of other tracks on the Invisible Touch album was the fact that it featured in 1986 British film Mona Lisa.
Peak: number 23
A change of pace now and a song I always associate with "Missionary Man" since they appeared back-to-back on compilation Summer '87 (which I think a cousin of mine owned). And like the Eurythmics track, I find the Eastern-influenced "What's The Colour Of Money?" more than a bit grating. This was the only ARIA chart appearance for Hollywood Beyond (basically singer/songwriter Mark Rogers in a Simply Red-style set-up), while in the UK, second single "No More Tears" scraped into the top 50.
Number 33 "Human" by The Human League
Peak: number 26
Back to the uncharacteristic ballads now and something of a reinvention for British synthpop band The Human League. Yes, their previous two singles, "Life On Your Own" and "Louise", weren't exactly toe-tappers, but they also didn't chart in Australia, where we more accustomed to hearing tracks like "Don't You Want Me", "Mirror Man" or "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" from the band. Also, those recent singles may have been downtempo, but they weren't out-and-out ballads like "Human", which sounded like nothing The Human League had released before. With lush pop/funk production thanks to Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the song had, unsurprisingly, more of an American feel to it — and reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Australia was less convinced, and "Human" became The Human League's smallest top 50 hit here since "Open Your Heart" in 1982. It would also be the band's final ARIA top 50 appearance.
Peak: number 18
Our final new entry for the week is an artist many might have expected to only make the one appearance in the top 50, but chart-topping topless pin-up-turned-pop star Samantha Fox was to be no one-hit wonder. As debut single "Touch Me (I Want Your Body)" took a dive out of the top 10, Samantha returned with another energetic pop track with a suggestive bracketed title. Could this pop career thing have legs?
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1986:
Next week: a couple of very successful cover versions debut, including one that was the highest-selling single of the year in the UK. Plus, a single from one of the albums we saw debut last week reaches the top 50.