This Week In 1989: August 6, 1989
iginally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.
Success can be a fleeting thing, especially in pop music. One minute you're hot, the next you're not - and often there's no clear reason why an act's fortunes changed so dramatically. This week in 1989 on the ARIA top 50, we saw new singles by five artists quite familiar with chart success.
For some, their latest release would be a chart disappointment, while others maintained the success they'd previously enjoyed. Among the entries - two follow-ups to number 1 singles that performed very differently, proving the old adage: you're only as big as your last hit.
The biggest hit on the singles chart this week in 1989 was still Roxette's "The Look", which spent its sixth week on top. It would also be the final week the song spent at number 1, with a certain US boy band waiting to pounce.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 65
This was the lead single and title track from Malcolm McLaren's first album in four years, which also featured "Deep In Vogue" - a club track that tapped into New York's voguing scene months before Madonna did.
Number 90 "Don't You Want Me Baby" by Mandy
Peak: number 90
None of her original material from Stock Aitken Waterman and other writers/producers in the PWL stable had taken off, so the model and child bride turned to a bona fide classic - The Human League's transatlantic chart-topper - in the attempt to land a hit.
Peak: number 54
You can't half tell that this politically charged lead single from Don's album of the same name was co-written and co-produced by Bruce Hornsby (of The Range fame) - his trademark piano-based sound is stamped all over it. I'm actually a little surprised "The End Of The Innocence", a top 10 hit in the States, didn't do better in Australia since the Eagles drummer/singer had hit number 3 with his 1985 single "The Boys Of Summer", while Bruce had reached number 12 with "The Way It Is" in 1986. Don wasn't done landing hits, but it would be three more years before he'd return to the ARIA top 5.
Number 46 "Be With You" by The Bangles
Peak: number 37
Not ones to disappoint, The Bangles followed up number 1 smash "Eternal Flame" with this minor top 40 hit - maintaining the hit-flop-hit-flop pattern of releases that extended all the way back to breakthrough single "Manic Monday". At least "Be With You" made the top 50 - the next (and final) single from the Everything album, "I'll Set You Free", didn't even manage that. Before you knew it, the girl band were releasing a greatest hits album and splitting up.
Number 38 "One More River" by James Reyne
Peak: number 22
It feels like I'm always writing about James Reyne - but then again he did have a fairly steady stream of singles between 1987 (the first year I started recapping) and 1989. Like The Bangles, James's chart fortunes were rather erratic with his songs either managing to perform quite well ("Fall Of Rome", "Hammerhead", "Motor's Too Fast") or missing the top 50 entirely ("Heaven On A Stick", "Always The Way", the upcoming "Trouble In Paradise"). An exception to the rule was this second single from the Hard Reyne album, which I would've sworn was bigger than its number 22 peak - but perhaps I'm just recalling the saturation airplay it no doubt received at the time.
Number 31 "Too Much" by Bros
Peak: number 11
Sixteen months after they debuted on the ARIA chart with "When Will I Be Famous", Bros were back with this first taste of their second album, The Time. Its peak position would suggest that it was business as usual for the pop group, but three had become two following the departure of bass player Craig Logan (who'd go on to date pop stars Kim Appleby and Dannii Minogue, and become a power player in the UK music industry). That left twins Matt and Luke Goss - possibly the only hit pop act comprised of just a singer and a drummer. But, while Bros seemed to have navigated their line-up speed-bump without losing speed, the wheels were about to fall off (and I'll leave that extended metaphor there).
Number 28 "Dressed For Success" by Roxette
Peak: number 3
Success was the right word, since the Swedish duo followed up their reigning number 1, "The Look", with another soon-to-be top 3 hit. Interestingly, in their home country, "Dressed For Success" had actually been the lead single from Look Sharp! - and "The Look" was only single number three (after "Listen To Your Heart"). "Dressed For Success" was the latest chart hit in 1989 to feature the "Wild Thing" guitar riff (or one very similar to it) that had been heard recently in Transvision Vamp's "Baby, I Don't Care" and, of course, "Wild Thing" by Sam Kinison.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:
Next week: New Kids On The Block unveil the second weapon in their pop arsenal, and Australia has a go at hair metal. Plus, a singer celebrates the release of his 100th single - and he was still alive!