This Week In 1987: November 8, 1987
Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2012. Updated in 2017.
In the second half of the '80s, there really was no escaping Barnesy and Farnesy. If one didn't have a song near the top of the charts, the other one did.
By late 1987, the singles had stopped coming from John Farnham's Whispering Jack, and so the path was clear for Jimmy Barnes to enter the fray once more with his third studio album, Freight Train Heart. Given the choice, I'd take Farnesy over Barnesy any day - and really couldn't stand the shouting style of the (at the time) former Cold Chisel frontman.
There was no change at the top of the ARIA singles chart this week in 1987. "La Bamba" by Los Lobos extended its run at number 1 to six weeks, while the song that would eventually dethrone it, Icehouse's "Electric Blue" spent its fourth week at number 2.
Off The Chart
Number 97 "Send It Out" by Vegemite Reggae
Peak: number 80
This single by the Newcastle ska band doesn't appear to be online, but given their band name consists of two of my least favourite things, I can't say that I'm disappointed.
Number 96 "Normal People" by Geisha
Peak: number 92
They'd developed into a great band with previous two efforts "Part Time Love Affair" and "Calling Your Name", but this next single released alongside album Midnight To Dawn didn't cut it.
Number 90 "Hourglass" by Squeeze
Peak: number 90
They hadn't been seen in the top 50 since 1979's "Cool For Cats", and unfortunately the band formerly credited as UK Squeeze didn't break that trend with this UK and US top 20 hit.
Number 88 "The One I Love" by R.E.M.
Peak: number 84
Everybody's got to start somewhere, and for '90s hitmakers R.E.M., this lead single from fifth album Document commenced their chart career in Australia.
Number 49 "Physical Favours" by Sharon O'Neill
Peak: number 39
1987 marked a new era for New Zealand-born singer/songwriter Sharon O'Neill, who'd been through legal difficulties with previous record label CBS and finally emerged with new music on a new label. "Physical Favours" was the first single from the Danced In The Fire album and it was another minor hit that I liked at the time but didn't add to my collection for some years.
Due to its lacklustre chart performance (and no subsequent hits), Sharon's chart career petered out a couple of years later, but the now 50-year-old still performs today. My favourite random fact about Sharon is that a greatest hits album was approved by her troublesome original label (and released on J&B) in 1991, but, as often happened in those days, she only had one half of the release. The other artist she was teamed with for the best of collection? Collette.
Peak: number 47
Dead Or Alive's least successful single since their 1985 breakthrough made a short but sweet appearance at its peak position this week 25 years ago. Fair enough - "I'll Save You All My Kisses" was the fourth single from the Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know album, so they'd had a good run up until this point. The group would return in 1988 without producers Stock Aitken Waterman, but with a fairly consistent sound on the Nude album, which would give them their last couple of top 50 hits in Australia - not including a 1996 remix of "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)".
Number 45 "Learning To Fly" by Pink Floyd
Peak: number 34
With the exception of their number 2 smash, "Another Brick In The Wall Part II", Pink Floyd was always more of an albums act than a singles act - and to prove the point, this first single from A Momentary Lapse Of Reason would stall outside the top 30 while its parent album reached number 2. The album was the first one without founding member Roger Waters (who we saw a few weeks back with his solo release) - and Dave Gilmour's assumption of the frontman position was addressed by the lyrics of the song. The music video featured a Native American literally learning to fly - well, he turned into an eagle, so that's kind of the same thing.
Number 39 "Is This Love" by Whitesnake
Peak: number 12
They'd been around since 1978, but it took until 1987 for the British rockers to really make their mark around the world - and they did it with two songs from their self-titled album that year. We'll see the first single released from Whitesnake in a few weeks, but it was actually this second single that hit the top 50 here first - and went on to reach a higher chart position. I preferred the other track, and found "Is This Love" a little slow for my hard rock taste.
Peak: number 14
Everybody loves Paul Kelly, right? Well, love might be overstating it slightly as far as I'm concerned, but I was a fan of this, his biggest hit single, as well as other tracks like "Leaps And Bounds", "Dumb Things" and his first major chart hit, "Before Too Long". The first single from the Under The Sun album, "To Her Door" was credited to Paul Kelly And The Coloured Girls, the band he played with after The Dots and before the name was changed to The Messengers. Under The Sun was actually credited to Paul and the Messengers internationally, given the political implications of a name like Coloured Girls, especially in the States.
Peak: number 1
Here he is... and with the week's highest debut to boot. Although Jimmy had already scored two number 1 albums, he'd yet to achieve a chart-topping single (with or without Cold Chisel), but that would all change with this first release from Freight Train Heart, which spent one week at the top. More restrained than some of his scream-a-thons, "Too Much Ain't Enough Love" would end up being Jimmy's only number 1 single, but since he'd hit the top with six albums in a row (including live album Barnestorming) between 1984 and 1991, I doubt he was too worried.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1987:
A very rock-centric week this week, which partly explains why I started to look further afield for music in late 1987 and 1988.