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  • Gavin Scott

This Week In 1989: July 9, 1989

Originally posted as 25 Years Ago This Week in 2014. Updated in 2019.

Movie soundtracks were big business in the 1980s - and so was the artist behind a film song that was the highest debuting single on the ARIA chart this week in 1989. It wasn't just a song from any old movie, but the first in a series of comic book adaptations that would be massive box office hits over the next couple of decades.

When it came to "Batdance", I wasn't in on the joke

The performer in question, Prince, was no stranger to soundtrack work. Some of the biggest singles of his career have come from movies and he sometimes even starred in the films as well - although, like Madonna's screen output, those films were often nowhere near as good as the accompanying soundtracks. In this case, Prince only provided the music for the blockbuster and the closest he came to featuring in the film was playing dress-up in the music video for his chart entry.

At number 1 for a second week this week in 1989 was Swedish duo Roxette with "The Look", ensuring Kate Ceberano's "Bedroom Eyes" stayed put at number 2 for yet another week (the fourth of six weeks in the runners-up spot).

Off The Chart

Number 98 "Disappointed" by Public Image Ltd

Peak: number 94

Back on the chart for the first time since "Rise" reached the top 40 in 1986, the band fronted by John Lydon released this (aptly named, as it would turn out) track from seventh album 9.

Number 96 "One Fine Day" by James Freud

Peak: number 68

Here's another act who must have been disappointed with the reception their 1989 releases received, with this second single from Step Into The Heat not following "Hurricane" into the top 50.

Number 94 "If I Can Just Get Through The Night" by Phoebe Snow

Peak: number 85

She'd reached number 22 in 1979 with her only Australian hit, a cover of Paul McCartney's "Every Night", but couldn't score again with this track taken from Something Real, her first album in eight years.

Number 93 "I Wanna Have Some Fun" by Samantha Fox

Peak: number 80

It had been the lead US single from the album of the same name, but this house track from freestyle producers Full Force didn't go down as well locally as Samantha Fox's SAW-produced cover, which was edging its way out of the top 50.

Number 89 "Workin' Overtime" by Diana Ross

Peak: number 88

Back on Motown Records for the first time since 1980, Diana Ross tried to jump on the new jack swing bandwagon with this Nile Rodgers-produced title track from her 17th album.

Number 88 "Seeing Is Believing" by Mike + The Mechanics

Peak: number 88

As "The Living Years" spent a 19th week in the top 50, this much more energetic Hillsong-ish follow-up only managed a single week inside the top 100.


"You're The One" by Julian Lennon

Peak: number 68

Julian Lennon: rock god? Not quite, but this follow-up to "Now You're In Heaven" was one of the rockiest things he'd done. Well, rocky in a Richard Marx kind of way. The song was a resounding failure - even in Australia, who'd been far more generous to "Now You're In Heaven" than any other country. And, I can't help but think that although there's a decent chorus in there, it gets swamped by all the extra "rock" production which was added to the Patrick Leonard-produced album version for the single remix.

"Manchild" by Neneh Cherry

Peak: number 58

A few weeks ago, five dance tracks shared the Single Of The Week slot on the ARIA singles chart - and "Manchild" is the fifth and final one to discuss, since it finally appeared as a breaker this week in 1989. In fact, the second single from Raw Like Sushi would feature as a breaker well into August, never quite managing to live up to the hype generated by "Buffalo Stance". As with that debut single, Neneh and her soon-to-be husband, Cameron McVey (aka Booga Bear), were listed as co-writers of "Manchild" - although this time around they collaborated on the track with Massive Attack's 3D (Robert Del Naja). The song became Neneh's second consecutive top 5 hit in the UK, and I can't help but think she was a little too ahead of her time as far as Australia was concerned.

New Entries

Number 50 "Saved Me" by Jenny Morris

Peak: number 27

Despite what the chart positions of Jenny Morris' debut album and its accompanying singles (none of which breached the top 10) might suggest, the Body And Soul project had been pretty successful in Australia - with the album going platinum, and tracks like "You I Know" and "You're Gonna Get Hurt" receiving decent radio play. The New Zealand-born singer and former INXS backing vocalist stepped things up a notch with second album Shiver, which would sell three times as many copies and finally give her a top 10 hit - but not with lead single "Saved Me". Co-written with album producer Andrew Farriss (of INXS), the song had a bit of a world music feel, which was enhanced by the Richard Lowenstein-directed film clip that Jenny shot in Nicaragua.

Number 49 "Say Goodbye" by Indecent Obsession

Peak: number 6

With Countdown off air and his segments on Hey Hey It's Saturday not taking that much of his time, Molly Meldrum kept himself busy with his record label, Melodian, to which he'd signed this pop quartet originally from Brisbane. Essentially a "boys in a band" act (my term for a boy band that plays instruments), Indecent Obsession were always going to find gaining support outside their teen demographic difficult - and indeed, it was more likely to see lead singer (and future Home And Away star) David Dixon smiling back at you with all those teeth from the pages of Smash Hits than to hear "Say Goodbye" on FM radio. Still, the song hit the top 10 and a new teen phenomenon was born.

Number 39 "Batdance" by Prince

Peak: number 2

I had a bit of a love/don't get relationship with Prince in the '80s. I loved tracks like "Raspberry Beret", "Glam Slam", "Alphabet St", "1999" and "Let's Go Crazy", but this single from Prince's soundtrack to Batman definitely fell into the don't get pile. To me, it sounded like a mess - so it's not surprising that as well as effectively being two different songs (one fast and frentic, one slow and seductive), "Batdance" was cobbled together from bits of other songs Prince had been working on. Throw in some dialogue snippets from Batman and it made "Pump Up The Volume" seem traditional. Still, plenty of other music fans got it, with "Batdance" becoming Prince's biggest Australian hit since 1986's "Kiss" and his fourth US number 1.

Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1989:

Next week: the debut of a UK band named after an American state and the top 20 return of an Australian artist often mistakenly referred to as a one-hit wonder. Speaking of one-hit wonders, I'll be wrapping up my look at one-hit wonders of the '90s with a look at the years 1995 to 1999 and a list of that decade's two-hit wonders.

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